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Thursday, August 26, 2010

A New Giveaway!

Lately I've been collecting beautiful vintage sheets to eventually...
when I get the nerve...
cut them up into usable fabric.

In all my daydreaming about what I can do with this fabric, I came across a great blog that encouraged more collecting and pattern ideas.  
You'll have to check it out, cause it'll make ya wanna raid Aunt Lou Lou's linen closet!

On top of all the other goodness you'll find...
 Jen, over at All Things Vintage Sheets is having an amazing 
Moda Fabric GIVEAWAY!!
You could win THIS!

Or THIS...

Or Even THIS!!!

So what are ya waiting for...git on over there and enter!
God Bless Ya'll!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blog Redo!



First, I want to thank all of you for your support in my blog redo fiasco adventure. 
I felt ya'll cheering me on!  
"You can do it!", I'd hear in my head.  
Then I heard, "You did it...you figured it out! 
 Now lets just tweak this one thing and........AAAAAHHHHH NOOOOO!" 
 It all was once again a warmpeejawed mess.  
I like to make up works when I get frustrated.  

I'll be explaining the steps I took in this process later on in the blog..  I hope that I may shine a small glimmer of hope in someone's direction.  Hoping, as well, to take at least one of the thorns of blog design out of a sweet friend's paw. 

But first, you may want to opt out of the short rant and melodrama that is coming in the next few paragraphs.
Warning!  A slight sign of immaturity on my part to come!


BEGIN MELODRAMA NOW! 

As some of you may know, I don't deal well with change.  I liked the old Blogger Templates.  They were easy.  They made sense. 
 I could use the Minima template and find any cute blog skin to go with it.  

BUT THEN...they changed it all.  

There then came the dreaded "Template Designer NEW", love how they make the "NEW" stand out like it's something wonderful.  Maybe to some, but not to me ruthless blog master...I will not be tempted or defeated in the quest for a cuter blog!  Your spang~dangly options don't interest me.  Keep your flashbliggityblang backgrounds with their cookoomonga font selections. 
Ok...so I was drawn in. 
 ONLY because there weren't any other options. 
 I couldn't find my beloved old template designer. 

Gone I tell you...GONE FOREVA!

END MELODRAMA NOW!  
(Thank the Lord)


I'm going to keep the rest simple, because I like simple and I assume since ya'll like me...you do like me!  Right?...that you want things simple too. 


Here it goes.


~Go to Design in your Dashboard


~Click "Template Designer NEW"...grrrrrr 


~It should open on the Templates tab


~I picked Ethereal because it seemed to be the easiest to work with, but if you're brave, play around with the others


~Go to the Layout Tab...hands are getting clammy as  I write this. Here is where I got really frustrated with all the new gadgetry.  Breathe...Breathe...Breathe...ok..I'll go on.


~Clearly, I selected the template very similar to the Minima template.  All of my blog posts are the majority of the left, while my gadgets hang on the right.  


~Then I selected Adjust Width....Breathing still....I set my entire blog at 820 px and the Right side bar at 300px.  This seemed to work well with centering my blog banner and keeping all of the new little blog tags from hanging over the side.  It's best to play around and find what works for your pictures.


~I went back to the tabs and selected Background.  This was kinda fun...shhhh don't tell the blog master I said that.  I went to the Transparent backgrounds and picked polka dots.


~To change the color of the polka dots you go to the Advanced tab...I found that changing colors was pretty easy.  It highlights what your changing so you can see what's happening to your blog.


As you read in the previous post, I was having trouble getting the blog banner centered.  
Well...lemme tell ya.  
It was a lot of play with this and fidget with that to get it in the middle.

Here was that process:
~I went to Picasa and selected the picture I wanted.


~I then clicked on the Edit tab


~This took me to Picnik which is a great place to play around with your pictures.  I have to admit that I hadn't done any of my pic editing here until this weekend.  LOVE IT!


~Under the Edit Tab I, go to resize


~Check the Keep Proportions and then enter 940 in the first dimensions box.  It will keep your pic looking like it should.  When I unclicked Keep Proportions my picture stretched.


