Sunday, November 27, 2011

Beautiful Spirit

         I don’t know her story. I don’t know the events that would make my perspective different from those who are one step closer to her. However, I do know this- she has the most beautiful spirit I have ever encountered. Though without details I’m certain she has experienced hardships in life, and yet upon her countenance is peace. She is without the all too common burdens most of us drag along in life that harden our hearts. I imagine that is entirely due to her trust in the Lord and reliance on Him to be the one able to carry her burdens. Her faith is touching, and whether believer or not you are sure to well up with tears when she her heart spills out in prayer to a God so real and dear to her heart.  No one is a stranger in her home or family. Regardless of whom the person is or where he/she has been, her door is open and arms wide waiting the moment they may be entered and her love and grace shown. I imagine that to also be attributed to her faith in the One who graciously accepts us for who we are. It goes without saying I admire her greatly.

           And so, I dare to expose my heart and in her admiration I find comfort. We discuss lines and clips utilized for drying plastic baggies, and acknowledge our awareness that we could simply buy more but instead we choose to reuse that which we already have.  We stand at the kitchen counter peering over at a dessert and talk of techniques of shaping pie crusts. In her loving eyes and gentle voice is conveyed her joy and pride at seeing lost arts come back to life. There is an acceptance and encouragement unfounded elsewhere, and in complete honesty I couldn’t imagine wanting it from anyone more than her. Such simple moments, but they are ones that I will always hold dear. To her, my heart for home and family is not silly but beautiful. In her response to my desire for homemaking I am confirmed that therein, indeed, lies something truly significant. I sense her support of me to continue to learn and grow in this area, as well as her shared assurance that the Lord is trustworthy. It goes without saying I admire my Grandmom greatly.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Five Question "Friday"

1. Is there a special dish you prepare that you are famous for?
I search all year for a really cute food craft/project. This year I made colorful sugar cookies in the shape of leaves and some "acorns," and served them in a pretty basket. I also did a pumpkin pie with pumpkin leaf cutouts placed all around the edge. I would include a picture, but it all took so long that I skipped the picture taking and just focued on getting it done! haha.
2. Are you (did you) go Black Friday shopping ?
Absolutely not! I'm not much of a shopper to begin with, so a mega-shopping day is not my idea of fun. Instead, I prefer to use that day to put up Christmas decor. Afterall the day after Thanksgiving offically begins the Christmas season. :)
3. What are your strangest holiday traditions?
I don't believe I have any "strange" holiday traditions. In fact, I'm still trying to determine the ways of celebrating or traditions to be established within our family. We'll see how this year goes. :)

4. Pecan or pumpkin pie? (She actually asked "Apple or pumpkin?" I just T-giving'ed it!)
Pumpkin pie! It just seems so fitting at the Thanksgiving meal. I love pumpkin everything this time of year!
5. When will you put up your Christmas tree?
We just put our tree up! I will certainly enjoy many evenings gazing at the colorful Christmas tree. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fall Sale at the Etsy Shop!

I still have a few fall items left in the RevivingHomemaking Etsy Shop, and so here is your chance to get a little something to brighten your fall from the start next year! Just for followers of RevivingHomemaking here on the blog page or on the Reviving Homemaking Facebook page, use the coupon code "FALLSALE11" at checkout to receive 25% off fall items! That includes a fall apron and two placemat, napkins settings! I really enjoyed creating these items and would love to see them enjoyed in another home for coming holiday/fall seasons to come! :)


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Five Question Friday!


