Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Craft Day Review

This past Saturday, my sister and I had a Sister Day, which was much more practical for us than a Brother Day. I picked her up around 8:00 and we drove to 28th St. All the Saturday after Thanksgiving sales were still technically going on, but everyone was tired or dead from Black Friday, so the stores weren't really crowded, which was nice.

1. Jo-Ann's - We checked out their yarn sale. I've never used Vanna's Choice and they had a great sale on it, so we just wanted to feel what it was like. It was okay, but I decided I wanted to see what they had at other stores first. We did pick up some gold and silver thread for a project that you'll see in my blog on Friday. They had a BOGO sale on the thread, plus I had a coupon, so we got a great deal.

2. Michaels - We just looked around and decided we didn't need anything there.

3. Hobby Lobby - Love this store! Chloe got her jewelry wire for 50% off. And then they have I Love This Yarn! yarn which Chloe and I decided is the best yarn. It's one of the "super saver" yarns, but it's softer than them, and cheaper, and comes in more colors, and has a slight sheen to it. (Note: Red Heart yarn is horrible, scratchy, and pills. I don't care how cheap it is; never buy it.) I picked up 9 skeins of I Love This Yarn! in different colors. The results of that will be shown when they're finished. But doesn't this look exciting!

4. Bed, Bath, and Beyond - We picked up a Christmas present and 2 bath mats for our kitchen (they're softer than kitchen mats!), all for 20% off. Huzzah for coupons!

5. Salvation Army - Chloe had never seen the 28th St store before, so we went in just to look. It smelled way worse than thrift stores usually do, though. We left quickly.

6. Family Christian Stores - My least favorite store in the world. They're always trying to push products on you and they try to guilt you into sponsoring children. But I had a $20 gift certificate (that I couldn't spend online because their website doesn't like my certificate) so I bought a couple things that will be Christmas presents.

7. At this point, it was only 11:00 and we didn't want to go home yet, so we walked around the mall for an hour and didn't buy anything.

Home again, home again, jiggity jog. Strange thing, there was actually more traffic by our house than on 28th St! Crazy!

I taught Chloe to make this crochet flower and started wrist warmers which are a Christmas gift for someone else.

We ate lunch and then worked on a project which you'll see on Friday.

We made lots of paper beads.

And then I tried to teach her how to use and charge the iPod I handed down to her, but it may have died.

All in all, it was an interesting day and very long! I didn't leave Chloe's house until 8:45PM.

And now I have yarn for a million projects!

I'm so excited for Christmas!!!!

Love and Yarn,


P.S. Haha… this was a yarn about yarn!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Literal Music Video

What would happen if music videos actually had something to do with the words the artist is singing? Some people have taken some music videos and dubbed their own voices over them, singing about what they're actually doing.

This is actually on Funny or Die not YouTube, because it's been banned on YouTube because the video belongs to the music company. This is to "Separate Ways" by Journey. There are a few others out there, but be warned, while they're fairly tame, there are a few words you may not want your kids to learn.

I'm really excited for Thursday because I have a great recipe to share with you!

Love and Anticipation,

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Bunch of Mini-Rants

The only thing I'm really upset about recently about which I could write a whole post is that people keep assuming I'm pregnant just because I admire someone's baby or something. I could write about that, but then I'd get more "Methinks the lady doth protest too much" or something, and then I'd be angrier. So let me just say that I'm not pregnant, you'll know when I am, get off my case, and enjoy the rest of the post.

There are a bunch of things that make me angry or annoyed or whatever when I see them, but I don't have much to say on them. Here are several mini-rants:

Gauging your ears
Why would you do this to yourself? Not only is it painful, but it looks disgusting. And think how it's going to look when you're older. Really disgusting. Please explain that to your grandchildren.

Twilight and Harry Potter in the same category
One is written by a writer; the other is written by someone who wants to be a writer but instead fails. They are completely different. Yes, they both have fantasy elements, but they have completely different points. As I recall, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings had fantasy elements, too, and no one is saying those are of the devil.

Black Friday Shopping
1. You just spent a day saying how thankful you were for what you had. Now go buy more?
2. People die.

Bad Breath
Chew some gum. Get a mint.

Saggy Pants
I don't want to see your underwear, or your colorful 4-layers of shorts or whatever. Pull 'em up and get a job.

Why are we always tired? Why? WHY??????

