Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween to you!

Okay, I realize this little craft was completely last minute, and that I've just hung this up only to take it down tomorrow! But I really wanted to do this one, and of course, just had to show you! I first saw this great idea on At Home in Georgia, and just loved it! :) The picture didn't turn out as well as I hoped, but you get the idea! I ended up having to add extra adhesive gems to the top because I made a little tear in the paper (trying to straighten the adhesive ribbon!) so I had to cover it up somehow. Oh, well, next time I'll just leave well enough alone! :)

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! No one around here was excited or anything....ha! :)
We always go to a carnival at my parents' church, and the kids LOVE it! This year was no different! I'll make sure to show pictures of their costumes next time I blog, and I also have a few awards to say thanks for AND pass along! :)

Happy Friday! Happy Halloween! :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BOO to you!

I have been boo-ed by Darlene at Darlene's Days! Kind of like the boo-ing that goes on in neighborhoods around this time of year, but instead, in our blog neighborhood, so to speak! And this is the deal~ if you are here because I boo-ed you on over, then well, consider YOURSELF officially, you guessed it~ boo-ed! Now that you are forever worn out of that word, to join in, just take this picture on over to get their gift, which is this cute picture. Don't forget to add it to your sidebar so everyone will know you have already been boo-ed! :) Then those you boo can pass it on!

And I promised I'd show you a picture of the mini banner I made when I put it on our wreath, and I really always try to keep my promises...

Rather appropriate considering this post, don't you think? Although I am a trifle disappointed that it doesn't look quite as good as I imagined it would! Don't you hate when that happens? :) I just thought it would be kind of fun to say this to everyone who comes to our door!

Okay, one last look at the wreath...I have got to say, I am really digging the simplicity of this all-year wreath. It's so easy to pull some out, then add something for the new holiday/season, and the main green ribbon that is wrapped around the wreath will work all year round! I think if I had to make an entirely different wreath for every holiday, I would never do it. Plus, where to store them all in a 1506 square foot house? :) But, in any account, please feel assured you will not be forced to look at this Boo sign one more time, and you're spared from further wreath gazing until next month, after Halloween...just try to forget that next month is a mere four days away! :)

I hope you're week is going well! Only three days until Halloween! :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Many random things...

...make up this post! First off, I wanted to say thank you all SO much for your kind comments and prayers concerning our cat Lillie! I meant to mention her last night, but had like two seconds to write, and forgot. (Isn't that a terrible cat-mommie thing to do? I feel really badly about that.) I haven't stopped thinking and worrying about her, though. Because, no, we are still hoping and praying that she will come home. What concerns me most is that the neighbors haven't seen her around. Lillie and Max tend to stay around our neighborhood. I have been running through possible scenarios and coming up rather clueless. She had both a collar and a little ID thing attached to it, with her name and our number. Wouldn't someone call if they found her, or even if, God forbid, she was hit by a car? I am trying to be hopeful, even though it has been exactly one week since we last saw her. Thank you again for all of your prayers! I was truly so touched by all of your comments! I put another picture of her and Max on here~ I hope you don't mind. This one is funny to me because although you can barely see it, they were actually trying to cuddle up to our other cat, who was NOT pleased with our choice to adopt them. He was so unhappy in fact, that he eventually ran away, as I mentioned before. It was very sad. :(

Well, after that morbid, depressing discussion, I DID do something a little fun, and made this mini banner. I am going to attach it on my wreath on the front door. I will make sure to show a picture of it, hopefully tomorrow! Of course, this banner had to say "Boo"! I couldn't help myself! :) It was so easy to do, too!

For some reason, I was having trouble getting a clear image, maybe because it's at night!
I also realized you can't see the details on the middle letter as well, so here's another picture of it!

My sister asked in her comment whether I made it with paper or fabric. I made mine with paper. I don't know how other people make theirs, but I just drew my triangle shape onto some white cardstock paper (thick paper used for card making, etc.) and then used that as a pattern to cut out whatever scrapbook paper I wanted. Then I just glued the scrapbook triangle to the cardstock triangle. Then you add your letter to the triangle, and whatever embellishments you desire! I had fun by adding the adhesive decorative ribbon, so much easier to work with than ordinary ribbon, and adhesive sparkly gems. These can be found at Michaels, or I am sure any craft store really! Okay, and I admit, I am officially addicted to these adhesive things! The sticky-back letters, gems, ribbon~ I mean, how smart is that? And while we are on this subject of cool things, did you know they actually have spray glue? Now you probably all already knew this, but I never said I was the brightest crayon in the box! I was just shopping at Michaels and thinking to myself that what would be perfect is if they had such a thing as spray glue, and an employee there told me that there is such a thing! So I won't be making my fortune in marketing spray glue after all. Oh, well. Perhaps I can just settle for making my craft creating more simple! :)

I didn't want to forget to say a few things...first, I want to say thank you to everyone who joined in on the "Fall Cooking Fest" I held on my blog last month. I know it's coming to you super late, but I hope you know I really appreciated it! I now have some good recipes to try, and hope you do too!

