Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Curtain Project

I told you on Friday that I would give you a full post on this curtian project, from last week and I didn't want to leave you hanging.  (haha!)  So here it is...

But first, I do just want to say one thing (or two). 
I will be quiet on here for the rest of the week because I want to concentrate on opening up my Etsy Shop on the 1st., which is Thursday.  Do come back, though, for Friday's Finds and Scott's Second Saying's on Friday, the 2nd of October. 
Can't wait to hear what my man has to say!

So here is the before picture of the corner in question.  The lace curtains are just that...lace curtains.

I love this corner, but I really felt something was missing.  I would sit and just gaze up and out the windows trying to figure out what it was.  I loved all the natural lighting that we had from the bazillion windows we had at our old house (where we just recently moved from) and so with this house - and only having these 3 great (old, tall, deep seated) windows and one window in the front door (which we don't use).  I didn't want to take away any light that we get coming through.  That's I why I am using lace curtains to start with. 

As I pondered the whole curtain scheme.  I could have done a swag or valance.  I thought about using vines or something with flowers. Yet, I wanted to keep in the spirit of the room and that meant using "the bare minimum" to keep the overall feeling of natural, vintage, antique, or whatever else you would call my style...in the living room.  But, the problem I was having with using a swag or valance was that it would probably darken the corner and take away any light that comes in from the very top part of the window.  I think it's because these windows are so tall - you can sit on the couch and really see up and out.  Okay,  so I'm rambling. Anyway...

It honestly was a matter of prayer for me.  Is that silly, or what, praying over curtains? but I just wanted to really take my time in finding something "just right" and INEXPENSIVE.  I am such a bargain hunter and so let patience "have her perfect work".  I think it really paid off.

Here is the fabric I found for only $. 49 CENTS A YARD!!  Is that cool or what?  I had decided to try and find something as sheer as I could - with some weight to it.  I had no idea what I would find out there.

First, let me tell you that I saw this curtain idea (either in a magazine, online or somewhere, but I honestly don't remember where I saw it, and it was fairly recent, too) and it basically looked like a valance was sewn onto the curtain making it into one piece.  I still wasn't fully decided on what color I was going to incorporate though.  The curtains themselves are sort of like a champagne color.  Our carpet is rust, I would say our couches our camel color and the pillows are with a rust/pinkish red design on them.  I have a lot of sage green going on in there as well as the dark woods and antique whites.  Well, I was thinking about all these possible color schemes and when I found this fabric (loved the price, too) it being a cream white, I figured it would certainly work.

Here I am sewing the finished hemmed curtain piece to to the actual lace curtain.  It was a little tricky I might add and being the "semi- perfectionist" that I am I cringed when I realized how hard it was to make it a straight seam across.  It covers well, because of how the curtain falls - it just looks like its a natural fold in the fabric.  So, don't look closely, if you come over.  There are crooked seams.

This is the finished design.  I like it!  The color is working for me, it's still pretty shear - meaning it lets light in and I think I'll let it continue to grow on me and I feel like I actually got a full project completed while the kiddo's napped one afternoon. 

: : Curtain project finished for this room.  Now, onto the next thing...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday's Finds - And all the other recent sewing projects...

You may wonder what the buzz is over and around my sewing machine here of late?  I've mentioned I've been busy with several sewing projects...

I had two baby showers, to attend, last week.  Neither of these friends knows what sex their baby is.  Which I think is WONDERFUL!!  Surprise, surprise!! Anyway, I decided to make a pair of  baby shoes  for each, as part of their gift and that I would just give one to one and the other pair to the other.  If I'm wrong about who had what and who was born to who.  I'll make them a new pair or well - one of them has got to be right.  Don't you think?

~ Baby Boy Blue, for Ashley~

~Baby Girl Pink, for Amanda~

Any Guesses here???
I think you know what is coming with this one...
Stay tuned for my Bags by Bevy Etsy Shop - opening October 1st, 2009

I am so excited and very nervous at the same time.
You can be praying about that, with us.  Thank You!!
So, this has been the project from Corners of my Home - the Living Room that I have avoided showing you. Remember, because I was still working on this area?   I love this corner!  The lace curtians were a free gift from my girlfriend, Amiee, but I just knew it needed SOMETHING else.  I couldn't put my finger on what that was, until I found a picture with this idea.  Of  course now, the problem is, I cannot remember where I saw it so I can't tell you to look at it for yourself. 

And for Friday's Finds...

