Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Good Read: The Stolen One

A couple of weeks ago I read The Stolen One by Susan Crowley. If you enjoy reading historical fiction, particularly about the Tudor's, then you will enjoy this novel for young adults which is set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

The story centers around a young peasant girl named Kat, which is short for Katherine, and her adoptive mother Grace and sister Anna. They live on the outskirts of a small village and earn a meager living by stitching beautiful dresses for the elite in London. Kat is being courted by a sweet farmer named Christian, but she wants more out of life than settling down to become a farm wife. Her true identity has been kept a secret from her for her entire life, and she yearns to know who she really is and where she comes from. The only information that she can get out of Grace is that no one else wanted her except for Grace.

As the story moves forward, Grace passes away and Kat makes a dash for London with Anna at her side. The plot thickens as Kat catches the eye of Queen Elizabeth I shortly after her arrival in London, and is invited to court. The queen becomes quite fond of Kat, and as their friendship grows so does Kat's yearning to know who her true parents are. The book becomes difficult to put down, and the reader is just as anxious as Kat to discover her true heritage.

I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Elizabethian period historical fiction! Why not pick it up at your local library, pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and settle in for a great story that is a true page-turner and pulls you into the fascinating era of the Tudor reign?

Have a blessed day!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Early Signs of Spring and a Birthday Card

Last week we received just a little bit of snow here in Broken Arrow. It was a really wet, slushy snow which didn't hang around long because of the rain that moved in the next day. Before the snow arrived I noticed some early signs of spring in our front flower bed...some of my pretty yellow daffodils have started to bloom:

We've got another chance of snow in the forecast tonight and tomorrow, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be just enough to get a snow day from school! We haven't had a snow day in a couple of years, and, there anything better than a snow day from school?? LOL - I know, I know, I am as bad as the kiddos, aren't I?

Moving is my sweet friend Diana Paulk's birthday!! Happy Birthday, girlie!! Below is a photo of the card that I made and popped in the mail to her:

Wishing you a a terrific week! Stay safe and warm, my friends!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Lemon Custard Pie

Good morning! Last week I made a lemon custard pie and took a few pieces to work to share with my co-workers. They loved it, so I promised that I would share my recipe!

  • 5 or 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 9" unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl beat together eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and nutmeg. Gradually add juice and milk to mixture. Carefully pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes. (The pie is done when a butter knife that has been inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean.) Your pie filling will be really fluffy, almost like a souffle, but will shrink some once it's removed from the oven to cool. Once pie has cooled, carefully slice and serve with a side of fruit and whipped cream if desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Wishing you a blessed week!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tea - riffic Friend Valentine's Card

Since Valentine's Day is tomorrow I decided to make some cute cards to mail to a few of my friends. I created a paper ribbon with the sentiment "You are a tea - riffic friend", and attached it to the front of the card with a cute envelope that contains an herbal tea bag. Here's a photo of one of the cards:

Wanna know how I made the little envelope for the herbal tea bag? Here's a quick tutorial:

Begin by gathering your supplies. I started with a 4" x 6" card, a piece of double sided paper, a heart doily, punched cardstock hearts, paper sentiment strips that I printed from my computer, a small lace and flower embellishment, adhesive and an herbal tea bag:

Place the paper face down on your work surface. Lay the tea bag in the center of the backside of the paper:

Fold the bottom of the paper up over the tea bag:

Fold each of the sides of the paper over the top of the tea bag. Using adhesive of your choice, secure the flaps to form a pocket for the tea bag:

Trim the top flap to remove the point of the paper as shown below:

Use a Glue Dot to hold the top flap of the envelope down. Attach a cardstock heart to the flap, and then add a decorative element of your choice. (I used a lace and ribbon rose embellishment.)

