Monday, November 30, 2009

Turkey potpies

This past weekend, we had some friends from Fort Collins come and join us for dinner. The Seal and Hartman families helped us with our move two months ago, so we've been wanting to find a way to thank them. We had a great time, especially with their children. There were five kids here (all 4 and under) between the two families.

To prepare for the meal, Q and I worked in the kitchen for a few hours making turkey potpies. Q did most of the work--cooking and cutting the turkey, cutting the vegetables and cooking everything together in a pot. I was working on dessert while he did all of that! The recipe is another great one from Taste of Home. The recipe makes two pies--a perfect amount for company or for eating one now and freezing the other one. 

The following pictures were all taken by Q. It was his idea to post this wonderful recipe on my blog.:)

Making a potpie completely from scratch is hard work, but so well worth it! It was delicious.

The recipe (below) calls for just one crust for the top, but we decided to make one for the bottom, too. I am not the world's best pastry maker, as I sometimes struggle getting it just right. Even after folding it over gently to put it in the pan, it sometimes breaks. I have used a few different recipes...but does someone out there have one that makes a perfect crust? 

Q had me stop patting the crust to get this shot. He said he wanted to show my ring....awww...

Here's one of the pies after we've devoured some of it. After my first top crust didn't come out so well, Q decided to cut out wedges from the other dough piece to put on the other pie. We thought it turned out well. 

So, do you have any turkey left from Thanksgiving? If so, use it up for this awesome "comfort food" recipe.

Turkey Potpies

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon pure olive oil
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups cubed cooked turkey
2/3 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream, divided
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pie pastry 
1 egg

In a skillet, saute the potatoes, carrots, onion and celery in butter and oil until tender. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the turkey, peas, 1/2 cup cream, parsley, garlic salt and pepper. Spoon into two ungreased 9-inch pie plates. Roll out pastry to fit top of each pie; place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut out a decorative center or cut slits in pastry. In a small bowl, whisk egg and remaining cream; brush over pastry. Cover and freeze one potpie for up to 3 months. Bake the remaining potpie at 375 for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

***To use frozen potpie: Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before baking. Cover edges of crust loosely with foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; remove foil. Bake 55-60 minutes longer or until golden brown. 

Yield: 2 pies (6 servings each)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lies Women Believe

I've recently finished the book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I heard about it this past summer from a camp speaker. The author has also written one for teen ladies, so it perked my interest. So when I saw the original version at the library, I checked it out and began reading through it a little at a time. 

I can honestly say that it has been one of the most convicting books I've ever read. It is amazing to me that in our normal, every day lives how much we give into Satan's lies. We have let them in through the gates of our eyes and ears and have let them seep into our minds. 

Each chapter is devoted into looking at the lies we believe in different areas of our lives. We believe lies about God, ourselves, sin, priorities, marriage, children, emotions and circumstances. To combat lies, we need to ingrain our hearts and minds with the Truth--God's Word. The author gives Scripture and great wisdom to help us overcome these in our lives. These lies truly hold us back in having a victorious life. In some of these areas, I've asked the Lord to help me stop believing these lies so that I can obey and serve Him better. 

Have you ever believed some of these lies? (These are just a few of many that are covered in the book.)

God doesn't love me.
I can't help the way I am.
I have my rights.
My sin isn't really that bad.
If I submit to my husband, I'll be miserable.
All children will go through a rebellious stage.
I can't control my emotions.
If my circumstances were different, I would be different.

Get a hold of this book today. You'll be encouraged and perhaps convicted (but that's okay--we all need that once in a while). Let me know how you enjoy it and what you've learned from it. 

Remember--the Truth will set us free! 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The day after Thanksgiving

When I was a kid growing up in San Francisco, my family always had a tradition the day after Thanksgiving. We bought a Christmas tree and decorated for the season! Perhaps some of you did the same thing and have carried on the tradition in your family today. So, here's a look at my favorite decorations for the Christmas season. I try to keep things simple and meaningful and only decorate in the living and dining areas.

