Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Harvest of Grace - A Review

The Harvest of Grace: Book 3 in the Ada's House Amish Romance Series (An Ada's House Novel)
To see inside the book click HERE.
I was so excited to snag a copy of Cindy Woodsmall's new book "The Harvest of Grace" because I just love Christian Fiction books that are based on the Amish and of course I love every one of the Cindy Woodsmall books that I have read in the past.  "The Harvest of Grace" did not disappoint me in any way!

True to the usual style of Woodsmall, "The Harvest of Grace", she takes you through the struggles of Amish characters between the call of their traditions and the call of their Christian walk.  In this story, Sylvia Fisher is a woman that after trouble with an old beau, is forced to move far from her family and the life that she has always known.  Unlike most Amish women, Sylvia has no desire to follow the usual path of an Amish woman of housekeeping and children, Sylvia's heart's desire is to run a dairy farm.

As Sylvia fights to find her place and respect while trying revive a debt-laden farm from disaster, Aaron Blank, the farmer's son returns home to prove his sobriety and credibility.  Aaron struggles with finding peace with his father, proving himself to be changed, and accepting the new farm hand, Sylvia.  Aaron wants to get rid of the farm and begin a new life.

This novel kept me wondering if Aaron and Sylvia could find peace, a place between the old and new life, and save the farm from failure.  I found myself rooting for the farm to be a success and the farm to fail all at once as both characters, Sylvia and Aaron struggled with their own issues of coming to their own.

I highly recommend this book and found it to be hard to set down once started.  I did receive a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Press for this review.  All opinions are mine.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Everything is Permissable

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
- New American Standard Version (1995)

I haven't really quoted scripture in my blog posts, because frankly, I'm not usually attracted to posts that are preaching.  But I wanted to include this scripture in my pursuit of healthy living.  This scripture has really been convicting me lately.  Here's another version this verse:

 Everything is allowable to me, but not everything is profitable. Everything is allowable to me, but to nothing will I become a slave.
- Weymouth Bible

Why do I bring scripture to this post?  Well, I find myself exercising, drinking water, becoming more active, eating less of what I usually eat, and yet I still haven't lost a pound.  In the back of my mind, I keep feeling the Lord leading me to the thought that I need to make some sacrifices in my food.  That possibly, some things are just not permissible to me right now in my pursuit of healthy living.

And worse, in the back of my mind and convictions, God might actually ask of me the permanent sacrifice of some food forever!  Yes, I said it, forever I may not be able to have the sweets that I love and feel rewarded by!  But that is just the problem.  I feel rewarded by foods.

Although sweets are allowable, even permissible, the real question I ask myself right now is, "Is it profitable?"  Does it benefit me?  Especially in a time when I am trying to be healthy and ultimately lose weight.  But worse, is my focus about the food and filling my issues with the food rather than with God?  That is the question that I am trying to wrestle with right now.  I'm not there yet, but I do feel myself going towards abstaining from my favorites for now, maybe even forever...

What about you?  Do you have foods that you know you shouldn't, or can't have, or it causes you to fail in your healthy living?  Are you willing to make a holy sacrifice, even of food?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Burlap Table Runner

You might have noticed the table runner that I made for our Ladies Tea back HERE.  It was a very simple and inexpensive project to make, especially since I had the burlap sack on hand.Here's another view of how the runner looked with the table settings.  I just used simple whites to go with the burlap to keep things simple and clean looking.

 I'm going to try to tell you how I made this runner.  You will need:

  • Burlap sack
  • White material - I used 100% cotton sheets, but you could use muslin or any material you'd like.  Just be sure the weight is light.
  • Thread - matching and contrasting
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine

Here's the sack I began with.  I found it at a rummage sale for $3!  I only bought four of them, but wished I had more in my budget for them all!  I've already sold one of my table runners and recouped my costs, plus made a little extra.

The first thing that I did was cut off the side seams of the sack.  I left the entire length of the sack.  The first time I made one, I lamented over trying to undo the seam, but decided that it wasn't worth the time.  I've used the side seams for other projects, so if you hate to cut them off, keep them for another project.

