Sunday, December 20, 2009

This Christmas...

5 days till Christmas!  Wow!  Where has the time gone?  Where has the year gone?

My Holiday tree that is kept up year round in my dining room is decorated with cookie cutters, homespun, a few fabric hearts and a Christmas present from my dear friend, Donna-- the adorable Gooseberry Patch Cookbook ornament!  I LOVE it!  It's so cute!  Thank you Donna!

A few things sitting on my husband's grandmother's hutch.  I decorated with fresh greenery all over this year and I love the pine smell!

My very favorite Christmas piece was made by my mom in 1986.  She made six of them!  One for each of her children!  Although it would be a decade later before I married, I have treasured it because I know how much love and time was put into this beautiful village!

I am so very thankful for this Christmas compared to last Christmas. Last year I had to work more days at my part-time job. I was working four days a week. This year I am only working two days a week. It has been so wonderful to accomplish so many things I wasn't able to last year because of time restraints. Even though my job is part-time, working retail at Hobby Lobby is hard work! Most especially at Christmas time and the month following it! I work in the Seasonal department and it is ever evolving! Constant change is going on. Right now we are in the process of setting out garden and spring items. Valentine's has arrived also! As much as I despise pink (sorry for all you pink lovers!), I am always so delighted to see some pink after all that red and green!

Anyway, it has been a most enjoyable Christmas for me this year. I have been able to focus more on Christ and share more of Him this year. That is always such a thrill for me! My most favorite thing about Christmas is spending time with family and friends. I had a wonderful weekend full of these! Some of my girlfriends and I had a cookie swap Friday night hosted at my home. We had a most enjoyable time... staying up till 1:35 AM catching up on each other's lives! We finally divvied up the cookies at 1 AM! Haha! It was fun and such sweet fellowship. Saturday night, we hosted the main course of a progressive Christmas dinner for our church youth. It was a house full! I was worried about 50+ people having room to sit down and eat dinner, but it worked out. Good times for sure!

After a week of baking and partying, I am ready to focus on a week of my kids being home on Christmas break. Together, we are going to build a gingerbread house (that was actually bought last year, but we never had time to put it together), make jelly and mini bread loaves to share with our family, wrap presents, watch Christmas shows snuggled up on the couch eating popcorn and nestle by the fire drinking hot cocoa. Now that is a Christmas I can enjoy instead of being wore out from working so hard!

Thank you Lord! I am most grateful for the joy in my heart this Christmas!

Wishing you and your family a most warm and blessed Christmas surrounded by lots of love!

Monday, December 14, 2009


I live outside of a small town called Catoosa, OK (East of Tulsa). My wonderful husband Rich and I have been living out this way since Feb 1996 with our three loving children: Ryan, Amariah and Robbie. We are extremely blessed beyond what we deserve. Our life revolves around our God, our family, our friends, and our home.

We enjoy the country life! We moved into our dream home 3 years ago. In doing that, we gained lots and lots of space… 1,678 feet to be exact! It has been both a joy and a challenge to make the house “our country home”. I believe I finally have it figured out though! When my little guy starts school next year… watch out! I won’t have a little one underfoot, hanging on my leg, following my every footstep… I’m actually gonna be able to accomplish something. I’m excited to get started on my living room. It will take on a whole new transformation! I can see it in my mind and it’s going to fit our family so perfectly!

Thankfully, I was born into a family of creative women all around me! My great-grandmas, grandmas, mom, sisters and aunts all had a love of some sort of crafting. I am so honored to be passing that love on down to my daughter and even my sons! My dream ever since I graduated from high school has been to have my own little shop. I have evolved over the years by creating and making heartfelt crafts. My mom and I share so many memories of years of craft shows.

All that to bring me to my present life. Having young children (4, 10, and 14) that are very involved in church activities and sports does not afford the time or money for a shop right now. One of these years, though!  Currently, I set up shop at the Tulsa Flea Market on Saturdays as time allows.  I love setting up my tables and making neat displays with all my goodies.  It's so much fun!

So in the present time, I am going to be crafting in-between practices and ball games, gymnastics, church events, my part-time job, and wherever else I can steal a minute or two. Maybe one day I will set up an Etsy store. Until then, I might be posting my goodies on my new ‘Berry Homespun Primitives’ blog.  This blog is not currently active because of the busy-ness of Christmas. So watch for me at the first of the year! Thanks for visiting and I look forward to getting to know you better!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Wednesday List

Wow!  It seems like all my friends are getting snow but me.  My poor nephew and friends in the Denver area are dealing with -8 degree weather!  Can you imagine living in below freezing temps?  Yikes!  I don't know if this old body could handle that.  Lol!

