Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Creatively Made Home {Home for the Holidays} ecourse

I have just discovered a wonderful new-to-me blog and blogger--Edie Wadsworth at Life{in}Grace! And while I was reading her blog this morning, I found out about a new holiday ecourse that she and 8 other great bloggers will be teaching, starting in October. The ecourse is called 'Creatively Made Home {Home for the Holidays}' and it looks awesome. You can find out more about the course/teachers here.

 CMH2 Home Collage Words

The rest of the post comes from Edie Wadsworth at Life{in}Grace:
I will be teaching an e-course, hosted by Jeanne Oliver as part of her Creatively Made Home series called, Home for the Holidays. There will be 8 other VERY creative women as we will be share our hearts through projects and videos on how we make the holidays special for our families.

 CM2 round collage NAMES
They are:  (Jen Rizzo, Jennifer O’Brien, Karianne from Thistlewood Farms, Jeanne Oliver, Anne Marie Klaske, Cathy Penton, Carol Spinski, Andrea Fowler.) 

The course will include recipes, handmade decor, handmade gifts, and stories of our favorite holiday memories. Early registration for the course begins Monday and if you register during the first two weeks of early registration, the course (normally $58) is $48. 

The course will run for four weeks but you have access to the videos for one full year. Some of the most creative bloggers I know are participating and you have access to ALL their videos and projects plus those I will be teaching. 

The course will start October 1st, in plenty of time for you to use many of the ideas in your holiday decorating and cooking this year. Here’s the description of the course and what is included with your purchase: Fall is right around the corner and a time when many of us start making our homes warm and cozy for the seasons and holidays ahead. Because the holidays can also be a time of stress, conflict, loneliness, sadness and disappointment, I want this course to be a reminder of what you bring into your home, your family and the beauty that your life and gifts bring to those around you. 

You will be encouraged as you hear honestly from each woman about the times things did not go as planned during their holidays. You will hear honest discussions about their own journey of hospitality. You will walk away inspired as you hear about the traditions and special moments from their childhood and how they create special moments with their families today. You will be able to watch beautiful videos with gift giving ideas, decorating projects and favorite family recipes. We all want to create authentic moments with our friends and family. 

We all desire for the ones we love to leave our homes knowing that they were welcomed and loved. My hope is that this course will help you to slow down and find the joy and beauty in the holidays. 

WHAT IS INCLUDED 
* Each week you will have amazing truthful videos from the nine teachers. 
* There will be 30+ project videos. These will be incredible videos that include everything from cooking, gift giving and decorating.
 *Tons of beautiful house photos from each of the nine women 
 *Supply lists and PDFs for each project
 *A digital recipe book of the recipes shared in this course.

 This course is about loving your home, loving your family and blessing those around you….and having fun doing it. If you have taken my other courses you know how much I put into them. This course will lavish you with ideas, beauty, inspiration, joy and encouragement! 


If you decide to register in the early registration phase, you will ALSO need to register at jeanneoliver.ning.com after you pay for the course. This will give you access to Jeanne’s teaching classrooms. You will create your own login and password and will have instant access on the day the course begins, which is October 1st. 

 ediecollageFINAL
Be sure and head over to Edie's blog to find out more about the ecourse! Very excited here!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sweet Magnolias Farm Ball Jar Giveaway--Celebrating 100 Years


Head on over to Sweet Magnolias Farm and check out this awesome give-away! Ball Canning has brought back vintage 'blue' jars to celebrate their 100th anniversary--and Sweet Magnolias Farm is sponsoring an 'Anniversary Giveaway' featuring some lovely things.

According to Sweet Magnolias Farm blog, here are the prizes (all of which you can see in the photo above):

1st Prize:
Our New Sweet Magnolias Farm Original  100 Years Ball Jar Flour Sack "Apron" .. with charming double ruffles ...and (1) of the 100 Year American Heritage Jars

2nd Prize:
Our New Sweet Magnolias Farm Original  100 Years Ball Jar Flour Sack "Towel" with Charming Double Ruffles ...and (1) of the 100 Year American Heritage Jars

3rd Prize:
Our New Sweet Magnolias Farm Original  100 Years Ball Jar Canvas Hotpad .. with Charming white ruffle ...and (1) of the 100 Year American Heritage Jars

4th , 5th, and 6th.. prize runners up ...will receive:
 (1) each  of the 100 Year American Heritage Jars with (1) of  our Flower Frog Canning Jar lids with a cute chicken wire center .. so Charming for adding your Fresh cut spring bouquets or even your pens and pencils on your desk .

