Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reusing the Monkey Breath

The husband and I have been doing some of our Christmas shopping online this year. My word it's convenient!! Well, convenient as long as one does not accidentally open a package they weren't supposed to open. Oops!!

With this ordering of gifts online, we've ended up with a bunch of giant packing bubbles that are used inside the shipping boxes.

Have you seen these? 

We even have some that are filled with monkey breath. Weird I know. 

They're definitely not like your usual little packing bubbles that everyone fights over because they're so much fun to pop. Oh no! These large packing bubbles might send our poor little pooch into anxious fits if someone started popping them. What a racket they would make!!

It's okay! I swear I won't let anyone start popping the giant bubbles! 

Oh no! I have something much better in mind.

You see, I have these purses...

See them all flopped over? Yep, that's how they sit on the shelf in my closet. Kind of a mess. And it's not very good for the purses. It leaves them creased in all the wrong places and breaks down the leather.

So I took all of that giant bubble pack and packed my purses full!

Look how neatly they sit on my shelf now!

There will be a lot less wear on my purses. 

I've reused instead of just throwing away all of that giant bubble pack...not to mention I'd hate to just toss out all of that monkey breath someone worked so hard to collect! Mmmm hmmmm!!! 

And did I mention my shelf looks so much neater!! Oh that makes me happy!

Reusing giant bubble pack filled with monkey breath...it's a good thing!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Traditions: New, Old, and...eh hem...Outgrown?

I'm a huge fan of traditions!

Traditions make us feel connected to those who are no longer with us. They give us something to look forward too. And often, they're just plain fun!

We participated in a new tradition this Thanksgiving...writing something we're thankful for on the Thanksgiving tablecloth in permanent marker.

The tablecloth will be pulled out every year to be used for Thanksgiving. 

A reminder of the previous years thanks.

New words of gratitude will be added each year. 

It will become a record of each year's thanksgiving! Beautiful!!

We've also enjoyed an old tradition. Going to get our Christmas tree!

There wasn't any snow on the ground, but the day was co-old!!

So as tradition dictates...there was warming up with hot apple cider! Yum!

Can you see our little photo bomber? That seems to be becoming a bit of a tradition all its own. Hmmm

The old tradition of getting our Christmas tree means that once the tree is decorated, the family cuddles around the crackling fire in the fireplace to watch a Christmas movie and eat snacks. 

Snacks traditionally include, one of my favorites, deviled eggs! Oh yeah!

It was our beloved family friend Martha, 

who, while she was alive, always brought the deviled eggs to family events. I have continued the tradition, trying to replicate Martha's recipe.

Hard boil and peel 6 eggs. It was so exciting to use eggs from our own chickens this year! 

The shells will peel off the eggs pretty easily if you set the hard boiled eggs in a dish of ice water for just a few minutes to cool. Only let them cool long enough so that they are easy to handle. They should still be slightly warm.

Cut the hard boiled eggs in half vertically.

Just look at those gorgeous yolks!

Remove the yolks from the eggs and place in a small bowl.

Set the cooked egg whites aside.

Using a fork, mash the egg yolks. This can be a good way to work out any holiday stress you might be dealing with. Go ahead! Mash em! Smash em! Crush em good!! I mean, you know, if you happen to have a lot of holiday stress.


Once your cooked egg yolks are all mashed up, toss in a dollop of Kraft Miracle Whip. Nope, I don't use mayonnaise. I do prefer the tangy zip of Miracle Whip. Sorry! I totally sound like the commercial. But, so be it. I like my Miracle Whip!

Mix that up good. 

Add just enough Miracle Whip so that it's completely blended in. Do not add so much that the egg yolk mixture becomes thin. Because now we're going to add in a little salt to taste and a nice dollop of vlasic sweet relish! Oh yeah!

I don't measure any of these ingredients. This is all to taste. And it tastes sooo good!!

Once the relish is combined with the egg yolk and Miracle Whip the mixture will be thinner. You don't however want it to be runny. Nope. Not runny!

Scoop the egg yolk mixture into a gallon sized plastic bag. Snip off one corner of the bag. Now pipe the mixture into your awaiting cooked egg whites.

Yum, Yum, Yum, Yum, YUM!!

And the final touch...a dash of Paprika!

Now, I'm just going to tell you, a wise woman makes a few extra deviled eggs so that when the dish of eggs she sets out disappears, disappears before she even gets one, because she was still working in the kitchen, she'll have a stash of her own to enjoy when everyone else has moved on to the other snacks! I'm just sayin'!

Some traditions are very tasty!

Some traditions we outgrow. -sniff sniff-

While the Husband was stretched out on the floor under the Christmas tree, to give it some fresh water, Miss Sofi Bug, who was two at the time, decided it was the perfect opportunity to give the Husband a good body slam!

Ever since, the girls have piled on the Husband every time he waters the Christmas tree. This little tradition has been a source of giggling and tickling and wrestling together on the floor. It makes me smile every year.

As the girls have grown, this tradition has begun to disappear. 

Apparently our girls have become too grown up and mature for such antics. 

Imagine my surprise and delight when the Husband went to water this year's Christmas tree and suddenly...

Maybe this tradition has not been completely outgrown. -contented sigh-

Yep, I'm a big fan of traditions!! 

What's your favorite tradition?


Friday, November 22, 2013

Step 2: A Cozy Coop Run

Like it or not -NOT- winter is moving in.

In fact it made it's first hello with a few inches of snow a couple weeks ago.  

In mid October the garden looked like this! Can you believe it? -sigh-


With the expectation of that first snowfall on it's way we needed to get to work on the next step of coop winterization. 

Winterization? I'm pretty sure that's a real word! -hmmm-

With prep for keeping the chickens' water source from freezing completed last month, we now needed to protect the coop run from wind and snow.

