Friday, December 14, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

What's Happening...

You can read all about what's been going on over at my NEW BLOG!

Please come visit me and let me know if you stop by. :)

Bloggy Book Tour - the 12 Days of Christmas, Day 1

God's Gift of Honesty
by Mark Littleton

As a new Christian, I wasn’t really prepared for the stark truth about my previous life. Rummaging in my closet, I came across several shirts I had shop-lifted a couple of years before. I immediately remembered several items from the same heist.

Standing there trembling, I was unsure about what to do. I prayed, “God, what should I do about this?” It seemed the inner voice spoke immediately: “You need to return them to the store.”

I didn’t need to reflect much on it. I knew that was the right thing to do.

I packed up the items, drove to the nearby Bamberger’s store at the Cherry Hill Mall and found security. I explained what I’d done and offered to pay for the items. The guard smiled. “Every now and then we get one of these,” he said. “I’ll find out the prices and you can pay.”

A few days later, I got the call. Over sixty-five dollars in charges. In 1972 dollars, that was a lot of money. I sucked it up, though, wrote out a check and dropped it by. The guard thanked me for my integrity, saying, “I wish there were more like you out there. But shop-lifting costs us big-time. Just the same, I respect what you did.”

I went away feeling like I’d pleased God. There were other things I would return in the coming days, and it was always difficult. And costly. But the peace of mind and heart I received were all worth it. To say nothing of the witness to unbelievers, one of whom invited me to come visit him his family in Switzerland after I sent him back the stamps I’d stolen while babysitting his children years before.

Mark Littleton is the author of The Ten-Second Prayer Principle: Powerful Prayer As You Go (Howard Books, 2007) and many other books. For more information visit or

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday - Last Minute Meals Edition

Today's themed WFMW is all about what to fix when you've run out of time and there are small children pulling on your pant legs, with tears running down their little cheeks, crying "eat! eat!"
Not that this has ever happened here, of course. : )
Here are some of my favorites and you can be sure I will be surfing for new recipes later on to add to my collection. Thanks, Shannon!
Mexican Tortilla Soup
1 lb. ground beef
2 jars (16 oz) salsa
2 cans (14 1/2 oz) beef broth (or the equivalent of water and a couple bouillion cubes)
1 can whole kernel corn, undrained
tortilla chips, crushed
mexican style shredded cheese
Brown meat in a large saucepan; drain. Add salsa, broth and corn; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve topped with crushed chips and cheese.
Ceasar Chicken Pasta Salad
from the Aldi Queen
1 lb. chicken (or 3 small breasts) (or a couple cans of chicken off the shelf) : )
1/2 lb. penne pasta (or whatever you have)
1 romaine heart, chopped
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1/3 c. caesar dressing
Sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
Bake chicken (if necessary) on a cookie sheet. While the chicken is baking, chop the romaine heart and 1/2 the tomatoes. Cook pasta until al dente, as directed on package. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water. Dice the cooked chicken (if necessary) and put into a bowl. Toss in the pasta, tomatoes, lettuce and the dressing. Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Mexicali Chicken Burritos
from Busy People's Low Fat Cookbook
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all visible fat removed
1 15 oz. can beef chili
1 3 oz. package fat-free cream cheese
1/4 cup chunky mild salsa
4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
8 fat free flour tortillas
In a large non-stick skillet cook the chicken over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn the chicken over, and cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove the chicken and cut it into 1/4 inch wide strips. Then cut the strips into 1/2 inch lengths. Return chicken to the skillet. Add the chili, cream cheese, and salsa and place over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the cream cheese is completely dissolved. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Cover and cook on medium-low for 2-3 minutes. Warm the tortillas by microwaving for 30 seconds. Divide the chicken mixture among the tortillas and roll up.
And last but not least, a recipe that EVERY TIME I make it, my husband asks why I don't make it more often. Hearty, and soooo good.
Cowboy Chow
from Busy Cook's Lowfat Cookbook
1 package low-fat smoked sausage (like a pre-cooked keilbasa), cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup thick and chunky salsa
1 cup original western barbecue sauce
1 (10 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 can pork and beans, drained, all visible chunks of fat removed
1/2 cup chopped onion or frozen chopped onions
Spray a large saucepan with nonfat cooking spray. In the bowl combine the sausage, salsa, barbecue sauce, corn, kidney beans, pork and beans and onion until well mixed. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
For more last-minute meal ideas, head over to Shannon's for WFMW.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Actually wrote the wrong date on the layout so I need to go back and fix that. :)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - 1 December 2007

Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I declare my intention to Journal my Christmas. Writing something down every day. Creating a little bit whenever possible. Getting my stories documented for myself and maybe for others to read too.

I hope by taking a little time each day to reflect, to write, to create, I will keep my Christmas alive and well, despite the commercial pressure that exists outside my door. Family, friends and hot beverages will help.

I may meet others taking this same journey. I may share my work from time to time. I may remember just why I loved Christmas in the first place, and that may be a very magical moment indeed.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Advent Calendar

A couple of you asked to see my advent calendar so, with some hesitation on my part, here it is. : ) I will admit, it did not turn out as cute as I wanted, but, as I told Stephanie, it was free and easy and those can be important perks at times to a mama of three.


I had actually seen a cute idea for an advent chain-thing hung across a mantle, but we really don't have a mantel per se. I thought it would be a cute idea to have socks hung for each member of the family ... and our girls don't have enough socks for me to use just theirs. (Yes, we could use some socks in our stockings this year!) : )

The end result is that I have 24 socks up there, one for each day from December 1 - 24. Because I don't trust the 4 year old - I sense that she has inquisitive fingers like someone else in this family *looks around innocently* - I'll put the day's event / scripture reading / idea, etc. in one and a time. For those that were looking for some other homespun advent calendar ideas, these are two others that I found that I contemplated doing:
  • Advent Wreath from By Sun and Candlelight - I love, love, love the simplicity of this one. I may try this one next year.
  • Advent Boxes by Ali Edwards - I really wanted to do this, but couldn't justify the cost of the boxes and supplies I would need (and the time to paint and make) this year.