Here's the fabric that I found.  I found this fabric for $ .49 cents a yard, the other weekend while shopping in Lancaster.  Come back next week for the full post on what I came up to dress up the lace curtians.  And how I gave the windows the pop of color they needed. 

I'm sure the sewing machine will go a few miles later today...
Have a good weekend!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Celebrating Friendships over Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake!

What is friendship, to you, and how does it play itself out in and throughout your life?

This is a question that I hope to ask two of my girlfriends today, as they come over for coffee,
this Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake and then as they stay for lunch.  I just thought of it as a "dig deep" type of question to stimulate some quality conversation rather then the typical -usual- small talk that is sometimes just plays itself as "safe".

I've just been casually turning pages of a book by Nichole Johnson, called "Fresh-Brewed Life".  This is one of my most absolute favorite books ... and the quick challange for me, today, was
 "How do I celebrate friendships?"

I know for me, personally, I don't laugh enough.  I can be too serious - I'm always thinking and or pondering (which in itself is not a bad thing)... but more often then not - I long for a spirit of celebration, first of myself and then to be able to share that with others.  But the only way for me to develop that is to surround myself with good friends who help to cultivate that.  These friends help me do that!

Marlene Dietrich says, "It's the friends you can call at four in the morning that really matter".
Uhmmm...makes me wonder if I am really that kind of friend?  How do you get to that point with people?
Is there really a clear defination to what true friendships are?
Think about it...
In the meantime, enjoy the recipe!!

~ Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake~

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cup flour ( I love using Whole Wheat Flour for this recipe)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 chopped pecans
1 tsp. cinnamon

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and 1 1/4 cups sugar.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternating with milk.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Pour into a  greased 9" spring-form pan.  Combine pecans, cinnamon and remaining 1/4 cup sugar; sprinkle over batter.  Bake at 350* for 50-55 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen.  Remove sides of pan.  Cool completely before cutting.  Yeild: 10-12 servings.

: : I am anxious to hear what these friends have to say... but, what do you think?  How do you celebrate friendship in your life?

So, it's early afternoon.  Everyone left now. We had a wonderful morning visit.  Though, so short! 
And, I had an expectation.
My expectation was to really "dig deep" and to get into this conversation.  Instead, little ones always come first (which is the way it should be).  Yet, the questions got semi-touched on as we tried to converse over homemade pizza, canned peaches and tired, restless kids.  We all agreed, 
this is a hard season!!!!!!!

We all long to celebrate and cultivate friendships, more, in our lives.  And, so we'll try to do this again
 (and again).  Although when I mentioned the thought about friends really being your friends if you can call them at four in the morning.  My one girlfriend, was quick to say; "Please don't"!  The funny thing is we all would say that.  "Please don't" - although we all would know
that if we had to, we could. 

That's the best part about friendship.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Redolent of Friendship"

My dear, sweet friend from TN just recently had a birthday.  I so badly wanted to bless her with one of my "Bags by Bevy".  While my Mother-in-law was here for a few days, last week, she insisted that she send me to my sewing room to sew while she watched the little ones.  I dutifully obeyed. (Thank you, Susie Mom!)

This is the bag that I came up with.  Red is one of Mitzi's favorite colors and it I thought it came together so well.  While trying to come up with a name for it... I always reach for the dictionary. (Interestingly enough, I know).
The word redolent came to the forefront as I was reading through. Here is what it means;

redolent (adj.) 1. having a pleasent odor; fragrant. 2.odorous or smelling (followed by of). 3. suggestive or reminiscent (followed by of). ie; stories redolent of mystery...

I just knew that this was a must-use word for the naming of this bag.  I wanted this bag to be a reflection or reminiscent of our "pleasent" friendship.  We are of such, kindred spirit, Mitzi and I, and I just wanted to bless her in a special way. 

Happy Birthday, Mitzi!! 

   ~Here is a peek of inside the bag~

In case you are curious, I have not forgotten about the "price list" that you all have asked about in regards to Bags by Bevy.  My husband and I are still working on those details.
We're getting there, but  life keeps getting in the way. ;( 
In fact, we think were going to open an Etsy Shop come
 October 1st.  Lord Willing!!
In the meantime, I have a few other sewing projects I've been working on. As well as, I have been busily obtaining more sewing materials, in order to continue to make more of my bags.  So, Stay tuned!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fudge Peanut Butter Pie!!

Hey, thanks all for your patience on this one.
Here is the recipe - as promised!!  I decided to go ahead and give you the recipe out of the cook book and then the recipe, the way I recreated it.  The picture is of my version.
Warning:  It is really, really decadant.