I purchased a few clear, plastic shower liners from Target for only $2.50 each, 

then the Husband, with heavy duty stapler in hand, and with the help of his lovely assistant, (that would be me!) set to work wrapping the coop run, leaving the upper foot open for air flow! Air flow is good! A chickens gotta breath ya know!

It's surprising how comfortable the temperature remains in the coop run now that it's all wrapped up. It's actually kind of cozy! And now the snow can't pile up where the chickens want to play!

It's so cozy in fact that the girls are hesitant to head into the garden now that the days are getting brisk.

When I took some apple slices to them, Penny was the only one who would ventured out to the garden into the light dusting of snow that lay on the ground.

The rest of the girls just stared at me from the open door. I know they were thinking...just toss the rest of those slices in here already. No amount of coaxing or cooing could convince them to join me in the open garden. -wimps!-

While the coop isn't quite as cozy as this...

I think it's going to keep our fine feathered friends pretty comfortable this winter.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Gifts I Received

Yesterday was my birthday. I'm now 43 years old. -uff da-

I'd been working on a birthday rhyme to share with you. I do love a good rhyme ya know! I thought I'd write one about enjoying a birthday Starbuck's mocha.

Maybe I'd include a line or two, maybe three, about the increasing number of my gray hairs -BAH!- as well as my disbelief that the Husband and I are now parents of teenagers. What?? 

Okay so it's only one teenager and one almost teenager, but still. It happened so fast!

But I changed my mind.

Last year was a hard one. It brought a wide variety of struggles. It brought suffering, grief, and sorrow. There were strained relationships, financial setbacks, and loved ones in need. There were things hoped for that turned to disappointment. There was uncertainty and heartache. It was one big, never-ending storm!

Kind of a downer birthday blog isn't it?

My purpose in sharing this with you is to say - in the midst of the storm, it can be easy to allow the storm to become the focus. I don't want the storm to be my focus! 

In the midst of the storm, I see that the Lord has blessed me with many gifts. I want those gifts to be my focus and those gifts are what I decided I'd like to share with you on this my 43rd -uff da- birthday.

Psalm 30:5b Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Jeremiah 31:13b For I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow.

I shed plenty of tears last year, I've no doubt I will shed plenty more, but God covers them with joy and laughter. Though my sorrow isn't gone, it is often close to the surface, but God has caused the root of my joy to grow deep in Him. 

God gave me joy!

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped! Therefore my heart greatly rejoices! And with my song I will praise Him!

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!

Here I just need to give a WHOOP WHOOP!!

Though last year was very difficult, the Lord gave strength where I did not possess it on my own. He gave me peace that He remains in control! He gave me peace to surrender all to Him.

God gave me strength!

Psalm 29:11 The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.

God gave me peace!

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

The Lord gave me guidance through scripture. He covered me in truth. His word was a comfort.

God gave me truth!

Galatians 6:2a Bear one another's burdens.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him.

Though I believe the verse in Galatians wasn't exactly speaking to bearing with one another's heartache, it definitely applies. God surrounded me with loved ones who supported, encouraged, helped to carry the burden of my heartache, and loved with great compassion.

God surrounded me with His children, who loved with His unfailing love!

Philippians 4:19-20 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever! Amen.

There were disappointments last year, and there were setbacks, God always provided for my needs!

God met my needs!

The storm may rage, it cannot diminish the good gifts God has given!

How could I but thank Him and rejoice for a year in which He did so much that is good?

It was indeed a very good birthday!


Friday, November 15, 2013

All in a Crafternoon

See what I did there with the title of this blog post??

Crafternoon! Get it? Craft and afternoon??

Crafternoon...an afternoon of crafting.

Clever, yes? Or was that just me?


Thanksgiving is drawing near and I'm so excited. I love this time of year!

And what better way to get things started than by spending an afternoon crafting a Thanksgiving banner?

A few supplies...burlap, a few yards of bias tape, some fabric paint, letter stencils, and a few willing helpers!

I love my willing helpers!! They're the best part of a crafternoon!

We cut 11 triangles out of the burlap.

Cutting burlap = huge mess! Just sayin'.

With our fabric paint, we stenciled the letters for the words GIVE THANKS onto the burlap triangles. 

Now you may be wondering why, when the words give thanks have only 10 letters, we cut out 11 triangles. We wanted a blank triangle to separate our words. 10 letters + one blank = 11 triangles. Sorry, just wanted to show off my crazy math skills there. 

Eh hem...

Stenciling with fabric paint = much less mess!! Contained mess actually, and very fun for craft helpers! 

Once our stenciled letters were dry, a quick zigzag stitch to attach the triangles of burlap to a bias tape of a matching color and done! 

It's looking a lot like Thanksgiving! I can almost smell the turkey and apple pie! Woohoo!!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Please Hit the Brakes

My baby.

My eldest.

My Miss Sofi Bug.

She thinks she's old enough to start driving! 

That can't be. Just the other day...

Nope! She can't possibly be old enough to drive!!

The state of Minnesota disagreed with me. Totally unfair!

I mean...YAY!!! 

Yep, my girl has her driver's permit!

Miss Sofia and her bestie, Emily. Love these girls!!
She's very excited. 

I'm still in shock! But how could I be anything but excited for her?!

The Husband and I have been taking her out to practice her driving skills.

Like any of us when we started driving...the skills need some work.

We've agreed that things will go along very nicely as long as we do our best to "not stress her out" and she does her best to avoid slamming too hard on the breaks! -Yikes-

We've also discovered that as long as we all have a good sense of humor about it, we'll do alright.

But really, could we just hit the breaks on the growing up so fast thing? Where is the pause button?? A short game delay? Anything? -sigh-