Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Worthwhile Wednesday- Make a bread bag

We made the switch to homemade bread several months ago. I primarily make sourdough, but also some fruit breads and other yeast breads.

But as everyone knows homemade bread becomes stale fast. How do you stop them from becoming stale?

For awhile we used ziplock bags. But plastic encourages mold and the fruit breads especially would go bad quickly.

So enter our homemade bread bag.

I took some ripstock nylon and layered it with muslin and a decorative cotton. The addition of velcro and we had a wonderful sealed bag!

The three layers help keep the bread fresh, but also to "breathe" to discourage mold. It works great on it's own, but even better when paired with a bread box.

However, when bread does go stale, don't throw it out! Stale bread is great for meatloaf, making your own breadcrumbs,or simply refresh them on the oven, just wrap your bread in a wet paper bag or towel and place in a preheated 300 degree oven. In about ten minutes the steam will soften your bread.

I encourage everyone to try a natural fabric bag. It's been great and was super easy to make. In fact, I'll post a tutorial soon.

Happy bread eating!!

This post is linked up with Frugally Sustainable Ways

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mom Monday- Loving on Daddy!

Happy birthday to my partner in life, love, and parenting!

It's not always been an easy life, but I wouldn't share it with anyone else.

We're so lucky to have you, love,

Your girls and one happy wife.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Faithful Friday

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul tells us to "pray continually". It's from this continual prayer that we begin to grow and rely on God.

It's what I've been striving for these first few days of Lent.

I've found that at the end of my day, I can have a long personal talk with my Lord...but in the morning I stumble. The words don't come.

Instead my head is filled with the to do lists of the day. It's frustrating and doesn't put a good start to my day.

So today, I started praying the Divine Hours with the help of an online site.

I can't express how beautiful it is...

How it removes my morning block, finding the right words to address our Lord and Savior.

I also love the constant prayer of the hours. Reminding us that only through constant reliance on God, can we truly grow in our walk of faith.

What a wonderful reminder and beautiful tradition!

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. -Ephesians 6:18

Thankful Thursday

Yesterday and Wednesday was rough. More pain, more frustration....Hence the day late post.

That's why I'm so thankful for my patents.

When my symptoms flare, I can call them. They cheerfully watch my girls, feed us, and care for me.

I'm not sure how I got so lucky to have them. But I am do thankful for them!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ash Wednesday 2012

Today marks the first day of Lent. Many of us may or may not attend a service and then will wait for Easter. That will be the extent of our lent season. At least that's what I've always done in the past.

But not so this year.

This year I am committing to 40 days of growing closer to Christ.

If you know me, you know I have a busy schedule. I always have something else to do besides my prayers or bible study.

The excuses keep pilling up.

It's time for the excuses to stop. It's time for a commitment. So this year, I plan to open and end my days in prayer.

I will pray from my heart and soul, exposing my all to God.

I will pray from the Book of Common Prayers when my own words fail me.

I will pray for my enemies, so my love may grow.

I will pray praises to God, for He is always good!

In short, my Lent will focus on personal prayer. I may have to get up early or steal a few moments from my fact, that last load of laundry will have to wait.

But my reward is a closer relationship to my Lord...and nothing is more wonderful.

"Christians pray as they feel; and in prayer they feel themselves in the presence of God, the Hearer of prayer, and the Searcher of hearts."

-The Prayer Meeting and Its History, J. B. Johnston

Ta-Da Tuesday!

My girls are growing up more and more each day, learning so much, so quickly. They are so proud of their accomplishments, I thought I might share them with you.

My oldest, Elizabeth,  is old enough to have "homework" at Kindermusik.  This week we made a boat together.  She was so proud of it. 

Together we decorated it and put her name on the side.  Lately, she's been loving learning more about letters and numbers.  We count everything we see, including cows off the road.  She's even learning to write!  I can't believe how big she is getting.

Her sister is no different.

Evie is saying more words each day.  Last week she added, "doggie" and there isn't a day that she doesn't say mom-mom or da-da.

She also started walking on her own last week!

A few steps here...

and a few steps there.

Before you know it she be running.  How quickly they grow!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mom Monday- Giveaway Linkup

Instead of my usual post on something silly either myself or the kids have done this week, I'm linking up with Amber from Airing My Dirty Laundry One Sock at a Time for a giveaway.

That's right, free stuff!  And who doesn't love free stuff!

So hop on over to Airing My Dirty Laundry One Sock at a Time and join in the giveaway for a $10 store credit at my Etsy Store: Crafty Crow Couture.  Also stick around and read Amber's blog.  She is a wonderful mom and fantastic writer, who regularly has me wiping tears from my eyes from laughing so hard. 

