Thursday, January 31, 2008


Look what I found in our front yard on Tuesday. Aren't they pretty? It's hard to believe they are blooming already. There are just a few open on the bushes, and we are supposed to have more cold weather tonight. Here's hoping they survive!

I found these flowers low on the bush at the front of the house. I wasn't looking for them, they were just a pleasant surprise. Everything in the big picture of our yard - front and back - is pretty dismal right now. Cold weather, lots of rain and big dogs plowing through everything are not conducive to a pretty landscape. But isn't it amazing how if you narrow your focus, you can still find something pretty to look at? Sometimes we just need to focus on one thing at a time, don't we?

Have a great day!

Monday, January 28, 2008

My First Giveaway (I'm so excited!!!)

I have a little give-away today!! Free is my favorite word:):)

I'm giving away a little "card/folding money" case I made.

I made some of these for our daughters, our granddaughter and my sisters for Christmas. This one is a little smaller, but is still perfect for carrying just ID, library card, cash, etc. when you're out walking and don't want to bother with a bigger wallet.

Just leave a comment on my blog this week and you'll be entered in my drawing for this little beauty on Saturday, February 2nd. I'm so excited!

I'm also linking this giveaway to the bloggy giveaway carnival over at Rocks in My Dryer.


Have a wonderful day!


Update: Wow! What a response. Thank you all so much for commenting!!! I will close entries for this at noon on
Saturday, February 2nd, and let you know sometime that afternoon who won.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Am I on Top of This Thing or Not?

I just found out that today is National Pie Day! Fortunately for me, even in my ignorance of so great an occasion I had already put this in the oven. Yeah for me!

We had this to eat first - before cooking:
And after cooking:

Enchiladas made with turkey chili. Perfect for
a cold day like this.
Enjoy your evening! And by all means have some pie.


Why, oh why have I never known about beeswax for hand sewing??? I tried it for the first time today and talk about night and day. The one thing that has always annoyed me with hand sewing is that the thread stays tangled more than not with me. But no more! Pulling that thread through the beeswax really does keep it from tangling. Joy! I love it when something simple makes my life easier, don't you?

And once again, I have blogs to thank for my new knowledge. I really don't remember which smart lady told me about it via her blog, but I did buy some beeswax before Christmas. I just never got around to using it till now.
Who knew?

This is what you get when you tell (oh, all right - yell at) two big dogs to "Go to bed!", but only one kennel door is open.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fruit Bread

This is my favorite fruit bread in the whole wide world! I made some last night. The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Doris Janzen Longacre's More-with-Less Cookbook. ( ) The version I have is an older one - 1993, and very well used as you can see!

Everyday Fruitcake

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine in bowl:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix 1/4 of this mixture with:

2 cups dried fruit assortment

3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Set aside.

Stir together in large bowl:

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate

Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Fold in fruits and nuts. Spoon mixture into 2 - 3"X6" or 1 - 4"X8" loaf pan, well greased and bottoms lined with waxed paper. Bake one hour or until well browned. Cool on rack 10 minutes, then turn out loaves and remove waxed paper.

I always double this recipe and use the little loaf pans that are about 2 1/2" X 4 1/2". Doubled, the recipe makes eight of these, and they do freeze well. I use dried peaches, apples, apricots, pears, prunes, raisins and craisins in mine. And I just spray the pans with a non-stick butter flavored spray.

I'm really trying to motivate myself to start sewing again, but so far without much success.

Have a great day!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Living Well - We Are!

I've been reading this book I got from the library the other day, Children of the Great Depression, by Russell Freedman. It is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time, and some of the pictures are really heart-rending. I don't think those of us who did not live through the Great Depression here in the United States have any idea of what our parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents actually survived. True, not everyone suffered, but a very great number surely did.

One thing the author said really touched me, "Years later, people who had grown up during the worst times of the Great Depression looked back with a certain pride. They had missed out on some of the carefree years that are the special gift of youth, but they had gained, they felt, a sense of heightened self-confidence and an understanding of the needs of others. Hard times had propelled them into the adult world much sooner than they might have wished, yet they had discovered within themselves strengths and skills that would last throughout their lives."

None of us likes being tested and tried, but it's usually that time of testing and trial when we become who we are. I don't imagine the butterfly would choose to struggle out of that chrysalis if he had a choice, but it is the struggle that makes his wings strong.

I am so thankful the Lord does not allow any more than we are able to bear, and that He always makes a way of escape! Don't give up. We're just getting stronger.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The End of One Garden and the Beginning of Another

I have two little sweet pepper plants still alive in the garden.

Houston is a funny place. Here, if you don't like the weather, just wait a little while and it will surely change.

Makes for an interesting life, but it is a little hard on the plants! We've had even stranger weather the last couple of years with it either being so dry that everything just gasped and died finally or so wet that most things drowned (including the grass I had worked so hard to grow in the side yard).

Having said all that, I'm still not giving up! I've spent a little time tonight finding out what seeds I have left from last year that are still usable, and then shopping through my favorite seed catalog.

It's really hard to decide when everything looks so beautiful and so possible. But I think I have made the best choices for us, so I'll fill out the order form and get it in the mail tomorrow.

