My Chair

my chairRecently I was thinking how nice it would be to have a comfy chair in the corner of my studio. It would be a wonderful place for Bible study, quiet time, or just to relax with a good book.

About a week ago, I received some additional inheritance money from my grandmother's estate. This is the grandmother who prayed for me daily. What an absolutely perfect thing to do with part of the money - buy a chair for a quiet place to spend time with God. I think Grandma would approve.


Wordless Wednesday - Blue Boys

3D boys

For more, go to the Wordless Wednesday hub, Gabriel's blog, or 5 Minutes for Mom. Enjoy!


Shots of Christmas

We had a very lovely Christmas this year. Christmas Eve was spent at hubby's mom's place, Christmas morning at my parents, and Christmas dinner at my sister's. Of course, I always take a ton of photos, but I was surprised to find that I only took 165 on Christmas day. I can't possibly put them all up, but thought I'd share a few.

My mom and the grandkids.
the grands

I thought the Comedian was zoomed in further, so hubs & I should lean in for the shot. Not so much, I guess.
2 of us

Back in November, ClayGuy made a tiny little penguin for each member of the family. Scroll down a couple more pictures for a better size perspective.
Can you find my penguin? She has a camera.

Close up of hubby's tool guy penguin. Interestingly, he got a tool box for Christmas. (Love the tiny little bokeh.)
tool penguin - 2

A little size perspective
tool penguin

My mom, preparing pie crusts. Take note of the beautiful wooden rolling pin. My uncle made that. It's a lovely piece of art and she enjoys using it.
mom pie-1

Behind her is the holder for the rolling pin. He made that, too.
mom pie-2

I am so blessed with family that all lives in the same town, everyone gets along, and we truly enjoy each other's company. That's what really made it such a wonderful time.


Paper Christmas

In the spirit of simplicity, we used our paper Christmas tree again this year.

paper tree 09

And if you're using a paper tree, you should probably make paper stockings, right?

paper stocking cg

paper stocking zg

Wishing everyone a blessed & Merry Christmas!!


Wordless Wednesday - Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas! For more wordlessness, go to the WW hub, Gabriel's blog, or 5 Minutes for Mom.


Cute Pocket Booklet

I learned how to make a very fun little pocket holder book thingie last week during a make & take at Archiver's. It's a little book with eight pockets inside. You could put gift cards or money or little notes or perhaps some gum inside the pockets.

redbox holder2

We needed a gift for someone who rents regularly from Redbox, but it doesn't appear that they offer gift cards/certificates, credits you can buy, or any other way to gift their rentals. So we created our own. Each pocket had a dollar in it for a rental (Yes, I know you use a credit card, but that's beside the point. Don't get all technical on me.)

redbox holder1

Isn't that just the cutest? The finished size is 3x4". The main portion of the book is created from one double-sided sheet of 12x12" cardstock. You can use some scraps for the rest. I'm sure you could come up with all sorts of fun ideas for it. I have a couple more planned, so maybe I'll post a few more pictures when they're done.


Bugs in our House

A couple of weeks ago, on a very cold and snowy Sunday afternoon, my husband and I did the unthinkable. We allowed our boys to purchase bugs - very big bugs - and bring them home. And play with them on our dining table.

Fortunately, these bugs aren't very alive. Well, they do skitter around when you turn the switch on. Assuming the batteries are good.

Just what kind of bugs am I talking about?

Hex Bugs Nano


They are actually quite hilarious. The boys set up a big arena on the table to keep them from running off the side, complete with assorted obstacles for them to bump into and veer off in a different direction. Laughter abounded with five of these little guys zipping around.


You can check out videos of them here. If you're in need of some fun little stocking stuffers, I would highly recommend these. They're portable, inexpensive, and good for hours of fun.


Not only that, but if you have a cat, you can add further amusement to your day by putting your Hex Bug on the floor and taunting the cat.


Until it scurries under the refrigerator where her boy can't reach it.


I'm so over those bugs. They're so yesterday.