Second of all, I haven't forgotten to pass on a few awards I have been given. I will be doing this very soon! I am so honored and touched to have been given them, and frankly, quite surprised that anyone even reads what I write here! :)

And last, if you're still here, I am SO sorry that I have been such a terrible blogger friend! I should be able to have some good blog time tomorrow, and plan to catch up on you all! I can't wait to see what you have been up to, you all just amaze me with what you do and say! :)
I hope you had a good Monday! One down, four to go, right? :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tired of Halloween yet?

I sure hope not, because I FINALLY finished this little craft I started two weeks ago! Yep, it's a fact. And not because it's a really complicated one, because it isn't. It's mainly because I literally did a bit here, a little there, in the middle of all of our home improvements! :)

I had so much fun making this banner! After seeing other bloggers do them~ namely Kim from One Woman's Cottage Life, and Cherry from Cherry's Jubilee~ I just had to give it a try! Cherry made a couple of Halloween ones, so of course, I played copy cat! I decided to spell my currently favorite Halloween word!

The trick was finding letters large enough, but I finally found some at Michael's. (Cherry used similar ones in her last banner.) They have them in quite a few colors, which is good, because I am making one for Thanksgiving. I love how they sparkle! It was also fun to add the little adhesive gems to them!

And though it's true, you've seen these candle holders before, I moved them again! This was five minute decorating (meaning thrown together) but I thought I'd show you it anyway! :) It probably breaks every last rule of decorating, but what to do when five minutes is all you have? :)

Next year, every room of of our house will not be uh, "decorated" with cans of paint and containers of joint compound, screwdrivers, mesh tape and hammers!
(I hope!) Next year, I am looking forward to doing more decorating! Although I really should not complain, because I am so blessed we have this house! :)

Oh, I wanted to show you this picture of our Japanese Maple. I have never been a huge fan of this tree, but my husband loves it. Even I have to admit, the color is amazing in the fall, and this year, it's especially vibrant!

(Please ignore the sad state of my garden!) The fall colors have been so gorgeous this year! :)

Well, I hope you all had a marvelous weekend, the last one of October!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A series of unfortunate events...

Okay, I usually try to be really chipper and all that, but right now I am so SO worried! Our cat Lillie, the one I haven't introduced you to yet, has been missing since Monday, and I just KNOW something is wrong! The last time I saw her was Monday morning, but the kids say they saw her in our house that night. But I'm afraid that either way, it's just not like her. She has always loved to play outside, but she spends a lot of her day inside.

She is such a sweetie, and we all love her so much! She and her brother Max are so close, and have been together almost every day since birth. What would he do without her? What will we do?

We have such bad luck with our cats. We had two other cats before Max and Lillie. Our cat Lucy died of what they think was an aneurysm when she was just two and a half years old. She just walked into the dining room normally, then fell over sideways and died. It was horrible! I didn't think I would ever get over losing her, I loved her SO much! She was such a sweet cat. Our other cat Camas ran away when we adopted the kittens, and this was also hard for us, especially our son. So, you see, this is my series of unfortunate events. It makes me wonder if WE are bad luck!

This is Lillie when we first got her; she was unusually small for her age. We all immediately loved her!

She loves sleeping underneath lamps; I think she has seasonal affective disorder for cats. Maybe.

Oh Lillie, where ARE you?!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Not just any bread...

I have discovered an absolutely wonderful website! It is called "Joy of Baking"; I think this may be the name of a cookbook too, but I'm not sure. (Or even sure they are related if there is a cookbook with that title.) But, oh my goodness, it is the very BEST baking recipe site I have ever been to! It's super organized, so you can find whatever type of recipe your looking for~ cookies, breakfast and brunch, pies, muffins, scones, you name it! This one is going on my list of favorite places to "go"! :)

I found a quick bread recipe that is so amazing, I HAVE to share it! Truly, I am compelled! :) Who would ever have guessed that Zucchini Bread could be so good? I mean, I've always liked zucchini bread, but add cocoa powder and chocolate chips to the mix, and suddenly, it's a breakfast brownie! I am going to give you this recipe, because I would be a very bad blogger friend not to! :) Make sure to check this site out if you enjoy baking ( ) ~ you won't be disappointed!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 shredded raw zucchini (about 1/2 pound or 227 grams)
1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (45 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (not Dutch-processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup ( 120 ml) safflower or canola oil
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (125 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Grease (or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray) a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set aside.

