Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Season of Gratitude

Tomorrow will be one year since my accident. Today I went on a walk with Philip for twenty minutes, did about five minutes of yoga, and danced for ten minutes, and have no hip pain! Considering I could hardly make it to class on November 1st of last year, that's amazing.

Praise God for healing. Thanks to Philip for his support, and prayers that I keep up the motivation.

Recipe: Pumpkin Bread

Are you ready for a treat? This delicious bread is 100% amazing! I got the recipe from my Greek teacher, Marcia Moore. During winter finals week, I would always make my way down to her room to grab a slice or two.
Ingredients:
2 cups flower
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup pumpkin



Mix all the ingredients together.
Spray with Pam two small (3x7) bread pans or three 5x3 pans.
Poor batter into pans until just under rim.
Bake 45-60 minutes at 350.
Enjoy! So very, very yummy. Great for gifts, breakfast, dessert, anything!

Want to make your own fresh pumpkin? Directions here:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Etsy Update

It's been another busy week getting ready for the holiday season. The shop's getting a lot more traffic (four days over 100 views, and one over 200!) and more publicity including two blog articles! I've been busy in the treasuries as well as listing new items and remaking the current listings. One thing you may have noticed is that all the listings now begin with a quote! This was something I thought would help the listings to stand out as well as put a little more "Amie" into each piece. 


Well, here's the run down of what's gone on this week:


Blog Features:

New Listings:
  • Orange Bumble Bee Soap- Another little bumble to buzz his way into your heart. (link)
  • A Purple cat rope toy- Simon loves these so much, it's hard to keep him away while I make them. (link)
  • A new cross shape soap. This one is also green and vanilla scented, but a more delicate design. (link)

Cross Soap
  • Green bar soap in sweet pea. (link)
  • Wedding cake soap in Yellow and Japanese Lotus Blossom. These are great favors for wedding showers or receptions! They are also wonderful for welcome baskets for out-of-town guests. Discounts are available for large orders. (link)
Wedding Cake Soap
  • Angel soap. These are great for Christmas gifts and appreciation gifts for Sunday School teachers. (link)
  • Pair of Roses soap set in light purple with invigorating scent blend. For someone else, or as a gift to yourself, these roses pack a wonderful luxurious scent. (link) 
Rose Blossom and Rose Bud Soap Set

  • Mini-presents soap set. These little soaps are shaped like gift boxes with bows. They are great for use in a guest bathroom this holiday season! (link)
  • Stripped bar soap. Three shades of blue soap packed together for a unique look. Great for the eccentric or teenaged bathroom! (link)
  • Aloe Vera soap disks. I'm really excited for these new soaps. They have aloe vera extract infused within the soap to help heal and restore. Two colors are available and unscented for you to try this awesome new soap. (Cranberry) (Blue)
  • Happy Hippo! This little guy just brings a smile to my face. He's so fun and cute. Blue and sandalwood scented this makes a great gift for any new mom or mom-to-be! (link)
Coming Soon:
  • A combo of the cranberry and blue aloe vera soaps.
  • A jar of bath salts made with real sea salt.
  • More Christmas ornaments.
  • Many more novelty soap shapes, colors, and scents.
Featured Treasuries:

Season of Gratitude

I have one awesome husband. I really do. And I don't think I show my appreciation for him hardly enough. God has truly blessed me by allowing me to be partnered with Philip these past four years, and I pray for many more to come.

Simon Says...

Simon says TV rots your brain. Humans should watch more of it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I know that kid!

The father in this video is a guy I went to school and church with in middle and high school. This was their way of helping their daughter remember her daddy while he was deployed. They happened to put it on YouTube to share with friends and it became rather popular. If you need a tearjerker, here you go:

To Brighten Your Day...

Halloween is coming! Are you protected from zombies on your lawn?

Season of Gratitude

Today I am grateful for keeping busy. I've been working crazy hard on the etsy shop (I hope it shows). It seems as if this week has just flown by. I am grateful for having more to do than I know how to get done. However, I'm also reminded that I need to slow down and prioritize. For instance, I haven't done a gratitude post in quite a while. I've also not done any of the homework for tomorrow's Bible study.

Well, I've got a lot of catching up to do.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Etsy Update!

It's been quite the busy week! Here's a rundown of what's going on with the store.

