Presto Chango into fall

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This has been my summer mantel since the baby shower decor was taken down. Pretty boring, huh?

A seasonal change is a comin’. I found this very old oval frame at a flea market last month, and this little scroll with one of my favorite scriptures on it was a couple of dollars at a yard sale. The frame was in pretty bad shape, so I did not hesitate to get out the twine, burlap, and glue gun.

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I made a few loops of natural and white burlap, added some leaves, and twisted some jute twine around the frame and added some braided rope. I like the textures, don’t you?

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Next, I found some rusty flower tins in the basement, added some sheer bronze fabric ribbons and dried florals to the votives I already had. The little wooden pumpkins were purchased at a wonderful gift shop called Boomland Square several years ago and have been used as place card holders, cloche decor, and a number of other fall displays.

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Views from upstairs and then from the living room:

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In less than 30 minutes, Presto-chango! I may need to play with the flower buckets a bit and scatter a few leaves or acorns around, but…better, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

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Talk about your loaves and fishes…

Our small group within our larger Adult Bible Fellowship (formerly known as Sunday School Class) was responsible for providing the evening meal at the Ronald McDonald House this past Saturday evening. I was not sure how the organization of this meal was going when the group leader mentioned that we had very few people in our group and several of those were out of town. I volunteered to make two desserts. No problem. On Friday, I decided to try the Brownie Cookie recipe I’d pinned from Pinterest, but I’d also make the old stand-by Jello Poke Cake on Saturday morning, just in case.

That finished, Saint and I were off to lunch with family; my niece and her husband were bringing their incredibly handsome and well- mannered, two month old son, Owen. (See Oh, Baby earlier post) What fun!

Caller ID alerted me to a call from Pat, the leader of our small group at about 3:30. She explained that she had an infection in her leg and could hardly walk, but had made the casseroles and had bread ready to take over to the RM House. That, in itself, was a chore for an 83 year old, and she certainly would not be able to stay and help serve.  She also told me that no other members of our small group would be available to participate, but we could count on Tom and Sue, our wonderfully mission-minded couple who always help at the House.

Now, I’m definitely the Martha. I want all the lists made and checked twice, no surprises, please, and plenty of food. Always plenty of food. At the Ronald McDonald House, you never know how many to expect for dinner. Some of the guests will remain at the hospital with their loved ones, others will wander in at different times, but the meal is to be ready by 6:30. Yikes! A casserole, bread, and dessert did not seem sufficient to me. Sue assured me that she would bring either a salad or a vegetable.

 The staffer on duty at the House told me the place was packed…12 families. He looked skeptically at the scant amount of food. Saint told him he would be happy to run over to KFC and get a bucket of chicken if we needed it. The staffer suggested waiting to see how many guests showed up, and then he went about his duties in his office as we emptied dishwashers, set the table, and filled glasses with ice.

We were visiting with a young girl whose baby was born 9 weeks before term and would have to remain in NICU until her due date when Staffer came in and announced, “You won’t believe this, but we just got a call from KFC. They have some chicken left over from a banquet and will donate it if we have someone to pick it up. It just also happens that a volunteer showed up to help organize the cabinets, and she has a van. She’s on her way now to pick it up.”

Saint smiled grinned from ear to ear. “God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t he?”

Tom and Sue arrived, we set out the food we had, prayed over it and for the families and patients, and went on with the meal. The chicken lady arrived and announced that she would need the guys to help bring in the chicken. Hmmmm. I’m not the strongest fiber in the sheet, but I can lift a bucket of chicken without help. Nevertheless, both Saint and Tom went out with her and returned…each carrying three huge foil banquet pans. We scrambled trying to find counter space just in time for them to bring in another round. All in all, there must have been ten pans of grilled chicken, 3 pans of green beans, and two filled with coleslaw.

Guests began to line up to add a chicken breast to their plates. We stood amazed in His Presence. For a few seconds. Then we set about trying to figure out what to do with it all. Chicken Lady rounded up gallon sized Baggies as God sent in reinforcements in the form of two energetic high school kids looking to earn service hours and a mom chaperone. As Sue, the Mary of the group, visited with the families and listed their prayer needs to take back to our prayer warriors, the rest of us set up a make-shift highly efficient assembly line to bag better pieces and debone others for use in casseroles and pot pies.

We finished the evening with tons a lot of chicken in the freezers, a lot of grease to clean off the handles of the refrigerator, several food gloves and aluminum pans to dispose of, and thankful hearts. I’m just sayin’, “If you pray for God’s provision, you’d better have Baggies!”

Seasonal

“He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise.”

Daniel 2:21

This morning, I sit on the deck praising God for a gentle rain and cool temperatures as I enjoy a cup of hot spiced pumpkin tea. Autumn is in the air; my favorite season of the year. I start thinking about sweaters, soups, and all things pumpkin!