Grate the zucchini, using a medium sized grater. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground allspice. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until well blended (about 2 minutes). Fold in the grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55-65 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.

Enjoy! :)

I also wanted to thank Tricia Anne at Notes of Sincerity for this beautiful award!


How sweet is that? I love Tricia Anne's blog, and so much enjoy my visits there! :)

The rules are to pass this on to six other great crafting bloggers, and to list six things that make me, my favorite part of all of this is getting the opportunity to give this to some wonderful bloggers!

1. Rachel at Made With Love and Glue Lots of Glue ~ Oh, I love this girl's blog! She is so talented! She is a wonderful photographer, stitches such wonderful designs, and creates the most beautiful pumpkin pillows! :)
2. Kim at One Woman's Cottage Life ~ One of my first faves! What first inspired me about her blog, was that she is transforming a fixer-upper into a beautiful cottage (just like we are trying to do!). Then I saw the faux candies and desserts she makes, and I just have to say I have not seen anything like it! She has such creative ability! :)
3. Memoirs From a Southern Domestic Goddess ~ This girl's blog is SO fun! I love her sense of humor, and her love for life and her family is very apparent. Did I mention the tutu she made for her daughter? It's amazing! I am going to have to see if she can make one for my youngest daughter...
4. Andrea from Under A Blue Moon ~ I always love to see what she's up to! She is SO creative, and she can do anything! I absolutely LOVE her crazy quilt and her pincushions...really, Andrea, you COULD start a cottage industry selling those!
5. The Robin's Nest ~ I recently "found" this blog, and love it! I just love her pictures, and she is so crafty! I love her pumpkin treat bags she made, and can't wait to try it! :)
6. The Berry's Patch ~ This blog is so beautiful! Her pictures are amazing, and she has such an amazing gift of decorating. She has such a good idea for what looks good together, and thinks of things I never would have! :)

Thank you, those listed above, and ALL of you wonderful, creative bloggers out there! I am SO blessed to *know* you! :)

And if you're still are six things that make me happy:

1. Of course, first and foremost, Jesus Christ. But far more than making me just happy, he has blessed me with such incredible JOY! He brings me peace, in a world full of chaos.
2. Date nights with my wonderful husband! There is no one on earth I love more!
3.Time with my family and friends, whether on the phone or in person! I wouldn't trade one moment with any one of you for anything! :)
4. Blogging! It's one of my absolute favorite things, and I have met so many kind and creative people!
5. Coffee, and lots of it!
6. Painting walls...I know, I know~ this sounds crazy! But I love it so much, and just color in general, that I am constantly painting and repainting! My husband jokes that the house is shrinking due to all the layers of paint!

Well, I hope you are all having a great week so far! I am off to, uh, prime and paint some ceilings...

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I was having fun on Better Homes and Gardens, looking at all the great ways they turned pumpkins and gourds into fantastic centerpieces, or simply decorating with them in unique ways. This front porch picture is amazing! I love, love LOVE the red door and how the wreath on the door looks against it. Look at the combination of flowers and pumpkins lining the steps~ beautiful! :)

This one captured my eye instantly! How perfectly fall! This is one I am going to have to try~ I have the pumpkin, have the mums, just need time! :)

This one is so sweet, and I love the colors of pink and green with a touch of red!

I love the way they used white in these last two fall arrangements. Especially wonderful for decorating cottages with a summery feel to them. Sometimes the darker colors of fall don't fit in as well, but these white pumpkins and white candles would! This is a problem I have when decorating for fall~ the colors don't always quite work, but mixing them with white helps a lot!

Wouldn't this be beautiful as a table centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner? It is fall, and yet it says the holidays are coming soon!

Again, I just love the lighter colors, and don't those pale hues just pop against the darker green?

If you really want to go to town with pumpkins and gourds, than this look may be just the thing! This porch is amazing! :) I love the ceramic planter filled with flowers and kale, with the pumpkins beside it!

Hopefully this has inspired you as much as it did me! I also hope your weekend is going wonderful so far! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On the home front...

