Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 31 ~ Halloween Spiders

I have to give my cousin credit for this cute craft! I did make a few alterations to make our spiders a little easier for the preschoolers to assist me. She used a real pumpkin, I opted for foam pumpkins. She also used a hot glue gun which I don't like using around the little kiddos. 

Small pumpkins
Pipe cleaners (2 or 4 depending on length of spider legs)
"Heavy-duty" glue
Wiggly eyes

1. The kids painted the foam pumpkins with black acrylic paint.
2. Attach the eyes. I found some crafter's glue at Walmart and it worked!
3. Cut pipe cleaners in half and then fold in half.
4. Carve a small hole into the pumpkin to "stuff" in the spider legs (pipe cleaners).
5. Bend pipe cleaners to make legs.
The middle spiders had full length pipe cleaners folded in half but I ran out of "legs" so decided to try shorter legs, using half a pipe cleaner folded in half. The kids loved this craft! I love that these pumpkin spiders can be saved for next year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 30 ~ Be thankful in everything....even spilled milk

This morning my schedule was disrupted by a cup of spilled milk. One of my girlies didn't finish her milk at breakfast so I had put it in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, an hour later, I forgot about the milk and knocked it over. I started wiping it up when I realized that the milk had dripped through the cracks of each shelf, finally draining into the crisper. If ignored, the milk-soaked vegetables would become tomorrow's problem. I guess it was time to deep clean the refrigerator.

A couple of years ago I had read (or heard) a great piece of advice; bring your daily schedule to God and pray over it every morning. While praying, tell Him what you would like to accomplish, ask for His blessings and end with "YOUR will be done". It's important that we relinquish control, even control of our days, to the one who truly is in charge. Although I've valued this advice I haven't been very good at following it. I do try to daily ask God to guide my day and to help me be productive. I'm a procrastinator, not to mention that I'm easily distracted, so divine intervention is necessary.

So this morning, instead of crying over spilled milk, I happily dug into the refrigerator which was in need of a good cleaning. I threw away leftovers that had gotten lost in the back of the frig. I filled a small bucket of sadly forgotten fruits and vegetables for the chickens (it was their lucky day!). I filled the sink with hot, soap water and pulled out all the shelves. I scrubbed until it sparkled.

Today I'm thankful for spilled milk and shiny, clean refrigerators.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 29 ~ Hidden Treasures

The wrought iron fence around the graveyard beckoned me, calling me to walk through it's gardens, to pause and wonder about the lives of those buried there.

The atmosphere caused me to slow my tourist pace so that I may marvel in the beauty of the garden, the church and the monuments. With the reverence of a scared place while taking in the breathtaking architecture, and listening to breeze rustle the remaining leaves on the trees, I slowed down long enough to thank God for his many blessings. 

Just outside this fence, the sidewalks of Wall Street bustled, yet inside? Inside was a sanctuary. Quiet and peaceful. A simple fence, a garden of flowers and head stones muffled the sounds from the street.

This hidden treasure was stumbled upon as we walked from Battery Park, after touring Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, towards the 9/11 Memorial. Yes, we were taking a round-about way as we explored this area of NYC....or maybe we were lost. Regardless of circumstance we were well pleased with this find. My daughter and niece quickly went in opposite directions as they studied the tombstones. My mother and grandmother took in the beauty of this place on a bench which gave them an opportunity to rest. 
The Trinity Church Cemetery is located at 74 Trinity Place at Wall Street and Broadway. The non-denominational cemetery "opened" in 1697 although the oldest gravestone in NYC is that of Richard Churcher (1676-1681). The cemetery is the final resting place of many senators, congressmen and U.S. representatives.

In the above photo (on the left) is a monument of one of our founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. 

The gravestone on in upper right belongs to Robert Todd and is
inscribed with "Here Lyes ye Body of Robert Todd Decd Sept ye 21st 1745 Aged 49 years Also the Body of Margaret His wife Deceased the 4th of April 1776"

As I searched this morning for more information on the Trinity Church, Churchyard and Cemetery, which seemed that not a lot of information was readily available...or at least in the depth that I was looking for, when I found Trinity Wall Street website. On the website I found a listing of audio slideshows. I found this one fascinating (and even found out that Trinity Church was featured in the movie "National Treasurers").