People who don't shower even though they have access to one
They say it's more natural to only shower once every 3 weeks or so. They say they don't smell bad. At least one of those statements is a lie.


And I'm also a little sad that we don't have room for a Christmas tree, but it's okay, because we have lights on the ceiling.

Love and Monday,

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Don't Get Out Much

It's Black Friday, and hordes of people are flocking to crazy, intense sales and stepping on each other's toes and probably someone will get trampled on and die today.

That cheerful sentence is how I feel about every Black Friday. I'm sure the sales are great, but why bother?

This year, however, I was almost tempted to go out. Why? A yarn sale.
Lion Brand homespun yarn for almost 50% off!
I don't know about where you live, but here, yarn never goes on sale for more than 20-30% off.
And homespun yarn is so wonderful.
I convinced myself not to go by reminding myself that of my 14 projected projects, not one of them calls for the thickness of homespun yarn.
Phew! Saved by a lack of necessity, unlike most Americans.

I will, however, be shopping on Saturday. Saturday is my Chloe Craft Day. A Sister Shopping Day, if you will. We're going to hit up all the craft stores (plus a few other errands I've been meaning to run) and then have a crafting day where I teach her to crochet a 6-petaled flower and we just craft in general (and I teach her to use the iPod I handed down to her 4 months ago).
I'm hoping the crowds won't be bad on Saturday - I've never gone shopping this close to Thanksgiving, so I'm a complete novice.
But I think we'll have fun.

Speaking of crafts, here is a blog I have come to enjoy. I've seen a lot of crochet/knit blogs where they're run by older ladies who do beautiful work, but use more subdued colors and color schemes. The Sunroom is run by a lady not much older than I am who uses such brilliant and bright color schemes. It's marvelous. Check out her blog here.

Love and Turkey Hangovers,

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we're going to my parents' house to make mashed potatoes and eat lots of food and spend time with family... and do laundry! Not having a washer and dryer has really made me grateful for friends and family!

Because I forgot to list something I was thankful for each day, here is a list of 24 things for which I am thankful.

1. The gift of life. God is so good.
2. My sweet, dear husband. (On Sunday, when we had to leave the house really early, he got my breakfast all ready while I got dressed, and he even put some water to heat so I could make hot chocolate in a travel mug to keep me warm.)
3. All of my family, in-laws and birth family and extended family. Everyone is so lovable and fun!
4. Dear friends to laugh with and talk to.
5. That we can afford to eat healthfully.
6. The ability to knit and crochet. It brings me such joy and I love making gifts for people.
7. Color! What would this world be like without it!
8. This shouldn't be this far down, but God's Word and prayer. I thank God that we can talk to Him and hear from Him and that He gives us such peace through this.
9. Two working vehicles!
10. I am thankful for Brenda and Michelle, who let me use their washing machines and dryers to do laundry.
11. Sales and coupons. They allow us to get nicer things every now and then.
12. My old neighbors, the Shaffer family. Claire is like a little sister to me and their family has greatly blessed mine.
13. Speaking of little sisters, and though I already listed family, I am so thankful for Chloe. She is the best little sister I could ever have. She does crafts with me, plays with my hair, listens to my rants, and punches me.
14. I am so thankful for Cranberry juice!!!!
15. A computer. For fun, business, and friendship.
16. I am thankful there is so much good music to listen to. I am also thankful that there are other crazy people out there who like to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving!
17. I am thankful for the ability to make music. There is a lot of release in playing a song or writing one.
18. I am thankful for pie. How so much joy can be in one sliver is beyond me, but I LOVE pie.
19. I am thankful to have a church that loves Jesus.
20. I am thankful for all sorts of weather, the kinds we appreciate, and the kinds that make us appreciate the other kinds.
21. I am thankful for our apartment, with it's cute paint colors, photo frames, and though it's not a ton of space - it's a good amount for us.
22. I am thankful for our Wii - and especially the Wii Fit, because I wouldn't work out without it. Okay, and I'm also thankful for Mario Kart.
23. I am thankful for the USPS, so I can send letters to friends who live far away. And so that we can defy the little old ladies who say that no one writes letters anymore.
24. I am thankful for a comfortable bed and sheets, which was a gift from so many wonderful people (Caleb's parents, my parents, the camp family, Mr. Pete, and the Shaffer Family)

And another thing my sweet husband did the other day was make me delicious chocolate chip cookies. These are seriously like those big cookies you get at the gas station or wherever. Make sure you actually use the 1/4 cup measure to drop the dough!

