Friday, November 30, 2007

My $5 Deal

This is my $5 deal. I found it at Goodwill the other day. It's splendid! It's a marble rolling pin with a marble stand. It works beautifully for pie crusts and cookies and bisquits. I think it might be a bit "sticky" (at least, that's what my mom said) but it still rolls really nice. I didn't even notice! I think I'll make cookies tonight...... :)

Homemade Paper!

This is a recipie for homemade paper that I found at Pioneer Thinking.
I remember one time my brother made paper for my birthday. It turned out pretty thick, but still useable!

Some other ideas with homemade paper are to make it with degradeable ingredients and then add forget-me-not seeds so that, after reading the letter, the recipient can just plant their own flowers!

"Making Handmade Paper
in 10 easy steps"

"Ancient Egyptians invented the first substance like the paper we know today called Papyrus. Papyrus scrolls were made by taking slices of the inner part of the papyrus stem, flattening then pounded into a hard, thin sheet. The word "paper" comes from the word "papyrus". The Paper that we know today was invented by Ts'ai Lun in A.D. 105, It is believed that he mixed hemp, mulberry bark, and rags with water, mashed it into a pulp, pressed out the liquid and hung it to dry in the sun. Paper was born and this humble mixture would set off one of mankind's greatest communication revolutions.
Today there is a revival in homemade papermaking crafts. Not only is it a fun experience for you and the kids, but it's a good way to recycle waste into wonderful possibilities.

Below you will find a simple papermaking recipe to get you started. If this is the first time you are making paper, don't be afraid to experiment with different fibers, you don't have to stick with paper related products. Add whole flower heads to the pulp mixture after it has been through the blender. You can add scraps of yarn, tin foil, even seeds. Its all comes down to what you want. Experiment with different textures and colors after all Ts'ai Lun did! Remember, some of your ideas will turn out while others may not. Have fun with it, express your creativity."

Simple Recipe:

Many types of paper that can be used include:

Computer Paper (unprinted)
Newspaper (If you want a grayish colored paper)
Egg Cartons
Old Cards (For heavier paper)
Toilet Paper
Paper Bags
Non Waxed Boxes (Pre-soak in warm water)
Office Paper
Tissue Paper (For finer paper)
Typing Paper
Construction Paper

Supplies you'll need:

Window Screening (mold)
Wood Frame (old picture frame can be used too) (deckle)
Plastic Basin/Tub (Large enough to totally immerse frame)
Blender/Food Processor (For making paper pulp)
White Felt or Flannel Fabric
Staples or Tacks (For tacking screen on frame)
Liquid starch (optional)


1. Select the pieces of paper to be recycled. You can even mix different types to create your own unique paper.
2. Rip the paper into small bits, and place into the blender. (about half full). Fill the blender with warm water. Run the blender slowly at first then increase the speed until the pulp looks smooth and well blended. ( 30 -40 seconds) Check that no flakes of paper remain. If there are, blend longer.
3. The next step is to make a mold. The mold, in this case, is made simply by stretching fiberglass screen (plain old door and window screen) over a wooden frame and stapling it. It should be as tight as possible.
4. Fill the basin about half way with water. Add 3 blender loads of pulp. (the more pulp you add the thicker the finished paper will be) Stir the mixture.
5. Now is the time to add the liquid starch for sizing.(This is not necessary but if the paper is going to be used for writing on, you should add some, the starch helps to prevent inks from soaking into the paper fibers.) Stir 2 teaspoons of liquid starch into the pulp.
Place the mold into the pulp and then level it out while it is submerged. Gently wiggle it side-to-side until the pulp on top of the screen looks even.
6. Slowly lift the mold up until it is above the level of the water. Wait until most of the water has drained from the new paper sheet. If the paper is very thick, remove some pulp from the tub. If it is too thin, add more pulp and stir the mixture again.
7. When the mold stops dripping, gently place one edge on the side of a fabric square (felt or flannel square). Gently ease the mold down flat, with the paper directly on the fabric. Use a sponge to press out as much water as possible. Wring the excess water from the sponge back into the large plastic tub.
8. Now comes the tricky part. Hold the fabric square flat and slowly lift the edge of the mold. The wet sheet of paper should remain on the fabric. If it sticks to the mold, you may have pulled to fast or not pressed out enough water. It takes a little practice. You can gently press out any bubbles and loose edges at this point.
9. Repeat the steps above, and stack the fabric squares on a cookie sheet. Save one fabric square to place on the top of the stack to cover the last piece of paper. Use another cookie sheet to press the remaining water out of the stack. (do this outside or in the bathtub, it can make a mess)
10. After you press the stack, gently separate the sheets. They can be dried by hanging on a clothesline or laying them out on sheets of newspaper. When they have dried peel them off the fabric and voila! you have paper!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Brand New Day

Today, I woke up grumpy. I don't normally tend to do this. I usually wake up really smiley and cheerful, and then, maybe later, I might get grumpy, but not today. I'm afraid it took me till this afternoon to really get over it and be able to laugh at myself.