What's New:

  • A Purple and White loom-knit scarf! Thick and comfy, these scarves are some of my favorites! (link)
  • Extra-long and so cheerful, this nursery yellow scarf was a long time coming. (link)
  • Bouncing, beautiful, blue butterflies! Fresh rain scent, and the perfect little pick-me-up. (link)
  • Robin: The Joker's Wild Part II Upcycled ornament! This comic features an old school style Joker with guest appearances from Batman, Edward Nigma, Alfred, and Harvey Dent! Can you find them all? (link)
  • Book scarves! Hand-knit mini-scarvf bookmarks! Solid in pairs and available in three color combinations. (Green) (Black) (White)
Coming Soon:
  • Fleece plush cat toys in geometric shapes.
  • A purple fleece cat rope like the orange one already in the shop.
  • A navy blue loom-knit scarf in a pattern not seen before!
  • iPad and iPhone knit cases!
Featured:
I have been really honored with the number of treasuries my items have been in this week! I really appreciate the positive feedback from my fellow etsians.

Keep an eye on the shop for new items being posted every week. There are plenty of items with free shipping to help you cross off your Christmas list without breaking the bank. And for those who are local, there is free delivery within the Abilene city limits for purchases of $10 or more. I also plan to be at November's Art Walk. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Simon Says...

Simon says get eight hours of sleep every night plus naps, lots of naps.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Season of Gratitude

I just received the last little bit of paperwork from the accident! All insurance claims from both my insurance and the other guy's are finished and complete! I am so excited to not have to deal with this any more. I still have a lot of work to do on my hip, but I don't have to worry about any paperwork or phone calls or anything... It is wonderful!

Season of Gratitude (from last night)

Philip had to work late last night, but when he got home he dropped a bag of Reese's miniatures in my lap. He had read the blog during a break and knew I wasn't having the best of nights and wanted to cheer me up. I really do have a wonderful husband. I don't know that I can ever be grateful enough for him.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Childless in Church (Part II)

I am incredibly disillusioned with my Bible study right now. With a group of ladies from church, we're working through Beth Moore's To Live Is Christ. I was working through some of the homework and I just had to stop. It just wasn't going well.

This day's lesson is talking about Timothy and the legacy of faith through his mother and grandmother. So, let's talk about our children. Here came the one simple sentence that brought me to tears: "Hang in there parent!"

As someone who longs for children so much, such a simple phrase can be such a sharp sword. Now I know that most of the women who will follow this study are parents, because most women are, and once again, I know that there was no ill intent.

But my heart is broken. I know that tomorrow morning the ladies will all want to talk about how important it is for them to instill faith in their children, and I will have nothing to add. They will talk about ways that they teach the stories of the Bible and of the joy of watching their children grow to accept Christ.

Perhaps today is simply a bad day to have done this part of the study. Maybe my hormones are getting the best of me. It's possible that I'm just overly sensitive right now. But I feel like I owe it to myself to be honest about what I'm feeling, and I owe it to the other women in the some position to give them a little louder of a voice.

Thursday Real Estate

So... If you're in the hunt for a new home, this might be at the top of your list!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Season of Gratitude

Today I'm going to choose something that may seem a little strange. Today I am glad that God made me a woman! (Or I guess, that the sperm carrying the X chromosome made it to ovum first, either way.) I was reading some blog post about sexism and the tweeting that went on about it. I'll be honest it got my feathers a little ruffled, but that's for another day.

What I'm grateful for is that God made me a woman and that I have come to see my femininity and sexually as something that is good, from the Creator, and is not something I have to defend. I have no need to label myself a "feminist" or to fight for female power or anything like that. God is good and I am made in His image which includes my female attributes. The world might have a different view, but this world is temporary, and the word of the Creator that I am "very good" is eternal.

Now that's girl power.

Seven Simple Truths I Learned Teaching Sunday School

I help teach our Kindergarten class on Sunday mornings. Our current class averages about 15-23 kids. This is my third class at this church, and they've taught me a lot.


