Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sanctification is of Grace

By grace you were saved through faith.  What about sanctification?  By grace you were not only saved but you were also sanctified!  Click here to listen now.

Friday, February 25, 2011

To stimulate all budding photographers and parents

A friend (thanks, Joyce) shared this with us and we thought it just had to be shared with you all!! 
We were amazed and inspired!
How creative is this?  
This little girl’s mother is a computer specialist from Helsinki , Finland . While her daughter is soundly asleep, she creates a completely different world … from whatever she can find around her! That’s how both of them became really famous. What a truly fabulous imagination! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Recipe of the Month part 1

Our family loves salmon.  For years we broiled the salmon and served it with a garlic and butter sauce.  As sides we always serve brown rice and peas.  After so many years, some members in our house lost their love for salmon and nearly dreaded the meal.
I guess you can get to much of a good thing. :-) 
It still makes my mouth water just thinking of the meal.  Oh well, maybe someday it will grow on those members again. 

Sweet Bree went looking for a new recipe. 

This recipe is what she found and it is delicious!  I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do.  Just a little note on the salmon.  We purchase ours at Aldi's for $3.49 a pound.  It is wild caught not farm raised, which is important to me.  It comes in a 1 lb. package which has four individually frozen and wrapped pieces.  This is the best price and quality that I have found. 

Now on to the recipe!

Baked Salmon Fillets Dijon

8 salmon fillets
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a shallow pan with foil.
Place salmon on foil.
Spread mustard on fillets then season with salt & pepper.
Top with bread crumbs.
Drizzle butter on top.
Bake 15 minutes or until salmon flakes easily. 

We like to serve this with Zuchinni Quiche (see the next post) and Healthy garlic and cheddar biscuits (which we posted the recipe for in January).

Recipe of the Month part 2

Now on to the side dish that we like to serve with the salmon. 
We enjoy this recipe in many ways.  Sometimes we add ground meat to it or will serve it with different meats on the side.  Several years ago we planted zuchinni in the garden and God blessed it so much that I went on a recipe search of how to use it besides in zuchinni bread.  Zuchinni freezes quite well.  You have to drain the water but it works great.  This delicious recipe was shared by a dear friend.  Thanks Ruth!

Zuchinni Quiche
4 cups shredded zuchinni
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 2 Tbsp dried flakes)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sweet basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder (or 1 pressed garlic clove)
1/4 tsp oregano
2 eggs
2 cups shredded mozzerella cheese
2 tbsp dijon mustard
one 9" pie crust or you can put the crust in the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan

Sautee zuchinni and onion in butter until tender. 
Stir in seasonings.
Remove from heat.
Mix eggs and cheese together and add to vegetable mixture.
In your unbaked pie crust spread dijon mustard on the bottom and sides.
Pour vegetable mixture in crust.
Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes and serve.

Our Trip South, part 1

Hello to everyone! 

Saturday, February 5th, we left our home and began our travels southward.  Since it might take us a while to get the whole trip posted, we'll break it up into sections.

On our way to our first destination, our aunt and uncle's in Tennessee!

 Oh traveling always makes you soooooo sleepy. 
Sweet Essie, sound asleep snuggled up with a blankie and Dollie.

Back seat riders enjoying the trip together. 
It's always so fun being together no matter where we are.
What a blessing family is. Each is such a wonderful gift.

 Before we left home, the most beautiful snow began falling from the heavens.  It was so breath taking!  A most perfect winter day.  It was hard to leave it all knowing there wouldn't be any of this northern beauty where we were going.  But once we were on the road, it didn't take long to recognize that this beautiful snow was creating a bit of a challenge.  In fact, the roads got so bad and the snow was coming down so fast, that we considered (at least mom was) just pulling off at an exit and waiting for a while.  We were amazed at the amount of cars in the ditch and the emergency vehicles!  Unfortunately, we saw few snow plows.