~To add a little bliggityblang to my picture I then went to the Create tab, then Seasonal, then Valentine's Day, and then Heart's Desire.  This gave the picture its glowy spotlight look.


There ya have it!  
I've also made some changes to my settings per suggestions made by some great bloggers out there.  
It just so happened that there were a few who were posting about blog improvements and they were so handy.


Here's a list of great help.
Cindy @ Cottage Instincts~wonderful post about growing your blog following, what a sweetie too, with tons of great cottage decor idears
Kim @ Cheap Chic Home ~ I'm looking forward to reading more of her blogs, she was the one with the great idea to make the pic 940 px.  A wise woman indeedy.
Brenda @ Cozy Little House ~ She did a question and answer post that helped a lot!  I see that she's also done a post to help get a  3 column blog.  I long for a 3 column blog...but I've had my fill for now.  Maybe I'll tackle it down the road.  At least I'll know where to get the help!  Thank you Jayme (Tales from the Coop Keeper) for sending me her way.

God Bless Ya!
Hope ya like the new look!

Friday, August 20, 2010

HELP!


As you can see I'm giving my blog a new look.
Actually, it's an old look that I purchased a year ago, and have yet to figure it out.
I would L♥VE some advice on how to get my banner centered, bigger, and any other helpful hints from all of you wonderful ladies out there.
I am a little frustrated with the NEW template thingy that Blogger has in the Dash. I think it's just confused me even more than ever!

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Butcher

We moved down around Indianapolis in January and have been on the search for a butcher shop like the one we used to go to.
Lowery's in Buchanan, MI, has the best deals on good meat, like fresh cut New York Strip for $3/lb or less.
OH Ma ma ma ma good times....good eats.
Check it out if you're ever in the area...Buchanan is super small, so it's easy to find.

Well...with all our searching high and low, we just haven't found a market here that you can buy in bulk and save like we did back home. We have, however, come across one meat market that I'm sure we will be frequenting.



As soon as you walk in, you know that you've entered through the plate glass doors of hog heaven!
It's filled with the beautiful aroma of meats that have been cured and smoked on site without any preservatives or fillers!
Maybe that wouldn't be hog heaven, possibly hog he!!
...not so great for the hog but great for us!
Kinda like this!
I digress...


This Saturday was our first trip to the south east side of Indy to see what owner Claus Muth had to offer. Being new to the German assortments of meats, we were curious and ready to try some new things.

You'll notice right away, "You AIN'T in Kansas, no mo!"

Hot dogs don't look like hot dogs!

Bologna don't look like bologna!

Then there are all of the different blood meats that I can't even begin to comprehend anyone eating. But seeing them didn't spoil the moment. Just because things weren't prepackaged foods that I grew up on didn't mean my palate couldn't handle something more mature

The service there is impeccable!
The older gentleman behind the counter was so nice and helpful.

He looked like a butcher.

He sounded like a butcher.

He had my confidence he was the butcher.

We told him we had never been there before, and we were wondering if he could help us pick out some new things. He gave us some newbie friendly suggestions so we could make several small selections.
He said, "Take our flyer that has everything listed on it and buy in small portions. What you don't like, mark off."

He was a man of wisdom, with a great sense of humor.
He was suddenly, "My butcher!"

We bonded over bologna!

We bantered over bacon!

I felt that nothing could change this euphoric moment between us....

and then...

I don't know if I can say it

...he...he...

he slipped me the tongue!

Yes! Right there in the shop!

Mr. D standing right there!


I had trusted this man! We had history (about 10 minutes).

He was sneaky!

This is how it all went down: I saw him grab something in the cooler. It was small enough to fit in his hand and not be seen clearly. He didn't say a word, and he just took it over to the meat slicer to shave some off. He came back to us, and reaching over the counter, handed us each a petite little slice of "something". "Try this!", he said.

"Ummm...like...OK!", replied Mr. D...I mean me.

It was mild, nice texture, clearly came from a small strangely shaped loaf.

"Do you like it?", said the butcher with an ulterior motive.

"Ummm...it's ok! What is it?"

"It's tongue!", he says with a smile on his face.

Suddenly my world changed. Every bit of what was left in my mouth, hangin' out in my teeth began to...well...taste me back.