 Next, fold over the edge (that you just cut off) a half inch and then fold another half inch and sew down the center.  I do the folding as I sew, which isn't easy, but it's easier than trying to get pins into the thicker burlap.  Also, you don't want to iron the burlap, because it stinks when it gets warm.
 I have found that on the corners, it is too thick to use the machine through, so I trim the corner down and sew as far as the machine will let me.  Since the end already has a seam, I leave that edge with the factory seam.  You could hem that too, if you are just using a piece of burlap.
Next, I cut two strips of white material (I used a sheet that I had used the rest of for the backing on a quilt.) that was 7 inches wide and about 2 1/2 times longer than the end of the runner.  There's no rocket science on this, I literally held the material up to the edge to make sure it was at least twice the length of it.

Fold the strip of material in half length-wise and sew a 1/2 inch seam down the edge, forming a long tub with your material.  You could even use a quarter inch seam for this, but I like to do a little larger seam so it doesn't unravel later on.

 Press the tube flat with the seam in the middle of one side of the tube.  Try NOT to put the seam where you are going attach the ruffle to the table runner.  I learned this the hard way and put the seam where I was attaching the ruffle - it was so thick my machine had a difficult time sewing the ruffle on!  While I was ironing, I also folded the edges in about 1/2 inch.
 To finish the ends, after iron, I stitched at a quarter inch from the edge to close it up.
 I change the basting thread to a contrasting color, so I can easily find the threads to pull out.  Sometimes I think it would be easier just to leave the same color and leave the strings there, but the correct way to do ruffles, is to remove the basting stitches.

Baste 1/4 of an inch and 3/4 an inch away from the top edge of your ruffle.  You can change these measurements if yo would like a larger top edge on the ruffle. Then pull to make the ruffle the same width of runner.
Next you are going to pin like crazy!  Pin the seam on the back side of the ruffle, so it is not visible. The more you pin the ruffle in place the better it will look in the long run.  This is not a place where you can just put the ruffle in place as you go!  Pinning is key.

Another view of the pinning.  You will want to move the gathers around to look even.  I love adding the ruffle to the burlap, because it already is rustic, so if the ruffle is not perfect, it still looks great.

Now, you get to sew down the center of the two basting stitches with a regular stitch in the thread you want the runner finished in.  Then the fun part, remove the basting stitches (the orange thread, in my case.)  And really, that's it!  You have a rustic, yet beautiful table runner to use.  I am listing this one in my Etsy shop, so please consider supporting my family (right now, we are raising funds to send my son on a trip to Japan as a 4-H delegate!).  Here's the link: Prairie Scraps Shop.

Also, be sure to check out those blogs that I love to link up to in the right column.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Living Proof Live

Let me start with an apology (that would be how Beth Moore would begin).  My pictures are really great pictures.  I borrowed my son's Kodak Easyshare camera, and it's just not as easy to use for me as my Nikon DSLR.  It was nice and small to carry, though.  Also, I apologize for  my absenteeism lately, I've been pretty busy being Mom.  With that out of the way, I wanted to just share a glimpse of the fabulous Ladies Conference that I was able to attend in Boise, ID this past weekend!  Beth packed so much into this last Friday night and Saturday morning, that I feel like I haven't had a chance to really process it all yet.

The music was fabulous!  I miss the contemporary Christian music each week at church.  We just haven't found that church that has what we are looking for, yet.  But for now, we love all the people at the church we are attending, and for now, I appreciate the great group of women that have included me in their circle.

What can one really say about Beth Moore?  She is just bigger than life, and had just a great message for women to carry.  If you ever get a chance to see her in person, I highly suggest it.  If not, I suggest signing up for one of many bible studies at a local church.  If none around are running studies, you can even take the studies on the internet through Beth's Website here.  Taking care of your spiritual well-being is so important.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Double Duty Exercise

Two athletes doing exercise on treadmill  As a Mom of 5, I'm always looking for ways to get more done in less time, so I'm not sure why it took me so long to come up with this idea!

