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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pretty cool pumpkin and gourd carving ideas for this Fall and Halloween season....so forget the traditional jack o' lantern and try of few of these pumpkin carving ideas for your Fall and/or Halloween decorating fun!

Welcome guests to your home with these decorative monogrammed pumpkins that are simply elegant. To make these cool pumpkins, print letters (either your initials or one for each member of your family) in your favorite font. Transfer the designs to pumpkins and carve, either cutting all the way through the pumpkins or gouging out the top layer.

Your car aficionado will love this pumpkin road duo. Download the patterns; transfer to your pumpkins and cut the opening to on the bottom of your finished design. Cut out the windows and windshield. Then use a gouging tool to outline the car and camper doors. Cut out a small rectangle under the camper door, and wedge in a scrap of pumpkin for the threshold. Embellish the car and campers with wheels, door handles, and curtains using pieces of small, colored gourds; secure with toothpicks. Cut out a stripe along the camper and insert a long strip of gourd to finish.

Smooth-skin gourds are a great way to add cool pumpkin carving to your decorating repertoire. Choose varieties in distinctive seasonal colors, such as yellows, greens, and reds. To create these luminarias, cut a hole in the side of each gourd large enough for your hand; scrape out the inside. Mark your chosen design on the gourd using a pencil or ballpoint pen. Carve the design with an awl, paring knife, or crafts knife, or use a power drill and different-size bits. Illuminate the gourds with strands of LED lights.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Just Passing Through To Prosperity

“...let them say continually, ‘Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.’ ” Psalm 35:27

Are you in the land of “Just Enough”? Your needs are supplied and you’re grateful, but there’s nothing extra, nothing to accomplish your dreams. God is saying, “I did not breathe My life into you to live in the land of Barely Enough. I didn’t create you to live in the land of Just Enough.” Those are seasons, tests ~ they are not permanent, we are just passing through! This season is only temporary, just as the natural seasons are.

We can’t let ourselves have a barely-get-by mentality. Jesus came so that we can live an abundant life, that means an abundance of joy, an abundance of peace, an abundance of health, an abundance of finances. We may not see it right now, and maybe we haven’t experienced it in the past, but we can’t get complacent and just settle for where we are, in the land of “Barely Enough”. God desires that we be blessed and prosperous, He desires that we be so blessed that we can turn around and be a blessing everywhere we go! He wants us to have so much peace, so much joy, so much victory that when other people get around us, it spills over onto them!

God has a Promised Land for each of us ~ a place of abundance, of more than enough where it’s flowing with provision. Not just one time, but continual increase, a land flowing with plenty! While our current location may not be ideal, it is just that ~ our location, NOT our identity. We have to keep saying, “God takes pleasure in prospering me. I am the head and never the tail, and God is leading me in the path of blessing in every area of my life!”

We have to get a vision for our future ~ a vision for increase, a vision for abundance! God delights to see us prosperous and successful. When we choose to think God’s thoughts and choose God’s way, we’ll see that increase and victory in every area of our life!

Father, thank You for delighting to see me prosper. Thank You for the blessings You have given me and those You have in store for me. Help me to develop a vision for Your abundant life so that I can be a blessing everywhere I go. I trust that Your ways lead me to the land of abundance and I thank You for provision today and for abundance tomorrow in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Grow Your Own Kitchen Countertop Herb Garden

This compact kitchen herb garden ensures all the fresh seasonings you need for a savory Italian dinner are just a snip away. Six hours of sunlight a day and minimal care are all these hardy plants require to provide tasty herbs year-round.

Materials Needed:
6 used food cans in a variety of sizes
2 basil plants
1 rosemary plant
1 thyme plant
1 oregano plant
1 parsley plant
ribbon
card stock
old fork
small scissors
large terra cotta saucer
river rock or pebbles
potting soil
drill w/ small drill bit
rubbing alcohol
twine or string
Download: Italian Herb Garden Tags

Friday, August 18, 2017

From Seedtime to Harvest ~ Rely on God

Everything happens in God's timing and sometimes that is hard for our flesh. While I know that I know that His timing is best, the wait sure gets the best of me. It is so easy to talk to others about "doing" something, like waiting with expectancy and patience and whatnot and sometimes I can even follow my own advice BUT then there are the days that I just want to throw in the towel and be done!