I made a page in my planner/journal several weeks ago and have been making lists and lists of things that we are going to try and do this December ... if we don't do all of these, that's okay. But I have a game-plan of sorts and I do so much better with one rather than waking up and coming up with an idea right then. That just doesn't work for me. : ) And, of course, as others share of their advent ideas I'm thinking of things to borrow and maybe add for next year! Some of our activities are going to be:

  • going to our local, small town, Christmas parade
  • making a button tree
  • watching A Charlie Brown Christmas and eating popcorn
  • make applesauce ornaments
  • bake and decorate cookies
  • have a picnic dinner inside in front of the tree
  • a trip to the zoo (weather dependant)
  • candy cane ornaments
  • make pretzel hugs
  • drive around and look at Christmas lights
  • watch The Polar Express and make popcorn
  • tea party
  • go to the mall and see Santa (probably won't do pictures as I don't think my girls are brave enough, but we may go check him out) : )
  • participate in the Christmas program at church

Off to start our day ... we have a trip to Walmart in the future. (Completely out of detergent and since the laundry never stops around here, it's is a necessary trip!) : )

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Tree

The Tree
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

~ We're home from travels.
~ We put up the Christmas tree last night.
~ Today's project is creating our advent calendar to hang on the wall.
~ Hope all had a good Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

TTFN ~ Ta Ta For Now

Signing off on what is going to be a busy week ... we're are spending time with family we don't see very often this year and the laptop will be turned off for several days as of Wednesday.

I'm also contemplated a little bloggy break in December ... I'm tired and cranky and ... just tired. I'm dragging in lots of areas and have been stepping back in several different directions to try and regroup and simplify.

I'm going to be participating in Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class again this year (my last year's album is here) and want to focus some extra attention on journalling through that in my spare time. Contemplating a photo-a-day type approach that may or may not make it to ye old blog every day, but we'll see. : )

Anyway, have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone! May you and your family experience joy and blessing as you celebrate what God has done for you!

30 Minute Thursday - 11.15

This week's challenge was to use a pre-printed embellishmet (something with a word or phrase). This is going to be the left side of a two page layout documenting Elizabeth's third month. I had these pictures sitting on my desk and rather than leaving them there to get torn-up by the other two girls, I went ahead and scrapped them, leaving space in my album on the right for the other page (once those pictures are printed).

I liked how this turned out, and even used computer journalling which is not my norm.

I Love You More Book Winners!

Congratulations to Stephanie, Nancy & Tami (email @! If you didn't win, I highly recommend this book ... I've already got it in my shopping cart to buy for my nephew for Christmas.

Stephanie and Tami, if you will email me your address (stephanieshepherdATgmailDOTcom), I'll get these ready to head out to you. (Nancy, I've got yours.) : )

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Felicities - 11.16

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Things that make you happy. From the mind of Nattie Rose.

  • Sonic Route 44 Diet Cokes
  • bouncy babies
  • cold sunny days
  • a stack of Christmas cards on my desk waiting to be addressed
  • planning and dreaming
  • clearing out clutter (I can see the bottom of my closet!) : )

Link up with Friday Felicities over at Becky's!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Note to self: remember where you set down the plastic spider.

Gobble Gobble (some good stuff)

Today's the day! Karla is hosting her Gobble Gobble event and is on the lookout for some new Thanksgiving recipes to share with her family. I'll be honest ... I've never hosted Thanksgiving at my home. We are always travelling to spend time with one side of the family or another and have missed out on hosting the event or even participating in the cooking. So, what I'm sharing here are just a few items that would most definitely make my menu if I was having a home-cooked Thanksgiving celebration. : )

Apricot Salad
Every table needs a jello salad, right? And this is NOT your normal jello salad. The apricot juice gives it a totally unexpected flavor and is wonderful.

1 pkg orange jello (3 oz)
1 pkg cream cheese (3 oz)
1 small can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 c. apricot nectar
Bring 1 c. apricot nectar to a boil, add jello, then add 2nd cup of nectar. Shred/crumble cream cheese and add along with pineapple and nuts. Chill.

We always double this recipe because it disappears. Also, where it says "shred/crumble cream cheese" ... the best way we've found to do this (after much trial and error) is to freeze your cream cheese a little bit and then grate it like you would a bar of cheese.

Puny's Squash Casserole
This is from the Mitford Cookbook and is so so so so so so yummy. In fact, I've been known to cut the recipe in 1/2 and make a smaller 8x8 pan and because my husband doesn't care for squash, I can savor all myself over several days.

3 T. unsalted butter, more for greasing the baking dish
8 medium yellow squash, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large eggs, beaten
2 T. minced fresh parsley
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 c. crushed potato chips, ritz crackers, bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly butter a 9x13 inch baking dish and set aside. Place the squash and onions in a large pot with a smal amount of water over medium heat. Bring to a summer and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes, then drain into a colander. Place in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. Add the butter and stire until melted. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, parsley, cheese, salt, and pepper and add to the vegetable mixutre. Pour into the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Top with the crushed potato chips and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the potato chips are browned.

Yeast Rolls
I wish I had the blog address to give credit, but I think it's moved. This recipe was originally from Melissa and she blogged at a very sweet Victorian style blog ... drawing a total blank here. : )
Edited to add: FOUND HER!
2 cups warm water
2 packets yeast (or 4 teaspoons)
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. salt
1/4 c. melted shortening (I sometimes use olive oil)
1 egg, beaten
6 to 6-1/2 cups flour (we use just plain old white)

Dissolve yeast in water and mix in rest of ingredients. Since I knead in a mixer, the time is short for preparation. After kneading briefly together, turn out in a greased bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise for about an hour. Then form into rolls and put on greased baking/cookie sheet. Allow another 1/2 hour or so for a second rise. Then bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. This recipe (which I show doubled here, halves well) makes about 20-24 rolls.

Thanks Karla, for hosting this! I'll be by later today when I have some free time to check out everyone else's menus!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Check out this giveaway...