 I have really dry feet.  The dermatologist said to put thick lotions on my feet 3-5 times a day and wear socks at night to keep the moisture in my feet.  Well, first of all, I barely get my teeth brushed most days, I certainly don't have time to lather up several times a day.

In fact, I barely seem to have time to exercise in everyday, but I've been making the effort to make some healthy changes.  A few weeks ago, I was putting on my tennis shoes to run on the treadmill and had an aha! moment!  I could put a think layer of lotion on my feet before I worked out, under my socks and my feet would have a chance to stay moist through my workout!

I did have some doubts, that maybe it would be uncomfortable, since my feet would sweating with lotion on them, but amazingly, it doesn't bother me during exercising and my feet are moisturized when I'm done!  It worked, my exercise does double duty!

Do you have ways you do double duty during exercise?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Make Your Own Business Cards

We are frantically getting our son ready to go on an international exchange trip this summer and one of the things that he is supposed to bring with him are business cards.  I was going to buy the computer business cards to go through our printer, when I got to thinking that I should just make him one on my Storybook Creator 4.0 and print it up as a 4x6 photo.

I opened a new project up on the "Local Printer" option in the printer and chose to make a "4x6 portrait" card. I used the Basketball Digital Additions to make the basketball background and the basketball in the background.  (The star over his face is also from that addition.) For the State of Idaho and the state bird and flower, I used the North American Road Trip Digital Kit, which was only available to my customers enrolled in the Rewards Club.  (The Rewards Club gives a 15% reward on all purchases and also has exclusive products and deals just for members.  Please check this link to sign up today and start saving.)

I just added my text boxes for the addresses and the wording, and finally a picture of my wonderful child!  I copied again to the bottom of the card and saved it onto my hard drive to order prints from any printer.  I waited for a good deal (Buy 25 get 25 free) then ordered them twice.  We needed to have 200 cards total, and since each card made two cards, I only needed to order 100.

For a special treat for the kids he meets, he stapled an individual lifesaver to the back.  I think he is going to be pretty popular overseas when he takes these out.  They are a little bigger than a business card at 3x4, but they look great and the photo is higher quality than I could do on my printer at home (and a I saved my ink.)

Overall, I think the entire project cost us less than $10 including the candy, so it worked well for him.  He loves them and can't wait to give them out!

I am an Independent Consultant for Creative Memories and would love for you to support my home business by checking out my website HERE.  You can try out the Storybook Creator 4.0 for one month for FREE by going HERE.  I make commissions on all sales from my website.  Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Motivation From TV

I know it doesn't sound right that TV should be the motivation for healthy living, but I have found a show that is motivating to me.  Each morning, as I try to get through my emails, blog and Facebook, I run an episode of  The Revolution to get me going for the day.  You can go HERE to view episodes and read about the show.  

I started watching the show because Ty Pennington was on it.  I love him from back in his HGTV days.  I watched his ongoing home makeover show, but lost interest in it after too many tears!  I started to watch, really to see what his new project is.  I'm hooked, but not for the usual reasons that I love TV shows!

This time, I'm hooked on The Revolution, because each week, they feature a woman trying to lose weight for the entire week.  They show her real life goals, tears, struggles, everything...  Each day, they show a month later in her weight loss progress and on the final day, have her in the studio to reveal her total weight loss.  I watch and listen each morning to my recorded episode to get the motivation I need to get up and do the things I need to do to be healthy for the day.  It's like having a trainer, but not paying for the trainer to motivate you!

I've been really struggling with wanting to nap in the afternoon - so I've turned this show on and actually watched it partially, and had to get off the couch (which I was intent on napping on) and gone on with my day.  It actually makes me feel like I need to get going again, even though I thought I needed a nap. 

Check it out and let me know what you think.  Here's a link to the episodes: The Revolution Episode.  Also, be sure to check out the blogs on the right that I love to link up to.