This year my Bible study group began a year-long study on the book of The Revelation. We began our study of the end times with 2 Thessalonians last year, then Daniel, and then in January we began a four part Precept course in The Revelation.
I must say that prior to embarking on this "end-times journey", I didn't really like talking about the end times, or really even reading about them. I always felt like I didn't know what everyone was talking about, and I would get really nervous and scared about what could happen to me or my family. And if I'm going to be completely honest, I could hardly even read about Christian persecution in other countries. It's sad, I know, but I would get almost physically ill hearing about what other believers were going through.
I am now 3/4 of the way through my study. I still have many unanswered questions, and I'm glad I have one more study to go. It has been a study full of charts, lists, and time lines. While I have not become an eschatology expert, I have been given a great gift, and that is the gift of peace! I no longer fear the future. I can't come to any conclusions yet, but I realize that the world is so much bigger than I thought, and God is sovereign over all! Best of all, I can now read about my brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world who are being persecuted because of their faith in Christ. My fear has been replace with compassion and an urgent need to pray for them. I am amazed again and again at the power of the Word of God, and it's life changing applications for our lives.
Friday, July 2, 2010
It is so nice to have homemade jam to put on the breakfast table. This time of year, fresh fruit and berries are in abundance, so take advantage and make some jam! So far this year I've made raspberry, strawberry and last night I tried a new flavor...ginger peach. Yum.
Let me clarify that when I say jam, I mean that I made freezer jam. It is so easy, and there is no boiling of jars or parafin wax involved. It will keep 3 weeks in your fridge, and up to one year in your freezer.
And besides fresh fruit, all you need to make it is pectin & these cute jars.
I use the recipe right on the back of the pectin package. The peach recipe called for:
Three pounds peeled & crushed (with a potato masher) peaches
(I threw in two tablespoons minced crystalized ginger. Look for it in the bulk section at your supermarket)
Bring the peaches/crystalized ginger mixture to a boil. Add 1 & 1/2 cups sugar. Let it sit ten minutes. Add pectin from package and stir three minutes. Pour it into your jars and let them sit for 30 minutes.
Serve it to these beauties for breakfast for the next year : ).
Posted by sam at 3:20 PM
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Remember when I told you about Palouse Treasures?
One of my favorite things to pick up at the Treas was embroidery hoops. They usually ranged in price from $.25-$1.00. Lately sis Meg and I have been decorating with them quite a bit. Hopefully this post will be part one of two (and Meg will supply post two...hint...hint. I'm dying to see what she did with her hoops). She has three little boys and a part-time job, and just moved into a new house, but I can' t imagine why she can't find time to blog.
I recently used them to make this arrangement in Natasha's room. I apologize for the pictures; the lighting in our rental house is pretty much horrible.
Here is the story behind each piece.
I copied this owl from Pottery Barn. He is made out of felt (Meg and I went a little crazy with felt last year.)
This one is a little freehand embroidery I made last year, on a whim, when I was really into embroidery hoops, buttons and sewing on linen.
Doesn't this towel look vintage? It's not. I stole a set of these kitchen towels it in a family giftexchange last Christmas. A friend of Darren's Grandmother made it. The towels were way too cute to use in the kitchen, so I framed this one for Natasha's room.
There are lots of other uses for embroidery hoops, including:
1. framing an initial or embroidery you have sewn and giving it as a gift.
2. framing a fabric remnant. I like to use retro Christmas fabric in my giant embroidery hoop at Christmastime.
The possibilities are endless! How have you decorated with embroidery hoops...Meg?
Posted by sam at 7:55 AM
Monday, June 28, 2010
Want to know how I made...this?
If not, read no further.
This is obviously Natasha's second birthday cake. She loves Mickey and Minnie. I documented the making of her cake last February, and then I got busy for...like...five months. Oops. Better late than never!