Using adhesive of your choice, attach the elements to the top of the card:

Attach sentiment to the inside of the card, along with additional punched cardstock hearts:

Here is another version of the card, using different paper:

Wishing you a sweet Valentine's Day!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Upcycled Plastic Jar

My friend Shelly, who is a 10th grade English teacher at the school where I work, has a clear plastic jar that she uses for her "Weekly Wisdom" project in her classes each Friday. A while back she brought the jar to the library during the week that she and her classes were were doing research and I asked her if I could decorate her jar because, well, it was just so darn plain - LOL! Shelly, (who is an AMAZING teacher and one of the absolute nicest ladies that you will ever meet!), was happy to let me borrow her jar this past weekend to work some magic on it! Above is a photo of the finished project, but below is a photo of the "Plain Jane" jar and information on how I transformed it. started out as just a plain 'ole plastic jar that cookies came in:

I started out by removing the cookie label and then attaching a strip of torn denim around the jar using spray adhesive:

I then proceeded to add a layer of burlap, some lace and a torn strip of gingham. I used another strip of the torn gingham to decorate the rim of the jar, attaching it securely to the rim using Mod Podge. I stitched up a felt flower and attached it and some buttons to the front of the jar. Lastly, I tied on a tag which has a quote by Longfellow that reads: "The secret of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well and doing well whatever you do." Here is another look at the finished jar...I'm really pleased at how it turned out! I am giving it back to Shelly today, and I hope she likes it too!

I am entering this project in Scrap-It-Girl's February Challenge, which is to use fabric in a crafty creation. I think that my upcycled jar fits the bill nicely, since I used denim, burlap, lace, gingham and felt! LOTS of fabric types in this crafty creation!!

On a final note, in case you didn't know, this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week. Below you'll find a link to the RAK website, which gives lots and lots of simple ideas on how to spread a little kindness everyday to help make the world a better place. I hope you'll take a moment to check out the RAK website, and that you'll take their ideas/suggestions to heart to spread a little kindness this week!
Wishing you a blessed week!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Leftover Pot Roast Stew

One of the things that I love most about winter is having soup for supper. I know that sounds kinda silly, but I am a very simplistic girl at heart, and a crockpot full of soup or stew waiting for my family when we come home from work on a cold winter night just makes this girl's heart happy!

The recipe that I am sharing with you this week is just a simple stew made from leftover pot roast. This is how my mom always made stew for us when I was a kid at home, and well, I have just always made my  beef stew the same way! It's so tasty and easy to make, and it's a great way to use up the left over pot roast that was served a couple of days before.

  • Leftover pot roast, cut into small chunks (click HERE for my pot roast recipe)
  • The juices from the pot roast (my grandma and mom called this "pot liquor")
  • 29 oz. can of Veg-All
  • 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of the tomato sauce can of water
  • 1 package dry brown gravy mix
  • Seasonings to your taste: I use onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large crockpot. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. Serve with crackers and slices of cheddar cheese, if desired.

NOTE: Sometimes I throw a handful of dried barley into the beef stew mixture as well. So if you like barley, it's a nice addition to the stew.

Enjoy and stay warm!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Flea Market Treasures...

Good morning, Friends! Last week was reeeeally crazy at work, and when I say crazy I mean EPIC crazy! One example of this craziness is that a student attending the school where I work decided it would be funny to pull the fire alarm...while it was pouring rain outside. So all 1,350 students and staff members spent 20 minutes standing outside in the downpour until the fire department arrived and gave the "all clear" for us to enter the buildings. I was one of the lucky ones that grabbed my raincoat on the way out the door, but many of the teachers, staff and students weren't so fortunate, so they were soaked to the bone. On the following day a different student decided to be brilliant and pull the same stunt. (Yes, you are detecting sarcasm here!)Thankfully it wasn't raining outside that day and we were able to come back in the building after a few minutes. Oh the joys of working in a high school filled with 9th and 10th grade students - UGH! Actually, we have many awesome and remarkable students that I adore, but there are some that I have to wonder what on earth they are thinking?!?!?!

