Sunday, November 30, 2014

DIY Christmas Ornament Wreath

I have seen these beautiful Christmas Ornament Wreaths in various stores. I thought they were so pretty! And, of course, I also thought, "I can make this"! So, I googled it and found one I really liked here on Check out her blog. It's really great.

Here is my version. I love how it turned out. I found the balls at a couple local dollar stores. I found a foam wreath to glue the ornaments on at Michael's for 40% off. They didn't have any at the dollar stores I went to. I used hot glue and it took me about half an hour to do it. I glued some to the wreath and some right onto each other, so I could get it to look just right. Let me know what you think!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Guest Post on Running Granny Green Blog

Last week, I wrote a guest post on my good friend, Carol Green's blog,Running Granny Green. She is an author, a granny, and a runner! Check out her blog for great tips on running, food and how to have a great life!

10 Things You Didn't Know About Me

In an effort to connect a little, I'm doing a little introduction. So, here are 10 random things you didn't know you didn't about me!

1. I played tenor saxophone 4 years in my high school marching band. If you handed me a sax now and asked me to play, I am quite sure I couldn't pick out one note on it now! (It's only been 21 years)

2. I have never ridden in a limo. My hubby thinks it's funny that I think that's a big deal, but he has been in one!

3. I was 20 before I saw a Star Wars movie.

4. I love dates with my husband, Chris. He is my best friend and my constant dream partner. We love dreaming about where we want to be and how we can get there!

5. I have a collection of unicorns from my tween/early teen years that my mother keeps trying to send home with me. What can I say, it was the 80's! They are fantastic. Some even have wings!

6. I hate to fly. I am a bit of a control freak and that is just more than my little controlling heart can handle. Maybe if I was the pilot...

7. I love music. (hence the band nerd comment above) I love listening to it. I love singing it. I think my favorite, though, is leading the children at my church in song. It is like leading a chorus of little angels and it makes me want to wave my arms big and sing at the top of my lungs with joy in listening to them sing precious truths!

8.  I have 10, yep I said TEN, sisters! (8 are technically in-laws, but they have become real sisters to me, too.)

9. I love animals, especially baby animals. Nothing. Better.

10. When I was little I always wanted to be a mom. I am so lucky that I get to be one 4 times over! They are wild and crazy and drive me nuts at times, but they are my favorite little people and are growing up so well in spite of their mother. They do my heart good, keep me young, and teach me stuff all the time. And I love how forgiving they are, cuz I mess up a lot being their mom.  But, I'm trying my best and I think we are having some fun along the way.

Stay tuned for more get to know yous.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hunter's Hero (Meatball Sub) from Guy Fieri

My family LOVES these meatball subs shared by Guy Fieri on The Food Network! They are soo good. They take a little time, but are really worth it. Great for a party!

2 T olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup bread crumbs (I used 2-3 slices of white bread & tore them up)
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork sausage
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes (I used just a pinch!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
7 hoagie rolls
marinara sauce (I love Prego traditional spaghetti sauce, but I canned my own this year!)
slices of mozzarella (use a lot)1/4 cup parmesan
Heat 1 T oil in large skillet over med. heat. Cook onion, bell pepper and garlic till tender, 5 mins. In bowl, pour milk over bread crumbs and stir till milk is absorbed. Add sauteed veggies, beef, pork sausage, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and egg. Mix well. In same skillet used for veggies, heat remaining oil over med.heat. Form large meatballs, and drop into hot skillet. Brown on all sides and cook thoroughly, till juices are clear and meat is no longer pink. (This takes some patience.) On each hoagie roll, place 4 big meatballs, pour some marinara sauce (1/4 cup), couple slices of mozzarella, and sprinkle with parmesan. Put on cookie sheet and Broil in oven till toasty and melty. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Teaching Children Your Values Using Current Events

I attended a meeting put on by Al and Julene Jackson, (a dynamic couple with a beautiful family) about strengthening families. The ideas shared were things I felt like we should implement.  I had been doing some of them, like daily devotionals with the kids before school, but some were new. One in particular, was using current events to teach our children our values. My kids are homeschooled now, so they don't hear about current events like they did in public school. They were always coming home telling me how their teachers had talked to them about this or that. It was good to open that dialog and reinforce our family values with them. Since bringing them home, I have been meaning to implement some current events in our schedule, but just haven't found my balance yet to do that.  These were the thoughts in the back of my mind as this experience unfolded. Here is what I learned from the Jackson's.

I found a bunch of 'classic' videos in my church library last week. I remembered watching many of them as a teen and decided to bring them home and share them with my family.  As we watched one, I realized there was a teaching opportunity I hadn't expected pertaining to a certain current event that had troubled me recently. 

Subscribe to at least one newspaper. If you can, choose a local one, and then a more national one, so you can get a variety of current events. You can choose online or real paper. (you can even just do the Sunday edition, if you don't want a bunch of papers piling up. There will be plenty to choose from all week!) I like real paper because we can gather around it, and choose one that jumps out at us. Let the kids pick sometimes (or all the time), it will get them more interested. Once you have picked a topic, read the article out loud and start the discussion. I am teaching my children to search for truth with their hearts, conscience, and then minds. Ask them pointed thinking questions to help them get started. It doesn't hurt to sit there a few minutes in silence while they process. This will help them come up with questions and ideas they have. Then, share your family beliefs, expectations and values on the subject. Let them mull, even in awkward silence for a bit. 

The current event that the movie brought out had both moral value questions and questions about how it could affect our own freedoms and other people in our lives. My kids range in age from 14 down to 5. Sometimes the topics may be over some heads, but they will glean something out. There is usually one big simple truth you can teach everyone, then get more detailed with the older ones as they ask. AND LET THEM ASK! Open it up to them, so it isn't just you up there expounding. Be sure to get down on their level, so they know this is a time to ask real (and sometimes hard or scary) questions. This will be a great way to keep the channels of communication open with your kids. If you are sharing a range of topics, even the touchy ones, they will see that it's totally cool to talk about anything with Mom or Dad. And THAT IS SO IMPORTANT! 

I am a strong believer in sharing my customs and beliefs with my children! I think it is wise to give them a foundation on which to build. As they go about their life, they will come to crossroads, or uncharted waters. They will need to draw from somewhere or someone, what to do in this or that situation. If we have not shared what we believe or what we have done, what do they have to stand on? It is important for the next generation to know what we believe and how we did things. They can then decide if it’s something worth passing on. Sometimes, they are not, and it is wise to be choosy. If your beliefs are not shared, though, your children cannot judge them for themselves.
Winston Churchill said, “A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.”
I think this quote can be used in a family situation, too.  Knowledge of family values can strengthen us in an hour of peril.  Start sharing with your families today. You will find a new closeness and strength to your family. You will be confident that your kids can make choices and discern what is right and right for them.

Check out my other posts on how to implement a daily before school family devotional and how to teach your kids the constitution.  I will post some other ideas on helping our families be strong and building kids with good character soon.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Etsy Shop Blog Feature

April Bern of featured my Etsy shop on her Handmade Weekend Post today. I'm so excited! Go check it out and learn a little something about me!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Easy Way To Clean A Cast Iron Pan

Do you love cooking with cast iron, but hate cleaning them like I do? Well, here is a quick and easy way to clean them. Use a crumpled piece of newspaper! It's best to clean the pan while it's still hot/very warm. Scrape off the excess gunk with a metal spatula. If you need, add a little oil to the pan and wipe it out with the newspaper. Keep wiping and changing the newspaper til the newspaper no longer turns dark and nasty while wiping. This makes the process quick and easy. You and your cast iron pans will be so happy!