Even as I say that I have this thought in my head saying "be done with what?" and really what would I be done with, God...... I know that I wouldn't have anything at all if it weren't for Him so NO I wouldn't be done with Him but maybe I think I would be done praying for the same thing day after day, week after week, month after month...... I can't even really do that though either because that is what the devil wants me to do, he wants me to give up. I have said it before,that the harder the situation or situations we face may be getting, the closer we are getting to our breakthrough; the devil knows that we are about to achieve our victory because God is on our side, if we give up God can't work and therefore we let the devil win and our harvest may never come.

I've been praying for something for months now and I can taste the harvest but some days I backslide into "old" behaviors and feel like I'm losing ground, that the harvest is being pushed back.... honestly I'm sure it is because of me, my not relying on and trusting that He's in control. This is all part of my growing season ~ I have planted the seed but the harvest is taking a little longer to become "ready" (if there are any farmers out there you understand the lingo) because of my own actions!

I really need to rely on God (and again here's that word) TRUST that He is in control, He has my best interest at heart....I am NOT in control and can't do anything about my situation but PRAY, RELY ON and TRUST in Him to handle everything from seed time to harvest!!!

Proverbs 16:9 says, A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. Proverbs 20:24 says,Man's steps are ordered by the Lord. How then can a man understand his way? When God directs our paths, He sometimes leads us in ways that don't make sense to us so we're not always going to understand everything. If we try to reason out everything, we will experience struggle, confusion and misery—but there is a better way. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. This sounds so simple, yet too many times I make the mistake of trying to figure everything out myself. Most of us have spent our lives trying to take care of ourselves, but when we accept Christ as our Savior, we must learn to trust our lives to His care. When we do, we can say with the psalmist, ...I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands...(Psalm 31:14-15).

First Peter 5:5 tells us that ...God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)—but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble. Jesus said, ...apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5). Humility is a covering that draws the help of God into our lives to protect us. When we humble ourselves by saying, "God, I don't know what to do, but I'm trusting You," God gets in gear to help us. God won't allow us to succeed at anything unless we're leaning and relying on Him. But when we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, in due time, He will lead us to victory, our HARVEST. "Due time" is God's time, when God knows we're ready, not when we think we're ready.

The sooner I can fully understand and accept that, the sooner God can work His plan in my life.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back-To-School Organizing

Back to School Bookcase
Stocked with everything a student needs, this hideaway is an inviting place to pore over homework. Two store-bought bookcases are filled with handy, stay-organized tools such as a calendar for upcoming school events, an ''in'' box for unfinished assignments, and an ''out'' box for finished homework to be checked by Mom and Dad.

Portable Desk
Allow kids to bring their homework anywhere with this portable desk. Equipped with writing materials inside, productivity never has to suffer.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

6 Simple ways to make Back to School easy on everyone!

1. Get up before the Kids ~ Set your alarm a few minutes before your kids wake. This enables you a few extra minutes to yourself, in what can otherwise be a busy morning. Even if it’s just 15 minutes! That is enough time for most busy parents to wash up, get dressed, and even start a cup of tea or coffee.

2. Do things the night before ~ Pick outfits out the night before. This is also a great way to encourage some independence and self esteem by giving kids choices and allowing them to help pick out an outfit for school. Make lunches the night before and store in fridge until morning. If you can’t find time the night before, another option is make lunch during breakfast time.

3. Create an area for school things only ~ Have a backpack command center. Pick a spot near the entryway where you can leave shoes and backpacks. This way when it’s time to get out the door in the morning there’s no searching for those last minute items.

4. Have all things school related ready to grab and go in the morning ~ Place completed homework or school paperwork into backpacks the night before. Again, you don’t want to be searching for a field trip form the morning of, so make it easy on yourself and have it packed the night before.

5. Set your coffee pot for auto-brew so when you wake up your coffee is already brewed, all it needs is a cup and a happy parent to enjoy the first sip. This is probably my favorite part of the school routine, smelling that coffee brewing while I'm getting laying in bed and getting to enjoy my cup of coffee before the kids wake up.

6. Stay calm, enjoy your mornings, and allow time for an extra hug & kiss before the bell rings. Who doesn’t love an extra hug from their favorite munchkins, right?!!! Before we know it the kids grow, so why not embrace these moments now, while we can.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Easy 4th of July Decorations ~ Decorate your home in the spirit of Independence Day with red, white, and blue 4th of July decorations that are easy and cover every July 4th theme from flags to fireworks 🏳 πŸŽ†

Make the flag the star of your 4th of July decorating with this easy centerpiece. Tuck an American flag around the edges of a clear glass vase. Then fill with your favorite red, white, and blue 4th of July flowers. A base of fresh, juicy fruit doubles as a serving platter and adds pretty color.

