Thursday, August 30, 2012


To say that I detest election year commercials would be an understatement.  This year they are even more detestable than ever.  What gets me most is that the makers of the commercials assume we will believe whatever they produce if there is enough money and power behind the commercials.  

Regardless which party you adhere to, the commercials are biased and give very limited information about what the candidates believe.  That is the nature of the beast.  My remote mute button is getting a lot of use.

Instead, I would encourage everyone to study the ideology (the ideas that cause the actions) behind each candidate and their party, even the lesser known parties, and make your choice based on what you discover. 

As much as I don't like where President Obama has taken our country, he has been true to his ideology.  That being said, I will not be voting for him in November because the ideology I hold to demands fiscal responsibility (yes, I am a Dave Ramsey fan!), social responsibility (helping people make a better life for themselves and taking care of those who can't physically or mentally care for themselves - without free handouts to the lazy paid for by hardworking people), the sanctity of life, marriage defined as God defines it and the interpretation of our Constitution that carries the original intent of our founding fathers.  They were brilliant men who asked God for wisdom and our amazing Constitution and Bill of Rights are the result of that God-given wisdom. 

It saddens me that most Americans, especially the younger generations, have no idea what the Constitution says or what rights we are guaranteed as Americans that are slowly being taken away because of ignorance.  I used to tell my history students that if we don't know what our rights are, they can be taken away from us. I am very thankful for the young people who are notable exceptions!

By the way, separation of church and state is NOT in the Constitution.  That phrase was taken from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson and is not even used in the same context and meaning of his letter.  Look it up!

There is a lot that needs fixed in Washington D.C., but the most important thing that needs to happen is this example of King Hezekiah from 2 Chronicles 31:20 - 21:

And so Hezekiah did throughout all Judah (He called the priests to holiness and charged the people to give their tithe to the Temple and to serve God); and he did what was good, right, and true before the Lord his God.  And every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered.

There first needs to be a revival of lives lived in obedience to the Lord in the church, then in Washington, before there will be any lasting change and prosperity in our country.  Until then, we will get the leaders we deserve and politics will continue to stink.

Household Tip

Speaking of stink - I noticed the last few months that my washcloths and kitchen towels started smelling sour after they got wet the first time.  Eeewww...

So, I gathered them up and put them in a mixing bowl, filled the bowl with hot water and added 1 cup of white distilled vinegar.  They soaked for several hours, then were wrung out and tossed in the washing machine with detergent and about 1/2 cup of baking soda.  They smell fresh and clean again.

If you have bath towels that smell sour, you can add a cup of vinegar to the washing machine when you wash them.  Always dry your towels immediately after washing them to keep them smelling nice.

Note:  You should change your dishcloth and kitchen towels EVERY day.  Otherwise, they just become breeding ground for bacteria.  Gross!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Homemade Granola...

My honey and I are really working on eating healthier.  In an attempt to make my homemade granola with fewer calories, I reworked the recipe.  It turned out delicious!

Homemade Granola

 Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. 

1.  Combine the following ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil then remove from the heat.
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 cup water
dash sea salt

2.  Combine the following ingredients in a glass or metal bowl. 
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup brown sesame seeds
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw pecan pieces
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

3.  Pour the syrup over the dry mix and stir until syrup is well incorporated on all the dry ingredients.  Cover a rimmed jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spread the uncooked granola on the pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Let it cool, then break into bite size pieces.  Add dried fruit, if desired, and store in a sealed container or baggie.

Option:  You could put small piles of the uncooked granola on the parchment paper to make cookies.  Bake then drizzle with melted dark chocolate for a healthy dessert.  Yum!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Starting school...

Our oldest "adopted" granddaughter started Pre-K today.  Boy, these kiddos are growing up quickly!  Her mom and I are working on decorating her big girl bedroom.  She has a lavender comforter and white tab top curtains.  So I suggested we meet at JoAnn's and look at fabric to find our inspiration for the theme of the room.

We thought we were going with a garden cottage theme, but we just did not find fabric that went with that theme.  So, we looked for fabric that had lavender in it.  When we found this "Market Stalls" fabric, our minds went crazy with great ideas for decorating Harmony's room.

Because of the lines of circles, I suggested that we pull the tabs at the top of the curtains over the curtains and secure them with large buttons in the different colors of the circles on the inspiration fabric.  That would cover the gap from the top of the curtains and the top of the window and would also make the curtains end at the window sill.  Some lavender extra large rick rack near the bottom of each curtain panel would finish the curtains. 