I am so glad that we strayed off course, adding another fabulous site to our day even though it was not on our itinerary. A wonderful reminder to always keep one's eyes open in order to see the hidden treasures, the blessings, that abundantly available for us to find. 


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day 28 ~ At the Door

The Dairy, Central Park

Revelation 3:19-21

I rebuke and punish all whom I love. 
Be in earnest, then, and turn from your sins. 
Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if any hear my voice and open the door, I will come into their house and eat with them, and they will eat with me. 
To those who win the victory I will give the right to sit beside me on my throne, just as I have been victorious and now sit by my Father on his throne.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 27 ~ Italian Meatloaf in a (Freezer) Bag

Making meals ahead of time saves time, energy and stress as I discussed on Day 12. This is another meal that I prepared a few weeks ago when I made ten meals for the freezer. This recipe won my families approval so I can now share it with you! :)
In a freezer bag combine: 2 lbs of ground beef (or turkey if you wish), 1/4 cup oatmeal, 2 T. Wildtree* Hearty Spaghetti Blend, 2 T. Wildtree*Rancher Steak Rub, 2 eggs. Now here's the fun part. Squish it all up to distribute the herbs into the meat. Label the bag and store in the freezer. Easy. Gathering supplies (if already on hand) and assembling this meal takes less then 15 minutes. The hard part is remembering ahead of time to take the meatloaf out of the freezer to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. This is where sticky notes on the refrigerator come in handy. 
When ready to bake, form into a loaf and bake for 50-55 minutes. Add marinara sauce during last 10-15 minutes of baking. 

While baking the meatloaf prepare the "topping" (I did not use the marinara sauce recipe because I know my family and knew that they would prefer ketchup on top of our meatloaf. It's what we're accustomed to.)

Marinara Topping:
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 T. Wildtree Hearty Spaghetti Blend*
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Heat in sauce pan while meatloaf is baking. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add to the top of meatloaf and continue baking for 10-15 minutes.

I was going to accompany the meatloaf with beets and baked potatoes however my garden potatoes were on the small side so I diced potatoes and topped them with Wildtree* Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil and Wildtree* Rancher Steak Rub. I baked the potatoes for 30-45 minutes.

~ The seasoning was a bit "strong" and the Rancher Steak added a bit too much "salty". I don't use salt much when cooking and this is simply my own preference but next time I will cut back slightly on both seasonings. 

~Wildtree products could be substituted by similar brands that you use. If you are interested in Wildtree products you can check out the website HERE. If you are interested in ordering, please contact me.

Hearth & Soul Hop

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 26 ~ Five Minute Friday ~ VOICE

Years ago, during the years of my rebellion, one of my favorite songs was "Silent All These Years" by Tori Amos. I wanted to be heard. Ironic that this was a time when I was most vocal. However at that time of my life I was better at making noise then sharing my inner voice. My deepest thoughts, dreams and desires. At that time of my life I was still searching for my voice. 

Often we feel silenced.

Interruptions come in forms of people thinking they can complete your sentences and when corrected they still don't hear that your thought, your voice, was not the same thought as their own. 

Silenced when one is more interested in their agenda then your thoughts.

Questions are asked but your answer is not heard.

Then there are the Half-listeners. Those who are obviously are listening in order to appear to be listening but all the while not really caring what you have to say.

Interruptions come in simple everyday demands. The children need more milk at dinner time. The baby needs her diaper changed. The bigger kids want to paint. or want to make brownies. or have boo boo's to kiss. 

Sometimes the daily demands don't give time for the searching and sharing of souls.

Yet, in the quiet, with fingers clicking on the keyboard, I sometimes find a glimmer of me. I hear my voice. 

"........cause sometimes, I said sometimes,
I hear my voice
I hear my voice
I hear my voice
And it's been here.......silent all these years
I've been here.........silent all these years."