Q and I like to call our three-foot tree "the Charlie Brown Christmas tree." It's small and cute, but I hope we can get a bigger one in the future. For now, all the ornaments that fit are ones we had as kids (or have received from kids during our years of ministry). Beside it are our kid stockings.

If I were to collect any kind of Christmas decoration, it would be Nativity sets. I only own two at the moment--the one pictured above and a smaller snowman version. This one was a gift to me from my mom several years ago. Next to Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are animals, a shepherd, an angel and the wise man each riding on a camel. I always enjoyed setting this up in my classroom each year. It is a great reminder to us about the real reason of Christmas.

These two angels were handmade gifts given to me by friends. Next to them is an angel votive candle holder and a Scripture verse that talks about the angels declaring the good news that Jesus was born!

On a built-in bookcase between the living and dining areas, I have a few snowmen figurines that I've enjoyed over the years. 

Above the snowmen is this wooden spool Christmas tree. One of my former students made it with his mom and gave it to me. Wouldn't it be a neat project to make sometime? I've wanted to make more like this, perhaps smaller, as gifts for friends and family. In the background you can see a quilted table runner (on our coffee table) that I received from another school family.

I didn't show a picture of my dining room table, but all it has is a vinyl poinsettia table cloth and a candle centerpiece. I also haven't received any Christmas cards yet, so I'll have to wait to show you how I display them.

How's your decorating coming along? I'm currently working on a simple Christmas decoration to show you. Perhaps you can add it to your mix, too! 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Yummy Thanksgiving Pies

I wanted to share these yummy pie recipes that I made for our Thanksgiving lunch yesterday. I made a Classic Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie. Both recipes come from Taste of Home. In fact, they came from the first Taste of Home Cooking School show that I went to a few years ago. They are scrumptious--enjoy!

Classic Pumpkin Pie

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 
   **If you just have pumpkin pie spice, you can substitute that in for the spices listed above. Add 1-3/4 teaspoon. The taste will be slightly different since pumpkin pie spice has nutmeg in it.
2 eggs
1/2 cup dark corn syrup (light is okay, too)
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

Mix sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Add eggs and beat slightly. Add remaining ingredients; blend well. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Allow pie to cool a minimum of 2 hours before serving. Yield: 8 servings.

Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie

3 eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks (chocolate chips are okay)
1 unbaked deep-dish pastry pie shell (9 inches)

Combine eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle chunks over bottom of crust. Pour pecan mixture into pastry shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted 2 inches from center comes out with little bits of filling attached. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours; refrigerate until serving time. Yield: 8 servings.

Our Thanksgiving

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with family and friends. Our day started off with a special service at church in the morning. It was an hour filled with singing, preaching and special music. Quentin preached a short message and we both got the opportunity to sing.

At around noon, we headed over to Ann's house to eat a delicious turkey meal. Her grand daughter, Memory, is the church secretary at the church in Fort Collins where Q was the youth pastor. 

After the last minute preparations were done, Q cut the turkey. Ann cooked the turkey breast in a crockpot and it came out delicious!

Not only did we have good fellowship with Ann and Memory, but we enjoyed their dogs, Lucy and Tahoe as well. Aren't they cute?

Memory put together this delicious bowl of sweet potato chunks. They were seasoned, then baked in the oven. I think I need to add sweet potatoes to our regular diet because they are so good for our bodies! Memory also made a yummy green bean casserole with onion potato chips as a topping. We also had the usual mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce to go with our turkey.

I made two pies for our feast: Classic Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie (both from Taste of Home, of course!:). I will share these recipes soon.

For a special hostess gift for Ann, I made another set of my fall coasters, this time using orange and brown felt. I put them together with a copy of Giving Thanks at Mealtime and tied them up with a colorful piece of ribbon. I was glad to make these again, as the first time was for my give away. She really liked them a lot. I'm glad we were able to go somewhere for Thanksgiving this year. Q had to work from 3-10 last night. I stayed with Ann and Memory for a while after he left. We are thankful for such sweet friends.

How was your Thanksgiving celebration? I would love to hear your stories.:)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So thankful...