1. Do you have a go to song that always puts you in a good mood?
Agh, this is going to be embarrassing. Okay, while watching Friends (because don't all my stories begin that way?!)  an episode featured a "Morning's Here" song. I don't think it's actually a song, but just something to add to the show. Nonetheless it's super catchy and cheerful! Strangely enough it does, in fact, put a better mood on the mornings! Fyi, mornings are a struggle for me in terms of waking up & being pleasant to be around. hehe. Here's a clip:
Now don't you feel better? I feel all red faced! haha
2. Are you a real Christmas tree kinda person or do you go with a real fake one?
I love the smell and feel of having a real tree! However, they are some serious work to attain and keep around! I can't imagine us trying to get a tree on top of a car and up stairs into an apt., and then back down again later to dispose of it. We have a fake tree, but LOVE it. It's special because it was out first tree together. <3
3. What are you thankful for?
Opportunites. The Etsy store has continued to receive orders. It's my way of using the abilities that God has instilled within me, as well as help support my family. If we both worked outside the home, then we would honestly not get to see each other but for a handful of hours each week. Been there and done that and we know that that doesn't allow for much of a family or marriage life. I'm so grateful for all who shop or spread the word about the shop! Each activity helps bring back meaning to family and homemaking! :)
4. Which fashion fad from the past do you wish you could wear today?
I love the 90s style! I was searching through patterns once and kept marking dresses that I really liked, and then later realized they were all produced in the 90s! I love simple dresses and a pair of Keds. I have at all times had a pair of Keds. I refuse to give those us, even if they're dated at this point! haha. I have some dresses in mind to make at some point. I suppose it's a good thing that I wear what I like and don't worry too much about styles or perceptions. haha! 
5. Do you wait until the "low fuel" light comes on before you fill up the gas tank?
     Doubtful! I'm a planner/organizer type person and as such I usually try to get things taken care of before the time of need. When it comes to fueling the cars, I perfer for the line to not dip below 1/4 tank. I'm not a fan of the idea of being stuck on the side of the road!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Revisiting "Celebrating the Season with Thankfulness"

        This year we're considering to be my husband and I's "first" holiday season together (technically it's our second, but due to our overwhelming schedules last year we didn't celebrate much at all). At the beginning of the month I was all excited to begin a "30 Days of Thankfulness." I had intentions for each day to list, photograph and share an area of thankfulness to focus on for the day. Well, I believe I made it to day 3 (it's now day 18. yikes!). The ideas from various sources for acknowledging gratitude were wonderful. However, they weren't my own and as such didn't strike a personal cord within me. Moreover, I felt like I needed something more than the words "thank you." How do I truly exprience gratitude? Act on it.

        I've been working ever since at compiling my own list of activities. I still feel it important to define "Thanksgiving" as a season of celebration and not just a two hour meeting for stuffing belllies and entering food comas. The following is what I've come up with for us this year. Likely, it will change next year and that excites me because we should always be discovering new ways to be thankful.
Give Thanks Thanksgiving Countdown Calendar - PDF Pattern

1) I stumbled across this pattern for a calendar at Everyday Celebrations. I plan to make a few changes though. I would like one which would be year-round so that I can also fill the pockets with ways to appreciate other seasons or holidays. So, the colors will be those in my home's color scheme and the title will be changed to say, "Enjoy the Moments." Having the pattern as a base will make it much simpler to create and personalize!

2) I wanted my list to focus on three areas:
Express Thanks= 10         Express Giving=10           Come Together=10
1. Express thanks for good neighbors. Invite a neighbor to tea/coffee/dinner. If you don’t know your neighbor, then introduce yourself (be sure to include your gratitude for them!)

2. Make Java Chip Pumpkin bread* loaves and share a loaf with someone who is usually under appreciated. 
             *Java Chip Pumpkin Bread= 1 box quick pumpkin bread + chocolate chips + replace 
                  water with coffee.
3. Discuss how you can serve a family or person specifically over the holidays

4. Express thanks for relationships (friends/family) so close that the distance doesn’t even seem present. Call, write, or contact them in any way to express gratitude for them and your relationship. It could be a character quality, something that was done, favorite memory, or the impact they’ve had one you.

5. Create a Blessing Bag to keep in your car and offer to homeless individuals you encounter.

6. Have a family game night. Before each turn name a blessing.

7. Express thanks to a veteran for their courage and sacrifice. Write a letter** to someone currently serving. Greet and talk with someone you see while out today.
           ** Day 7: Letter to Soldiers- multiple sites to allow participation. Letters to Soldiers, &
                Soldiers Angels are two that I found just by doing a quick Google search.

8. Leave a cashier with a bit of a payment towards the next person. (You will need to place a rubberband or clip around it with a note or something designating it as such. Don’t want to get the cashier in trouble for having money lying around out of the drawer!)

9. Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage during a family walk/hike.

10. Express thanks to the Lord for the day. Some days just seem like they shouldn’t have even been attempted. Nonetheless, each and every day is a gift. Write Psalm 118:24 on a notecard and place by your alarm clock for when you rise. Then, stick it in your pocket or somewhere visible to be reminded of it throughout the day.

