Friday, October 29, 2010

Review – A Season of Miracles

A Season of Miracles

A Season of Miracles
by Rusty Whitener
Kregel Publications
269 pages

Looking back on the 1971 Little League season, Zack Ross relives the summer that changed his life…

Gunning for the championship is all that matters until twelve-year-old Zack meets Rafer, a boy whose differences make him an outcast but whose abilities on the baseball field make him the key to victory.

Admired for his contribution to the team, Rafer turns everyone’s expectations upside down, bestowing a gift to Zack and his teammates that forces them to think—is there more to life than winning or losing? And what is this thing called grace?


Reading this book I think I expected a “typical” baseball or sports book about how young boys learn life lessons through sports. What I got instead turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year.

Interlaced with the baseball theme is a story about young boys and fathers and God. The neighborhood boys from the Robins Little League team meet to practice in a field one day and see another boy their age, Rafer, sitting with his back to a tree watching them. Rafer is “touched” and sees and processes the world differently than the other boys do. But interestingly enough Rafer is able to teach lessons to the boys and adults around him, even if unintended.

This book is small, only 269 pages, and what I thought would be a very fast read took a little longer than I anticipated because of the thoughts presented within. Sometimes I would come across the thoughts and stop and ponder them a while and savor some of the lessons to be had.

I honestly think this book can be enjoyed by anyone, whether a baseball fan or not. And fortunately for us all this book is in the preproduction stage of becoming a movie.


** Thank you to CFBA for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Candy Bracelet


When I knew that we would be meeting the kids at the pumpkin patch I decided to get my Grandma-ness in gear.  You already saw the cookies, but I also had seen the Pumpkin Candy Bracelet Tutorial and since it was so darling I decided that Brooklyn needed one too.

Pumpkin Candy Bracelet

This was seriously easy to make and took probably 10 minutes!  I used 9 candy pumpkins on this bracelet just as the tutorial did.



Brooklyn's Bracelet

It fit and looked darling on her!  I really think she liked it.



You can ever so barely see it on her wrist through the window.  This pumpkin patch had a really cute little house made of hay and Brooklyn had fun playing in it with her Daddy and Grandpa.


Brooklyn in the House

She fiddled with it a lot.  And I think it looked so cute on her!



Everything is so much fun when you are 3 and have your parents and grandparents with you to be certain you’re having a grand time!


Brooklyn Riding a Tractor

And you can look girly with your pumpkin bracelet even when riding a tractor!



When we finished enjoying the pumpkin patch we left to go have dinner at a nearby restaurant.  Brooklyn got in her car seat with mom and dad and we got in our truck and met them there.

Loni got out of their truck and walked toward me saying “Grandma!” with her hands cupped.  Uh oh….  In her hands she had all the candy pumpkins and little ribbon ties!  She said Brooklyn was so upset when it fell apart. 

I’m assuming it came undone at the knot and that my 4 or 5 knots in the dental floss were not enough.  So my caution to anybody else planning to make this bracelet is – be certain to tie it very tight!

We reassured Brooklyn that Grandma would either fix it or make her another one.  I’m not sure if she was dismayed that it broke or disappointed that she no longer had the bracelet.  Either way… it was a grandma fail moment.  Fortunately I had a bag of Soft Sugar Cookies to hand to her at that moment and redeem myself somewhat!  :)


* Linking to Get Your Craft On, I’m Lovin’ It

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Soft Sugar Cookies for Brooklyn

Being a grandma is one of the absolute best things in the world.  Case in point, here it is Tuesday and we get to meet the kids at a pumpkin patch after work today.  Seeing your granddaughter midweek like this truly is priceless.

So it got me to thinking – I truly believe that being together and doing things together are what memories are made of.  Time spent with her and all my family absolutely warms my heart.

BUT…wouldn’t it be EVEN BETTER if I enhanced that time a bit?  I mean, I AM a grandma after all.

