WELCOME! Come on and have a seat on my porch swing or would you rather go for a ride on a vintage bike? Feel free to have yourself a look around my blog. You'll find all kinds of goodies, from cookin' to farmin', to craftin', to just plain ole fun. Just look through the archives or click on one of the topics of interest to see posts related to whatever your little heart desires. You can also click on THE BAKERY header on this page to go to the most current post.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Very First Layered Cake!

I am not a cake baker.
When I bake a cake, it will be reallllly thin...not fluffy and has hard edges.
So, while on my weekly grocery shopping trip to Aldi's, I noticed
a cake mix for a spring confetti-type cake.
I decided at that moment, I CAN DO THIS.
I wanted to try a layered cake....
I bought to boxes for this cake.
I bought the special little round cake pans...at $4.00 EACH...ouch.

I mixed up both boxes...fully picturing that ONE box would make ONE round pan
and the other box would fill the OTHER round pan.
Yah, you see where this is going don't you.....
I have no idea what I was thinking.....
I only had TWO round pans.....and too much cake mix.
Not once did it cross my mind to make CUPCAKES....nope, not once.
What did I do?
I grabbed a glass pie pan.
I made a THIRD layer.

(Picure is sister, Terri, getting the first piece of cake)
It worked!!!
Cake was so fluffy and tall that the cake pan lid STUCK to the top of the cake!
I worried because I made it late in the evening and was very tired.
I pondered how I would frost the cake, because even I KNOW that
you don't frost a warm cake.
My friends in FLYLADY CHAT helped me....
I decided to leave them covered with a towel on a cooling rack overnight.
I put the layered cake together in the a.m.
This cake flavor really resembled a wedding cake flavor.
I used too much frosting....but some people like that much frosting.
I, however, will not use that much next time.
See the post below this post to see the price of the cake mix.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Do You Participate in Lent?

I do believe that Lent is a great time to be more intentional in my spiritual growth.  Each year, I pray about my growth and ask God to lead me to where He wants my focus.  Usually, I am leaning towards "sacrificing" something...such as no soda pop, no chocolate....but this year was different.  This year, God said, "Don't give up, just GIVE."  Hmmmm....give?  So, here is what I did.....I choose to be a blessing to others INTENTIONALLY.  I listened to God's small whisper to guide me.....sometimes I heard it loud and clear, others....I think I might have ignored it.... :(.  I am not going to add pictures to this post because it is certainly LONG enough with NO PICTURES.

Day 1: I took some pictures and blessed 5 families with copies of their pictures. I also made a batch of rolls and took them to GLOW and gave them to the first person who asked about them and in turn, they shared with others.

Day 2 Blessings: We drove through McDonald's drive-thru and paid for the people behind us. I did NOT expect them to drive up beside us and STOP....that threw me off. I just rolled down the window said "I'm passing on the love, know God loves you." They said they knew and thank you. :)

Day3 Blessings: I prayed for each car that passed me while I traveled to OKC. Many people were lifted yesterday. :)

Day 4 Blessings: For our housekeeper at the hotel. When I returned & got in bed, the note was neatly folded and place INSIDE my pillow case..LOL Was that to let me know she got it?

Day 5 Blessing: Because I wasn't sure if the housekeeper spoke english, I got a little more creative and wrote note in spanish. If you can't tell, the $5 is made into a dress..looks vintage doesn't it?

Day 6 Blessing: A little more spanish a little more origami and a little more joy in my life.

Day 7 Blessing: It was rather simple, I resisted an urge to not really scare a woman who walked around the corner while I was crouched on the floor looking at something. If you know me, you know how hard it was for me! So really we were both blessed.

Day 8 Blessing: I blessed 2 girls with the ride of their life touring Bricktown on Segways! Once again, I was blessed as well

Day 9 Blessing: I made a homemade pizza for Carly since she has been such a blessing and watching the house while I was at OKC. (I am back early because David's grandfather, Coy Baker, passed away.) Thank you Carly for blessing others. I love you!!!

