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Saturday, June 30, 2007

And the winner is........

Let me start by saying how SHOCKED I am that so many people wanted to enter my giveaway! What FUN I've had visiting some wonderful blogs of, hopefully, some new friends!!!

If y'all, noticed, there were 286 comments but actually 315 entries!!! WOW!!

Here's a picture of Miss Elizabeth and the whole bowl full of entries!!!

To be honest with y'all, Miss Elizabeth is teething quite badly right now and just didn't want to put her hand into that bowl!! LOL! So my dear sweet son, Joshua, did the drawing in her stead. And the name he drew was..................

Michele at My Blessings From Above!!!!! She was entry #184!!!

CONGRATULATIONS, Michele!!! You are going to be receiving some lovely prizes!!!

Everyone be sure and head on over to Michele's and congratulate her!!! And while you're there, get to know her and her sweet family!!

And year two of blogging officially is underway...... :)

Just a little reminder...

Just a little reminder. In case any of y'all have not already signed up for the giveaway (see post directly below this one), PLEASE do so!! The drawing will be at 8:00 EST TONIGHT!!! Don't miss out!!

My One Year Bloggiversary GIVEAWAY!!!

Oh y'all! I am sooo very excited!!! On June 30th, I will celebrate 1 whole year of blogging! So... to celebrate, I'm having a GIVEAWAY!! And the prizes are FABULOUS, let me tell ya!!! What am I giving away????

- a set of Martha Stewart Everyday Towels (like I mentioned here)...
- a pair of earrings of YOUR choosing from the Etsy shop of new jewelry designer and real life friend, Melissa...
- an autographed copy of "Queen of the Castle- 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker" by Lynn Bowen Walker that I reviewed here (and mailed to you FROM THE AUTHOR HERSELF!!!)...
AND...
- a 2 year subscription to Victoria Magazine graciously sent to you courtesy of Hoffman Media.

YES!! YES!! YES!!! One very blessed lady will win ALL that!

How? Just leave a comment here on my blog and you will be entered ONCE into the drawing. If you kindly comment about my giveaway on your blog, you will be able to enter TWICE!!! The drawing will be done on Saturday, June 30th at 8:00 pm (EST) by my wee one, Elizabeth.

So don't just sit there, enter! Please!! I am just dying to bless someone with all these wonderful gifts!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bathtub cleaning tip!!

I know that I've shared before how baking soda is my favorite cleaning supply, but I discovered another use for baking soda a few months ago!!

When Elizabeth came home, she barely fit in the kitchen sink for her bath. So, I knew that it was time for the regular bathtub. I do have a seat for her to sit in while bathing, so I was fine with that. But I was VERY concerned about how the cleaner that I used to clean the bathtub would do with her baby skin. I wanted to use something as gentle as possible for her skin yet something that would clean the bathtub, too. After just a little thought, I remembered how much I LOVE baking soda!!! I made sure that the tub was slightly wet, poured about a cup of baking soda all over the tub (I buy the big 12 pound packages of baking soda at Sam's, in case you are wondering how I have so much!! LOL!) then started scrubbing. Baking soda cleans PERFECTLY!!!! Not only does it shine, but it also scrubs away all the icky blue residue that our water leaves in the bathtub!! WOOHOOO! I am SOLD!! Now I have a safe and very cleansing product to make sure my bathtub is clean AND my baby's skin won't get irritated!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

From Mr. Spurgeon...


This is my "to do" list for today. It contains the major things I need to focus on accomplishing today.

I discovered the quote that I have written out yesterday while reading a post on A Christian Home. The quote says...
"It is shocking to find men and women speaking fluently about
religion, and yet their houses are a disgrace to Christianity." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Now is Mr Spurgeon referring to cleaning? Probably not. :) He's talking about how we live out Christianity in our everyday lives. We can talk about the Lord all day long, but do our lives REFLECT CHRIST TO THE WORLD????

Dear sisters in Christ, honestly look at your life today. Does your family see Jesus Christ in you? Are you a godly example to them? Or are you all talk? Do they see that you live what you say?