The Cookbook's version:
1 cup peanut butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup 10x sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip
2 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 T. white corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
2 prepared graham cracker pie crusts
Beat peanut butter, cream cheese, and 10x sugar together.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Heat chips, cream, corn syrup and vanilla over low heat until chocolate chips are melted.  Divide evenly between the 2 pie shells.  Chill.  Top with peanut butter mixture.  When ready to serve, garnish with Cool Whip and peanut butter cups.

Here is my version:

1 cup peanut butter
8oz. cream cheese
(Now, I had found a peanut butter that already had sugar added - it was from Gertrude Hawk - that is maybe not a regular item out there, I don't know because I found it our discount grocery store.  So, this last time when I made this recipe I didn't have enough of that to make the one cup of peanut butter so added some of my regular creamy p.b. and didn't add anymore sugar to it.  To make this recipe again I think I would go ahead and add the sugar.  NO COOL WHIP!)
1 cup sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
(to add corn syrup is not necessary)

For my crust I have used either a chocolate graham cracker crust (made my own) or I have used 1 1/2 cups crushed Oreo or Hydrox cookies, mixed with 5 Tbs. melted butter and pressed onto the bottom of a 9" springform pan.  Chill.
I make the recipe as above (obviously omitting ingredients, that I have opted out of using) and then top with
Real Homemade whipped cream using my Easy Accent Decorator from Pampered Chef and chop up a few Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - if I have them around.

: : Make sure your coffee pot is on and brewing as you serve your guests this decadence...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday's Finds - See, this is what I'm talking about...

Decadent Dessert and Coffee.

The other evening my sister, Gladys, stopped by for a late night visit & to see our house, since she hasn't been here yet.  A "late night visit" sounds really funny, but it's the truth.  Especially when we usually "try" to be in bed about the time she was planning to arrive (I say try because one of us is usually wanting to be in bed sooner then the other).

But, let me explain.  She (Gladys) did give me at least a day's notice, but with one huge request.  She was coming from 3 hours away and bringing along a friend of hers who is getting married in just a few weeks.  This friend, is planning to have a dessert bar for her reception - instead of wedding cake.  The request was that I would make this certain dessert I had been raving about; one that I "recreated" from out of their camp cookbook (the camp where my sis is the head cook at).  That I would have this Peanut Butter Fudge Pie dessert (with Coffee) ready when they arrived around 9:30 -9:45 pm.  I said sure!!  (And that doesn't sound late, does it?)

See, this is what I am talking about.  Late night's, sitting around with coffee, talking in hushed tones (so as not to wake up the little ones)- Finding the time to just have, what I like to call, a Cup of Talk.  I miss those times, with my friend's and sisters, on a regular basis.  (I do, do this with my hubby on occasion).  And, so it was really special that she came by - it felt like old times. 

: : I will post this recipe - upon request!?!?!  Hopefully soon. Somehow I feel it needs its own post.  And,  I think know you'll want this recipe...too!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oh, the beauty of a sunrise...

When you get up early, groggily get yourself together, "stumble" down the stairs, praying for coffee and then you stop - to realize the counter laiden from the day before, of all the fruits of your labors. You smile.  It's beautiful!!  Over 16 quarts of pickled beets, later...

It's almost better then seeing the sunrise!  Do you notice the blue jars?  I found about six that I had gotten from my Grammy, that were still in good canning condition.  Now, that made me smile...too!

: : Tell me if you agree or not.  I was thinking about this yesterday while canning these beets.  I am in my middle to late 30's.  Am I not in the last generation who will ever know how to do this?  It's sad, to think about and yet, I know I have friends and family who reguarly do this type of stuff and who will pass it on to their family but overall (honestly), it is a dying art.  And, I really felt my own inadequacy in knowing what I was doing yesterday.  Especially when I had two little ones around my ankles.  I was blessed though to have two of my brothers stop by to "help out" - in perfect timing. 

Yet, I honestly cannot fathom how my mother ever did days of canning and processing foods with nine of us children running around. Yeah, we helped.  But still...it amazes me every time I think about it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Aubrey's Birthday Cake!!

With credit to Grandma Susie for the candles...
The event of the birthday party has since seen sunset twice...we celebrated Aubrey's birthday on Sunday evening. One year down (for Aubrey) and we're well on into the next.  It was hard, looking through ALL the many pictures taken, of her and the party, to see what I could quick post about. 
BUT,  LET ME TELL YOU... The recipe for this cake, found here, is an absolute must have for your next birthday party or for any other special event you may have, that is calling out for an "homemade" white cake.   This is absolutely the BEST cake I have made in a while- in this fashion! 