Day 10 Blessing: I let 2 people move ahead of me at the check out even though they had full carts and I had 2 items. :)

Day 11 Blessing: I admit, it won't sound like much, but it was a BIG deal for me. I held my tongue when I was ready to jump up and scream at some people. I am not an actor and never claimed to be one. People can tell when I am upset or disagree......I managed to bless someone by not saying anything. The names shall remain anonymous. :)

Day 12 Blessing: I sent ice cream to youth last night!

Day 13 Blessing: I gave a roll of quarters to an unsuspecting person. :) Do you know how easy it is to drop those in someone's purse?

Day 14 Blessing: I put together 2 trash sacks of clothes for the Love Closet on Saturday from 9 - 2 at the First United Methodist Church! If you have extra hangers or paper bags, we could use them also. We will be at the church Fri. night at 6pm to set up

Day 15 Blessing: I drove through Taco Bell's drive thru and paid for the people behind me. This time, I made an escape before they were able to drive up beside me! A blessing for me is hearing that my friends are trying to pass on blessings as well....makes my heart swell

Day 16 Blessing: I shot some pigs. :)  (Before you freak out, it was a photoshoot)

Day 17 Blessing: I took an hour to pray for people who have requested prayers. Please know that each one of you were lifted in my prayers.

Day 18 Blessing: The LOVE CLOSET! We gave away over 200 bags of clothing! Save your clothes, we will have another one before school starts back.

Day 19 Blessing: Wow.....I didn't intentionally do a thing....must do 2 today!!! tsk, tsk......

Day 20 Blessing(s): I bought a gallon of milk for a stranger. I was stopped by a train and for every car that passed, I prayed for each person that God placed on my heart. To that certain person who was brought up more than once, I specifically prayed for your depression to be lifted. ;)

Day 21 Blessing: I chose to allow cars to get in front of me....and then I prayed for each one.

Day 22 Blessing: I made a batch of rolls for a family. In this, I discovered that if I let the rolls rise longer...they are much more fluffy and I like them better. :)

Day 23 Blessing: I bought a few packages of panties and socks to give away at the next LOVE CLOSET in July. We were really shocked at how fast those thing went at the LOVE CLOSET. Every person should get to enjoy the feeling of new under garments.....not hand me down ones. :)

Day 24 Blessing: I bought lunch for some special friends. I also supported a fundraiser. I shall not mention that I also pulled an April Fool's joke on my "nameless" hairdresser.....who knew letting out a blood curdling scream while she is ripping off my eyebrow could get a reaction like that..... :/

Day 25 Blessing: We bought dinner for some new friends. I gave random hugs.

Day 26 Blessing: I used a blessing God gave me to bless a family with some family portraits.....and they turned out half decent even with the wind blowing 500 mph!

Day 27 Blessing: I changed a program I was going to give at a group yesterday by listening to my heart. I encouraged the group to write down their "story" and share it with others. We have a woman in the group who is turning 100! She said she didn't believe anyone would want to hear her story! What is something about your life you would like to make sure is passed on for others to remember?

Day 28 Blessing: I went barefoot all day to encourage people to think about those in the world without shoes. I believe I got at least 5 pairs of shoes to be donated to our LOVE CLOSET!

Day 29 Blessing: I spent some special time with the XS Group yesterday. Although, I do believe they are more of a blessing to me. :) I don't think a time goes by without laughing. Wait until you see the train pictures....bahahahahahah.

Day 30 Blessing: I gave a small sack of soap, shampoo, toothpaste and some change to a person standing on the corner needing help. :(

Day 31 Blessing: I bought 2 more packages of socks for the LOVE CLOSET. I encourage you to do the same please. Socks, underwear and bras were some of the first things to be gone at the LOVE CLOSET. The next closet is July 30th.

Day 32 Blessing: There was a lady at an estate sale who ran out of cash and I paid for her items. :)

Day 33 Blessing(s): We bought lunch for some people. I shot some photos of some girls. I helped with a Sunday School class. I did NOT scare the girls after watching a scary movie...because they made me PROMISE

Day 34 Blessing: I failed....must. work. on. it. today.

Day 35 Blessing: I mailed some random people cards to cheer them up. Making up for Day 34, I took someone's cart back to the little cart parking spot for them at the store.

Day 36 Blessing: I parked at the back of a parking lot and as I walked into the store, I prayed for each person and/or car I passed. I prayed God's abundant blessings and the wisdom to recognize them for each one.