I must have been sleeping really heavy because I woke up fast and hard and it was late. I jumped out of bed in a hurry but didn't really know why. Just went. Mathew wasn't feeling well and had no idea why I was so bothered. Poor guy. Anyway, I did take some extra time to pray this morning, but it felt like I was more distracted than concentrating. Once at work, I had time to slow down a bit and re-think things. At lunch time I was able to take a quick nap and talk things over with Mathew and thankfully, laugh at how silly and upset I was at simply being awoken too quickly and hustled off to work in the cold!

One thing it does make me realize, is that I have a lot to work on as far as my Christlike spirit being consistent. It's often the little things that get me down and not the big things. One thing I was glad about this morning, was I caught myself thinking negative thoughts about chores and tasks and people, kind of on a roll, and was able to tell myself, "Stop. Just because you are upset about one thing doesn't make everything else bad." And I realized, it didn't. It was just my thoughts and feelings were running away with me. So instead, I thought about the Psalms I read yesterday morning...."I will praise you with all my heart and soul. I will give thanks, because you are good. Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens. Your faithfullness, stretches to the sea."

How about you? What do you do when you are grumpy? This afternoon, I think I will think of things I can be thankful for. Let me have an attitude of grace instead of grumpiness!

  1. A loving God
  2. Caring husband
  3. health
  4. sparkling snow
  5. Christmas lights
  6. funny squeaky shoes
  7. tasks for me to do
  8. an evening of quiet
  9. sunshine
  10. friends and family

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sewing Projects

Well, I've never been much of a sewer, but I'm trying my hand at a few projects just for fun and for gifts. My first project was this baby blanket for a friend. It was pretty simple but turned out nice.

My second project was a pair of pajama pants for Mathew. It was more challenging than I thought to get certain parts sewn right, but my mom came over to help. :)

I've also made two floor pillows. This one is not quite finished, I have buttons to put on still (to hold the batting in place), and need to whip stitch the top.

The most recent item I've been trying, is these felt rabbits. This one looks kind of "batty", but the next one will hopefully look more like a bunny!


Grrr. I'm having trouble posting to my blog. I'm trying some photos and they won't upload. I also went to change some formats and it's going wacky on me. *sigh* So, I guess my posting will have to wait.
Today it snowed! Horay! I'm very happy for the snow.......the only problem is, I left my snow boots at Dad & Mom's house! Whoops. I'll either have to walk carefully today or wear stylish plastic bags! tee hee
Last night was enjoyable. I had been sick in the afternoon, but after taking a hot shower and long nap, I felt better. By evening, I was up to sitting on the couch and reading a book. How nice! Mathew even made us supper. Poor guy. Ever since Thanksgiving weekend and eating 3 days of good meals, we haven't eaten anyhting good at home. Both of us have been ill. So, hopefully tonight it's time for a full, well balanced meal. Any ideas?
That's all for now.....until I get my pictures to upload! Have a wonderful snowy day!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Letter Writing Monday

18 Resons to write a card

Are you in the mood for writing a card to someone, but don't have a reason? Here are some good times to send a note. They.....
  1. Got admission to the school of their choice

  2. They appeared in the newspaper

  3. Won a contest or something

  4. Got their braces off

  5. Got a promotion

  6. Finished chemo

  7. Got a website

  8. Learned a new skill or craft

  9. Made the honor roll

  10. Landscaped a yard

  11. Payed off a mortgage

  12. Are remodelling their home

  13. Quit or are quitting smoking

  14. Published a book

  15. Overcame a phobia

  16. Had a baby

  17. Took a trip/got back from a trip

  18. Had a birthday!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm Thankful for....

I'm so thankful for the great example set by the adults in our church. Recently, we re-arranged the teaching schedule for Sunday morning children's church. Instead of having one lady teach for months and months, we now rotate teaching by couples. It's such a neat thing to know that our parents, both dads and moms, are willing to teach. I know not all have had much experience, and some have been out of the teaching loop for a while, but they are doing a GREAT job!

One of the neatest blessings I think, is that the men/dads/young men are willing to teach also. It's so important for the kids to have those role models even at a young age.