Are you growing anything this year?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Yesterday was a bread making day. We love fresh homemade bread! This is a recipe I got from Once a Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg. It is excellent! I've altered it a little. The version I use is:

Mimi's Nutritious Bread (Altered)
1 pkg. active dry yeast
3 cups lukewarm water
1 cup powdered dry milk (not reconstituted)
1/2 cup honey
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup oat bran
1 1/2 tbs. salt
1/2 cup oil (canola or olive oil)
5 to 6 cups all purpose flour
melted butter

In a large mixing bowl dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the milk powder and honey, then the whole wheat, wheat germ and brans. Beat with whisk until lumps disappear.
Let batter rise 60 minutes.
Add salt, oil and white flour, working in all the flour the dough will take - until it's not sticky.
Knead 3 to 4 minutes, until dough is smooth. Put the dough into a large greased bowl and turn it once so it's greased on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 50 minutes.
Punch down and let rise 40 more minutes.
Divide into 3 equal parts and shape into loaves.
Place in greased loaf pans (9X5 inches), cover and let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
When right out of the oven, brush with melted butter.
This is a pretty long, drawn out process, but each part of it is really easy. You just have to be there to do it! And it is SO worth the trouble.
We're going to have some of it for lunch today as grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade chicken noodle soup. Yum!
Have a great day!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Playing with Photoshop

I know, I know. I have so much I need to be doing, but I've been playing with a free trial I downloaded of Photoshop. I've seen such neat things that other bloggers are doing with it, notably futuregirl. I love what she did with a very simple set!

I haven't come up with anything very useful yet, but I have had fun playing with it.

Enjoy your evening!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

More Purpleness

As promised earlier, here are pictures of the handbag I made for our elder daughter for Christmas. She loves purple! I crocheted it with Lily Sugar n Cream, which is a cotton yarn, and lined it with a fabric I chanced onto at WalMart and like a lot. (By the way, the man who cut my fabric there the other day told me that WalMart is closing all their fabric departments some time this year and replacing them with party shop merchandise. What a bummer!)
And these are the note pad holder I posted earlier and the small wallet I made of the lining material. You can't get much more color-coordinated than that!
I'm trying to get my sewing/crafting supplies organized, but with not nearly the success of so many of you talented ladies I've seen in blogland.

I'll keep working on it!
Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Still there

I am always so amazed and thankful when my plants survive a freeze.
These Angel's Trumpets were covered during the freeze we had here last week, and when I uncovered them, they were loaded with flowers! True, some of the leaves and branches were burned with cold and had to be pruned, but how beautiful these remaining flowers are!

Isn't that the way a lot of things in life are? Just when you think that something is over for you, you realize that it's still there and still alive. I hadn't done any real sewing in years, and then this year I discovered the world of blogs and started reading. What a revelation! I found so many women - young and not so young, who were being truly creative in so many ways. You have all inspired me. And I thank you!

Monday, January 7, 2008


This is a picture of some of our son's loot from Christmas. He LOVES to fish! (Can you tell?) He really enjoys going out into deep water to spend the day fishing offshore, away from all the noise and distractions of society. Unfortunately Sundays are usually the only days he has to indulge that passion.

What is your passion? My overwhelming passion is to please Jesus. I know that I fall far short of that goal too many times. When I do fall short, I ask forgiveness. And try again.

God doesn't expect perfection, but He does expect us to try! I'm trying. Are you?

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


This is what I saw when I looked out our back window yesterday afternoon. He was pretty fearless. He was out there just looking around for about fifteen minutes, then flew away. I never did get a very good picture of him, though I tried a number of times. It was really quiet while he was out there. We usually have a lot of birds chirping away, but they all had the good sense to keep quiet! That was wisdom.

Today is cold. We had a pretty good freeze last night. I put a small rocking chair in the kitchen in front of the stove for young L.B. this morning with an old flannel shirt over the chintz cover for a little extra snuggle factor. He likes it.

Looks like a pretty good place to be!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Where Are All The Heroes

Each week a lady in Louisiana sends me and many others an email newsletter. I've been reading her words of wisdom and wit for some time now and really enjoy her sense of humor and solid grounding. You can find her at:

Today as I read this part of her email it struck me that on this first day of the new year it would be a good idea to remember that there are always eyes watching us in everything we do. If we say we are Christians and yet act like heathens we will be judged hypocrites by the very ones we most want to influence for good.

"Where are all the Heroes?"

Years ago I watched Jessica’s dance teacher perform the finale in the season ending recital. The music was “Wind Beneath My Wings.” As Miss Missy twirled and spun about in a beautiful flowing costume, I watched the shining and awestruck eyes of her tiny students. By the time the music faded and the lyrics asked for the last time “did you ever know that you’re my hero”, I was only one of the grownups in the audience blinking back tears. Such a beautiful memory, but it begs a question. Where have all the heroes gone?

For all the money, attention and acclaim we throw at our celebrities they are all quick to point out that they’re no role model. On the one hand, you can’t blame them for the disclaimer. Our culture likes nothing more than taking a person and propelling them to fame and fortune, unless it’s tearing them down as soon as they arrive.

On the other hand, the role model issue is unavoidable. Mama used to tell my sisters and me that younger girls were watching us. I didn’t like hearing that then anymore than today’s celebrities seem to now. And yet-—the truth is pretty cut and dried for all of us.

Listen to Proverbs 10:17 from my amplified Bible. “He who heeds instruction and correction is not only himself in the way of life, but also is a way of life for others.” Neat stuff, but here’s the rest of the verse. “And he who neglects or refuses reproof not only himself goes astray...but is a path of ruin for others...” Try as I may, I can’t see any grey ground there. So, which is it? Are you a way of life for those that know you, or a path to ruin?

-Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

It's a beautiful day here in Houston, though it is going to be COLD tonight. Have a great day!