Note: Thank you, Jodi!! She found the link to the full sermon by Mr. Spurgeon here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New blog... Lady Beautiful...


My sweet friend, Melissa, has started a new blog entitled Lady Beautiful. The site says it is...
"A place where Christian ladies can trade tips and talks about health and beauty with other Christian women. You are the contributor."

Did you see that? YOU are the contributor!!! If you have any health and/or beauty tips that could be helpful to fellow sisters-in-Christ, share with Melissa and she will post it. Do you need any beauty advice? Ask Melissa!!

Ladies, I have been around the blogosphere for a year now and I have read some FABULOUS tips from a good many of y'all! I personally would LOVE to have them all in one place for reference!! Just one expample... last week I was visiting with Mrs. B over at her blog and she shared a wonderful tip about choosing the perfect lipstick shade!!

So, ladies, head on over to Lady Beautiful and PLEASE share your tips! I am ready to learn from all of you!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Peach Cake...


I finally made this cake this weekend!!! I've been looking at this recipe in my cookbook and saying I was going to make it for about 5 years now!! I found the recipe in the cookbook The Pastors Wives Cookbook and it sounded so delicious, I just knew my family would love it. It is a SIMPLE cake to make and SOOO moist and tasty!!!

Peach Cake

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I used light olive oil)
2 eggs
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp each of salt, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 (29 oz) can peaches and juice
1 cup nuts of your choice (optional)

Place everything in your mixing bowl. Using a mixer, mix until peaches are chopped. Pour into a prepared bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Movie Review- North and South...


A few weeks ago on Ladies Against Feminism, Lady Lydia shared her review of the movie "North and South". This is based on the novel of the same name by Elizabeth Gaskell, who also wrote the novel "Wives and Daughters" and it, too, was made into a movie.

Because I loved "Wives and Daughters" so much, when I found out about "North and South", I knew that I wanted to watch it.

Mr. U sweetly bought the movie for me and as soon as it arrived, we settled in to watch it. It's four hours long, so we watched it in two nights. The first night, I thought "Is THIS an Elizabeth Gaskell movie? Did we get the right one?" I wasn't immediately drawn into the movie like I was in "Wives and Daughters". But the second night, I understood what the first two hours were about. The first two hours of the movie were necessary to set the tone, to tell you about the background of the characters and the time period. I was VERY happy to know all the details which made the second half of the movie that much more captivating.

Most of the movies I love like "Pride and Prejudice", "Emma" or "Wives and Daughters" are set in the beautiful areas of England where lovely landscaped views abound. "North and South" offers a few beautiful views, but mostly it takes place in dark, grey, industrial England- a time that I thought was boring, dull and lifeless. I must say that Mrs. Gaskell did a fabulous job of presenting this period of England's history in a very interesting manner. I left the movie wanting to know more about what really happened during that time period.

I did love the story and don't want to give away any of the details. I must say, though, that I was a little shocked at Margaret Hale's (the main character) head strong and independent thinking and acting. I expected more of a demure character, but I suppose that even assertive women lived in that time period as well as today.

I do recommend this movie. My family and I all watched it together (well, okay, my 13 month old did not watch it with us) and we all enjoyed discussing the time period, the feminist leanings, the manners and customs, etc. when the movie was finished. I also always enjoy watching a movie that makes me want to be a little more ladylike when I'm finished watching it.

I would definitely watch this movie again and would love to hear from you if you've seen this and hear what you think about it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Works-For-Me-Wednesday: Dreft Alternative...


This is my first Works for me Wednesday!! I've been reading them for a while and finally decided today to jump in, too.



Ever since I knew we were going to bring Elizabeth home from China, I started looking at prices for Dreft detergent. It's not that cheap. Plus, what IS it that makes it preferrable for use on baby clothes? There's no scent. So I decided to start using All Free Clear. Not only does it have no scent, but it's clear of dyes and it's the #1 detergent recommended by dermatologists and allergists!!