At this time of year, we're all being reminded to give thanks. But why do we sometimes wait until this season to do so? God wants us to give thanks to Him on a regular basis in all things. Even through hard times, we must look to God and give him thanks that He is working in that specific situation.

"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18

We can say we are thankful for family, friends, church, home, food, a job, and so forth, but what I've been specifically reminded about is the fact that we must give thanks to God for all those things. The pilgrims surely did! 

When everyone was seated, Governor Bradford began to pray: "Thank you, Lord, for sending Squanto to us," he prayed. "We know that Your hand has been on him through all of his trials, and that You have prepared him to be our guide and our friend in a time of great need. Squanto is Your living answer to our tears and prayers."
(taken from the book, Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, by Eric Metaxas)

So keep your focus on the Lord, not only in this season, but throughout the days of your life. Remember that He is the One who has given us salvation through His son, Jesus Christ, and daily provides for our needs. We serve an awesome God!

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

"Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." I Timothy 6:17

Well, off to make a couple pies for tomorrows feast! Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving--and remember to thank the Lord for His goodness to you this year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mom's birthday card and gift

My mom just celebrated another birthday, but since she reads my blog, I had to wait to post about the card and gift I made for her (didn't want to spoil the surprise!) Mom is an awesome crafter and I'm so thankful that she taught my sisters and I to use our hands to serve others with our creative talents.

First, I stitched this card:

I first cut out a square out of this pretty fabric using pinking shears. I cut it out a little smaller than 3x3 to fit the card. I used a couple strands of the green embroidery floss and stitched "happy birthday." Finally, I used my sewing machine to stitch tiny zig-zags as a border using a light tan color thread.

I found this sewing craft project at Wal-mart. A yard included the pieces and instructions to make this turkey and a pumpkin (more on that later...). It is a design called Harvest by Patty Reed. I loved the way he turned out and so did Mom!;)

The project was more detailed than I thought, incorporating quilting techniques, which I've never done before. The look at the end is wonderful, but you quilters out there are very patient people--which I am not! Thankfully, I had my sewing machine that helped me sew on the fine details to his wings and back feathers.

With red thread, I hand stitched the details on his face. All in all, it was a wonderful project to make. Mom's birthday is so close to Thanksgiving and on certain years has landed right on the holiday. I knew she would like Mr. Turkey to dress up her Thanksgiving table.

Have you made a project for Thanksgiving this year? Please share and link up!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Church service by...flashlight?

We had a great Sunday--the morning church service went well and the weather was beautiful. Around four o'clock, a few friends of ours from Fort Collins came down to join us for an early dinner and evening church service.

While Q was leading songs, I sat in a pew with our friends, the Russell's and Heather Berger. Something we do on Sunday nights is choose favorites from the hymnal to sing. It is always a neat time that we have singing praises to the Lord. 

We had just begun singing one of the songs when all of a sudden, the organ stopped working and all the lights went out! The sound of voices fainting in the darkness was surreal. There was hardly any light from outside, so it was pitch black in the church auditorium. As soon as this happened, one of the church members started singing a little tune to the effect that "when the lights were out, the preaching was over!" Everyone roared with laughter!!

While Pastor Kemper, Q and a couple men went to see what to do, we continued singing songs a cappella. They tried the breaker downstairs, but there was nothing wrong. One look outside told us that the electricity had gone out in part of the neighborhood. It also meant that the power outage had affected the parsonage, too--our house! I had a quick thought that perhaps we could finish the service at our home, but now knew it wouldn't work out.

After finding a few flashlights, the service continued. It was suggested that we sing, "Send the Light!" and perhaps the lights would go back on. But then someone else said that it should be our prayer. We all giggled at that one, too. After the special number, Pastor Kemper gave his sermon with a flashlight at the pulpit. We sang a closing hymn and prayed. It was such a fun and interesting church service. I'm sure it will be one that we and our friends won't ever forget!

Because there was no electricity at our place, Q and I decided to drive around because there was nothing we could do in the dark (except sleep, but it was too early) while we waited to see if the electricity would come back on. We ended up at Borders and then at Red Robin for a snack. When we got home, everything was in working order! We were thankful that we'd have heat and working appliances through the night.