So I decided she needed some fall sugar cookies to make the event even sweeter.  I looked at the cookie recipes and ideas I had saved on my computer and decided I’m not quite ready to take the “serious decorated” cookie plunge yet. 



The recipe I chose said on her blog that these are her husband’s favorite cookie.  Good enough endorsement for me!  They did turn out wonderful and reminded me very much of the pink frosted cookies you can buy at Walmart.  I will say that I’ll continue looking at recipes though because using Crisco didn’t excite me.  But the flavor sure did!   :D


Runny Frosting

One word on the frosting – don’t make it too runny….ask me how I know.   After this I added more powdered sugar.  ;)


Fall Cookies

recipe from Nursery Rhymes & Sweet Times

3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup Crisco (I buy the sticks, so much easier – and use the butter flavor Crisco)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
4 tsp milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

In a large bowl cream together Crisco, sugar and vanilla. Add egg and milk, beat until light and fluffy.  In another bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to sugar mixture 1/3 at a time until mixed together.

Scoop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets using a small cookie scoop.  Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.  I baked mine until the edges were ever so barely browned.

Let cool for a minute on the cookie sheet, then move to a wire cooling rack.  Frost cookies when they have thoroughly cooled.


2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

Add just under 1/4 cup milk to the powdered sugar in a bowl.  Beat until smooth, adding more milk or sugar to get desired consistency.  Add food color and spoon on to the top of the cookies.  Top with sprinkles while frosting is still wet, then leave on plates or wire cooling racks until frosting sets.

This recipe made 22 cookies using my cookie scoop.


** Linking to Tasty Tuesday

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hat #4 for Red Andrews Dinner – Brangelina Hat


This was the first time I’ve used a bulky weight yarn for a hat and I wasn’t sure I’d like the final result.  It’s Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick and I *love* the color (barley) and enjoyed knitting with the yarn.  And one thing about it, knitting with big yarn means you finish a project very fast!

So when my lovely model (husband!) and I headed outside for the photo shoot he told me that this is the most comfortable hat I’ve made – and said that without any prompting from me!  I did tell him I’d make one for him since all these hats were for charity and I’m a little embarrassed I haven’t knit a hat for him yet.


The pattern is by Crazy Aunt Purl and is called the Brangelina Hat.  I bought the yarn at Michael’s, of course using a 40% off coupon.  I think this pattern and yarn might be my “go to” combo for hats for charity going forward.

A note about personal goals/quotas – I had said at the first of the year that I planned to knit a hat a month to donate to the Red Andrews Christmas Dinner in OKC to follow in my mom’s footsteps.  Of course when you say something like that life will happen and I’ve only gotten 4 done so far.  But here’s the thing about personal goals/quotas – even if you don’t make the number you hoped for, there will still be 4 people that will be a little warmer this year with my hats.  I’ve looked at this several different ways and it all comes out good to me.  I’ll try again next year for more.  :)

And in case you want a reminder, here’s the previous 3 hats I knit:

Hat #3 – Cross Skull Hat
Hat #2 – Hurricane Hat
Hat #1 – Classic World War II Watch Cap


** Linking to I’m Lovin’ It, Show and Share, Get Your Craft On

Review – Love’s First Bloom


Love’s First Bloom
by Delia Parr
Bethany House Publishers
320 pages

From Goodreads:  Ruth Livingstone's life changes dramatically in 1838. When her father, a pastor to fallen women, is accused of murdering prostitute Rosalie Peale, Ruth flees with Rosalie's daughter to a New Jersey village. There Ruth lives quietly as "Widow Malloy"---until brash newspaper reporter Asher Tripp arrives. Will he discover her secret and endanger her mission?


Set in 1838, this historical romance about young Ruth Livingstone’s life as Widow Malloy told quite a few history lessons along the way.  Things we take for granted in the 21st century were definitely not commonplace during this time.

