Hello from England!

Welcome to my blog!
We are a christian family living in the Sunshine state (before that we spent four years in England and two years in Turkey).

My posts are of everyday life and my love of crafting. I hope to inspire you in some way to share your talents too.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to leave a comment.
Cheers and God's blessings to you and yours!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

oops!

While I was looking at other craft website, I realized I never posted my Christmas card!  Oops!
So here's the {delayed} big reveal!


It's an easel card.  Hope all the recipients figured out how to stand it up.  I made 50 of these.  If you didn't get one, I'm sorry.  I was "reindeered-out" and lost my oomph!  It involved lots of punching, some big-shot embossing, some foam stickers, glue, and stamping!  I love how they turned out:


Blessings for a wonderful holiday season!

Holiday fun

I think we all have traditions and things we like to accomplish during those special times of year.  One of my favorite things to do a couple of times a year is bake sugar cookies.  I actually would like to bake them MORE often than a couple of times, but my waistline says 2-3 is enough!

Olivia is my big helper, and we love to do this together every year.  The recipe is printed below, and the cookies are almost cake-like.  Of course, the icing is homemade too and from my mother.

We had a wonderful Christmastime and hope you did as well!






Here's the recipe:

SUGAR COOKIES with ICING

3/4 C shortening
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp lemon extracts
2 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Cream shortening and sugar in mixer.  Add eggs and extracts.  Stir in dry ingredients.  Form into two balls, wrap in saran wrap individually, and refrigerate (or freeze) for 1/2 hour or so.  Roll out on floured surface about 1/4" - 1/8" thick.  Cut with well-floured cutters and bake for 6-8 minutes at 350 F degree pre-heated oven or until slightly brown.  The thicker the cookie dough is when you roll it out, the more cake-like they'll be. Makes about 3-4 dozen cookies depending on how big your cookie cutters are.

Icing:
powdered sugar
milk
lemon extract
food coloring
containers for mixing different colors

I start with a medium to small size container to make the "white" icing first.  I add about 1-2 C powdered sugar.  I then add milk SLOWLY, about 1 Tbsp at a time until I reach desired consistency.  If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar.  Also add 1-2 drops of the extract.  Once you've reached desired consistency, you can divide up into the small extra containers and add different colorings.  After icing cookies, add sprinkles while icing is not dried yet.  Let cookies "air dry" about 6 hours before stacking together.  Store in air tight container.

On a side note, the icing is more of a "glaze."  But the lemon flavoring really adds that sparkle!

Bon appetite!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Up They Go

Ahh, and so Winter Break begins.  Two weeks of family time, movies, games, eating wrong, and just enjoying good holiday fun.  I will enjoy it as much as I can.

We'll be having a big Christmas dinner with a turkey as we were on the road in York for Thanksgiving.   We promised the kids...but I'm ok with that too.  We'll be going somewhere again soon - after all, we should while we're here!

Olivia still gets to do the fun projects at school.  Isaac is bummed that middle school's extent of class fun is limited to hot chocolate and marshmallows.  Olivia's class made gingerbread houses.  They even had so many supplies left over, that they made ANOTHER one too.  Her first one she was more proud of as she had more time to plan it out and create it.  I didn't photo the second one as she felt it was more of a "rushed" job.  I think she did fantastic and she even explained to me what everything on it was or resembled down to every detail. See the heart shaped doorway entrance?


I was envious of her craftiness, and decided I needed to make something too.
Of course, mine was a lot less sticky...


I watched a demonstration on Pinterest to get these cute little cardstock bags made.  I used some current Stampin Up paper, my snail tape, scoring board, and my snowflake punch.  I can't believe how EASY these were!  I made 6 of them in about 15 minutes.  They were all given away with goodies in them to co-workers.  Hope they liked them too!

Kent and I will probably head to Bury St. Edmunds or Cambridge mall today to go shopping with all the madness.  We haven't been to a mall for quite some time.  
Maybe we'll get some good deals amongst all the chaos?  Then when we return, up they'll go - my feet, that is.  And that's where they'll stay for quite a while.  

Happy Christmas!



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mmm mmm good!

One thing I especially love about the holidays is the excuse to eat "wrong."  I love desserts:  chocolate, peanut butter, pie, cookies...how can you go wrong with these items?
I made some chocolate squares but a bit differently this year.   I'll explain later.  This is a SUPER easy recipe for all those non-bakers out there!

Ingredients:
1 sleeve saltines, 1 box Baker's chocolate chopped up (white or chocolate) and your choice of topping (nuts, chopped up peppermint, candy bard, etc.)  
Bake in an at least 9x13 dish with a lip up on the side.

You start with a sleeve of saltine crackers all laid out side by side.