Have any of you ever had an interesting and/or funny church service like what we had last night? I would love to hear your stories!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The best cinnamon and caramel rolls--ever!

For a few days last week, Q and I enjoyed eating warm cinnamon and caramel rolls. I've made cinnamon rolls before for family and guests, but have never tried making the caramel rolls until recently. These were the delicacies I enjoyed at camp every summer. The recipes come from Camp Ironwood's cookbook called, Come and Dine

They are not hard to make. The things to remember when making rolls are--make sure the yeast dissolves well in warm enough water; let them rise until they're big and you can't see space between them; add double the glaze for the cinnamon rolls.

Both roll recipes begin with the same sweet roll recipe. 

Sweet Roll Dough
(9x13 pan, serves 8)

1-1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast (1-1/2 packs)
2 eggs
1/4 cup dry milk
1/2 cup melted margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
up to 5 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in remaining ingredients except flour. Stir in only enough flour to get a SHINY, STICKY dough (not runny). Transfer to another greased bowl, if necessary, to accommodate dough so it can double without overflowing. Cover bowl with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, or refrigerated if allowing to rise overnight.

Cinnamon Rolls
(9x13 pan)

Prepare sweet roll dough. Have the following toppings ready before you roll out your dough:

1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons margarine
optional: nuts or raisins

Blend sugar and nuts and cinnamon and set aside.

1. 1-1/2 to 2 hours before serving time, clean a 3-foot section of counter or kitchen table and sprinkle it with flour.
2. Shape dough into a log in the middle of your work surface. Sprinkle log with flour and roll it about 1/8" thick in an approximately rectangular shape. The more square the shape, the bigger the rolls will be.
3. Melt and spread margarine over the entire dough surface. Sprinkle sugar mixture over the margarine, spreading evenly to cover entire surface. If you like nuts or raisins, sprinkle them over the sugar mixture.
4. Roll dough toward you from the top, leaving the seam underneath the roll when finished rolling. Stretch out or scrunch up the log until it's a consistent 3" wide. Chop off rolls ever inch or so with a sharp knife and place flat side up in greased pan with rolls barely touching each other (if at all). Let rise in a warm place until no more pan shows between rolls.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Check to see if pan needs to be turned for even browning. Continue baking for up to 10 minutes until lightly browned.
6. Cool slightly and drizzle glaze over baked rolls.

Glaze
(9x13 pan)

1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons warm water or milk

**I like to double this glaze amount so that I have rolls that are more moist and sweet!

The caramel rolls follow the basic instructions as the cinnamon roll recipe with the following exceptions:

*Don't add nuts (raisins are okay) when rolling up dough.
*Place the following in the bottom of pans before putting rolls in pans:

(9x13 pan)
1/2 cup melted margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 cup nuts (optional)

Blend all ingredients and spread into ungreased pan. Continue with cinnamon roll instructions. When rolls are done, immediately cut around pan edges. Place a serving dish or cooling rack over the pan and invert it so that the pan empties. Scrape gooey remains from pan onto the rolls.

Now, wouldn't your family or guests enjoy these rolls this holiday season? They are scrumptious! You will not be disappointed.:)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Give thanks" turkey magnets

These turkey magnets were a hit with the kids on Wednesday night. They enjoyed helping me put these together for them. Here's a quick tutorial on how to make your own for your family or friends:

It all started with a simple drawing of what I wanted my turkey to look like. Here's my pencil drawing. Disregard the colors, as I ended up changing a couple of them later on.

These are the materials you'll need:

sparkly colored pipe cleaners
craft foam
googly eyes
small magnet
scissors
pencil
fine tip black marker
strong craft glue or glue sticks and glue gun

How to: Using my pictures as your guide, use a pencil to draw out your turkey pieces on craft foam. To give you an idea on measurements, the round body piece is 2 inches in diameter. Cut out two feet and beak from orange foam, his head from dark brown foam, his body from light brown foam and his gobbler from red foam. Then, cut out your pipe cleaner pieces as follows: two pieces of red that are 6 inches long, two pieces of yellow that are 6 inches long and one of each yellow and red that are 4 inches long.

