Archive | April, 2012

Toddler Activity: Cheerios Bird Feeder

30 Apr

Cheerios for the birds

One of our favorite recent toddler activities is making “bird feeders.”  All it takes is one pipe cleaner and a handful of Cheerios.

The first time you do this activity you will probably need to show your child what to do.  I always begin by making a knot at the end of the pipe cleaner so that the Cheerios don’t fall off.  Then I demonstrate gently threading a Cheerio through the end of the pipe cleaner and pushing it down the pipe cleaner.

He's so proud!

This is a great activity for developing motor skills.  I also found that it was a great way to teach what “gentle” means.  Elijah had to be very gentle with the Cheerios or they would break.  🙂


On his way to go hang up his bird feeder.


Simply wrap the end of the bird feeder around a branch and wait for the birds to enjoy.



Elijah enjoying his handiwork and stylin' at the same time.

This activity is a great way to use up stale Cheerios or Cheerios that have fallen onto the floor.  Around our house we find this is a wonderful activity to keep Elijah occupied while I am finishing up dinner.


CrockPot 40 Clove Chicken a.k.a. World’s Best Chicken

26 Apr

Eight to ten hours later dinner is served!

A couple of years ago I made a profound discovery in the kitchen.  Meat cooked with the bone still intact tastes 100 times better than regular chicken breasts.  (It’s also MUCH MUCH cheaper!)  If you don’t believe me just try this easy peasy 40 Clove Chicken in the Crockpot.  🙂  (These days we hardly EVER bake regular boneless chicken breasts as we prefer baked chicken.)

Rinse chicken and pat dry. (I recommend using paper towels and disinfecting counter and sink afterwards.)

Spray CrockPot with non-stick spray. Chop 2 stalks of celery and place in bottom of slow cooker.

If you have a favorite poultry seasoning feel free to use it in place of mine.  Here is what I usually use.  Combine: 1 t. salt, 1 t. dried sage, 1 t. dried thyme, 1/2 t. dried rosemary, 1/2 t. pepper.

Since we do not usually eat the skin on our chicken I like to place the spices directly under the skin.

I usually use a small spoon to place the spices deep inside under the skin on the chicken breast.

Slice a lemon and place deep inside the cavity. This gives the chicken a wonderful flavor! 🙂

Rub chicken with olive oil and place in slow cooker. Add remaining spices to the chicken and rub in.

Add 1 c. of chicken broth around chicken. Separate 3 heads of garlic into individual cloves (do not peel). Place around chicken. Cover and cook about 10 hours or until chicken is done.

Remove chicken and place on a serving platter.  Allow chicken to cool slightly.  Serve with toasted French bread or Italian Bread.  We like to squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins and spread on the bread.  Around our house we also like to call this Point Chicken.  We have such fond memories of enjoying it with friends from our former church (The Point).  🙂


March Reads

18 Apr



Phew!  What a busy month March turned out to be at the Emerson household.  I wasn’t able to spend much time reading this month but I was blessed in so many other ways.  The weather was wonderful and we all really enjoyed extra time outside.  I went hiking twice once with friends at Cumberland Falls and once with family at Blue Licks.  My brother was home for a brief leave from Kuwait and was able to be home for Easter.  🙂  There was also lots of good snuggling with my favorite little boy and many children’s books read.  Maybe I will have to list a few of our favorites next month.  🙂  

This month I read only two books:

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis.  Hands down this is the most impactful book I have read this year!  The book was challenging and moving.  Although only in her early twenties Katie Davis serves as a missionary in Uganda and is the mother of fourteen adopted children.  As I read through the book I kept thinking I want to know God like she does.  In many ways I felt as though I was reading through a book by Amy Carmichael or Elisabeth Elliot.  If you only read one book this year make it this one.  

A is for Apron by Nathalie Mornu.  This little book is filled with adorable aprons to sew.  I had no idea there were that many styles of aprons!  The book did have some good ideas on decorating aprons and lots of photographs of interesting vintage aprons.  The one thing I did hate about the book is the fact that all of the patterns have to be enlarged on a copier.  What a major pain.  I’m not sure that our printer can do this and there is no way I am taking Elijah to Staples to enlarge a pattern when I can just sew one of the many patterns I already have on hand.  🙂  Thankfully this is only a library book and not one that I plan on purchasing.  I am planning on sewing the Dig It (gardening) Apron on page 37 within the next month as there are just measurements given and not actual pattern pieces that must be copied and enlarged. 

A Case for Simple Offertories

17 Apr


This past Sunday I played one of the simplest piano arrangements that I have played in probably the last ten years.  For those of you who don’t know I am blessed with the opportunity to serve as our church’s pianist.  What a delight to participate weekly in corporate worship.  🙂  I thoroughly love playing the piano for our church services despite the fact that I still get fairly nervous.  😮  Part of serving as the church pianist includes playing the Offertory each week.

Somehow I think there is this misconception that Offertories must be the most difficult, challenging, impressive pieces a pianist can possibly learn to play the upcoming week.  Besides adding background music during the taking up of the tithes and offerings the Offertory provides another important aspect to the service.  In our church the Offertory is often followed by the preaching of God’s Word.  The Offertory provides an important time of reflection for church members as they prepare to hear God speak to them through the sermon.

All of that to say that sometimes the best Offertory piece is one that will help the congregation quiet their hearts before they hear the message that God has for them.  Today I played To Be Like Thee-a slow, reflective piece.  I can only hope that it helped church members quiet their own hearts and reflect on what it means to be like Christ.

Simplicity 2165 Review: Baby Swaddler-Baby Shower Gift

15 Apr

Such a fun gift to sew and give away.


This past week I was blessed to be able to attend 2 baby showers!  🙂  How fun to be able to “shower” a friend with gifts as she prepares for the birth of her son/daughter.  Looking back on my showers for Elijah many of the gifts that meant the most were those which someone made especially for me.  I like to do the same hoping that the gift will mean a lot to my friend knowing that it was made with lots of love and prayers.  Sewing for babies is also a blast!  🙂

I picked up Simplicity 2165 a couple of weeks ago knowing that any of the projects would be perfect to give away.  The pattern includes a nursing cover, diaper changing mat, doll (with clothes), decorative ruffle butt girl diaper covers, and a baby swaddler.  I made the baby swaddler (they call it a bunting) this past week.  It was such a great pattern that I actually made it twice one for each friend.  🙂


I chose a soft flannel for both the lining and outside fabric. Flannel is my favorite type of fabric to work with for babies.


The only part of the pattern that I found slightly difficult was the very first step-making the darts on the bunting front.  I actually called Simplicity’s 1 800 number and spoke to the sweetest lady who helped me figure it out.  🙂  Other than that this pattern would work well for even a beginner seamstress.  The last step was also a little bit difficult with velcro placement.  Before you sew on the velcro be sure to double-check the placement.

I haven’t actually used this swaddler/bunting on my own child so I can’t actually say how well it works on an actual baby.  It is awfully cute though don’t you think?  I was very pleased with how it turned out.  I am sure this will go in the tried and true pile.  🙂