However, fearlless Daddy felt it best to keep going, so on we went.  His driving skills are so amazing to us ladies.  He said that we were headed in the right direction for the weather and roads to get better.  Sure enough, he was very right! 

You can see the ice on the windshield and the snow.  The Lord's hand was definitely with us!  He is so faithful and very merciful!  He is our Protector at all times!  God Almighty, whose watchful eye always sees everything!

After all that snow, everything was so pretty!  The trees were covered in the fresh snow! 

A beautiful picture of a passing barn covered in snow!

The beauty of the snow often reminds of the passage in Scripture that says
"...though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..."
May we always be reminded of how wretched we are, and how wondrous He is!

#1 Driver of the Year!
Now that we were getting more south, you can see the weather was a little more favorable and Daddy is able to enjoy a cup of coffee as he drives.  Believe me he deserved it.  My hands were sweaty just riding, I cannot imagine being the one driving. 


A little road treat!
Yum, yum!  You can't get much better than Krispy Kreme Doughnuts!
(Except if you get the Hot & Nows:-)

Our precious Little Rose!  She was such a good girl during the whole trip!  I think she looks sleepy in this picture, but I suppose that often everyone feels that way when you're travelling!

She gave in and fell asleep!

Tired Bell and Essie joined Little Rose in sleeping!
So precious to see those two bonding together as sisters and friends!

Britt reading a story to Ti.  Looks like it was intreguing!
She is a good big sister and Ti looks up to her, especially since she is his teacher for school.

What a pumpkin, and so onery!
Life would be so dull without that sweet little one!

Our little toothless Bell posing beautifully! 
She is a sweet heart!
She doesn't always feel very well when traveling,
but she was a real trooper and kept a great attitude!

Britt using the time productively, crocheting a doily.

This is not the best quality photo, but so precious! Father and son together, spending time sharing dreams, talking about life's happenings, and discussing spiritual topics and Dad sharing his priceless words of wisdom and advice. 
"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise."
...and when you're driving down the road!  What a blessing!

We arrived safely at Uncle T. and Aunt D.'s that evening and enjoyed a precious evening together with them. 

Uncle T., Dad's brother, visiting with the little one's and Tayter.
They all love Uncle T.!

Aunt D. and Britt cleaning up the kitchen together! 
Kitchen clean-up time always is such fun together as a group
 and lends its self to delightful fellowship!

Mama and little Rose enjoying each other!
Little Rose was probably thinking...
"At last!  Out of that vehicle and into Mamma's arms!
Life couldn't be better!"
Mama and baby together is such a precious thing!

   Bell and Essie cuddled up in Uncle T.'s lap!

After a long day, everyone was very tired and ready for bed...

Bell and Essie all snuggled up together fast asleep.
They love to sleep cuddled up next to someone!

He had a cuddle buddy too after Tayter went to bed!

The end of a enjoyable, but long day spent together as a family and with loved ones in the evening!  Being together with family is a delight!  The memories made, the conversations, the adventures... such sweetness!  We are so blessed!

Well, that's all for now!  Next time, we'll post about the rest of our enjoyable visit with Uncle T. and Aunt D. and then more will be coming!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Domestically produced VANILLA

Doesn't that title sound better than homemade vanilla?

Picture of Madagascar Vanilla Beans

Our family has been producing our own vanilla for years and recently it has came up in conversation with several people, so we thought that we would just post the link for others to be inspired by as well.  Just click here to begin creating the best vanilla you have probably ever had.  Hope you enjoy!

Just for fun . . .

Vanilla Facts

  1. The vanilla bean is the cured dried fruit of the rare and exotic vanilla orchid (vanilla planifolia) - the only orchid that bears fruit.
  2. Vanilla is the most labor intensive of all agricultural products. It is the second most expensive spice in the world, next to saffron.
  3. The entire process of vanilla cultivation, pollination and harvesting is done by hand, without using machinery, chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
  4. Vanilla workers, usually women and children who are quick with their hands, pollinate from 1,000 to 2,000 vanilla orchid flowers per day.
  5. When comparing the flavor of vanilla extracts, don't taste it right out of the bottle, you'll get a strong taste associated with the alcohol. Instead, test it by putting a dash in a few ounces of whole (homogenized) milk and experience the difference.
    Remember also that a prudent amount of vanilla extract adds flavor and a minimal amount of color to a dish, but too much may impart a bitter, unpleasant taste. Use sparingly for best results.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Top Sheet Idea

Ever wondered what to do when the bottom sheet of your bedding wears out and you are left with a perfectly good top sheet? 