You will die... from lip-smacking goodness.  Oh my word!!  I will tell you, though, the icing is rich (some may think too sweet), but I thought it was perfect.  Check out the recipe over at Cooking During Stolen Moments.


Aubrey got a lot of sweet gifts...thanks to such a large and wonderful family!
 I just wanted to share one picture, with you, of her kissing one of her three dollies that she got.  I thought it was adorable.  And, yes! In case you're wondering, the black eye (more of a brush burn) is from a tumble down the stairs (not sure how far she was up) on the day of her birthday.  Poor thing.  Right out of the shute first thing Thursday morning.  That hasn't kept her from the stairs though, if for some reason she has beat me to them before the gate is up. 

She sure is turning into a little speed demon. ;)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where I want to be.

My friend, Kristy, shared a post  the other day that actually clinched what I have been thinking here of late... She used one word (meaning the same as) to describe her thoughts and feelings.  Insufficiant. or Inadequate.

I have been reading this book, whenever I get a chance, over the past several weeks.  Let's just say I know the feeling... so inadequate.  I  can remember reading the book - way back - before I was married (By the way, I love any and all books by Elizabeth George - I highly reccomend them!) and I can remember thinking "Wow! What a great (easy to apply) book!"  Now, being in the midst of marriage and my life is in the throws of motherhood...

I would have to say "Wow! What a hard book".  I have simply been melted to tears over and over... because I am so inadequate.  Especially, on my own.  God is gracious!

But, I keep reading.  Why?  Because, It's where I want to be.  A Woman after God's own Heart....
and, I am so grateful for a husband who loves me unconditionally.  He must have learned that from his FATHER!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, baby girl!!

It's hard to believe, but here we are.  One year ago today...
My baby girl has hit the big ONE.
I love this picture of Caleb.  It looks like Big Brother, doesn't know what to make of this situation.  I suppose if you needed an theatrical  stunned-like expression for "Who has just entered MY WORLD?" -then this would be what that expression would look like.
This was the first time of Caleb meeting Aubrey, while still in the hosptial, and we were not really sure how it would go, even though we had talked alot about a new baby coming and being apart of our family.  We figured it would go pretty good, which it ultimately did.  However, the first week, at home, was pretty interesting.  When she would cry during the night, it would wake Caleb up and then Scott was on one end of the couch, while I was nursing Aubrey on the other.  We would get to laughing (sometimes) so hard.  Basically, due to exhaustion.  That week ended, and things really settled into a groove.  The little ones shared a room (and still do) and they adjusted rather, very well.

I cannot believe how fast this first year of Aubrey's life has flown by.  I know that sounds cliche.  Everybody will say that about their kids.  But, for her, well... a lot has happened and changed, over this year, for our family.  And with her being our second child, she has just been under Caleb's shadow and has come into her own - so quickly. I keep thinking; "When did she learn to do that?".  She still seems so small, yet the crazy stuff she does (she's a climber, Caleb was not) makes her seem like she is going on 10!  From walking early, to climbing onto everything.  I mean just the places that I find her... makes me wonder about her.
I often say that I remember how she was "different" - even while still in the womb.  So active.  So curious.  I would say her curiousity has been the most interesting thing to observe about her.  Always wondering what is going on around her  and she is always intently studying the situation.  She will stay up late, at night time, so as not to miss something... and wake the rooster up, in the morning.  In fact this morning she was up at 5:30-ish.  Silly girl!
Her expressions are amazing... her baby talk is really becoming very clear and audible, she's a stubborn little might but as sweet as all get out.  I love when she has the fake cry going on and then when it is real there is a sense of modesty about it - when she will cover her mouth with her hand. 
It feel's like I missed a whole stage of baby feeding with her.  She is/was such a fussy eater - very picky.  I don't know if it is a texture thing or what.  But now, she feels she is to be on her own (but mommy doesn't deal with food messes really well)- very much in an explorative stage.  I do not know how in the world she weighs 22 lbs. (At her Dr's appointment on Tuesday we got her weight and height.  She is only 29" tall) I just looked at Caleb's 12 month numbers and he weighed 24.8lbs and was 31" tall... I guess that explains why she does seem so small all around. 
Well, like I said - she makes up for it in spunk and might.  She will certainly hold her own.  And, learning all she can from the rest of us.
Aubrey, we love you!!  You are a real blessing to our family... You sure came as a (conceived) surprise to us, but it is no surprise that you belong to our family. 

