Sunday, March 29, 2009

When God Ran

11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons.

12The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.

13"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.

15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.

16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!

18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'

20So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.

22"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.

23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate.

24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
Luke 15: 11-24

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's Foodie Friday!

Special thanks to Gollum for hosting this fun event! To view other great recipes stop by Gollum's for some mouth-watering fun!
This is my first time participating, although I have wanted to join in the fun for awhile now. Such great recipes you girls are sharing - Yummo!

I have spent the better part of the week baking another meal for our Builders For Christ. If you haven't read about what these lovely people are doing for our church, read about them here. We are so blessed to have them here to help us build our new church building. I wanted to make them something special this week. I am sharing the meal preps with a friend so the task isn't as daunting as it was the first time that I did this. Keep in mind - we have to feed 35 hungry people breakfast, lunch and two snacks during the day. It is a huge undertaking!
My job was to prepare the breakfast, snack and side dish. Here is what I came up with for their breakfast:

I was trying to make something substantial that would stick to the ribs for a bit. They work so hard! These muffins are packed with delicious goodness! Keep in mind - it is very hard to photograph these and do them justice - I wish I could have piped in the smell as well. Oh the house smelled heavenly!

These are called Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins. They have everything in them but the kitchen sink! I have doubled the recipe so that they overflowed my large muffin pans. You can't really tell by the picture, but these are as large as the biggest "Costco" muffins! And they are quite heavy too! Very filling for hungry hardworking men. I got this recipe from a Washington Bed and Breakfast Cookbook that I own. All of the recipes from this cookbook are scrumptious - all tried and true from Bed and Breakfasts all over Washington State.

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
(From Holly Hedge House - located in Renton Washington)
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup cooked oatmeal (a great way to use up your leftover oatmeal)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups (to use jumbo muffin cups - double this recipe.) In a large bowl, cream together shortening, sugar, egg and vanilla. Add mashed bananas and cooked oatmeal. Sift in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into greased prepared muffin cups. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until done. (If using larger muffin cups, you may have to increase your baking time - after your regular baking time, just check every 3 minutes - til done)
Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes, then remove muffins from pans. Good served warm or cold.
Makes 12 muffins.

As you know, I am a mother of seven and even though they are no longer all with me I'm still not used to baking anything on a small scale. I have always doubled recipes. it doesn't take that much extra time to do this -and I am able to have an extra batch (or casserole - whatever I happen to be making) for the freezer. I have learned to be frugal over the years and tend to save everything and put it in the freezer for future use. This not only saves money, but also can be a prepared meal for those days you don't feel like cooking! Saves a trip to the local takeout place each week - Money in your pocket to spend on other things!

The bananas for this recipe came out of my freezer. Here in Georgia, I have noticed that bananas ripen at an accelerated rate! Instead of wasting them and throwing them away, I cut the ends off - leaving them in the peels, put them in a ziploc baggie and save them for future recipes. I take them out of the freezer in the morning, they thaw very quickly and I squeeze them out of the peels like a tube of toothpaste - sounds and looks gross I know - but they are ripe and delicious for any dessert or bread that you want to make. Simple and handy for a dish at a moments notice!

It is very hard to photograph muffins and make them look good - but believe me - these are delicious - And HUGE! These were made in my jumbo muffin pans and have a crispy streusel topping. Yummy! Store these beauties in your refrigerator - if they last that long!
I got these off of the internet some time ago - I have cut and pasted the recipe here.

Strawberry Streusel Muffins
2 c. flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. fresh strawberries, chopped, (about 12 strawberries)
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. whipping cream
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. butter, melted
1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. pecans, finely chopped
1/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Edited to add: I used jumbo sized muffin pans for these - double the recipe if using larger pans.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine strawberries and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cream, egg and vanilla until well blended. Add strawberry mixture to flour, baking powder and salt mixture. Add butter and stir just until blended. Spoon into 10 to 12 greased muffin pan cups. Sprinkle with topping.
FOR TOPPING: Combine flour, pecans, sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a medium bowl until mixture comes together in large crumbs. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Larger muffins will require longer baking time. Bake for 25 minutes if using larger pans.

In place of the whipping cream, you can use half and half - or just plain milk to cut down on calories. I used fresh strawberries cut up fairly small for this recipe - this is another recipe that you can use items straight from your freezer. Whenever I buy strawberries and I notice that they are starting to ripen faster than we will eat them, I will cut them up and throw them in the freezer to add in future meals. By doing this you can enjoy berries and fruits year round - you won't have to wait for the warmer seasons. I also freeze cranberries and eggnog during the winter months- left over from the holidays to use in muffins. Eggnog - that is leftover can be put in ice cube trays and frozen to make eggnog bread anytime of the year!