Today I am sharing my voice with other fabulous writers as we take Lisa-Jo's challenge to write unedited, with out any over thinking for five minutes flat. I invite you to share you voice in the best blog party ever.
Click on the button below to read the voices of others or to share your own! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 25 ~ All I Really Need

This morning as I pondered my topic for today, I looked at the word art from yesterday's post, "all you need is less", when I was struck with a thought. "No, all I need is Jesus!"

It doesn't matter if my house is neat and orderly. Jesus loves me anyway.

Although He would be pleased if I managed my money and my time better, I know that He still loves me.

It doesn't matter if I carry around a few extra pounds (or more). Jesus STILL loves me anyway.

My worth is not found in having it all together or in having the perfect home or in having the perfect family or , well, having a perfect anything! Among all the imperfections in my life, I only have one perfect "thing". Christ's love. Let me tell you, I'm feeling mighty blessed to be a recipient of that love. And I've done nothing to deserve this love yet He loves me. I am mighty blessed indeed!

Want proof that you are loved? 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. 

Romans 5:8 but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:4-10 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved useven when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

And one of my favorites which I find extremely powerful ~

Romans 8:37-39 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wow! That is a whole lot of love. A love that sacrificed so that we may live abundantly. So that we may have an everlasting life with our Heavenly Father. That is all I need. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 24 ~Less

The Nesting Place posted the above photo in her post today. I love its simplicity, that even the image speaks "less". It reminded me that at the beginning of the year I had declared 2012 as the Year of Less.  I think it is time for me to do a little reflection and evaluating.

Less stuff/clutter?  Well, I still have too much.
Less "body stuff" (that's a nice way of saying body fat)? Yep, too much of that too.

Less wasted time? Argh......I've found a few more favorite blogs that I like to keep up with. I'd like to argue that inspiring words from like minded women is like reading a "self-help" book. I'm improving me, right? Oh, I know I could do better at managing my time.

Less exhaustion? Oh, I'm still pretty tired but I'm learning not to feel guilty about my Sunday afternoon nap time. :)

Less stress? I think I've been successful in this only because 2012 has taught me to lean on my Savior. Giving over all my worries to Him and having faith that He has a plan for me (Jer. 29:11) has alleviated a whole load of stress.

Less debt? YES! Still working on becoming debt free and despite the 5 weeks of unexpected time off of work this summer, I'm still moving forward....and forward is good enough.

What I have gained more of during this year?

A deeper appreciation for life, for faith and for family. I'd say it's been a pretty good year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 23 ~ These are a few of my favorite things.......

Larabars and Naked Juice. Yummy and nutritious. When I moved into my daughter's hospital room this summer these, along with God's grace, helped energize and sustain me.

I think I've tried almost every flavor of Larabar. I'm not particularily fond of any of the chocolate flavors. I'm not sure why as I am a chocolate lover. I guess when I think of Larabars, I think of fruit and nuts......and that's what I want. Top three flavors: Pecan, Cashew and Carrot Cake.

Carrot Cake is my absolute favorite however it is difficult to find. I was so excited last week, to find that the grocery store I was shopping at not only had Larabars on sale but they also had my favorite flavor! Yep, I bought 'em all. Larabars aren't cheap but I like keeping a few on hand for afternoon "slumps" when the sugar cravings hit. MOST (read the labels as I've found a few different Larabar varieties that aren't completely sugar free) Larabars are simply made from fruits and nuts. I really need to learn how to make my own. Here is a recipe that I would like try.

My favorite flavors of Naked Smoothies are Green Machine and Blue Machine. Yum. Breakfast in a bottle. I usually make my own morning smoothies but if I'm away from home all day and needing a healthy "pick-me-up" this is what I turn to. Like the Larabars, Naked drinks are expensive, but I justified the steep cost because they are healthier then soda pop and I don't buy them very often. Of course homemade smoothies are healthier than Naked Smoothies but I haven't bought a blender that I can use in my car yet.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 22 ~ Lemon Rosemary Pork Tenderloin for the Freezer

2lb. pork tenderloin (I substituted chops as they were on sale)
3 T. Wildtree Garlic Grapeseed Oil
3 T. Wildree Lemon Rosemary Blend

Place all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, seal and shake to combine. Label bag and place in the freezer. 

