Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey cookie treat

At my last MOPS meeting, someone in my group brought a sweet treat for us to enjoy:

So cute, huh? The turkey's body is a chocolate-covered cherry--yum! It was a nice surprise. Everything was "glued" together with chocolate frosting. The girls loved eating theirs up as I was able to bring a few of them home with me.

Just another cute idea to remember for next year.....

Edible Indian Corn

Here's a yummy treat that I made for A's class right before Thanksgiving break. I found this idea on Family Fun and I could not wait to try it out! This edible Indian corn looks hard to put together, but it really is not. I did the majority of the work and then A helped me put on the green fruit leather at the end.

These treats were a huge hit with her teacher and classmates.

So, here's the recipe for ya if you want to give them a try. I'm sure you can make some interesting shapes, perhaps stars for the Christmas season. :)

Edible Indian Corn
Makes 15 treats

4 tablespoons butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
5 cups puffed corn cereal (KIX)
1-1/3 cups diced dried fruit
popsicle sticks
fruit leather

In a large pot, melt butter and mini marshmallows over low heat (about 5 minutes). Remove the mixture from the stove and use a wooden spoon to stir in puffed corn cereal and diced dried fruit. Allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes. Using buttered hands, shape each treat by pressing 1/3 cup of the mixture around a popsicle stick. Add fruit leather husks to the bottom of the ear, slightly moistening them to help them stick if needed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Thankful Tree

We started a new tradition in our house this year for the Thanksgiving season. We have a thankful tree on our dining room wall. It is not complete yet, but hope to have more thankful hands on it before the month is over.

I used brown packaging paper to make the tree and wrote "The Thankful Tree" on it as well as First Thessalonians 5:18 ("In everything give thanks....). Then, on most days after lunch we trace one of our hands and write something we're thankful for. It's been an encouragement to me in so many ways. I have been delighted to see A get so into it. In fact, she has written a few of them herself. My heart smiled after I asked her what one of them said. She said, "I'm thankful for you, Theo." :)

What traditions do you have for Thanksgiving? I'd love to hear about them!:)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lovin' my pumpkins!

Happy Fall, everyone! I hope you are enjoying the sights and scents of the season. There have been days when I look outside and see that fall is in full swing. But, there have been days that feel like summer and a few days where we've seen a white Christmas! It's kind of strange, but that's Colorado for ya!

If you were to come into my home, you'd see lots of pumpkins in many forms--some ceramic, some fabric, and a few that are the real thing. Here are a few of my favorites, including an easy craft idea:

I made this fabric pumpkin at one of my M.O.P.S. meetings. It's adorable and sooo easy to put together. I think A and I will make some of these for our Thanksgiving potluck at church (and perhaps use them for our Thanksgiving celebration with family). All you do is take a fabric quarter (found in quilting section at the craft store) and place it right side down on a table. Take a toilet paper tube and place it standing up in the center of the fabric as you put three plastic grocery sacks around it forming your pumpkin. Take the corners and edges of your fabric and push it into the tube. Use a small piece of a paper lunch sack and twist it to make a stem. Then, curl green pipe cleaners (two are recommended; I lost one of mine!) and stick them next to the stem. Now you have the cutest little pumpkin to decorate--and take apart later if you'd like for easy storage.:)

A can't wait to roast pumpkin seeds this year! I'm going to teach her how to scrape out the seeds and cook the pumpkin meat. Perhaps we'll even make that pumpkin pie that Q has been hinting about!

Do any of you have a wall flower from Bath and Body Works? I love their scents and right now, I have creamy pumpkin. It has been one of my favorites! You've got to try these if you haven't yet.:)

What's your favorite thing about fall these days?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pipe cleaner people

About a month ago, I needed a creative idea to use in our Sunday School program. While looking through my ETC (Evangelizing Today's Child) files, I found a neat project that focuses on reviewing Bible verses.

A and I made pipe cleaner people that hold memory verse cards. This is how hers turned out:

All you need is two pipe cleaners, a dixie cup, tape, crayons, scissors, pen and paper. The pipe cleaners are twisted together to make the arms, legs, and a loop for the head. An adult can help the child make a face or they can do it themselves. This is cut out and taped to the pipe cleaner loop. Cut out a small card and write a favorite Bible verse on it. A few can be done so that they can be changed from time to time. The arms hold onto the card. Twist the body to sit on a dixie cup and reinforce with tape. That's all there is to it!

Because it happened to be Q's birthday on the day we did this, we decided to make one for him, too.