  1. Thank God for everything... In one class we let the kids say a prayer for what they were thankful for and one little boy was thankful for food. "Thank you God for all our food, our ice cream, and our carrots." I don't know that I've ever thanked God for carrots or ice cream, but perhaps I should.
  2. The Bible is an unbelievable story... It's never the same story, but there's always a point in which one  kid will let out a good, "no way!" I think it's important to remember the awe that these stories inspired in us the first time we heard them. 
  3. Praise twice as often as you punish... I've studied parenting and education through out both degrees, but the one thing that could never be stressed enough is that children thrive on praise and perish when overly punished. Yes, kids need to be disciplined in order to learn proper behavior, but I've noticed that we get much better behavior when focused on positive reinforcement of good behavior than discipline of negative behavior. We recently started giving stickers out for exceptional behavior, and I'm making a point of thanking kids for sharing, helping, and listening, and I have seen a huge change in their behavior.
  4. Childlike faith may be simple, but it is real... God is so real to these kids. They don't even think to question if it's just a story or why other people don't believe the same way. God is real and He lives in heaven. Jesus is His son and died on the cross and rose again. And when you pray, God listens. The simple belief of these kids is amazing and wonderful.
  5. The kids are watching you... I've seen little kids (five and six) say and act like 40 year olds, and there's only one place they're learning that: from what they see. This can be both good and bad. One little girl was the spitting image of her grandmother and she sat next to a crying child and patted his shoulder. Another group of little girls emulated their fashionista mommas as they stood in a circle and discussed how another little girl's shoes were "ugly" and "not cool." Good or bad, your children will follow in your footsteps.
  6. They learn what to expect... Most of the class knows to get their name tag now. They know when it's about time to clean up, and they know what the bell means. They also know whether to show Mom and Dad their picture because they will be excited, or just hand it to them because they won't say anything. (I don't mean to rag on parents. Many of our parents are great, but it breaks my heart when kids are so excited to show their parents their balloon sheep, but then Mom's too busy to notice.)
  7. Simple truths are best... Our recent lessons on baptism have been kind of hit or miss. Our lessons are written out for us and we do our best with them, but the baptism lessons were a bit above their level. Cleaning on the inside versus the outside is a bit hard for a Kindergartener, but Jesus is the Lamb of God went amazingly well. People call Jesus "the Lamb of God". Kids can get that. They get that John the Baptist was weird and ate bugs. False prophets and spiritual purity are a bit tougher.
I love teaching my Kindergarteners. It's so amazing to see that little seed of faith grow just a little bit bigger each week. I've even found some amazing role models in the parents whom I can see are making active efforts towards growing their children's faith. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Season of Gratitude

The weather today has been wonderful. I had the slider open all day and Simon and I just relaxed and enjoyed the breeze. It was 53 degrees out when I went for a walk this morning and I've worn a jacket each time I've left the house. I am a winter child and my soul feels at home in this weather.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Season of Gratitude

It's late so I'll make this short. I had two sales this week! I'm so excited! I'm hoping that this means an increase in business for the holiday season.

Well, we just picked up the new Batman game, and it's time for bed.

My Memories Scrapbooking Giveaway!

If you are interested in starting your own digital scrapbook, here's a chance to get a free designer paper package. Simply follow the link to download your paper. If you haven't already bought your copy of My Memories, you can use the code: STMMMS38016 for $10 off! 

Or... be the first to respond to the My Memories review post to get a FREE copy!
http://1casacampbell.blogspot.com/2011/10/review-my-memories-scrapbooking-suite.html

Free designer pack: http://www.mymemories.com/store/share_the_memories_kit_1

This week's FREE designer pack!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Reflections: Sisters Wives

So, I decided to give Sister Wives a shot and watch an episode. One thing stuck out to me. One of the wives said that she is perplexed when others ask her how she does it. In a scene where they're talking with some other women who are not polygamists, they described all the logistics of their relationships. This seems to be the least puzzling to me. What puzzles me is what the husband said. He said that he is in a monogamous relationship with each of his wives.

What? That is what people don't know how you do. How do you go to bed at night knowing that three out of every four nights your husband is in bed with another woman. How do you sit around the TV and talk about what your husband will name his child with another woman. I get the logistics. I can see the schedules and calendars and all that, but I don't get how you share a husband. A security guard, bank roll, handy man; sure, I could share that. But I could never share a husband.

I don't want to get into the theology or religion of it all. I simply don't understand the emotional aspect. Perhaps the religion provides some manner of being okay with having your husband sleep with another woman. Perhaps it's similar to how some people seem to be okay with open marriages. I just don't get it. I don't mean to be prejudice or ignorant in any way.

They seem like good people, and I've only seen small snippets of their lives, so I'm in no place to pass judgement. However, I think that's a large part of why it seems so strange. Others outside of that belief system can get the details of how you do it, but I don't think others can really understand how you deal with doing it.

Just my thoughts.

Season of Gratitude

I feel as though I'm slowing down with this exercise. When I first began, I was all fired up and thought of so many things. I felt as if I was really learning something and that this exercise was really helping to change my perspective.

While I still find it to be beneficial, I'm just not feeling it today. Perhaps it's because I didn't sleep very well last night or because Philip has to work (he's usually off on Sundays) or maybe I'm just in a funk. Whatever it is, I just don't really have something for today.