For the side dish that I made for the Builders For Christ, I prepared a delicious family recipe - Macaroni Salad (my brother's favorite dish - if I ever want to see him, all I have to do is make some macaroni salad and he is sure to show up!)
I also made Lemon Poke Cake for their dessert. I will share these with you next Friday!
I hope you will try these recipes- you won't be disappointed. Your house will smell wonderful and your family will be so happy! My son came into the room while I was baking - he sighed a happy sigh and said "Oh I just LOVE baking days!"
Blessings to you on your baking day,

Sunday, March 22, 2009

While I'm Waiting....

12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.

13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind;

14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-

15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.

16 No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength.

17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.

18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.

20 We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.

21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.

22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:12-22

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

W.I.P.(Work In Progress) Wednesday

I am on the home stretch with the blocks I have been working on forever it seems - one more week to completion~! Then I can start assembling the Alphabet Book. I am so ready to start something new. I have set my machine up for some quilt blocks to begin once the book is completed. I want to make a Springtime tablerunner for my kitchen table. With as much time as I am able to devote to sewing, I may get it finished in time for next year - but I am in desperate need of some soft Spring colors to work with! Alongside the tablerunner, I want to work on my granddaughter's Christmas stocking so I can have it done by Christmastime. It will feel strange to work on something for Christmas, but this year I am trying to plan ahead so I can be prepared for once! Working on two projects will allow me to have an on-the-go project, ready when I am sitting idle during naptime, and a project by the machine- which I hope to spend an allotted hour a day on during the week.(the children I nanny for take an hour nap and I am able to sit and sew during this time so my on-the-go project gives me something I can accomplish during this time - it is a precious hour to say the least!)

Remember this guy from last week? I said that he looked more like a ghost than a snowman. Well, thanks to a helpful suggestion from a new friend, I was able to fix it without starting from scratch.

Here he is the way he looks now. Thank you "Beginner" (she doesn't have a blog) for your helpful suggestion to add batting behind my snowman. It did the trick, plus added a new texture for my grandbaby to feel. I love it!
I have learned as I work on these blocks that as I complete them they will start to "grow" on me. I am not always thrilled with the suggested color combinations, but I do them "as suggested" so that they will be colorful for my grandbaby to look at. This tree was one of the ones that I wasn't thrilled with visually. Now that I am adding the black thread, it seems to pull it all together and I am starting to like it better.

I was so glad to work on this bright block - "V " for Violet! Spring colors at last! After the rains that we had this last weekend, and finishing up my "U" for Umbrella block, It was a treat to add a colorful flower to this block - the arrival of Spring! I hope you have had a fun creative week! I would love to see what you are working on - please join me in posting your projects during WIP Wednesday! I would be happy to link to them in future posts. Let's inspire each other shall we?

Blessings on your day,


Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Fence

The Fence
There was a large group of people. On one side of the group stood a man, Jesus. On the other side of the group stood Satan.
Separating them, running through the group, was a fence. The scene set, both Jesus and Satan began calling to the people in the group and, one by one - each having made up his or her own mind - each went to either Jesus or Satan.
This kept going. Soon enough, Jesus had gathered around him a group of people from the larger crowd, as did Satan.
But one man joined neither group. He climbed the fence that was there and sat on it.
Then Jesus and His people left and disappeared. So too did Satan and his people. And the man on the fence sat alone.
As this man sat, Satan came back, looking for something which he appeared to have lost. The man said, “Have you lost something?”
Satan looked straight at him and replied, “No, there you are. Come with me.”
“But”, said the man, “I sat on the fence. I chose neither you nor Him.”
“That’s okay,” said Satan. “I own the fence.”
Author Unknown

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.

Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—

for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Psalm 127:1-3

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

W.I.P.(Work In Progress) Wednesday

Warning: Put your glasses on - this is going to be a dark post! ~sigh~
It's Wednesday and time again to show you the progress I am making on my Alphabet Book.
I really need to do these blocks justice one of these days! They look so much better in the daylight hours. I tend to take pictures in the mornings when the lighting in my house is softer. Next week I will try to take them after I finish the blocks instead of waiting until the last minute!

I am staying on task with these blocks. Yay! Just a couple more weeks, and I will be able to assemble the book. I really can't wait. I have enjoyed making these, but my impatient brain has already moved on to other projects that I want to start. Do you ever do that? I am always two steps ahead of myself. I am GOING to finish this though - something tells me my granddaughter won't appreciate it as much if she were to get this when she is thirty :-)

I love to see what the fabrics look like when I put them together. I am just using what I have in my stash for these blocks.