Disregard the snarky cat comment. They really are fun and so not yesterday.


New Winter Look

It's here! My new blog design. It still needs a little work, but it's up and functional. At least as far as I can tell. I started on this in the spring and since I never loaded it, I had to change the header, since it's now the snow & cold season. Hopefully over the next few days weeks, you'll see a few more changes in the sidebars. But it's late and I really need to go to bed. If you wander back to older posts, you may also find that some of the photos are too big. I'll be fixing those as well.

ps - Isn't my new signature cute? I drew the bunny myself.

The Crock Pot Lid

A number of years ago, my parents bought a very cool crock pot for me for Christmas. It has two crock inserts; one regular and one with a divider (splits it into 1/3 and 2/3 - cook meat in the big side and rice or a side later in the small side). It also came with an insulated carrier. I was so excited to get this and when we got home later that day, I opened the box and promptly dropped the lid on the floor in our dining room. On carpet. And it shattered into a trazillion little pieces. I could've just cried. I couldn't even buy a replacement in town. I had to order one from the good folks at Rival and wait for it to arrive nearly two weeks later.

Fast forward to this past Thursday morning. While still in my pajamas, robe, and slippers, I popped out to the pantry in the garage to get my beloved crock pot in which I planned to cook a lovely Cure 81 ham. As I headed towards the step up into the house, the lid had the nerve to slide off the top of the crock pot! All I could think at that moment was how much I did NOT want it to shatter into a trazillion pieces on the cold, concrete garage floor. Quick - what were my options?

A. Let it fall and be destroyed - been there, done that

B. Drop the rest of the crock pot to salvage the lid - completely ridiculous

C. Stick my foot out in hopes that I can somehow slow the lid and keep it from disintegrating

I chose option C.

I saved the lid.

I hadn't counted on the direction and force with which the lid would hit me. Or, to be more specific, my toe. The toe just next to my big toe on my right foot. I quickly discovered how that would feel, as the lid continued its path to the floor, where it clanked around, break-free.

Hubby calls out from the dining room, "Are you okay?"

My response? Absolutely nothing. I can barely breathe and speaking is entirely out of the question. That poor toe hurts like the dickens (what does that mean, anyway? What are the dickens? Besides the family of Charles, of course.)

He came out and collected the crock pot, the lid, and the ham. I limped in and sat on the couch and cried. And cried. And cried. I really thought the pain would lessen enough that I could talk. It just took much longer than I anticipated. I had it elevated, put an ice pack on it, and cried some more. Of course, being Thursday, there was much to do, so I stayed there for all of probably five minutes, and then went on with my day. It was a little swollen and still hurt. But life goes on.

I was out and about all day, with no opportunity to elevate it or ice it. Later in the afternoon, it was really hurting, so I finally took the shoe (praise God for Air Walks!) and sock off and this is what I saw:


Talk about swollen and tight. It was definitely time to go home, put my foot up, and ice that toe. A friend of mine who's a nurse sweetly recommended buddy-taping the poor thing to his neighbor toe. I thought we were out of gauze and tape, so I never got around to doing it. That night, I finally dug around in the cupboard and found both gauze and tape. Hallelujah! Who knew that such a small act of support would alleviate almost ALL OF THE PAIN?!?! Not me, obviously, or I'd have acted on that much earlier in the day.

It's still swollen and purple (and possibly broken), but many thanks to Karen and the makers of gauze and bandage tape. Most of the time I don't even remember that it's damaged. And the Air Walks give me plenty of room to not have a painful reminder.

And the ham? It was fabulous!


Cookie Sampling

Every year in December, The Girls* get together for a breakfast or lunch out and to give Christmas gifts (secret name drawing).

*The Girls - Mom, my sister, four other good friends, and me. We've been doing things together for years and our kids are friends.

Due to a variety of employment situations, or lack thereof, and decreased finances, I thought it would be nice if we did something different. Something that cost little to nothing and would still be fun.

