Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Throughout the years, we have had many different circumstances and events around the holidays. We've spent some holidays with parents, some with siblings, some with friends, and some all by ourselves. This Thanksgiving, we had some wonderful friends come and eat with us, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We played games, ate a delicious meal, enjoyed different traditions, watched the parade and the football games, and enjoyed the fellowship. It was awesome. And, I can't wait until my girls are old enough to be responsible for making some of the yummy traditional dishes right along side me.

This year, I also prepped a lot! It made the actual day go by so much more smoothly. I don't think I hardly sat down before we served lunch, but that's better than being frantic and worrying that not everything will get done. Right? Right. I pray that in the years to come, I will have the same opportunity.

Here are some pics of our turkey and ham filled festivites.
 Yummy pre-turkey snacking...
 I did NOT brine the turkey. It turned out pretty well in the turkey bag. Maybe next year I will have the wherewithal to order a fresh bird a few days before Thanksgiving. We shall see.
 So, even though eating is a big part of Thanksgiving, an even bigger part is actually giving thanks. I have so much to be thankful for! And, I want my children to begin to realize how much they have to be thankful for as well. So, one of my favorite things we did on Thursday was to make these wreaths...
I just took a small styrofoam wreath, wrapped it with fabric and added the top leaf with some straight pins.

Then, we wrote what we are thankful for on leaves, and added them one by one to the wreath. It was a such a blessing of a time.

 A lot of the things the girls said surprised me.

I got the idea for the wreaths on some morning talk show, and I hope it's a tradition that carries on in some form or fashion for years to come. Of course, it's yet another thing I'm not sure I'll ever be able to toss. Such sweet memories...

Now, we are on to planning a fun little birthday party for our oldest girl, Julia. She's turning 8 this year. I seriously do not understand how I've been a mom for that long, but I'm so glad I get to be a mom to her. Amazing.

Happy leftovers eating! -Amber

P.S. Thank you for celebrating with us Bacas! And thank you for bringing all the wonderful foods, treats and games! You are a blessing to us.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dining Room Tables in the Living Room

Can you believe Thanksgiving is so close? I barely can! I have the pumpkin pie in the freezer. It is  living right beside the 20 pound turkey. I also have the pumpkin cookies in batter form in the fridge, and have been meal planning and prepping for the big day for about a week. (The excellent recipe I use for Pumpkin cookies is a Martha Stewart recipe that you can find here.)

Whipped Cream to Come
We are super excited to host friends for a our Thanksgiving lunch this year, and I was concerned about seating for everyone.  But, one afternoon, I was looking on a local furniture fb page, and I found a great table! It looked so nice, and would be great for extra seating. I planned to ask Dave to carry up and down stairs when we needed it, but after pick up, we realized the table is much to heavy to haul around. This ended up being the solution:

Remove the Clutter and You Have Extra Seating
The table lives in our upstairs living room now. And, it is working perfectly. Since we've been home from our last trip, we have rearranged half the rooms in our house. The girls bunk beds have been separated, Saige's room finally got some attention to furniture placement, and both our living rooms have been changed up. But, I think that I like the new upstairs arrangement the best. The table doubles as a workstation for your laptop, or for studying cookbooks or any other books. It also works wonderfully for Monday Night small group at our house. We have more spots to stick drinks and goodies and/or for Bibles to be laid open on. I just love it.

What do you think about having a small table in a living room? And, don't forget to give me advise about my turkey. To brine, or not to brine. That is the question!

Turkey, turkey!! -Amber

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Never Ending Blog Post

I'm sorry it's been a while. We have been to visit family in Oklahoma and came back to a wonderful and full schedule, so my blogging has been falling behind....but here is a look at some of the fun we had OK:

Zebra, Tiger and Lion at Granny's House
The girls dressed up on Halloween and got to go to the carnival at the church we used to attend in Bartlesville. Fun, fun!
Mimi and Papa Joined in the Fun

Grandma Christie (Daisy Duck), Cousin Charlie, and My Girls

Early Birthday for Julia at Granny's
We got to see a lot of friends on family the week that we were in OK. It was so nice, and such a blessing to us all. I also got to visit a place I used to work at called McCoy's Jewelers. They checked my jewelry and verified that the prongs that are supposed to hold my diamond in place is doing just that. Yay!I am free to clean my jewelry with a toothbrush, knowing that my diamonds are secure! Check out this tip and one more in the picture below:

Do you see the bottom one about baby powder on chains? I love this one! I have a necklace from when I graduated high school that has been tangled almost the whole *gulp* 14 years I've had it. Here it is after about thirty minutes, and a couple tablespoons of baby powder.
This Was Once a Matted Mess.

