Love Is…

“Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Although this isn’t a super-celebrated holiday in my family, I still heard this phrase mixed in with our conversations this morning.  The kids will exchange Valentines with their friends and I do plan on making a special dessert for our dinner tonight, but, all in all, we keep this day pretty low-key.  From the buzz in the blog world this week, it seems we are not alone in this.

I, of course, believe love is amazing.  Love is “shout it from the roof top” awesome.  But an important lesson we try hard to instill in our children, is….

Love isn’t romantic dinners and poetic cards.

Love isn’t flowers and candy.

Love isn’t expensive jewelry.

Love isn’t merely saying “I love you.”

Anyone can give a gift, it doesn’t define who loves us, but it is something loved ones can do.

We try to show them that all of these things are fun, and it’s ok to enjoy them, as long as they know……

Love isn’t tangible.

Love lives in our hearts.

Love is a gift from God.  His love makes us complete.  This is why we must love.  (1 John 4:7-12)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

I write this post, not to cast a gray cloud over the day, but to be that little reminder we all need some times.

Love is more than words and things.

Love is those little things you do everyday.

Some times love is all captured in a look.  Completely unspoken, just felt.

Felt with every bit of your being.

While you celebrate with your Valentine today, take a moment to really feel the love, because love is truly the best gift of all.

For more on love, in scripture, check out these verses:

  • John 3:16
  • 1 John 3:1
  • 1 John 3:16
  • 1 John 4:7-12
  • John 15:13
  • Romans 5:8
  • Romans 8:37
  • Ephesians 3:18-20
  • Ephesians 5:1

Do you have a favorite love verse or saying?  If you have a blog post about love or Valentine’s Day, feel free to post a link in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by! ~Kim~

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Goals? Let’s Get Real…

So hopefully you caught last week’s post about what goals I sort of reached last year.  (In case you missed it, check it out here!)

I wasn’t as successful last year as I had hoped.  It seems from reading other’s blogs, this can be common.  It’s a new year, it’s exciting, and goals are set with all good intentions of follow-through, but in the end normal life gets in the way.  I thought I set fairly realistic goals for 2013.  Honestly, they pretty much were, my inner procrastinator, although I made great improvements, still found a way to mess things up.  Also, the goals I set in 2013, will continue.  A lot of them were improvements that needed to be made to my life/family and will be an on-going process.

That being said, on to 2014.  It is 2014, you know?  So let’s break it down…….

HOME

Making things homey – We have lived in our home, since it was built in 2002.  Which, although seems like yesterday, it was actually 12 years ago.  Wow, ok.  So I guess it’s time to decorate?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have bare walls, but there is no method to the madness. You have no idea how haphazard my house feels.  I have ideas. Boy, do I! But starting has always been my problem.  Especially knowing where to start.

So this is my plan.

I intend to concentrate on one room a month.  I am aware that some parts of the project may not get completed within the month, like if I need someone else’s help (ie hubby).  But for the most part, I should be able to arrange, organize, paint, decorate, etc. a room each month until my house is “finished.”  Because both my office and the boys’ bedroom was on my list for last year, they are first on the list, starting off with the office.  If all goes well, then I will be able to share before and after pictures with you, once each room is completed.  I’m really excited about this goal!

SELF

As you may know, I had a sweet baby girl last March.  With my first three kids I did a pretty good job of getting back into some sort of workout routine.  This time, not so much.  Last week was the first week that I worked out consistently since before I was pregnant. ~sigh~  Mainly because I just didn’t make myself do it, and because of my affinity for food.  Oh, and I hate exercise. I shouldn’t say “hate,” but there is an astounding amount of things I’d rather do…watching paint dry, for instance. Of course I know I’d feel better, have more energy, that it’s a healthy choice, but unlike many, I’m not so much worried about my weight, as fitting into my clothes.  Clothes are expensive, exercise is free.  So it’s a lot cheaper to get back in shape and fit into the ones I already have!

No measurements have been taken, I’ll know I succeeded when I can finally put on my favorite pair of jeans and not have to use the jaws of life to get them off.