I think it's easy to make a cute birthday cake at home, but some people don't believe me, so here is a tutorial (FROM A NOVICE...)
1. First I baked two heart cakes, both from boxes, using a 12-inch Wilton heart pan my friend Jocelyn gave me last year. (She is a really thoughtful gift-giver, and figured since Natasha and I both have birthdays in February, we needed a heart pan. Thanks Jocey!) I wanted the cake to be pretty inside when cut open, so I think I made one red velvet layer and one cherry chip layer. Sorry. It was a long time ago.
**CAKE TIP #1: After your baked cakes have cooled, wrap them in saran wrap and freeze them, overnight if possible. This makes them incredibly moist and also easier to frost. Thanks Jody for the tip.
**CAKE TIP #2: When using a pan larger than 9", your cake will need help to bake evenly. Cut up strips of an old dish towel and soak them in water, then wrap the strips around the outside of the cake pan before baking (I used metal kitchen clips to secure the strips.)
2. For the base of my cake, I turned over the cake pan I had used to bake. This gives the cake height and makes the presentation more dramatic. To protect thebottom of the pan from knife-cutting-marks, I traced the shape of the pan onto wax-paper, cut out the wax-paper heart and put it on top of the pan, under the bottom red layer of cake.
3. For the filling, I used
pudding. I had heard that makes cake even more moist, and boy is that true! I used a box of van
illa pudding and prepared it according to the directions on the box. I also added red food coloring to make the filling pink. Then I spread the pudding onto the red cake. There was pudding left over, so I stored it in these monkey cups from the dollar store and the kids ate it for dessert.
4. Next I added the top layer to my cake. I don't know why the saran wrap ripped the top of this layer off; if you have the answer, please let me know.
5. When frosting, I do the top of the cake first.
Pile a bunch of icing in the middle of your cake. Spread it out from there. Crouch down and look at eye level, turning the cake around gradually to make sure the top is level.
**CAKE TIP #3: for easier icing, microwave your frosting in ten-second intervals until soft but not runny.
**CAKE TIP #4: buy one of these spreaders from The Pampered Chef. Thank you to my sister Kelly who keeps me supplied with Pampered Chef products! I have a large spreader for cakes and a small one for cupcakes. So worth it.
6. Then I ice the sides. This is where the pampered chef tool really comes in handy, an
d where using the pan as a base for your cake is key. After you carefully pile a bunch of icing on the
side, use the edge of the froster to slide it along the cake, using the pan-base as your guide. You can get the sides perfectly flat, even and flush with the bottom of the pan (don't worry about making a mess. I cleaned it up later with a paper towel.)
7. Beautiful. Although next time I think I will make the top perfectly flat. For some reason, I thought those swirls on top kind of looked good...at the time.
8. Decorate the top. I highly recommend using your kids favorite toys to decorate the tops of their cakes!! I've done it for every birthday cake I've done so far (I use their toys to decorate for their party, too. When Wes turned five, we lined all his transformers up across the back of the cake table after wrapping the table itself in leftover transformer wrapping paper...from his fourth birthday. Am I frugal or what?).
9. Result: One happy child. And lots and lots of happy guests who will shriek "you made this?!?!"
People are so easy to please : )
Posted by sam at 5:29 PM
Monday, February 16, 2009
This is from the amazing cookbook that Kelly gave me, entitled "101 Things To Do With A Slow Cooker". I make this soup all the time. I have served it to company, too. It gives me a chance to use one of my two beautiful soup tureens, which is the REAL motivation behind it. Everyone hearts it! I double it, BTW:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I use chicken thighs), cooked and shredded
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 cans (14 ounces each) chicken broth
2 cans (14 ounces each) stewed tomatoes, chopped, with liquid
1 cup medium salsa
2 tbsp dried cilantro (never been able to find it at the store)
1 tbsp ground cumin
3-4 flour or corn tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch strips
Combine all ingredients except tortilla strips in greased 4 1/2 to 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat 4-6 hours or on low heat 8-10 hours. Ladle hot soup into individual serving bowls over strips of flour tortilla and grated Montery Jack or cheddar cheese. Makes 6-8 servings.
