Monday, February 28, 2011

On the Mend

Things in blog world seemed to come to a stop the past week or two for me.  Sickness infiltrated our home, and I've been doing my best to prevent, recover, mend, and resurrect.  So, Abby and I are slowly getting healthy again.

In celebration of the light at the end of the tunnel, the weather decided to lend a hand and present itself a lovely 80 degrees the past few days.  In return, I found it necessary to frequent one of my favorite spots in Raleigh yesterday. 

Simply lovely.  That's all I have to say about that.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Frugal Friday: Wall Collage

As part of my quest to redecorate our home, we decided to get rid of the TV that was mounted on our bedroom wall.  As wonderful as it was to watch TV shows and movies late at night, tucked nice a cozy into bed, we thought it best to just have our downstairs TV.  I also wanted to personalize our room, so I thought I would attempt a photo wall collage.  Here's the finished project after sanding the holes left from the TV mount, filling them in, and doing a touch-up paint job (Ahhhhhh!  I never want to fill and paint over gaping craters in my walls again!):

Here's the price breakdown:
- 1 frame from the attic = Free
- 3 frames from Walmart = $6
- 1 frame from Goodwill = $2
- 1 wall ledge from Goodwill = $2
- Monogrammed plaques (and extra supplies) = $14

So all in all, my new wall collage cost around $28...not bad for a personalized touch to the room and extra supplies from the monogrammed plaques for future projects!  Also much cheaper than trying to find a large print to fill up a large space on the wall.  You could easily make this free using frames you already have and skipping the monogrammed plaques.

By the way, there is more to come on the bedroom redo :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mini Nacho Libre

For those of you that are fans of Nacho Libre, this will make sense.  For those of you that are not, this may be one of the most confusing things you come across today.  And for that, I apologize.

"These are my recreation clothes."
"Go away! Read some books!"

"Precious Father, why have you given me this desire to wrestle and then made me such a stinky warrior? "

"Chancho, when you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. It's for fun."

"My life is good. Real good."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Machine-Made Dinner

This was the scene in my kitchen today.  Lots of machines and no Kristin.  My absence in the kitchen was exactly what I wanted on a lazy Saturday.  Thanks to my crock pot and bread machine, we had a delicious dinner and I only stepped in the kitchen a few times to raid the candy bowl.

These two wonderful machines miraculously produced the following at 6:00pm this evening:

Traditional white bread...

...and split pea soup!
I would give you the recipe for the bread, but I'm pretty sure it is tailored to my specific bread machine.  The split pea soup recipe from, however, is yours to make.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup
1 (16 oz.) pkg. dried green split peas, rinsed
3 cups diced ham
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 ribs of celery plus leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, or 2 t. dried parsley flakes
1 T. seasoned salt (or to taste)
1/2 t. fresh pepper
1 1/2 qts. hot water

Layer ingredients in slow cooker in the order given; pour in water.  Do not stir ingredients.  Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours or on slow 8-10 hours until peas are very soft.  Remove bay leaf.  Mash peas to thicken more, if desired.  Serve garnished with croutons.  Serves 8.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Waiting for Daddy

Frugal Friday: Crafty Monograms

As some of you know, I made it a goal to redecorate my house this year.  As I listed my desired projects and items to get, I became quite discouraged by how much it cost!  So, I decided to try a frugal short cut and make many of the pretty things I had my heart set on.  My first project was a picture collage in the master bedroom that I wanted to personalize with monogrammed plaques.  So, I went to Michael's and loaded my cart with:

two wooden plaques ($2.00 each),

( Sorry, this isn't the one I used, but wanted to show you what something like this looks like unpainted,)

acrylic paint ($.50), spray adhesive ($3.00), Mod Podge ($7.00), and a foam brush ($.40).

I painted the edges of the wooden plaque with the brown paint and let it dry.  Then I traced the outline of the plaque onto pretty scrapbook paper that I already had (though, if you were to buy it, it would probably cost $.25 each), cut the scrapbook paper, and glued it to the wooden plaque using the spray adhesive.  Next, I used my Cricut machine to cut out the monogrammed letter on card stock (also super cheap).  If you don't have a Cricut machine, no problem!  Just find a font and size you like on your computer, print out the letter, cut it out, and trace it on your scrapbook paper.  Then just cut the letter out.  Use the spray adhesive to glue the letter onto the plaque.  Finally, brush the Mod Podge on everything, using thin layers.  If the paper starts bubbling up, wait until it's mostly dry and press the air out. 

And, voila!  You get this:

So, all in all, it cost around $14 to make both plaques...$7 each!  And I barely made a dent in the paint, spray adhesive, and Mod Podge.  So, tons of leftovers to use on other projects.  And I mean tons.  You may want to stay away from the Schoolfield house because I may try and Mod Podge you.

I am super happy with the results and will show the final reveal of the photo collage later...that is, once I patch and paint all the holes in the wall from previous pictures and failed attempts at hanging the pictures in the right spots :(

Linking to:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book Review: Shattered Dreams (Crabb)

As a counselor and someone who has asked where God was in the midst of difficult times, I decided to read and review Shattered Dreams.  Crabb artfully weaves together sound theology, self-disclosure, case studies, and the stirring Biblical story of Naomi to explain God’s purposes for unfulfilled dreams and what we learn are often sinful expectations.  Truly, I believe, Crabb is a gifted writer who speaks not only to the mind, but also to the heart in the area of sanctification.  Oftentimes after reading a book like this, I have the “right” theological answer, but am left to still struggle with the daily application and the emotions that don’t seem to change with just knowing the right answer.  Crabb is not afraid to ask the hard questions or to even voice those doubts and thoughts we often think we need to hide as Christians.  I’ve come across many friends and clients who, in their darkest moments, voice the same tear-filled thoughts, and this book could help to put more than a band-aid on their pain by lovingly and truthfully pointing them to God.
Crabb’s main point is that God uses suffering to create in us a desire for an encounter with Him that not only points us to a better hope, but fulfills God's own purposes of His glory.  This encounter with God allows for community and our lives to be transformed to be more like Christ.  He takes us on a journey the first few chapters, acknowledging that bad things happen and expressing the frustration we often feel towards God when we think He is absent from our pain.  He then proceeds to strip away the too-often believed idea that God’s purpose is to make us happy and that He is an object to be used to get what we want.  Crabb painfully extracts the hidden ways we do this, oftentimes laced with good intentions or Christianized meaning.   He weaves in the story of Naomi, inviting the reader to experience her loss of hope and struggle towards seeing God for who He, desiring an encounter with Him, and creating in her a deeper hope.  As a gifted writer, Crabb keeps the reader’s attention, as the chapters are short and cliffhangers or questions to be answered are presented at the end of most chapters.
By the end of the book, the reader has read the initial discouraging thoughts of Naomi, felt the painful emotions of shattered dreams, and has rejoiced with her in her better hope.  The reader hopefully comes out the other side more inviting of these shattered dreams, even seeing them as desirable and good, knowing that the hope from God that comes from these trials is far richer than anything that this world has to offer.
Crabb assumes the work of Christ in the reader’s life, so this wouldn’t necessarily be a book for a non-Christian.   He also leans heavily towards the use of the name “God” (though uses “Christ” interchangeably), speaking to, but not obviously fleshing out the Gospel.  This would be one area that I wish would have been stronger and a little more complete.
Overall, this book is most helpful with changing our paradigms of who God is and His purposes.  I echo Crabb in his desire for a revolution that focuses more on a hunger for God than fixing problems and feeling better.

(Waterbrook Multomah Publishers/Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.)


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