A collection of blue bottles and drinking glasses makes a charming 4th of July centerpiece, especially when filled with red, white, and blue flags or flowers. Tie the look together with a colorful table runner.

Show your American pride with these colorful letters. Buy plain wooden letters (available at crafts stores) and get creative with red, white, and blue acrylic paint. Mix and match solid colors with stars and stripes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Add a Little Vintage to Your Outdoor Living ~ Check out these FAB ideas

Express your personality by outfitting an outbuilding or porch wall with meaningful signage. On this structure, vintage advertising signs, outdated license plates, and road signs combine to fashion a fetching exhibit that reflects the homeowners' travels and interests.

Painted metal lawn chairs (just like Grandma and Granddad's outdoor seating) remain sentimental favorites that blast us back to gentler times. Find original vintage versions at sales, antiques shops, and Internet auction sites; reproduction options are seasonally available at home centers and discount stores. Complete the retro look with an antique iron table and a freestanding umbrella.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Knocked Down BUT Not Out

"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair." 2 Corinthians 4:8–9

If we stare at our giants too much, the fear of them will overtake us. We have to keep our eyes on the prize, not the pain. The Apostle Paul sums up our existence here on earth in realistic terms ~ We are in a pressure cooker! The challenges of life and the accompanying stress are constant companions, but, while we share the same troubles that the world has, thank God, we can and will overcome! Paul said, "We are pressed on all sides, but not crushed!"

As a Christian, there are three things that are certain:
1. WE WILL HAVE TROUBLE! The Bible promised it, "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble." Job 14:1. The Psalmist promised it, "Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear..." Psalm 90:10. Jesus promised it! John 16:33, "In the world ye shall have tribulation…"

We're going to have trouble, everybody has trouble ~ it's something everybody has that nobody else wants! Some of us have just come through troubles and others are in trouble right now yet some are headed for trouble! BUT...

2. GOD WILL DELIVER US FROM TROUBLE! We know this because Psalm 91:3 says , "Surely, He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler," Who is the fowler? The devil! And he is always trying to fowl things up! He wants to fowl up the plans God has for our life, our family, our health! But, thank God, we have the promise, "SURELY, HE SHALL DELIVER THEE FROM TROUBLE!" The Psalmist said we will soon be delivered from our troubles, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but God delivered him out of them all!" Psalm 34:19. While Jesus said, "In the world, ye shall have tribulation," He didn't stop there! He said, "But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!" John 16:33. And, thank God we will too!

We may be pressed on all sides, but we will not be crushed! No matter what we're going through just remember, YOU ARE GOING THROUGH! Yes, surely, we'll have trouble and surely, God will deliver us from trouble!

3. WE'LL COME OUT OF YOUR TROUBLES BETTER THAN BEFORE! Just ask Job! You can get depressed reading about all his troubles, but listen to the rest of the story…Job 42:10,12 The Bible says, "So the Lord blessed the later end of Job more than his beginning!" and boy was he a blessed man in the beginning! Just ask Brother Joseph! He was forsaken and falsely accused by family and friends. But, he kept the right attitude. He kept the right perspective when he told his brothers, in Genesis 50:20, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good!" The Apostle Paul, in the key verse, said it right, "We are pressed on all sides but not crushed!" Surely, we' too will come out of our troubles better than before! We may get knocked down by troubles, but, thank God WE DON'T GET KNOCKED OUT!

Many of us are going through troubled times. In the key scripture, Paul explains how they were pressed on every side and troubled and oppressed in every way ~ they could see no way out, but they refused to give up. He made his mind up that no matter what happened, he was going to finish his course. Paul explained that they did not get discouraged because they looked not at the things they could see but to the things they could not see.

If we stare at our problems too much, think and talk about them too much, they are likely to defeat us. Glance at your problems but stare at Jesus. All things are possible with God! Victory is coming!

Lord, if Paul could endure through all the adversity he faced, by Your grace I can make it through whatever I face. Help me to see beyond the problems to You. Amen.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Whether it's a Red, White and Blue Pool Party, BBQ, or Picnic for Family.Friends or just a simple celebration for a few, there is an idea here for you from decorations, table settings, food and favors!