Lindsay at Enjoy the Journey is giving away a neat (new) Christmas e-book written by Marybeth Whalen called Recipe for Christmas Joy! I'm always on the lookout for neat ideas for my girls, especially since this is the first year that Noelle is probably going to really remember Christmas. I'm eager to check this new resource out. : )

Noelle & Elizabeth

Noelle & Elizabeth
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Love love love this picture of them from this morning. These two are in love with each other - Elizabeth just lights up when Noelle pays attention to her.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Love You More with Book Giveaway!

{ A Review }

If you are like me, reviews of this book are popping up all over your blogroll! I Love You More is a touching story written from the viewpoint of both a mother and son in a unique "never-ending" style book. In the picture above, you see the "front" of the book ... all about how much more the mom loves her little son. When you get the middle of the book, you have to turn the book over to start from the other side - then you hear how much the son loves his mom!

When it arrived in the mail, my girls and I read it through twice before putting it down. They loved it, and I really enjoyed the chalk-like drawings. They added such a touch of sweetness to the story. This really is such a wonderful story. I'm going to be adding this book to several baby gifts I need to buy in the coming weeks, it's that good.

{ The Giveaway }

Now, the publisher has been kind enough to offer THREE copies for me to give away! So, here's what you need to do to be entered to win:

1. Comment on this post. : )
2. Make sure you leave me an email address or blog that I can contact you through. No email, no win.
3. Please share what you would say you love someone "more than." For example,

I love you more than the highest bird ever flew.
I love you taller than the tallest tree ever grew.
I love you higher than the highest swing ever swung.
I love you sweeter than the sweetest song ever sung.

No worries ... you don't have to rhyme. : ) But, how would you tell a little one how much you love him or her? Just a fun twist, if that's okay with you all.

I'll close comments on this post on Sunday and draw my three winners that evening ... good luck and feel free to pass it along!

{ Links for More Information }


Bloggy Coolness

Gobble Gobble some good stuff

Karla is hosting the Gobble-Gobble Festival this Friday! Her question: I'm interested in what y'all are making for your Thanksgiving meal. We all know the tried-and-true recipes... But what do you do differently to make the holiday meal extra special?

Looking forward to that one and finding a few new seasonal favorites. : )

Another fun carnival over at Pure Joy that I will be checking out for good ideas! This one takes place on November 26th.

Good Monday Morning

  • We got my one of my best friends married on Saturday! (Lexie, I have a picture for you!)
  • We owe my Mom the largest Sonic gift card EVER for how much she watched my girls this weekend! She ended up babysitting for us almost all of the wedding events. After this post, I ended up taking Natalie into the Dr. and found out that she had a virus and was very contagious. Thankfully, no one else caught it, but we had to scrap all of our shared babysitting for the weekend so we didn't spread the germs love.
  • I lost 7 lbs. last week, in spite of the bridesmaids' luncheon and AMAZING reception.
  • And, oh. my. word., the place where we had the reception has this secret recipe for Almond Fruit Tea that makes you go CRAZY it is so delicious! (WaH Sheps, we are SO going there in January if possible!)
  • I have a super-neat book review / giveaway to post later today.
  • As well as menu planning for the week and trying to reclaim a little of our life here now that I think we are past the sickies and big events.
  • Life. Is. Good.

Friday, November 09, 2007

30 Minute Layout

I've been wanting to scrap this little picture of me and was prompted by this idea of Lain's. A little compare and contrast of me and Natalie. Pictures are both at 21 months, give or take a few weeks. : )

Monday, November 05, 2007

Up to My Eyeballs

Life is busy right now. I'm playing catch up from two weeks with sick girls and my errand list this week is a mile long. Add to that nights without sleep with baby feedings, holding little ones that need to sit up to sleep so they don't cough, and a Mama who's mind will not stop thinking of all that there is to do. Top that off with a wedding this weekend that I am sooooo excited about because it's one of my best friends, sprinkled with a dash of fear because I'm not at all ready for the two songs I'm sharing in her ceremony.

All that to say, it might be quiet around here this week. : )

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Fall Y'all Giveaway Winner

An the winner is ... comment #61!


Thank you to everyone for entering!

Bloggy Book Tour - Hollywood Nobody

The hypocrisy of Hollywood never seems to affect the contradictory allure of Hollywood. Millions of Americans are addicted to the Hollywood gossip columns, blogs and tabloids that feed us a steady diet of rumors and half-truths. Noted young adult fiction author Lisa Samson tackles the shallow fluff of Hollywood and digs deeper to find out what’s true and what’s not amidst the glamour and glitz in Hollywood Nobody.

About the Story
Fifteen-year-old Scotty Fitzgerald has spent her young life on the road, traveling to movie sets with her single mom, Charley, a food designer. It’s hard enough to live on the road with Charley, the hippie mother who’s more of a kid than you are and seems to constantly be on the run. But Scotty, lonely and longing for her father, gathers together a different sort of family made up of crazy directors, and geriatric RVers.

On the set of a Great Gatsby remake in North Carolina’s Toledo Island, Scotty befriends rising star Seth Haas (aka “Seth Hottie") and failed fashion designer Joy Overstreet. She tries to avoid prima donna Karissa Bonano, who seems to represent all the hypocrisies Scotty rants about in her anonymous “Hollywood Nobody” blog. She begins to kick against Charley’s protective restraints and weigh what it might cost her to create the life she wants for herself and to gain the answers to her most important questions. But the answers turn out to be darker than she could have imagined ad threaten to sink her trust in the people dearest to her.

Who is Scottie’s father? Why is her mom so secretive? And who is this mysterious man that keeps following them? How can life possibly be so lonely in the company of so many people?

Lisa Samson is the author of twenty books, including the Christy Award–winning Songbird. She speaks at various writers’ conferences throughout the year. Lisa and her husband, Will, reside in Kentucky with their three children.

Q&A with Lisa Samson, author of Hollywood Nobody

Q. What inspired you to write Hollywood Nobody?
A. NavPress approached me at a publishing conference about writing YA fiction. They felt my writing voice would transition naturally into YA. Well, that day, I was sitting in my car in Opryland's parking lot, and the idea just gushed out. Nav loved it, and here we all are, me, Nav, Scotty Dawn and her fabulous readers.