Love and Thankfulness,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Some Fun and Games

Yesterday was Mrs. Lori's funeral, and afterwards, a bunch of people from the camp got together and ate dinner and played games. It was a good healing time of fellowship, but I also learned some fun new games.

I'm sure most of you have played 2 Truths and A Lie, where one person says three things about themselves, one of them being untrue, and everyone has to guess which is the lie. It's funny and you learn lots of new things about people.

Last night, though, we played a different sort of version. Everyone wrote their name and the start of a story about them on a piece of paper, so something like, "Leah: the time I fell in the Pacific Ocean". Then, the host would draw out a story and call up 3 people, one of them being that person. She would say, "Tell us about the time you fell in the Pacific Ocean." They'd get a minute to think, and then they each had to share a story, two of the people making it up. The audience then votes on who had the true story. The funny part is when the event actually happened to all three of the people!

We also played Four on a Couch, which is an annoying and complicated game, but still fun in its own way. If you don't know it, look it up.

We also played a game of Celebrity, only we played more a Charades version. Everyone wrote down 4 guessable words/phrases and put them in a bowl. The first round was miming only. No pointing to objects/people in the room, no sounds, no words. After that, you put all the words back in, and you had to get people to guess by using only words, no hand motions, and none of the words on the card. The final round, you could say only one word. At this point, most people knew the words, so you could say only one word and they'd get it. But you have to say the right word - or they won't be able to guess!

I've got to go now, but I hope you enjoyed hearing the games!

Love and Laughter,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas Is Coming

Making presents, hanging lights from the drop ceiling - oh yes, I am in the Christmas mood before Thanksgiving (as I am every year).

I found this Christmas song last year, and it is my new favorite Christmas song.


Love and Christmas Lights,

Monday, November 21, 2011

Raising Awareness?

I recently received this message in my Facebook inbox:

Remember the status about our bra color or where we put our purse?? It made more people aware of the problem as it went viral on FB and made the news.

Don't tell any MEN what the status means! Copy, and resend this message to all your girl friends, let's see if we can make it work like before, keep them guessing, let's see if we make the news!

The idea is to use your birthday: month and day only-- no year!
Write: 1. I am going to live in (see corresponding city for your BD month below).
2. For (day of your BD in months).
3. Add a happy face.

Example: If your birthday is February 14th, then you would write: I am going to live in London for 14 months
January - Mexico
February - London
March - Miami
April - Dominican Republic
May - France
June - St. Petersburg
July - Austria
August - Germany
September - New York
October - Amsterdam
November - Las Vegas
December -Columbia

The person who sent this to me then changed her status to her sentence. Here are the comments on it:

(You can probably click it to make it bigger. Please enjoy my Paint skills at protecting the "innocent".)

Here are my problems with the message and the comments:

1. "It made more people aware of the problem...." Nowhere in this message do we learn for which problem we are raising awareness. I'm assuming it's breast cancer, since that's what everyone does, but how can we be sure? This brings me to...

2. How on earth is making people believe that you're living in another city/country for 1-31 months going to raise awareness about anything other than the fact that you enjoy misleading people because it's funny? Okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit, but still. "I'm going to live in New York for 27 months. :)" doesn't tell anyone "Breast Cancer is a serious problem that can affect both men and women of any age. Get screened early and donate to the research for the cure." It tells people that I'm going to live in New York for 27 months and I'm happy about it. Big whoop, especially since it's not true.

3. The previous messages were about bra color and where you keep your purse. Bra color seemed a little weird to me. Changing your status to a color isn't that weird, but the guys do catch on, and conversations about underwear are not appropriate to place on the internet where anyone and everyone can see them. For the purse one, you were supposed to say where you keep your purse in a sentence starting with "I like it...". So, "I like it on the floor," or "I like it on the counter." We all know what this is insinuating and it's lewd and inappropriate. Not to mention, how are either of these statuses (bras and purses) supposed to raise awareness for anything other than your own ignorance and lemming-ness. "Oh yes, everyone else is posting private information that should remain private, so I will, too." "Oh yes, this seems kind of inappropriate, but everyone else is doing it." GET A SPINE, PEOPLE! AND WHILE YOU'RE PURCHASING THAT, BUY A BRAIN, TOO!