Put your turkey together by gluing on each piece. If using regular glue, let it dry for a while. Hot glue dries fast, but be careful with the kids around. They can still help by passing you each piece and watching you glue it on. To put on the pipe cleaners, fold them over so that the ends touch, then glue them to the back of the turkey body. The kids enjoyed doing this and they even came up with the idea to twist the ends so that it would be easier to glue. 

Once you have your pipe cleaners on, glue on your magnet and let dry. When he's all done, turn him around and write, "Give Thanks" on his body. 

Ideas for using this fun turkey magnet:

Cut out a bunch of turkey pieces and use them in a kids' club like I did for some crafty fun!

Make these with your own kids, nephews, nieces on Thanksgiving. Assign an older sibling or adult to work with them while you get your dinner together.

Give them to some folks at your local nursing home. Include a card and they will be so encouraged!

Use it in your own home to hold your child's drawings and school papers during this season.

Better yet, use it to hold Scripture passages written on 3x5 cards that talk about giving thanks and praising God. You and your family could even write things your thankful for and take turns letting your turkey hold it. You will all be reminded to give thanks each day.

Here's Mieka holding her turkey. She loved it!

Have fun making these cute turkey magnets with the kids in your life!

"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus 
concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving-themed night at Kids' Bible Club

Because of a special Thanksgiving service at church coming up, we won't have a regular Kids' Bible Club next Wednesday night. So, I decided to do some Thanksgiving activities with Mieka and Skyler last night. 

Bible time:  After our regular prayer time, I opened up the night with an object lesson. The idea for this came from Child Evangelism Fellowship. It's called, "Thank you, Lord, for...." 

Materials: bag containing a small wastebasket, clothes hangers tied together, different dishes taped together, a pair of slacks with pockets pulled out.

As I showed each object, we talked about what they are used for. Then, there was a reminder for each thing. Wastebaskets remind us of all the things God has given us to make our lives comfortable and fun. Clothes hangers remind us that we have clothes that we should thank the Lord for. Dishes remind us that God gives us food each day. A pair of slacks reminds us that God has given us money (to go in the pockets) to be used for the things we need.

The memory verse that went along with this was Psalm 107:1--"O give thanks unto the Lord for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever."

After learning the verse and a new song, I read them the book called, Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas. It is the true story of a slave and how God used him later in life to be a help to the Pilgrims. The story is well-written and the pictures are beautiful. Check out Christian Book Distributors if you'd like to buy a copy.

Craft time: We had fun doing two crafts. The first was to make Thanksgiving cards using construction paper, markers, ribbon, stickers and hole punches. Skyler and Mieka spent a lot of time making their colorful cards.

Skyler made this card for his mom. Isn't his turkey adorable? Inside he wrote, "I love you, Mom."

For our second craft, we made these cute turkey magnets using craft foam, pipe cleaners and googly eyes. I will be doing a separate post on how we made these. 

Snack time: Since our night was so full of activity, I didn't think we'd be able to enjoy these turkey cut-out cookies. But, at the very end of our time together, the kids enjoyed eating one of these. They are the same sugar cookies with buttercream frosting that we used for one of our other nights.

I found out that things are a bit rough for Skylar and Mieka at home right now. I was encouraged to hear that their dad (who is struggling in his relationship with God), has been helping them learn their verse each week. Their grandma who brings them each week has been encouraged by all the things they are learning in our Kids' Bible Club. We never know how much of an impact we're making sometimes. It is truly a blessing to have these kids each week and to show them Christ's love.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A sweet smelling savour

These past several days have been filled with wonderful fragrant smells. I bought a couple candles because I wanted to add some warmth to our new home. Isn't it always great to walk into a home with beautiful aromas? It makes us all feel welcome and simply--at home.

This cinnamon twist candle is delightful. It will last all winter long. My favorite though is the apple caramel scent. It's perfect for this fall season. It really wakes me up with it's sweet smell! I love the look of it as it is inside of a canning jar.