I’m glad that I’ve already started my journey to a healthier self. My two older boys even asked that I wake them up early on Saturday to exercise with me! (That reminds me that our actions are a very effective way to teach. Practice what you preach!)

Alright, so just because I am only now sharing my goals with you, doesn’t mean I haven’t begun. As I mentioned, the first room up, is the office. I have a picture in my head of what my it will look like. I have enlisted my amazing husband to build shelves on one wall. I have paint to buy and a frame for a vintage print I purchased. It’s going to look totally different, I can’t wait!!

So this year, two goals. Big goals, though. I feel more confident with what I have chosen for this year. Excited too!!
What about you? Did you set any goals for 2014? Do share!

THE Best Christmas Cookies

Whoopsies! I accidentally publised this post last night….it wasn’t finished yet! Pardon the blunder, please check it out again. I hope you enjoy!

Creating My Niche

Christmas is just over a week away. Eight days, if you’re counting. My kids are. I am too! This time of year is so full of traditions. I think that’s why I love it so much!

Making Christmas cookies has been a tradition I have participated in ever since I was little.  I can remember helping my Mom and Granny making them, and now I make them with my own kids!

I’m guessing if you’d type in “Christmas cookie” for an internet search, it would probably get millions of hits! That could be overwhelming!!  So to help you out a little, I thought I’d share with you my favorite cookie recipes of all time.

<< The following links take you to a printable copy of the recipe or the web page the recipe originates from.  I do not claim any of these to be my own creation, but they were passed…

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THE Best Christmas Cookies

Christmas is just over a week away. Eight days, if you’re counting. My kids are. I am too! This time of year is so full of traditions. I think that’s why I love it so much!

Making Christmas cookies has been a tradition I have participated in ever since I was little.  I can remember helping my Mom and Granny making them, and now I make them with my own kids!

I’m guessing if you’d type in “Christmas cookie” for an internet search, it would probably get millions of hits! That could be overwhelming!!  So to help you out a little, I thought I’d share with you my favorite cookie recipes of all time.

<< The following links take you to a printable copy of the recipe or the web page the recipe originates from.  I do not claim any of these to be my own creation, but they were passed to me as a handwritten recipe from my Mom.  The origin is unknown>>

 

Pecan Tassies

Peanut Butter Cookies – I have tried many, but this is still the best.  I guess Jiff might know a think or two about peanut butter after all 😉

Walnut Frosties

Sugar Cookies – These are the best to make with the kids, they LOVE to cut them out and of course decorate them!

Fudge – This isn’t “real” fudge but it tastes pretty darn close, plus it’s super easy!  It is a great versatile recipe.  You can omit the nuts, or you can change it up by using different flavored chips.  I’ve already tried it with peanut butter chips, and a mix of semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter!  I bet it would be amazing with some mint and chocolate mixed!

Chocolate Chip Cookies – the use of pudding in this recipe makes it unique.  They stay thick even after they cool.  If you still have trouble keeping the cookies from flattening out, use 1/2 cup solid shortening and 1/2 cup butter, in place of a whole cup of butter!

IMG_0304Walnut Frosties - Christmas Cookies

I wish I had more cookie pictures to share with you, but my kids and I are planning on baking Sunday and Monday.  They are so much looking forward to it, maybe more than I am!

 

Whether you’re leaving cookies out for Santa or giving them as a gift, there’s just something special about homemade Christmas cookies.  I hope one of these recipes catches your eye, maybe even inspires you to start a new baking tradition in your family.  If you try any, I’d love to hear how they turn out!

What is your favorite Christmas cookie recipe?  Would you share?

I Need Marshmallows in My Hot Chocolate

Brrr!  It’s still “fall” here in the midwest, but you couldn’t tell it by looking outside.

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Old Man Winter has decided to make an early appearance.  Which, quite frankly, happens pretty much every year.  The only people who seem surprised by it are the meteorologists.

Having snow for us, often leads to the start of the school day being delayed, or in the case of both Friday and today, canceled.  A snow day can only mean:  snow ball fights, building snow forts, sledding….and getting cold!  And what better to remedy the cold of wintry weather, than a steaming cup of hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows!

