Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Homemade Teacher Gifts

I'll admit that it's been a rough time getting in the Christmas spirit and getting everything done.  I always start in November so that I have plenty of time to enjoy and not stress.  But the three family funerals that I attended last month put me way behind.  I appreciate your prayers so very much!  I know they helped me and my families cope with losing our loved ones.

The decorating is finally done as of today, four days before Christmas.  I really don't like that because we don't have much time to enjoy.  I was going to minimize this year but Rich said that he really likes to see the home decked out in holiday cheer... so it happened.

I have really enjoyed looking at your beautiful homes full of Christmas.  It has honestly gotten me in the spirit and I thank each of you dearly for that, I needed it!  =]

I thought I would share some homemade gifts that the kids and I worked on this past week.  I made some Cinnamon Apple Jelly a couple weeks back.  It is so delicious and so easy to make.  I am not a jelly maker, but I can make this so anyone can do it!  Here is the recipe link if you care to try it:

A lovely idea that I gleaned from Pinterest: wrap a freshly baked loaf of bread in a coffee filter and tie it off.  Of course I had to use baker's twine because I'm addicted to that stuff, haha.  Quick, cheap, and cute!

The kid's five Sunday School teachers received a jar of Cinnamon Apple Jelly and 2 mini loaves of Brown Sugar-Oatmeal Bread that came from Gooseberry Patch's Gifts For Giving cookbook.  They turned out to be cute little gifts.

Amariah has always had a giving heart.  She wanted to gift each of her 7 school teachers, even the ones that she really doesn't care too much for, lol.  So we made up some hot cocoa packets with candy canes, another Pinterest idea.  I buy the big boxes of hot cocoa packets from Sam's so we already had that on hand.

Our teacher gift to the little guy's Kindergarten teacher was also a Pinterest idea.  I like to give practical gifts.  I know... no fun, right?  But this is practical and FUN!  I've had the paint can for awhile because I just had to have it, but haven't even used it so this was perfect.  I wrapped it in some cute school scrapbook paper and added some matching stickers.

Of course Mrs. Baker's treat can had to have some fun treats!  So we used a cute idea from yep... Pinterest.  So quick and easy.  I used the mini Creative Memories circle punch which was the perfect size for the bottom of the kiss.  The gingerbread/heart theme will carry over to Valentine's Day so that worked out great. 

Robbie signing his Christmas card to Mrs. Baker, with a back view of the treat can.

This was just a cute little idea that I saw on Pinterest.  I bought a Jenga knock-off game at Dollar General for $3.50.  We picked out some colorful scrapbook paper and some school theme paper then mod podged them on to one side of the blocks.  Now the kids can build things with them or use them as a matching game because we made 2 of each design.  Robbie really enjoyed this and played with it all weekend so I know that his classmates will enjoy it.  Another practical gift...

Amongst the hustle and bustle that society has created around the birth of our Savior, my kids and I were able to have some fun creating and crafting gifts to present to their teachers.  13 gifts later and I am so thankful for the quality time we spent together, memories that were made, and all the $$ that I saved.

Now on to some cookie baking and candy making for 17 of Rich's co-workers... Chocolate Crackles, Snickerdoodles, and our favorite to make... Chocolate Stars!

I wish for you all to have a most delightful Christmas surrounded by loved ones with many wonderful memories being made!  May you find time this joyous season to remember and celebrate Jesus Christ's birth.  Hold on to His promises of a full life, an abundant life that only He can give you.  

Merry Christmas~

Friday, November 25, 2011

Prayers Please

I know some of you already have a home decked out for Christmas, but this fall loving girl...

My original plan was to take down the fall and put up the Christmas next week, the last week of November.  But I'm not too sure that is going to happen now.

I'm asking you, my prayer warrior friends to please add my families to your prayers.  Last Sunday, November 13, we traveled to Missouri for the funeral of my great-uncle Glen Johns.  In my large family, we are a close knit group.  Although this was my dad's uncle, we always called him Uncle Glen.  As well with the other 10 siblings.  Us kids never used the word "great", we just felt blessed to have so many aunts and uncles.  Uncle Glen was so soft-spoken, such a kind man, and loved God with all his heart.  He was my favorite out of the whole clan and I miss him so much.

My husband and the kids came on home that day while I stayed with my parents.  The next morning, we headed up to Princeville, IL for the visitation and memorial service of my mom's brother, my Uncle Jim Smith.  He ran off the road, rolled his truck, and it caught on fire.  His body was 90% burned but thankfully he was gone before he even ran off the road, there were no tire marks whatsoever.  He was a 22 year Navy veteran and was extremely active in all the veteran halls in the surrounding areas.  I was amazed at the very long line at the visitation.  My Aunt Marian said there were people there that she never even knew.  For 2 1/2 hours, over 565 people came through to pay their last respects to our family.  What an honor that was (and very emotional as well) to see the many veterans come through in their dress.  It was so neat to see yet so hard at the same time.