I could feel things stirring in me, and my only hope was to swallow hard. Look out the window...swallow hard...look at all the birdies...swallow hard.

Ok, so my palate ain't so mature.

"You liked it before I told you what it was, didn't you?" he says now with a smirk across his face.

"Ummm...kinda...(swallowing hard again).


Needing to put this little moment behind us, we continued to make our selections. We selected about four different kinds of bologna, ham and turkey lunch meat, and some of the best hot dogs we've ever eaten.


They're on the far left of this picture.

It's so cool...it's like they're linked together just like in the cartoons!!

( Immature dork alert!)


One of the wonderful new things we had to try was

Holiday Loaf/Schweinebauch ~wrapped in bacon.

(#41 on the list...will not be marked off, but maybe circled with a heart)


Oh, it was delicious!

I tried to girl it up good by serving it on a croissant.

Horrible picture, but really good eats.


So if you're ever in the neighborhood, be sure to stop in to Claus' and tell him the lady that choked down the tongue says, "Hi."


Coming soon!!

We also purchased the

DOUBLE Smoked Bacon!

I'll be baking it in the oven just like ya'll suggested.

Ya'll Come Back Now! Ya Hear?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Missin' Ma Kids!

'Bout this time of year, we'd host the BEST part of our summer...
Backyard Bible Club!

It all started by looking up from the garden one day and realizing we always had a bunch of kids in the yard. That's when God put that spark in our hearts to put this all together. This opportunity was the door that opened to minister to our neighborhood even beyond summer.
We were so blessed by getting to be a blessing.
A couple years in a row, we would gather as many kids as we could find from the neighborhood for the last 3 Wednesdays of summer.
It was our opportunity to get them all together and show them the amazing love of Jesus.
It was always really hot or rainy, but they didn't care.
They came excited, ready to learn, and to have fun.

Who are these crazies??
The best crazies on the block!!
That's who!!
And I'm missin' them somethin' terrible!
That would be me on the right if you were ever wonderin' who that wacko frog lady was.


We tried to plan on cool down games to beat the heat.
Water relays are a blast!
Go Maddie! Go!


This sweetie in the hat is my neighbor Becky...what a blessing!
Miss your sweet face!


Let's talk about sweet faces...or sweet feets!
You've gotta be ready to get your groove on if you're havin' kids over.
This was the moment that surprised me every time.
They didn't care who was watchin'...
we cranked the music and they danced and jumped and sang loud!



Conga lines always drew a crowd!



My mom wrote a skit that my kiddos acted out with puppets borrowed from a friend's church.
They almost passed out in the shed because it was about 100 degrees inside!
Thanks guys! I know you did it for Jesus!



Teach times were essential!
We kept it visual and simple so they would take every bit of it back to school with them.
"Love each other, don't lie, garbage in-garbage out, be undignified for Jesus, the fruit of the spirit, help each other, nothing can separate you from the love of Christ....NOTHING!"

In the blender was vinegar, tuna, mustard and some other stinky stuff.
One of the kids wanted to eat it!
I thought about it, and then said no...promise!




Here's my hunka hunka burnin' love...helpin' to get ready for a game!




Morgan, Wesley and Maddie had a great dance routine for the kids.
Snazzy, Baby! Snazzy!
...again..who's the crazy in the back?



Speakin' of crazy...This is our Pastor John.
I promise those aren't gang symbols...I think...
Ok...really I have no idea!
Note: "Avoid gang symbols!"
We had a lot of help and support from our friends!
We are eternally grateful for good friends



Do you see the looks on these faces?
(Mr. D on the left)

Pure Satisfaction!

Giddiness!

The kids had no clue what was coming!



We warned em!
"Dress for Mess!"

Clueless, I tell ya!



None of them knew what the scaffolding was for.
I really thought they were going to explode in anticipation!

They were each given a bowl of ice cream, and then they had to catch the toppings!

This was our grand finale!


It was AWESOME!!!!




A little extra chocolate syrup to conceal his identity!

Priceless!

Luke 18:16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.