Day 37 Blessing: I judged some FFA Creeds last night at the District Speech Contest. Glad I went....they were having a hard time getting all their judges with the storms. I believe in the future of agriculture.....

Day 38 Blessing: I blessed my Carl with a wonderful romantic night at home.....sigh....The rolls were part of the dinner I planned...Chicken Alfredo....yummo!!!

Day 39 Blessing: I attended a benefit event that supports a medical clinic in Ecuador where American physicians provide care to indigent families... and train local medical residents. I also blessed a woman by paying for her dinner. :)

Day 40 Blessing: I made cinnamon rolls (from a can) for the children's camp fundraiser at church. I also helped Amy while she teaches jr. high sunday school.

Day 41 Blessing: While at Braum's I let a woman go ahead of me. When I got my item, it was rung up wrong.....at least $3 less than what I owed. I corrected the cashier and paid the correct amount. She said, "Wow, that is a first, I've never had someone tell me they owe more than they were charged." she thanked me and thanked me. That broke my heart.....why do people think that is ok to cheat business?

Day 42 Blessing: I gathered stray carts at Wal-Mart and put them in their little parking spot. I know, it is lame.... I shall do better today. :)

Day 43 Blessing: Apparently I didn't take the cart pushing blessing seriously enough. I kid you not, I had to run into Wal-Mart and didn't notice the carts.....til I walked into one! I looked around, and they are all over the place! So, guess what day 43 blessing was? I promise, I will not underestimate the blessings God puts on my heart.....pinky swear!!!

Day 44 Blessing: I went through the drive-thru at McDonald's and paid for the person behind me. One thing has really surprised me each time I've done this....it has been less than $10. I was actually paranoid I was going to have someone who had a $20 order or something....actually only one time did it go over $5. This is one blessing I think I shall continue beyond the Lenten season. :)

Day 45 Blessing: I dropped a $20 bill into a woman's purse as I walked past her....she was busy looking at something on a bottom shelf. (Next time, I will do an origami design) It was just a spontaneous thing....making mental note: carry origami bills in my purse. :)

Day 46 Blessing (Final Day): While grocery shopping, I helped 2 women do their shopping...one was in a wheel chair. I got them a cart, which they didn't have and I gave them one of my shopping bags. I also helped them get to their car.

Final thoughts:  I do believe I was blessed far more than I actually blessed!  This kept me focused through the Lenten season....I felt closer to God this year than any other previous year.  Thanks for letting me share with you!  I hope you had a beautiful Easter!!

God loves you....oh YES He does!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Do You Shop at Aldi?

Several years ago, I was driving by some construction and noticed
a semi-truck with some advertising on it.
It said, "Save 50% or Better on Groceries"
To be honest, I thought the building looked a lot like
a pharmacy.  I didn't recognize the name Aldi.
When it finally opened, I decided to just go check it out.
I went to grab a shopping cart that was in a little area outside by the door.
I pulled....and found out they were chained.
I figured they must keep the carts we are to use inside.
I went inside.  No carts.
Finally, I walked back outside and watched a person slip a quarter into the little box
on the cart.  The chain unhooked from the cart.
AHA!!!  You had to PAY for a cart!  How dumb is that I thought....they might
save you some money on groceries, but they were going to get it back by charging
to use a cart!
Long story short....you DO get your quarter back when you return your cart!
Isn't that ingenious?  No more stray carts all over the parking lot.
You also need your own sacks or you will have to buy their sacks.
You also will have to SACK your own groceries....they WILL not sack them for you.
I have been known to throw my sack in the cart and ask that they throw everything
in the sack...it was a free standing sack.  They DID do that for me...when it was only
ONE sack.

Aldi's is a great place to load up on your staples.
I go to Aldi's FIRST and then fill in at other stores if needed.
I tried the coupon thing.....I was a failure....didn't have the time to
devote to it.
Aldi's was the next best thing.
I am going to show you what I got this week and let you comparison shop.
Now mind you, this is a weird week for shopping...with me buying some extra stuff
for the Easter holiday.
I also make a lot of stuff homemade, so don't buy too many pre-made items.

