Archive | August, 2011

Sew a Crochet Hook Case or Colored Pencil Roll

23 Aug

Perfect for your crochet hooks or colored pencils! Great for all of you inductive bible study gals!

Sewing a cute little case for your crochet hooks or colored pencils could not be easier!  How nice to have them all in one place.  This makes a perfect gift for the crocheting friend, kid, or inductive Bible Study woman in your life.  (This craft always makes me think of my sweet mother-in-law.  I sewed one for her the first Mother’s Day after I married Brandon.) 

Cutting Directions:

  • Cut 3 10″ X 13″ pieces from your fabric
  • Cut 1 10″ X 13″ piece from batting.  You can use traditional batting or even a scrap of fleece.
  • Cut 1 30″ long piece of grosgrain ribbon.   Make sure the ends are cut at a diagonal so they do not fray. 

The finished product all rolled up and ready to go.



Sewing Directions:

  • Baste the batting to the wrong side of one of the pieces of fabric.  This will be the Outside of the case. 
  • Take another piece and fold it in half “hot dog style”.  When folded it should measure 13″ X 5″.  This will be your pocket where the crochet hooks are placed. 



  • Pin pocket unto the remaining piece of fabric (this is the inside) so that the sides and lower edges are even.  Sew along lower edge and 2 side edges. 
  • Fold ribbon in half and place the fold of the ribbon in the middle of the short side along selvage edge of the piece of fabric that will be the Outside. 

    This works great for colored pencils too!


  • Stitch the Outside and Inside wrong sides together leaving an opening 3″ wide at the bottom.
  • Turn right side out and press. 
  • Sew opening closed.  
  • Starting 1.5″ from the edge stitch a straight line down the pocket.  Repeat every 1″.  Enjoy! 

Like what you see but don’t have time to sew one yourself?  Please contact me.  I would love to sew something for you.  🙂 


Menu Plan Week of Aug. 21

23 Aug

This week is a big one in our family.  One brother is being deployed to Iraq while another one turns 16!  Looks like we will be sticking with lots of family favorites this week.

Update: The Dutch Oven has been so much fun.  It cooks great!  I have been using it mainly as cooking pot on top of the stove but look forward to using it in the oven once the weather cools down.    


  • Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal, Fruit. 
  • Lunch: Bean Soup, sautéed Cabbage, Fruit
  • Dinner: Kale, Potatoes, Sausage, Buttermilk Cornbread


  • Breakfast: Coco Wheats, Fruit, Milk
  • Lunch: Leftover Bean Soup, Cornbread
  • Dinner: Sausage, Quinoa, Peppers     



  • Breakfast: Apple Brown Rice Pudding,
  • Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwich, Veggie Sticks  
  • Dinner: Favorite Fish, Baked Potatoes, Broccoli


  • Breakfast: Yogurt, Granola
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner: Homemade Ham and Pineapple Pizza   


  • Breakfast: Muffins and Fruit on the Go 
  • Lunch: Out-brother’s deployment  
  • Dinner: Out


  • Breakfast: Quiche  
  • Lunch: Brunch: Waffles, Scrambled Eggs,
  • Dinner: Jacob’s Birthday Party  

Menu Plan Week of Aug. 15

16 Aug

After a fun-filled vacation with just the hubby we will be eating in most of the next few weeks.  🙂  I’m hoping to try a few new recipes using my new Dutch Oven and some old family favorites as well. 


  • Breakfast: Cereal, Milk, Banana
  • Lunch: Bean Quesadilla, Stewed Tomatoes
  • Dinner: Chili Macaroni Casserole, Fruit Salad.


  • Breakfast: Toast with Fried Eggs, Banana 
  • Lunch: Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana
  • Dinner: Out using a BOGO coupon at Logan’s.  (Brandon’s reward for getting family pictures made.)    