But, what do you do when you don’t have marshmallows?  I don’t know about you but I need marshmallows in my hot chocolate!!

Well, it is something I’ve always wanted to make.

But, I don’t have corn syrup.  Most recipes call for corn syrup. 😦

So I turned to the web for a recipe using only sugar.  Yay for me, I found one!!

The recipe I used is on food.com, you can find it here.

I followed the instructions word for word (almost!).  It was easy….and I took pictures to further illustrate the steps.

I buttered the pan so the powder sugar would stick (the butter part I added because I wasn't sure the sugar would stick otherwise!)

I buttered the pan so the powder sugar would stick (the butter part I added because I wasn’t sure the sugar would stick otherwise!)

After transfering the mixture from the pot to the bowl, it should look like this.

After transferring the mixture from the pot to the bowl, it should look like this.

After mixing for approximately 10 minutes, it looked like this.  I decided it was ready to pour into the pan!

After mixing for approximately 10 minutes, it looked like this. I decided it was ready to pour into the pan!

After it was poured in the pan.  Now just wait until it sets up. (It will, I promise!)

After it was poured in the pan. Now just wait until it sets up. (It will, I promise!)

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I’ve decided after today, that hot chocolate is waaaay better with homemade marshmallows!  It was unbelievably easy to make these, I really hope you give it a try!

Maybe next time I’ll try mint extract instead of vanilla….or maybe strawberry….or….

What do you do to warm up from the winter’s cold?

P.S. Here is a recipe for AAAA-mazing hot chocolate!

Barefoot Baby – Making Baby Legs

I’m so glad to be making a post today!  This has been my first “normal” week, in a long time.  The only reason I had to leave the house was guitar lessons for my oldest son on Tuesday, and I’ll be going grocery shopping on Friday.  I love being home!  It gives me time to get my work finished, and when my work is finished that means….hobby time!

FINALLY!

I mean, I had to clean, dust, and de-cobweb my sewing room, it has been that long!  Getting in there again inspires me to want to make even more things, but first things first.

I have had the fabric to start a Superman quilt for my son for months now.  I tried, but it turns out I need some spray adhesive before I begin.  It is my first appliqued quilt, so who knew, right?  So that is on the back burner until the adhesive arrives.

On to the next item on my want-to-make list…..baby legs!  Ok, so I just had my first baby girl in March, and I had never ever heard this term before.  I would have just called them leg warmers, but then I’m a child of the ’80s….Flashdance anyone?

I learned this new name from a great tutorial I found on Pinterest back in spring.  Today when I tried to access it, for some reason the blog post had been removed.  So I had to look again.  It was dreadful .  Not only did I find what I was looking for, but numerous things I didn’t even know that I needed to make 😉

The two pins I liked the most led me to these two blogs: Ten Cow Chicks and Moore Babies.  Cute blog, cute babies, and great tutorials!

I had some children’s sized knee socks I picked up on clearance for a buck.  So I read the tutorials, and decided to sort of merge the ideas from both ladies.

I cut my socks as Ten Cow Chicks did, using the foot part of the sock as the new cuff for the upper leg.  Then I sewed the pieces together using the knit stitch, as recommended by Moore Babies.  (By the way, it turns out my elderly sewing machine doesn’t exactly have a “knit stitch,” or anything called that exactly, but it does have a zig-zag.  This set on the widest setting, works in the same way!)  This gives the stitching a little stretch just like the knit fabric of the sock.

After the cuff was sewn on, I added an extra step.  My skin is easily irritated, and anticipating that my daughter will inherit this, I decided to sew the seam down on the inside of the sock, like this……

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I am hoping this keeps the seam from rubbing her leg as she is busy exploring!

I think my barefoot baby is going to love them….

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look at her pudgy little toes ❤

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I cannot stress how simple and super-quick this project is!  These would also make a great, easy homemade gift!

Hopefully soon, I’ll be posting some pictures of that Superman quilt I told you about!