Remove from freezer a day before serving. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees.

Served here with skillet potatoes, beets and sauteed asparagus with almonds. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 21 ~ Jesus, You Are All I Need

Music moves me and often time speaks to my heart. I love our time of worship during church. Hearing hundreds of people lift their praise to God in song is so awesome and often rocks me to the core. Today, I'm letting someone else's words express the words on my heart.

Precious cornerstone, sure foundation
You are faithful to the end

We are waiting, on You, Jesus
We believe You're all to us

Let the glory of Your name be the passion of the Church
Let the righteousness of God be a holy flame that burns
Let the saving love of Christ be the measure of our lives
We believe You're all to us

Only Son of God sent from Heaven
Hope and mercy at the cross

You are everything, You're the Promise

Jesus, You are all to us

You're all to us
You're all to us
You're all to us
Yes, You are

When this passing world is over
We will see You face to face
And forever we will worship
Jesus, You are all to us

Dear Jesus, may I build my life on you, the only firm foundation. Thank you for your faithfulness. Build in me a passion, a passion to love you and to show your love to others. Keep my eyes on you for you are my everything. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day 20 ~ Give Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.

On our way to church this evening I was thinking about being thankful in all things when I realized that, although I praised God for many things on June 4 and the days that followed, I had never thanked God for that day. I mean, why would I? It was the scariest day of my life. Yet tonight I did just that. I thanked God for June 4, 2012. I thanked Him not only for the way that He cared for my daughter, the way in which He gave me strength and comfort, but I thanked Him for drawing me close to Him. I thanked Him for the compassion and love that I gained from an otherwise horrible experience. I thanked Him for what He has made from that day. 

Once we arrived at church, I noticed a woman and her family that our women's bible study group had been praying for. Her daughter was recently diagnosed with cancer. I met this woman once, years ago, yet my heart went out to her. I wanted to rush over, hug her and tell her of His goodness. I don't know exactly what she is going through but I do know the heartache of watching your child suffer. I know the moments, even when filled with faith, that the tears flow and you wonder what tomorrow is going to bring. While we sang praises to God during the church service, I allowed my tears to flow and I lifted my prayers for this family. 

When I arrived home from church tonight I was greeted with more heartache. Two families in our small community are facing the same trials that we faced months ago. Two girls, around my daughter's age, were in a car accident this morning. Both girls were ejected from the vehicle. As I was informed of their injuries the memories of June 4th came flooding back to me and along with the memory came the tears. Two mothers tonight are sitting by the bedside of their daughter's wondering what tomorrow will bring. I want to wrap them tight in my arms and whisper in their ears, "GOD IS GOOD!"

So now I ponder, am I really thankful for June 4th? I'm emotionally drained as I cry for the hurts of three mothers that I hardly know. How easy it would be to feel bad for a moment and move on. I can't. Instead I shed tears for those suffering, I lift prayers for strength and healing, and I thank God that "we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according his purpose" (Romans 8:28). 

Dear readers, please pray for Lydia, the young girl with cancer, and the two girls who were involved in the car accident, Payton and Ashley. Pray for healing, pray for strength and faith for their mamas, and pray that in all things His name will be glorified. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 19 ~ LOOK

On Fridays I like to do two things. Sing my Friday song and write for five minutes. The five minute writing exercise is inspired by Lisa-Jo who hosts Five Minute Fridays for a fast growing number of bloggers who join in on the fun. We simply write for five minutes (no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking) on the prompt word of Lisa-Jo's choosing. Today's prompt word is LOOK

magnifying glassWhen I take the daycare children on walks we have a rule about crossing streets. STOP! LOOK! LISTEN! We all cross together and before we do I call out, "Look to your left! Look to your right! Let's do it again! Left? Right? CLEAR! GO!" I also discuss using our ears to keep us safe by listening. We make a game out of listening for cars and finding them. 