Happy 1st Birthday, Baby Girl!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Your labor...is not in vain"

Wasn't sure what to post about today.  I feel like my mind is going a million different directions.  I sit with Aubrey, asleep in my arms, which feels nice but oh so limiting....There is much to do. (It's about 8:30pm as I type one handed).By the way, she is recuperating from a Dr's visit today - with shots! Just a little cranky this evening. But, we're coming off of a rather laborious weekend (Labor Day - and yes, we were busy) and we are now heading into another, several busy days.  For instance: 

Last Friday evening we went to a dinner/birthday party for my girlfriend, Amiee.  Visiting with her and her family.  Very nice evening.  Delicious, too.  But we got up early Saturday morning to do our Monthly Grocery Shop to Lancaster, Co.  After getting home from there, and putting everything away...making dinner...I NEEDED to can or do something with peaches.  So I canned hot-sealed 16 half-pints of Peach Jam.  Then, Scott desperately needed a haircut and beard trim ( I LOVE HIS BEARD, by the way, and that He Wears it just for me- YUMMM) and so we set up barber shop in the kitchen.  That went well.  I just needed to really clean up the kitchen afterwards.  By now, Saturday evening was getting a little on the late side and on into the night.
Sunday - was church.  Wonderful to sit and soak up EVERYTHING!!  Got to visit with different folks that normally we're "missing" in the hallway, so to speak.  Scott needed to run to the Auto Parts store for a few things, came home made lunch.  The kiddo's, well one of them, laid down for a nap.  Scott took the opportunity to study (more computer classes).  I also put 2 1/2 quarts of peaches into the freezer (that should do it for the peaches, now), pulled tomato plants out and "cleaned" up the flowerbeds, etc.

Our Labor Day, Monday, was no different.  My youngest brother, Nate, came over (bless his heart) to give us a hand.  Because, Scott was out under  by the car - this time working on the front disc brakes (among other things-He's gonna have a new car till its all said and done!) and I was planning to "rearrange" and clean up our spare bedroom/sewing room/office trying to make it bit more cozy for my Mother-in-Law (Scott's mamma), who is coming for a week long visit.  So, Nate was a god-send in that he was there to help entertain the kids, or to give either Scott or I a hand.  Which he did and I was so grateful.  On Sunday, we had found a small desk that someone had out for the trash (after their yard sale on Saturday) and so I was glad that we decided to stop, pick it up and have Nate to help haul it up our stairs.  It's perfect.  Now, we just need a rolling chair.  Anyway.

So, yeah.  Susie Mom (as we call her, as opposed to my Mom who we call Mamma Rhoda) is coming up from VA, to our house, for a week long visit.  This is the first time that she will have been here.  We're really looking forward to it.  Aubrey's first birthday is on Thursday - which is one of the reason's she is coming.  That being said.  I am planning and preparing for that.  Thinking about menus for the week, planning the birthday party (which won't be huge - except if you count all the "just family" that are planning to come, there are like 20 people not including us) and I know that there will be shopping to Lancaster, the bookstore, our local thrift store, you name it.  PLUS, I have ...

Let's see.  This coming Sunday is a baby shower.  So, I am planning to make a pair of baby shoes for that one.  I have another baby shower to go to later in the week - I plan to make a pair for that one, too.  I have a blouse, which I finally got cut out on Sunday afternoon too, that  I was asked to make (it's really, really easy) for a girlfriend's, girlfriend who is getting married and her wedding shower is on the 19th, so that needs to get sewn up. Not a problem. Plus, this in one is on me, But I have a dear friend who has a birthday coming up on the 15th of September that I would like to make a bag  for. (Bags by Bevy)  SHE doesn't know it yet though - shhhh!!  (she is probably going to read this post and see this.  Oh well.)

So, thus why I say, I feel like I'm going in a million different directions.  I don't think it would be so bad if our darling daughter wouldn't wake up in the middle of the night and then have trouble going back down until at least an hour (or longer) has passed.  I blame it on the fact that her one-year molars are getting "pushy" ...and, with that, she has a slight cold to boot. 