It's been fun hearing the kids sing choruses downstairs during class time and hear them excitedly run upstairs afterwards and tell all about it. It's been fun hearing about the effort and diligence being put by the teachers too. How they are putting in extra study time during their days to think of new ways to teach a story or things to do with the kids.

In Titus 2:7,8 it says:
" In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned.."
I'm so thankful for that example being set!

Monday, November 19, 2007


I don't know much about web sites and web pages, but I've slowly been trying to teach myself and read up on it. So, I thought I'd share with you some bits of stuff I'm learning about HTML codes - the way stuff works! I know Google blogging makes it really easy, I don't even have to know these codes anymore but it's interesting anyhow.

Here's the basics:

"HTML" is an acronym for HyperText Markup Language. It's a language or "code" that tells the computer how to display images and text on your computer screen. Just like with any code, there are key symbols that can help you "break the code." Here are some important symbols used all the time:
> the backward
" " quotes
\ slashes
_ underlines
= equal signs
Everything that appears in between these symbols is info like text (what you want to say and how it appears) or links (to another web page).

Here's an example:

It looks like this on your screen:

Read about HTML.

The "<" and "a" are called "tags" and everything in between is called a "tag name." So, everything you write, needs a "tag," that's a basic. Then, the "tag names" are specific to things like bold, italics, links, text, or a picture. For instance, if you would like to put a picture on your page, here is what you would write:

Do you see the "img" and "src" ? That is the "tag" for I Want an Image and the "blueribbon.gif" is the "tag name" for Here is a picture of a blue ribbon.
How about if you want a link to another web page or something?
Here is what you would type:

Okay, let's break it down:
< and the a is the "tag"
href= says This Is A Link
http:.... is the actual link or web address
"Abbi's blog" is the text that will appear (you won't see the http:.....)
the "forward and backward beaks" are the "end tags" or the code that says Here's Where We Stop.
Interesting huh! Okay, I think that's enough info for today. Now you know how to start. As I learn, I will try and share what I learn. (My goal is to be able to make my own header -with pictures- for my blog)
If you want to learn more, check out Davesite or jmarshal.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Letter Writing Friday

I love getting letters in the mail. It's so much more exciting than advertisments or junk mail! I also love writing letters. Here are some tips on how to write nice letters:

  • Be in a cheerful mood. One thing I've noticed is that, if I'm in a grump mood, my letters tend to reflect that. Same with when I am goofy, moody, sleepy, or cheerful.

  • Find some fun stationary. There are endless possibilities here. I've used blank paper with stamps, pressed flowers, and stickers. I've used personalized monogramed cards. I've used the odds and ends of gift stationary and saved it over the years (see pic above). I've made homemade cards. (See Abbi's post about cardmaking) You can be creative and use just about anything. My sister has used birch bark before!

  • Write clearly. Take the time to print or script nicely. It's alot easier to read for the recipient! If you don't like your handwriting, check out some books from the library or order some from a bookstore.

  • Ask questions. Make sure you ask some questions of the recipient too, "How are you?" "What did you do this week?" "What do you think about...." "Have you ever tried...."

  • Keep it personal. When you write letters, whether they are thank you notes or just friendly notices, mention things about yourself, your week, your gift (if it's a thank you), little things you find intersting, or how your family is doing. It makes it more personal than just a generic "Hi. How are you. I am fine. Thanks for the gift. Bye."

  • Post it. This is one of the most common problems in letter writing I think.....we forget to mail it! So, when you sit down to write, have the envelopes nearby, an updated address book (write in pencil or keep on computer), and a roll of stamps. Address the card imediately after you write it, and put a stamp on it. Some exceptions I've found are, 1. If I have more to enclose, I will not put a stamp on it yet (that helps me differentiate between the ones ready to go and not) 2. If I don't have the current address I'll put it in my letter holder and make a post-it note to get the address ASAP.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Veggie Menu

Since learning about the need to lower our cholesterol, I've been trying to make more vegetarian meals and less red meat. Here is what we ate last night and it was good!

  • Vegetarian Chilli
  • Cornbread

Here is how I made the cornbread:

Cornbread - adapted from Quaker Corn Meal box
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1/8 cup sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt (optional)
1/2 cup skim milk
2 Tbl. oil + 1/2 cup applesauce
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400F. Grease 8 or 9-inch baking pan. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown and wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Serve warm. 9 servings

Here is how I made the chilli:

Vegetarian Chilli

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 Tbl dried oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried bay leaves (or 1 whole bay leaf)
  • 1 tsp chili powder (I added a bit too much!)
  • 14 oz can chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup frozen, shredded zucchini
  • 1 can chili beans

Saute the spices and onion, garlic. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, and beans. Boil for about 20 minutes, until all is hot and well mixed. Serve with cornbread.

