Monday, February 28, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award!

To say I was giddy with excitement when I was notified about receiving the
Versatile Blogger Award
would be an understatement!

The kid in me thought it was pretty cool to 'win' something!
The adult in me thought it was pretty amazing that someone{s} that I don't even know would be not only reading, but enjoying my blog!!
To know that I'm finding an audience as I'm attempting to carve out my own lil' niche in the blogosphere, well, it just made me feel all warm & fuzzy!
I'm encouraged to keep on a'bloggin.

So, to Lisa @ Modern Vintage Homemaking , YOU made my day!

The rules for the award are to tell 7 things about yourself ...
& share it with 15 blogs that you enjoy.

Here are my 7 things:

1.  I am suddenly all about tulips & have incorporated lots of them into my spring decor.

2.  I LOVE a bargain & finding new ways to stretch a dollar.

3.  My current project:  I'm writing a cookbook, hoping to finish by May.

4.  I wish I knew how to sew!!!  Anyone wanna teach me?

5.  Our dream is to live in the country on several acres ...
     & when our sons marry, we'd love to have adjoining properties with them all ...
     {the Pennington compound;)}

6.  As our sons are growing up, ever so quickly, I am challenged to pray more than ever for    their future wives & children.

7.  Thunderbird or Land Rover ... I'll take one of each.

I'm sharing this award with:

Esther @ Our Simple Country Life

Kelly @ The Gil & Kelly Bates Family Blog

Marian @ Miss Mustard Seed

Liz @ Hoosier Homemade

Stefanie @ Stefanie's Pleasant Places

Raising Homemakers

Courtney @ Women Living Well

Stacy @ Your Sacred Calling

Emily @ A Beautiful Life

Jacinda @ Happy Little Homemaker

Marilyn @ The Learning Parent

Friday, February 25, 2011

Baked Potatoes in the Crock Pot

Want my opinion of this recipe?
Stinkin' genius, that's what I think!!
Let me just tell you, this method for baked potatoes rocks ... & I'm SO excited about it!

We love baked potatoes, but the #1 reason we don't have them more often is because they take so long to bake in the oven.
{I've never had too much luck cooking them in the microwave.}
So, finding this recipe has been perfect!

All you do is this:

Wash & dry potatoes & prick them a time or two with a knife/fork.
Wrap each potato in aluminum foil.

* Sometimes I spray the foil with cooking spray & sprinkle with coarse sea salt
before wrapping up.

Toss all the potatoes in the crock pot & pop on the lid.
{Do not add water!}

Viola!  That's it!   Cook for 2.5 - 4 hours, depending on the size of the potatoes.

You can test doneness by sticking a knife through foil into potato.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Country Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I promised you the recipe ... & here is it.
These cookies were delicious!

In yesterday's blog, I shared my beautiful Amish-themed basket.
It was complete with this cookie mix in a jar
{well, a beautiful decanter that I'm ganna use to serve OJ}.

In a medium mixing bowl, I creamed together:
3/4 c. softened butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Next, I added the contents of the jar & stirred it all together by hand.

This is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets ... my cookie scooper!
It's perfect for keeping all your cookies all the same size & makes quick work of getting the cookies on the sheet.

And the final product:

Nothin' better than warm cookies, right out of the oven.
These got a big thumbs up!

Here's the complete recipe.

  • 3/4 cup white sugar

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 cup rolled oats

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, cream together 3/4 cup of softened butter, with 2 eggs & 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Add remaining ingredients & mix by hand until combined. Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls {or cookie scooper-fuls} onto an unprepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    A Tisket, A Tasket, A Beautiful Amish Basket

    My birthday was last month.
    I don't mind getting older, not one bit.
    With age comes wisdom & Lord knows, I need all of that I can get.

    I was blessed with beautiful cards, all with sweet messages written inside.
    I had a flower delivery, a couple flower deliveries, in fact.
    One was a bouquet of tiger lilies & the other a mixed bouquet
    with the brightest daisies I'd ever seen.
    I got some money from my momma ... to buy myself something 'pretty'.
    I enjoyed every phone call & Facebook message.
    I was even treated to lunch, a dinner out, a day of shopping & some awesome new PJ's!

    I wanted to share with you this beautiful basket that I was given ...
    from a dear friend who knows me well.

    She made me an Amish-themed basket, full of delightful goodies!

    Isn't this SO beautiful!?!
    I love these beautiful layers.
    & when it's emptied, I'll have the perfect juice jar!