Q. What message would you like readers to take away after reading Hollywood Nobody?
A. Be yourself and don't think the grass is always greener "over there." Chances are, somebody's looking at your yard thinking you've got it made.

Q. What does faith mean to you?
A. Faith means trusting God even when you have no idea what's going on around you, or what lies ahead. Faith means that somehow, somewhere, the bad stuff will be turned into good, even if that seems impossible.

Q. Can you describe what a "normal" family means to you? Did you grow up in a "normal" family?
A. Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as a "normal" family. We're all odd in our own way. Sure, some families look normal from the outside, but we're all weird in our "own special way." Of course, some families' abnormalities are dark and painful, and I just hope and pray that Hollywood Nobody will provide young women in those situations with a little bit of escape and encouragement.

Q. How did that help you?
A. I was always encouraged in the arts. My Dad played boogie-woogie for pocket money in college, and painted when he came home from his practice at night. My Mom worked at our church, was involved in other causes, so I became aware of my social responsibilities through her.

Q. In Hollywood Nobody, Scottie really struggles to find authentic relationships due to her nomadic lifestyle and the pervasive Hollywood influence in her life. What do you think Scotty would say to Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan if she had the chance?
A. She'd say, "Are you kidding me?!" :-)

Q. What book is coming up next? Will Scottie find out who is chasing her?
A. The next book is called Finding Hollywood Nobody and yes, she will figure out who Biker Guy really is!

Q. What book(s) are you reading now?
A. Right now I'm reading, Growing Up Hard in Harlan County and Jesus of Nazareth.

Q. If your book were turned into a movie, who would play the main character(s)?
A. Amanda Bynes with a dark, curly wig. Adam Brody would nail Seth Haas. Charley could totally be played by Kelly Preston.

Q. Which one of your characters is most like you? Why?
A. Well, Scotty thinks a lot like I do. But I don't think any of the characters in this book resemble me. I am 43 dontchaknow. :-) Scotty, however, is an awful lot like my 17-year-old daughter Ty. I really felt like she was whispering in my ear as I wrote the book.

Q. What do you want your readers to know about you?
A. I guess I hope they know I remember how awful being a teenager could be! I'm not the person who says, "This is the greatest time of your life. Just be happy." I wouldn't go back to High School if anybody paid me to do it. It's a hard gig.

Q. There are many references woven throughout Hollywood Nobody to F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Is this a favorite book for you? Why did you choose it as a backdrop for Scotty?
A. Yes, The Great Gatsby is a favorite of mine. I chose it because I was re-reading it when I started writing the book. There are a lot of parallels between the two storylines. Unrequited love, the outsider looking in, wanting what we can't have. Beyond that, I wanted Scotty to be the literary type and to encourage the readers of Hollywood Nobody to venture out into something more classic than my book!

Q. Are you a vegetarian like Scotty or her mother?
A. I've tried it a time or two. And I wish I could stick with it. But usually it's fried chicken that knocks me off course every time. (I love fried chicken!)

Q. Scottie struggles with defining faith and how it fits into her life. Can you describe your experience coming to faith?
A. I've been in church all of my life! When I was three I remember asking Him into my heart. But faith isn't just a nice little formula, it's embracing Christ and God's faithfulness, day after day after day. Honestly, each day I hope I come to Christ a little more, hoping to draw closer to Him, to be more like Him, to love Him more.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Goodness Gracious!

So ... last week I left a comment on Margaret's blog. She's a Simple Scrapbook gal who's work I love and she was giving away a few Halloween scrapbook goodies from her stash. Guess what arrived in the mail today?! My. Goodness. She was MORE than generous with her goodies, and she also sent me an email saying she was slipping in a few "girlie" things since she noticed I had one or two (or three) of them hanging around my house!

This is the pile of Halloween/Fall/beautifully orange scrapbooking goodies:


And here is the "girl" pile!


Thank you! Thank you! I will thoroughly enjoy these treats (and I especially love that they are calorie-free). : ) Ooooh, what to play with first...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Links Ahoy!

I've had a post simmering for a couple days now, but no time to sit and process. So, in the meantime, some links worth checking out. : )

{ Links }

~ Candy Corn Pots - of course, I'm a few days late for this idea, but it could be easily adapted for Christmas or any other holiday. She has pictures with instructions, but I was pleased with my finished product, although I have learned I cannot paint in a straight line to save my life!


~ This post on peace over at Holy Experience. Worth a read. And a re-read. She speaks my heart in this one.

~ A peek all around Ali Edwards' scrapbooking space. Total eye-candy for me. Or proves I am a major scrapbooking life artist. Whatever. It makes me happy!

~ Coupon alert! Over at Money Saving Mom, check out this post on getting free pretzels at Target. She sends you to the coupons you need to print and it works. I went today armed with coupons and now have my all pretzels for making Christmas goodies, all for just the cost of sales tax. Now to just keep them sealed in the bag!

{ Photos }

~ We dedicated Elizabeth on Sunday at church ... I've been home for literally the past two weeks with sick kids and this was pretty much our one outing (other than today's free pretzel trip to Target!) It was odd to stay home other than popping in for the dedication, and then running back home with the two kids that weren't well enough for the nursery. However, it was a sweet time for us as a family. That's my Dad there doing the dedication.

Elizabeth's Dedication 10/28/07 Elizabeth's Dedication 10/28/07

~ Our recent attempt at an extended family photo. Let's just say it was BUSY with littles aged 4, 3, 20 months, and 6 months. My Dad technically "took" the picture since it was his equipment and he set up the shot, but his photo-friend that actually pushed the button got her aerobic workout jumping up and down trying to get all the kids' attention.