  • Breakfast: Baked Apple Oatmeal in the Toaster Oven, Raspberries, Milk
  • Lunch: Grilled Hummus Sandwich with Zuppa Soup
  • Dinner: Leftover Chili Mac and Zuppa Soup    
  • To do: Thaw chicken


  • Breakfast: Vegetarian Quiche
  • Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwich, Veggie Sticks  
  • Dinner: Chicken and Dumplings with Mixed Veggies Healthy Style 🙂
  • To Do: Soak Black Beans, Make Yogurt


  • Breakfast: Cream of Wheat, Yogurt
  • Lunch: Leftover Soup, Chicken Salad
  • Dinner: Black Beans and Rice with Taco Bar type toppings   
  • To Do: Bake Muffins, Prep Breakfast Casserole


  • Breakfast: Pancakes, Fruit
  • Lunch: Brunch with Friends: Muffins, Sausage Egg Casserole, Fruit  
  • Dinner: Leftovers    


  • Breakfast: Leftover Brunch food  
  • Lunch: CrockPot Chicken and Rice
  • Dinner: Minestrone 

Finding the Time to Read

12 Aug


Since I post book reviews from time to time I am often asked how I find the time to read so many books.  Aside from studying God’s Word, reading is one of my best sources for encouragement.  I cannot begin to describe all of the things I have learned in just the past year through reading.  I’m sure that most of us would agree that reading is important but how do we squeeze the time out of our already busy schedules to do so?  I thought it might be helpful to offer a few thoughts on incorporating more reading into your own life.

  1. Make a Commitment: to read even if it is a small one.  You could either make a goal to read a certain number of books per year or to spend so many minutes per day reading.  During extremely busy seasons of life I may only read 10 minutes daily.  The important thing is just to read.  (I currently have a goal of reading 4 books each month.)
  2. Read Before Bed: I believe I have been reading before bed ever since the days when it was my Mom reading the Little House books.  Even while in college this continued to be a tradition of mine.  It is a great way to unwind and prepare for sleep. 
  3. Carry a Book With You: I purposefully usually only carry a purse that can accommodate a small book inside.  In this way I am able to make good use of my time wherever I am.  It also makes the time pass much more quickly. 
  4. Read While Nursing: One thing that I absolutely loved about nursing  was how much reading I could do.  I read dozens of books while snuggled up close with Eli. 
  5. Guard Television Time: The average American spends 4 hours a day watching television which equals out to 9 years of a person’s life.  Try turning your television off for an evening and reading instead.  I guarantee your evening will be more pleasant. 
  6. Invest in Audi Books: Most local libraries have a great selection of audiobooks on both cd and cassette tape.  I love to listen to a tape while traveling or even cleaning the kitchen.  Just another great way to make better use of your time. 

Read a Variety of Books: I try to read a wide variety of books.  Currently I am reading a nutrition book, job search book, craft book, and a marriage book.  I try to think of all of the different hats I wear and choose books to help me in different areas.  It is amazing what you can glean from the pages of a book!

Homemade Fingerpainting

10 Aug
How have we not fingerpainted before now?


The other day I realized Eli had never finger painted before!  Imagine a 20 month old who has never painted with his fingers.  That had to be remedied right away so I hopped into the kitchen and made some.  So simple and so fun!  

Homemade Fingerpaint is so easy!

Homemade Finger Paint Recipe:
  1. Dissolve 1/2 c. cornstarch into 1/4 c. cold water. Set aside. 
  2. In a saucepan boil 1.5 cups of water. 
  3. Remove from heat and add cornstarch/water mix stirring constantly. 
  4. Place saucepan back on the heat and boil 1 minute until the mixture is thick.  Divide mixture in half. 
  5. Add 1/8 t. to each mixture. 
  6. Allow paint to cool until it is just slightly warm and enjoy with your little one. 🙂

    The finished product. A definite success!


This was such a fun sensory project. Eli also made some great pictures to mail to the grandparents.


This activity is perfectly suited for a nice summer day.

Thankful for a Neighbor’s Kindness

9 Aug

Our new free play house for the backyard.

On Saturday I was fortunate to run into a neighbor who was giving away his son’s outdoor toys.  Yes!  We spend a good 2 hours outside daily and I was thrilled at the prospect of some new toys.  After unsuccessfully trying to place the toys in our van our sweet neighbor packed them up and delivered them at our house!  I didn’t even know the man before Saturday but you better believe that a loaf of homemade bread will be on his door step by the end of the week! 

Eli loves the window in the little house. He has already tried to head dive right through it!

The house is the perfect size for Eli. I can't wait till we can have friends over to play in it.

The second little blessing.

It's the perfect size for Eli!