    Nestled in the basket was a Paula Deen candle & a set of recipe cards.
    I love this whole basket so much that I can't bring myself to take it apart ...
    well, until this evening.
    I'll be baking up a batch of these cookies {Country Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies}
    for tonight's dessert.
    I'll share the recipe tomorrow.

    & last, but so not the least, was this beautiful bookmark, cross stitched just for me!!

    It was inside the book, The Simple Life - Devotional Thoughts from Amish Country.
    What a thoughtful gift, one that I will treasure always.

    Each time this bookmark moves from page to page, book to book, I will have a sweet reminder of my dear friend who has exemplified a friend who truly loves at all times.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    God's Description of Love

    Faith, like light, should always be simple & unbending; while love, like warmth, should beam forth on every side, & bend to every necessity of our brethren.       -- Martin Luther

    Last week, I shared part 1 of this blog { The Sweetest Love Is... }.
    Our family used this in family worship during the week preceding Valentine's Day.
    This is part 2, another very important part of this devotional taken from The Power of True Success, published by the Institute of Basic Life Principles.
    {I highly recommend making this book a part of your library,  It is an excellent resource in personal/family discipleship.}

    Because love is so important & there are many distorted ideas of what it is, God defines exactly what it involves in 1 Corinthians 13.

    1.  Love Suffereth Long.
         It doesn't lose heart.  It perseveres with patience & bravely endures misfortunes & troubles.  It bears offenses & injuries with joy ... confident that a good reward will come from God's hand.

    related qualities:  endurance, patience, forgiveness, joyfulness, faith, loyalty, flexibility

    2.  Love is KIND.
         It looks for ways to be useful & acts benevolently.  It is easy to be entreated & has the motivation of giving rather than taking.  It focuses on people's needs than on their faults.

    related qualities:  kindness, generosity, availability, creativity, compassion, sensitivity, initiative, gentleness, alertness

    3.  Love Envieth Not.
         It does not boil with desire to have that which belongs to others.  It is not possessive of what has been entrusted to it.  It is content with basic necessities & rich fellowship with the Lord.

    related qualities:  gratefulness, contentment, resourcefulness, thriftiness, security

    4.  Love Vaunteth Not Itself.
         It does not boast of its abilities or accomplishments.  It does not look for ways to promote itself or extol its virtues with rhetorical embellishments.

    related qualities:  sincerity, meekness, deference

    5.  Love Is Not Puffed Up.
         It does not cherish exaggerated ideas of i ts own importance.  It does not look down on others with contempt or disdain.  It is not proud.

    related qualities:  virtue, humility

    6.  Love Doth Not Behave Itself Unseemly.
         It does not flaunt itself attract attention or to stir up sensual desires in others.  It does not act indecently or shamefully.  It has good manners.

    related qualities:  self-control, discretion, responsibility

    7.  Love Seeketh Not Her Own.
         It does not demand its own way.  It does not crave things for its own pleasure or profit.  It focuses not on itself but on the needs of others.  It is willing to lay down its life for the benefit of others.

    related qualities:  hospitality, dependability

    8.  Love Is Not Easily Provoked.
         It does not get irritated or exasperated.  It conquers anger & wrath.  It is not quickly excited to rivalry but rather to helping others succeed.

    related qualities:  honor, cautiousness, punctuality, orderliness

    9.  Love Thinketh No Evil.
         It guards its heart & mind, bringing every thought into the captivity of Christ.  It distinguishes between good & evil ... & rejects the evil.  It does not retain wrong desires or plans & does not harbor hurtful feelings toward others.

    related qualities:  obedience, thoroughness, discernment

    10.  Love Rejoices Not In Iniquity.
           It grieves when evil people are promoted & unjust laws are made.  It does not secretly desire to carry out the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the prideful goals of life.

    related qualities:  justice, decisiveness, determination

    11.  Love Rejoices In The Truth.
           It delights in God's Law & meditates on it day & night.  It dwells upon thoughts that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, & of a good report.  It is eager to share truth with others & rejoices when truth prevails.

    related qualities:  truthfulness, boldness, persuasiveness, enthusiasm, attentiveness, wisdom

    My daily prayer is to LOVE more ... & to demonstrate this kind of love ... the kind that 'beareth all things, believeth, hopeth & endureth all things."
    This kind of love WILL outlast anything, because LOVE NEVER FAILS!

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Loaded Ultimate Sandwiches

    We LOVE sandwiches!