But what about fabric softener?? Who wants clothes that are full of static cling?? I use distilled white vinegar!! Just use the same amount that you would normally use of regular liquid fabric softener and you'll get soft, static free clothes!! And don't worry, there is NO vinegar smell on your clothes when they come out of the dryer- only fresh, clean clothes!!!

So that's What-Works-For-Me!!!

(To learn more about why we adopted and why China, please click here for the link.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Your opinions, please...

I am so blessed!! Who would have ever in a million years thought that blogging would lead to such neat opportunitites!!!!

What in the WORLD am I talking about? Well, I was contacted in mid May by Mrs. Miller from Hoffman Media. This company publishes Southern Lady, Taste of the South, TeaTime, Cooking with Paula Deen, Sew Beautiful, and Just CrossStitch. They also publish some beautiful books. And Hoffman Media is the company that will be bringing back Victoria Magazine!!! Hip hip hooray!!

Mrs. Miller would love to know what you love about these magazines? What would you change? I know that MANY of y'all subscribe to these magazines or purchase them as soon as you see the newest edition on the newsstand. I know that she visits this blog, so please share anything about the magazines that you love or would change. Just think... YOU could help make the magazines even better than they are!!!

Mrs. Miller sent me a huge box full of magazines and an incredibly tempting book about cakes! YUM! These are just a few of the magazines she sent me. The others are currently out on loan (Goodness knows that I can't GIVE these magazines away! There are too many wonderful recipes and beautiful photos in them!!!). :)

Here is the book Cake Expressions. Beautiful decorating ideas for cakes and some mouth-watering recipes in there, too!!!

So please, y'all, be sure and share your thoughts about all the magazines that Hoffman Media publishes!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cooking essentials- dough scraper


Just what IS a dough scraper? According to Wikipedia it is...
A dough scraper is a tool used by bakers to manipulate dough and to clean surfaces on which dough has been worked. It is generally a small sheet of stainless steel (approximately 3"x5" or 8 cm x 13 cm) with a handle of wood, plastic, or simply a roll in the steel blade along one of the long sides.

Bakers and pastry chefs use this tool to help pick up, turn, and portion dough. When finished, the dough scraper can be used to scrape up the little bits of dough that have dried onto the kneading surface during the forming process. It can also be used in a more generic kitchen role to transfer sliced or diced foods from cutting board to pan.

This tool is known by a variety of names, including dough scraper, dough cutter, dough knife, pastry cutter, bench scraper, board scraper, and bench knife.

Some modern varieties of this tool have blades of nylon or silicone and even feature both straight and curved edges. These are intended primarily for the use of scraping cutting boards and bowls rather than working dough. These uses have introduced further variants of the name, including terms such as bowl scraper or chopper, scooper, scraper.



I LOVE my dough scraper!! I never would have purchased one on my own. Mine came when I bought a pasta maker a few years ago. I now use it ALL the time. When I make biscuits, I use it to scrape all the dough off the counter when I'm done. When I'm making rolls or bagels, I use it to divide the dough into even sections. When I'm making French bread, I use it to divide my loaves into two equal parts. I do use my dough scraper all the time!

Do you have a dough scraper? If so, do you use it?

(Note: A commenter asked what size the dough scraper is. I guess it does look kind of large in the photograph. It is 5 inches by 4 inches and fits perfectly in your hand.)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Birthday cake for Mr. U...


Yep, that's a birthday cake alright!!! Mr. U's birthday was yesterday and we spent the day together just having fun!! We bought him a new grill for his special day and he's all ready to fire it up this Sunday for Father's Day. I'm telling you, this man can GRILL!!! I think he'd give Bobby Flay some fierce competition!!!

Each year for his birthday, he requests the same meal- Chicken Parmesan, Mashed Potatoes and Peanut Butter Cake for dessert. (Notice, he conveniently leaves out anything veggie related. He keeps telling, me that potatoes are veggies, but I still put them in the starch/bread category... I digress...).