I made my "Wednesday list" on Monday, so it's a good thing it's a cold, cold day here today.  We are sitting at 18 degrees, windy.  Whew!  I always feel so sorry for those that have to work out in this kind of weather.

I just printed off a recipe from the Taste of Home website for Cinnamon Apple Jelly

  My dear friends Katie and Alissa made some a couple of months ago.  I did get a taste of it, and it is delicious!

Well, my Christmas decorating is almost officially done.  I just need to venture down by the pond to get some greens.  I should have done that last week when the weather wasn't so frightful.  I think Robbie and I will pursue that this afternoon if the temps go up a tad bit more.  The Weather Channel says we will get up to 27 degrees.  Maybe we can head out then.

Thanks to my dear hubby for fixing me a nice, toasty fire in the fireplace before he headed off to bed this morning.  At least he didn't have to work out in the cold last night!  He was also sweet enough to put some biscuits in the oven while I was delivering kids to school.  Too bad that cinnamon apple jelly isn't already made.  Mmmmm... That would be so good right now!  =]

Well, it's time for me to head downstairs where it's cozy warm!  On my list today:  finish up Christmas cards (83 done, 49 to go!), cut out and sort coupons, get my Christmas recipes out and make my shopping list, and figure the checkbook.  Gotta get ready for Friday-- shopping!  So glad my activities today will be near the fireplace.  Now I just need to put a pot of water on for some delightful hot chocolate.

Today I am grateful that I can be home to take care of some household chores.  For those that have to work more than two days a week, I know it can be stressful trying to carve out a little time to accomplish these things.  Stay as warm as you can today.  I wish for you a grand week/end~

Monday, December 7, 2009

Going Home

What a grand weekend I had "going back home".  Although I have been gone from Bruner, MO for almost 14 years-- it will always, always be home to me.

My boys and I arrived Friday evening just in time for dinner with my parents and my brother Daryl at China House.  Love their cashew chicken!  Ryan loves their crab legs that are only out on the buffet on Friday nights.  Needless to say, he was quite happy about the restaurant choice.  We stole Mom away and headed to Branson to see the Silver Dollar City lights.  You would think that living there for 25 years and going back numerous times over the past years that there would be one season in the past 40 years that I would have made it to see the SDC lights.  But no...  This was my first year!  And boy was it magical!

You just gotta love a twinkling parade at night!

The stores were all decked out in beautiful Christmas displays.  Robbie had to have his pixie stick from the candy store with him at all times.

The next morning bright and early I met my dear girlfriends, Donna and Jeanna, for breakfast.  Time spent with those two are truly priceless!  Why does time have to fly by so quickly when you just wish it would stand still?  I guess that's just a daily reminder for us to enjoy what we have when we have it.  There is always so much to talk about and never enough time to get it all in!  I am blessed to have been re-connected with them this year!

From there, I went to my niece's home to watch the small town Christmas parade with lots of heart!  My little great-nephews were in it and they were oh so proud to throw us lots of candy!  After the parade, we all gathered in her home for homemade cinnamon rolls, brownies, hot chocolate and cider.  It was nice to relax and fellowship with my loved ones!

That evening was our family Thanksgiving dinner.  We normally have it the Saturday after Thanksgiving but my parents were going to be out of town then so they moved it back.  I'm glad they did.  It was a very nice and enjoyable weekend for me!  As always, their home was full of family and love... and food!  With 6 kids, 16 grandkids, 15 great-grandkids, and all the spouses... we most definitely have family gatherings full of love!  For Rich growing up with one brother, he gets a little overwhelmed at times.  But I wouldn't have it any other way!  =]

To celebrate one of the two new additions that will be added to our family soon, we celebrated with a baby shower on Sunday.  What a nice way to end the weekend full of family and love!

I am grateful for a large family that truly loves one another, helps one another and gets along so well.  When I only get to go back home once in awhile, I miss them so.  Thank you Lord, for such a sweet and loving family!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Soup for the Soul

Our church had its Ladies Christmas Party Tuesday evening.  "Soup for the Soul" was the theme.  The whole evening revolved around this theme.  Our Women's Activity Team is awesome!  As always, they put together a wonderful evening!  We had a delicious smorgasbord of soups, salads, breads, and desserts!

