Tuesday, August 31, 2010

40 Rocks – Happy Birthday Gift for Sister-in-Law


I mentioned yesterday that the family came down over the weekend to celebrate my sister-in-law’s 40th birthday – which is today by the way – Happy Birthday Michele!

Thinking, thinking …. what gift to give?  She’s been celebrating turning 40 for a bit and is fully embracing it.  And this is what I came up with, especially since my 40’s have been the best years of my life and I’m hoping the same for her.



A side note to the “rocks” portion of this gift – Aunt Michele was the one that brought Pop Rocks for Brooklyn to try for the first time.  That made this gift even more perfect for her!



And yes, double meaning to the words on the jar.  I’m hoping that Michele’s years in her 40’s really do “rock” and she enjoys them to the fullest.  And also, there are 40 “rocks” – pop rocks – inside the jar!



The technical information on the jar –

  • label is the Bigz Top Note die from Stampin’ Up
  • the 40 and ROCKS is from the Cricut cartridge Winter Wonderland
  • stamp set on the lid is Crazy for Cupcakes from Stampin’ Up
  • 5/8” Satin Ribbon in Basic Black and Real Red from Stampin’ Up

I put some red paper “Easter grass” from the gift wrap section in the bottom of the jar, then added all the pop rocks.


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And I do believe she liked it!



** Linking to Take a Look Tuesday, Anything Related, Toot Your Horn Tuesday, Topsy Turvy Tuesday, Talented Tuesday, Get Your Craft On, We Did It Wednesday, Spotlight Yourself, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Look What I Made!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Birthday Dinner With Family

What an awesome weekend we had!  My sister-in-law’s 40th birthday is coming up and she decided it would be fun for them to come to Dallas and celebrate with us.  So the two of them and mom headed south on Friday afternoon and we had such a great time!

Saturday night my kids all came over and the whole group of us went to Babe’s Chicken for a birthday dinner.  Of course granddaughter Brooklyn was pretty much the center of attention with all her relatives there. And fortunately for us, the restaurant had toddler entertainment in the form of water and paper cups.

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She would head over to the water stand to get each of us a little cup of water.  (And on a side note, I just cannot believe how big she is getting and how grown up.  Maybe 3 years old isn’t really grown up, but it seems like it was just yesterday that we were waiting in the hospital for them to come out and tell us that our granddaughter had been born.)


016 copyShe would very carefully walk back over to where we were all sitting and pass out the water.  And even though it was still pretty hot, Brooklyn picked out her outfit herself and was determined that was what she was going to wear.  Seems like somebody is developing a few opinions of her own!  She did look terribly cute and the jeans made her legs look so long. 


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And then she handed the water to her grandpa.  Is that not the cutest face EVER???  How I adore this little girl!!!

So many more stories and photos to come.  Sometimes when we experience a full weekend like this, full in the sense of ‘my cup overfloweth’, you honestly just want to savor and relish all the memories.


You don’t choose your family, they are God’s gift to you.”

- Desmond Tutu

Monday, August 23, 2010

Love Finds You in Victory Heights, WA

LFY Victory Heights

Love Finds You in Victory Heights, WA
Tricia Goyer & Ocieanna Fleiss

About the book: The second world war has stolen Rosalie’s FiancĂ© from her. But rather than wallow, Rosalie throws herself into her work at the local Boeing plant, shooting rivets into the B-17 bombers that will destroy the enemy. A local reporter dubs her “Seattle’s Own Rosie the Riveter,” and her story lends inspiration to women across the country. While Rosalie’s strong arms can bear the weight of this new responsibility, her heart cannot handle the intense feelings that begin to surface for Kenny, then handsome reporter. Fear of a second heartbreak is a powerful opponent…but will it claim victory over love?

About the authors: Tricia Goyer is the award-winning author of more than dozen novels. She and her husband have four children and live in Arkansas. Ocieanna Fleiss is a published author and editor. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. This is the authors’ second book together.

My Review:  The “Love Finds You” group of books has quickly become one of my favorites. Though each is a stand-alone book I have loved the story and writing of each and every one. When I saw that the latest novel was written by the Tricia Goyer/Ocieanna Fleiss team that also brought us Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, MT, I was thrilled.

Love Finds You in Victory Heights, WA was a fun read that was obviously well researched.  I thoroughly enjoyed the slang terms from the era, including hearing Rosalie referred to as “Doll.”  And when one of her friends says “Look at you, sweets. You’re over the moon.” I couldn’t keep the grin from my face.  The dances, the music, the willingness of the girls in the story to do their part to welcome the “boys” home from war.  It really is great to see how a community can all come together.