I'm sitting here typing - thinking- so this post sounds like I "need a little cheese, with this whine"... who cares what I need to do (yet) or what I've done over the weekend?  Then again, this is life, our life, my life.  If nothing else out of this post.  Oh, can you tell that I transitioned from holding Aubrey and typing with one hand (last night) to now it's the following morning (almost 12 hours later) and I am still trying to get this post up? Thank God for a great night of sleep last night.  I needed that.

 But, if nothing else out of this post... will you just whisper a prayer for God's grace.  That I would just be able to go with the flow...to be able to RELAX and enjoy the activities to come.  This verse comes to mind...

"She is clothed with strength and dignity,
she can laugh at the days to come".  ~ Proverbs 31:25
Yes, the labor list is long.  And doing it all as unto the Lord, it will not be in vain as it talks about in 1Cor. 15:58
Now, off to the daily activites of the day, along with four loads of laundry - at least.  Plus, we're excitedly waiting for Grandma Susie to arrive-sometime today!!  I wonder if she'll let me sew at night, while she's asleep?  She does take her hearing aid's out...

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's time...

...to pick-a-chicken, and I don't mean from out of the barn yard, although that day is coming.  (More on that another time) Stay tuned.  I am talking about my version of trying to be frugal (I wonder if this counts as being "green"?) in the kitchen.  For whatever reason, I decided that this has become my new favorite,  rather " not so", but yes! favorite way to keep cooked chicken on hand.   I say that because it's a gross, and somewhat time-consuming job. And, I shouldn't even say "new way", because I've been doing it this way for a really long time. It's just so good, and so worth it, that I just deal with it.
You know how it is, a recipe always calls for that cup or two of cooked chicken, and you realize you forgot to thaw the chicken out, to even start with, let alone follow through with all the steps to get to cooked chicken.  Well, I don't know how you go about supplying that ingredient, but here's how I do it.  First I start with a few really good sized meaty roasters... that I'll try to find "on sale".  Throw `em into the freezer until I'm ready to "pick-a-chicken".  Other times I'll plan to roast chicken for supper and then of course, what we don't eat, gets picked off and into the freezer it goes.
This bowl, as you can see, is what I use for my roaster pan. It is from Pampered Chef and if this bowl ever decides to "fly to coop" - meaning to break on me, I am a dead duck.  
I Absolutley LOVE this BAKER BOWL & LID.  I hope I didn't just jinx myself, because it is no longer available with Pampered Chef.  But this works great for me because the bird fits perfectly inside.  I just pour a little bit (glug, glug- ahh, maybe another glug) of lemon juice over the chicken and then rather generously sprinkle Lemon Pepper seasoning over it. 
I throw it into the oven at 350* for about 3 hours.  I do not add any other liquid and you can see what kind of broth comes out of it.  The meat will literally fall off the bone.  I do try to let it cool down some, but it's easiest to seperate the meat (what doesn't fall off) from the bones, etc., while the meat is hot (Be Careful, it's HOT!).  I then let it cool down enough to finish handling it, I bag it up (2 cups worth) in freezer bags or containers and I think -depending on the size of the bird- I average about 6-8 cups of meat.  At times, I will even save the broth, as well to save for Chicken Noodle Soup or whatever. This depends on how greasy the chicken was.
There is nothing like going to the freezer for a "quick fix" solution of cooked, chunked/shredded chicken, that is full of homemade flavor to "impress" the taste buds.  NOW.  I also have a couple of go-to recipes that I will use this chicken for.  One is Poppy Seed Chicken or this one, my new favorite, I thought I would share with you, called:
~Chicken Zucchini Casserole~

3 cups stuffing mix ( I used one box of Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing mix
1/4 cup melted butter
3 cups zucchini, diced
1 med. carrot, grated
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups cooked, chunked chicken
1 (10.5oz) can of cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream. ( I didn't have any sour cream on hand so I melted about 4 oz. of cream cheese - and it worked fabulous)
Mix stuffing together with butter.  Set 1/2 cup aside.  Mix remaining ingredients together and put into a greased 2 quart (I used a 11x7 baking pan) casserole, top with reserved stuffing.  Bake at 350* for 40-45 minutes.

WOW!!  This was such a hit with us.  And, with the abundance of zucchini this time of year, it's great to come up with a "new" recipe to enjoy. I have to say this.  It was funny.  My brother, Justin, was over for the evening.  He doesn't usually like zucchini and let's just say - he was converted. 

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday's Finds -When it is in your power to act...

Yesterday, while reading my devotions, out of Proverbs chapter 3, I found a verse that got me to thinking.  It's actually a couple of verses that have grabbed my attention before and it all came rushing back - afresh!
I just thought I would share these thoughts with you today as part of my Friday's Find's.