Peanut Butter Cake is FANTASTIC!!! And I wish with all my heart that I could share the recipe with y'all, but I can't. It's a secret family recipe! No, really! It REALLY is!! When Mr. U's mother gave me the recipe, she made me triple promise that I would NEVER share it with anyone except family members. I think I CAN tell you that it is a MUST that you use Jif Peanut Butter. Other than that, I cannot share a thing. But if y'all ever want to let me know y'all are coming over, I'll be happy to make one and share it with you!!!

So this was my "Show and Tell" for today... PLEASE visit Kelli over at There's No Place Like Home for more WONDERFUL blogs to visit!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Have you had your quiet time today?


By far, THE most important part of my blessed job as a homemaker is making sure that I spend DAILY time in the Word and in prayer with the Lord. I love my family, I love taking care of my home, but, above all, I love God. Cultivating my relationship with Him has got to be THE top priority of my day.

So, for my fellow Christians reading this, have YOU spent time in the Word today? If so, what is the Lord teaching you?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

8 things meme...


Here are the rules:

Each player lists eight facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags eight people and posts their names, then goes over to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they have been tagged and asking them to go read your blog.

1. I am allergic to penicillin.

2. I am scared of horses. (they are so BIG!!!)

3. I cannot pick ONE favorite dessert. It's a tie between my grandmother's German Chocolate Cake and a Chocolate Extreme Blizzard (with extra stuff) from Dairy Queen. This week, anyway. Next week I may change my mind. :)

4. I was a MAJOR Truth wannabe. I just KNEW they needed me to sing with them!!

5. I do not bite my nails. It disgusts me. I tried it when I was in 4th grade because my friend Natalie Collins bit hers and I thought she was cool. I couldn't even bite off one nail. HAHA!!

6. I type all the time. Like, even when I'm not at a typewriter keyboard. I guess I have imaginary keys with me or something. I suppose it could be classified as "air typing". HA!!!

7. I am a BIG TIME DIET COKE FAN!!!!

8. When I was little, all I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a wife, mother and teacher. What a blessing that I get to be all three now!!!

I had a VERY hard time thinking about these 8 things about me. To me, I seem kind of boring. :)

I am going to tag everyone who hasn't been tagged yet!!!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mrs. Pear's Cinnamon Buns...



Oh YUM!!! After visiting Mrs. Pear's place on Friday, I decided I HAD to make her Land of Nod Cinnamon Buns. OH BOY are these babies good!!!!

I did make some changes, though. I didn't have any frozen roll dough on hand, so I decided to use homemade. I made my Potato Roll recipe and used that instead of the frozen dough. I omitted the raisins, too, because Mr. U isn't crazy about them. I, however, think it would have been WONDERFUL with raisins, pecans and maybe even some orange zest in there!!!!

Here's my Potato Roll recipe. I use the bread machine to do all the kneading for me.

Potato Rolls
1 ¼ cup warm water
3 T vegetable oil
7 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 T mashed potato flakes
3 cups bread flour
1 ½ tsp yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine, set to "dough" cycle. When complete, divide the dough into 20 pieces.

Okay... now start the Land Of Nod Cinnamon Buns...
Place the pieces in a greased bundt pan, mix all the Cinnamon Bun ingredients together (except for the butter) and sprinkle on top. Drizzle melted butter all over. Let this rise in the oven for about 45 minutes and then bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Here is Mrs. Pear's recipe. With either recipe, you will be SOOO happy that you decided to share this scrumptious delight with your family! And they will be happy, too!!

Here's a piece just for you...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Show and Tell Friday- Grandmother's ring...


It's Friday!!! So that means that Kelli is hosting (or should that be hostessing?) Show and Tell Friday!!! What fun!!

I would like to share with y'all my grandmother's ring. A few years ago, she gave my sister and I each a ring that had been special to her. She wanted to give them to us while she was still alive so that she knew that we would get them.

My grandmother is still alive (she's 87) but not in good health at all. I'm so glad that she gave this beautiful ring to me so that I always have something that I can "put my hands on" to remind me of her.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Banana Bread...