I know I'm jumping on the bandwagon! We do a lot of canning here in the summer, but I like decorating with jars as well. And these anniversary blue Ball jars would be perfect for adding a touch of vintage charm around this old farmhouse!

Head on over to Sweet Magnolias Farm and check it out.








Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Finding Happiness in the Little Things--Farm Fresh Eggs


Sometimes we find our 'happy' in the most unexpected places and in unexpected ways!


Do you see the beauty in these farm fresh eggs we gathered this morning? I do. Notice the lovely color and texture. Amazing.  Look around and see what beauty YOU can find today.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Strawberry Cobbler



STRAWBERRY COBBLER


4 cups cut up strawberries
3/4 cup water
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 3/4 cup self rising flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place berries in a 9×13 greased baking dish. Mix water and 3/4 cup of the sugar; mix well and pour over berries. Mix flour, butter, and the rest of the sugar until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the berry mixture. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Optional: serve with ice cream.
YUM!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Make A Bunny Banner




~Note: In our home we don’t equate bunnies and eggs with the resurrection of Christ, but I do enjoy decorating for spring! And in the springtime, I think of flowers, baby animals, gentle days, etc. So enjoy the following project:


Spring has sprung! And to celebrate the season, you can create a special ‘bunny banner’ that is easy and fun to make. The basic idea is just the same as folding and cutting out old-fashioned paper dolls, but this project uses a cute bunny design instead.


Here’s what you’ll need:
8.5 x 11 inch paper or cardstock
Pencil
Scissors
Cut out of bunny template (below)- Copy the design on card stock for ease and durability, and cut out to use as a tracing guide.
Crayons or makers
Tape


Directions:


Fold the paper or cardstock in half lengthwise and crease, then cut.



Fold one of the strips of paper into fourths, then fold like an accordion. Each section will measure 2.75 in. x 4.25 in.



Position the bunny template so that the nose and back of bunny touches each side of the paper. Trace around the template.







Cut around the traced design, being careful not to cut where the outline touches the sides.



Unfold the bunny chain…you should have four connected bunnies.





Give each bunny an eye and a pink nose.


You can tape more than one ‘litter’ of bunnies together to create a bunny garland. Hang from a mantel or spot of your choice to add a little seasonal interest and enjoy!







(Bunny Template)





Copy on cardstock and cut out to use as a tracing guide.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Revisiting: God's Provision, Life Lessons, and Love Inside A Grocery Sack

As I was sifting through some old things at my first blog, the one I started in 2006, I found this post. When I read the title, I couldn't remember what I had written...so I clicked on the truncated section to find out. It was a post I wrote in 2008. I tend to get overwhelmed and dissatisfied at times, so I needed to read this today--even though it was originally posted at the end of the summer and at the end of our garden harvesting time. A lot of things have changed since I wrote this five years ago, but the message remains the same. Never take people, circumstances, or blessings for granted. Also, the Lord gives us certain seasons for certain reasons!

(Original Post from 2008:)
Things are finally slowing down around here! I’m meaning garden things, of course, since we are gearing UP to start school next week. I have been so thankful for every bean, pea, pod of okra, cob of corn, fig, tomato, squash, etc. that has come through my door. But I’m tired--and so glad that most of it is now in jars or bags in the freezer! 

I’m grateful that my Daddy worked with Wesley and showed him how to plant and care for a big garden. I’m grateful for my mama who still has to answer ‘putting up’ questions even after I’ve been doing this for almost twenty years for my own family (and I watched and helped her for years when I was still at home). 

I’m grateful to my husband for all the corn pulling, shucking, weed-eating around the garden, watering, and picking up ‘just a few more’ quart size freezer bags or canning lids on his way home from work, over and over and over! I’m grateful for children who will work--picking produce, shelling, shucking, silking, tending to younger siblings, and picking up the slack around here so *I* can work on garden stuff! 

I’m thankful for family and friends who shared their bounty with us as well. I’m even thankful for that big old fig tree in the back yard that KEPT ON making fig after fig after fig! (We enjoyed homemade fig newtons BTW).

Yes, this summer has been jam packed (pun intended), but it’s been good. And like I said, I’M SO THANKFUL! When winter comes, we’ll have some yummy and healthy staples to enjoy! Thank you, Lord!

One day when I was out in the yard, shucking and silking corn, I had a memory….