And interspersed with the fun and romance are some sweet sentences of a faith being learned. Rosalie came to many realizations, such as “For the first time, she understood that her sin was too heavy for her to carry, too weighty for her to pay off. She needed someone else to carry it for her.” How beautiful to learn to lean on Jesus that way.

Tricia’s contest: Tricia is giving away 5 Victory Prize Packs! Find all the information on her blog here.

Disclaimer:  Thank you to Litfuse for providing me with a copy of this book to review – all opinions are my own.  If you’d like to see other reviews for this book, please visit them – Litfuse Book Tour.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Joe Loves the Lake!

Today Keith and I took a quick trip out to the lake with our faithful sidekick Joe.  Joe is a 10 year old Golden that seemingly turns into a puppy every time he’s around water – it’s truly a site to behold!


As hot as it was today the first thing we did after getting out of the No Wake Zone was head to the nearest beach so that he could get wet.  The minute we slow down to maneuver the boat on the beach he rushes to the back  of the boat and waits for the signal.  He really loves it. 

I wish I would’ve gotten a picture of him with his life jacket on – we always get so many comments while on the water.  Most of the time people are curious and ask if he’s not able to swim or why he has to wear a life jacket.  The thing is, this dog will swim until he is totally exhausted and his back end starts sinking because he’s too tired to hold himself up.  We started using the life jacket years ago just for our peace of mind.

As lunchtime rolled around we really weren’t ready to go back yet, but with the dog we weren’t able to stop at one of the many restaurants on the lake.  Then Keith remembered that one of the restaurants has a “pull up and order” dock!  While not quite as grand as a Sonic, you do pull into a parking place, get out of the boat to the central area, look at the menu and push the button.  Coolest thing ever! 

I went inside to order though as I really did want to wash my hands before eating, you know, since we’d been in the lake all day!  When I came back outside I saw this:


Keith had set Joe up on the back of the boat and he was getting comments and “good boy!” from everybody that walked by.  Mr. Social Butterfly dog was truly in his element.

And being a tad geriatric, he slept the entire way home and is in a very deep sleep at my feet right now.  He loves every minute of the lake, but it sometimes takes him a bit to recoup afterwards.  Not that I’m passing judgment since it honestly takes me a little longer than it used to as well!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Stumbles #26


It’s looking like today will be one of those few and far between glorious lazy days. The temperature is still over 100 each day so we’re doing more inside than out – and that’s fine by me! :)

- I’ve always been a big fan of Rice Krispie Treats and still make them every so often. Now Robin at Keep Home Simple shows us how to take it to the next level for the kids – Trix on Sticks! I am so going to make these for Brooklyn next time she comes over – it just kind of seems like a grandma thing to me.

- I’ve talked about all the room rearranging we’re doing and part of that is repurposing furniture or making trips to the thrift store to find things to fill in the rooms. Then I saw that Kara at Creations by Kara has posted a tutorial on DIY Furniture Refinishing-Spray Paint Style and am in love. In the past I would never have even considered doing this, but seriously, when you can get small furniture for next to nothing at thrift shops and garage sales you really have nothing to lose by trying.

- We hear all over the news that it takes many lifetimes for a single plastic bag to decompose (I was going to find a link, but can’t find a clear cut answer to this) so I love to find alternative uses for these bags. How about turning the bags into “yarn” and knitting or crocheting sturdier shopping bags out of them? Even tossing aside the green angle – these would make great waterproof bags for taking to the lake or pool.

- My love of pinto beans has been talked about, so when I saw that The Other Side of 50 shows how to make pinto beans, and then refried beans, in the crockpot I was all over it. I’m sure these would be so much healthier than the canned version we currently use.

- And of course, something sweet. I’m thinking of making this Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie from Linda’s Lunacy to take to work one day this week. Good thing my co-workers love to help me eat this stuff or I’d have an even bigger weight problem! :)

** Linking to Saturday Stumbles at It’s Come 2 This

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday’s Fave Five #102

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For whatever reason I sure feel like doing a Snoopy dance today for Friday!  It has not been a bad week, just happy to see the weekend I suppose.  As always, click on over to Susanne at Living To Tell The Story for more Friday Fave Five.