(Other ingredients you could add.... chopped carrots, green peppers, mushrooms, celery and kidney beans)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Funny Cartoon

Here is a funny cartoon that is very appropiate for me around Thanksgiving time!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Riddle

What is more useful when it is broken?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Fun Board Games

Here is a list of some fun board, card, or other games I've played...what games do you like?

Games for a crowd

  1. Five Straight

  2. Ten High

  3. Catch Phrase

  4. Uno

  5. Black Magic

Games for 4-6 players

  1. Settlers of Catan

  2. Bohnanza

  3. Compatability

  4. Phase 10

Games for 2

  1. Lost Cities

  2. Five Straight

  3. Carsaconne

  4. Chess

Family Games

  1. Raise the Roof

  2. Phase 10

  3. State to State

  4. Hide and Seek in the dark (in the house)

Outdoor Games

  1. Capture the Flag

  2. Prisoner's Base

  3. Home Base

Computer Games

  1. Feeding Frenzy

  2. Bookworm

  3. Mahjong

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A taste of The Phantom Tollbooth

Here is part of one of my favorite children's books.....check it out from the library next time you are there, it makes a great family read!

"Time for the speeches," announced the king as the plates were again removed and everyone looked glum. "You first," he commanded, pointing to Milo.

"Your Majesty, ladies and gentlemen," started Milo timidly, "I would like to take this opportunity to say that in all the ----"

"That's quite enough," snapped the king. "Musn't talk all day."

"But I'd just begun," objected Milo.

"NEXT!" bellowed the king.

"Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, vanilla ice cream," recited the Humbug, bouncing up and down quickly.

"What a strange speech," thought Milo, for he'd heard many in the past and knew that they were supposed to be long and dull.

"Hamburgers, corn on the cob, chocolate pudding - p-u-d-d-i-n-g," said the Spelling Bee in his turn.

"Frankfurters, sour pickles, strawberry jam," shouted Officer Shrift from his chair. Since he was taller sitting than standing, he didn't bother to get up.

And so down the line it went, with each guest rising briefly, making a short speech, and then resuming his place. When everyone had finished, the king rose.

"Pate de foie gras, soupe a l'oignon, faisan sous cloche, salade endive, fromages et fruits et demi-tasse," he said carefully, and clapped his hands again.

The waiters reappeared immediately, carrying heavy, hot trays, which they set on the table. Each one contained the exact words spoken by the various guests, and they all began eating immediately with great gusto.

"Dig in," said the king, poking Milo with his elbow and looking disapprovingly at his plate. "I can't say that I think much of your choice."

"I didn't know that I was going to have to eat my words," objected Milo.

"Of course, of course, everyone here does," the king grunted. "You should have made a tastier speech....."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Happy National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day!!!

Today, November 7th, is National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day! So, what shall we do to celebrate? My suggestion, is make a lovely pan of warm, chocolate brownies with almonds & ice cream..... :)

Recently, I've been trying to learn about healthy cholesterol cooking. (I know, I know, what does that have to do with brownies and ice cream?! ...not much!)
Here is a list of foods that are recommended for high cholesterol levels...

  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • fish (esp trout and salmon)
  • apples (fruit in general)
  • flax seed
  • and obviously, less fatty foods

In an attempt at healthier cooking, I have modified my grochery list to include some brans and seeds, more fruits and vegetables, and less meats. I've also checked out a few interesting books from the library, including my favorite, "Meals for Good Health" by Karen Graham. I love the simplicity of the meal plans, and the pictures that are included! :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Here are 3 good reasons to memorize that I found the other day...

1. The Bible tells me so
Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

2. It is helpful
2 Timothy 3:16,17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Psalm 19:7,8 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

3. It is God's words to me
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Now, I just need to be consistent!!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

35 Things to Do

Here's some ideas I've read and collected over time that sound really fun....whether it's just you, a couple friends, or a whole group, I think you'll find some interesting ideas to do!