You probably can't tell, (grrr!) but this fabric is made up of Autumn leaves. I thought it was appropriate for this block!

I thought this was cute - "Q" for 'Quack". Hope this won't confuse her! She will think Grandma doesn't know that duck begins with "D"!

This cute little rabbit needs a pink bow on her ear - I need to purchase some pink ribbon. Just wanted to show you what she will look like when she is finished.

I haven't started sewing on this block yet - I am not happy with the see through snowman! I may need to redo him and make him out of thicker material. After all - he isn't a ghost - he's a snowman!

Thanks for stopping by!



Sunday, March 8, 2009

Your Love, Oh Lord!

5 Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep.

O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.

7 How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

8 They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.

9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

10 Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.
Psalm 36:5-10

Blessings on your day today,

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday

I decided to interrupt my regular WIP Wednesday post today to participate in Outdoor Wednesday. Thanks to Susan for organizing this fun event every week! Hop over to Susan's blog to view other Outdoor Wednesday participants.

This is what we came home to after church on Sunday. It started snowing during our church service - no warning - it was raining when we started off to church in the morning. I was standing on my front porch taking this picture.
Yes, family and friends back home in Washington reading this....
This is SNOW! In GEORGIA! In the month of MARCH! Can you tell I am surprised?
Living in Washington, this is not so unusual. I have only lived in Georgia since June and haven't experienced all of the dfferent seasons here yet. We can have 70 degree days one week and snow the next! I am sure the spring flowers coming up are very confused! :-)

It was such a beautiful sight though. All was so quiet! Huge snowflakes drifting softly to the ground!

A perfect excuse to spend the day indoors on a lazy Sunday afternoon. We cozied up to a warm fire, watched movies and ate popcorn. The neighborhood children played outdoors and made snowmen that lined our street. (wish I had taken a picture - it was so cute!) The next day the snow was gone and it is starting to warm up again. Will we have more? Who can say - I will just sit back and enjoy the new season experiences of living in a new state!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Project To Share

One day while I was out window shopping at TJ Maxx, I happened across this beautiful sign that would be perfect for above the pantry wall in my kitchen. It had been marked down to a VERY reasonable price. I looked around - so excited that I was the first to notice this beauty - I just knew it had to go home with me. In my excitement, I didn't at first notice that it had been dropped and the corner was damaged! I was devastated when I saw it and quickly put it down. I walked around the store for about a half hour frantically trying to justify taking it home with me despite the break - I had to have it!

My mind went back to a post I had read on Rhoda's blog. If you have never read this charming blog you need to! It will open your eyes to so many new ideas in decorating. Rhoda is one talented lady! If you are stopping by to read it for the first time, you really need to go back and read from the beginning. Every post that she has written is so valuable you will need to take notes! Be prepared to be immersed in beauty - you are in for a special treat!!

Rhoda doesn't let a little damage get her down. She takes it home and fixes it - making it like new! I knew I had to try her idea for myself.

Being the procrastinator that I am, this project has been sitting in my craft room unfinished for a few months. I was afraid to attempt it! If I can't make it perfect the first time around, I don't want to even try - are you like that? I really wanted to show you all the end results though, so I knew I had to get in there and just do it!

I purchased some air dry clay at Joann's Fabric and Craft store. You need to use this product - it is amazing! When it hardens, it feels like plastic and is very durable! The link that I gave you isn't the brand that I used, but it is basically the same product.

Here it is in it's beginning stage. I just molded it to the corner - being careful to keep the rustic feel to the picture. This was a perfect first project to start with - it was hard to mess this one up! As a matter of fact - it was kind of difficult to simulate the imperfections on the corner!

Here it is with paint brushed on. I first added an off white coloring, then antiqued it with burnt umber. I am not sure it I am quite happy with it yet, I may play around a bit more with the coloring - told you I was a perfectionist!

Even if it isn't perfect - no one will be able to see when it is hung up above the door to my pantry - I will post a picture after I am done messing with it :-)

I hope this inspires you to try something new. Don't be afraid to add an item to your shopping cart that may be slightly damaged. I was able to get the store to give me a larger discount due to the damage and walked away with something that I am now really pleased with.

Step out of your comfort zone like I did! You will be amazed at what you can do - now go read Rhoda's blog! You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Chains Are Gone

1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.

2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

4 Then I called on the name of the LORD : "O LORD, save me!"

5 The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.

6 The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.

7 Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.

8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,

9 that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

10 I believed; therefore I said,"I am greatly afflicted."

11 And in my dismay I said, "All men are liars."

12 How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.

14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

16 O LORD, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant ; you have freed me from my chains.

17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.

18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,

19 in the courts of the house of the LORD — in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD.
Psalm 116