I thought about just choosing something and put down the logical reasons why I'd be grateful. After all, there are many good things in my life right now. I have plenty to be grateful for. I just don't feel it.

Perhaps that's the point. Maybe the point of this exercise is to be grateful whether or not I feel like it. Perhaps it's about making gratitude a choice not a reaction. Often we are grateful in response to something, but how often do we choose to be grateful for something. Now, you could say that gratitude is an emotional reaction and therefore cannot be chosen, but I don't think I buy that.

Tonight I am going to choose to be grateful. I will choose to be grateful for the cat that woke me up at 4 a.m. because he brings joy into my life. I will choose to be grateful that Philip is at work because his job, and his dedication to it, supply for our needs. I choose to be grateful.

Restaurant Review: Little Italy

Little Italy is a locally-owned Italian restaurant located on South 14th next to the Abilene Public Library. They are moderately priced with dishes ranging from $7 to $15. They are open for lunch and dinner. They serve a variety of traditional italian plates as well as pizza and some sandwiches. They also have a small, but nice salad bar.

We've been going to Little Italy for years now. The pasta dishes are made in a more traditional style than you might find at other restaurants, and the pizzas are made with a special crust that is to die for. Each table is served fresh rolls with dipping oil.

 The staff is friendly and helpful and they often have live music on Friday and Saturday nights. The atmosphere is great for business meals and dates. They have space for large tables, families, and couples. They have some tables set aside behind wicker gates that provide extra privacy perfect for anniversaries and other special occasions.

My recommendations:

  • Manicotti (Philip's favorite)
  • Personal Pizzas (what we usually get at lunch)
  • Fettucini Alfredo (an oil based Alfredo which is lighter than cream-based sauces)
  • Chicken Parmesan (classic and amazing) 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Simon Says...

Simon says avoid unnecessary exposure to sunlight. It gives you wrinkles.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Etsy Update

Here's your weekly Casa Campbell Crafts update!

I had a great time at Art Walk with my friend Sarah last night. We got to meet a ton of people and made a little money at the same time! I also heard a very interesting spoken-word gospel message that had something to do with an octopus.

Our lovely table, and a hint of Philip sitting against the wall.
What's New:

  • Large green cross in vanilla scent. A favorite of craft fairs past. (link)
  • A pair of unscented green stars. These are great for holiday party favors! (link)
  • A sweet little purple bunny in sweet pea. Makes a great hospital gift for new Mommies! (link)
  • Butterfly mini-soaps. These are great for wedding favors, or just to brighten up your bathroom. (link)
I've also decided to offer some of the tuna treat balls that I recently made. These will only be offered for a limited time. (link)

Last but not least, Kuroneko-sama! He's finally finished! (link)

Coming Soon:
  • Light purple and white scarf made by loom. This will look similar to the red and pink one in the shop already.
  • Painted Christmas/wall ornaments. These letter ornaments are great for Christmas trees, but can also be used in nurseries and offices through out the year!
  • Hand-painted wooden puzzles are also on the horizon.
Featured:


Keep an eye on the shop for new items being posted every week. There are plenty of items with free shipping to help you cross off your Christmas list without breaking the bank. And for those who are local, there is free delivery within the Abilene city limits for purchases of $10 or more. I also plan to be at November's Art Walk. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Season of Gratitude

Tonight I am tired. It's been a good day. I had an interview and got to talk with a friend from school. Then I went to Art Walk and set up a table with yet another friend. What made Art Walk even better was getting to see some of the kids I worked with at the Boys and Girls Club this summer. These precious children give the best hugs and just made my night.

Thursday Mini-Vacay

Had a tough week? Yes or no, take a gander at this Oregon scene and have a little mental vacation. I'd love to lounge under that tree and just loose a few hours...


Brought to you by:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Childless in Church

This is something that's been weighing on my heart for a long time now, and I thought I'd go ahead and put it out there. There is very little space for childless couples in our churches. You go from the college or singles ministry to young marrieds, but young marrieds are expected to have children. After all, most of the class likely has young children or is trying to have children. So what about those who choose to wait? Or even those who didn't get to make that choice?

Philip and I have been married for four years (the exact time can be found on the counter to the right). We chose not to have children while I finished school, and now we wait for medical clearance before we revisit that plan. There's a lady in my Bible study who has also been married four years, and she has three children. In fact, I am the only one in my Bible study who does not have kids. There's a good portion of our class that I cannot contribute to simply because I have yet to have children. The first week of our class even focused on raising children (we're studying Beth Moore's To Live Is Christ). While I found the lessons important not only for my future, but also for my work in children's ministry, I felt a bit out of place.

