Child-Rearing Wisdom

I’ve recently stumbled across both of these quotes lately. Though they are from two completely different people, they say essentially the same thing.

Our kids need us, not stuff.

Sure, they need all the basic essentials: food, water, shelter, clothing, etc. However, they also need us actively parenting them and not just throwing them the latest and greatest material goods. They need to know that Mom or Dad will be there for them and love them unconditionally. That we’re still crazy about them even if they are driving us crazy.

I could preach a sermon on this subject, but I’ll spare you. I’m sure you’ve heard and read many similar sentiments already. However, this topic has been on my heart and I just felt like I should share these quotes with you all today!

Blessings,

Rachel

PS-To my own Mom and Dad (because I know you are reading this) : Thanks for all you do and have done for me!

Seersucker Scarf

I haven’t made a good scarf project in awhile, so here’s a new design I experimented with:

A classic seersucker stripe with an added touch…

A mini pom-pom trim on three of the sides.

It may be a little more lightweight and appropriate for summer, but I like it anyhow.

I’m not a major pom-pom type of girl, but I really dig this mini pom trim, found at JoAnn’s. (Simplicity brand–they had tons of other awesome trims as well.)

The construction of this piece was pretty simple.

I took my seersucker fabric and determined how long and wide I wanted it to be. (My finished one is @5″W by 50″L.)

Double the desired width, plus about 1″, and cut your fabric. My piece of seersucker wasn’t long enough so I cut two of the same length and width and joined them in the middle, sewing right sides together and then pressing open. Fold in half lengthwise (right sides together), press, and sew along the entire length and along one of the short ends.

Turn right side out, tuck the remaining short side in, press, pin, and top-stitch around the entire outside.

Pin mini pom-pom trim around three of the sides and stitch around the edges. Since this was such a mini trim, this was the hardest step for me and I ended up using a short zig-zag stitch to reinforce it.

If I made another one of these I would probably make it a tad bit longer, or even into an infinity scarf.

See my other scarf tutorials from last fall here and here.

Canning Jar Band Pumpkin

I am such a huge copycat sometimes and this little project is no exception. Granted, I do have a lot of at least semi-original ideas, but some are just imitations of other cute ideas I’ve seen and just put my own little twist on. To be fair, I always try to acknowledge my source of inspiration and I am incredibly grateful when others do the same for me. For this project I completely fell in love with Simply Klassic Home’s canning lid pumpkin and knew I had to try making one.

This was a snap to make and only used a few materials, all of which I had on hand.

For the stem I rolled a length of burlap and glued down. I trimmed this up a bit as well.

Then, simply gather a bunch of canning jar bands of the same size and run a string or twine through their middles. Gather and tie around the stem. Arrange bands so that the tied portion is covered up and there are no major gaps.

I added a green felt leaf for some of the pictures and tried it without for others.

As you can see, I didn’t try to clean up or pretty up my canning bands.

Some are newer, but others are well-worn and loved.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Rachel

Tasty Ways to Use Canned Pumpkin

Today I am sharing with you ways to use those lovely cans of pumpkin puree that you see everywhere this time of year.

Just remember to use cans of pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling–there is a difference.

First up is this recipe for pumpkin butter made in a slow cooker. I haven’t made this yet, but I am intrigued!

Second is a recipe one of my neighbors has sworn by for years. Not only is it good, but it’s only 183 calories a serving. Sweet! All you do is mix a can of pumpkin with a box of spice cake mix and bake. Check out Hungry Girl if you need more details.

Next up are these cute Pumpkin Mousse Shooters. I think they look so pretty layered up like that in individual servings.

In case you missed it, I posted this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Smoothies not too long ago. They are delicious!

Okay, these Mini Pumpkin Donuts really make me want to go make some–like right now!! Check out Buns In My Oven for this baked donut recipe.

If you enjoy actual pumpkin pie but want to put a different spin on it, this Pumpkin Pie Dip may be calling your name. It is a really easy party treat and uses refrigerated pie crusts to make the dippers.

Oh, I can’t wait for a cooler day to try out this recipe for Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate. Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t that sound divine? Check out Closet Cooking for the specifics.

There’s many, many more ideas out there using pumpkin puree. However, if you live in area where they don’t sell canned pumpkin, or if you are a die-hard DIYer and want to make your own, here’s some instructions on how to make your own pumpkin puree.

Heather’s Story

Today I have a very special guest post from an inspiring lady named Heather Von St  James. She is a courageous survivor of mesothelioma and now uses her story to be a hope and inspiration for others. With that being said, I’ll let you read her story…

My Mesothelioma Recovery Story

November 21, 2005 was one of the worst days of my life. That was the day my doctor told me I had a serious type of cancer called malignant pleural mesothelioma. The cause of this terrible cancer was exposure to asbestos in my childhood, thirty years ago. I was told I had just 15 months to live unless I underwent treatment right away.