11. Leave a generous tip. Next time you’re at a restaurant leave a generous tip with a compliment on the receipt. If there is a tip jar, then leave a little more than just your change.

12. Munch on popcorn while enjoy a movie together (Charlie Brown holiday films!)

13.  Express thanks for the quiet times. Rise early and put some coffee or tea to brew. Spend extra moment with the Lord and in thought of ways to live out your gratitude during the day.

14. Offer a listening ear and shoulder to cry on. So often poor attitudes cause poor support systems (ie friendships!). Call or meet up with a friend to simply listen.

15. Use Thanksgiving Box Of Questions during dinnertime. (I haven't personally used these, but I love conversation cards!).
16. Express thanks for the good in life. Critical and negative perspectives are nearly impossible to escape. Have you become a perpetuator? Determine today to examine your words and heart to only allow that which is follows Philippians 4:8 to permeate your environment.

17. Grocery shop specifically with the intention of donating the entire bag. (Many grocery stores offer donation boxes or packages for purchase).

18. Review the story of the first Thanksgiving. Why did they want to observe a time of thanks? What is the significance of the holiday today?

19. Express thanks for your husband. When did we begin to see him with a critical (disrespectful) eye more than a grace giving (loving) eye? Challenge yourself today to not only speak well of him, but to think such as well! Praise him! Believe in him! Respect him!

20. Delight a child by taping change to a vending machine (bouncing balls, gum balls etc)

21. Capture with your camera the various things throughout the day you’re thankful for.

22. Express thanks to God for his provision. Stress can easily mound when it appears that there is more going out financially than coming in. Yet, when all is said and done there was somehow enough. Do we have shelter? Clothing? Food? Support from others? Our notion of provision and the Lord’s may look different, but one thing that is certain is that He is faithful in His promise to provide for us. Trust Him to do so. Thank Him for already doing so.

23. Graciously relieve someone of one of their responsibilities.

24.  Revisit the family photo album and travel back to previous Thanksgiving celebrations. What was your favorite memory of those times?

25. Express thanks for all those that God places in our paths. Some individuals and experiences will build us up, while others will refine us. Remember Romans8:28. Choose to recognize the good that came from our interactions and experiences. Make an effort to be kind today, even when someone we encounter appear to be “tearing us down.”

26. Visit with someone who may be lonely. The best way to combat a feeling of loneliness in ourselves is to remove that feeling from someone else. Nursing homes and hospitals are a great place to start. Don’t stop there though. Think outside the box. Is there anyone that lives alone? Spends evenings alone (spouse works night shift)? New to the area? Etc etc.

 27. Everyone share what is their favorite aspect of the holiday season. What activities/traditions added meaning or joy, and which ones detracted from it? What would each person like to include this year?

Day 28. Express thanks for God creating you to We are his workmanship. He carefully crafted us into being. What we perceive as flaws may be a part of God’s special design for us. Remember  that He created us to be as we are in order to fulfill His purposes for our lives, not our own. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others and see shortcomings. Snap a photo of yourself and on the back of the printed picture write ways in which God sees you.    

Day 29. Spending time with family often times requires a road trip. Make the stress of traveling a little lighter by obtaining a gift card for gas. Next time you’re at the pump, tape the card with a little note to it. (I would say hand the card to someone nearby, but I have a hard time imagining people accepting a gift nowadays).

Day 30. Prepare a meal together. It can be the actual Thanksgiving meal, a side, or just a weeknight dinner. “Too many cooks in the kitchen” is a complete falsity. I say the more the merrier! Divide the work and each embrace the opportunity to serve each other in preparing the meal.

Additional Resources:
 Random Acts of Kindness - Page with numerous ideas for simple acts of kindness.
Homeword 30 Days of Thanksgiving - Page with great ideas for areas of thankfulness.
Give Thanks Countdown Cards- Cards to accompany calendar pattern from Everyday Celebrations
Positively Present's 30 Photo Challenge on Gratitude- 30 days of capturing in film areas of gratitude.

      I hope to create a similar list with the same three areas of focus for the Christmas season (and likely subsequent seasons as well). I'll try to get a photo when I can get the calendar and cards completed.