4. Back to the girl's status - note that everyone believes her for a long time. Then her mom spoils the fun by saying it's not real. Then she gets upset at her mom, who apologizes for telling the truth. Okay, so if you're a girl, we'll let you in on the secret. But boys are just going to be stuck thinking that all the women they know are going to be leaving the state/country for 1-31 months. Wow. What is this - 2nd grade? "NO BOYS ALLOWED" "Girls rule, boys drool." Etc.

In a similar note, I also see lots of statuses to raise awareness for this or that, which don't bother me. What bothers me is when they say "91% of people won't repost this. Will you?" Really? First of all, where the heck did you come up with that number? Second, of course I won't repost this, because it's full of poor grammar. Third, it's like those stupid chain emails you used to get that pressured you to email them to 58 people in the next 3 minutes or your wish won't come true.

I don't mind that people are trying to raise awareness. Breast cancer (and diabetes, and bullying, and dragon attacks) is a serious issue and it's wise for us to know about it and be prepared. But please just think before you repost something. Is this really going to raise awareness? - Or is the organization/problem not even mentioned? Is it going to make people aware? - Or annoyed at you for posting your 4th awareness status yet today?

In the meantime, I just wanted you all to know that I'm going to New York for 27 months. :)

(Now go get screened for cancer!)

Love and Annoyance,

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm Sick

Hi Friends,

There won't be a craft idea today because I can't think of one because I'm sick. (Try diagramming that sentence!) Starting yesterday late morning, I had a low fever and stomach issues, which escalated over night (I had lots of dreams about witches and Hannah Montana - it was a horrible night). I'm feeling a lot better right now, but still pretty blah.

I'm also still hurting for Mrs. Lori's family. Please continue to pray for them. I can't imagine how horrible I'd feel if my mom died. Even though we all know she's in heaven, it's hard without her. This isn't how it's supposed to be. Nothing is, because of the Fall. Thank God for the hope of redemption and resurrection.

Love and Hope,
Leah Joy

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In Memory of Mrs. Lori: Come Quickly, Lord Jesus

Last night, the camp's office manager, Lori Wier was killed in a car accident. While this is unbelievably sad for her family, "we do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope." Mrs. Lori knew and loved Jesus and is without a doubt dancing and rejoicing with him now. Our prayers go out for her husband, her children, her grandchildren, and the rest of her family.

I have only known Mrs. Lori for a short time. I met her on Valentine's Day, when Caleb took me to a dinner theatre in which another camp staff member played a part. We sat at a table with other camp staff, and that was the first time I met a lot of them. Mrs. Lori was fun and easy-going, always cracking a joke or teasing someone in love. She knew where everything was and always had a solution to the problem. She loved everyone, and everyone loved her.

When I heard last night that she may have died, I realized something that I've never realized before. I'm ready for Jesus to return. Never before have I honestly been able to say that. I've wanted to say it, but it was never true. There was always something I wanted to do yet before heaven: be kissed, have a boyfriend, graduate high school, graduate college, fall in love, get married, honeymoon, etc. "Yes, Jesus, come back soon, but not before...." You fill in the blank. But last night I realized that with all the pain and suffering in the world right now, all I want is to see Jesus come back - and quickly!

How long, oh Lord?
How much longer?
Come quickly, Lord.
Come quickly to deliver us.

Love and Prayers,
Leah Joy

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Help Your Mom Tuesday

Yesterday was "Help Your Mom" Tuesday in my family. My grandma needed some help with things that I can't do but my mom can. But my mom needed to stay home to drive the kids where they needed to be, make lunch, do school, etc. So, she went to her mom's, and I went to my mom's! I got to take care of the family for the day. We read the Bible and vacuumed the floors. I taught Jacob how to draw a jet. We had lunch and got everyone to their various non-homeschool classes on time. I cleaned some more in my old room. Chloe and I did a little Christmas shopping even! We had a snack and braided hair (not Jacob). And then Mom got home. It was a fun day and a good change of pace for me.

Which is why I am now sitting in my pajamas blogging at 9:00am, which in Leah-time is "do something productive already, why are you still lazing around" time.

I guess I'll go do something.

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Love and Applesauce,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Someone Like You"

Have you heard Adele's "Someone Like You"? It's an incredibly emotional song, as evidenced by this hilarious SNL skit. Enjoy!