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. 
 Do not say to your neighbor, 'Come back later, I'll give it tomorrow', when you now have it with you." ~ Proverbs 3:27-28
  We all have it within us (those of us who are children of God, because of the Holy Spirit residing in us) to be faithful (not just sometimes) encouragers to our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord.  But, I know how it is.  I want to send someone a note to let them know I've been thinking about them or praying for them, and life happens. The "to do" list is already rather long.  I quickly forget or get distracted.  Maybe it's pure procrastination - by simply saying, "Oh, I'll do that tomorrow". 
We all know a timely word or deed when it comes.  We have had it happen to us.  Someone shared specificaly to our need.  Whoever offered that "word" or deed was faithful.  They did not withhold... it was within their power to act...they had it and gave it - NOW!
Be encouraged.  But, what about you?  Are there specific things you've been meaning to follow through on and/or to act upon.  The Scripture is clear in asking us to determine to withhold nothing, especially when we have the power to act and accomplish something good.  We just need to do it.
 Here are a few ways that I thought of to better communicate God's grace to others, and, for doing this myself (because I am preaching to the choir, here):
MAYBE- just maybe it's also a step in this direction; to extend forgiveness to someone who has sinned against us and maybe it just means taking that first step towards reconciliation towards that person.
There are boundless ways to show God's grace through forms of hospitality (because this is really what this is all about).  I like what these two verses have to say about this as well.
" Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers". ~Galations 6: 9-10
I know me.  I have many, many days when I don't feel like it.  I have nothing left to give.  And, I am sure you have those kinds of days, too.  If we don't give up... we will reap a harvest.  I love that.  Sometimes it's not about us,...but we're just meant to be faithful...as encouragers. Doing good.  It's kind of like the rushing river in the picture above.  Our lives are to be that constant flow, that rush, that source of refreshment... we're forever connecting with people in ways that we have no idea how we truely affect them.  The end result of "doing good" may never be known to us here on this earth.  Are we really refreshing others, though?  That is the question.
: : Have I encouraged you, today?  If so, find a simple and tangible way to pass it on to someone else.
 It's in your power to do so... so, go ahead. Don't wait until tomorrow.
Of course, please feel free to leave a thought or comment on how you have been a recipient of a timely word or deed. And, how did that have an affect on you?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

HOWDY!!! (3rd Times a charm)

We'll I bet ya'll thought I forgot......We'll guess what, I didn't. There ain't nothin' saying that I have to post in the morning...... In all honesty, Bevy has been asking me since Saturday what I was going to post about. The time sure has flown.

This last month has been quite interesting. First off, CONGRATULATIONS to KIM for her win in the "Bags by Bevy" giveaway. It was neat counting down and seeing what was to happen. I honestly thought and told Bevy, I bet we get some 10 o'clockers trying to pull an e-bay type last minute enrollment. We actually did not have any last minute'rs though.....

As you may have heard read, we pretty much lost our tomato plants. We had seven REALLY BIG ones growing. In high-n-sight we may need to (as Bevy mentioned) plant them next year in a contained object, like planters (you know those orange round things that hold plants).

Originally my post was going to be very short and brief of just a picture of me studying at our dinning room table. However, it appears we, at some point, accidentally deleted it. My caption was going to be "This is what I have been up to all month, any questions?" and let that be that. Well, since we seem not able to find the pic.....you get to hear my thoughts, and ramblings for about another month.

I go to see another specialist later this month on the 11th. We did go see another Dr, the other week, for a second opinion and he is OK with all the test and what-nots I have been going thru. He has offered to be CC'd on future test/exams/x-rays to be kept in the loop. So we will see what the Dr has to say then. I met with a dear friend of mine last evening at a church function. He had been in is native land of Kenya for the last month and was not aware of what was going on with me. It was rather nice to be able to talk to him in a fresh perspective. Of course, it also helps he has been thru RN school, so there was a better dialect as far as him being able to comprehend all the medical stuff of it all.

Looking into the future, we are REALLY looking forward to some friends of ours, from TN, comeing to visit. Bevy has been corresponding with a girlfriend of hers that her, and her family, are trying to make plans to get back up north here. It will be good to see them as it has been since April of `06, the last we visited. This visit though appears to be setting up for spring of 2010. I cannot believe we are about to put down the first decade of a new millennium (SOME ONE STOP THIS OUT OF CONTROL. SPEEDING BUS).........