The topic of aromas has made me think of how the Bible talks about being a "sweet smelling savour." 

"For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish." II Corinthians 2:15

"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour." Ephesians 5:2

This week I've wondered if I'm being a "sweet aroma" to those around me. Sometimes I can get irritated at things and show it with my poor attitude and words. Just like we can strive for being lights in this world, we can strive to be pleasant aromas to those around us, so that they may see Christ in us. Jesus gave His life for us and was a sweet smelling savour to His Father. Isn't that awesome?

What are some things of the season that have reminded you of Scripture lately?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just in case you couldn't open up the "giveaway winner" video...

I'm not sure what happened, but I've tried watching the giveaway winner video a few times. All it says is that it is not able to play and to try again later. Has anyone else had trouble watching it? So, I figured that if I was having trouble, perhaps some of you were, too. Keep reading to find out who won....

Last week, I wrote about a give away I was having today. Two books of Giving Thanks at Mealtime as well as eight handmade fall coasters were going to be given away.

A bit after nine o'clock this morning, I placed all the entries in a pie pan. Q shuffled them around and picked a winner.

And the winner is....

Golie! Congratulations! I can't wait to have another give away. Of course, it will include something handmade.:) Perhaps on my 500th post? That's coming up soon....

And the winner is....

video

Congratulations! Be on the look out for more giveaways in the future. Thanks for following my blog. It's been a great year! By the way, I enjoyed reading your Thanksgiving memories and holiday tips. Thanks a bunch!

Monday, November 16, 2009

T-shirt refashion: pretty ruffle cardigan

When I was sorting through my closet this spring, I found a few things that could either be used again for the fabric, or could be made into something else. This long-sleeved t-shirt was not flattering at all and was actually getting a bit snug on me. So, what to do? Make it into a cardigan, of course!

The idea for this came from Sew Simple Magazine, volume 11. All you need is some ribbon, tulle, and a sewing machine. Cut down the middle of the front of the shirt. Then, cut out two pieces of tulle, (two inches in width) twice the length of your shirt from top to bottom. Do a gathering stitch on your sewing machine, and make some ruffles that will fit the length. Sew it on with a piece of ribbon on top and your done! Take a look...

I think it's so pretty and feminine. The edges of my ruffles starting unraveling, so I put some fray check on it. I think my tulle is actually organza. It's weave is finer and it's shiny, too. Either one would work just fine.

Pair your t-shirt cardigan with a white t-shirt like I did, or wear it with a tank top. I can wear this with a black skirt and it will be a great Sunday outfit for church.

What have you "refashioned" lately? Leave a link for all of us to see! :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

My first "blogaversary" and a giveaway!!

This weekend marks one year for me in the blogging world. To celebrate, I'm having a giveaway! Thanks to all of you for making this year a lot of fun for me. You've encouraged me, made me laugh, and shared some of your favorite creative tips.

I started "Outside the Box!" during a time when I was having some health issues. Although I'm doing a lot better, it continues to help my focus be on serving the Lord and others with the talents He's given me. I hope I've encouraged you to do the same.

Here's what I've made to give away to one of you:

These dark red and chocolate brown leaf coasters were fun to make. I did reverse applique on all four of them. For the give away, I'll include another set of four, so that you'll have a red top and a brown top for each kind of leaf. You can keep them all for yourself, or give half of them to a friend this Thanksgiving. Along with that, you can give them a book put out by Tyson foods called, Giving Thanks at Mealtimes. I'll include two so that you'll have one for yourself. In it are pictures and pages full of prayers. There's even a small postcard you can detach to order more of these books for free!

This is how you can enter the giveaway:

1. Write me a comment on this post sharing your favorite Thanksgiving memory or creative tip for the holidays. If you don't have a blog, sign in as "anonymous" and make sure you sign your name at the end of your comment.