Happy Tuesday!

Love and Tears,

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Monday Rant: Twilight

Before I get into how much Twilight annoys me, I just have a quick rant on another topic.

HELLO! It's NOVEMBER in MICHIGAN! Of course it's snowing. It's not weird. Get over it!

Okay, moving on.

When it comes to the Twilight series, I take my opinion of the books from my brother. I never actually stooped to read them, but he has. As he (and others) discovered, the book is fairly lacking in plot. Bella lacks a personality, which is what makes the story appeal to many women: That could be me! And who doesn't want an immortal with the body of a god to worship them? (I don't!) Women who have lost love or feel lonely (so, every woman who reads this book) suddenly find a world where someone perfect (other than the fact that he likes to drink blood) adores them, all of them - even their faults.

Why is this so scary? Because it's not realistic. It's porn for girls.

And the movies only propagate this fantasy further.

A lot of people compare Twilight to Harry Potter, but I'm not sure where they get this idea.

Here's a quote commonly attributed to Stephen King, but whether or not he actually said it, it gets the point across really well: “Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.”

Harry Potter is about the importance of friendships, standing up for what's right, defending the weak, etc. Twilight lacks plot.

But they're both about mythical creatures, you may protest. To which I respond: yes. Yes, they are. But there is an age at which people can understand the difference between myth/fantasy and truth. There is an age (around 13) where a child can actually now understand the difference between Santa and Jesus - one is a story made up and one is truth. I see no harm in children of a certain age reading Harry Potter. They understand that the centaurs, giants, werewolves, and yes, witches and wizards are not truth. What is truly interesting is how well the Harry Potter books tell the story of Jesus. Sacrifice, love, putting others first, fighting evil. It's a good reminder that we are in a battle.

And Twilight is about a sparkly vampire's chiseled abs and the struggle of a personality-void girl to choose between him and another creature who may eat her. Wow.

Now go read Harry Potter.

Love and Unicorns (which are not mythical creatures, thank you very much),

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Craft Website

Don't do what I did. Don't spend 4 hours on a Saturday looking at every page of this website, combing it for good ideas.

The Purl Bee is a blog/website run by a yarn-and-fabric store in NY called the Purl Soho. The staff there post new products; knitting, crocheting, and sewing patterns; and fun news in the crafting world. You can find some great projects there, and you can also search it for what you want.

Check it out here. Use responsibly!

Love and Crafting,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Disgustingly Good and Messy Chocolatey Treat

If you like chocolate and coconut, this recipe is for you. In the book where I found it, they called it "Mounds Cookie Bars", but I'm not sure you can call it just that. It's more like "Mounds Sticky Mess". But it's still good and sickeningly sweet. Eat only a little at a time.

1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1-1/2 packages of coconut (7oz. size)
14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine butter, powdered sugar, and cracker crumbs. Press evenly into 9x13 pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Combine condensed milk and coconut. Spread over hot crumbs and bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.

To prepare the frosting, combine sugar, butter, and milk in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until smooth, then pour over bars. The frosting will thicken as it cools.

Cut into bars when the frosting is set.


Our only problem was that the graham cracker crust covered the bottom, but when we tried to spread the coconut mixture over it, it mixed with the crumbs instead of sitting on top. It still tasted good, it just didn't look as great.

This is a really tasty treat (how can it not be when it consists of butter, sugar, chocolate, and coconut?) but again, use sparingly! It's really sweet!

Speaking of really sweet, I went to make a chocolate frosting for my brownies the other day, and we didn't have any milk. So I ended up substituting water, but let me tell you, it is not the same! Milk is a bit thicker than water, so it softens out the sweetness while not thinning too quickly, but water doesn't really do either. So I had a very very sweet frosting! Good news was that you could hardly taste it on the brownies and it ended up just being a very good glue for the sprinkles.

Happy Baking!

Love and Coconut,

P.S. I think I may have fixed the comment problem. Go ahead and try!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where's All The Peanut Butter?

We have his and hers peanut butter. I come from a family where the parents like crunchy and the kids like creamy, and because the parents will eat creamy, we usually just got that. Or my dad would get his own jar of crunchy. But now Caleb and I purchase creamy and crunchy peanut butter. I stay out of the crunchy and he stays out of the creamy, except for that time he baked me cookies. But creamy goes into recipes a lot more, so we go through hers peanut butter quicker.