Here's an idea!!

Turn them into crib sheets.

Recently I turned our nice queen size flannel top sheet into a sheet set for little Rose's crib.  Here in the midwest, the winter months are VERY cold and we put our cozy warm flannel sheets on the beds as the nights begn to turn cold.  That is, on everyones bed except the sweet baby's.  She has to be laid down on a cold cotton sheet.  That just is not right!  Since Grandma was so kind and gave us a new set of sheets to replace the old set that Seth and I had wore out over the years, I was left with my gears turning as to what I could do with all of the perfectly good material (ie. the top sheet).  Not only have I never seen a  flannel crib sheet, but only on a rare occassion have I seen a crib sized top sheet.  Thus, little Rose has been toasty warm, as well, in her flannel crib sheet set since the transformation.

Here is what I did:
Cut two rectangles 66" X 43" (remember this is from a queen size top sheet)
Set one rectangle aside.  We will first make the fitted sheet.

On each corner cut out an 8" square

Now it is time to start sewing.

First we need to join the corners together.  Do this by putting right sides together at each corner and sew them together using a 5/8" seam allowance.  This is what will form the fitted corner.  Do this on all four corners.  Be sure to press all of the seams open after sewing. 

Now it is time to put the hem in. All you need to do is iron 1/4" under all the way around your sheet.  Then fold down the 1/4" that you just pressed down another 5/8".  Press this down.  This makes it so that you do not have any raw edges.  For younger sewers you might want to encouage them to pin all the way around the sheet to keep their nicely pressed hem from moving as they sew. 

Before you begin sewing you need to do one thing.  At each corner, measure 8.5" in both directions from the corner seam and put a mark or pin.  Do this on all four corners.  This is what will form the casing for the elastic that you will put in in the next step. 

Now we are ready to sew.  Sew on each side of  your sheet to make that nicely pressed hem permanate.  WHEN YOU GET TO THE MARKING AT THE CORNERS HOWEVER, (the ones we just marked which are 8.5" in both directions from the corner sem)  LEAVE 1 INCH UNSEWN.  This is where you will put elastic in to make the corners fit snuggly around the mattress. 

Now it is time to put the elastic in.  You will need 1 1/4yard of 1/4" elastic.  Cut your elastic in half and then each half in half again.  Now you have four pieces.  Take a safety pin and attach it to one end of your elastic and fish it through one corner.  Leave 1" hanging out on each end.  I like to use a safety pin on both ends to secure until I have it sewn into place securely.  Once you have secured both ends with your pins, now sew the elastic down ( just the ends). Tuck the remaining elastic in the casing and top stitch to close up the 1" opening.  Repeat this on all four corners and there you have it; a beautiful fitted crib sheet!

Let me share with you quickly how to make the top sheet. 

Take your other rectangle and cut only two 8" squares on one long end.  This end will tuck in just as the fitted sheet and you will do exactly as you did to the fitted sheet on this end.

After you cut the two corners you will want to put the hem in on all sides except the top.  Don't forget about putting in the elastic!  Leave a 1" opening on both sides of the corner seams.  Just follow the directions from above.   

