Monday, September 30, 2013

"Women Living Well" Book Review!

I have been following Courtney Joseph's "Women Living Well" blog for about a year. She is a wonderful and encouraging writer! Her focus is primarily on being a Christ centered wife, mother, and homemaker. THIS week, her first book is being published!

You can see the video trailer here. And buy it on Amazon here.

I was privileged to be able to get an advance copy for review. I have read it, and re-read it. And I am certain I will read it again. It is filled with wonderful bits of wisdom like "There are no cookie-cutter marriages." And in reference to the God-given need of every husband (Respect!), she says "Respect is an attitude of heart that will be displayed by our actions." My favorite part of the book is an entire section called "The Completing Him Marriage Challenge." And I haven't even talked about the section on parenting! Courtney's writing is real and she has practical real-life tips for making Biblical change in your life that will bless you and your family and all of your relationships.

If you are interesting in growing closer to God and becoming more like Christ in your marriage and parenting, this is a great book for you! I highly recommend this book to Christian wives and mothers!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Vitamix Free Standard Shipping aka **I love my Vitamix!**

After hearing so much about how great they are, I finally ordered a Vitamix in January. I did a lot of research and decided that the Vitamix 7500 is what would work best for the kinds of foods we prepare. 

I have been so incredibly pleased with what it can do. I love my Vitamix! Before I got one, I wondered if all the fuss was really justified. I'm here to say that my skepticism was unwarranted. :)

We love making ice cream from frozen bananas and having healthy fruit and veggie smoothies for a snack. I have even made tomato soup in the Vitamix. It is such an amazing blender that it even heats the soup for me! I truly use it almost every day.

If you are interested in getting a Vitamix and would like free standard shipping, click the photo in the sidebar to go the website or call and use the code below.
Happy Blending!!



***06-008475 ***  
GET FREE STANDARD SHIPPING ($25US/$35CN) 
USE ABOVE CODE  1-800-848-2649

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Support for Sandy

After Sandy hit the northeast, Barb at Creative Culinary proposed that bloggers might support those affected by Sandy by posting a comfort food recipe that you might take to a friend in need and give a donation to the Red Cross. You might consider donating money or time, or even giving blood. There are host of ways to get involved at the Red Cross website!
 



When I have friends who are in need of a meal, I like to bring Loaded Baked Potato Soup with some fresh baked bread and a salad. It's really simple and tastes great. Sometimes I bake the from scratch, and sometimes I use frozen dough if I'm in a hurry! You can make this soup in a crock pot (my favorite way!) or in a pot on the stove. I don't EVER use exact measurements in this recipe, but I have tried (for your sake!) to quantify it. I added a few subs that could make this vegan or vegetarian as well. Maybe add a fruit plate to round it out :) Of course, cookies are good too!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup 

6-8 potatoes, diced (any kind works, you decide if you want skins or not too!)
1T of minced garlic (diced onions, carrots, and/or celery are optional add ins here).
4T butter or olive oil
2t thyme (may be omitted)
water or any desired broth (veggie? chicken?)

salt and pepper to taste
1/8- 1/4 c potato flakes (optional)
1/2 -1 c milk or soy milk or half and half

Step 1:
In crock pot: Add diced potatoes, garlic, and butter (may be omitted) to crock pot. Add water or broth to cover potatoes. Sometimes I like to add about 2 teaspoons of thyme for a nice aromatic flavor.  Cook on hi for 4 hours or lo for 6-8 hours.

In pot: Saute garlic (and onion, carrots, and/or celery if using) in butter or olive oil until soft. Add diced potatoes and water or broth to cover potatoes. Add 2 teaspoons of thyme if desired. Cook on medium until potatoes are soft.

Step 2: Mash cooked potatoes (I like to leave a few chunks in there). Add milk (or substitution) and potato flakes until you like the consistency and color. Really, that is how I do it. I'm sorry if this is vague, but that is how I make it. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3: Bake a loaf of fresh bread (from scratch or frozen) and bring real butter for it- honey butter anyone?