Our Family

{ Time Out Thursday }

And lastly, in the spirit of Time Out Thursday (click the link ... or head over to Becky's ... to find out more about this neat idea), I'm off to put my girls to bed, pour myself a iced down Diet Coke, and curl up on my chair with a new book. Travis is at music at church, and assuming everyone stays in bed, I will have an hour or so ALL ALONE. Priceless, I tell you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Another Giveaway

Kim over at In A Shoe (note their new home!) is having a huge Vision Forum giveaway. There are several items that have peaked my interested in their new catalog:
  • My 1st Horse Stable & 4 additional horses (my girls would LOVE this!)
  • Teach Them to Your Children (ABC Bible Verses)
  • Story of Our National Anthem (the history major in me wants this)
  • Backyard Ballistics (for my husband, of course!)
  • Elsie Dinsmore books (I really want to check these out for my neice who's almost 10)

To join up in this huge giveaway, head over to Kim's for the details!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 10.29

Monday: taco salad
Tuesday: honey chicken in the crockpot (thanks to Kristen of Once Upon a Time)
Wednesday: quesadilla/sandwiches (something easy)
Thursday: breakfast (eggs and toast, fruit)
Friday: pizza, carrot sticks
Saturday: potpie
Sunday: potato soup

I'm noticing a few routines that are popping into my menu planning and it's making thing so much easier. I'm not getting to try as many new recipes, but it's definitely helping with the busy-ness of life and the budget for this season. Trends I'm seeing:
  • Friday has always been pizza night - that's easy on my tired end-o-the-week brain!
  • Thurday has now become breakfast night - lately I've been doing different egg varieties (western omelets on the weeks that I have bell peppers or other veggies that need eating; scrambled or egg sandwiches other weeks) but I need to throw in a pancake night soon for my girls. : )
  • I use my crockpot every Tuesday ... we (barring sick children or other appointments) eat lunch with my Mom and sister on Tuesdays. After lunch out with the three girls, all of whom need a resttime when I get back home, I am not in the mood to start dinner. What a treat to have it almost done in the CP with only a side or two needing to be made!

Anyway, just a few random observations I caught when typing up this week's menu. : ) Head over to the NEW Org Junkie to see more Menu Planning inspiration!

Fall Y'all ~ The Bloggy Giveaway is Happening!

Welcome and happy Monday!

If you are new to my blog (here via the Bloggy Giveaway hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer), welcome. : ) I'm Stephanie, stay-at-home-mama of three girls, child of King ... oh, and I like to make things! : ) In what little spare time I have, I enjoy creating invitations, notepads, notecards, and scrapbook. I love me some paper and pens.

So, without further ado, the goodies. : )

Up for grabs is a personalized notepad for you and your family. You can see a sample here:

Sample Family1 Sample Family2

It is 8.5 x 5.5 and can be lined or unlined (50 sheets per pad). I'll personalize it with your family name at the top ... the bottom will have your husband, you, and then children. (If you are single and win this post, we'll talk and can fix you up as well). : ) I love making these for friends ... they work well for thank you notes or notes to your child's teacher at school. You can see some more samples of these (and other projects I've done) at my Punkin' Press website if you are interested.

So, let the giveaway begin! (See Shannon's post here for all the official rules and what not and PLEASE leave me a valid email address so I can contact the winner. Duplicate comments and those without emails will not be entered into the drawing).

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, October 26, 2007

Recent Creativity

I've done a few projects lately ... actually found the top of my desk so I could scrap a bit and am now itching to do more. : )

{ Painted Frames }

Christmas Project

Noelle is making these for the Sunday School teachers this year for Christmas. A plain wooden frame from Joann's/Michael's, covered with paint (nothing fancy, just the stuff in the 50 cent bottle), and a ribbon. I'm not too happy with my first attempt here at my ribbon, but it's a start. : ) Note: We won't be giving the frame with a copy of our 2004 Christmas picture in it ... I just put that in there for show. Look how little Noelle looks!

A Noelle Creation

This one was her own creation other than the base idea which came from this site.

{ A Real Scrapbook Layout }

Actual Scrapping

Actual Scrapping

All I can say is if you are a scrapper and you do not have a copy of THIS BOOK, you need to buy it or make sure it is on your Christmas list this year! (Note: I love Creating Keepsakes magazine and you can buy this from their website, you can get it about $10 cheaper from Becky (Higgins) herself has done all the pages in this book and the layouts are arranged by the number of pictures that you want to highlight. Love that. This layout was inspired by one that she did in the book summarizing several activities on a 2-page spread. While I had some great pictures (and memories) from several showers I went to and hosted this summer, there weren't enough to justify their own page. I combined them all on this layout and loved the result.

{ Mini Album }

Girlfriends' MiniBook

Another inspired project ... last month I went away for a girls' weekend in Gatlinburg and took these little mini albums along. I was a little fearful that the other girls would think I was a total nerd for making them do this project, but thankfully they all loved it. These mini books were based from a project in Stacy Julian's The Big Picture book.

Girlfriends' MiniBook - Cover

I made them out of two strips of white cardstock (12 inches x 4 inches), glued together and folded in an accordion style. The "front side" was used to write little encouraging notes to one another:

Girlfriends' MiniBook - the front side

And the back was used for photos of everyone:

Girlfriends' MiniBook - the back

I had one empty square left on the front side (because one of our girls couldn't come on the trip) and I used that for a cropped picture of our group shot. This is a neat little memento, not just of the trip, but of the friendships I have with my Girls' Night Out group. We've been getting together every other month for about 12 years now ... we started right after the first in our group got married and before anyone had kids. My, things have changed. : )

Okay, my apologies for the heavy picture post! Have a wonderful Saturday and hopefully you are enjoying cooler fall weather like we are. We are going to attempt a family picture today for our Christmas cards and an extended family portrait with my side of the family!

Friday Felicities - 10.26

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Things that make you happy. From the mind of Nattie Rose.

~ home-all-day days
~ homemade refried beans
~ dinner plans for tomorrow night - my every-other-month girls' night out dinner but with spouses!
~ footie pajamas
~ peppermint candles

For more Felicities, visit our host Becky!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Back and Forth

but I've finally decided.

I'll be participating on Monday.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Check back on Monday to see what's up for grabs!