Our third child was an infant. I had just finished up my last year of teaching in a classroom. We were beginning our first year of homeschooling. My husband had accepted the pastorate of a small church in Alabama, and we were moving there. New church. New state. New home. No family! It was a big change for me, and I can’t say that I was always the most supportive. I cried. A LOT! But the Lord knows what we need. And whatever He does, whether pruning, watering, or producing a bumper crop in our lives, it’s all for a purpose.

That first year of homeschooling was a big change. I was used to teaching 24 second graders and using a curriculum that was selected by the school board. My husband said, "If you can handle a whole room of seven-year-olds, surely you can teach just two first graders and handle a baby!" No problem--they WERE my own children after all!

R-i-g-h-t! 

Oh my goodness. The choices and the deliberations! But the Lord ‘just happened’ to put us next door to a family with five children taught by a veteran homeschool mom! I cannot even begin to tell you how much she helped me and encouraged me as I began my new journey as a home educator. Before we moved to Alabama, I was barely even acquainted with any homeschool families. (And an interesting sidenote…many of you are familiar with Jenny Chancey? Well, it was her MIL who was my next-door mentor!)

We were ‘adopted’ by one of the dear couples in our church. They lived only about 1/4 of a mile (easy walking distance) from us, and they became ‘surrogate grandparents’ to our children--and us! I learned so much about hospitality from this dear lady. She is still so special. Sadly, her husband passed away, but we learned a lot from him too. He was a character! He was also a master gardener!

We ‘just happened’ to live next door to the strawberry farm that was owned and operated by another couple in our church! They told us to get ALL the strawberries we wanted! Lots of strawberry jam that year!

We ‘just happened’ to have a couple in our church who owned an upscale furniture store. They wanted to bless us with some gifts for our home. I had no idea they meant ‘BLESS US’ in such a big way. They insisted, however, and we still have the Morgan Stewart queen sleeper sofa with matching love seat and a really nice computer desk! It ‘just happened’ that the fabric on our old sofa was ripping and I was covering up the whole thing with a decorative blanket! (Could it be that some rambunctious children had anything to do with that?) 

On and on, I could go, and I’m sure you get the picture. But it was not all monetary or ‘thing’ related! I learned some other valuable lessons, and this is where the memory (mentioned above) comes from.

There was a sweet elderly widow lady in our church who was on a very limited income, and there were many times when she could not make it to church due to poor health. Honestly, I believe she had to rely completely on the Lord for making it through each day--with lots of determination thrown in for good measure. But I NEVER ever heard her complain. She was always smiling and happy. And when we went to visit and encourage her, I’m the one who always left uplifted and encouraged--and convicted about my own complaining and grumbling! Who was I (young, healthy and blessed with a happy family) to complain? It was a great lesson for me, and one I ‘just happened’ to need at the time! See the pattern here?

There were lots of times when Chad would go visit her and come home with grocery sacks full of stuff that she sent to bless us! Folks, she might not have had a lot of money, but she was a hard worker and a splendid gardener. By sheer determination, she would can and freeze the produce yielded in her garden. I have no doubt that much love went into each and every jar and bag. Well, into those grocery sacks she would load up bags and bags of creamed corn, peas, beans, and other vegetables from her freezer…for us! I can’t tell you how much I appreciated her generosity and all that wonderful homegrown bounty. She blessed this young, overwhelmed, and homesick new homeschooling mama beyond measure! She told us that we would offend her if we didn’t take it…it was her offering, and she wanted to do her part! Isn’t that so sweet? Kinda makes me think of the Bible story of the widow and her mites!


Other times, she would send an apple cake with brown sugar glaze that she baked just for us. It was unbelievably delicious, and I’m so glad that she shared her recipe (in her own precious handwriting) with me. I still have it.

My point here is this: This sweet saint didn’t have a lot, but what she did have, she shared cheerfully. And every year when I put in all the hard work of ‘putting up’ garden produce, I think of her! The messy job of pulling corn, shucking it, silking, cutting it off the cob and blanching it…well, it puts all of her hard work into perspective. It also makes me appreciate her kindness even more! I think of the backbreaking job of picking butterbeans and peas, and then consider her spending hours shelling them! It makes me grateful for the love that came into my house inside those grocery sacks!

That’s been many years ago now, and she and many others who ‘took care of us’ during that time have gone on to be with the Lord. We don’t live away from ‘home’ anymore, but I realize that the Lord used that time in my life to work on my character issues and teach me many valuable lessons about provision and generosity! I’m so thankful for those life lessons, and I hope with God’s help that I, too, can one day be such a Christian example for my children and for others who ‘just happen’ to cross my path!