This thing was so matted, that it was actually stuck to another piece of jewelry I owned. I'd worked for hours trying to un-knot this thing, and I thought I'd never have the two pieces separate again. I almost threw away both pieces of jewelry when we moved here, but now I'm so grateful I didn't. And, I plan to let my McCoy Jewelers people know how well this works! Untangling chains is definitely something we worked on!

--And, now that you know my chain untangling secret, and now that we are back in ND, I want to share what's been happening the last few days.You can call this the never ending blog post if you'd like.---

It's finally happened, the cold has snapped here in ND! We are loving the snow, and bundling against the cold. I have a lot of coffee and hot tea everyday, and wish there was a way to convince my daughters to eat soup every night with out complaint. Snow pictures are here:
At a Stop Sign. Beautiful.

Bundled for a Snowball Fight!

In Action
More Action Shots

Snow Angels:


Sampling Snow at the Library

Came in From Playing Cold and Frowny

We've been having so much fun! We haven't made any Olafs yet, but I'm sure we will have a small herd of them soon. 

Our New Favorite Evening Activity
Thanks for reading! Stay warm!!!!


P.S. If there are any typos in this post, it's because my hands were too cold to type.
P.S.S. I love the people who read my blog!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

How NOT to Re-purpose!

My sweet little Saige has entered into the stage that I lovingly refer to as; the tiny toddler terror stage. Most toddlers go through it, and most moms live until it's over, but there's no guarantee that a mom will. Maybe you'll understand a little better if I tell you a story...

Last night, Dave was getting the girls situated for bed, and had given me the task of looking on an excel spreadsheet over our family's financials. The big girls almost always have a 10 minute Bible reading time before bed, and Saige usually gets to read books or baby Bibles during that time. After they had started their reading, Dave ran upstairs to mention a few things to me about the spreadsheet before he went back downstairs. But, before we could get a full sentence out, Julia was yelling about an emergency downstairs.

In the short time Dave was up here, Saige had gotten nail polish all over herself, all over Lydia's pillow, and all over face. She started applying it as mascara as well, and was now crying because she got nail polish in her eye. I ran downstairs when I heard what was going on and we flushed that baby's eye for the next several minutes with water.

The man from poison control told us flushing the eye with water for about 15 minutes was best, and that we should not use eye drops as it might make the issue worse. (Thank goodness we called! I was about to give her some drops.) He also told us what to look for in case of infection, but thankfully the eye looked clear and happy when Saige woke up. Praise the Lord!!
Saige Eating a Smoothie 
So my re-purposing tip for today is: nail polish is not a good substitute for mascara. FYI.

Thanks, Amber

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lengthening Jeans

Lydia is currently a string bean and often grows too tall for clothes, not out of them.
December 2013
The above picture is Lydia at our church last year. I had been at the church all day as Julia had practice because she was in our church's Christmas play; Celebration. Dave had Saige and Lydia at home until evening when they were going to meet us at church. I'm not sure how it happened, but Lydia showed up in these daisy dukes. I thought it odd, but didn't say anything. It wasnt until she was sitting in my lap that I realized where I recognized those shorts from. They seemed a little out of place to me as I was remembering that they were usually over a diaper. Lydia was 5 years old in the above picture. Would you like to guess the size of the shorts she has on? They are 12-18 months. Yes, she was wearing Saige's shorts. I have no idea how they slid on to her frame, although petite. But they did. 

(This happened again just the other day. I told her to put on the jeans on the loveseat. She came to my room wearing capris...except they weren't capris. They were Saige's pants again. Size 18-24 months. They are too short for Saige. And way too short for Lydia.)

So, this brings me to today's story. When Dave's parents were here, Lydia wore a pair of size 5 jeans that fit a bit baggy on Lydia, but that are getting too short. (She's 6 years old now.) It was then that a very smart lady, Christie Stewart, suggested I add some ribbon or lace to the bottom of her jeans to give them some extra length. Brilliant!!!!!

I went to our local sewing store, (Dakota Sew and So) and got some really pretty stuff that I've started sewing onto her little jeans. Here are some pics to show what I've done:

Exhibit A: Size 5 Jeans

Ribbon to be Attached Jeans

A Few Tools I Used

The Ribbon I Bought (Close Up)
 Because I bought ribbon, I decided I should seal the edges of the ribbon with a lighter so that that the ends don't fray.
See the Fraying?

No Fray. No Way.

One Side With Added Ribbon...Back

Ribbon Added...Front
I'd say this adds a good 2 inches to these jeans. Which will last a few months at least. Plus, I think it's really cute. What do you think?

Thanks for reading! I appreciate you stopping by!

Your friend, Amber

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pizza Dough- Just Two Ingredients!