    I'd say our love of sandwiches comes from me.
    I proudly stand & proclaim that there's not much better than a good ol' bologna sandwich.
    {Eckrich garlic is my preference, on soft bread with a slice of onion & a sprinkle of salt.}
    That's right, I'm not ashamed of loving bologna in a turkey-lovin' world ;)

    Growing up, when my mom would make sandwiches for lunch,
    it wasn't just lunch meat on bread.
    No, it was an all-out loaded sandwich!
    Stacked in between the bread was the meat {sometimes a couple kinds}, lettuce,
    tomato, onion, cheese, mayo, & mustard.
    At any time, we'd have a variety of lunch meats including bologna {of course}, ham, pickle/pimiento loaf, old-fashioned loaf, pepper loaf & honey loaf.
    Those were the meats that our family loved.
    I'm not even sure turkey was even being sold in the deli case ;)

    We always had Bonnie bread {which I haven't seen on the shelf in a looong time until we started camping in Berne, IN -- they still carry Bonnie brand there}.

    I had to snap a picture to show my mom.

    I'll have to admit though, I don't always get out all the fixin's & occasionally,
    the boys get the hankering for a sandwich like 'Mamaw makes 'em.'

    One day last summer, Garrett & Gunnar decided they'd make lunch for all of us.
    They called it "The Ultimate Sandwich!"
    They're very saucy guys {just like their dad}, so they had fun doctoring up the mayo
    with various spices, coming up with a chipotle mayo that is top-notch!
    I must say, there's been some amazing sandwiches coming out of this kitchen!

    I decided that I'd start a segment on the blog about these, paying homage to the sandwiches we love.
    They are different every time, but way delicious!
    These keep lunch exciting!
    Subway, eh, who needs 'em =)

    Sandwich #1
    This toasty one included corned beef, ham, lettuce, spinach leaves, onion, pepperoncini, American cheese, mustard, mayo {w/smoked paprika & cracked black pepper added in}.

    Sandwich #2
    This one is a loaded turkey w/toasted bread.  It has horseradish, mayo, mustard, pickle, onion, lettuce, & spinach leaves.

    Sandwich #3
    This is a ham & turkey topped w/hot & spicy mayo, mustard, onion, lettuce, pepperoncini, pickle, & American cheese.

    There's about a hundred sandwiches eaten ... that just weren't lucky enough to get their picture taken.
    From here on, I'll try to add new ones on from time to time.

    In the mean time, go make yourself an ultimate sandwich!

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    The Sweetest Love Is...

    James asked me to choose last night's topic for family worship
    out of one of our favorite books:
    The Power for True Success ~ How to Build Character in Your Life }
    {{We so enjoy the teachings of Bill Gothard & the resources we've purchased from IBLP.}}

    As I looked through the index, the LOVE vs. SELFISHNESS jumped out at me.
    Seemed quite fitting so close to Valentine's Day to talk about love ;)

    And, as to be expected, it was RICH material!
    I knew I had to blog some of the highlights.

    This verse, in particular, has been on my heart for the past year:

    "By this shall ALL men KNOW that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another."
         John 13:35

    I have pondered the question often, 'do we, as Christians, truly love?'
    We say we do.
    Of course, we're Christians!
    We have to love!
    But do we truly love??
    Based on the actions & attitudes displayed all too often by fellow Christians, I'm continually needing to convinced that love is the driving force.

    It's easy to love when everyone is doing or acting just what we think they should.
    You know, as long as they look like we think they should .... or behave just so-so.
    As long as they treat us right & don't expect too much from us.

    But the moment that we have to stretch beyond that, our 'love' is tested.

    We all have contact, at some time or another, with sandpaper people.
    We all know someone who seems downright unlovable.
    We've all been hurt & disrespected.
    We've been on the receiving end of hurtful gossip & lies.
    It's easy to put these folks in the 'I love 'em cause I have to' category.
    But does it measure up to Christ's standard of love?
    Genuine love is the most important quality.
    Every other quality must be motivated by it ... or the quality will be empty & of no benefit.

    That hits hard.

    1 Corinthians 13:3 says:
    "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor & though I give my body to be burned, & have not charity {love}, it profiteth me nothing."

    Love is the only badge of discipleship that the world recognizes!
    When we love one like Jesus loved, the world will notice!

    He loves our enemies.
    He loves the sandpaper people.
    He loves the unlovable.

    When we stop & think of the way He loves,
    we then can be challenged to take our love to the next level.
    Instead of praying for our enemies to stop aggravating us,
    we can begin to pray for them to know the peace of Jesus Christ!
    Instead of praying for folks to straighten up & fly right,
    we can pray for them to come to the knowledge of the truth.
    We can see people {& all their imperfections} as His creation, unique & valued in His eyes.

    The sweetest love is that which is neither sought nor deserved.

    Stay tuned  for additional blogs on this subject.