Even better, find us on Facebook (see badge to the side or search for Crafty Crow Couture) and join in for another giveaway I'm hosting there for another $10 store credit.  Simply comment under my giveaway question post and you'll be automatically entered. 

That's two chances to win!!

Don't forget to check back often, I'm constantly adding new stock.  Yesterday, three new items were added and armed with some new applique patterns, so expect a lot more to come.

I hope you'll check out my new store and sign up for the giveaways.  Enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Faithful Friday- prayers!

I had another post planned, but a friend of mine had to rush her little boy to the hospital for seizure yesterday.

I'd like to ask prayers for them as they find out why he seized, and hopefully for him get to come home sometime soon.

I don't want to give out his name without talking to his mom, but as we say in our church "God knows him and his needs.". So please pray!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Worthwhile Wednesday- Wool Dryer Balls

Looking for another way to save and reduce your waste?

I'm trying wool dryer balls and getting rid of my dryer sheets!

Dryer balls work by separating your clothes as they circulate in the dryer which allows the warm air to reach more of your clothing, reducing dryer times. In addition to this, the slightly rough, felted outside of the balls creates friction against the fabrics, which cuts down on static and softens your clothes.

Now I already use white vinegar for a fabric softer to get rid of liquid softner.  1/2 a cup in your rinse dispenser will soften your clothes, remove stains, and kill germs!!  However, who doesn't want extra softness and less energy use that wool dryer balls provide?

My dryer balls are made from 100% natural wool yarn, do not use a wool blend!!  It will not felt.

I wrapped a solid wool ball and then crocheted a case around it. The addition of the crocheted cover does not allow unraveling within your dryer, while you are drying your clothes. (some versions do, based on the amount your wool felts) I used a simple crochet ball pattern that was for a hacky sack and just expanded it to make it larger.

After construction I felted them, which is really simple to do.  In order to felt, simply run a load of whites and drop your dryer balls into the wash.  The hot water helps nap the wool and then toss them in the dryer at the highest heat to cause even more felting.  I only felted mine once, but you could do it multiple times.

After felting
 My dryer balls are unscented, but the addition of fragrance can be added, check out essential oils.

These are approximately 9 inches in circumference, and most people recommend you start with anywhere between 3-8 balls, so I started with 3 balls.

So far so good, and I'm liking them for diapers this winter.  Cuts down on our drying time and cost us very little to make!

This post is linked up with Frugally Sustainable Ways

Now for shameless plug...if you aren't into finding your own wool, winding yarn, crocheting, or felting, then try my Etsy store.  I've got a set of three for $12.  Might sound like a lot, but considering you won't need to buy another dryer's really savings!

Hint- Find us on Facebook, I've got some giveaways coming up and right now a discount code!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope everyone is having a great Valentine's day!

Our Valentine's celebrations are fairly simple and we allow ourselves to splurge on chocolate. But mainly our day is about love- for our family, friends, church, and God. We're not big on the romance side, but I love a good excuse to show in an extra special way (besides our every day ways which are just as important) that we love each other!

So we're wrapping ours up, after FOUR days of celebrating. Yes, you read that correctly...FOUR days....what can I say, we have a lot of love.

It started on Saturday when our church had their annual Loving Hearts Banquet.

It is a fabulous tradition, where our church family comes together to celebrate our love for God and each other...with food and entertainment. Can you think of a better way to celebrate?? ;)

My parents came with us and we had a delightful meal- yay, break for mommy- of pork loin, dressing, apples, green beans, red potatoes, salad, sour dough bread, and dessert. Can you guess which part was Elizabeth's favorite?

It was delicious!!

The chocolate mouse was in an edible chocolate shell.  YUM!

Then starts the entertainment. Boy, we've got some talented members. Singing, door prizes, and a comedian that had us laughing so hard, I was sore the next day.

All the kids got some sweet treats, you can see Mark with Evie getting some MORE chocolate.

And did I mention Elvis joined us?

Next up, Sunday. Well, to be honest we rested Sunday and that was a huge treat for me. ;)

Monday, we headed to Elizabeth's Kindermusik and exchanged Valentines with her buddies.

Even better we had a play date with two other wonderful mommies and their total three great kids. Loved it and next week were playing at our house. Yay!!

Today, Evie and I headed to her Kindermusik, while Mark and Elizabeth stayed home. Mark is going out of town for a couple of days and then again next week, so he took the day off to help me.

And by help, I mean he cleaned the WHOLE house and did laundry. Yay and thank you!!!

We headed out for lunch and then I was off to teach. When I got back my house was clean, dinner was ready, and I had some Valentine surprises.