Eating out and gift shopping costs money. Cookie swaps are nice, but you have to make a TON of cookies. So how about a cookie sampling? Each of us brought a batch of cookies - enough to share with the others (and kids that were present). Prior to our gathering, each lady sent me her recipe. Using my mad creative skillz, I made a cookie recipe book (to be posted here soon) for each of us.

cookie table

We had coffee, chai, and hot tea and a lovely afternoon visiting, enjoying some tasty treats, and it didn't cost more than a batch of cookies.


lime creams

lemon drops

ginger cookies


chocolate fingers

I think it was a great success!!


DIY - Laundry Soap

fn fringeYesterday's Wordless Wednesday picture definitely resembled a block of cheese. It's actually soap (which a number of you guessed - though I thought the fungi guess was quite interesting!).

A number of years ago, I read about making your own laundry soap from Mary Hunt. She offered recipes for both liquid and powdered soap. Seeing how the liquid took a little more work, I opted for the powdered version.


Powdered Laundry Detergent:
1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap
1/2 cup washing soda (I use Arm & Hammer)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team borax

Mix and store in airtight container or bag. For light loads use 1 tablespoon. For normal loads, use 2 tablespoons. For heavy loads, use 3 tablespoons. Cost per "normal" load .15.


You can purchase these products in the laundry section of your grocery store or Target and probably others (assuming they carry them). If not, try Soaps Gone Buy. In fact, you can get the Fels Naptha Soap on sale for 99 cents a bar right now. And please note that it's WASHING soda, not making baking soda. Also be aware that Arm & Hammer makes a powdered laundry detergent that looks quite similar to their washing soda. If you buy the wrong one, you'll essentially be using their detergent that you've supplemented with Fels Naptha and Borax. Not that I've ever done that personally or anything. Um, yeah, right.


The first batch was REALLY hard to make because we (I had to have help) grated the soap by hand. UGH! I would not really recommend this method. If you have a food processor, a rotary cheese grater, or something, then go for it.


Fels Naptha is a very versatile, useful bar of soap. Here's an extensive list of all the great things you can do with it. In addition to cleaning, you can use it to treat poison ivy and deal with plant pests.

You will not see a lot of suds with this, but it is awesome! Clothes are clean, they smell FRESH, not like detergent, and it's much better in terms of what it's NOT putting into the waste water. It also seemed to cut down on the need for fabric softener and/or dryer sheets most of the time. Mine is stored in an empty Boy Scout popcorn pail. I have a 2 tablespoon scoop from a container of flax seed that works wonderfully.

Give it a try!

ps - you can find other follow-up stories to Wordless Wednesday posts at Tell Me Thursday.


Wordless Wednesday - What Is It?

fn fringe

Go to the WW hub, Gabriel's blog, and 5 Minutes for Mom to check out more wordlessness.


Utility Bills

Our city utilities has a program called Budget Billing. I'm sure many, if not most, other utility companies offer something similar. When you go on Budget Billing, they will take an average of your usage for the past year and you pay that amount each month for the next 12 months. They'll adjust accordingly at the end of that year. It eliminates all the seasonal fluctuation and makes budgeting much easier.

The requirements are very simple:

You have had utilities at the current address for a year or longer. Check.

Your bill is current. Check.

You have to pay on time each month, or they'll take you off. Check.

So we signed up recently and I had a vague idea of how much I thought it would run, from checking out most of the past year's statements. It turns out I was wrong. Happily wrong. Our monthly utility bill for the next year is...


Talk about doing a stunned happy dance!! We moved over a year ago because the utilities at our old house were reaching the neighborhood of FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS per month. And we were living like frozen Otter Pops for that price. We were not having a tropical party, dancing in hula skirts and bare feet. We were miserably cold.

Now we get to have comfortable temperatures without selling the car, our blood, and the children to cover the bill. And considering that hubby's income is so up and down this time of year, it's a huge blessing to have a consistent utility payment.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

I love it when God does exceedingly abundantly above all that I could ask or think!

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