Then there's the expectations of those in the church. One lady asked me how I was and when I responded with "Good, just a little tired" she assumed I had young children who kept me up. I laughed it off and told her it was just the cat waking me in the morning, but she quickly ended the conversation and moved on to talking with another lady nearby about her children.

Isolated incident, I know. And I know this woman meant no wrong. She simply didn't know what to say next. However, she's not the only one with the assumption of children on her mind, and to be quite frank, it's my Christian friends who are the worse at this.

Only the closest of our non-Christian friends have asked about our plans for children. But everyone I meet at church seems to expect that we have kids. What's worse is the look you get when you tell someone that kids are still a ways away. It's almost like you have three heads. "What do you mean you don't want to get pregnant on your honeymoon? Don't you know children are a blessing from God?"

Yes, children are a blessing, but no, we aren't seeking that blessing just yet.

What breaks my heart is that while I have made a point of being involved in my church despite feeling like the odd one out, I know there are many who have not. I know that there are many hurting women who feel as if they don't quite belong to their churches because they have yet to birth children. And I know that the people who have hurt them had no idea what pain their words and looks could cause.

Here's my challenge to you. If you are blessed to be a parent in our churches, be kind and considerate to those who have chosen, or have come to accept, not having children just yet.

If you are one of the childless in our churches, please stick it out. Find a way to get involved. Use your great mothering skills to support your children's ministry. Use your time to support those around you. And please, be patient with the well-intended words of others.

Season of Gratitude

Today is Simon's birthday!

When we first decided to sell our chinchilla, Bruce, and get a new pet, we were looking for an animal to be at it's core a companion animal. Well, we got Simon. He may not always be the most kind and loving cat, and I think I've sacrificed more flesh to his wrath than the ancient Greeks, but I am incredibly grateful for him.

He has his moments of sweetness, and these are growing. If nothing else, he has made it much more bearable to be home these past weeks. He's entertaining and engaging and keeps me on my toes. While he might not be the most amiable pet, he is still my little furry companion.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Season of Gratitude

I think what I am most grateful for right now is having a goal. I'm going to be at Art Walk this Thursday with some friends from school and I've been working to get items ready. I've also been working on inventorying the items that we already have for the future gaming/comic shop. I'm also hoping to start writing my first book soon. I'm just not sure which idea I want to focus on... Either way, I'm glad to have something to do. I'd love a paying a job, but at least I'm keeping busy!

Review: Buddy Fruits

I found these cute little things in the produce section at Wal-mart. At first I was surprised at the appearance in said store, but then I was intrigued. I decided to buy a couple of packs to try, at 88 cents a piece it wasn't too much of an investment.

Buddy Fruits Pure Fruit Bites are gummy fruit snacks which count as a serving of fruit! They're made by Buddy Fruits and under 100 calories a pack, a decent little snack. On the package it tells you exactly which fruits went into your package of gummies. There's no additives, dyes, preservatives, dairy, and if I remember correctly they are also gluten-free. This makes them seem like quite the awesome treat, especially for kids with food sensitivities or those who seek to keep a natural diet.

They come in four flavors: orange, apple, raspberry, and pomegranate & acai. Philip and I tried the orange and apple flavors. I preferred the orange, he preferred the apple. I noticed that they had a little bit of an aftertaste, similar to what you usually get from health food type snacks. Philip pinpointed that it was from the lemon which is often used as a natural preservative.

Other than that little bit of an after taste, I liked them. I think they would be great for kids, especially if you start them on these instead of the conventional gummy candies. They might not replace my gummy worms, but they've got a good chance of ending up in my shopping cart again.

You can find more information on this and link over to the company's other products here. The company also makes fruit smoothies and pure blended fruit in drinkable containers.






I chose to review this product without incentive from the producing company.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Season of Gratitude

So, found out today that my mom will most likely get to visit for Christmas! This will be the first Christmas we've spent together since I got married... That means the first Christmas since 2005! I'm excited. I love Christmas and this is just going to make it that much better. Now let's start praying for Christmas snow, just not so much as to cancel flights. ;)

Review: My Memories Scrapbooking Suite

I was offered a free copy of this software to try out and see what I thought. It's taken me a while to write the review because I wanted to really play around with it and make sure I knew what I was talking about. My Memories Suite is an application that allows you to make digital scrapbooks.