Black beans @ .55 x 2
Condensed Tom. Soup @ .49 x 4
Coffee Creamer @ $1.49
Refried Beans @ .69 x 2
German Coffee @ 4.99 x 2 (this is $1 higher than I normally get)
Deli Sliced Cheese @ $2.19 x 2
Elbow Macaroni @ $1.49
Powdered Sugar @ $1.49 x 2
32 oz. Ketchup @ 1.19 x 2
Cocoa Rice Cereal @ $1.59
Real Choc. Chips @ $1.79
Pecans @ $3.49
Sugar, 5 lbs. @ $2.68 x 2
Beef Hot Dogs @ $2.29 x 2
Multi-Colored Peppers @ $3.29
Old Fashioned Oats @ $1.99
Boneless Chick. Breasts @ $5.49
Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips @ $1.39 x 2
Butter Quarters @ $2.29 x 2
Sour Cream @ .99 x 2
Oregano @ .99
Margarine @ .99
Confetti Cake Mix @ .95 x 2
Spring Frosting @ $1.19 x 2
Cream Cheese @ $1.29 x 2
8 oz. Cheddar Cheese Chunk @ $1.89 x 2

Subtotal = $77.97
Tax @ 8.5170% = $6.64
TOTAL - $84.61

If you are afraid of generic brands, I encourage you to try Aldi's brands.  The sour cream and onion potato chips taste just like the name brand LAY's chips.  The CHEESE is out of this world awesome. 
Normally, when I shop I spend an average of $75 for a week's worth of groceries.  I do not have to buy beef as we butcher our own.  Before the economy went south, I was able to shop for our family of 5 for about $50/week.  Now, for 3 of us and then some...we do the $75/week sometimes longer.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

DIY Rootin' Tootin' Cowboy Wallet/Card

It never ceases to amaze me what people will share for FREE on the Internet!
I found the blog, JustSomethingIMade over a year ago.
This woman is AMAZING in the creative department.

My great nephew just so happened to be turning two when I stumbled upon her latest creation.
I knew immediately I had to make this wallet.

She made a cute little card to go inside.....I made a cute little vintage
kid on a vintage pony picture.

She had some doo-dads to add to the left-side.
I decided to make some origami bill art.
A cute little cowboy shirt and chaps....yah! they are CHAPS....
who cares if they look like pants!!

On the back of the little vintage picture...I printed the "card" for Tristan.
Yes!  even the stitching is REAL....the rest is just printed from card stock.
She did all the hard work.
From start to finish, this probably took less than one hour.  (At least 20 minutes
was spent searching for WHITE thread....which I have NONE, so I used yellow)
Make sure you check out her blog!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

When God Puts Something on Your Heart.....

Do you respond immediately?
Do you wait to get "clarification" that it is actually from God?
Do you push it to the side and ignore it, hoping it was a fleeting thought?
More than a year ago, I felt God's tug on my heart.
It might have even been longer than a year....I'm not sure.

While looking around my own life, I saw clutter.

In a cleaning frenzy, I must admit that I have just thrown
clutter in the trash can to make my life feel less
It worked.
The freeing feeling was amazing....at first.

Then that "cluttered" feeling crept back into my life.
So, once again I decluttered.
I threw clutter in the trash.
I felt free again.

Then HERE it came again!
That feeling I just couldn't shake.
How many times would I have to declutter to get rid of
that nagging feeling I was doing something wrong?

Finally, I stopped.
I prayed.
I opened my Bible.
I tuned into God.
I listened.

God revealed to me His infinite wisdom.

I prayed some more.
Here is what I heard.....

Instead of throwing away perfectly good "clutter".
WHAT?????  Did I HEAR that correctly?
Um, Dear God....I said I have CLUTTER and you want me to SAVE IT and STORE IT?

I questioned whether he really understood my problem.
I sat on it for at least a year....surely he didn't want me to SAVE and STORE my clutter.
One day while at my Thursday Sisters' Bible Study....I blurted out a suggestion...
"Hey, what if we had a clothing closet at church and gave away clothes?"
I think I hoped they would not show any excitement...and then I would
know for sure it was not a GOD thing.