Yep, these bananas look just right for banana bread. I have the BEST recipe, too. So unless Mr. U gets to them first (he LOVES bananas really freckled like these are), I'll make some banana bread for the family! YUM!

Banana Bread
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 large bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your 9x5x3 bread pan. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add your eggs in, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift all purpose flour, baking soda and salt together and then stir in the whole wheat flour. Add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Fold in bananas, vanilla and nuts. Pour into pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes or till tooth pick comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes and then turn out.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

You CAN make your own popcorn!!!

Go from this...

to THIS... in your own home!!!!

Yes, that's right. You do NOT have to use those bags of microwave popcorn anymore!! You can make your own DELICIOUS homemade popcorn! It's very easy and very inexpensive!!!

Directions:
In the bottom of a heavy pan, pour oil into the pan to the depth of 1/8 inch. Heat the oil on medium high . Drop one kernel into the oil and when that kernel pops, add enough popcorn kernels to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Cover and shake until all kernels are completely popped. Salt and butter to taste.

This takes minutes to do, makes a TON and is very inexpensive!!! Your family will LOVE the smell of homemade popcorn wafting in from the kitchen. So y'all pull out a board game or pop in some old home movies and enjoy a big bowl of your own homemade popcorn!! Yum!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Mopping tips needed...


Hi y'all!!!

On a recent post entitled Cleaning Cabinets, Pamela asked,
"I was wondering if you had some good cleaning tips for cleaning and mopping the kitchen floor.This is the job I dread the most.
Thank You."

Oh Pamela!! I feel your pain!!! Mopping is my most dreaded chore, too! I have found that, for me, the BEST thing I can do to help with mopping is to do it weekly. Otherwise, the dirt will build up, I'll start feeling guilty about conviently "forgetting" to mop, and before I know it, the floor is horribly dirty. I sweep daily (sometimes more than daily- we live in an area with a lot of sand) so I think that helps keep the floor a tad cleaner and people aren't always stepping on something icky and mashing it into the floor.

When I do mop, I enjoy using a big bucket full of hot water, a sponge mop, and Pine Sol. Whenever I smell it, I smell my grandmother's house. It's AMAZING how powerful the sense of smell is, isn't it? My grandmother always had her house clean as a whistle. When we went to visit her, you were greeted by the smell of freshly mopped floors- the Pine Sol!!!

I would LOVE to hear from others that are reading this. Can y'all offer some advice to Pamela to help with mopping? For that matter, there may be many of us that don't look forward to that particular job, so many of us will probably benefit from all the help we can get!!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Cooking essentials- the potato masher



Ah, the good old potato masher!! I'm sure most of us have something very similar in our drawers, right? Or are you one that purchases potato flakes in a box to make "homemade" mashed potatoes?? If so, please reconsider. This inexpensive cooking essential is just what you need to make perfect mashed potatoes every time!!!

According to Wikipedia...
A potato masher or bean masher is a food preparation utensil used to crush soft food for such dishes as mashed potatoes, apple sauce, or refried beans.

The potato masher consists of an upright or sideways handle connected to a mashing head. The head is most often a large-gauge wire in a rounded zig-zag shape, or a plate with holes or slits. Designs made from a single piece of wood are also known.

I use my potato masher for regular white potatoes, for sweet potatoes, to make applesauce, to mash strawberries before making strawberry preserves and even to make homemade baby food.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Some good weekend reads...


I rarely post on the weekends because I am usually busy with family. Yes, I AM still busy with family, but I wanted to be sure and point out two edifying posts I recently read.

Melissa over at Desiring to be a godly woman has a wonderful post about adoption.

Amanda Grace over at A Touch of Grace has a really encouraging post about studying the Word.

Thank you, Melissa and Amanda Grace, for giving me some really good things to think about this weekend!!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Contest! Dooney & Bourke Bag & Victoria’s Secret Perfume


Oh y'all!!! Hurry on over to Pinks and Blues Blog before 8pm TONIGHT and enter this fabulous contest!! The prize? A Dooney & Bourke bag and some Victoria's Secret perfume!!

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