This scrapbooking software is actually quite easy to use, for the most part. I'm not a big scrapbooker, but I really enjoyed how easy it was to drag and drop pictures into the templates. Also, the site emails out newsletters with the occasional free paper package to add to your collection. You can buy additional templates and papers from the site as well.

You can then export your scrapbooks into video or podcast form or print them. You can add music and narration as well as all the little bows and buttons that you can do in a physical scrapbook.

To get used to the software I made two different scrapbooks (more than I've made in real life).

Here's the first one I made:

video

The second one I made was of pictures of our wedding and honeymoon:

video

Here are the problems I ran into: 
When I first tried to download a paper pack, it took me forever to find it. Once I did however, it made a lot more sense and was easy to do afterwards.
The other issue I had was with adding music. The tutorial on their blog says you can just select the iTunes file and add it as background music, but if you're on a Mac, the iTunes file isn't one of the formats that they accept for background music.
One more that you're likely to notice: They give you ample "journal" space, but when you transfer the scrapbook to video format, you can only have 10 seconds per page, no more. So if you're a long-winded blogger, you won't be able to read it all.
Also, I just realized that the movie version (what I've posted) doesn't actually show each page for 10 seconds like I asked it to. Don't know how to fix that, but I'll let you know if I figure it out.

Overall, I really liked the scrapbook software, and I would probably use it again. I think it can be great for sharing important photos and memories with family and friends. I can see how this would be a great option for those with children and family that live a long way away.

Want to try it out for yourself? You can win a FREE copy of this software! Simply go to http://www.mymemories.com/ and tell me which template would fit your next scrapbooking project! A winner will be chosen at random at the end of the month! 

Can't wait until the end of the month? Use the code: STMMMS38016 for a $10 discount on your very own copy of this software!

I was given a free copy of this software to review but did not promise a positive review.

Etsy Update

In case you were wondering what was going on in the shop, here's a little update on what's new, coming, and featured!

New:

  • The rope toy is posted in the shop. This adorable toy is great for all your feline friends. (link)
  • I've posted several pieces of bee soap in various scents. These come gift wrapped! (link)
  • I've also posted some smaller soaps such as the soap discs and the yellow crown. (link)
  • New juggling bags in a lovely purple pattern are now available. These unique toys are great for teaching motor skills and game play to young children! (link)

Coming:
  • I've just finished a beautiful nursery yellow scarf. This scarf is warm and comfortable and sure to brighten up those chilly winter days ahead!
  • I'm working on some relaxation pillows for those with trouble sleeping.
  • I'm also making some new cat toys, perfect for filling your furry one's stocking this Christmas!
  • Be on the look out also for prayer pillows. These unique pillows have a pocket for tucking in your prayers at night. Give your concerns to God to help achieve a good night's sleep!
  • New juggling bags are also coming as well as pin cushions for you sewing types.
Featured:
Here are some great treasuries by other etsians featuring yours truly!



Thanks so much for your support! I look forward to helping you check off your Christmas list!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Season of Gratitude

Today God has flooded my life with things for which to be grateful. Blessings upon blessing have fallen from the skies! My heart is drenched in thanksgiving. Yes people, it has finally rained in Abilene!

We've been in a drought for quite some time and although one storm won't fix it, it's a nice start. It's the first really big storm since the winter and I think my soul needed the clouds.

On a side note, I think this is probably the first really big storm that Simon remembers. He's a little freaked out. He's going from running around playing to pinning his ears back and attacking the lamp. I've had my fair share of bites this morning too. Hopefully he can learn to love the rain like I do.

Simon Says...

Simon says you should work on your balance.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Season of Gratitude

In the Bible study I'm doing (Beth Moore's To Live is Christ) there was a section on hardship and struggle. Beth shared the following verse:

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faint -- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire -- may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:7

It is with this verse in mind that today I will be grateful for the refining work of God within my life. Although it rarely feels good and often seems unfortunate, I know that the troubles and hardships of this life are signs of the work of God within me and those around me.

Further, I stand in faith in the promise of this verse, that my hardships are not only for my benefit, but through faith they may result in praise, glory, and honor to the one living and true God.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Season of Gratitude

This morning we got up a little bit earlier than usual as Philip was meeting with some co-workers to travel out of town for the day. While I am a girl who enjoys her sleep, I am grateful that we got up early this morning because I got to see the sun rise as I drove home. We usually are getting up about the time of the sunrise, but aren't out of the house until it's already pretty much risen. It was lovely to see the sun come up this morning to remind me that His mercy is new with every sunrise whether I see it or not.