Today I am sharing one of my favorite pumpkin recipes. This PUMPKIN RAISIN BREAD PUDDING recipe came from The Inn at Richmond and is one of my go-to recipes for holiday brunches. I love it because it is easy to put together and can be assembled the night before.

Ingredients:

2 cups Half and Half

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup dark raisins *optional

4 T melted butter

16 slices Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Bread-torn into pieces

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin

7 eggs

2 T maple syrup

2 t vanilla

1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg (can use ground)

1/2 t ground cloves

pinch of salt

cinnamon sugar (just mix  2T of sugar with 2t of cinnamon)

Pam spray

Directions:

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with Pam. Tear bread slices into bite sized pieces into the dish and set aside. In a saucepan, simmer the milk and Half and Half with butter, sugar, and raisins until sugar dissolves.

Thoroughly mix pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup,vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

After milk mixture has cooled somewhat, mix a bit of it into the pumpkin mixture. (If milk begins to curdle, stop and let it cool further,) Whisk all the mixtures together and pour over the bread. Allow to soak at least an hour or as long as overnight, pressing the bread into the liquid to absorb.

Heat oven to 350. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture over the bread pudding and bake for about 45 minutes. Brush with a little Half and Half and return to the oven for a few minutes to allow the sugar to melt into a glaze. Serve warm with whipped cream, maple syrup, or cranberry compote.

Even though I found this picture on the internet, this is exactly what mine looks like. :)) I’ve been making it for years and everyone loves it!

Enjoy the dish, enjoy the season, and rely on the One who’s in charge of everything!

Woo Pig Sooie!

Dumpster diving is not on my bucket list. Yet. But I must confess, I am now an official trash pile picker. On one of our daily weekly sporadic walks, Saint pointed out the large pile of junk materials that one of our neighbors had accumulated. This was not news to me. I had been coveting eying that pile every time I drove by it.

“Wonder what he’s planning to do with that?” I asked.

“Burn it,” Saint replied. “When the burn ban is lifted.”

Our walk continued uneventfully until we were returning. Rain was in the forecast. That burn ban might be off in a couple of days. My feet guided me right up the back way and straight to that neighbor’s door. Saint stood way back at the end of the driveway, like he was embarrassed or something, as I asked the neighbor if they were throwing away the dresser frame in the back. She smiled. “Help yourself,” she told me.

After a minute few minutes while, Saint decided he should go get the truck. Here are a few things I dug out of the pile.

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And, since SEC football is starting, I had this idea for one of the old windows. First I cleaned, painted, and distressed (that didn’t take long…I got it out of a trash pile, after all) it. Then I used some of that hazardous wicked chicken wire (I had lots left on that huge roll, remember?) and some red and white wavy fabric. Saint helped me staple everything to the back.

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 I painted and dotted some wooden letters to attach to the top and screwed in a few eye hooks to attach some heavy twine roping. Then I added a few symbols and letters with decoupage, and no project of mine would be complete without some burlap, so I cut out this banner.

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Go ahead! Call those Hogs!

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I can think of all kinds of ways to use this. For a message board, just add a Razorback schedule, some cute paper clips, note pads,etc. Or use it as a welcome sign for your tailgating party. I really intended it to go in a dorm room. Hats, visors, jewelry, messages, assignments.

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My next project is to make a similar one for Mizzou fans. My friends and family tell me I have to choose, and I guess I do, but not until 2013! :))

 

 

 

 

Waiting for Her Prince

I really miss teaching beginning writers, especially second and third graders who are often pleasantly surprised with their finished products. Making writing fun, interesting, purposeful, and connected to real life is crucial in keeping students engaged in the process.

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite writing projects for third grade students. It evolved from a delightful book, The Paper Bag Princess, written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko.

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It’s a wonderful book to include in a literature circle because it has tons of discussion points, higher level thinking opportunities, and subtle humor. I won’t give away the story. If you haven’t read it, you really should. At one point, the sympathetic character’s castle is burned, leaving her with nothing to wear but a paper bag. Hmmmm. What could one do with a paper bag? Do you see a writing center coming into view?

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It started with this prompt:

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The only supplies needed are paper bags, scrap booking paper, construction paper, foil, buttons, any leftover craft supplies like sequins, feathers, lace, etc., paper and pencils.

All the instructions are written and posted on the board for you to enjoy. There are so many core curriculum connections, here, that you could stay busy for hours just making the connections. Construct a rubric if you wish.

Except for the example,these are real projects, designed, constructed, written about, and presented by end of the year third grade students. Typing was done by a volunteer to save time, but could easily be added to your computer center.

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See, even boys get involved when they can design athletic shirts and bags.

Have some fun with writing this year!