That being said, when I got groceries yesterday, I needed to get creamy peanut butter. I started out at the Meijer nearest the car repair shop. My plan was to get the big jar of Meijer peanut butter. It wasn't on sale, but it was a bigger jar than anything on sale and a pretty good price. I found everything else, but when I got to the peanut butter, all the Meijer peanut butter (except the natural, which is gross) was gone! There were spots for it, but every single jar was gone. The small size and the large size! Of course, when I checked out, the cashier asked if I found everything okay, because they have to ask that. And I said that no, I couldn't find Meijer peanut butter. She said if it wasn't on sale, they probably didn't get their truck in this week yet. Okay, whatever.

On to the Meijer near our apartment (sort of on my way home). They were also out of the big size Meijer peanut butter! I ended up buying a different brand in small size because it was on sale for cheaper than the Meijer price. I was just so confused! Where has all the peanut butter gone?

In other news, I have a pile of maybe 8 wedding thank-yous that I've been meaning to hand out to people and I keep forgetting the thank-yous when I'm going to see people. So I'm finally mailing them today... if I remember. I feel so badly about how long it's been - but I've had them written for a month at least!

Well, I better go put some addresses on them.

Happy Wednesday!

Love and Postage,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Romantic Comedies

I'm a little late today because I spent the morning taking my car in to get the coolant flushed, going to Meijer for groceries, getting gas, and picking up some Harry Potter movies from the library. (Caleb hasn't seen them all, so we're going to have a couple-week marathon so we can watch 7 part 2 together.) When I got home, I had to start chicken soup for dinner. This is the first time I've ever cut up a whole chicken. It was interesting, to say the least.

Anyway, the soup is now simmering on the stove and I have an apple and some peanut butter, so I can post this hilarious video. I love romantic comedies as much as the next girl, but this video is really true.


Now I'm going to go watch a chick flick!

Love and Magic,

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Last night, Caleb and I were ready for bed at around 6:00. Partly because of the time change, partly because we hadn't slept well the night before, and partly because it was Sunday and we're always tired on Sundays because of church (he works there). We decided it was too ridiculously early for bed, so in order to stay awake, he decided to sample some new (to us) shows on Netflix. We watched a few episodes of "Storage Wars" and an episode of "Pawn Stars". In "Storage Wars", while the whole concept of people bidding their money on something unknown sickens me, what made me more angry was the way they treated each other.

Those bidding against each other were jerks to each other. They called each other names, made mean jokes, and were all around rude. The worst to me was how a husband and wife team treated each other. If they were losing money, it was his fault. He got mad at her for being so tight with money and she got mad at him for spending it. And they called each other names, too. Then there was the father and son team. The father was so mean to his son. He made him unload all the boxes, and then got impatient when it was taking a little longer with a particularly heavy one.

In "Pawn Stars" the pawn shop is run by a father and son, along with another guy. They also employ "the village idiot". The father and son made biting sarcastic remarks back and forth, as did the other guy with the father and the son. Everyone was a jerk to "the village idiot", who, get this, was also a jerk.

Honestly, these shows made me sick. Why do they have to treat each other like that?

And then another thought occurred to me: what if the show is making them say those things? What if it's just the Hollywood people knowing that conflict sells? That really sickens me. I don't think it's adorable when families fight. Why can't they just get along?

So much on TV stinks.

Love and More Love,

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stencil T-Shirts

Good Friday Morning!

Here's an idea I found years ago. I immediately went out and bought freezer paper so I could try this project. I stenciled stars and hearts to a bag. I stenciled my name in Hebrew on a sweatshirt. Which I then coated in sparkly paint (just the letters) so I never wear it in public anymore. I made three identical t-shirts for my two best friends and me.

But here's a good tutorial and I hope you like it. It's pretty easy. The design made in this tutorial is fairly complex; you can try something much simpler. I just printed mine from public domain images, or free-handed the Hebrew from what I saw in my concordance.

Ready, Set, GO!

Love and Freezer Paper,

P.S. Today, I'm grateful for Cran-Grape juice, because it's delicious. And I'm grateful for the ability to craft, because it makes Christmas presents way more fun and frugal.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Easiest Recipe Ever

Okay, okay, so Mac & Cheese is pretty easy, but I feel like if it comes in a box, it's not really a recipe. This is a from-scratch recipe that is so easy and so delicious. These blueberry bars are like a blueberry banket coffeecake (without the crumble, although I really want to try this recipe with a crumble on top).