Thursday Funny!

It's almost the weekend! Enjoy a little humor to brighten your day!












Brought to you by:
http://parenting.failblog.org/2011/10/01/crazy-parenting-fails-fight-lies-with-lies/

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

PETA Payback is Hell Campaign

This found it's way to my eyes on the other day on a friend's Facebook post. This is PETA's new ad in their Go Vegan campaign:


My first thought was, "Really PETA? Really?" But then I started to think about it. My years of avid shark week watching quickly reminded me that sharks rarely attack humans and often do not want to eat us. We just don't taste that good to them, probably too salty. 

Then I started to think, "You know, maybe they have a point." All these problems we are having with energy issues, space, resources, crops, etc. have at some point been affected by (I'm not willing to say completely caused by) unsustainable living. We live beyond our means environmentally. We're spending tons of resource credit and have racked up one huge debt. So yeah, maybe Mother Nature is going to bite back.

But then I read PETA's press release. You can find it here (link). The inspiration for this ad was that a spear fisher was bitten by a shark off the coast of Florida. One of our own species was injured by another specie. The shark probably wasn't biting him because of the spear. The shark probably thought that he looked like a yummy dolphin and wanted some lunch. 

Wait, you mean that sharks aren't vegans? What! Surely all of the animal kingdom resists the urge to eat defenseless prey? No? You mean that sharks often go out and cruelly kill other species that have little to no way to protect themselves?

I think PETA has some good points. I think that we should all strive to live more sustainably and part of that means having more respect for the food that we eat. We should treat our livestock and prey animals with respect which means killing them as humanely as possible and ensuring that as much as possible, they are used completely. However, a shark as the spokesperson for veganism just seems wrong. Mr. Shark doesn't care that you're screaming and wrenching in pain, he just wants to know what your leg tastes like.

Finally, I do not know the condition of the man who was bitten. I hope and pray that he recovers well and quickly and learns to be safer while in the water. Shame on PETA for never once extending their condolences to him or his family.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin!

Back in high school we had a pumpkin patch at my church. In order to raise more money for the youth group we made pumpkin butter and pumpkin pies from the pumpkins in the patch. Ever since then, I have used fresh pumpkin rather than canned.

I think fresh pumpkin has more flavor and a brighter color than the canned variety. Also, by using fresh pumpkin you can avoid any chemical or additives found in commercially produced foods. If you buy your pumpkins locally and/or organically there's an added bonus. Don't forget, many people do pumpkin patches as fundraisers so your pumpkins can support a good cause as well!

Perhaps you've made fresh pumpkin before, but not many have. I've gotten quite a few funny looks saying that I make pies and breads without using canned pumpkin, so I've decided to share with you all how to take that round pumpkin and make it ready for your next recipe!

Choose pumpkins that are at least the size of a softball but not as big as a soccer ball. It should be big enough that the ridges aren't very deep. The ones I got had a diameter about my handspan to give you an idea.


Wipe off any excess dirt from the outside of the pumpkin. Wrap a towel or cloth around the stem and pull the stem off. Pull in the opposite direction of the stem's curve. For this one, pull to the picture's right.

Cut the pumpkin in half. Try to keep the cut straight to provide an even cut surface. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. You can save the seeds for later if you'd like. Make sure you get all of the stringy, darker colored pulp. The flesh will be a slightly lighter, more yellow color.

Place cut side down on a slightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-45 minutes depending upon the size of the pumpkins. These took about 35.

The pumpkin is done when you can easily push in the pumpkin for the outside. Don't worry if the skin looks burned.

Flip the pumpkin (you may want to let it cool for a little bit first, but try to scoop it when it's still warm).  Scoop off any burned flesh and throw away. Scoop out the rest of the flesh and put in blender. If the pumpkin is really well done the skin might just fall off the flesh.

Blend the pumpkin until it is the constancy of baby food. There may be watery juices in the pumpkin flesh, that's okay.

Freeze or can the pumpkin to save for later. If you plan to use it right away, you may want to let it cool slightly before adding it to your recipe. The two pumpkins I baked today gave me 5 cups of pumpkin for use.

Grocery IQ App Review

Grocery IQ is an iPad app (maybe iPhone too, I'm not sure) from Coupons.com. I had seen it on a demo at one point before we got the iPad, and thought it was really neat so when I finally got my iPad I downloaded it.

It took a little while to get used to, but I love it!