The other end is the part of the sheet that will not tuck in and will be what makes the top sheet for your baby to covered up with.  Put a 6" hem on this end.  (1/4" then 6" down)  Now your sweet little one will have a complete sheet set for their crib made of that perfectly good top sheet that has been abandoned by it's counterpart.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Glow Lamps

Greetings to everyone!  We are thoroughly enjoying several inches of snow here.  Yesterday they rated the weather at a level two snow condition.  Unfortunately, it did not reach level three, otherwise Dad could have stayed home from work today.  But that's alright- we're still hoping for a blizzard!  In the midst of the lovely snow that we did get, the guys plowed the driveway and Ti and I shoveled out the kitchen windows.  (You have to do that when your house is half underground and you want to see :-)  Earlier Bell and Ti built a tunnel and had lots of fun playing in the snow drifts.  All in all, we are loving this weather, and thanking the Lord for its beauty.  The pure, white snow often makes me think of a song that says, "Lord wash me and I shall be whiter than snow."  How truly grateful I am for the Lord's redemption and cleansing of my soul through Jesus Christ.  Oh, that I might love Him more and live more gratefully to Him.

Well, today I have some pictures to share from our venture at making glow lamps.  We first got the idea off of a candle making DVD.  We had a lot of fun making them, so I thought I would share the process and the finished products with you all.

Making the Glow Lamps

The first thing you'll want to do is start melting down your bees wax. 

We buy ours in a nice sized loaf and just cut off what we need.  In the process of lamp making, Tater came to the rescue with a hatchet and convinced me to never try cutting it again with a knife!  (The hatchet was by far the superior tool :-)
We used a large coffee tin to melt the wax, inside a pan of water.  We just left the wax in the can and covered it with the coffee lid when we were done with the lamps.  Thus our bees wax candle container. 

The next thing you will need are some water balloons.

While your wax is melting, fill enough balloons with cold water to make as many lamps as you want.  (Oh yes, have fun tying the knots :-)

Once your wax is melted and your balloons are full, you're ready to start dipping!  You want your first few dips to be very quick, and don't go all the way up.  After the first few, you can dip your balloon about half to three-quarters of the way.  Try to dip it the same depth the whole time, as this will make it easier to shape when you're done.  Dip the balloon several times, but don't make it too thick, as this will not allow the lamps to 'glow' properly.

Just a little side note.  This is what happens when your first few dips are too deep too fast.  The balloon breaks, and you'll have to remelt your wax :-)  We ended up breaking three balloons in ours.  The wax was a little thin by the time we were doing our last lamp, but it still worked ok.  Once your wax re-hardens you can make a whole in it and drain out the water :-)

Once you have dipped your lamp as thick as you want it, then you'll want to make the base flat to that it will stand properly on its own.

After you set your base, you can decorate!  When you place your flowers, leaves, etc. on, you'll want to put a little wax on the back of each and then stick it on your lamp.  This will help it stay in place better.

Once you have your arrangement in place, you dip your lamp in the wax one more time.  (Or twice if you're using something that sticks out away from the lamp.)

Once more, make sure your base is flat and sturdy.

Now you are ready to get rid of the balloon!  Just pop the balloon with a needle over the sink.  You'll have an empty bowl.

The last step is to fix the top edge of your glow lamp.  Most of them we just smoothed out.  Or you can get creative and flute the edge, like Mom did in the picture below!

To use your glow lamps, you just put a battery operated tea light candle inside!
(We tried using regular tea lights, but they melted the lamps :-)  These make wonderful gifts too!

 That's it!  It's really pretty easy!

The Finished Product

Here are the pictures we took of our finished glow lamps.


For the coffee lover!
Not exactly the prettiest one, but unique. 

Britt Ann's

We did two of these, and put them in the bathroom windowsill with an oil lamp between.  It is really quite a beautiful sight.

Even Grandma made one!
This is hers, with a pretty ruffled edge.
(All we did to get the ruffle was tear along the top.)


This was Bell's first one.  She chose the arrangement herself.

(One of my favorites.)

Another of Bree's

Another of Bell's

Another of Mom's

Even Ti got in on the fun!  This is the glow lamp that he made.

Well, I hope you all enjoy these pictures and that some of your are inspired.  We always like getting new ideas of ways to add special touches to the home.

-Britt Ann-