A pendant banner with Harmony's name on it was the next project.  I raided my scrapbook and ribbon stash and made the banner to match the one on the fabric.

Using my paper cutter, I cut large diamond shapes out of 12"x12" paper, folded it in half making each triangle pendant. I used large white letter stickers to put her name on the pendants.  Each pendant was positioned on the ribbon, using tape to space them, then I glued both sides of each triangle together with glue.

We are also going to make a clothesline art display for her room and she can change out the artwork when she wants.  Still thinking through how that needs to be made.

Every little girl's room needs a cute lamp.  I look for simple inexpensive lamps and decorate them.  I found this lamp on clearance at Target and made fabric flowers from fabric I had to decorate the shade.  Cute!

I glued clear and pink buttons in the middle of the flowers, then glued them on the lampshade about a third of the way up from the bottom of the shade.  And, I forgot to take a picture before I took it to her house.  I'll have to get a picture when I take her pillows over.  Pictures coming...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Broken coffee pot...

I put water in my coffee pot and coffee and cinnamon in the filter then turned it on.  Nothing.  I turned it off and back on...several times.  Still nothing.  Hmmm...

Guess who made a Walmart run at six o'clock this morning to buy a new coffee pot?  Yep, that would be me.  I had no makeup on (a real stretch for me normally, but evidently not early in the morning with the prospect of no coffee to start the day) but I did comb my hair and I was dressed in workout clothes, not my jammies. 

When I got home, I cleaned the carafe, washed out the coffee pot and got a pot brewing so my honey would have some coffee for the drive to work.  He put it in perspective - "If that's the worse thing that happens today, you're good!" 

Thank you, Lord, for the job You've provided so we would have the money to go buy a new coffee pot when we needed one. 

Apartment "Wallpaper"

After we got my daughter's bedroom and living room rearranged and decorated, I insisted that we go to Lowe's and buy plants and garden supplies for her front porch garden area.  It was a strip of uneven concrete with a smaller strip of dirt surrounded by a wooden fence.  Last year for her birthday we found two patio chairs, a small table and some lanterns, all on sale. It looked better, but it just needed some living things. 

We started by cleaning all the surfaces - the window, the storm door, the wooden door, the side of the condo, and the patio.  Then my daughter added the garden soil to the dirt strip and planted the shade plants we purchased.  The final touches were some outdoor pillows on the chairs, solar garden lights and a repurposed turquoise metal cross on the fence. We also brought out a light green metal plant stand and put a potted plant on it.  (It's hiding behind the pole under the cross.)  So much better!  Now she has a welcoming front porch to come home to and for her friends to enjoy when they come over.

The last bit of decorating we did was in her dining room.  The back wall is the first wall you see when you walk in her door and she wanted it to "pop".  Thanks to Pinterest we got a great idea for adding some horizontal stripes.  We also found a large round mirror in need of some tender loving care and painted it in her signature turquoise color. 

To make the stripes we bought 4 yards of dark tan muslin ($14) and liquid starch (the only place we could find it was at Walmart). We cut the muslin in long 8" wide strips.  Then, using a foam roller, rolled the starch on the wall on the stripes we had marked, using a level, beforehand in pencil.  Then we pressed the muslin strips onto the starch.  After that was done, we rolled more starch on top of the muslin and on the wall in between the stripes.  We let it dry and she cut the extra fabric at the corners using a box cutter. 

 Because of the texture on her wall, we ended up with lots of little bubbles.  She had to reapply starch and use a scraper to get rid of the bubbles.  The wall definitely "pops" now.  When she moves, the strips will come right off without damaging the wall.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It is what it is...

We have some bad genes in our family and it seems with each generation the symptoms of autoimmune disease show up sooner.  It appears to be connected to food and the list of what we can eat and not get sick is growing shorter. 

I have individualized lists for grandchildren to consider when planning family meals and snacks for my Nanna's snack jar.  I could whine and cry about it - believe me, I've been tempted to do so - but we've adopted the saying, "It is what it is." 

We will do the best we can to make educated and prayed-over food and lifestyle choices.  Then, we leave the rest to God and believe what the Bible says that He will cause all this to bring about good and His purpose for each individual in our family.

Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:1-5

Let's do a little word study.  Look at what the following words mean in the original Greek: (info from New Testament Word Study Bible)

Perseverance - to stay under the pressure
Proven character - proof of trustworthiness, genuineness
Hope - expectation of obtaining some good

Tribulation - whatever that looks like in your life - is being used by God for a positive purpose because He loves you and is bringing you along in the maturing process.  We have to keep our eyes on hope and not get bogged down with feeling sorry for ourselves in the tribulation.  I do have my days...

Light Fixture Option

The light fixtures in my daughter's condo are dated so we tried to figure out how to update them without spending money.  She had an extra zebra print black and brown lamp shade.  I unscrewed the glass cover off the light fixture over the wet bar area, then used the same hardware to attach the lampshade.  (She put the glass cover in storage to put it back when she moves out.)  It is an improvement, but would have been better if the shade would have been large enough to cover the shiny gold. Now she is looking for a large drum shade that will work on the light fixture in the dining room.  If you want to do the same, you will need to measure from the ceiling to the end of the center pole in the fixture.  The round piece in the middle of the shade will need to accommodate that distance.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Condo decor...

When I was at my youngest daughter's home last month, she requested my help in making her condo look like the home of an adult instead of a college student.  She has been out of college for four years, for goodness sake!

The first thing she wanted done was her bedroom.  I wanted to decorate her front porch area, but more on that later.  We went to IKEA and found extra tall dark tan curtains for $14 and purchased an inexpensive white metal curtain rod from Walmart.  The next step was to hang the curtains on the rod near the ceiling crown molding on the wall opposite the bedroom door.  She has a great antique metal headboard that blended into the cream colored wall.  Once we placed the headboard in front of the new curtains, it was so much easier to see.  Plus, the curtains gave a very feminine grown-up air to the room.  We pulled all the brown and blue pillows that she had and used them to decorate the bed along with a cream colored puffy blanket she found at IKEA that matches the bedskirt.  A rug and a chair from the living room along with a cute shallow bookcase rounded out a reading corner. 

She had purchased the nice leopard print lamps from Hobby Lobby at 75% off and is looking for a simple bench to put at the end of the bed.  We moved her large dresser to the left wall where her desk had been.  The desk was moved to the living room where it became a base for her TV which we positioned in the corner.  Two leather stools were put under the desk to fill in the space and to provide extra seating for guests.

Unfortunately, the cable was on an odd wall so we had to run it under the front door and under the window to the corner.  It refused to lay quietly at the baseboards, so we purchased some cable staples so no one would trip over the unsightly cable.  They were easy to tap in to the baseboard with a hammer.  It looks so much better.

The last thing we did was to gather up all the cords behind the TV with twist ties.  I taped them to the back of the desk with clear packing tape.  Neat and tidy!

More to come:  Unique light fixture and "wallpaper"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


We got drenched last night!  It rained so hard that there were rapids running down our street.  We needed the rain desperately and I'm so grateful that God sent the rain.  Before the rain hit, I was outside on our porch watching the clouds.  There was a particularly active wall cloud that kept sending out small funnels that dissipated as quickly as they formed.  My honey says I should have been a storm chaser.  This morning, the air is fresh and cool.  It feels like fall! 

My life is kind of like this experience.  If I ignore my need to spend time in God's Word every day - because I think there are so many good things and necessary things that I just have to do - I end up feeling like there is a drought in my soul.  When I get back in the Word, I feel fresh and clean because the Spirit does His convicting work, I confess my sins, and God reconfirms His love for me. 

I felt God calling me to read and study the book of Romans again.  It's been awhile and I forgot what a rich and loaded book it is.  I've been reading and studying for about a month and I'm only on the eighth chapter.  This is going to take a while, but it's so good!  Yes, I will be sharing.

It is the perfect morning for some muffins to go with my coffee...

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins
Forks Over Knives

1 medium banana, mashed
15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole oat flour (put old-fashioned rolled oats in your blender to make flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
14 tsp ground ginger
1 cup grain-sweetened dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a large bowl, combine mashed banana, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.

2.  In a small bowl, combine oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Transfer mixture to large bowl and mix together gently until well-combined.  Avoid over-mixing to prevent toughness in the final product.  Fold in chocolate chips.

3.  Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are lightly browned.  Remove muffins from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Store muffins in an airtight container.

These muffins are gluten-free and vegan and they are moist and delicious.  Yum!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Christian Athiest...

I recently read a really good, really convicting book called The Christian Athiest by Oklahoma pastor Craig Groeschel.