Here's what you can do with it:

  • Create your grocery list (and separate it by store if you plan multiple trips)
  • Save your favorite items and their prices
  • Download coupons to a savings card (if you have one)
  • Print paper coupons
  • E-mail your list to yourself or spouse.
It takes a little while to get everything set up. I started by taking my receipts and inputting the items I buy a lot like pasta sauce and Dr. Pepper. You can put in the details of the item (if it's not one of the many brands that are pre-programmed into the app) and add the price.

To make your list you can add items from your favorites or history, or add it straight to the list. At the bottom of your list, it totals the items for you (obviously it can only add up the items that you have a price added for, but it updates as you update the list). The list is also separated by which aisle or area of the store the item is located in such as deli counter or canned foods.

Once you get an item you click the little box and it goes to your cart. The list then shows how much you've spent in your cart and what your list of items still to get totals to. 

I really love this app. It makes budgeting a grocery list incredibly easy. I used to make my lists on index cards and then add the items up as I went, but this is so much easier! I've used the iPad by itself for my last few grocery trips and this app is just so easy and helpful! Best of all, no more index cards to recycle!

Season of Gratitude

I have incredibly vivid dreams. My dreams are always really lifelike and it seems like it's hard to wake up from them. This is probably related to the fact that my sleep cycle is some sort of messed up, but that's beside the point.

For the longest time, my dreams were really frightening. I would have really scary dreams that felt incredibly real, and when I woke up it took a while, sometimes a long while, to realize that the dream was just a dream.

However, lately, my dreams haven't been scary. Sure, sometimes they are still stressful and I wake up really tense, but waking up tense is so much better than waking up terrified.  My dreams are still really vivid, but upon waking, it's clear that they were just dreams.

This is something I've been working on for a long time, using every trick in the book from aromatherapy to mantras to visualization, but this morning I realized that I've made substantial progress.

Today I'm grateful that I cannot remember the last truly terrifying dream.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Season of Gratitude

So for tonight's post, I wanted to reflect on this whole process so far.

The one thing that I've really struggled with has been not wanting to repeat myself. When I reflect on the day, I usually dismiss the first few things that come to mind, because I've already written about them, and well, people don't want to read the same thing twice.

At first this little conundrum had me down. I kept thinking, do I really have so few things in my life to be grateful for? But then, as the process went on, my viewpoint changed a bit as well. Instead of having so few things to be grateful for, I began to see it as really appreciating the things that are important to me.

There are a million things I could be grateful for today. I could be grateful for the cooler weather, the returning health to my hip, the beauty of God's creation, the simplicity of Abilene, the grace of God that has brought me here, my wonderful husband, my family, my cat, the list goes on.

But I only want to write about a few of them.

The ones I want to write about are the ones that are truly important to me. I'm grateful for my health, my wonderful husband, and the beauty of God's creation, and that's what I focus on the vast majority of the time. That's what's important to me.

I thought that this whole experiment would allow me to change my outlook and be more positive, and I think it has to some point. However, the greatest change is that it's made me realize what I value and how easy it is to forget what matters.

Tomorrow I will continue with what I'm grateful for, but from now, I'm going to be okay with repeats, because some things are worth celebrating more than once!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Treasury!

An item from my shop was featured in another treasury! I'm feeling the love!

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/NjI0MDAzNHw4MTMwODE1MzU/have-yourself-a-geeky-little-christmas

Season of Gratitude

Lately Philip and I have been working to start planning a new business venture. It's something that he's really been interested in for a while now, and we're starting to put some early steps into action. We've had a few friends who have been particularly encouraging lately. It's been really nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to provide advice on how to make this all work. I'm grateful not only for their encouragement, but to be able to journey with Philip in this new adventure.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Simons Says...

Simon says always eat your breakfast, or someone else's.

Season of Gratitude

Let me back up for a minute here. On Halloween of last year I was in a car accident (some guy didn't look before turning left on HWY 351 and the I-20 access road). It totaled my Saturn (Sally the Sexy Saturn, may she rest in pieces), which was the car I had gotten for my 16th birthday. During the accident I slammed on my breaks and had braced my right arm against the button for the horn. This shock of the impact caused that whole side of my body to get messed up, and my hip took most of it. Fast-forward through months of going to the chiropractor and many days of barely being able to walk...

I'm no longer in treatment though it will take awhile for my hip to regain it's strength and flexibility (walking around the mall is enough for it to be sore the next day), I have my range of motion back.

So, what I'm grateful for is that it seems as if we are close to closing the final insurance claim. This accident resulted in three claims, and this one has taken a long time to get done and required my calling the office once a week.

I'm just glad to be putting this all behind us.