Widow Malloy arrives in a small village in New Jersey with a toddler in arms, staying with some friends of her father.  After some tragic events transpire she’s not really sure what she will do next, all the while trying to figure out the feelings she’s starting to have for a new man in town.  But each of them are keeping secrets not only from each other, but in fact from the entire village.

While there some predictable parts to this novel it didn’t take away from the reading enjoyment.  The author threw in enough plot twists that I looked forward to my reading time with this book each day.  I would definitely recommend it to anybody that enjoys historical romances.

** Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Birthday Card for Lynne’

I forgot to post the card I made for Lynne’ in her birthday post!


Birthday Card

I had a little trouble capturing the exact colors – of course it all worked together and looks better in person.  :)

When Lynne’ was a young toddler I always used to call her my Little Ray of Sunshine.  Every morning I’d hear her sing-songing in her room and when I went in there she was standing in her crib, looking out the door with the biggest grin on her face.  As I entered the room she’d start that bouncy dance that littles do and you really couldn’t help but smile back at her.

The colors in this card reminded me so much of that time.  So even though there’s no sun on the card, it really does say Little Ray of Sunshine to me.

CREDITS:  Paper and Ribbon - Stampin Up;  Flower Stamp – Morning Star Stamps; Sentiment Stamp – Stampabilities; Glittery “stuff'” on flower - Stickles

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

She’s 25 Today!

Lynne' and Alicia copy

Today my daughter turns 25!  The photo above was taken Sunday after church when Lynne’ (on the right) arrived at our house with her roommate Alicia (left) before going out to lunch with the family.


005 copy

Our family tradition for as long as I can remember is that the birthday person gets to choose where we go out to eat.  And while everybody was still living at home the birthday person got to choose what meal mom cooked for their “birthday eve” dinner the night before their birthday.  Lynne’ has long been a fan of Olive Garden and used to choose it every year.  This year she said she wanted it again as it is “an oldie but a goodie.”


Brooklyn and Scooby Doo copy

Of course the Little Toot was in fine form to be with everybody.  She’s got the cheesy grin down pat I do believe.


010 copy

After lunch we came back to the house where Loni had made a pumpkin roll for Lynne’s birthday.  The guys went out to do something on one of the trucks and all the girls sat around the kitchen table talking and laughing.  Truly there are few things I enjoy more than sitting around the table with those I love.


Pumpkin Angel

And then……    Lynne’ noticed an angel in her slice of pumpkin roll!  Do you see it?  Loni tried and tried to get Lynne’ to stop eating it so we could put it on eBay and make our fortune.  ;)


Pumpkin Cat

It then turned into a game of I Spy with the pumpkin roll.  This slice has a cat with a tail that loops around.  Why is it that I feel like this will also become a family tradition?  :)

We had a wonderful time together and I love the woman my daughter has become.  What a great excuse for a celebration!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday’s Fave Five #110

FFF fall background

Happy Friday y’all!  Thrilled that it’s Friday and time to look back over our blessings of the week.  Thanks to Susanne for hosting each and every week.  :)

1. I was one of the many, many people the world over that was overjoyed and glued to my radio/internet/TV during the rescue of the 33 miners from Chile.  So amazing and beautiful to see them as they emerged into the fresh air.  I was touched to see how many dropped to their knees in prayer and especially the words of the second miner, Mario Sepulveda.  “I have been with God and with the devil. I fought between the two. I seized the hand of God, it was the best hand. I always knew God would get us out of there."  AMEN!

2. dietdrpepper

OK, so maybe it’s not exactly a blessing, but I am currently falling head over heels in love with Diet Dr. Pepper!  I swear that most of the time I question whether they’ve given me the diet version when I order it at a drive-thru – it’s that good.

3. Our Mentorship class at church is still amazing! I’m still so surprised at the path that God has laid before us, but I’m going forward by faith.  We are learning so much and so blessed by both the things we’re learning and the people in our class.  Excited – and maybe a little scared – to see where this leads us!