Okay, here is something I totally forgot to tell you all! A few weeks ago, I made my own pizza crust from only two ingredients!! Who knew greek yogurt and self-rising flour could make such a yummy dough.
Dave's Favorite Dinner
I found the dough recipe on pinterest, and have attached the blog with the recipe here. After making the dough, I added the toppings: olive oil, cooked ground turkey, homegrown tomatoes, onions, garlic, spinach, homegrown basil, two or three kinds of cheese, seasonings. I use olive oil instead of sauce because I like the outcome better, and I'm not a huge pizza sauce fan. Plus, it's easier. I don't think we've ever had leftovers after this dish.

Please let me know if you try this recipe! We love it! 

Enjoy! Amber

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Warm Weekend

Thanks to Amazon Prime, I am all caught up on Downton Abbey. Wooo. Another major accomplishment...(I mean that tongue in cheek).

We had an extremely relaxing weekend. Those come few and far between for us, but it was great. We listened to Christmas music while we sang and danced, had chicken and dumpling soup, I checked my social media sites, and Dave and I had a date night. Great times.

I think I am the only person in North America that is a little sad that it's still warm this fall. I know, I know...I will get sick of cold weather, and I won't like to have snow after it's been here while. (Advice from everyone including the locals.) But, I just love the cold. I love the snow. I'm practically Elsa.

But, since it has been warm, the girls are still enjoying time on the trampoline, riding bikes and playing outside. And I'm thankful. And, I think that the warm, dry air is good for the farmers here. So, I am really thankful for that!

I also put in my first order of essential oils this weekend. I ordered them from this website- click here. I am looking forward to getting some wintergreen, valerian root and lavender soon. I'm using these babies as one last ditch effort to heal my plantar fasciitis before Dave sends me to the podiatrist who will give me steroid shots in my heal. I am praying that these oils work wonders! (I would love any oil and diffuser tips any of you might have!)

Here are some pictures from our relaxation:
Mama Julia

Lovely Little Lydia

Dressin' up
Saige is Cute

Pretty Java

The Fall Colors are Beautiful Here

Well, I'm not sorry to say this is about all from me. I am enjoying the last few hours of this weekend before the craziness of this week starts. Please continue to share your re-purposing tips with me when you get the chance, and I will continue to share my tips with you!

Love to you all! -Amber

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Toothpaste, a Toothbrush and Silver

Well, I haven't been writing much lately, have I? I have missed it! After my 15k in Denver, I have been hosting family and friends and feeling so very blessed to do so. Dave's parents came last weekend, and I cooked almost as much as I would have if it were the holidays. It was a lot of fun! After my in-laws left, though, I told Dave that I would not be cooking the rest of the week. But, when friends called and said they'd be in town last night, I had to invite them over. So I made soup and banana bread for 9 extra people besides my 5, and they came for dinner. Once again we were blessed with a full home and full hearts.

Here are some pics from Dave's Dad and Step-Mom's visit:
Windy day at Theodore Roosevelt

High on the Hill Family Pic

A Nice Random Guy Offered to Take a Pic of our Group
(I'm always very relieved to get my camera back after someone offers to take a picture of us.)
King Grandpa Dan and his Little Princesses

Celebrating Grandpa Dan's Birthday
Grandma Christie and Saige Looking at Pictures
We had such a GREAT TIME!

Speaking of great times, I wanted to share with you my latest re-purposing trick! A few years ago, Dave's mom was kind enough to buy me some long tea spoons at an antique store. They are so nice, like the pretty ones you use in fancy restaurants. After using these pretty spoons a few times, I realized these spoons are silver. Oooh. Fancier still. But, then these little spoons decided to start tarnishing on me, and I felt as though they were too fragile to use. :(

Then, as I was reading in my checked out library book (Vinegar, Duct Tape, Milk Jugs & More by Earl Proulx), I found this trick: use toothpaste to take tarnish off of silver. (Don't use the gel kind of toothpaste, and don't scrub very hard on the silver, or you might scratch it.) This is a life saver for me and my long tea spoons. I was afraid to use any harsh chemicals on the spoons because then I really wouldn't use them again in a splendid cup of tea or any other drink. The chemicals could potentially make me or someone else sick! Toothpaste (with a little water) and an old toothbrush are much more natural cleaners. And I like natural.

Toothpaste Scrubbed on Tea Spoon with an Old Toothbrush

See All the Tarnish on the Paper Towel?

I remembered while I was lightly scrubbing my spoon that when I worked at a jewelry store in Oklahoma that the store owner recommended you can use also use toothpaste and an old toothbrush to gently remove gunk from jewelry. Must be something to toothpaste! I think my jewelry will get a bath next.

Thanks for reading today! Love to all of you and your families! -Amber