Needing something to label my soup, I came across a very cute little soup label in one of my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks.  So I sat down one night and went through all of the 28 GBP cookbooks that I own and found tons of cute labels for us to use!  I copied them onto cream colored cardstock.  Then the real fun began!  I used my scrapbooking chalk and watercolor pen to color in the pictures.  It took longer than I anticipated, but I enjoyed doing it.  Robbie wanted to color and chalk with me, so I got his coloring books and he joined me.  I asked him if we should get his workbook and work on some pages.  He LOVES his workbook!  He said "No Mommy, I'm having fun coloring with you."  Ah, too cute!  =]

As the ladies came in the door, the labels were sitting on a table for them to write what they brought and tape to it.  There were so many mouth-watering dishes-- I'm glad we had the labels!  I was so excited about getting a night of sweet fellowship with my sister friends that I forgot to take a picture of the food tables before.

My favorite soup is "Granny's Potato Soup".  Funny... We don't have a Granny in our family.  I'm not even sure where the recipe came from.  But she sure made some delicious potato soup!

It's so delicious... I think I'll share with you:
  • 6-8 medium potatoes
  • 6-8 slices bacon
  • 2 can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 pt. sour cream
Dice potatoes and boil until tender.  Fry bacon until crisp.  Crumble bacon and put into crock pot.  Add 2 cans cream of chicken soup, milk, butter and sour cream.  Put drained potatoes on top and turn crock pot on high.  Cook until bubbles and well mixed.

Yum!  Only I cheat a little and use real bacon bits instead of taking the time to fry up some bacon.  I also leave out the sour cream.  And it is still very yummy and creamy!

Our leader of the Women's Ministry had a devotional for us about the different kinds of soups of our life and everything that we put into our soup.  I enjoyed the lesson and it touched my heart.  Amanda had a powerful way of presenting her message and she gently reminded us of the many, many blessings that we have!

We were blessed to hear the testimony of one of our youth girls.  The microphone was open to any others that wanted to partake.  It was a wonderful time of sharing.  Following this was a very compelling prayer time. 

To end the evening, we had a craft.  How fun!  There were tables set up with enamel paint and markers.  We painted on soup bowls!  It was hard to decide what to do, but I ended up painting a lime green and pink one for Amariah to use in her bedroom.

I am grateful for:
  • my husband for encouraging me to attend this event
  • my oldest son for watching his younger brother so I was able to attend
  • my sister friends who are so fun to be with even when I'm dog tired
  • my daughter who loved her bowl painted just for her
  • my God who loves me, bestows His great mercy on me especially when my soup is scorched/burnt

Monday, November 30, 2009

Log Splitting

What a beautiful day... even though it is 46 degrees here right now.

You can't tell it inside our home.  It's nice and cozy!

Remember the huge dead tree that came down in our front yard?  Well, it looks like we will be reaping the benefits from that all winter long without having to go cut wood somewhere else.

Rich borrowed a log splitter from a friend.  The afternoon that I was working on fluffing my cardinal tree, he and the kids spent that time splitting wood.  All of this came from two of those big logs:

Rich tells me I'm such a "freak" about things.  He's so silly; he doesn't realize how much he is too!  He took the bigger logs off of the rack and split them into smaller logs.  I think he was just having lots of fun with the log splitter.  I knew it was coming... and it did about 2 hours into log splitting... "Honey, I think we need to get one of these".  So my answer-- put money aside for it and watch craigslist.  Isn't that the answer for everything??

I agree that a log splitter would be nice to have to save his back and shoulders from hurting after all last season of using a maul.  Rich did have a very good idea.  How about saving a few of those big tree trunks to use as seats?  We're slowly clearing away our land to the pond and will one day have a fire pit down there.  I agree... these would make some pretty neat (and weatherproof) seats!  What do you think?

I am grateful for a husband that works around the home doing what needs to be done to take care of our family.  It's so nice to have a wood fireplace.  It heats up our family room, dining room and kitchen.  That's three rooms that don't need to be heated by natural gas.  I'm all about not giving ONG our hard earned money!  =]

Fluffing, fluffing and more fluffing

Whew!  Fluffing, fluffing and more fluffing!  I'm tired of fluffing!  This is what I've been doing most of the afternoon/evening.

First, our family Christmas tree.  This beautiful 7.5' Mixed Colorado Long Needle tree will have a prominent place in our home as it will be decked out in all the family heirloom treasures and precious handmade ornaments from the kids.

The next tree is a 7' Mini Canadian Pine tree.  This is my 3rd Christmas tree to put up this year.  It's reserved for my snowmen only!  I'm not much on Santa, so I tend to buy more "snowmen-oriented" items.