This Memorial and/or Independence Day try using red, white and blue in new, unexpected ways to create an American summer soiree. Consider these entertaining ideas to make your gathering both patriotic and practical.

Ombre Party Linens ~ Give your plain white placemats and napkins a modern and patriotic update. Dip-dye using red- and blue-colored dye for a stylish look that can be used all summer long.

Patriotic Picnic ~ Add a little romance to your Independence Day with a red, white and blue picnic. For a true designer look, introduce a mixture of patterns and textures through floor pillows, toss pillows and blankets. To delineate a portion of your picnic area as a serving space, layer a contrasting bath mat or small area rug in the center, then utilize the surrounding space for lounging.

Fireworks for Guests ~ Make your placeholders useful, fun and interactive with poppers. Simply wrap the packaging with natural twine, then add a paper tag. Guests will not only know where to be seated, but they'll each have their own supplies to kick off firework festivities.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Comparison the Thief

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Are you comfortable in your own skin? Or in other words, do you recognize yourself as the treasure God made you, or are you constantly looking for approval and comparing yourself to a neighbor, co-worker or friend? Do you try to out-dress them, our decorate them, or out-perform them?Are you always wanting what others have or trying to be just like them?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, it’s time to let all of that go. Comparison is a distraction, comparison is a thief ~ it steals your time, energy, focus and joy. You aren’t here to impress anybody and you don’t have to prove anything to anyone because you are God’s special workmanship. He created you with a purpose for a purpose. You are empowered and equipped to do everything He’s called you to do.

It is just as frustrating for the person who is being "copied" because they may be trying to be the person who God created them to be, have what God wants them to have, look the way God created them to look, decorate the way God gave them the talent for and so on. Each person is created to be individual and unique, not a copy cat of someone else. So, while it maybe flattering to the person someone is looking to to emulate, it is also frustrating because that person can't be who they are....they may feel they are being cloned! This is dangerous in our spiritual walk for both parties because it creates a sinful nature.

Instead we need to choose to stay free from a spirit of competition and comparison and just run our own race in life ~ not only will we enjoy our life more, but we will see our gifts and talents come out to the full ~ full of our own ideas, thoughts and talents no one elses! We’ll see His blessing and favor in a greater way, and we’ll move forward into the life of victory He has in store!

Heavenly Father, thank You for setting me free from competition and comparison. I choose to rest in You knowing that I am Your workmanship, unique and created for your glory. Thank You for directing and ordering my steps. I bless and praise You today in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Week 2017 is the first full week in May ~ The best teacher gifts in a jar and believe there is a jar with your teachers name on it!

Thanks for Helping me “Grow:” Succulents in a Jar – Succulent plants are ALL THE CRAZE right now! So it goes without saying, we are totally loving this modern teacher appreciation gift idea from Lolly Jane! They used real succulents, but you can use fake ones like these to make it a little easier. They have even provided a printable tag to go along with this great gift in a jar!

 Apple Gumballs in a Jar – This is such an adorable teacher appreciation gift in a jar! Create this fun idea from Bloom Designs for your child’s teacher this year!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Easter Treats You Should Hop to Making Right Now ~ If you've been looking for the best springtime cupcakes, snacks and sweets, well you've come to right spot! Here you'll find all sorts of favorites, from chocolate "nests" to peeps pizza....yep Peeps and Pizza, what could be a better Easter comboπŸ°πŸ• ?!?!

Bunny Cups for the Win! Kids {and adults alike☺} will rave over these pudding snacks and you may get the title of Mom of the Year.

Psst! These carrots are actually chocolate-covered strawberries in disguise. Go ahead and eat more "vegetables." Recipe

Bunny Bum Bons? These cake balls are seriously worth the extra effort. Look at them😍  Recipe

Easter Decorations That Bring Spring Cheer ~ Candy colored eggs, crisp tulips and bunny miniatures, Oh My! you'll find all of these traditional Easter elements in this series of homemade decorations, upgraded to springtime perfection.

To make this tower of treats, tape cut-to-fit craft paper around two empty 32-ounce yogurt cartons. Hot-glue an upside-down carton inside a large orchard basket, then glue a medium basket on top. Repeat with other carton and small basket. Fill with faux grass and goodies.

If you're handy with a sewing machine, these colorful paper place cards can be made in three easy steps. Tutorial here.