1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1-3/4 cups flour
2 cups blueberries

Grease a 9x13 pan and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Throw everything except the blueberries in a bowl and mix well. Gently stir in the blueberries and then pour into the pan. Spread to even out. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frost with:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 Tbsp butter (melted)

These were the frosting directions that came with the recipe, but anyone can make a powdered sugar frosting better. I added milk and more powdered sugar to this until it was more of a glaze.

These are the most delicious blueberry bars I have ever eaten.

Oh! - And as always, either fresh or frozen blueberries work great.

Love and Blueberries,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday Ramble

I've decided that every Wednesday can't be about something weird. Why? Well, some weeks I don't get out of the house much, and I don't want to write about how weird I am every week. Instead, I'll try just blogging on something, and it will probably achieve the same effect anyway.

I've heard about people blogging every day of November about something for which they are grateful. It being the 2nd of November already, it might be technically too late, but I think I'll try to include something at least when I do post.

Today, I'm thankful for electricity and heat. Fall is beautiful, but it's really cold outside. I'm so grateful to be able to stay inside and warm. And I'm so grateful for a warm bed. It's so comfortable and lovely in there.

Monday, as you probably know, was Halloween. I know a lot of people get upset by the holiday and think that we shouldn't celebrate it and then, by way of protest, they celebrate Reformation Day. You know, I think this is just one of those subjects on which we won't always agree. I don't think there's anything wrong in kids dressing up (as non-scary things, of course) and trick-or-treating, since all that means anymore is getting candy. Dressing up is fun and kids can exercise their creative talents (or lack thereof, coming from someone who was a cheerleader for 6 years in a row). And I love candy.

Anyway, this isn't about whether or not one should celebrate anything on October 31. This is just a review of some events. The camp (where Caleb works and we live) has a Family Harvest Celebration and churches, families, or other groups can sign up to decorate a cabin and pass out candy from there. Then kids come and trick-or-treat at the cabins. They can also go on a hayride, see a puppet show, get hot cider and doughnuts, and visit a campfire. It's a really fun evening, and this year my family decorated a cabin.

We chose a garden theme, mainly because we have a lot of supplies to decorate that way and I have a box of scarves and big skirts that instantly makes anything look decorated the way you want it to be. We dressed up as gardeners and it's a shame I don't have a picture of my dad, because while my mom and sister used eyeliner to make freckles, he had a goatee and mustache.

All the other cabin decorators did the inside of the cabin, and next year we plan on that. We were so cold by the end of the night. Chloe and I both ended up wearing one of the skirts from the decor, plus I had on a shawl. I had brought some extra warm things, also, so my mom had a green beanie and Chloe had an ear band. We still had fun, though.

At the end of the night, we took our decorations down, planned a little how it might look next year (inside!), and then they came back to our apartment for hot chocolate and cookies. Now, you should understand that our apartment had been a mess (I had a rough week last week and did barely any cleaning) and I had spent the entire day scrubbing, cleaning, vacuuming, and even dusting. (I rarely dust.) I thought I was company ready.

Cue my mom and my sister into the living room. Chloe immediately sees something pretty and rushes to look at it... her Christmas present. I pull a "Woah! Hold on! Look at this!", shove something else in her hands, shove her out of the room, and shove her present under some other things. They come back in and my mom looks at a frame that's sitting in a bin. "Oh, that's pretty," she says. "Oh... that's part of your Christmas present," I say. "Oops," she says. "It's my fault for leaving it out. I guess we may as well find out if you actually like it, since you've seen it."

No one will be very surprised on Christmas, although I'm hoping that my sister didn't actually figure out what the object was, only that it was pretty and probably for her.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Love and Warmth,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Day

Happy Tuesday!
Happy November!
Happy Birthday to my baby brother!
Happy laundry day! (My apartment smells AWESOME!)

And so here's a video of one of my favorite groups, The Civil Wars. I saw them live at Calvin College Fine Arts Center a bit ago and they were wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. At the end of their long set, they came back out and did one more song - completely unplugged. It was so amazing to me that after performing that long, they could project their voices over the whole auditorium with no amplification and still sound astoundingly wonderful. Here's a video of the same thing, just at a different show. Enjoy!

Love and Laundry Detergent,