4. Walking with the dog – I’ve talked before about how I love taking walks and especially love the fact that it’s cooler outside.  One of the sweetest side benefits of that is seeing so many other people out walking as well.  The friendly smiles and greetings are a sweet balm to the spirit.

5. Texas Rangers in the playoffs!  Now I do see the silliness of having something like this in the same list as the miners being rescued in Chile.  But honestly there is something about the home team doing good that just elicits smiles everywhere you go.  It’s great water cooler conversation, people talk about it at stores and restaurants, really there’s no end to it.  And in these tough times if a baseball team can help build a sense of community I don’t see where that’s a bad thing.

In fact, I’ll be sitting on the sofa tonight next to my Beloved while we watch the game together.  Togetherness is a good thing.  :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Stampin Up Card

I mentioned briefly in my weekend update post about going to Stamp Club with my daughter-in-law.  Let me tell you more!

We left from work on Friday and headed straight to Joann’s for some crafty shopping, followed by dinner at Fuddruckers.  We both got a kick out of what a cheap date we are as we both ordered the kids meal and ended up spending right at $5.  :)  But honestly, even with the kids meal I still left food!

Really it was nice to have some time just the two of us.  We talked and shopped and laughed.  I am so very fortunate to have a daughter-in-law that I genuinely like to spend time with.



This is the card we made and I absolutely love it!  It’s ok for me to say that I love something I made when it wasn’t my idea or design….LOL!  Of course they are all Stampin Up products and now I have to decide who to send my one card to.

And did you know that the great canned pumpkin shortage is coming to an end?  So glad as I love everything pumpkin.  The reason this even came to mind is that our hostess for the evening brought a pumpkin roll that was out of this world delicious.  Think about it – pumpkin bread wrapped around a cream cheese filling – what’s not to like?  She said that she just used the recipe on the inside of the Libby’s pumpkin label.

CFBA – Embers of Love by Tracie Peterson

The logging industry in eastern Texas is booming, and Deborah Vandermark plans to assist her family's business now that she's completed college. Unexpectedly, her best friend, Lizzie Decker, accompanies her back home--fleeing a wedding and groom she has no interest in.

Deborah, the determined matchmaker, puts her sights on uniting her brother and dear friend in a true love match. Deborah soon meets Dr. Christopher Clayton, a much-needed addition to the town. As their lives intersect, Deborah realizes that she has a much greater interest in medicine and science than the bookkeeping she was trained in.

But when typhoid begins to spread and Lizzie's jilted fiancé returns, Deborah wonders if true love can overcome such obstacles...for those dearest to her, and for herself.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Embers of Love, go HERE.


Historical novels seem to go one of two ways – either the heroine is a simpering pansy or so headstrong that you want to roll your eyes.  Fortunately Deborah VAndermark, the focus character in Embers of Love, is neither of these. 

The story opens with Deborah and her best friend Lizzie, fresh out of college, in the church preparing for Lizzie’s wedding to a man she doesn’t love.  Deborah does a fine job convincing her friend to not marry and to come home to Texas with her, which is when the story takes off.

Deborah’s internal struggles with whether to continue doing the bookkeeping for the family business or pursue her interest in medicine is done well.  She’s a woman with a mind of her own without being overbearing.  The book also covers the fears and dangers of typhoid during this time.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it.


** Thank you to CFBA and Bethany House for providing my review copy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This Weekend I…

This Weekend I

…went to the lake with  my Beloved and R E L A X E D!!!  There is something so wonderfully peaceful about having coffee together outside and enjoying the fall colors and breeze.

…did some baby blanket knitting in the car on the way home.  Keith had the Rangers baseball game on the radio (sadly – we lost) and it was interesting to me as we never watch or listen to baseball.  But you know what?  The sound of the announcers’ voices lent a very nostalgic feel to the air and it was good.

…talked on the phone with my aunt for an hour and a half last night!  I always feel renewed and ready to face anything after we chat and laugh.