Our tour guide at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art taught our group the value of really looking at a piece of art. She provided history, shedding light on the time period and culture that influenced each piece. It was amazing what you can learn when you REALLY look.

Oh, how often do I skip the looking part. I need to remind myself to STOP! LOOK! LISTEN! while conversing with others.....especially my family. When I slow down to really look and listen I gain much more insight to the words that are hiding "between the lines". Taking the time to look deeper, like we did at the MET, will give me a deeper understanding and appreciation for others. 

I encourage you join in the fun....or at least take some time to visit Lisa-Jo's Five Minute Friday to read what others have done with one simple word. I'm always touched by the words of these fabulous writers.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 18 ~ Exhaustion

Last week I frantically prepared for my five days away from my computer. I edited photos, made photo collages, wrote my posts and scheduled one for each day that I would be gone. I then spent five days in NYC walking many steps and exploring the fabulous city, from Central Park to Battery Park. We'd arrive back to the hotel each night with sore feet and achy legs ready to collapse exhausted on our beds. Tuesday night we arrived home in time to show the boys (hubs and son) a few of the 700 photos that I had taken during our trip and headed to bed so that I would be ready to wake for my 6 am daycare kids. After work I made my family dinner and went out for coffee with some ladies from bible study, followed by grocery shopping. Home again in time for bed.
I tell you this in hopes that the next statement can be understood. I'm tired. I have the "I don't wanna's". I see the laundry in the dryer and I don't wanna fold the clothes. The suitcase laying open with only a few things left to unpack? Well, I don't wanna. I opened my computer this morning and thought, "I don't wanna blog today" despite the fact I had made a crazy commitment to blog everyday during the month of October. And as I wrestled between what to write and my "I don't wanna" attitude, I remembered something Lisa-Jo wrote last week. "Some days you won't feel like writing. Write anyway." So. Here I am. Writing anyway. And I'm glad I'm here. Kinda. :)

Sometimes we I just need to put one foot in front of the other even when we I don't feel like it. I think that's called perseverance. So I'll write and I'll do the necessaries such as general picking up, feeding and caring for the needs of my daycare family as well as my own family, and school with my son but I'll skip the "extra" chores. I'm going to spend my day playing games with the kids, snuggling on the couch to read picture books and when the kiddos have their quiet, movie time this afternoon I will be joining them. Yep, it's going to be wonderful.

It's important to listen when the body is saying it's exhausted and take the schedule down a notch. I think God knew I needed a quiet day today as my daycare load is lighter and the children have been especially good today. Tonight we have no planned activities....just what I need after a busy week of rushing. 

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  
Matthew 11:28-30 

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 16 ~ Recycled Candles

Ever have candles that don't seem to light well (or stay lit)? How about all the candle wax that is left over after a candle runs out of wick? As you may know, I don't like throwing anything away that could possibly be useful. I'm also cheap frugal so I don't like spending money on "extras" (candles really aren't a necessity) but I do love candles. Solution? I make my own candles.  
Top Photos: Collecting my materials. Old candle jars, jelly jars and even a salsa jar! 

Middle Photos: Chopping up a candle that would never light and pulling the wick - melting the recycled wax - holding the wick in place by wrapping it around a wooden spoon.

Bottom Photo: Completed candles.
Many home candle makers would suggest covering your work you can see I didn't bother with this step. Clean up would have been much easier if I had taken a moment to cover the counter with a piece of wax paper. 

Years ago I invested in a "wax melter-pourer" thingy(probably not the correct name). This sits inside a pan (one that I use exclusively for candle making). I buy wick at Jo Ann Fabrics or Michaels craft store (I've read about making your own wick but I'm not to that stage....yet).  I've had that stack of candles horded in the basement for a few years now. 

Not pictured: Essential Oil ~ use more then you think you need. A LOT more. I wish I would have because really isn't the scent the best part of the candle? 
My new candles in a salsa jar and a jelly jar. 

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