Don't be afraid if you feel that God is calling you to step out of your comfort zone! He'll equip you to do whatever it is, and you'll be blessed beyond measure!
God Bless you All!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Nanny

I'd like to take a moment and share with you a snapshot of my beautiful grandmother,
Edith Rose.
"Nanny" to me and the rest of the grandkids.
(I love the flower in her hair)

Many of the homemaking skills that I know have come from her. In fact, at the beginning of my married life adventure, I would find myself double checking my work and thinking,
"Would Nanny approve?"

She was a strong woman who raised and cared for her 4 children the best she knew how. She came from meager beginnings, but her faith carried her through all of the challenges in her life. So much of what I know about life and cooking came from watching her, and most of the time I wasn't even realizing the wisdom that I was absorbing.

Her kitchen was intended to be the heart of her home and the heartbeat definitely came from her. The layout was meticulously thought through and designed to suit her needs perfectly. To this day, I long for her counter and cabinet space! There was a large peninsula that housed a double sink, and also was large enough that we grandchildren could all sit around it and eat. I can't help but imagine the thought that went into this one area. It was an ingenious plan to keep all of us little ones at arms reach and under her wing.

My fondest memories of her are the simple ones. I can remember every step she took to wash her dishes. The suds from the detergent filling up her cloth as she would wash and rinse each dish by hand, and THEN put them in the dishwasher.

While she did the dishes, she would talk about the day's events and tell stories of the past. Then came my favorite part! It was when she would clean out the sink. With a soapy cloth in hand, she would wipe every handle, faucet, seam and basin. It was like a sudsy ballet as the bubbles formed all over, just as she intended. Then came the rinsing. It wasn't rushed. It was all part of her thoroughness and care for her home. You knew when the story she was telling was important to her (or more like, she realized she had a captive audience), because the bubbly bath would begin again. I always knew that when she dried the counter and sink the story was coming to an end. It was her time and way of passing on wisdom, and I would be so thankful for just one more moment sitting there with her. I still have so many things to learn.

My Nanny is with the Lord now, and as I write this my heart aches because I miss her terribly. But, I know that one way to honor her memory is to take the homemaking skills she passed down to me, and pass them down to my children.

Oh Momma, could my Nanny cook!
This woman had some mad kitchen skills!

Nothing was spared and only the best was served. Occasionally I would I see her pull out a cookbook, but mostly the family recipes just seemed to flow out of her! We all had our favorites like pork chops, fried chicken (ya knows me and ma chicken), homemade biscuits and gravy, and desserts Desserts DESSERTS. All had been mastered.


I came across Grandma's Wartime Baking Book by Joanne Lamb Hayes at the library. It has become one of my favorite cookbooks.
In fact, I've checked it out about 3 times in the last six months.
(It's on my Christmas List!)

It's full of WWII recipes that were published in variety of cookbooks and magazines at that time.
Whenever I flip through these pages I can't help but think of Nanny and the women like her who had to learn these skills out of necessity.

I can't imagine what it would be like to have sugar rationed
or not even to be able to purchase butter.
But that's just what they did!
That great American ingenuity kicked in and they figured out how to make more with less.

I rarely "read" a cookbook, but this one is full of tidbits and stories of this time period. Each recipe has an explanation of where it came from and why it was altered to meet rationing needs. Many are sugarless desserts and can easily be thrown together with very basic ingredients.

This week I gave the Sticky Buns In A Hurry a go. I added raisins and a little glaze on top.
They were a hit with the kids and Mr. D really enjoyed the one left for him.


Here is the recipe!
Click on the picture and it will enlarge.
I made the measurements bold so that you were sure to see them.

My mother recently has let me borrow my Nanny's cookbooks, and I'll be sharing more of these wonderful recipes with ya'll soon.

GIVEAWAY!


has a really great blog, and she's having a super cool GIVEAWAY!
She's gifting out a set of 5 Vintage Plant Markers from Homespun Sprout!

This is a new Etsy shop! You know and how I feel about the
NewBEES!

♥ New BestEverEstyShops ♥

I LUV 'Um "MORE THAN MY LUGGAGE!"
-Clairee Belcher
HUGS!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Makin' Bacon...Quick Tip


Are you tired of bacon shrinkage?
How many shirts have been ruined by bacon grease popping and splattering?
How many burns have you got by trying to make bacon without a shirt on?
(Don't answer that!)

