Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Simplifying Christmas

I'm always looking for ways to simplify around Christmas, but it can be hard not to get caught up in all of the hype. I just ran across this wonderful idea for buying gifts for your children: want, need, wear, read. The idea is to only buy four gifts for each child: one they want, one they need, one they can wear, and one they can read. While I don't have children I think this could be a wonderful guideline to ensure each child is treated fairly.

Another great idea that Stephanie wrote about in the comment section is to only give three gifts per person because that is how many Jesus received from the Three Wise Men. This would be a wonderful way to ensure we are focusing on Jesus' Birth during the holiday season. Thank you Stephanie! :)

This post is linked at Raising Homemakers

Monday, November 29, 2010

Breakfast in Bed

 So ever since I was born I've had breakfast in bed on my birthday. This is a tradition that my parents started before they had kids. This year was my first birthday out of my parents house and I thought I was going to have to break the tradition because my husband gets up at 5:30 and I didn't want to get up and eat that early. Anyways, I was kinda bummed that I was going to miss a breakfast in bed on my birthday (I know I'm spoiled). Well my mom ended up coming over and making me pancakes and bacon before I got up!! Thank you momma the tradition is still alive!! :) 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!! I will be traveling the rest of the week (3 places in four days!) so I will have to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving today. Last night my mom and I decorated Fall sugar cookies to take to my cousin's house. They turned out pretty good. :) And right now I'm baking my very first pumpkin pie. I LOVE pumpkin pie and I hope it turns out alright. I will leave you with a poem that I posted last year about gratitude.

I Am Thankful:

For the wife who says its hot dogs tonight,
Because she is home with me,
And not out with someone else.

For the husband
who is on the sofa
Being a couch potato,
Because he is home with me,
and not out at the bars.

For the teenager
Who is complaining about doing dishes
Because it means she is at home,
Not on the streets.

For the taxes I pay
because it means I am employed.

For the mess to clean after a party
Because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

For the clothes that fit a little too snug
Because it means I have enough to eat.

For my shadow that watches me work
Because it means I am out in the sunshine.

For a lawn that needs mowing,
Windows that need cleaning,
And gutters that need fixing,
Because it means I have a home.

For all the complaining
I hear about the government
Because it means we have freedom of speech.

For the parking spot
I find at the far end of the parking lot
Because it means I am capable of walking
And I have been blessed with transportation.

For my huge heating bill
Because it means I am warm.

For the lady behind me at church
Who sings off key
Because it means I can hear.

For the pile of laundry
Because it means I have clothes to wear.

For weariness and aching muscles
At the end of the day
Because it means I have been capable of working hard.

For the alarm that goes off
In the early morning hours
Because it means I am alive.

And finally for too much e-mail
Because it means
I have friends
Who are thinking of me!

This post is linked at Raising Homemakers

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful for the Pilgrims

Here's a poem to help us remember what the pilgrims went through in order to gain religious freedom for us all. I'm very thankful that those men and women took a stand for what they believed in and journeyed across the ocean into the brave new world. We owe a lot to them.

Five Kernels of Corn
by Hezekiah Butterworth

'Twas the year of the famine in Plymouth of old,
The ice and the snow from the thatched roofs had rolled;
Through the warm purple skies steered the geese o'er the seas,
And the woodpeckers tapped in the clocks of the trees;
And the boughs on the slopes to the south winds lay bare,
and dreaming of summer, the buds swelled in the air.
The pale Pilgrims welcomed each reddening morn;
There were left but for rations Five Kernels of Corn.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!

But to Bradford a feast were Five Kernels of Corn!
"Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye people, be glad for Five Kernels of Corn!"
So Bradford cried out on bleak Burial Hill,
And the thin women stood in their doors, white and still.
"Lo, the harbor of Plymouth rolls bright in the Spring,
The maples grow red, and the wood robins sing,
The west wind is blowing, and fading the snow,
And the pleasant pines sing, and arbutuses blow.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
To each one be given Five Kernels of Corn!"

O Bradford of Austerfield hast on thy way,
The west winds are blowing o'er Provincetown Bay,
The white avens bloom, but the pine domes are chill,
And new graves have furrowed Precisioners' Hill!
"Give thanks, all ye people, the warm skies have come,
The hilltops are sunny, and green grows the holm,
And the trumpets of winds, and the white March is gone,
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye have for Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn!

"The raven's gift eat and be humble and pray,
A new light is breaking and Truth leads your way;
One taper a thousand shall kindle; rejoice
That to you has been given the wilderness voice!"
O Bradford of Austerfield, daring the wave,
And safe through the sounding blasts leading the brave,
Of deeds such as thine was the free nation born,
And the festal world sings the "Five Kernels of Corn."
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
The nation gives thanks for Five Kernels of Corn!
To the Thanksgiving Feast bring Five Kernels of Corn!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Free Cards from Shutterfly!