Anyhoo...after the madness at work, Mike decided that I needed to do something fun on Saturday so we went to the Tulsa Flea Market in search of treasures!! (Have I mentioned lately how WONDERFUL my hubby is?? Such a sweetie!!) Here are some of the fabulous finds that we brought home:

First off are a couple of old wagon wheels that I nabbed for our backyard. I just love them! Mike will probably end up making a cute coffee table for our patio from the smaller one, but the large one will be tucked into one of our flowerbeds. (Probably with a pretty flowering clematis vine growing up it!) Don't you love how our little Tony is modeling the wheels...look close...he is smiling!! (Mike said Tony was 'photobombing' this shot - bahaha!!)

Here is a photo of the "smalls" that I purchased:

From left to right - a couple of small stoneware pitchers; a 3-drawer chest with tin drawers; a McGuffey's Primer and a McGuffey's First Eclectic Reader; a large antique spool; a planter made from old barn wood; and a large jar with the metal bale still attached. (I plan on wrapping the jar with some burlap, adding a muslin flower or two, and then use it as a vase for my garden flowers this spring and summer. Stay tuned for upcoming pics!)

The photo above washed out the pitchers so here is a better shot, taken inside, to show their true colors. These will look so cute in my craft room to store pens, pencils, scissors, etc.

Lastly, here is a close-up shot of the McGuffey's Readers. The Primer has a copyright date of 1909 and the Eclectic Reader has a copyright date of 1920. These were stuffed behind some other books stacked on an old trunk in one of the last booths at the flea market. I spied them and didn't hesitate for a moment on purchasing them - SCORE!!

After all of that treasure hunting sweetie and I were famished, so we stopped off for lunch at our favorite burger place in Tulsa; Harden's Hamburgers. It is just a little old mom-and-pop place, located at 4th and Sheridan, but I swear they make the BEST cheeseburgers and onion rings in Tulsa!!!

One of the other things that I love about eating at Harden's is their decor...they have all sorts of cool old signage, toys, etc. lining shelves above the booths. I am particularly fond of this fun old sign, and would love to have one like it to put in my laundry room:

To round off our day we also popped into Steve's Books, which is another mom-and-pop store that we like to do business with. It is a great little book shop that has lots of magazines that are hard to find in other stores. While there I picked up a couple of magazines...

The issue of Flea Market Gardens is chocked full of terrific ideas that I will put to good use in my flowerbeds come spring and summer! Also, Mary Jane's Farm has become one of my new favorite magazines...if you have never seen or read an issue, you should! Mary Jane has lots and lots of wonderful articles about all things a country girl loves!! (Lisa Fowler - if you are reading this post, every time I get a new issue of Mary Jane's Farm I think of you...I know you would LOVE this magazine as much as I do!!)

Well, folks, that's about it for today! Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings! Have a SUPER week, be safe, and have fun!!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Quote Sunday...and Some Thoughts by Me...

Thought I would share with you a post that I put on FaceBook last week regarding a quote that I spotted and fell in love with...

Each morning as I drive into town on my way to work I go past a little Baptist church on County Line that always has great quotes posted on their marquee. This week's quote gave me pause to think and I REALLY liked it, so I thought I would share it with you: "God's answers are wiser than our prayers." Don't you love that? How many times do people feel like God isn't responding to their prayers? In all honesty, aren't we ALL guilty of this at some point in our lives? I know that I am! We pray, and pray, and pray about a situation - thinking that God isn't listening to us because we aren't receiving an obvious answer, when in all reality maybe His "silence" is the answer. Maybe He has something in store for us that we just aren't ready for yet and His answer involves trial and preparation in our lives to ready us for His answer. Since reading that marquee message this week I've thought about its message often, and it's helped me to gain new perspective on how I look at things. Maybe we should pray for greater wisdom and understanding in our lives, so that while we are enduring the trials we can feel secure in knowing that it is simply preparation for the answer He will provide us in His own time.
Wishing you a blessed day, Friends!


Saturday, February 2, 2013