For a delicate (and edible) centerpiece, push branches into foam inside a white-chocolate basket and hang chocolate eggs by a thread looped through the foil. Elevate basket and surround with grass and Easter treats.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Real-Home Spring & Easter Decorating Ideas ~ Get inspiration from these awesome displays using flowers, wreaths, banners, even colored eggs ..... all of these can easily turn a plain space into a pretty spring showstopper!

Courtney (adiamondinthestuff.blogspot.com) wanted to keep her spring mantel earthy and serene. For her primary decoration, she added moss, butterflies, and dragonflies to a grapevine wreath and hung it from a chipped old window with a piece of muslin. Two moss topiaries flank the wreath along with cute ceramic bunny figurines.

This Easter table decoration couldn't be cheaper.....trim a bird's nest fern fronds from your yard (or nab a dozen from the local florist) and display in a wide-mouth glass vase. Beside it, set a bowl of pastel dyed eggs.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Keep Seeking ~ Keep Knocking and the Door Will Be Opened

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” Matthew 7:7

Is there something you are believing God for today......and does it seem like it’s just taking a long time to come? I've been there and so have many others.  And we can say to you with certainty, be encouraged because the Bible says that through faith and patience you will inherit His promises! If you’ll stay in faith, if you’ll keep on seeking Him, it won’t be long until you see that breakthrough!

The problem is that most people give up just before they get their miracle, they stop when things get hard or long or when they don’t get the answer they wanted the first time. But today’s verse encourages us to continually ask and continually seek. meaning we don't seek Him one time and then stop ~  No, we seek Him until we have the promise!

Today, submit your prayers to the Lord and keep an attitude of faith and expectancy. Keep asking and keep seeking. Keep knocking on the door, and it will be opened to you. Know that God is working behind the scenes, perfecting whatever concerns you. Don’t give up! Instead, start thanking Him for His faithfulness in your life ~ Thank Him for His promise that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek after Him!

Father in heaven, thank You for giving me a diligent spirit. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Give me strength to stand and seek You until I see Your promises fulfilled in every area of my life in Jesus’ name! Amen.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Unique, Cheerful & Fun DIY Projects for Spring

JELLY BEAN TREE ~ simply hot-glue or push on jelly beans to the ends of branches to create a jelly bean tree that's as attractive as it is delicious.

CONVERT A COLANDER INTO A PLANTER ~ forget about the flower pots, turn your favorite flowers into this easy DIY display.

FELT EASTER CHICK ~ these adorable felt Easter chicks can be molded into any position you like (these ones are dancing!). For a more kid-friendly crafting version, you can omit the wire legs.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

It's Almost SPRING 🌷🌸🌺🌷🌸🌺🌷🌸🌺 BUT that also means preparing to spring clean! Here are some awesome cleaning hacks to add to your Spring Cleaning Bag of Tricks to make the job less daunting! These clever ideas will help you be a better, faster cleaner just like those that came up with these "Oh So Creative", "why-didn't-I-think-of-that" tools and techniques.

 Clean Your Cabinets ... with your vacuum. Use your vacuum's brush attachment to  pick up dust and crumbs inside. Outside,  concentrate on the area around the  hardware using a cloth dampened with  warm water and Murphy Oil Soap. source:  Debra Johnson, merrymaids.com


Clean Your Dishwasher ... with little effort. Add 1 cup baking soda to the bottom of your empty dishwasher and let it sit overnight. Run the hottest possible cycle using vinegar instead of detergent to clean and deodorize your dishwasher. Remember to remove debris from the filter. Bye-bye, dirt and odors. source: Melissa Maker, cleanmyspace.com

Monday, March 13, 2017

Get ready to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this Friday with these fun party ideas!

Sweet Sips ~ Forget about Shamrock Shake {sorry McD's}and try a Guinness float. Layer vanilla ice cream and Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur into a pre-frosted pint glass. Slowly pour in half a bottle of Guinness stout beer while titling the glass on its side to prevent the beer from foaming over.

Go Green ~ Sweet treats like these set the prefect leprechaun trap for guests. Nibble delicious St. Patrick's Day party treats like wee chocolate leprechaun hats, cupcakes, dipped crispy rice treats and green milk and cookies!