Then I got the call last night that my great-aunt Susie Johns, my dad's aunt that has been in the hospital for several months, wasn't expected to make it through the night.  I received the call this morning that Aunt Susie passed away last night.  She was so full of laughter and spirit all the way up until her entrance to the hospital.  A very loving soul who will be missed.

That's three deaths in our close knit family in two weeks.  Please pray for the Goins', Smith's, and Johns' families for comfort.  Our family has been known for its legacy of faith, love, and family.  For that, I am extremely grateful and I know that God will help us through this time.  Thank you for your prayers, dear friends!

At this thankful time of the year, I have been reminded this month that there is nothing more important than relationships.  First and foremost, our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  If you don't have this or don't understand, please contact me, I would love to share how my Savior is always there for me and loves me unconditionally.  Second, is our relationships with our family members.  Yes, there are some members that occasionally drive us crazy (or more often than that!) but be thankful for them, try to mend those broken ties because you never know when the last minute will come.  Lastly, thank you my dear blog friends that have been with me these past few years for many laughs, and cries.  I may never meet any of you in person, but you are all dear to my heart and mean so much to me.  Thank you for being a part of my life!!  Love to you all~

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall Decorating

I just realized I never came back with a picture of my $15 steal of a deal in this old sewing machine.  All I did was sweep it down real well to get all the dirt and webs off of it.  I have decided that since I still have a young one at home that likes to play with interesting things, that I would display it with the machine down in the cabinet.  I really want to show off the machine but I know my little guy won't be able to keep his hands off of it... me either for that fact, lol!  It's fun to turn the handle and watch it work.

The top of this sewing cabinet is the perfect place for some family Bibles, along with some old family books.  Doesn't the sweet stitchery from our dear friend Linda over at Parker's Paradise look wonderful just above the sewing cabinet??  It's like Linda knew exactly what would look great in my home, I still love it so much Linda!  Thank you again, sweet friend!

The old glasses on top of the family Bibles belonged to my great-uncle Oscar.  I bought a box lot at a garage sale for super cheap and there were two itty bitty extremely dusty oil lamps inside.  They cleaned up quite nicely, I was honestly surprised.

I bought these little squirrels a few years back when I was working at Hobby Lobby.  I do miss working there this time of year when all the fall is out.  I brought fall decor home each week, hehe!

This little display is on top of the entertainment center in the family room.  The ceramic bear is the very first holiday piece I ever bought for my home back in the late 80's and I just can't seem to part with him.  He's such a jolly little guy.  House of Lloyd, the home party... anyone remember them?  My family loved them and had lots of parties.  Back then, we had these potpourri pots instead of tart warmers.  You put a tea light in his belly (which is why he has a heart hole).  Inside his head is where you put potpourri with a little water, then his hat had air holes in the top.  Thankfully sometime shortly after that, people started using wax tarts instead of the potpourri because it would get pretty nasty if you let it set a couple of days.  My grandma and granddad's wedding picture is in the background.  Oh, and yes... I realize that one candle is way too tall.  I have a replacement patiently waiting to be waxed.  Should have done that before I took this picture, haha.

I have lots of teddies in my family room because I use to collect them years ago.  They still mean warmth and comfort to me.  This sweet teddy bear is sitting on a little stool with the state outline of Oklahoma carved in the top that my husband made many years ago in scouts.  So we know it's an antique, hehe!

A quick shot of part of the mantel.  My main project this winter is to organize all photo frames and family pictures.

Just a little pot with berries in the Living Room in the Amish corner.

In the main bath, I keep a sewing drawer that belonged to my great-grandma.  I have fun changing it out with the holidays.

Isn't this little blue vase just precious?  My dear friend Katie over at Willow Creek Homestead brought this back to me from a family vacation they took to San Antonio, TX.  It came from The Guenther House.  From the website, it looks like a really neat place.

Maybe I can get it together soon and get pictures of the rest of my fall decorating.  You all will be showing your Christmas and I'll still be in fall, lol!  Oh well, I would leave my fall up all year long if my family would let me... dang family anyway.