Early this past summer, toward the beginning of this blog, I showed this picture of my living room fireplace. Don't worry~ I'm not doing a re-run...not exactly anyway! :) (You can see that I had tried different colors out on the wall, back when I was still deciding which color to choose.)

I had explained my dilemma with this fireplace~ that it had always bothered me because it was not symmetrical. If you look closely, you can see that the brick is not even on both side of the mantel. My plan was to remove the extra brick on the right side, to "even it out" (which would be about one foot width of brick, from floor to ceiling)...I still have not done this. And though it's true I am a "die-hard Fix it", do even I really want to do this?

This really was originally a very sad fireplace. It was red brick, but very dirty. I cleaned, primed and painted the brick, and we added the mantel. Although I have always wanted a whole fireplace surround, I felt that might overemphasize its being "uneven". I thought the only solution was to remove the brick I didn't want...but cutting the brick so there is a clean edge will be tricky.

Okay, if anyone is actually still reading this (and you deserve an award for patience if you are) this is where I need some advice. What would you do if you were me? Would you leave it like it is, and just add the fireplace surround anyway, or would you remove the foot of extra brick? Or is there a better, easier way to achieve a more even look? I know that even considering attempting this might seem crazy! I have a couple of weeks before I need to decide on this, which is good, because I simply don't know what to do yet! :) Any advice at all would be much appreciated! :)

Okay, here's something a bit more are the two colors I wanted to use in this room, but I didn't know which color would be the dominant color (wall color) and which one would be the accent color.

I have finally decided that I am going with the second color of green from the top. It is called "Velvet Leaf", and it is a simply luscious color! It is bright, but we have two huge windows in there and it needs something very vibrant or else the color just gets swallowed up by all the light! :) Either the first or second raspberry from the top with be the accent color in the room, or maybe both, with touches of butter yellow and a lot of white! The hallways will be the lightest color of green, which is called "Garden Room". So, what do you think?

It really is starting to come together now, and I am SO excited to see it all finished up! Saturday we'll texture the ceilings, and then I can prime/paint them, then start on the walls! I can't wait to paint the walls; it's one of my favorite things to do! :)

Well, I just thought I'd share a little more of what is going on with the home improvement side of things. Hopefully by now I haven't bored you to tears! :)
I hope you are all having a great week. Aren't you SO glad it's Friday tomorrow?
Yea! I'm so happy! :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

A time out

For three weeks now, I have first been spraying and scraping the "popcorn" off of our hallway/living room ceilings. Then there was some necessary ceiling repairs, and much cleaning! We were supposed to texture the ceilings this Saturday, but five out of five of us ended up sick with a cold this weekend! So, it will have to be next Saturday instead...but you know what? It means this week will be a little less busy because I can't paint anything until we texture. So I have been taking a little time out.

Every one needs a time out sometimes...

Maybe to read a favorite magazine, and enjoy a hot cup of coffee...

Or to do a little fall decorating...

...and fluff and tweak a little. (And finally find a place for my "spooky" craft.)

I even checked out a garage sale! I was on the way home from taking Gracie to the doctor on Saturday morning, and she begged me to stop at this garage sale near our house. (Our kids LOVE garage sales!) And it turned out to be a very good thing for her that we did stop, because we found an entire huge box of the older Legos! (She was thrilled!) I even found a couple of cute things...

I couldn't be more pleased to have found this cute wire planter, with a green metal box inside, for just fifty cents! :) Put a couple of ivy plants inside, and well, it's just perfect! :)

I also snagged this little white basket, also fifty cents. It's nothing really spectacular by itself...

It looks so happy paired up with these flowers I had bought the day before.

So, it's not all bad. :) I am just looking forward to feeling better, and tomorrow may just be the day. At least the kids are doing well, and can go back to school tomorrow! :)

I hope you all have a good night! :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Panic versus trust

I take after my Dad, bless his heart. We are two peas in a pod. I am pretty sure I inherited the "panic gene" from him. It certainly wasn't from my mom. She remains completely calm in crisis. (Flashback twenty years or so...After a minor surgery, I pass out, and wake to find my dad standing by helplessly saying to my mom, "Honey, DO SOMETHING!") Nope, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Or, in other words, I am my father's daughter.

When one of our children is sick, I, naturally, assume the worst. If they have a stomach ache on the right side, then blast it all, they must have appendicitis. If they have a head ache, it must be a brain tumor. If they are coughing, they must be choking. (I know this last one makes no sense whatsoever.) There have been times when a fever has spiked, or I am so worried about them, it's like my brain goes into a state of panic. I want to call the ambulance, the President, call in the National Reserves. Whatever it takes. When I get to this point, the fear is so great, I panic. I panic because I feel helpless.