Lastly, this is something new for my home.  I've always wanted to wrap garland around my staircase, but have never found what I wanted.  Well, last year I got fortunate again at the Hobby Lobby after Christmas sale!   I bought four garlands at 80% off.  They were $24.99 each!  On top of that, I was able to use my 15% off employee discount!  So you can imagine how happy I am!  =]  But goodness sakes, what a bear it was to work with.  It didn't want to bend very easily.  I'm satisfied with the way it turned out.

I'm thinking about buying strands of battery operated lights to intertwine in the garland.  I'm not quite sure yet.  Hmmm...

Well, not much Christmas decorating was accomplished today.  Just lots and lots of fluffing.  At least that part is over with for right now.  I still have 2 little trees to put up.  My family loves to joke about all the Christmas trees in our home, but deep down I just know they love it almost as much as me!  I'm grateful they put up with me!  =]

Friday, November 27, 2009

Good finds

I don't have any Black Friday good deals being as I had to work today.  But I do have a couple of good finds that I'm pretty proud of.  So proud, that I want to share.

I have wanted a cardinal Christmas tree for a few years now.  I've been searching for just the right tree.  I'm so happy to say that I finally found it!

The tree was originally $393.00.  I got it at 80% off last year after Christmas.  On top of that, I got another 15% off because of it being an employee purchase since I work at Hobby Lobby.  It is a gorgeous 7.5 foot snowed mixed pine tree with red berries and pine cones.  How perfect for a cardinal or two!!

This is the only Christmas decoration I had in my house before Thanksgiving.  I am a very traditional kind of gal.  I wait for Thanksgiving to be over before I retire my fall decorations and bring out the Christmas.  I just couldn't wait for this tree any longer!  I love it so!

I am so excited about adding another object of affection to my ever-growing list of goodies to watch out for when I'm antiquing.  You know... that 'thrill of the hunt'.  The glass balls are in place; now to add the cardinals.

While shopping in Colorado, my sister wanted to stop at a Home Goods store.  I had never heard of it but as always, I was anxious to see what goodies I could find.  Boy, did I ever come across a couple of good finds!

This candle holder was only $3.  I was so excited about the price that I didn't even think to see if the light actually worked!  Haha!  I rubbed some black paint on it to age it a little more.  I took off the sad looking homespun and added my own homespun that has a touch of Christmas colors.  The light works!  So exciting for me!

This little crock light, that I paid $2 for, also needed homespun to make it cozy.  I stopped by Wal-mart's fabric dept. one day while grocery shopping and was so joyful when I realized they carry homespun for $2 and $2.99 a yard!!  I went a little crazy (he he!), but I have lots of fabulous homespun to add to my collection.  And this light works too!

It's cute, but lacking.  I came across this sweet little wreath made of pip berries and rusted tin stars.  I really like it now, and I like its new location better too-- right next to a couple of small crock jars that I purchased for $2 and $3 at Gordman's.  They are sitting on top of a candle box that I bought as unfinished wood about 9+ years ago.  I painted and sanded it and use it regularly.  I like my things... but I also like my things to be functional!  The adorable little sign is "the cherry on top".  =]

I am grateful for the things in my home that I call my 'treasures' and that bring simple joy to me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I have so enjoyed reading all the thankful lists that I have been seeing this month on facebook and in blogs.  Have you seen Cora's 30 days of Gratitude?  I have been following her daily thoughts all month and have been so touched and so blessed by her words and pictures.  She has become one of my newest blog sister friends!  Check out her blog, she is a sweet gal.

I've been thinking awhile now on compiling my own list of all the things I am thankful for.  My mind has been flooded with all sorts of people, places and things.  As I've matured over the years (I'm 40 now, so I can say I have matured.  Ahem...), I have come to realize what really matters and what really doesn't.  But that is insight that will have to wait until another time.

I am grateful for this holiday, Thanksgiving, which has become my very favorite holiday of the year.  Not just because it is my favorite time of year to decorate.  Not just because autumn is full of the vibrant colors that are my favorites.  I love it so because it is a time we celebrate my very favorite things... family, friends, love, laughter, time spent together.  It is a time we celebrate gratefulness.  The best part of all-- there are no gifts involved and no stress involved (unless you're like me and still have a messy house that should have already been cleaned by now because family is coming!).  Eek!

I am grateful for a mighty God that has saved me, forgives me, and loves me for who I am.  I am grateful for all things that He has blessed me with even though I am so very undeserving.  I am one fortunate gal to have a life that I truly love and enjoy!  Thank you Father for all of the people and things, both good and bad, that you have placed in my life.

May you all have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones, sweet fellowship and laughter!  Love you~

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Road Trip!