1. Feeding the Birds – which makes me think of this Disney song:

So back to my original thoughts – and funny that I’ve put a Disney video here.  I am enjoying my two bird feeders immensely.  At different times during the day there might be 20-30 birds on the feeder, on the tree next to it, the ground underneath and in the bushes nearby.  Usually there will be a squirrel or two frolicking nearby as well.  I’ve told Keith that when it gets like this it reminds me of a Disney movie, like Cinderella to be exact, when she walks out with her melodic singing and the birds flutter around and land on her shoulders.  While I don’t have it quite that idyllic (yet!), it brings me great joy to sit and watch the birds.  I’m very blessed to have quite a few cardinals in the area (who knew?) and they are so very beautiful.

2. Baking – I’ve mentioned before my cooking blog, Gramma’s Cookin’, and I have to say that the side benefit of starting this is that I’m thoroughly enjoying baking and cooking again.  To be fair, when you reach the empty nest stage of life you really do have so much more time and that does help to change a task from a chore to a joy.  I am actually cooking my way through a lot of the recipes that I’ve torn out of magazines through the years or printed from the internet.  In the process I”m finding some new big favorites – what a bonus!

(and let me add – I have a Blueberry Pound Cake in the oven right now that smells divine!)

3. Knitting – Because Netflix has the instant view feature we’re catching up on quite a few tv series that we missed out on through the years.  Since this involves a lot of quality “sitting” time I’m also getting a lot of knitting done.  Finished a shawl last night and as soon as the ends are woven in I’ll be sharing that here.  Which meant that I immediately cast on a hat and I’ll betcha it will be done today, so that will be shared soon as well.  Honestly – there is nothing quite so soothing as that yarn sliding through my fingers and creating something. 

4. Room rearranging – Oh.My.Word.  This house is in such chaos right now as we redefine what some of the rooms will be used for.  But I’m actually starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel for “my room” and have started even thinking of the decorating process.  I’ll have my computer desk (naturally!), scrapbooking table, cutting table and sewing machine in here.  Since it will be a place to create I’m hoping that I can eventually get it to look like a place to inspire me as well.  Really looking forward to making things in here and feeling very blessed to have this space.

5. My daughter got a job!  Really I probably should’ve made this #1 since that’s pretty huge.  She’s been working at a job through a temp agency for the last 2 years and just went through interviews and such at a different company and got the job!  She started yesterday and when we talked last night it did this mama’s heart good to hear her so happy and at peace.  I’m especially thrilled that she’s working at a good company and got a good offer during this economy.  God is good – all the time!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Congratulations Stampin Up Card

Finally was able to make it to Stamp Club the other day and am always so glad when I do. This bright and cheerful card was one of the projects we made and while it looks deceptively simple, we used the 3 wheel stamps and it was a challenge. Trying to line the word up just right took a couple of tries and lots of laughter.

Now to wait for just the right "congratulations" occasion to send this card out.

Supplies used (all Stampin' Up): Wheels - Confetti Explosion, You Did It, Striped; Paper - Peach Parfait, Daffodil Delight; Ribbon - Daffodil Delight 3/8" Taffeta Ribbon; Punch - Itty Bitty Shapes Punch Pack; assorted brads

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday Stumbles #25

Is it hot where you are? I'm just about to declare the heat as the winner here and start waving my white flag of surrender. Just not wanting to do much of anything when it gets this hot.

But I did find how to make Lemon Ice at The Idea Room and her photos alone are worth clicking over to see it. It sounds so cool and refreshing and how fun to serve to people when they come and visit.

Or for a daily treat, how about a Limeshake Slushie from 2nd Cup of Coffee? It sounds fantastic and it's actually not bad for you - a double treat! I'll warn you though, if you click over there you're liable to have a song stuck in your head for a while. Ask me how I know. ;)

And necklaces keep catching my eye. The Quick Chiffon Chain Necklace at Flamingo Toes looks like something my daughter would love. It would be so cute with a t-shirt or something plain so it wouldn't take away from the coolness of the necklace.

Flamingo Toes also has the Anthro Knockoff - Akela Necklace that is so cute. This one reminds me that everything old becomes new again eventually, at least somewhat. When my kids were quite young my BFF and I taught children's classes through the Community Education program. We did a similar necklace with the kids using tubes of fabric and marbles. The one Flamingo Toes does takes that idea and adds a little more BAM! to it. :)

The Zippered Laptop Sleeve Tutorial over at Crap I've Made is SO CUTE! I can just imagine showing up in a meeting and pulling out a laptop in this darling cover. So feminine and fun!