A precious little boy enjoying his new toys. So blessed!

Sew a Toddler Messenger Bag

6 Aug
The messenger bag is the perfect size for a snack and drink or just a few toys or small book.


I have been wanting to make Eli his own little bag for at least a year now.  I finally got around to it last week.  This was such a fun easy project!  One that will definitely grow with Eli as he gets older.  I can just picture him putting all sorts of backyard treasures in it for years to come. 🙂 


  • 27″ X 10″ piece of fabric for the outside
  • 27′ X 10″ piece of fabric for lining
  • 11″ X 10″ scrap of fabric for pocket
  • 2 strips cut: 2″ X 27″ for the strap. 


Place your 2 strips right sides together. Sew along both long sides and 1 short side. Turn inside out and press. Fold selvage ends under and sew across remaining edge.



Serge edges of pocket. Fold in all seams 1/2" and sew. Fold up bottom pocket 3". Sew along side edges.


Beginning 1.5" inches from the edge sew a straight line from the top of the pouch to the bottom. Then sew 6 more at 1" intervals.


View of the pocket with crayons inserted.


View with the flap down. I added the flap so the crayons would not mark everything that got placed in the bag.


Next take your piece of lining fabric and place it so that it is vertical.  Measure up 12″ and place the bottom of your pocket here.  Pin pocket in place.  Sew the two short sides and bottom sides.  Leave the flap part free.  (You can easily forget the crayon pocket if you wish or make it a regular pocket.) 

Take your fabric (27X10) and fold up like so at 9". Sew along the top and bottom seams as shown in picture above. Do the same for the lining fabric.


At the corners pull the fabric out to make a triangle. Then sew across 1" from the edge. This will give the bag more shape and help it to look more like a messenger bag than a purse.


Lay bag and lining right sides together. Round the top edges using a bowl, lid, or cup as a guide. Sew around the edges leaving 4" open so that you will be able to turn it.


Serge or finish edges. Turn right side out. Press. Sew the 4" opening closed. Topstitch around bag.


Attach strap at sides. Sew a rectangle and then an x inside for added support.


Attach sentimental mom label and you are finished!


All done!


Finished inside view with crayon flap up.


Final verdict: Eli loves his bag! We took it with us to a Revolutionary Kids battle day and it was perfect!

July Reads

6 Aug

Great Reads this month.


Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye by Dr. Ellie Phillips: This has to be one of the most intriguing books I have read in a long time.  I doubt many of you get excited about reading a book about improving your oral health like I do.  Brandon definitely laughed but it is great!  Honest.  It really has nothing to do with getting rid of your dentist as the title suggests.  Instead Dr. Phillips encourages the reader to take charge of their own dental health.  I also really appreciated her discussion of fluoride, bleaching, and sealants.  Overall the book was definitely intriguing and one I would highly recommend.  I’m hoping to try her oral care system soon. 

  The Tightwad Gazette II by Amy Dacyzyn: If you haven’t read this book run to the nearest library and check it out!  If for some strange reason your library doesn’t have it pick it up at the nearest half priced book store.  It is excellent.  I have learned so much from scanning these pages!  There are actually 3 volumes to this series.  I try to read them at least a couple of times a year. 

Honey For a Child’s heart: by Gladys Hunt.  I love the practicality of this book.  Not only does Hunt motivate you to read to your child but she provides suggested reading lists for different ages of great books.  Instead of just blindly reading and purchasing any book she encourages you to look for that which is best.  We have been reading through some of her book lists and have found them to be excellent!  A great place to start when looking for good books for little ones.   

The Job Search Solution: by Besheara.  I’m just barely started on this one but it looks pretty good.  I’ll keep you updated. 

Homemade by Reader’s Digest: Usually I don’t find these types of save money recipe books to be all that helpful but this one is by far the exception!  This book includes all sorts of things: food, beauty remedies, cleaning products and so much more.  One I would definitely like to add to my library one day. 

Doodle Stitching: by Aimee Ray.  This book is all about embroidery-something I use to do quite often as a young girl.  Hoping to carve out some time soon to try my hand at embroidering a onesie soon.  The book includes a cd with all 400 of the designs on it.  There is also a nice section which explains the basic embroidery stitches in more detail. 

Anyone have any good recommendations for August reads?