This week I found out how much I am addicted to blogs! My iphone was my only source of internet as I was on a road trip with my sister. It was a tremendous help as we were searching the Celestial Seasonings Tea Co. or hunting down Hammond's Candy Co. But to pull up blogs on such a small screen... well, it is just not the same! I missed reading daily accounts of what's going on in my friends' lives (those I know personally and those I have only recently become acquainted with online).

My sister Jodi has a son that lives in Westminster, CO. She was heading out there to take a load of personal belongings to him. So I hopped on board to tag along. And boy, did we have fun! As we were heading out Sunday morning, we were laughing our heads off before we even got off my road!! We were laughing so much, that she had to stop on the side of the road and wipe the tears from her eyes before she could continue on. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the trip. Ah, I just love sisterhood!

Jodi and I are huge fans of the Food Network and our favorite show is "Unwrapped". We just know that we are the only people that plan our trips around food stops and how different foods are made!

Our first stop on Monday was Johnstown, CO for a "World Famous Cinnamon Roll".

Their roast beef was delicious. As was the breakfasts and other foods that were ordered. When you think of truck stop food, the word delicious is usually not associated. Our tummy's were full but we came for the cinnamon roll... so we had to conquer! Well, it took me a few days to conquer mine. He he! We took them home with us because they were huge!

We enjoyed our first stop immensely and knew we were in for a fun trip! I'm not sure what was so funny, but in this picture I'm trying not to bust out laughing.

On our way...

to our next stop in Boulder, CO.

Celestial Seasonings Tea Co. factory tour, tea sampling room, gift shop and cafe.  We spent the afternoon here.  Jodi was excited about her Lemon Zinger tea sample that was our ticket for the tour.

We enjoyed the sampling room!  =]

The time we spent at Sleepytime Drive and Zinger Street made fond memories for us.

... that will not be soon forgotten.

Tuesday we went to Denver, CO to Hammond's Candy Factory for what seemed like a step back in time.

On this day they were making canes, lolli's (lollipops, not suckers!), and cinnamon & butterscotch pillows... all natural of course.  You can see the excitement and joy in my sister's expressions.  Which is why she is the perfect companion for this kind of trip.

My nephew Jason (on the left) and his buddies enjoying the free candy samples.  They had a good time at the candy factory too!

How awesome that we were able to take pictures in the actual working factory!  In the following picture, they are putting the flavoring inside the cane.  It's actually a separate piece of candy block that gets wrapped up in the color of the cane.

Then the candy is put through a machine where it comes out looking like a long rope.  In this next picture, the candy is being cut and hand twirled into a lollipop.

We also got a view of the packaging/shipping area.

Then the real fun began... Shopping for candy!

Yum!  That was a fun time!

We dropped off the boys and headed to the mountains.  In my lifetime, I've only seen the Smoky Mountains in TN.  They are beautiful, but nothing prepared me for what I was about to encounter!

On the drive up the mountain, I was being teased with beauty all around.  I was in awe at every turn.  I kept wanting to stop and take it all in.  Jodi pressed on as she kept telling me to hold on, be patient.

We drove about 4.5 miles up the mountain to Lost Gulch Overlook which is on Flagstaff Road from Boulder, CO.  The view was utterly breathtaking.  All we could do was sit in silence.  I was in AWE!

I wonder how they get to their house... if you can even see it in the picture.

Quietly I just sat and praised God, thanking Him for just a glimpse of the beauty we will one day see in Heaven.  These mountains, this incredible view is His work.  Wow!  I am just amazed at His glorious creation!!

We had to call, text and update facebook status at the top of the mountain.  Just because we could.

The people on top of the rock on the far right-- that's where we spent most of our time.

Coming down the mountain was just as beautiful.

Boulder doesn't look as big now.

Just a few more pictures coming down the mountain.  I know, I know, I get carried away.  It's so hard to choose a few good ones out of the 200+ pictures I took just in the mountains!

Crown Rock

Boulder at dusk from Panorama Point

Colorado is a beautiful state.  I'm so glad I was able to go on this trip!  Even though it was only a four day trip, we packed so much into it.  Besides the tours and drive up the mountains-- we hit some malls, lots of shopping, tried out new restuarants and even had some of Jodi's home cooking!  It was so nice to see where Jason lives, works and goes to school plus meet his friends.  He was a wonderful host.  I'm so proud of him and all he has accomplished thus far!

I'm grateful for a sister that I'm close to.  It was so nice to just visit with her and talk about everything going on in our lives.  I don't even recall a lull in our conversations, even on the long drive.  We always have catching up to do.  I'm thankful for her friendship and the time we spend together.