Step 4: Package and deliver: The following"fixins" can be put in disposable or reusable/recyclable containers or left in their original packaging when possible. These are just possible ideas. I'm sure you have some yummy ideas for "fixins" too! I like to put everything in containers I do not want back, so they can be recycled and don't have to be washed and returned. Then I put it all in a big box for delivery. I like to add a card too, and would't a hand made dish cloth or towel or hot pad be cute to go with it?

shredded cheese
bacon bits (for a vegan, go ahead and fry up some tempeh "bacon")
green onions or chives
sour cream
bag of salad for a side
croutons (for the soup or the salad)
fruit plate or cookies for dessert


P.S. This becomes Corn Chowder if you add corn and cheese instead of the "fixins". Sneaky, huh?



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Healthy Snacking

This stuff is sooooo good!

 

We have been cutting the artificial out of our diet (I seem to be sensitive to some foods and/or atificial additives) and one of the toughest things is find prepared snacks that are real and all natural that actually taste good! I am a BzzAgent (check it out at bzzagent.com), so I occasionally get to try new products for free. I was excited to try this all natural food, but a bit afraid it might taste a little like cardboard styrofoam (like some natural snack foods I have tried). I should NOT have been thinking about styrofoam. No, this stuff is REAL food and it's really good. I was sent three flavors of Smartfood Selects and the whole family loved every one of them. The cinnamon & brown sugar popcorn was amazing and a favorite of our family. My kids are asking for some now, LOL
You can learn more at smartfood.com.
 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Be with the friends who are here!

I saw an interesting photo from ordinary moments by brenĂ© brown on  my Pinterest feed. It has since been removed. It got me thinking and spurred me to make a "pretty" sign for our next get together. I figured I would share it here :) Feel free to download and print for your next party!



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Memories Giveaway


I love scrapbooking! I enjoy the idea of putting my memories on a lasting medium for myself to revisit later. It's great as a lasting record of what our lives are like now for our kids or those in later generations. I do paper, digital, and hybrid scrapbooking. Digital is usually the quickest way for me to get photos and memories on a page. I have used different programs for scrapbooking digitally (even powerpoint!).

So when I got the chance to try my memories, I was excited to see what kinds of new things I could do with My Memories Suite V2. It is VERY user friendly software, but still allows for customization. You can use their kits or any that you already have or buy, build pages, templates, and even add video and audio!


Here's a quick little page I made of a sunset in our neighborhood. It's easy to replicate this page and make little tweaks (change photo size, orientation, etc.) to make pages in a book that coordinate!


I'm excited to offer a chance for you to win digital scrapbooking software from My Memories! AND I have discounts for every one of my readers! Just use the following coupon code for a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite V2 software and a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store - a $20 value! Use the code: STMMMS52162


**Please leave one comment for each entry as follows:**

*1st entry: Go to the my memories website and leave a comment here about a digital kit, template, or quick page that you like. Did you find the free kits section? Yeah, download some of those too! :)

For additional entries:
*Mark my Etsy store, Pretty Or Practical as a favorite and leave comment here with your Etsy name.
Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. Please add a comment here with your Twitter username.
*Post about this giveaway on your blog or Facebook page (please post your link or user name in comment).

Entries end at midnight Eastern time on October 17th. Winner will be selected by random number generator on October 18th.


This post is sponsored by My Memories.

Rebecca :)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Creating

I have been doing some creating lately...  I made a pillow from fabric I had been hoarding that matches my daughter's bedroom.

And I have been working on a brown bag swap from Snickerdoodle Dreams. I'm late on this one and it feels terrible, so it is tough to inspire myself. I've already made up my mind I'm sending extra goodies because of my tardiness.I sent one package and am finishing up a few smaller works to include in a second package. I will post photos after I have sent the second package, so as not to spoil the surprise :) I am fairly certain the first package has arrived, so here is a photo of the supplies she sent:

And the first item I made with those supplies and of course a few knit cloths to match (plus a few goodies thrown in for fun!)
I need to do another post detailing the supplies I sent to her and the AMAZING works that I received. I mean gorgeous!! She doesn't have a blog :( but her work is inspiring!

One of those items is a nifty cell phone charger/holder that I found on Pinterest. I modified it (of course, I can not follow a pattern to save my life!). Here is the other blogger's version. The blog is all in German, and yes I know I can use Google translator, but I just love looking at the photos!


And here is my version (which is super easy and fast, BTW):
 
I haven't been blogging a lot lately, nor really creating a lot because of extreme exhaustion. I was recently diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I don't want this blog to become a medical diary or a whine fest, so I have restrained myself from posting about it. Did your mother teach you "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all"? So suffice to say, that I am under the care of a doctor and working on getting myself back! I hope to be doing more creating (and posting) soon. In the meantime, if I am unable to work on something, I seem to be able to browse Pinterest (follow me on Pinterest here) and see a lot of inspiring things! Email me from my Google profile (above) if you would like a Pinterest invite (it's quicker than requesting to be added).
Happy Creating!!