Surprise #1: Whitman Sampler

This is a tradition from my family. My dad got us one every year. After dinner we were only allowed one piece of candy. We did this every night until it was gone. With five of us it went might take us a little while for this one.

Surprise #2:

Ice cream cake- technically yogurt cake...another great tradition from my family. My dad got us one every year and it was a special treat. We weren't big sweets eaters, but for ice cream cake we made an exception.

We exchanged our Valentines and then got the girls off to bed.

Now it's time to relax and enjoy some time to ourselves. Here's hoping your celebrations were just as fun!

Mom Monday- Elizabeth Pony Doctor!

Meet Dr. Elizabeth....

Expert Pony Doctor.

"So what's wrong with this pony?" - Mommy

"Her brain isn't working" - Dr. Elizabeth

"What???!!?" -Mommy

I'm guessing that pony has a long recovery.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thankful Thursday- So many blessings!

I first want to apologize for not posting my usual worthwhile Wednesday post yesterday. I'm afraid I've had to change medicines again and it came with PAIN.

So I spent most of my Wednesday in bed hoping my ibuprofen would kick in...thankfully at the end of the day I could take my real pain meds (breastfeeding requires some pain med maneuvering for me).

But all that back story, actually brings me to my praises this week and rightly so, there are so many!!!

I'm blessed with a loving husband who will care for me at my worst.

I'm blessed with a wonderful mommy who dropped everything to watch my girls and made sure I could rest. The woman is a saint!!

I'm blessed to have two sweet girls that will pop in to check on me and cheer me up.

I'm blessed with a sweetheart of a daddy who also takes care of my girls to help me work.

I'm blessed to have a loving church and choir that understands my problems, prays for me, and looks in on me.

I'm blessed to have a great bible study group that calls and texts with support and prayers.

Finally, I'm blessed to have my God. As the song says, "He's God in the good times as well as the bad times.". I may feel sick, wonder why I battle this so often, and even indulge in self pity from time to time (more than I would care to admit)...but He is always there. Lifting me up, loving me, and being my Savior!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mom Monday- In which we sing

For today's mom monday, I'm linking up with Sarah Bessey for her Practices of Parenting Carnival.

In this carnival, all types of parents are sharing what we have learned.  But I'll let, Sarah tell you more,

"all of us sharing what works and what we've learned about parenting so far. This is a celebration of us - the regular parents, the ones without everything figured out, imperfect but hopeful, usually still in the midst of it all - and all of the different, creative, crazy, beautifully sane ways that we've discovered to enjoy parenting these precious little souls in our care for just a few years."

I'm excited to join up, and I hope you enjoy one of my latest additions to my practices of parenting- Singing! 

I'm not a patient person.

It's been a struggle for me most of my life.  As I've gotten older and later when we had our first daughter, my lack of patience and quick temper has become a bigger issue.  I don't want my girls to model my behavior when I'm tired and frustrated, it's not pretty, even with red hair.

I'd much rather they find the joy in every situationFor them to be the type of person God calls us to be, to display the fruits of our faith in every day life, and to feel God's love for us even in their darkest moments.

But I also know that the girls model a lot of their behavior from what they see of me, not what I hope for them.  I'm the one home with them all day and those moments where I'm frustrated because...

-my husband left a coffee ring on the counter...again.

-I turn around to find all the folded clothes strewn out over the floor in the 5 seconds I had my back turned by my 11 month old, who is immensely proud of herself.

-I'm drowning in laundry that is all shades of pink.

...does not need to turn into crying fits or lead to snapping at them later on.  So in order to help them find the joy in every situation, then I need to do the same!

I've thought about this for a long while, and I think I've finally found a way to find joy in those frustrating moments, at least for me.

Singing praises!!

As I said above this is new for me, but last month I joined the choir at church.  I've LOVED it.  Nothing brings me closer to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ than singing praises to God together.  It made me think, if I can find joy at the end of a long day, just because I get to sing, why not sing all day??

So instead of getting flustered because the house is messing and needs picking up, I'm going to sing "O Happy Day".

Rather than snap at my daughter for not picking up her toys after I told her three times, I'm going to sing "Joyful, joyful".

When I don't know what to cook for dinner and the baby is crying, I'm going to sing "It won't be long".

Rather than ranting and raving that we are late again to Kindermusik, I'm going to sing "God on the mountain".

And guess what...

My oldest has already starting singing "O Happy Day" with me, she even clapped along to the song as we drove along.  By the end of the song, we were laughing and smiling together.

So don't mind me, I'll just be that crazy lady singing

in the midst of the grocery store ,

driving down the street,

and even during fact, feel free to join me.

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