And as always, some sort of treat. I loved ordering scones at Starbucks back when I went there all the time, so finding a recipe for Chocolate Chip Scones at The Stories of A2Z has me intrigued. I like that there's so few ingredients and that they go from bowl to table so fast.

There's a good chance that the ice, the slushie and the scones will be tried very soon. If it happens, I'll be sure to share. If you try any, please do let me know!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Note About Blog Parties and Links

You might have noticed on the bottom of my Waffle Knit Dishcloth post that I listed a bunch of places that I linked the post to. It's a great way to share things you've made, but more important than that - oh.my.word.....all the glorious crafts to see! I started visiting these blog parties and seriously could sit for hours looking and dreaming and planning what next to make.

Since I am enjoying these so much I've started working on a new "page" for the blog to list the parties. You'll see the link up at the top - right under the beautiful photo of a dandelion and it's cleverly titled Weekly Blog Parties. Still adding to it, but it will be done soon.

If ever you are bored or not feeling inspired to be crafty, click up there and start visiting these places. You will quickly lose track of time and have a bunch of windows open in your browser as you try to bookmark all the great ideas.

You are welcome. ;)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Waffle Knit Dishcloths

I first mentioned this pattern back on one of my Saturday Stumbles posts and since that time I've fallen head over heels in love with it.

Waffle Knit Dishcloth

It's an easy pattern to memorize, but has enough going on that it keeps your interest. And the pattern has a nubbly texture, which I particularly like when washing dishes as it usually eliminates the need for a scrubby.


I've done two so far and I really think this will even replace my "old faithful" pattern - the Grandmother's Favorite.


I tend to like my dishcloths a little bit bigger than most, so I cast on 44 stitches instead of the 38 in the pattern. Then I just knit until it was square, which made for an 8.25" dishcloth.

** Linking to Get Your Craft On, Topsy Turvy Tuesdays, Take-A-Look Tuesday, Toot Your Horn Tuesday, Tip Me Tuesday, Lucky Linky Tuesday, Look What I Made, Idea Sharin' Wednesday, Penny Pinching Party, Creative Therapy Session, Get Your Craft On

Monday, August 09, 2010

FTL 102 - Starry Thank You Card

I have a few cards that I need to get in the mail and last night seemed like the perfect time to get started. Cause really when it feels like it's 150 degrees outside it's hard to get excited about doing much of anything other than staying inside!

I haven't done any stamping in a long time and while making this card I rediscovered how much joy this hobby brings me. I'm thinking it's time to dust off all the supplies and keep at it. :)

Since my card muse has left and set up who knows where, I decided to revisit one of the challenges I used to love on Clean & Simple Stamping. This is the FTL 102 (Fall To Layout - meaning it's a great layout and easy to use) sketch:


And this is my card:


I am *enormously* pleased with this card (pretend the photo above is super great and not washed out)! The colors in real life are vibrant and bold and right now are a favorite color combination of mine. I think it's because it's so summery - the citrus colors of lemon, lime and orange.


Stamps - July Fourth, Teeny Tiny Wishes (Stampin' Up)
Inks - Versamark, Palette Noir Black
Paper - Yoyo Yellow, Green Galore, Only Orange (Stampin' Up)
Embellishments - Dew Drops

** Linking to Making The World Cuter

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday's Fave Five #100!

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And back on track with a Friday's Fave Five! Love looking at the week's blessings and a big thank you to Susanne at Living To Tell The Story for hosting each week.


Flowers! I haven't been feeling well lately and the doorbell rang and this was on the other side. After I realized they were for ME - not a neighbor that maybe wasn't home - LOL! - I was giddy! They are from my Aunt with an "I love you" card inside. Is that not the sweetest thing ever?

2. Phone Calls - When the phone rings and it's a friend you haven't spoken with for quite some time, you really can't stop the smile on your face. Life just gets so busy for all of us and to have somebody reach out like this was an unexpected pleasure. There are lessons to be learned here people - we need to slow down and enjoy the process of life and not just rush through it. <-- And that's spoken for my benefit as much as for anybody else. :)

3. Sundays - Every week I look forward to us meeting our daughter at church and worshipping together. And just as special in its own way is going out for breakfast together afterwards. We're having so much fun trying out new places. Coming up it will be even more different as our church is mixing up some of the services and we might end up going to a later service (still undecided). If that happens we'll still go out to eat together, it just might be for a lunch meal instead of breakfast! It's all good though when we can spend time with the ones we love.