Baileys Irish Cream Cookies ~ Baileys, chocolate, and cookies OH MY!  A St. Patrick's Day trifecta, these bite-size, chocolate-dipped shamrock cookies are layered with a sweet Baileys-and-coffee blend that makes them the perfect after-dinner treat or decadent snack to have with your afternoon coffee or tea. Get the recipe from Buttercream Blondie.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Fun St. Patrick's Day Recipes ~ some traditional and some not-so-traditional, but either way these recipes will help you celebrate the day AND there is something for everyone from appetizers to entrees to deserts, YUMMMY!

Shamrock Smoothies
These fruity green Shamrock Smoothies will bring out the Irish in you--no matter where your family tree originated. Blend frozen kiwifruit and banana, then add green grapes, yogurt, orange juice and honey. If your St. Patty's Day calls for an even more vivid drink, add some green food coloring!
Shamrock Smoothies


Beer-Glazed Sausage and Apples
Wheat beer lightly glazes smoked sausage, tender-crisp apples and green beans—a fresh take on the traditional Irish mix of sausage, onion and potatoes called Dublin Coddle.
Beer-Glazed Sausage and Apples

Smoky Cheese and Potato Soup
Smoked cheese, curry and paprika add depth of flavor to this easy potato soup. For St. Patrick's Day, decorate with shamrock-shaped toast topped with pesto.
Smoky Cheese and Potato Soup

Monday, March 6, 2017

Top 5 Gardening Trends for Spring 2017


Gardening season is only a few weeks away, and the time to plan is now. What’s your plan? Grow vegetables and herbs, or more flowers? Are you going to switch it up from what you did last year? While gardening may not seem like something that’s subject to trends, tastes do change from year to year, especially your own. Here’s a quick look at what you’ll be seeing more of in gardens this coming year.

1. Designs with Natural Materials
You can say so long to plastic planters, concrete pavers, and plastic chairs. Natural design has been a growing trend for many years, and 2017 will be no exception.

Terra cotta and clay planters are popular, inexpensive and easy to find at gardening centers.
Stone, hollowed logs and other natural materials are also trendy planter materials
Stone and railroad ties are two great ways to border garden beds while sticking with the natural theme.
For patios, consider using natural paving stones. Gravel is a great low-maintenance material for pathways.
Wooden patio furniture is popular in both traditional and modern designs — anything from wicker to curvy ultra-modern teak.

Friday, March 3, 2017

DIY Projects You Need to Try This Easter and Spring

Brighten things ups with a few whimsical, super-easy projects. It’s that time of year again—tulips are blooming, daffodils are peeking out of the earth, and blossoms are just starting to bud on tree branches. Spring is approaching and it’s time for an update indoors and out. Try adding a little spring color to everything from your front door to your table with these super easy projects that often require only a few supplies. What’s a more fun way to ring in spring than with a crafty new project? A few must-try spring DIY projects.


The perfect centerpiece for Mother’s Day or for spring parties. The cabbage is unexpected, but so easy. Instructions here.


This colorful arrangement is the spring equivalent of a springtime cornucopia, relying on both flowers and produce for its beauty. Instructions here.

Old produce cartons get a great second act as planters for all your spring blooms. Instructions here.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

With Spring just under a month away, now's the time to research and plan your Gardening Basics. Heck here in MO it has felt like Spring since February 1 {What's with this bi-polar winter weather Missouri had this year?}



Grow Your Garden Right
As seasons pass and you practice basic gardening skills, you'll get a sense for what works and what doesn't, and you'll continue to build a strong foundation of garden knowledge. Start gardening with these basics.



















Soil 101
Evaluate soil. The key to every plant's health and any garden's vitality is in the soil. Healthy soil holds enough water, air, and nutrients to sustain plant life and help it thrive. A soil test gives you a valuable analysis of your soil so you know what you need to make it better.

Improve soil. Building healthy soil is a gardener's most important task. Most soils fall short of the ideal: loose, rich in organic matter, and drainable. Adding organic materials—such as compost, rotted leaves, and peat moss—improves any soil.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ST. PATRICK'S DAY ... it's on a Friday this year! So whether you’re Irish or simply Irish at heart, you’ll love celebrating St. Patrick's Day with shamrock-inspired decor, a big platter of corned beef and cabbage and a whole lot of green! Here are some home decor ideas to gt your home ready for the big GREEN day!

Bells of Ireland Vase
Long stems of bells of Ireland in a green or white vase create a beautiful, classic St. Patrick's Day touch. Offset the vase with antique green books and vintage croquet balls, as Ireland is one of the founding countries of croquet.