Thanks, Shannon, for hosting! : )

The Vase of Many Colors - A Blog Book Tour

I am super excited about this book! I've been a huge Thoene fan because of their indepth novels throughout different historical periods (my favorites are the Zion Covenant Series and the Zion Chronicles Series). Their daughter has written her first book, geared at 9-12 year olds, but written for all. I'm looking forward to passing this along to my neice to check out when I'm done with it. : )

In the very small house, on the very grand hill, in the very small town author Rachel Thoene – daughter of veteran bestsellers Bodie and Brock Thoene - masterfully explores the captivating notions of forgiveness and grace in The Vase of Many Colors. This beautifully written and colorfully illustrated family tale peeks into the world of the very bouncy girl and her old, crooked grandmother. A world where rainbows appear on the walls and simple flower-gathering is a nightly ritual.

And where broken things are mended with the gentle breath of love to become a masterpiece for all generations to enjoy.In a world where broken things are tossed aside with ease, Rachel Thoene’s story is a captivating reminder of the power of forgiveness and grace to mend life’s cracks and create a Vase of Many Colors in you.

About Rachel Thoene
Rachel knows what it’s like to pick up broken pieces. As a site administrator at two alternative schools for at-risk students in an urban school district in Sacramento, California, she helps students put the pieces of their broken lives back together and discover success where there was only self doubt. As a mother, she finds new beauty in the hearts of her two children, Ian and Jessie. “Every person we come into contact with has the potential to be a beautiful and valuable work of art,” Rachel says. The inspiration for the story began as an email to a friend who was struggling with how to relate to her teenage son. When the story further developed, Rachel realized that the underlying message appealed to the experiences of adults and children alike.

1) One of the major themes of Vase of Many Colors is restoration. Can you tell us a little bit about what restoration means to you and how restoration is different than just forgiveness.
Restoration suggests that things are being repaired and made new again. When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do with my mom and my Nana (Mom’s Mom) was to go visit antique stores. While they frequently searched for the exquisite and the rare and the beautiful, I always felt that some of our greatest treasures were the old chairs … the ones with the woven cane seats. They were old, dusty, tired and broken down, but when we would come across chairs like that, if they suited our needs, Mom would get them to an antique restorer who would tirelessly restore or repair the caning in the seat of these old chairs… it always amazed me how the new canes could make that old tired chair new enough and strong enough to hold our weight.. even though the rest of the structure was 100 – 150 years old… but the structural integrity of that chair was restored to a point where it could support a grown man’s weight. Same goes for stained glass windows… bits and pieces of colored glass would be cut to size to repair some of the stained glass windows we bought from those same antique dealers… it became an act of everything old becomes new again… plain old forgiveness can be too easy… simply brushing off a wrong, without really acknowledging that it caused broken-ness. But restoration is work…an art and takes delicate craftsmanship… if you restore someone or something, you are investing time and energy into righting the wrong.

2) Sometimes forgiving yourself can be the hardest part of all. How can you learn to forgive yourself when everyone else has already?
Humans have a tendency to continue the mental flogging don’t they? I have a terribly guilty conscience… and will lay awake at night mulling over and re-hashing scenarios until I have horrible headaches and my stomach and shoulders are in knots. And why? What does that accomplish? Sometimes I have to go back to folks I’ve wronged a couple of times and explain, “Hey, I’m still feeling this way about what I said or what I did… and I just want you to know that I’m having trouble forgiving myself.” My current boss and I have that kind of relationship and we just talk until we’re all talked out. He calls it “un-stuffing” and it has really helped me come to forgiveness of myself a lot quicker. Maybe the idea is to be thorough in your discussion of forgiveness and not so quick to dismiss the wrong. Folks don’t enjoy reliving painful experiences, but sometimes you have to cut away the infection to get to healthy tissue again. Then you’re truly clean and ready to start fresh.

3) Your parents are legends in Christian fiction. How has your upbringing affected your writing style?
WHOA! Yup. They sure are legends alright! And the funny thing is that I never saw myself as a writer… I expressed myself privately in poems and prose and could write really long letters and emails to friends… and when it came to technical writing and research I could really shine. But I sure never saw myself as a writer of their caliber. And certainly not of that level of self discipline. I grew up appreciating the art form and yet never wanting anything to do with it. It was TOO MUCH WORK! So I’m not sure I even have a style per se… I enjoy words… LOVE a good dictionary and my goal is to someday own an O.E.D. but when I write these days, it is to communicate a point or illustrate a message without putting people on the defensive. That’s a huge part of my job as a school administrator… communicate effectively without causing emotional trauma.

4) What was your inspiration for Vase of Many Colors?
Whew boy. My inspiration was my friend, Val and her relationship and the trials she was having as a mother with one of her sons at the time. But the story really became one of those divinely inspired sorts of messages… it just sort of fell out of me in an email to her… a sort of allegory or parable if you will, about how as mothers, even when our kids make dumb mistakes and bad choices, we can still pick up the pieces and help them put themselves back together again. Of course as I sat back and spent some time with the story, quite a few different messages sort of jumped out at me. And that continues to happen as I review it in relation to different audiences and different life scenarios.

5) Who is the target audience for Vase of Many Colors? Adults or Children?
Oh! Why limit it to just those two groups? I think the target audience is whomever has relationships with other human beings… some of my teachers have used it in their classes with their high school aged students and also with their own grandchildren. I have shared the story with school children and adults in difficult situations. It doesn’t really matter who you are or how old, if you deal with other human beings, you need to read this story. My boss has used it with staff members. I have shared it with some of my students who are teen age mothers and grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren…. The target audience is humans.

6) How can adults and children both benefit from reading Vase of Many Colors?
I think the story speaks to the fact that ALL of us have made, currently make and will continue to make mistakes. We will experience heartaches but WOW! The good news is that we can be forgiven, we can be healed, and we can be whole again. And it even applies to really deep hurts, like death of a loved one or a serious illness, loss of a job or other traumatic spiritual and emotional experiences… we’ll be all busted up to pieces but you know what? God can put us back together again. And when He does, we find ourselves staring into the old dark, musty closets of our past and wondering how in all heaven and earth He is going to take all that garbage and make anything good of it…. But He always does. And we never look the same but we’re new and improved… we might have a couple of emotional limps or scars left over but you ask any cancer patient who has beaten the disease and they will tell you that the scars serve as reminders of the battle and their courage to win and also as their reminder of their humanity. Those reminders cause us to be compassionate toward others who are experiencing the same or similar issues.