  1. Have a Sundae party. Buy several different flavors of ice cream, some toppings (hot fudge, sprinkles, etc.) and let people make their own sundaes.
  2. Have a waffle party where everyone brings their own topping
  3. Invite a bunch a friends over. Ask each couple or person to bring something to the party, like popcorn, candy, drinks, and a favorite scary movie (if they have one). It doesn't matter if you don't watch all the movies that night. Just be sure to take some breaks between movies so that people can meet with each other. Pass out pillows and blankets, so the guys can hide from the scary parts
  4. Invite several couples over to make cookies. When they're still warm, take them to the hospital or to an old folk's home
  5. Invite several couples to bring slides of a place to which they've traveled. Let each person tell about his/her special place and have refreshments with an international flavor
  6. Build stilts and go for a walk in the neighborhood
  7. Choose a topic of interest to the members of the group that requires some preparation. Ideas: Book review, spiritual discussion, political events, etc. Schedule monthly chats, with the host home to provide refreshments
  8. Cheer on a mutual friend. If the two of you have a mutual friend who is playing in a game or a concert at school, attend the performance together to cheer your friend on.
  9. Make a couple of pans of brownies. Then drive to various friends' houses and deliver a brownie or two to each friend and visit for a while. When it becomes too late to be visiting people, go home and finish off the brownies
  10. Attend an auction together. Look in the paper for events
  11. Plant a garden for someone. Make sure it's okay with them first
  12. Have a progressive fast-food dinner with soft drinks at one place, nachos at another, then burgers, fries, and sundaes, all at different restaurants
  13. Write down different favorite places to eat on individual pieces of paper and put them into a container. Then write down different meal courses (i.e. appetizer, soup, salad, main meal, dessert, etc.) on individual pieces of paper and put them into a second container. Then take turns, selecting first a location, then a course. You may have an appetizer at Baskin Robbins, soup at a Chinese restaurant, salad at McDonalds, main course at Taco Bell, dessert at Subway, etc.
    Have a picnic lunch on a floating dock
  14. Have a contest who can make the best tasting lunch using Ramen noodle soup as a "main" dish. Put a limit on buying additional ingredients. Share each others' creations
  15. Make homemade bread. Knead the dough together, then relax with a good book or watch a video while the dough rises, and while the bread is baking. Let the bread cool just enough, then enjoy hot bread with butter and jam
  16. Read scriptures or poetry around a fire. Bring flashlights
  17. Set up dinner on a hilltop or from a balcony with a view of the fireworks. Throw a swim party and have a picnic later. Then walk or drive to watch fireworks
  18. Get up early and go to a sunrise Easter service.
  19. Make a set of building blocks for a less fortunate child. Blocks can be made with scraps of wood. Have someone cut out various shapes on a table saw (don't do this yourself unless you have experience). Sand and paint the blocks. On a subsequent day, wrap the blocks in gift paper, put them on someone's porch, ring the doorbell, and run. If you want a really good feeling, swear each other to secrecy (don't tell anyone else about this act of service).
  20. Volunteer to assist in a community event, such as Special Olympics, March of Dimes, telethon, or festival
  21. Read to children at a hospital . When you act happy and enthusiastic, you will feel happy, and the children will reciprocate
  22. Get five or six couples together and paint a garage or a house for a neighbor or someone needy. Afterwards, roast hotdogs and sing songs around a fire in a park or in the mountains
  23. Make quilts for babies in less priviledged homes. A simple quilt can be made using a soft fabric, cutting 3 inch parallel lines (one inch apart) down both sides. Finish the quilt by tying knots on each strip of fabric.
  24. Take a tablecloth, silverware and candlestick and eat at MacDonald's
  25. Watch church videos together
  26. Help your younger brothers/sisters with their homework. Take them to the library to help do research on a specific subject.
  27. Take a trip to a homeless shelter and help serve food
  28. Bake cookies together and take them to a local retirement home, homeless shelter, police station or to someone you know who is ill or housebound
  29. Help a charity or nonprofit organization in your community
  30. Organize a spring clean up in your neighborhood. Find a neighbor who is single and could use some help. Be sure to bring refreshments for the helpers
  31. Make miniature smores with Golden Grahams, miniature marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Roast the marshmallow on a toothpick over a candle

    Some Winter Ideas:
  32. Shovel snow off of someone's sidewalk and driveway. It's best if you can do it before they wake up
  33. Construct igloos, then climb inside and drink hot chocolate.
    Build snow forts and have a snowball fight
  34. Wander around at Christmas time and look at all the lights then go somewhere for hot chocolate
  35. As a couple, identify a family that is struggling, either financially or emotionally and plan a secret "12 Days of Christmas" event. Each evening, drop off something (gifts, food, poems, baskets, etc.) for 12 days straight. Keep your giving a secret!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

When I am Bored

I've heard alot of people my age and younger say how frequently they are bored. I do agree, it happens, but I think with a little creativity and imagination, it should be rare!

Here are some things I like to do when I am bored:
* Go online and search Amazon or CBD for a new book to read
* Take a nap
* Make some cookies or bars
* Take a walk
* Look up strange holidays and celebrate
* Convince someone to celebrate with me
* Pet a cat
* Write a letter or email
* Make a list of things to do tomorrow
* Play a board game

For more ideas, check out
this link.


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