Have I got a solution for you!!

♥Dredge your bacon in flour before you throw it in the skillet!♥

#1 It helps less expensive bacons not shrink as much! It kind of "beefs it up", or "porks it up?"
#2 It prevent the popping and splattering of the grease significantly!
#3 It will give an opportunity to pepper and season your bacon easier!
Put about a cup of all purpose flour in a dish.
I like to really put a lot of pepper in the flour!
When you think you have enough pepper, add more.
And then more, again!
Coat the bacon well and then give the slice a little shake to get off all the extra flour.
I've become a huge fan of iron skillets.
I really think it definitely makes a difference when you're makin' bacon.

You want to adjust your temperature so that the flour doesn't scorch. I had the gas burner set on 4 , but everyone's stove is a little different.
DELICIOUS!
(Please excuse the sad pictures...there are no windows in this kitchen to bring in any natural light...absolutely none whatsoever...pitch black...can't see a thing...ya need a flashlight at noon!...ok, it's not that bad...but I really like to "..." things...can you tell?)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Take Me Home To The Movies!

This is the second installment of Take Me Home To The Movies, and I'd like to give a BIG, "Thank You!" to my dear friend Layla for this week's suggestion.
(Coming soon! Layla will be guest posting to tell you her side of the story about how our childhood friendship was recently reunited after 30 years! I'll also be posting on her blog...
I promise not to draw mustaches on all of her pictures)

A good planned out movie night at our house usually involves eating dinner in front of the TV and everyone gathered around ready to enjoy some laughs together.
Pretty simple!
Well, lemme tell ya...
the last couple of weeks have been crazy busy, and we weren't able to all be in the same place at the same time. Last Friday the kids had a youth event, so Mr. D and I took the opportunity to have a Date Night/Movie Night all on our own. We splurged and got a deli dinner at the supermarket.
I decided to pick out something I haven't had in a long LONG time!
Fried chicken!
I LOVE fried chicken..

L O V E IT, LOVE IT!

Daryn will only have it if he's in the "mood." He's never in the mood,
so I never get ma FRIED CHICKEN!
(I could be friends with this man!)

I'm not bitter really. I ate it with all its crispy golden-ness using about 10 napkins to clean up after each and every delicious bite.
"Mmm...Chee-Kan!", says LeeLoo as she pulls out the baked bird from the space age microwave thingy.
And then, I suddenly remembered why I don't eat it very often.

Anywho....

If you are in the mood for a classic mystery movie, check out Rear Window by
IT 'S Like Fried Chicken! Without the tummy trouble.
Ok.. there may be some tummy trouble from squirming in your seat and thinking you've got it all figured out, but you really don't! You probably are way smarter than me and you're used to all this mystery thriller stuff. I'm a bit of a late bloomer.




I was a little skeptical at first about an Alfred Hitchcock movie. All I knew were the glimpses of knives in shower scenes and bloody drains! Yes Norman, I'm talking about you and yo mama! Layla put all of my worries at ease by telling me Grace Kelly wears some gorgeous outfits in the film and I was all like..."OK!"

This was my favorite outfit...see that bracelet? She jingles while she has it on.

I wear my jeans like this all the time...I'm a Grace Kelly wannabe!
Gotta get me some penny loafers.

Also, how can you resist James Stewart? He's just like penny loafers...

A CLASSIC!

You may be wondering about this being "family friendly" or "kid friendly". I rechecked it out from the library for the kids to watch. I didn't want to suggest something for family movie night if I didn't test it out on everyone. My kids are between 13 and 16 and they really enjoyed it. There is some violence and suggestive material, but I don't remember any adult language.

This is a DVD we picked up for FREE at our local library! Be sure to check it out!


Now for the yummy part!
How about a snack to go along with this flick?

Wesley suggested Lady Fingers...I know...it's a little sick, but it works!
You can find this delicious recipe HERE! Enjoy!

Thank you again to Layla and her super movie suggestion. I'd love to hear about your favorites too! Just leave a comment below and it may end up being featured in the next
Take Me Home To The Movies!

God Bless Ya!

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