Don't you just love receiving packages in the mail, especially when they are a total surprise?!?  My dear Facebook friend Micki Groom Creamer sent me a message that she was sending me something only I didn't see the message!  When I opened my mailbox and there was this huge package crammed inside, I was shocked.  Micki knows I love old sewing notions and has sent me some in the past that are displayed in my vintage sewing bathroom and laundry room (which is right beside the bathroom).  What a sweet, sweet thing for her to do, look at all this fun stuff!!

There is old bias tape for 10 and 25 cents, love that!  The old DMC and Coats labels on the floss, some say 12 cents.  Those will definitely be used in decorating, love those old labels!  A couple of cute patterns, a Christmas potholder & oven mitt panel, a beautiful quilt block that was started and never finished.  I was wondering what I could do with the adorable Americana fabric and Micki sent me pictures of pillow tucks she made out of it... CUTE!

Just in time for Christmas giving, there was a 'Cookies to Give in a Jar' kit complete with twine, jar toppers, and labels.  Perfect!  But my most favorite thing of all has to be the 1938 Singer instruction book!! What a real sweetheart my friend Micki is!  She has a fun and wonderful open group Christmas page on Facebook that you really should join: MAKE MINE A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS.

I gotta end this post with a picture of my little guy.  I was out taking fall foliage pictures again and he wanted me to take a picture of him as he was dancing and singing in the leaves... so sweet.

I suppose that's enough rambling for one post.  I appreciate you all giving my friend Katie from Willow Creek Homestead a wonderfully prim welcome.  She was overwhelmed at the response and I was too!  You all are so dear and precious to me!  Thank you for your friendship!  =]

Have a wonderfully blessed week~

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Blog Friend!

Hey, all my good prim friends... I want to introduce you to one of my bestest friends that lives here in the state of Oklahoma with me, right down the road.  Katie Harris started her new blog Willow Creek Homestead today!!  Katie and I have spent a lot of time together this year antiquing and crafting.  We have picked up some awesome deals together.  I've been bugging her all year long about getting a blog so she can be addicted right along with me, hehe!  Katie started a primitive transformation on her home this year and it looks awesome!  We'll have to get her to post some pictures for us.  =]

I'll be honest... I was always envious of you that have a prim blog friend to hang out with all the time and so wished I had one, well now I do and I am SUPER excited!!  So please go on over and give Katie a wonderfully warm prim welcome.  I know she will fall in love with all your wonderful, creative blogs and be touched by your sweetness like I have been the past few years.  Thanks friends!

I also want to thank each and every one of you that gave me such wonderful advice on my waxed icicles!  I have finally decided how to tie 'em up and package 'em.  I'll share that in a future post when they are ready.  I was hoping to have them ready by now but family first... October was full of football!  Three games a week!  Not to mention football practices 4 days a week after school.. basketball practices 5 days a week before school.. cheerleading practice 2 days a week after school.. both my boy's birthdays.. plus 3 birthday parties we attended.. trip to the pumpkin patch of course.. overnight guests of my parents (twice in a month to watch the kids' games), friends in a Christian band, my sister and her friend.. checking account was compromised with someone writing fake checks so we had to close out our acct and start a new one, still dealing with that yucky mess.. four concerts that my husband's Christian rock band played in.. ending in Halloween.. Oh, and the total 64.5 doz homemade cookies I made for the month for the JV and Varsity football players to have at every single game, and 48 cupcakes for the middle school cheerleaders (I decided this late in the season so the girls didn't get as many as the boys).....  all of this in the month of October!  Whew!  No wonder I'm so tired!  I was beginning to think that I needed a trip to the dr because my vitamins weren't cutting it but I can see I've just been on the run all month.  Anyway, hope to be back with you soon.  I have some great steals that I acquired at some sales that I want to share.

Can't have a post without pictures but all I have for now is a little fall foliage around my home.  I'm blessed to live close enough to town for when I need something, yet far enough out to feel like I'm in the country.

Looking down our driveway... we still have lots of green!

Coming out of our driveway, going down the little country road that I love to see in every season...

A real beauty in our backyard

Our pond can even be pretty at times

Our family friendly Oak tree in the backyard that houses the treehouse and the horse tire swing as it gives shade to the playset and swimming pool.  I adore this massive Oak and marvel at it continually no matter how long I've lived here and see it daily.

Some pretty color in our front yard

To end this post, a couple of views of my next door neighbors

I am so blessed to be living in such a beautiful place.  Sadly, I have to see pictures like this to remind me because I see it every day and sometimes take it for granted.  So thankful for God's blessings on this homeplace!  Also so thankful for the friendships I've made with you, you are a big part of my life and I treasure you all!!

Don't forget to stop in and welcome Katie at Willow Creek Homestead!