Lately, everywhere I look, there is another reason I should be afraid. I can't turn on the television, the radio, or even have a conversation with a friend without being reminded that things are very, VERY uncertain. People are scared. I keep hearing the questions: will history repeat itself? What if we end up in another Depression?

What has been going on lately does not bode well for us worriers! By Friday, I think I had about worried/panicked/stressed/flipped out about all my brain could take, and I was in a little bit of a panic mode. "What if this?" I asked my husband. "What if that?" And in his usual (although sometimes maddeningly) calm way, he reminded me that even if the worst scenario I could imagine were to happen, that God is still with us.

And He has always been faithful. It doesn't mean we won't ever suffer, but looking back, I can see that our needs have always been met. There is so very little that I can control. I can't control the stock market, who becomes our president, or even if my husband will keep his job. Maybe that is a good thing, because I will learn to trust God all the more.

I remember when my dad was teaching me to swim. I wanted to learn, but was afraid of the water. I'll never forget what he told me. He said, "Swimming is like faith. You have to let go, and trust."

And so I am letting go. Letting go of the silly notion that I can control the outcome of any of this. I want to, need to, trust God. It's so second nature for me to think by worrying about things, I make it all work out. I can do my best to be responsible, but this weekend I have been reminded that I am can leave all of the uncertainty, all that is unknown, with Him.

I know and respect that not everyone shares my faith, and yet I would like to share a few verses I read last night that really touched me. :)

"Then Jesus said to his disciples:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry
about your life, what you will eat;
or about your body, what you will wear.
Life is more than food,
and the body more than clothes.
Consider the ravens:
they do not sow or reap,
they have no storeroom or barn;
yet God feeds them.
And how much more valuable
you are than birds!
Who of you by worrying
can add a single hour to his life?
Since you cannot do this
very little thing,
why do you worry about the rest?"

Luke 12:22-26

This brought me so much peace when I read it. I hope if you are like me and have been worried lately, it will touch you, too. :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and that your Monday is a good one!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A great fall recipe and an award!

Are there certain recipes that you make every year when this season comes around? Well, around here, fall just wouldn't be the same without our family having this acorn squash recipe AT LEAST once! :) Even the kids LOVE it, although I suspect it has more to do with the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon than the squash itself! :)

You can't really see from the picture how delicious this is, even though I did try to capture that! :) What makes this recipe even better that it's incredibly easy to make! We like to have it with sausage and a green salad, but if you don't eat meat, you can just pretend you didn't hear me say that, okay? :)

Acorn Squash with Applesauce

3-4 small acorn squash, halved
One large container of applesauce
1 stick butter
1 cup or so of cinnamon and sugar mixture
about one cup of brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fill a large glass baking dish with a couple of inches of water and place halved acorn squash upside down inside of it. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Remove water from dish, and turn squash upright. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Using about one tablespoon of butter per squash half, brush butter on inside and rims of squash. Put about one rounded tablespoon of brown sugar in each squash, brushing it on the same way as with the butter. Bake for 15 more minutes. Add applesauce to the top of squash, and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture, then add a dash of nutmeg. We like to cook ours for another 5 minutes or so, just so the applesauce is nice and warm. Also, if you see that the squash is not cooked enough after the last 15 minutes, you may need to bake it a bit longer. Enjoy! :)

I also wanted to say thank you to Shell in Your Pocket for this beautiful award! (I just love the colors of it! ) I am really so touched. :)

The rules of this blog award are:
1. List 6 things about yourself and
2. Pass this award on to 6 other bloggers (my favorite part of this!)

I would like to hand this award to:
1. Jeni from At Home In Georgia
2. Darlene from Darlene's Days
3. Ms. Tee from Delightful Home
4. Frills, Fluff and Trucks
5.Rae from My Life On the East Coast
6. The Undomesticated Wife

I love to read your blogs, and am always so inspired by you! :) What would I ever do without all of you great bloggers out there? I think I would be very, very uninspired for sure! :)

The next part is harder to do, but, here goes...

1. I drink too much coffee.
2. I only have one television show I watch, and sadly, I am addicted to it. I love General Hospital!
3.I can't sit least not for very long.
4.Playing the piano is my favorite hobby.
5. Spring is my favorite season, in part because I like new beginnings and I know the sunshine will be around more soon!
6. My husband and I were engaged less than seven months after meeting.

I hope your week is going well! We are over half way through, and the weekend is in sight! :)
Have a wonderful night! :)