I think the resemblance is striking, don't you think?:)

Besides using these to review Scripture, they can also be used as reminders and sweet notes to the people in your family. Have fun!:)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Snow fluff cookies

As mentioned in my previous post, we got our first big snow of the year. It was really cute to hear A talk about how it was Jesus' birthday and suggest making gingerbread cookies. She immediately associated the winter scene outside with Christmas. I had to explain to her that the holidays weren't for a while yet. She was disappointed as she cannot wait for Christmas.

This snow picture right outside our door was so beautiful and peaceful. Hard to think that it was so much warmer just a couple of days before this happened!

Remember the mobile I told you about? It has a completely different look with the snow in the back ground.

We began a tradition in our house a few years ago that involves the first day of snow. We make cookies and drink hot chocolate. Now with kids, this day is even more fun. I have enjoyed making snowball cookies, but this year I chose to do something different. By looking in a couple of cookbooks, I came across a recipe for snowfluff cookies. Another recipe called them cornflake kisses. No matter what you call them, they are perfect for this special day.

A and I used the recipe in this Mix and Fix Cookbook (published by Parents Magazine years ago). This book has been mine since I was a young girl. Flipping through the pages has brought back memories of making some of these recipes.

Here's the recipe where it's called cornflake kisses:

2 egg whites
2 cups cornflakes
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 cup dry shredded coconut

1. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff.
2. Gradually add the sugar, and keep beating!
3. Gently fold in the other ingredients, just barely mixing everything together.
4. Drop the batter onto a greased cookie sheet, a teaspoonful at a time.
5. Bake in a moderate oven (325 degrees) for 12 minutes.

Makes 30 small kisses.

After lunch, Q and A went sledding for a while. When they returned they were drenched, but had such a good time together. We all sat down to eat snowfluff cookies and drink hot chocolate. This is such a neat tradition for us to continue with the kids.:)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Leaf Mobile

I began this post last night while it was still looking like fall. Snow began falling tonight so tomorrow will look more like winter has arrived. It may not be the case where you live and you can still enjoy the gorgeous colors of autumn for some time.

A and I put together this fun decoration a few weeks ago to celebrate this season. If you have some leaves right outside your door and you'd like to preserve them, this is a great project to use them for.

I found this idea in last month's edition of Family Fun Magazine. After you press your leaves in a large book for a couple of days, place them between two pieces of clear contact paper. Cut around them, leaving a small border. Punch holes, tie a string to each, then hang them from a branch. We found our branch near our garden then taped it to the curtain rod. When the sun shines these leaves really glow. It's amazing!

Take time to enjoy this wondrous season God has given us. He is the Master Painter of the universe!:)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Life as "mom"

Blogging has been on my mind a bit, but not as much as the two precious girls God has entrusted us to take care of right now. Life as their mom has been busy, joyous and even hard at times, but God has given us the grace and strength to get through each day.

So, in the last five weeks that I have not blogged, much has happened. The girls are getting bigger and learning new things. Little S turned one and she is now a running, babbling and "little miss trouble" (probably should spell that with all caps!) thirteen-month old. Our eldest, A, is loving school and her teacher so much. Her enthusiasm for learning is contagious. Q has had another birthday; A and I have done a couple of fun projects, and lots of thoughts have been going through my head that I'd like to share with all of you.

I've also begun singing with the Longmont Chorale again and I've begun a new thing--I joined M.O.P.S. today. I love it! I know it will be a great source of encouragement for me during this time being a mom to two little ones.

As the routine of fall has settled in with a new Kindergartner and adjustments are being made to the higher energy levels of a toddler, I am going to do my best to begin blogging again--beginning with those few things that have happened recently. It may not be every day, or even every week, but I'll still keep plugging along sharing the latest projects, family news and thoughts that God gives me.

I just don't want to lose sight of my priorities which include my time with the Lord and my family and ministry. I love being a help and encouragement to others through this blog, but sometimes things come up, and I have to take a break.

Hope you all are doing well--I'd love to hear from you, so leave me a comment and share what's been new with you.

More things to come soon....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Obey your teacher and be kind to others."

For the past few days, that is what I've been leaving with A as she heads off to school. We want her to remember to obey her teacher and to be kind to others around her.

She began K5 last Thursday as a half day student. She already loves her teacher and enjoys being at school. It is different being on the other side of things now. I had been so used to being the teacher and now I'm a parent. It's fun to hear about her day and to see what she brings home in her back pack.