Serve with tortilla chips with guacamole and sour cream.
Posted by sam at 10:17 AM
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
After being virtually snowed in for the past three days, here's what I've accomplished:
many, many crafts and projects- ZERO household duties, cleaning, and laundry...
But don't worry. I'm catching up on laundry as I type, and vow to have the house clean and ready for you, Sam, when you get here on Friday.
These nice little pillows are filled with whole, raw flax seed and scented with 100% essential peppermint oil (found at a natural food store).
The flax seed retain heat really well, and are easily warmed up in the microwave. I warmed mine up the other night, when it was freezing, and put it under the covers at the foot of the bed. It warmed the covers quite well, and it was nice that I didn't have to wake up to unplug a cord (like you would with a heating pad).
They can also be stored in the freezer, in a ziploc bag, to be used as a cold pack. The peppermint is a fresh, non-overpowering scent that is cooling and not too sweet. It kind of smells like a peppermint tea bag. I got the idea from a pattern online for a rice heat therapy bag, but heard from a friend that the flax seed feels nicer and can be bought in bulk at Winco for 96 cents a pound. If you're going to make these, follow the pattern for the rice bag- she gives great instructions. I don't know if she mentions this in her tutorial, though: use 100% cotton fabric and thread, as synthetic materials may melt in the microwave. What a disaster that would be...
I also attempted to sew some beanies, which will hopefully fit the little heads I made them for (I tried them on the boys for size, but we'll just have to wait and see...) They look much cuter on a head...
Posted by Meghann at 2:06 PM
Friday, November 28, 2008
I hope my mother in law isn't reading this-
Here are some little name magnets I made for part of her Christmas present- there's one for each of her 7 grandkids.
This is a great handmade gift for those who like to display photos on their refrigerators- and who doesn't love personalized gifts?
These magnets are small, so you need very little paper and supplies.
You don't have to do names, either. Look at what you have and go from there- a set of little coordinating square magnets would be cute, with simple ribbon or buttons attached, or a monogram, like I made here- with a letter "H" sticker.
magnet strips or sheets (found at a craft store)
paper (card stock is best, but any kind will do)
vise grips or pliers
hot glue gun
Mod Podge (I used the glossy finish)
For the name magnets, I bought a roll of magnet strips, and cut them into 2 1/2 inch pieces. One side is sticky, so just adhere your first layer of paper to it and trim the edges off. Here they are:
Next, print your names on whatever paper you want (I just used white computer paper). For mine I used a 36 pt. font size. Cut out the names and glue to a different color of card stock or paper, offsetting the left side so that you can add an embellishment. Trim the edges so that it will be centered on your magnet, with the background paper showing on all sides.
Next, glue your name tags to the magnets. Get out your Mod Podge and paint an even coat over the top. Take care not to brush too many strokes over the name, because the ink could bleed.
I painted mine right on the fridge, so that they would remain flat and not warp or bubble up whilst drying.
Cut your ribbon and get the brads or buttons ready to glue on. I used brads, twisting the prongs off with my husband's trusty vise grips.
Apply a second coat of Mod Podge, if desired. When the magnets are completely dried, wrap your ribbon around the left side, adhering it with hot glue on the back of the magnet. Flatten the glue out with your finger while it's still hot, so that it doesn't form a hard glob on the back (which would prevent the magnet from laying flat on the fridge). Next, using hot glue, stick the brad on the center of the ribbon, and there you have it- finished product!
This was such an inexpensive project. All I had to buy were the magnet strips (which I have a ton of left over) and more Mod Podge (I have a bottle of matte, which I'm pretty sure dates back to high school. I wanted a gloss finish for these.)
Posted by Meghann at 8:05 PM