     As for now, I pray that it will encourage you to determine in what ways you would like to focus this holiday season. This list is what is fitting for our family. I encourage you to take some time to think through creating a list to make it yours :)

Linked up at: Don't Waste Your Homemaking, Growing Home, Far Above Rubies, Women Living Well, Raising Homemakers, Raising Mighty Arrows, Our Simple Country Life, Maxabella Loves, The Gypsy Mama, Time Warp Wife

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cranberry Orange Scones

I've gotten into a routine of having something simple for breakfasts on Sundays. We've enjoyed homemade bacon egg cheese biscuits, blueberry muffins, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, coffee cake etc. My goal is to have something we can grab and eat quickly on our way to church. This week we add a new selection- Cranberry Orange Scones! Delicious! They're actually fairly healthier than how they're typically made. The seasonal enjoyment of cranberries and oranges put me in such a festive holiday mood! 

Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Cranberry Orange Scones
adapted from Taste of Home

10 Servings        Time: 35 min

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
7 tsp. sugar or honey
1 tbsp. grated orange peel
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/3 c. cold butter
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. milk
1 egg
1 tbsp. milk

Glaze: 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar + 1 tbsp. orange juice

1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and orange peel. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

2. In a second bowl,  combine remaining wet ingredients except the final 1 tbsp. milk.

3. Combine wet ingredients into dry.

4. Pour dough out onto flour surface and knead for 6-8 strokes. (*Note: over kneading will result in tougher scones).

5. Flatten dough out into a 8 inch round pan. Using a floured knife, cut into wedges.

6. Brush remainging 1 tbsp. milk on to the surface of the dough.

7. Bake at 400 degrees F for 14 minutes (all ovens are different and so best to just watch for the tops to become lightly brown).

8. Glaze: combine confectioners' sugar and orange juice and drizzle over all the scones.

9. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea and your favorite person. :)

Linked up at: Comfy in the Kitchen

Friday, November 11, 2011

Five Question Friday!

1. What's the last thing you spent too much money on?
       Fabric! My creative self gets lost in the fabric/craft store far too easily! I always buy my fabric when it is on sale. However, this week I goofed in thinking that my selected fabric was on sale but it was not. 3 yards later..ouch. I thought about the mistake all the way home, but eventually turned that thinking into ways to get the best uses of the fabric. I'm now excited to get started on new projects (which of course will eventually be available in the RevivingHomemaking Etsy Store)!
2. What celeb chef would you want to make you dinner?
     I would like Ellie Krieger for how she focuses on balanced, fresh, and healthy meals. Yet, Alton Brown  would be amazing for the chemistry of nutrition class during the meal preparation! I love his show for how educational the episodes are regarding food. After so many years as a science major, I've discovered that my real love for the subject comes in applying it to food and nutrition.  
3. Where do you hide things when visitors pop over or do you let them see the real deal?
     Ah, confession- my closets are a bit embarrassing! When my husband and I married, we were faced the task of combining two complete households into one. It is no easy task, and we're still trying to figure out how to get things to fit seemlessly into our space. (Okay, I'll make another confession- my crafty things take up a ton of space so I'm totally guilty there).
4. Who is your oldest living family member?
I believe my great uncle (grandmother's brother) would be the eldest that I'm aware of currently.
5. What is your favorite DQ treat and/or Sonic drink combo (ie: cherry vanilla Dr. Pepper)?
     I'll preface this answer with a little story. When I was younger there was a little convenient store across the street from my neighborhood. The neighborhood kids, myself included, loved to go there for candy or slushies. I have fond memories of giddily walking home with a slushy in one hand and a Ring Pop on the other! On hot summer days, a slushy just seems to be able to hit the spot every time. When I visit a Sonic now as an adult my order always includes a grape slush because with a sip a part of me travels back to the giggly walk with friends to that store.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Five Question Friday

      My friend, Sarah, made a "Five Question Friday" post, and it looked so much fun that I had to join in!