7) What book has most influenced you personally?
Oh boy. Am I being graded on this? Next question… do I have to have only one? I don’t think I can narrow it but if I had to I would say that the most currently influential book I have read is called “The Penny: A Novel” by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford. Do you want me to do a full book report? It’s just one of those books that soothes your heart and your brain… like Chapstick after a really bad cold.

8) What book are you reading now?
I’m reading about six books right now but the most powerful book I’m reading right now is called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. It’s a business leadership type book but has direct application in what I’m doing right now as a school site leader.

9) What do you want readers to know most about you?
Hmmmm…. I think I’d rather have them understand the importance of what I do as an educator for underprivileged and at-risk children. And then put my job into perspective with what folks do at home with their own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. We all share a responsibility to help shape and mold the young people’s lives and a good, solidly structured home, consistent behavioral boundaries and expectations for our children really do make a difference when they start the journey into young adulthood. But don’t be over-protective of your kids either. Let them make their mistakes in a safe environment, because the world at large can be a REALLY unforgiving place and sometimes, if we make mistakes out there, they can prove to be fatal… I want readers to HELP ME help my students…. And my teachers… help us continue to make a difference in the lives of our students and the communities we work in.

10) In a society where many things are considered “disposable”, how does restoration figure into the mix?
MAN! So I work in the Educational Options Division of a school district in urban Sacramento California and we have, in our division, for many years said, “We are known as throw away students, throw away teachers and throw away administrators.” Meaning all of us, from the students through the administrators have at some point been considered throw aways… less than… not good enough for “regular education.” All of us, in one way or another, in our previous schools and/or jobs, didn’t fit the mold of what good students, teachers and administrators were supposed to look like so we were dismissed and “sent” to continuation schools where we would either be re-habilitated or just wait out the life of our professional careers. Well we have started a trend in our district, courtesy of Dr. Larry Buchanan, ret’d and Dr. Patricia Newsome, Acting Superintendent, of really building up the Educational Options Schools. So we are shifting attitudes and acknowledging our mistakes but moving ourselves toward a better, healthier future. It’s really a shift in attitudes that will change society… consider the “Green Movement” currently afoot in America… we change out our old incandescent light bulbs in favor of energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. We recycle everything from aluminum to plastic to motor oil. We see people trading SUV’s for hybrid vehicles and taking their own bags to the grocery store. We compost our garden and yard scraps. And yet I have two schools and am associated with two more which house over 1400 students who are considered to be “throw aways.” I have a CalSafe program on my campus which is a daycare center for teen parents… I have 18 babies and toddlers enrolled in that program right now and more on the way. Down the street from my campus, I know a woman who lives under a bridge because the older man she was taking care of passed away so the family fired her and she started drinking and can’t seem to hold a job. I have students enrolled in my school who have no place to call home but the back of an abandoned car or a filthy motel room, and I have a significant portion of my students who are enslaved to the Foster care system….

I could fill a semi-truck with the number of toothbrushes, pairs of socks and coats we’ve handed out over the years I’ve been here. Society has deemed that some of its own members are “disposable”. So how does “restoration” figure into the mix? It doesn’t figure into the mix… it IS the mix. We need to start cleaning up the souls we’ve thrown away and disregarded and judged and sentenced right here in our own neighborhoods. I’m afraid it’s a bit of a hot topic for me because there are some who start talking about “THOSE KIDS …. THOSE PEOPLE…” and they sort of get on their high horses and peering out through their glass houses and pointing fingers at all the systems, the government, the educational system, the welfare system and such… But THOSE KIDS aren’t THOSE Kids… They’re OUR kids…

If you want to clean something up, start with your own sock drawer. Then move to your t-shirt drawer and then your closet and your garage…. Restoration starts at home. And our churches, communities and schools are an extension of our homes. I’ve got to quit because I’ll get all riled up. I guess I’m kind of passionate about the issue.

Restoration is another word for healing… so let’s heal our families and our communities first before we start trying to tell other folks how to fix the rest of the world.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Answering Questions

I've had several questions float through the comments lately so since I can't get my thoughts gathered enough to post anything substantial, here goes:

{ Potato Soup }

Becky asked me about a potato soup recipe. I've used my Mom's for years and used to have intermittant success with it. But I think I've finally figured it out and it is super easy, cheap and yummy. (My problem was getting the broth/sauce to thicken just so.)

Cook 3 large potatoes, diced until tender.
Melt 2 T. butter in sauce pan over low heat.
Blend in 2 T. all purpose flour, 1/2 t. salt and dash white pepper.
Add 3 c. milk all at once. If you are low on milk, you can stretch what milk you have by mixing it with the water that came off of cooking the potatoes. I've done that when I've made a double batch of soup so that I am not using six cups of milk at a time!)
Cook quickly stirring constantly, till mixture thickens and bubbles - wooden spoon is handy. Here's where I figured out the trick to getting perfect sauce every time ... I stir with a whisk along the bottom of the pan until I am sure that the flour has dissolved into the milk.
Remove sauce from heat when it bubbles. If sauce cooks too long, it becomes to thick and the butter separates out. To repair - add more milk and cook quickly, stirring constantly, till sauce bubbles.
Add potatoes to sauce and heat through. Season.

{ The Early Bird }

Several of you commented on how early I was up this morning! : ) I've been trying to be diligent about getting up and honestly and truly, it's God who put the desire in me! I wouldn't have said I am a morning person, but I now crave that time and look forward to it. Let it be known ... I didn't just roll over one morning and start getting up at 5:30. I think I start around 6:30 and then moved it back. It also helped because Elizabeth would get up to nurse anytime between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. (no set time, of course!) and I would just stay up after feeding her.