Caleb and I went to the auto store tonight. We went this last Saturday as well and he is just growing up so much. Little Aubrey was left at the door, I am sure soon one day, dad will get to take her places too. Well I could now, but its just a little much to take two of them at once. Aubrey is really coming into her own; She is getting very aware of her surroundings and it is so fun to watch (Except at 2am the other night, YES! I got up with her, and was able to finally able to get her back down 90 minutes later).

Bevy is doing well. I must admit, I am a bear to live with sometimes, but she knows how to keep me in check. She does a lot to tend to our family, and unfortunately I do not get to assist as much as I would like at times. I am usually up early (5:30am) and studying, and then in the evenings after supper and playing with the kids for a few minutes I am back to the books from about 8:30pm-10pm. There have even been later nights than that -just from where I'm trying to get to a certain point in my studies. I try to do about 15 pages a day. This creates a lot of extra stress on Bevy, and not to mention when I do have free time I am usually working on something that needs fixin' or addressed (like the car!).

We look forward to the cooler coming months, and continue to rely and lift things up to God. By no means are we perfect at it; however, He is more gracious than we can ever fathom.

Make sure you stay tuned in for next month's rambles. In case you have not looked at a calendar lately, October 2nd falls on a Friday and we know what Friday's are.......FRIDAY FINDS!!!

Well until next month.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My garden "daze"... soon over for this year.

Everyday I check in with the homespun heart, one of my favorite blogs out there, to see what Monica is up to. And one of her recent post's got me to thinking about my own "garden" experience this year - if you want to call it that- which I thought I would share a few of my "uhmmmms"... just to see what you think.
Where we live I really don't have room to put in a garden, so basically we put in a few vegetable plants along the front and side of our house in our two flowerbeds.  For the most part that worked out fine.  Things were growing great, until all of a sudden the tomatoes (all seven plants- these four, plus three other plants) took a real bad turn ( and NOT RED either!). At one point, it looked like I would have so many tomatoes (if they all ripened) that I would have enough to paint the town red. 
 I think know we got hit with the blight. BAD!  I know alot of other folks have too.  But, I am really dissapointed.  I honestly wasn't too concerned that I would get enough to put away by canning, I just wanted a few really good eating tomatoes, but IF I DID end up with alot I was certainly going to do something with them or at best, "share" them with the neighbors or whomever could use some.  No doubt about that. 
I also planted two very short rows of green beans.  I think only four bean plants took and so every other day I pick a small handful and that is often our afternoon snack for the day:  "Here kids, wanna green bean to chew on?" - the beans have been fun, to find, but I wish there were a few more plants... oh well.
I planted a 2x2 plot of red beets.  Only one shoot as survived out of that. I don't think they liked the mulch that was put on the flowerbed earlier this spring.  And only one pickle plant (HUGE) has emerged, in which I got a few cucumbers off of it.  But it's weird, because it seems like any time I go to look around for a few more cukes, by the next day, the plant then looks like its going to die. I think it may have died by now anyway.   Is that normal? 
Monica mentioned about her zinnias.  I planted mine from seed, (I've done it before with great success in variety of colors), but this year all I got were pink.  Pretty.  But - just pink ones.  Uhmmmm.  I think  maybe I will try starters next year.  I just love Zinnias.  Growing up we always called them "Old Maid" flowers, for some reason.  Does anybody else know about that, and why they would be called that?
They make such beautiful arrangements, and the more you cut them the more they make.  So, it seems.
Another flower that I love, and I'm so glad that these bloomed in bounty, are the Blue Salvia (I think that is what they are called).  These dry so beautifully... in case anyone wanted to know.   And another beautiful addition to any bouquet.  I don't think a season has ever gone by that these were not somewhere in my flower beds...except for at the house we lived at before living here. 
So, about these tomatoes.  I think for next year.  I am just going to do more of a container garden, since I can and have the room for them on the back porch - in full sun.  And just keep the flower beds (with a good mushroom topsoil and not mulch) for flowers.  But, one thing that I have read about with tomatoes and this blight is that I could pick tomatoes that are a good, solid green and not moldy, wrap them in newspaper and lay out in a cardboard box (no more then two layers)... that I should have tomatoes till Thanksgiving - unless - if we eat them all before that.  Has anybody else ever hear of this, or done this?  Any other suggestions are appreciated too.  I know that I have to get rid of these plants... soon.

Besides Mums.  What would work to plant for a Fall Garden/flower bed?  I feel I'm in a "daze"...
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