Original source of the event:

1. What movie do you love to quote?
      My absolute favorite movie is You've Got Mail. I frequently have many lines from it running through my head.
"... makes coffee nervous."
"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."
"People are always saying that change is a good thing. But all they're really saying is that something you didn't want to happen at all... has happened. ... Soon, it'll be just a memory. In fact, someone, some foolish person, will probably think it's a tribute ... the way it keeps changing on you, the way you can never count on it, or something. I know because that's the sort of thing I'm always saying. But the truth is... I'm heartbroken. I feel as if a part of me has died, ... and no one can ever make it right."

"What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's personal to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway?"

" ... when you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say at the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows."
{This one is my favorite as it applies perfectly to those I've intereacted with through blogging!} "The odd thing about this form of communication is that you're more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings."
    More often, I'll audibly quote Friends. If you're a fan then only one quote is needed:
(I honestly have way too many favorites from the show to list!)
2. Have you ever ridden a motorcycle?
I have ridden a motorcycle, and it served the purpose of confirming that that was not a vehicle of choice for me. With each lean into the curve, I observed the proximity of myself to the road. The wind passing against me was indeed chilling, but not in the sense of temperature. Feeling completely unprotected was not freeing for me but terrifying. Vehicular accidents aren't impossible, and frankly I'd much prefer for some metal or plastic structure to take the hit first than my body.

3. What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
Read. I love to bundle up to sit outside with a cup of cocoa in one hand and a book in another!

4. Do you prefer a bunch of small gifts, or one really big, (expensive) gift?
      I'm not a big gift kind of person. Believe it or not, my husband and I decided  our first year together to not exchange Christmas gifts between ourselves each year (and we still LOVE that!). Regardless of small or large gift, I always have such an awkward time accepting it. Did I react too much? Not enough? Argh.
      This is with the exception of the one gift that is very fitting for me- time. For me, nothing purchased from the store can equate to the same value of someone giving up their time and attention to devote to me. I don't mind if it's a bunch of small gifts of one's time or one really big chunk. The setting aside to make me feel special is what matters most to me.
     (Yes, I'm probably such a dreamer and perhaps the easiest person to "buy" for!)

5. Do you ever lose track of days and show up somewhere wrong?
    Oh dear, yeah I can be quite the scatterbrain! Without a plan or schedule in hand, I'm hopeless. haha. If I've got to keep up with several schedules at once (like I did when I juggled work, school, clinicals and home),  then it's quite possible for me to show up at the wrong time or the wrong place! (I'm so grateful to no longer have to be doing for four demanding things at once anymore! Phew, 'bout lost my mind!).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Celebrating the Season With Thankfulness

          One of my goals this Thanksgiving “season” is to become radically thankful. I refer to the holiday as a season rather than a day, because the single day passes quickly as we are often so busy that we are not mindful of the two components of the word: Thanks and Giving. To my surprise, I have discovered this is a difficult task to accomplish!

        Likely no one would assert that he or she is unthankful, but do we purpose ourselves to express that gratitude? I must admit that I’m at fault for placing the show of thankfulness as an assumption. By doing so I am missing out on valuable opportunities! The expression of gratitude creates a joyful spirit! I wish to find the good in life and to be satisfied with the many blessings God has bestowed upon me. This starts with actually recognizing and praising Him for all He has done in my life. God is so good! I simply must stop my busyness to take it all in. The second valuable opportunity I'm missing out on by assuming thankfulness is the impact I could be having on the lives of others. I wish to live beyond myself; to do more than to live according to my own agenda. One way to start is to simply express thankfulness for positive character qualities or acts of service displayed in others. I truly believe we would see a positive return for displays of kindness. I know from my own work experiences that a customer or patient that relayed to me genuine appreciation or a complement made my day. Share this along! We can each make a difference. Perhaps a little something to think on the next time we're stuck in a long check out lane. I certainly will!   

      For this year, I determined to create a "30 Days of Celebrating the Season with Thankfulness" activity. Some days it will be an area to recognize and express thankfulness. Other days, it will be an activity to grow gratitude in the heart. Updates will be posted through blog posts, Facebook page, or within the new photo calendar feature (second tab at top of screen).

         My challenge to you is this: take a moment to slow down and make this holiday purposeful!  So, if you're ready feel free to snag the image at the top or link back and join in creating an different kind of Thanksgiving- a radically thankful season!

Day 1: Photo found in the RevivingHomemaking Photo Calendar. I'm so thankful to have been given a venue through Etsy to express my creativity!


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