4. Room Rearranging - We did end up buying the bedroom furniture from Craigslist that I talked about a few weeks back. Absolutely love it! What this means is that we are rearranging some of the rooms in our home and they will have a new purpose. Once all the dust settles I'll take some pictures, but I'm kind of enjoying spending time every evening getting some things done around here. It's all rather unhurried too, which is nice, which means we can take the time to go through some things now and purge/delete/donate/throw away! Our only real goal is to get it finished before the holidays get here because at that time we'll want to have our focus elsewhere.

5. Crafts - Along with all the rearranging and going through I'm revisiting some old craft projects. I sent an email to my mom this week saying that I see these things and I love them as much today as when I bought them, so to me that's a sign of a good purchase. As I sort and arrange that closet I'm kind of putting things in the order that I want to work on them and am so excited and ready to get started. I also found a few knitting projects that only lack the ends being woven in and then blocking, so those will get done very soon. Loving my crafting again!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Antique Bean Pot

A few weeks back I was very blessed to spend a Saturday morning going to garage sales, sample sales and restaurants with my cousin. For many years she lived in Houston and even though that puts us both in Texas, let me tell you there's a whole lot of Texas and we rarely saw one another. But now she's moved up to Oklahoma City and that is all changing. We head up that way to visit the rest of our family and I am so excited to get to see her more! Strange to realize I can get to Oklahoma City in less time than I can get to Houston - and I'm in Dallas!

Going to garage sales with her is a hoot and a half. We drove up to one and were laughing so hard, then when we got out of the car and walked up to her garage she said she could hear us when we were driving up! Then we all got to talking and laughing. Ah...good times. :)

So one of our stops was quite fruitful for me. It was an older couple and we talked to them for a good little bit. I was thrilled to find a stack of 12" quilt blocks that she'd sewn herself (hopefully they will be showcased here fairly soon, just need to get it finished) and I think she was tickled that I was so pleased to have found them.

Antique Bean Pot

And then I saw this and was enchanted. The little sticky note said "Antique Bean Pot $5". Now I don't know a thing about antique cookware and Keith laughed when he saw it and said that they saw me coming. I'm ok with that though cause even if it's not a genuine antique, it is old and I love it's character. The inside of the pot is well seasoned and to me that means well loved. When I was looking at it the Mr. of the garage sale came over and said he thinks they'd had that pot for 40 years and said "that's a lot of beans!" See, these are the things memories are made of.

Beans happen to be a memory maker for me as well. Growing up we would have beans and rice and cornbread probably once a week for dinner. And when we'd go to Ft. Smith, AR to see Daddy's family Grandma would always have a pot of beans simmering on the stove. Even more recently, there's a hamburger joint up at the lake that we like to go to that has a very, very large pot of beans out on the counter. You place your order, then dip up a mess of beans to eat while you wait. That's some good eatin' right there.

I've cooked one pot of beans so far in my Antique Bean Pot (see how I have to capitalize it each time?) and it was fabulous. I'll be having them again soon and will put the directions on the blog. Because I swear there's bean juice running in my veins and once my mom gave me all her cooking secrets, really I almost have to share. It would be unsouthern not to.

** Linking to Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays, Twice Owned Tuesday

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

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My silly son at the circus Friday…with his silly wife looking over his shoulder!



* Linking to Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 02, 2010

Brooklyn Loves the Circus

WARNING – picture heavy, proud Grandma post is here!

So much fun – we went to the Ringling Brothers circus Friday night with all our family and lots of extended family.


We arrived an hour early so that we could go out on the floor where they had all kinds of things set up.  Brooklyn was pleased as punch to have her Grandpa carry her around.



And fun, and a little strange feeling, to have a red circus nose while your Aunt Nay is carrying you!



VERY impressed with this – she saw one of the acrobats helping kids stand on a big ball and she wanted to try.  She said “Grandma take my picture” and she stood up there.  I love that she’s not afraid to try new things.



The elephants were definitely Brooklyn’s favorite part and she kept asking when they would come out.



Right now she’s into “take my picture Grandma” and then “let me see” right afterwards.  Good thing that digital cameras give us the ability to do that!



We splurge and got a bag of cotton candy that also came with a felt wizard hat.  Our entire row ate on the candy and it really does make the experience more fun – and sugary!



This is what happens when you’ve had a bunch of cotton candy and a sno cone – you get the sillies while Daddy is holding you!  Brooklyn loved having her daddy wear the hat.



You can barely tell in this picture, but she’s on Mommy’s lap now and playing with her cousin Katelynn.  These were little toy things that would spin and light up and the girls had a blast with them.


What a blessing that night was!