One the side you can start think about how you're going to crush up peppermints...
Next you boil 1 C sugar and 1 C butter for 3 minutes.  Pour this mixture over the saltines and bake for about 12 minutes at 350.


While they are baking, chop up a box of white or unsweetened chocolate squares.  Also be prepare what your "sprinkling" will be.  I crushed up peppermint.  You can use nuts, cinnamon chips, crushed up candy bar (like Heath), etc.  
When they have baked for the approx. 12 minutes and come out, sprinkle your chocolate bits all over the crackers and put back in the oven for about 5-7 minutes until melted.  

Take out of oven, spread evenly with a spatula covering all the squares.
Next, add your "sprinkling" flavor.  
Let cool completely, and break apart for easier serving.




Enjoy, they're mmm mmm good!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blessings

Another tragedy has happened in America.  Someone decided they had the right to control the destiny of others, and end the lives of innocent children and adults.  Satan doesn't take a day off.  Satan doesn't care who he hurts - he never backs down.  But thru God's love and mercy, we will continue to survive and take it one day at a time.  

We had a couple of frosty mornings this past week.  I found the frozen windshields a nuisance when I left the house - and I found the frozen spiderwebs on our vehicles a beautiful example of God.  A reminder that our time here on earth can be complex.  It can be filled with the coldness from others.  
 


But with God by our side and in our hearts, we can stand strong when others try to break us down with their cold and callousness.  May you hold the ones you love that much closer and count your blessings one by one.  And if you are fortunate and blessed enough to hug the ones you love in person, please keep those in thought and prayer who can't.  Whether it's due to deployments, separation across the seas, or even death.  The song, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" says:
"Through the years we all will be together...if the fates allow."

In case you didn't know...when you accept God into your heart and soul, there is no "if."  You WILL be spending eternity with your heavenly father and those who have gone ahead of you who also have Christ in their hearts.  What an amazing blessing that is!

Just tag it!

I finally had time to make some gift tags for Christmas presents.  It's too bad that I didn't get these done until after I had mailed presents home to family.  I used my Big Shot and two tags die, as well as one of my framelits die.  I took advantage of some past years' Christmas cards too for some fun graphics.  These tags are being donated to a holiday basket that will be at a silent auction raising money for an organization I belong to at with the medical group on base.  Enjoy!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Using resources wisely

Here's the Christmas card I made for last year.  I had a good time running each one thru the cuttlebug to get the snowflake embossing.  Then I stamped snowflakes to make the wreath.  The bow was put on with a glue dot and I made each tag with a retired Christmas greeting.  The card even has some sparkle to it which you can't see in the photo.  It was created with glitter hair spray.  Hey!  I have to use my resources wisely when I don't live close to a Michael's or Hobby Lobby!  Tee hee!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Because it's fun...

I love Pinterest.  I especially love it when I find pins that will benefit those who have the spirit of Christmas in their hearts.  I came across this site.  It's great!  You can watch Santa come out 3x a day and feed the reindeer:

It's a Reindeer Cam. It started November 16, and at 10am, 5pm & 8pm central time Santa will be coming out to feed the reindeer. The rest of the day you can watch them playing, sleeping and eating.



Click HERE to view the LIVE REINDEER CAM whenever you want!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

And birthdays too...

Christmas season is a busy time for my family and me.  Since we live overseas and ship gifts stateside, I have to plan ahead doubly (as do my parents and sister).  
Christmas is on the 25th, my nephew's birthday is on the 31st (he'll be 5), my sister's birthday is Jan 1st, my father-in-law's birthday is Jan 7th, and my father's birthday is Jan 11th!  WHEW!

I was pretty disgruntled with myself when I packed and shipped off presents for Christmas and forgot to include birthday.  Now I'm scrambling around to finish those and get them mailed out.  And YOU KNOW I can't sent a Hallmark card!!??  Of course it's handmade, lol!  My husband says I'm too busy these days and I don't do enough for myself.  What?  Huh?  Did you say something sweetie?  Sorry, I'm busy crafting, lol!  But that might explain the bladder infection...

With that being said, I made a bundle of cards. I got the style idea from HERE off of Pinterest.  And I had my friend Teri's voice in my head to "mass produce" so I did just that.





It also worked out well because we had card club for December.  After making all those 50 Christmas cards that were the same, I needed some variety mass producing.  Hence, the different cards with the same concept.  Enjoy!  I'm off to make teacher's gifts now, lol!



Sunday, December 9, 2012

Variety is the spice of life!

Just wanted to put a quick post with some more photos.  After making my planned 50 Christmas cards, I was "reindeer-ed out" (there's a hint about what they look like).  I realized I needed more cards, and opted for something different.  My friend was gracious enough to loan me her stocking stamps with the matching punch (Stampin' Up).  Here's how those turned out:


Then I pulled out my triangle/pennant punch and made a couple of these:


My Girl Scouts had a Christmas party this past week at my house.  We did a cookie swap and an ornament swap.  I can't take credit for the cookie below...I made boring oatmeal and raisin.  But I had to photo these because they were SO adorable!  