Shutterfly is offering 50 free cards to any blogger who writes a post about them! This is very exciting because I was planning on ordering Christmas cards from them anyway. I think photo cards are so cute and personalized and really the only ones I end up keeping year after year. Since I got married this year I had already decided to try and do a photo card every Christmas. Shutterfly has lots of  Christmas designs to choose from and they are always running promotions so you can easily find a card that is in your price range. Another fun idea for Christmas would be to create a photo book or calendar which I think would make such a cute and personalized keepsake or gift.

Here is one of my favorite Christmas designs:

Happy Holidays and have fun creating!

Click here if you are a blogger and would like to participate in this promotion.

New Look!!

So I finally made my own blog header!! I got the graphic from Shabby Blogs and then edited it on Picnik. I wish they would have had a honey bee graphic, but I guess the bird will have to do! :) I also figured out how to add a signature to the end of my posts. I'm movin' up in the bloggin' world! :) What do you think?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

I made a pumpkin roll to take to my sister's house tonight. This recipe was a little more time consuming and complicated than what I prefer, but I'm sure it will be delicious! I used the Libby's recipe.
Libby's Pumpkin Roll

For Cake:
1/4 c. powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. walnuts (optional)

For Filling:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, room temp.
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar (optional for decoration)

 oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

 cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

COOKING TIP:Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Preparing for Christmas

Here is a video to get you in the mood. :)

I've been busy working on some Christmas projects this week.
I made these felt ornaments:

And a stocking for my dog: 
I think they turned out really cute!
 I also bought a cowboy boot stocking for my husband:
Now I just need to get a stocking for myself! :)

This post is linked at Raising Homemakers and Tea Rose Home

Monday, November 8, 2010

Life Lessons From My Dog

I am definitely a dog person. In fact, when I was in third grade (with my huge glasses and high water pants) I read Dog Fancy Magazine. Yup it was my favorite past time (besides collecting Beanie Babies and reading Babysitter Little Sister Books). Ha I was a huge nerd, but I didn't care. My parents surprised me with a Rat Terrier puppy in Elementary School and it was the THRILL of my life! I loved that little dog so very much and she was with us until last summer. It hit me way harder than I ever imagined it would when we lost her. I never realized how much a part of my life she was until she was gone. Now over a year later I have Daisy.
She has quickly captured my heart and I can't imagine going through life without a dog to love and who loves me. I've been thinking lately about character traits that are common to dogs (is this normal?) and I've come up with a few that I deeply admire and want to incorporate more into my own life.

1. Unconditional Love
Dogs love you no matter what you look like, smell like, or act like. If you forget to feed them, they still love you. If you treat them unkindly, they still want you to pet them and give them attention. A dog's love seems to be limitless and without condition.

"God is love, and whoever 
abides in love abides in God, 
and God abides in him." 
-1 John 4:16

2. Forgiveness
Dogs don't hold a grudge. They aren't bitter. They are very quick to forgive. They won't hold anything against you.

"..as the Lord has forgiven you, 
so you also must forgive."
-Colossians 3:13

3. Joyful Spirit
Dogs always seem to be so happy and ready to play. They make the most of every day and are always so full of joy! 

"A joyful heart is good medicine, 
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
-Proverbs 17:22

I pray that I would learn how to love unconditionally, be quick to forgive, and have a joyful spirit!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What's for Dinner?

I'm finally going to participate in Meredith's New Meal Challenge even though it's the last week. :) Better late than never! I made Swiss Chicken and Sweet Potato Casserole. I've never made this version of Swiss Chicken before (the version I used to make had LOTS of butter in it). Anyways, my husband really liked it! I love casseroles because they are usually pretty quick to assemble and have a minimal number of ingredients. Here are the recipes:

Sweet Potato Casserole

1 29 oz can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
1 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp butter, melted

Spread sweet potatoes in a small greased baking dish
Mix oats, brown sugar, and butter and spread on top of sweet potatoes
Bake for 30 minutes at 350

(DISCLAIMER: I didn't measure the brown sugar and oats when I made it so the above is a guesstimate. Just make sure its a moist and crumbly consistency when mixed.)

Swiss Chicken Casserole

2-3 cups cooked and cubed chicken pieces
4-5 slices Swiss cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 box stuffing, prepared as directed

Spread chicken chunks in a medium sized casserole dish
Cover with cheese, soup, and then stuffing
Cook for 30 minutes at 350

(Sorry I don't have a picture of the Swiss Chicken)

This post is also linked at Raising Homemakers
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