2. For a second entry, tell others about my giveaway on your blog. Tell me this on a second comment to this post. Make sure you tell your readers what the items are and when the give away ends....which leads me to the next thing--

3. This give away ends on Tuesday, November 17 at 9 a.m. Mountain time. Soon after that, Q will help me with drawing a name out of the hat and we'll announce the winner. If you're outside the northern Colorado area, I will ship it to you that same day so that you'll have it in time for Thanksgiving. If you're in my area, I can arrange a place and time to meet.

Thanks to all of my faithful readers and followers for a wonderful year! Now, leave me some happy comments!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Homemade hamburger buns and stuffed turkey burgers

We've had some appliance problems at the new house recently, if you can believe that! We asked our friend, Steve, the maintenance guy from our last church to help us. He and Q are currently working on making sure the washer is running and are attempting to fix the dishwasher. Extra time has been spent going to the laundromat and washing more dishes by hand lately, so I'll be happy when everything is up and running again.

The three of us ate a filling supper of turkey burgers, baked potatoes and salad. I made hamburger buns for the first time, so I just had to share the recipe with you! Take a look at them--I think they came out looking great!

I found the recipe here. I really like how wheat flour is added into the mix. 

Homemade Hamburger Buns in a Jiffy

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup oil (I used canola)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups whole wheat flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the oil and sugar, and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt, white flour, and 1-1/2 cups of the wheat flour, combining until it forms a soft dough. Add the addition 1/4 cup of wheat flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands (if you need a little more, that is okay too). Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes or so. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, shape each into a thick disc, and place them on baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Lightly cover the balls of dough and let htem rest for about 10 minutes (or longer if you wish). Pop them in the oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack. Yields 8 buns

Now, take a look at these stuffed turkey burgers! They were so yummy and filling.

The recipe came from the summer 2007 edition of food & family magazine

Southwest Stuffed Burgers

1-1/2 pounds extra lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
1/4 cup mayonnaise, divided
1 package taco seasoning mix (or 2-3 tablespoons of your own mix)
1/2 cup shredded Colby &Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese 
1/4 cup salsa, divided
lettuce leaves, tomato slices, hamburger buns

Preheat greased grill to medium-high heat. Mix meat, 3 tablespoons of the mayo and the seasoning mix; shape into 12 thin patties. Combine cheese and 2 tablespoons of the salsa; spoon over 6 of the patties. Cover each with one of the remaining patties; pinch edges together to seal. Grill 7 minutes on each side or until cooked through (160 degrees). Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 tablespoons salsa and remaining 1 tablespoon mayo. Place lettuce, tomatoes and burgers on bottom halves of buns; top with salsa mixture. Cover with tops of buns. Makes 6 servings, 1 burger each.

E is for Elijah

We had another great night at Kids' Bible Club. This week we did "E is for Elijah." I learned something new about the kids yesterday--I've been spelling their names wrong! So, you'll notice the new spellings of Mieka and Skylar from now on.

Bible Time: After singing a couple songs, I told the story of Elijah. The kids learned how God took care of him during the famine and how he was able to help a widow and her son. With God's help, Elijah was able to raise the widow's son back to life! For the memory verse, they learned the second part of Matthew 6:8 which says, "For your Father knows what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." To review this verse, we played the game called "Popcorn." Between them and me we took turns saying just one word of the verse until we finished it. Each time we said a word we had to pop up high like piece of popcorn popping.

Craft time: After doing a fun worksheet, Skylar and Mieka loved putting clothes on their "person." I gathered some scrap fabric and buttons and they glued them on their papers.

They did really well with this project. I had to help them a bit in cutting out some of the clothing. When they were done, they were to draw pictures of things that God provides for them. On each paper I wrote, "God made me and takes care of me." Skylar drew pictures of wind and a turkey, but Mieka decided to just put Thanksgiving stickers on her paper.

Snack time: I cubed some cheddar cheese and homemade bread into cubes. Then, I put a bird sticker on a couple toothpicks. They enjoyed poking the bread and cheese and pretending that the bird was feeding them--just like Elijah was fed! You could also add some cubed meat to the mix, if you'd like.


Next week....we'll skip letter F and do some Thanksgiving things instead. Stay tuned....