Have a blessed Sunday everyone!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

R.A.K.

     I think there is a kindred spirit in all of us.  A good samaritan.  A desire to do something that will help someone else out.  Yes, we get greedy...caught up in sin...take things for granted...
     Last night (well, it was about 6:30pm and it seemed later than that because it's SO dark in England when the sun goes down), there was a knock on the door.  I usually don't answer it due to unwelcome solicitations, but my Girl Scout meeting/Christmas party was earlier, and I thought someone left something and had returned to retrieve it.  At the door, there was a deaf man who had a portfolio of drawings.  He was selling them and I was being my polite self of taking the time to look at them.
     There were probably about 20 drawings.  80% of them were of animals.  I even hollered at Isaac.  They were SO amazing!  I'm a scenic buff, so I was drawn to those.  There were dogs, cats, horses, a couple of kids, a lighthouse, Italy, etc.  They are large in size, being about 11x16 and entirely done with pencil.  This gentleman was very kind.  He had the muffled voice that was common with those who are deaf.  He was selling them for 10 pounds to 15 pounds.  
     Below is my purchase.  I love looking at it.  It's so serene...so peaceful...and of course, will always remind me of England.  I bummed the money off of Kent.  His words were (before seeing what I purchased), "You're such a sucker!"
     I walked into the dining room with my purchase and a smile.  I don't think he appreciates it as much as I do, but he did say, "We'll have to get that framed."  Maybe it'll grow on him.  I paid 13 pounds for it and feel it is VERY worthy of that.  What a true artist this man is.
     So that was my Random Act of Kindness I paid a deaf man last night.  Would I have purchased it from him if he didn't have a handicap of some sort?  Possibly.  What will be your RAK for today?   Or during the holidays?  When they happen, let me know and leave a comment to share.  God has truly blessed us all in unique ways, and given us that spark to do the right thing and help our fellow men/women in need.
     Happy Holidays!


Top of the Morning, errr Muffin to ya!

I'm not a slave to my kitchen.  I enjoy cooking, but I especially enjoy making/baking things that are quick, easy, and put smiles on those that consume them.

The bananas here seem to turn black so fast...and I'm so tired of tossing them due to lack of time.  I was recently adventurous and made some banana muffins.  They were a huge hit.  I went to allrecipes.com and altered a recipe there.  It included the normal ingredients (egg, bananas, butter, flour, etc.).  I added cinnamon, applesauce (instead of oil) and hazelnuts (I didn't have walnuts).


Here's the beginning stage...


They're ready for the oven!


The finished product!  And YES, I always cut my muffins in half like shown above...each half deserves to have some butter TLC along with the "top of the muffin!"

Monday, December 3, 2012

The List

I am a list person.  I have a sense of accomplishment as I am able to check off or cross out things on that list.  And when the list has too many cross-outs, then I move what's left to a  new list and start again.  I'm truly thankful for my iPod, as sometimes that list becomes a typed "event" on my calendar.  And I love it that I can send "event reminders" so it pops up on the screen whenever I designate it to do so.  Maybe it's a good thing as I'm not stressing out about forgetting things. Maybe it's a bad thing as I'm not challenging my memory and brain to work harder.  Regardless, I'm a bit OCD and like that about myself!

I defeated many things on my to-do list within the past 5 days.  Christmas cards done and 95% of them are mailed out (check).  Baby shower to attend with gift and card (check).  Mail some of the families' gifts stateside (check).  Put away fall decor (check).  Pull out Christmas decor (check.)  The tree is up and the lights are on - and it looks beautiful because we decorated it together as a family!

My friend Kayli is due with her baby girl end of January (3 days before my birthday).  So you know I'm rooting for her to go 3 days past her due date.  Here's the card I made for her:


They already know it's going to be a girl, and they're naming her Hannah Noel.  What a cute name!  I'm very excited for her and her hubby.  They'll make great parents.

I'm helping gift wrap today for a fundraiser at the BX, so come out and see me from 1-3.  Then I'm off to a meeting at the school, then Olivia has a play tonight (she's thrilled she only has 1 speaking line to memorize).  She's a horse...but it's better than being the back end of a camel like I was at that age for a church pageant!  LOL

I just remembered I need to make some magazine Christmas trees for Girl Scouts.  Hmm, that's not on my list.  See?  My brain still works when it wants to.  
Thanks for stopping by to read this, I'm off to work more on my list-of-the-day and finish those 5% of cards that haven't gone out yet.
Here's a sneak peak of what is in my cards...the final masterpiece will be revealed in a couple of weeks!