Green Vegetable Centerpiece
Create a creative St. Patrick's Day centerpiece with green veggies and white candles. To make, stretch two rubber bands around a pillar candle, then tuck green beans or asparagus under the bands. Cover the rubber bands with satin ribbon. To make the artichoke candleholder, cut the top and a bit of the center out of the artichoke. Set the candle in the hole.

St. Patrick's Day Wreath
Turn a simple grapevine wreath from plain to charming just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Embellish the wreath with crafty clovers made from an old green T-shirt, sheet music, and scrapbook paper. To make the clovers, cut heart shapes from your green fabric and patterned paper, then glue together for a layered effect. Wrap twill ribbon around wooden discs and glue buttons to folded green printed ribbon for a few smaller accents. Hot-glue everything to the wreath, including a pennant banner made from scrapbook paper and chipboard letters.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

How is your Heart Health?

“Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:11

When the Lord looks at your heart, what does He see? Some days I am ashamed to admit that it certainly isn't as pretty as it is on other days - my patience is tested, my heart gets broken, and my faith in people, myself and God is put to the test!

Everyone has an outer life and an inner life ~ our outer life is public what people see. Our inner life is made up of our thoughts, attitudes and motives. Only us and God know what’s going on inside ~ we can't hide anything from Him and often we can't hide everything from those who are closest to us forever because things always come out in the open eventually. Too many of us go around everyday pretending ~ acting one way, yet on the inside, we’re thinking something totally different,  our heart and actions don’t line up.

We have to understand that God looks at the inside, e can fool a lot of people, but we can’t fool God. God would rather us be open and honest than for us to go through life pretending or wearing masks. This is hard for our human self/flesh because it usually means making changes in our lives that we have avoided ~ relationships, commitments, finances, etc. Take an inventory of what’s going on inside of you ~ Are you at peace? Are you overlooking your offenses? Do you believe the best in people? Are your heart and actions lining up? If not, submit your ways to the Lord today and ask Him to give you an undivided heart. Live a life pleasing to Him and walk in His blessing all the days of your life!

Dear Father, I humbly come before You today and ask that You search the deep places of my heart. Show me if there is any area where I need to line up my heart and actions. Help me to be authentic in You today in Jesus’ name. Amen.

5 of my favorite Valentine's Day desserts.....Including the the full recipes!!

Stawberry Cheesecake Bites
Every nibble of these sweet honey-topped morsels features crumbly shortbread crust and classic cheesecake filling. The sweetest part? The naturally heart-shape strawberry slices.
Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups shortbread cookie crumbs (about 30 square cookies)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
4 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Honey (optional)
Sliced strawberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with heavy-duty foil or parchment paper, leaving 1 inch of foil hanging over edges of pan; set aside. For Shortbread Crust, in a medium bowl combine crushed cookies and 1 Tbsp. sugar. Stir in melted butter until combined. Press mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. For Filling, in a very large bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until fluffy. Beat in flour until combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat on low speed until just combined. Stir in sour cream. Pour filling in crust-lined pan. Bake for 40 minutes. For Sour Cream Honey Topper, in a medium bowl stir together sour cream, honey, and vanilla. Remove cheesecake from oven. Spread mixture over hot cheesecake. Bake for 10 minutes more. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover; chill at least 4 hours. Use foil to lift uncut bars from pan. Cut into 54 bites. Top each square with a strawberry slice. If desired, drizzle with additional honey.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cakes
The romance of chocolate-covered strawberries takes a delightfully elegant turn in this luscious Valentine's Day dessert recipe. Upside-down cupcakes are smothered in rich ganache and topped with fresh strawberries.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup strawberry jam
1 recipe Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
12 medium strawberries
3 ounces bittersweet and/or milk chocolate curls

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Valentine's Day Crafts that are great for gift giving! There is a gift idea here for anyone ~ co-workers, teacher, neighbors and friends!

This craft pulls double-duty: It keeps the kids busy, and you'll have a cute, sturdy decoration ready in under an hour. Click here for tutorial.


Save those toilet paper and paper towel rolls to make these sweet-and-simple cardboard tube piggies bearing heartfelt Valentine's Day messages....you could even fill them with candies even.  Click here for tutorial.

Paper plates and yarn are two extremely versatile craft components. "Sewing" the yarn heart into the plate will be a fun and simple way for a kid to show someone they care. Click here for tutorial.