Because I want her to keep learning and growing at home, I've begun putting out activities on the table for her to do before lunch. Here are a few ideas that I've begun or that we will do this year:

Leap pad (paid $2 for it at a thrift store and it came with one book:)
phonics games like Boggle Jr.
number and letter puzzles
dry-erase writing tablet
quiet reading time
A Beka curriculum phonics for K5 (I'm on the hunt for a used set)
Family Fun activities--I just subscribed to this magazine for a few dollars and the first issue came yesterday. We are sooo excited about this!

We are thrilled with what her teacher is doing in the classroom. They do lots and lots of activities. Reading is encouraged, but the "sight word list" is comprised of many words that can be read phonetically. That is a big reason why I want to do some supplemental things at home, like mentioned above. If we're able to adopt her, we'd like to put her in a private Christian school next year, and we know that teaching her the A Beka phonics will help her out so much and she won't be lost next year. She will be an awesome reader.

In my living room, I like to write phrases with the scrabble tiles. A and I came up with the one below (her name is blocked out for privacy). Notice the letter K--it has a five next to it. It was just perfect. "A_____ is in K5."

We are celebrating the beginning of school and having so much fun. Will you pray that A has a great year and obeys and makes wise choices with her classmates?

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A lifesaver in the kitchen

I know it's been a while, but things have been super busy around here. With fighting a cold and getting A ready for school, life right now is having me focus on more important things.

But--I wanted to share with you something that has been motivating me to do better at meal planning and cooking during this busy time of taking care of two little girls. My sister-in-law told me about E-mealz, a website devoted to helping others with this endeavor. For a small monthly fee you get a 7-day menu plan (just dinners) and shopping list at the grocery store of your choice (there are a couple to choose from or you can choose an option to use another store). They keep your shopping cost low by searching for deals and listing store-brand items on the shopping list. They do it all (minus the shopping, of course!).

Isn't that amazing? Even though I have always enjoyed putting together a meal, things get crazy around here and sometimes it forces me to do something easy--which is not always the healthiest food to eat, either. But with this system, I am cooking meals again and everyone loves them. I chose the 4-6 person low-fat plan, using Wal-mart as my store. I always have leftovers for the next day, so that helps, too. I don't usually choose all seven meals, but rather my favorite 3-4, which lasts all week.

So, what do you think? Check out the site today if you'd like to learn more about it (click on the link above).

Below is a picture of one of our favorite meals so far--Apple Baked French Toast....yum!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The wait is over!

Something has happened in our garden area that we've been waiting for all summer long.

Want to know what it is?

Nope--it's not the sunflowers, but they are really looking beautiful!

It's not even this corn that has grown so much these past couple of weeks.

And although the potatoes are ready to be harvested, it's not this either.

Okay--you can take a look now:

Yipee! We got our first two eggs. Quentin came in yesterday afternoon and was so excited to show me.

They are smaller than our store-bought eggs, but they look great! Can't wait to use them soon. They should get bigger as time goes on.

I asked Q what chicken he thought gave us those eggs. He thinks that it came from Mary Poppins (the golden one between the two black ones).

As I went around with the camera this morning taking pictures, I had a hard time with the chickens, as they kept following me around. I thought I was going to miss the above shot as they ran towards me so fast! Then, as I zoomed in on Turkey Lurkey, she got really curious with the camera. It took me a few tries to get this picture:

I can't wait until all of the chickens start laying eggs. We're going to have a ton of eggs once they get going. Anyone want to come and get some? We'll have plenty for you!:)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

From my latest thrift store shopping experience....

We have done some thrift store shopping this summer, but this past Thursday was one of the best yet! When I take the girls with me, it becomes a challenge to really sort through stuff and find those "gems", so I took this opportunity while Q had the girls to go out and see what I could find. I went looking for a big basket, but did not find one. Instead, I found these items at my favorite thrift store in town--Sister Carmen's:

Backyardigans Hopsplash: 25 cents! The box was torn, so I really hope it works when we set it up this week for A to have fun with.

Soft letter and number cube: 10 cents! Little S is having fun with this already.:)

Rainbow fish puppet: 10 cents! I love collecting characters from children's books. This is a nice addition to my collection.

Little House on the Prairie book set: $2.25 (25 cents per book) This set is going to one of my nieces for her birthday. She's going to love it!

My Little Bible: 25 cents--This is a gift for Little S. We gave A a Bible for Easter, so I thought this would be neat to give to the baby as well. I'd love to make it a tradition that we always give a Bible or Bible story book to every foster child we have in our home.