I now try and get up around 5:30 a.m. ... that's when the coffee maker is set for, anyway. If I get up them, I can usually get at least an hour and a half before the girls get up, although about half the time, Elizabeth is kicking on the floor beside me while I work on my Bible study. I've just had to be realistic about getting stuff done in the evening. By the time the girls get to bed, I'm too pooped to pull out my Bible study and then it just doesn't get done.

{ Our Sam Dog - The Conclusion }

Several of you have asked me about our dog, Sam, and whatever happened to him. After housing him for two days, we (meaning Travis) ended up taking Sam to the pound. Noelle (4) was not understanding why Sam left, then came home, then was leaving again and it seemed the easiest thing to do for her sake. (Not necessarily for me!) : ( My husband actually took him while I was at Bible study and I didn’t know until I got home.

Just for the concerned, we had called the pound/animal control at the beginning of our decision to try and find the dogs new homes. The county's shelter has a policy of putting dogs to sleep only as a last resort. They are REALLY committed to finding dogs a new home and generally only put them down if they show signs of agression. The fact that our Sam was such a great dog pretty much guaranteed him a home and good care there until someone wanted him, for which we were very thankful.

Two days after Travis dropped him off, we got a call from the pound and someone was adopting Sam! And it was a family with three kids (like us) and the Dad had done all this research into huskies and was very prepared (meaning he knows that Sam is going to run if he gets the chance – not maliciously, just his nature). I got to talk to the new owner on the phone for a few minutes because he had some questions about Sam and he sounded like a great guy, and we’ve actually talked a few times since then because we’re trying to track down a duplicate set of Sam’s registration papers for him. (The girl had taken Sam’s papers and I’m sure they ended up with the dog cage … which we didn’t get back.) From all reports we have gotten so far, Sam is doing great in his new home and they love having him.

All that to say, I’m so glad the whole dog saga has ended. And, truthfully, I am very much enjoying life without dogs right now. Granted I have to sweep up a lot of food off the floor … I had no idea my kids were such messy eaters! : ) We still talk about our dogs and miss them, but has been confirmed over and over that it was the right decision for now.

{ In Conclusion }

Off to help Noelle with a little craft project she's working on. She's still running fever and if she's still running some tomorrow (day 3), we'll go in and get it checked out. I'm taking advantage of the extra snuggling my busy girl is letting me sneak in. : )

5:36 a.m.

  • Waiting on coffee
  • Not quite awake yet
  • Thought I would get a chance to write some yesterday
  • Ended up with oldest running a fairly high fever yesterday
  • Thank you to cousin Bubby for the germs : )
  • Off to do some Bible study before munchkins awake!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - 10.22

Monday: southwestern chicken (crockpot), salad
Tuesday: Mexican soup/chili, tortilla chips
Wednesday: quesadillas/easy dinner (Awana night)
Thursday: breakfast dinner, egg sandwiches this week I think, fruit
Friday: pizza, carrot sticks
Saturday: date night (!)
Sunday: potato soup, biscuits

I'm seeing the themes of Mexican food and quick-and-easy this week in my menu planning ... probably because last week was nuts around here as you can tell from the lack of any posting! In the meantime, head over to Org Junkie's for more menu inspiration!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Photo Day

Here's a few catch-up photos of the girls ... we recently took 4 year old pictures, 18 mo. pictures, and three month pictures, but are just now getting a peek at them! Here is a favorite one of each of the girls (with a bonus of the baby because it just cracks me up). More are in my Flickr (friends and family only, let me know if you want to be added) for the interested. : )

Noelle's 4 Year Old Pictures

Natalie 18 (really 20 mo.) Pictures

Elizabeth 3 mo. Pictures

Elizabeth 3 mo. Pictures

Love these girls

Monday, October 15, 2007

Menu Plan Monday 10.15

Monday: spaghetti, salad, green beans
Tuesday: potato soup, biscuits (girls will eat eggs w/ biscuits)
Wednesday: (Awana night - easy/premade dinner night) mexicali casserole, tortilla chips (quesadillas for girls)
Thursday: stirfry with rice
Friday: pizza, carrots sticks, salad (?)
Saturday: Fall Festival at church!

Stop by Org Junkie's for more menus and weekly dining inspiration! :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A New Book Challenge

Since I don't have much time to read anyway, I'm going to do another book challenge for this fall! : ) This one is very special to me. You can go here to read all about The Nattie Challenge and find out details and you can go to Nattie's blog and read about what an amazing woman and friend she was. I knew Nattie through Women at Home and had a chance to meet her when she was visiting several years ago. She truly aspired to follow after God's heart like few women that I have known.

The first challenge is the Baby Steps Challenge. The assignment is to pick three books ... any three books ... and read them before the end of the year. I think I can handle that. : ) I'll update the link in my sidebar once I finish and/or complete my books.

(Thanks to Becky for the graphics!)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Crafty Fun

Check out this cool project over at ScrapHappy! It's a nifty coupon organizer made out of a photo album. I saw this and immediately thought "stocking stuffer" for my Mom. : ) You can head over to Lain's site for the full instructions but this is what mine turned out like:

Crafty Coupons

I really wanted to use rub-ons letters like Lain did on the cover, but I tend to hoard them and just couldn't do it. : ) So my cover is pretty simple.

Crafty Coupons

You can see some of my tags here ... I have "crafty", "restaurants", "grocery", "office supply", "target", etc., but you could do whatever you need and however many that you want. I just have six, but I went ahead and punched extra tags that I can stick on if I need them. Lain also had a cool idea to slip a gift card or two in the appropriate tabs if you are making this for a gift. All of this with a total cost of only $1 for the photo album at Walmart ... everything else I had!

Anyway, she has other Christmas project like this up on her blog, so head over if you are need ideas for goodies to make ... I'm going to try this one out next, I think. : )

Friday Felicities

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Things that make you happy. From the mind of Nattie Rose.

~ being able to see the top of my desk! : )
~ Monk (we're in the middle of season 3 via Netflix)
~ cooler weather
~ crafty fun!
~ a fall festival next weekend
~ Sara Groves' He's Always Been Faithful

For more Friday Felicities, head over to Becky's (thanks for hosting this!) and share what makes you happy this week!