They were almost TOO excited.
Matter of fact, the entire plan was hatched, planned and set in stone on the church
calendar that very day.
MARCH 26, 2011 would be the very first LOVE CLOSET.
We started spreading the word to save gently used and new clothes.
We facebooked it, we put it in the newspaper, we advertised in the church bulletin.
We made fliers for school, we made fliers for the local food pantry.
We collected items - we asked for ladders and hangers and broomsticks.

This last picture is all that is left of the March 26, 2011 LOVE CLOSET.
(Minus the kids.)
We planned to be open from 9:00am - 2:00pm.
People were at the door at 8:00am.
Each person received a paper grocery sack (Donated by Reasors Grocery).
If they could get it in the sack, they could take if FOR FREE.
Of course in the planning stages we had the nay sayers....but what ifs and so on....
we stood strong and said we would do this from the love in our hearts and
not judge whether someone "really" needed the things or not.
We didn't have any problems because
we knew we were tuned in to what God was calling us to do.

When we finished and locked up on that March 26th day, my heart was
swelling with LOVE and relief for God's children.
Here I sit, typing this post and can honestly say my heart hasn't deflated a smidgen.
Matter of fact, I think I continues to grow bigger.
We are already SAVING IT and STORING IT.
Thank you God for continuing to whisper to me until I could take it no more.
By SAVING IT and STORING IT, we were able to SHARE IT and SHOW LOVE and in return, LIVE!!

(Thanks Tresa for noticing I had last year's date...oops...it is 2011, sorry)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Got Problems?

Do you ever feel like you are minding your own business;
heading in the direction you feel is right.
It isn't until then, that you look up and
BAM, it is right on top of you!

Sometimes life just feels out of control.
Sometimes everything seems too big to handle.
Sometimes we don't realize just how bad it really is for us.
....until we look UP!
What do we do then?
We start running for our lives.
We forget everything and everyone around us.

Sometimes it looks like we are getting ahead of the
It looks like we are making progress.
But the problems keep barreling upon us.

The problem is....most times, when life gets like this we
think that doing a 180 degree turn will get us out of this dilemma.
When in reality, all we had to do was jump to the SIDE, take
 a breath, turn to our Heavenly Father, and watch the
"train" go on by us.
God works like that.
Notice that I said it will GO BY, He doesn't promise
that He will REMOVE it from your life.  It still has to pass.
If you keep focus, he can help you see the correct path you will
need to get you where HE wants you to go.
We don't want to spend our time, running in the wrong
direction from things that are so much bigger than we
will ever be.
Be Still and Know that I am God! -Psalm 46:10
(P.S. No XS GROUP girls were injured in the making
of this life lesson.  The train was just setting on
the track and we thought it was a great photo op.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Can't Explain It......

When I take pictures....I get emotional.
I just do.
It doesn't happen while I am taking them...
It happens the moment I pop them up on the computer.
I don't get a thrill when I take pictures of animals.
I don't get all gushy when I take a picture of
a beautiful sunset.

I get emotional when I take pictures of

My love for it started in 2008 when I took my oldest daughter, Carly, out
to shoot some pictures for her senior portraits.
It was my first use of a Nikon digital camera.
I was hooked.
Each time I pick up the camera, I get a surge through my body for
which I can't explain.
I have ideas in my head and the camera helps me get the ideas out.....

Only my love for my heavenly Father and my family
can compare.

I pray I never run out of this emotion.
I want to continue to bless others with what the
good Lord has blessed me with in this lifetime.

Thank you!
(P.S. This is my nephew and his beautiful family)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

How to Shoot Pigs and Goats.....

Made you look didn't I?
It was really funny to post that on facebook and
see what kind of comments I received.
The top collage is Hunter and Holden.
This was their first experience with goats.
They are experienced pig kids.
I think I was able to convince them that goats
are pretty neat and smell just a tad
bit better than the pigs.

The next collage is of Naomi and her pig, Shemaria.
  Naomi took at least 45 minutes to scrub
Shemaria until she sparkled and it took the pig 10 seconds to find
a mud hole.

The last set is of Poss and his pig, Gordy.
Gordy cooperates much better than Shemaria.
Gordy also knows when he has had enough picture taking....
he just bowls Poss over and gets the heck out of Dodge!

Want to

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