Have a delightful first week of November ~

Friday, September 30, 2011


No amount of preparation or forewarning can actually prepare you for when your oldest child starts making that passage into adulthood.  I thought that my child reaching the dreaded, even feared "teenager" milestone would be so hard for me but 13 came and went.  Even 14 came and went with no fanfare.  Now I know why... it was saving itself up for a time such as this.

I snapped this picture of my oldest child taking his driver's license written test.  Then I grabbed the hand of my little guy and ushered him out the door as quickly as I could but the tears were falling before I even reached the door.  I don't know why this was such an emotional time for me?!

Ryan found out immediately that he passed the test, only missed one.  I was quite shocked seeing as I paid $4.95 for a driver's education book that he didn't even crack open.  Guess he listened well in the driving school.

We immediately had to go to the Tag Agency to get the permit.  I pulled up to the door and just couldn't contain myself.  Ryan couldn't believe I was crying so much.  He told me that I couldn't come in unless I wore my sunglasses to hide my eyes, lol.  So I did.  I had him do all the paperwork and answer all the questions so he could get a feel for what it's like to be an adult.  Then she had him stand back and take his picture.  Again, the tears came.  But the toughest part out of all of this came when she handed him his learner's permit.  I took it in my hands and just lost it right there in the building with people starring at me, LOL!  It's a good thing it wasn't even the emotional time of the month... oh my what would I have done??  I'm wiping tears away right now as I type this.

Not even turning 40 years old compares to my oldest child learning to drive.

Although he is finally showing signs of becoming a responsible young man, I just can't even believe that the past 16 years have flown by as quickly as they have.  Shouldn't he still be in Kindergarten laying in bed, snuggling up with me as we read books?

Rich and I only have a few more years to impress upon his heart the ways and responsibilities of a God seeking, God fearing man that is to be the head of his home.  Wow, that is so overwhelming to even think as I read it once more.  That is why I am so truly thankful that God leads my husband and I as parents to the best of our ability.  We still screw up constantly, have good intentions, and get lost ourselves sometimes... but God is ever faithful.  The best comfort of all is in knowing that he, my first born son Ryan, is a child of our loving Savior.  Since Ryan (and my other children) was in the womb, before we even knew him, I prayed for him.  These past almost 17 years, I have been praying for the friends he keeps, any girlfriends he might acquire, but especially for the spouse he will one day marry.

It's not easy raising kids.  But knowing that they are truly God's kids and He is just loaning them out to us to raise up and teach sure brings about a peace that can only come from Him.

I am grateful that God saw fit for Rich and I to take Nathaniel Ryan from an infant to an almost 16 year old young man.  I am thankful for the years we've had with him, the joy, the laughter, and even the heartache he has brought to our lives.  For through it all, we learn to be better parents and trust that God has it all under control.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Waxing Icicles

Good afternoon prim friends!  If you've been following me this past year then you know that I have an addiction with wax.  I just can't help it!  It's so messy and so much fun to take something and transform it into a new look.  It honestly reminds me of back in the day when I would play in the mud and make mud pies, lol.  I think that's why I love it so.

Anyway, I could hardly wait to get the kids dropped off at school this morning so I could get home and wax some plastic icicle ornaments I bought after Christmas this past year.  They come in a box of 24 with a gold string.  I cut off the gold string and dipped them in the wax.  You can see the before pile in this picture, then the after with a wax dip and rolled in cinnamon.

If you want details on my waxing process, you can visit a past post I did here on grunging candles.  So after they are dipped in wax, rolled in cinnamon... I dip them in wax one more time and then give them a little cinnamon rub to look like this...

To keep the hanging hole clear of wax, I use this antique ice pick that I got from my great-uncle and aunt's home in Morton, IL.  You know it's old when the phone number is only 5 digits!  Around here, we have to use the area code even when we are calling someone down the street, the 10 digit number.  Funny how times change, huh?

Now is where I need your advice...

If you were to buy some icicles, how many would you want in a bundle?  3, 5, 6, or 7?

And then, what would you want your hanger to look like?

Do you like the red baker's twine?

Or maybe the brown baker's twine?

How about just plain twine?

Or maybe even red and green homespun?

I know we all have opinions, it's just that some of us are more vocal with them than others, lol.  But I would really love to have your honest opinion on what you think.

I like for my wax to cure for a few days, even up to a week.  I love the patina after a waxed piece has set up.  It's always a rich, beautiful deep brown color.  I'll be adding them to my Etsy next week.

Thanks so much in advance for your thoughts.  I trust you and treasure your advice which is why this post is here.  =]

Thanks truly dear friends.  Wishing you a grand weekend ahead~