Children's books: 25 cents each. The Goldilocks book is an older edition and it is also a pop-up book. It's really cute!

Little S really likes the My Big Animal book. It's full of animal pictures that any young child will love.

Children's craft books: 25 cents each. There are lots of fun things to do for A and I inside these books.

File Folder Games: 25 cents! This has never been used.:) When I see a teaching tool like this and it's super cheap I just have to buy it! The pieces have to be cut out then stored in file folders. It will be a fun way to reinforce what A is learning at school.

Crustacean Multiplication Dominoes: 25 cents. Again, it's another teaching tool for kids and I love it!

Animal Bingo: 25 cents! I really like this one, and so does A. The pieces are durable and there's even a pouch to store them in.

The animal pictures are beautiful and bright!

Duck prints: 50 cents each. I've started a collection of duck items for when I change the decor in one of the bathrooms. It will be the kids' bathroom and it will so cute with these pictures.

Ralph Loren western shirt: 99 cents! I love the look of this shirt--perfect with a pair of jeans.

Sonoma every day t-shirts: 99 cents each. These looked practically brand-new and they will be great for layering during the colder months.

Riders boot cut jeans: 99 cents! They fit great and will look good with any of the shirts shown above.

Billabong purse: 25 cents! The top part of the purse is made out of corduroy and the colors below match the clothing items that I bought on this day, too.

Did you add all that up yet? :) My grand total for this thrift store shopping trip was....


This was an awesome day full of great finds. It's fun to find unexpected treasures for incredible prices. God is so good to take care of our needs (and wants, too!)

Praises from Vacation Bible School

We had a busy week with Vacation Bible School. Like last year, we had Tim Tutton bring his Video Bus each day and teach the lessons and songs, do fun tricks, and show the videos. Every aspect of the program reinforced the truth of the Gospel. The children knew each day that God loves them and that He sent His only son to die for their sins.

Here are the praises of the week, for which we are thankful to the Lord for:

1. God gave strength each day to Mr. Tutton as he shared God's Word.
2. Two teen boys accepted Christ as their Savior.
3. The Gospel seed was planted in many hearts.
4. We had a high of 25 children on the bus (Wednesday).
5. Along with Q and I, another worker, Pat, came to help with the kids.
6. Lots of cookies were donated from members of the church.
7. Families were impacted for Christ as their children told them about what they heard on the bus.

How was your Vacation Bible School this year? I'd love to hear what God did for you.:)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Strawberry Lemon Trifle

A and I made this easy (and low fat!) dessert for a ladies Bible study last weekend. It comes from Taste of Home's Fast Fixes with Mixes Cookbook. We enjoyed every bit of it, as it was a refreshing treat during this summer heat.

Strawberry Lemon Trifle

4 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup fat-free lemon yogurt
2 cups fat-free milk
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant lemon pudding mix (for a creamier treat, use two boxes and double the milk)
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2-1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries, divided
1 tablespoon white grape juice or water
1 prepared angel food cake (10 inches)

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and yogurt. Add the milk, pudding mix and lemon peel; beat until smooth. In a blender, process 1/2 cup strawberries and grape juice until smooth. Tear cake into 1-inch cubes; place a third in a trifle bowl or 3-qt. serving bowl. Top with a third of the pudding mixture and half of the remaining strawberries. Drizzle with half of the strawberry sauce. Repeat. Top with remaining cake and pudding mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Yield: 14 servings.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad Johnson!

At the end of our vacation, there was a little surprise for my in-laws. Their 45th wedding anniversary was soon approaching, so Q and his siblings decided to honor them in a special way. Since Abigail and her family were now in Colorado, this was going to be the location of the surprise anniversary bash. She and her family worked hard to decorate, cook a meal and add some unique touches to the evening.

When we walked in with Grandma and Grandpa Johnson, we saw this sign:

Her kids traced their hands and colored in their hand prints. I love all the colors in their sign.:)

This was the kids' table....

The flowers in this centerpiece were so pretty....

This was the adult table....

Abigail put some gorgeous flowers into two vases. The vases showed pictures of everyone in the family.

After a fabulous turkey dinner, it was time for dessert. My in-laws were told to close their eyes for something BIG....

That two-layer cake was quite the surprise for them! One layer had bavarian cream, while the other had raspberries and chocolate. Blackberries adorned the cake beautifully.

This event was so special to them. I'm so glad they enjoyed it. I'm thankful that they have been married for all those years....what a great accomplishment and an example to all of us.