Craig uses many stories from his own life to illustrate his journey from being a new Christian living a secular college lifestyle to a pastor who realizes that many times we don't live like we really believe that God exists and that He even cares how we live.  This is a humble transparent pastor and I appreciate his honesty and his determination to live the kind of life that brings glory to God.

It is also a story of how he has come to believe in the power of grace and God's love in peoples' lives; including those of us who claim to be Christians.  The chapters are not long, but are packed with Biblical truth to free readers from lies amidst life's struggles. 

For example, the chapter that confirms God's love for people brings to light the fact that although many Christians teach others that God loves them, they have doubts about God's love for them personally. It's really hard to love other people if you are not sure that God loves you because you feel guilty about something.  Do you know what I'm talking about? 

And the chapter on forgiveness - that one got me the second time through.  It is such a relief to have that taken care of and no longer a burden I carry on tired shoulders.  These are just two examples of many things I learned from The Christian Atheist.

This book has a powerful and timely message.  I highly recommend it.  But don't read it unless you are prepared to be freed to live what you say you believe!

I'm reading it a second's that good.  And then, I'm going to get several of his other books like Soul Detox and It.  I wonder what I'll learn...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


When my daughters were here, we went to one of our favorite local gift shops.  The family that owns the shop is so nice and they have a wonderful variety of unique items.  My oldest daughter spotted some large blocks that spelled CREATE but didn't have an extra $60 to buy them.  So we went to Michael's and purchased unpainted wooden letters. Then, when we got home, she went out to her dad's scrap box and had him cut up some 2x4 material to make a set in her own style. 

She used Kilz 2 to prime the blocks, then used acrylic paints and some great stencils to apply a different color and pattern to each block.  She added her own special touches.  The wooden letters were painted, stenciled and put on the blocks with hot glue.  

These are the stencils she used and there are several patterns in each packet.  They are available at Michael's.

There was so much going on that I didn't get a final picture of the CREATE blocks.  She painted the edges black to finish the blocks.  So cute!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Can't believe she's four...

It just seems like a short time ago our first granddaughter was born.  And now, she's four!  As we were discussing what time we were going to leave to drive home, she commented that we needed to stay until after lunch.  "No," she added, "you need to stay 'til after dinner!"  It's times like that we wish we lived closer than 5 1/2 hours away! 

We had a blast helping set up for her birthday party, though.  Our daughters are so creative and this party planned by Hannah's mama was no exception!  It started with this cute s'more handmade birthday party invitation that hinted at the "camping" party theme:  (the "graham cracker" cover is sideways...)

Under the "Hershey chocolate", the details of the party were printed on the white cardstock you can see peeking out underneath, followed by another "graham cracker" on the back.

Pictures of the party:

The picture frame and chair were used to take pictures of Hannah and each of her little friends that came to her party.  Of course, grandparents were included in the pictures!

Brown paper lunch bags were cut short with pinking sheers for the kids' snacks and cupcakes, which I thought was clever, and placed in this antique suitcase within easy reach.  It's hard for kids to walk around with a plate of goodies and not drop half of what is on the plate!

Instead of serving a sugary punch, she decided to serve fruit water made with strawberries, limes and blueberries.  It was delicious and refreshing.  

 A "campsite", complete with a stone enclosed "fire", was set up for the kids to play and somehow they all ended up on the bear or in the tipi! The kids loved it and my daughter didn't have to come up with games for them to play. 

To decorate the table, she put pine cones in her apothecary jar, added a plant and a lantern.  Underneath it all, she had cut 1/4 a brown plastic tablecloth lengthwise and used a sharpie to draw a wood grain on the brown tablecloth which was layered over the green plastic tablecloth.  She didn't have a table skirt, so we used another green tablecloth and taped it to the table to the right length under the top green tablecloth.  It worked!

 I have never seen watermelon wedges on popsicle sticks, but it was brilliant and made the watermelon easy to eat without getting your hands all sticky.  It also prevented the watermelon pieces from falling apart.

 Along with watermelon wedges, other "vegetation" included carrot sticks, celery sticks and cucumber sticks. 

The sweet snacks were saltwater taffy, popcorn, marshmallows (to go with the s'more cupcake theme), moose munch (Chex cereal with chocolate and powdered sugar), deer droppings (range top cookies rolled into "droppings") and miniature "dirt" cups (chocolate pudding, crushed chocolate cookies and gummy worms).