Rebecca :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Pretty Thing and Pinterest

One of my favorite creative sites is One Pretty Thing. Rachel has so many ideas and tutorials (her subtitle says "DIY Craft Tutorials for a handmade life"). I love that they are all compiled in one location and they are searchable(YES!). If you haven't been there, you should check it out! She featured my door knocker revamp on her last revamp roundup. Hurray!!!


I love to look at photos of ideas and find myself inspired to create after browsing the creations of others. Sometimes I make something similar, but most often, I just find my own creative ideas spring forth! For that reason, I LOVE Pinterest! I discovered Pinterest through a blog I follow called How Does She which has a ton of ideas in many categories. You have to request an invite on Pinterest (kind of like Ravelry). Once you do, you will be amazed at all the wondrous inspiration found there. If you do Pinterest, please follow me!

And here is a completely gratuitous photo of a Challah Cover I made for a friend.  I don't like to do posts without photos, I'm such a visual person :) It's a simple applique on a pre-made napkin from Pier 1 with a zig zag stitch around the Hebrew letters (they say "Shabbat Sholom").

P.S. I'm working on a Brown Bag SWAP from Snickerdoodle Dreams! I can't show it yet... but I'm having fun with some bright colored fabrics :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Door Knocker Revamp Tutorial

When we moved to our current house, there was a personalized door knocker with the previous owner's name on it. So we measured and went to look for a door knocker to replace it. We looked high and at Lowe's. We looked at Home Depot and at every place online. We simply could not find a door knocker the right size and color (silver or steel or brushed nickel). We weren't picky, they just couldn't be found! So I decided to try a little experiment, at least until we find something that fits!

First I used my best and trusty friend, my Dremel, to make the previous owner's name disappear. I used the bit found above... the light tan colored stone bit. Don't ask me what that bit is called... maybe a grinder of some sort? My husband didn't like the look, but I told him the brushed metal finish is all over the Denver International Airport! It didn't work :( Oh well, now what?

So I decided that maybe it wouldn't look so bad if we added a painted monogram.
Here is how I did it!

I measured the area where I was going to put the monogram and printed out the letter "A" in a bunch of  different sizes and fonts. I chose one, and then cut it out with the exacto and mat. I cut all the pieces out and left them in place.

Then I sprayed the back of the paper (with all the pieces) with spray adhesive. Then I stuck the paper on the door knocker. I carefully removed the portion that was going to become the letter (the black part), leaving the white spaces in the letter.




This is my palette and brushes, and yes, I used the expensive Q-Tips! :) Actually, I used them to put down a "primer coat", which was just a test. Then I sprayed the monogram with the spray paint.


Once the paint was dry, I removed the paper. I noticed a few places where the paint bled a bit, so I used my trusty Q-Tips and a little nail polish remover to clean it up! After it was dry, I sprayed the oval part of the door knocker with the clear acrylic top coat. I don't know how it will last, but I'm hoping it will work for a while. It's not perfect, but at least it will give me a chance to find something!



I linked up at Thrifty Home's 83rd Penny Pinching Party!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Giveaway!

A friend of mine is having a giveaway for an incredible piece of pottery! Check it out at http://www.dragonflyinthekitchen.com/. I'm already imagining what I could do with this *dream*






Blogging, Creating, and Posting

Well, I have not posted in a LONG while. But here's the deal: I have been creating. I have made so many things. But now that I am not doing OPAM this year, I don't have to blog about it. And I haven't. But I want to. But I haven't. So you see how this goes!

Right now, my daughter and I are making tons of bracelets for this project with Craft Hope! I will share a photo when we get ready to mail our package!

In the meantime, just know I have made a bunch of knitted dishcloths! I made several sets of baby booties for expecting moms. I have mended 3000 pairs of jeans, or it may be 3 pair that feel like 3000! And I started crocheting these by modifying a pattern I found on Ravelry:




They are wonderfully soft face scrubbies made with cotton or cotton/bamboo yarn. My daughter loves them! I have bought some fabric recently and need to get sewing! I am hoping to post more often :)


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