…went to dinner and Stamp Club with my daughter-in-law Friday night!  Oh what a great time we had together.  :)

…got to love and kiss on Brooklyn for a few precious minutes.  Friday night when we were finished with stamp club we met James and Brooklyn halfway so that Loni could go home.  Brooklyn was *this close* to falling asleep in her car seat, but she did wake up enough to put her little toddler arms around my neck and give me a kiss.  I love her so much!

…was able to visit my absolute favorite quilt shop!  The ladies there are delightful and I always leave the shop with a smile on my face.


* Linking to Becky’s Weekend Updates    :)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Brooklyn Likes the Lion

I got a call from my daughter-in-love that was so cute! She said "I might have scarred your granddaughter." "Oh?" I say.

Well they sat down and watched Beauty and the Beast for the first time. I nod and reply knowingly "Ahhh." But she said no, not for the reason you're thinking. (And of course I was thinking that all Disney movies have the terrifying evil character that scares the fire out of kids.)

But Brooklyn did fine all through the movie....until the very end and she started crying. Loni finally got her calm enough to ask what was wrong. She said "I don't want him to be a boy, I want him to be a lion!"

Seems little Miss B wasn't impressed by the Prince. But the Beast, now that was her kind of character.

Silly girl.....


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Plastic Bag Storage

Seriously – what are the odds that I would find two seemingly innocent but oh so life-changing things so close together?!?!  Either my internet time is becoming quite productive….or I need to get out more – LOL!

When it comes to the plastic shopping bags my cup definitely overfloweth.  We’ve switched to mostly using the earth friendly reusable bags, but sometimes I forget them.  And why is it that when the clerk asks if I brought bags I feel so guilty???

Anyway, I really do use the plastic bags though, mostly because we have an indoor cat.  Nuff said.  But there really isn’t a good way to store them….until now.


I used to wad up the bags and shove them in a storage thing we got at IKEA.  But now I have learned how to fold them flag style and look at how small that triangle is!  I think the next time we sit down to watch tv I’m going to bring along all the bags and get them folded.  Then I just need to find an awesome bucket or jar at the thrift store  to put them in.

Cool, eh?    :)

(oh and see the fabric and rotary cutter in the corner?  I really am doing some sewing…..)


** Linking to Works For Me Wednesday

Monday, October 04, 2010

This Weekend I…

It seems like weekends are always so filled with wonderful things and it’s hard to sit down, categorize and blog it well.  I end up throwing my hands up and not getting anything posted at all!  Now I think I’m going to start taking the easy way out because I enjoy reading these posts elsewhere.   :)


This Weekend I

* actually got to sleep in!  The boys – dog and cat – usually wake me up the same time every day.  No matter how hard I try I cannot teach them that we do not have to get up at 5:00 on the weekends!

* went to the Urban Street Bazaar with a friend that I haven’t seen nearly enough lately.  Not only was the bazaar great, but the surrounding shops were a lot of fun as well.  It’s a very eclectic area and we enjoyed it immensely.


* stopped at a diner that has been there since the 50’s (and looked it – it was wonderful!) and had a piece of pie after the bazaar.  We chatted and enjoyed every morsel of that pie!

* went out for Korean food for the first time after church Sunday with Lynne’ and her friend.  I was very bold and ordered the chicken friend rice.  ;)

* sat and watched a video with Keith while knitting on a baby blanket.  It’s been far too long since we’ve relaxed like that and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

* did not do one little bit of housework other than cleaning up after dinner!  Of course that means it will be waiting for me tonight, but it made for a fun weekend - LOL!

* took a nap Sunday afternoon.  Honestly I couldn’t say the last time I took a nap and it was wonderful.  We seem to go, go, go until we have nothing left to give.  When I woke up I felt so rested, which was quickly followed by a bit of guilt.  So silly to be guilty over getting the rest we need.


* Linking to Becky’s Weekend Updates    :)