Are you working on any projects, sewing or otherwise?  I’d love to hear about them!

Sew glad you dropped by ~Kim

Here, Chick, Chick, Chick!

Ever get that kid on Christmas morning feeling?  Well that’s me today!  My baby chicks arrived!

Please excuse my enthusiasm….but I’m excited!!!

I was so sad to lose all my chickens earlier this year to the evil chicken-eating raccoon.  Especially my little rooster that was a beautiful Phoenix, given to me by my nephew!

Phoenix Rooster

We gave our chicken house a good once over, and found the scratch marks and the spot where Mr. Evil gained access to the inside.  My amazing hubby secured the area, and I placed an order for some new baby chicks.  After much consideration and admiring of the various breeds available from my favorite hatchery, I made my decision!

What I chose, plus a link to a Wikipedia article about them!

10 Araucaunas

10 Silver Laced Wyandottes

5 Blue Andalusians

So, why did I pick these?  Well first the Araucaunas, a.k.a. Easter egg layer.  Let’s just say, I have owned this breed of birds since my first flock, back in 2006.  I love them.  Their personality, the variety of colors, and their unusual eggs.  They lay different color eggs from white, slightly tinted, to green.  Shells only, of course, but, yes, green!

The other two are newbies for me.  I chose the Silver Laced Wyandottes because the hatchery suggest they make good egg layers even through the winter.  That will be awesome!  Chickens lay eggs based on hours of day light, which means in the winter, I was getting little, to no eggs from my chickens.  As I see it, there was two ways to solve this, artificial light on a timer, to “fake” daylight, or try chickens that might lay through the winter.  I chose the easy option.  Who wouldn’t?

The final breed, the Blue Andalusians, I chose because they’re pretty.  That’s it!  Oh and they do lay eggs, they are chickens.  So that is helpful 😉

When you order chickens from a hatchery, they are sent via express mail.  My chickens shipped on Monday afternoon, and arrived at my post office this morning.  Before a chick hatches it consume the contents of the egg, it contains all the nourishment needed for the first few days of life.  This makes shipping them via 2 day mail, completely safe!  This is how they arrive:

Chirping box of baby chicks!

There is a minimum order so that the body heat from the chicks keep a warm enough temperature inside the box.  See how they stick together to stay warm?

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I prepared the water, by placing a couple of coins in it.  Chicks like to peck, especially at something out-of-place, this helps them find the water and stay hydrated.

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I prepared the box with some shavings, just to help absorb the “nasties” and keep the odor down. And placed a heat lamp above to help keep them all nice and cozy.

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Once the box is prepared, I take each chick out and dip it’s beak in the water, just another way to help them find it.  After the trip they do tend to be thirsty.  I also count them as I do this, just to be sure.  The hatchery I like is great and I have never been shorted.  Plus I get one free rare breed chick with every order. Yay for free!  I counted 27 chicks, I ordered 25.  Can’t beat that!

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Can you believe there are 27 chicks in there?  As they grow, I will get a bigger area, but for now, it is easier to control their warmth!  Plus it’s big enough they can get away from the heat if they wish.

Do you see my make-shift feeder in the corner?  For the life of me I can’t find my tray feeder.  Hopefully hubby can lend a hand when he gets home, otherwise, I guess I’ll need to pick one up at the feed store.

Now just some picture of the super-cute chicks…..

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The first few days are critical for the chicks and their survival.  I just need to make sure they have enough food, water, and warmth to get them growing!  It usually takes about 16 weeks before a chicken lays an egg.  With it being fall, I am anxious to see, but I bet I have to wait until spring for their first egg.  Believe me, I will let you know!

If you would like to find out more about caring for baby chicks, just go here. You can also search the web.  There is an amazing amount of information out there, and a number of hobby farmers that would love to  help!  Or if I can answer any questions, just ask, I will do my best or will point you in the right direction.

Do you have chickens or other kinds of “farm” animals at your home?  Share with us: pictures, breed, etc.  I’d love to learn!

Thanks for stopping by, and sharing in my excitement! ~ Kim