Shortly before the cancer diagnosis, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, Lily. She was born on August 4. 2005 and that was one of the best days of my life. I noticed afterwards I felt breathless, fatigued, and totally drained of my energy. I went back to work anyway, thinking my symptoms were caused by the baby blues that some women have after childbirth. However, as time went on, I didn’t get any better, so I made an appointment with my doctor to be checked out. He ran all kinds of tests on me and eventually arrived at the cancer diagnosis. I was shocked and devastated. How could I ever leave my precious baby girl?

I am really lucky to have such an amazing support system. My parents, my husband, my husband’s family, and all our friends mean so much to me. We have always been close and are there for each other no matter what happens. So when I got sick, they all rallied around me to offer the support I needed to make it through this battle with my health. After looking into treatment options, I decided to seek help in Boston where one of the best mesothelioma doctors is located. My parents took Lily to my hometown in South Dakota to care for her while I underwent treatment. It was heartbreaking to be separated from my girl, but I knew that without the treatment I needed, I would be separated from her for the rest of her life.

I underwent an extrapleural pneumonectomy on February 2, 2006. That involved the removal of my lung and the surrounding tissue. I was in the hospital for eighteen days. Two months later, I started on chemotherapy and radiation treatments. During the course of my treatment, my support circle grew. I met others in Boston who were going through the same thing.  I leaned on them for support and they leaned on us.

My parents found their support system in South Dakota grew too. Children I had babysat for now had children of their own. They helped care for Lily and watched her while my parents were at work. I am so thankful for their support during this terrible ordeal.

My support group helped me be strong enough to fight this difficult battle, and I came out a winner. I am now cancer free and fully recovered. Instead of having to look at photographs of my beautiful little girl, I am now with her every day and I cherish every minute. Please, never take life for granted; it can change or be taken away when you least expect it.

Heather Von St James is a 43-year-old wife and mother. Upon her diagnosis of mesothelioma, she vowed to be a source of hope for other patients who found themselves with the same diagnosis. Now, over 6 years later, her story has been helping people all over the globe. She continues her advocacy and awareness work by blogging, speaking and sharing her message of hope and healing with others. Check out more of her story at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog

 

Yarn-Wrapped Monogram Letter

This is a simple little idea for updating your fall decor in a more personalized way.

A monogram letter, wrapped up in some yummy fall-colored yarn.

Or, if fall colors aren’t your cup of tea, you can do the same idea using whatever colored yarn you’d like.

Materials Needed: Small wooden plaque, wood or MDF monogram letter, yarn, hot glue gun, acrylic paint

To make this, I first painted my little wooden plaque a rich brown using some basic Folk Art acrylic paint. It needed several coats to cover everything really well.

As this dried, I grabbed my orange yarn (seen also in this wreath project!) and started wrapping the letter. I have to admit that the two ends got just a little wonky and were hard to completely wrap without getting thick with yarn. I was originally planning to just stick with a plain orange letter, but decided to add some zest with the dark brown. With my dark brown yarn, I wrapped everything one way at an angle, then reversed direction and did the same thing going the other way. You can tuck in the ends at the back or add a dab of hot glue to hold in place.

Hot glue the bottom flat side to the wooden plaque. Done!

Throw in some acorns or pretty leaves alongside and you now have a fresh, seasonal decoration perfect for a mantel, bookshelf, or wherever you want a touch of fall.

Have a great week everyone!

Rachel

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

If you’re not in the mood for fall just yet, this pumpkin pie smoothie may have you looking forward to the coming season.

Unlike some of my other dessert recipes, this one is actually pretty healthy for you.

I whipped this up yesterday when it was pretty hot and humid.

Needless to say, it was pretty refreshing and tasty.

Here’s a brief summary of what I used to make my smoothie. You can change up the ingredients and/or amounts a bit to your liking:

1/2 frozen banana, cut in chunks

1/3 C canned pumpkin

1/3 C plain or greek yogurt

1/2-3/4 C milk

vanilla

ice cubes

cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves

Place all ingredients in a blender to mix.

Oh, and a dollop of whipped cream on the top!

Lavender Sugar Cookies

After a summer of oppressive heat and humidity, I can ‘fess up that I did not bake much at all these last few months. On a day that wasn’t quite so bad recently I finally turned on my oven to experiment with some lavender sugar someone had given me.

The results?

Buttery and sweet. With just a touch of lavender. Nothing overwhelming.

Oh, and it uses just 4 ingredients.

1 cup softened butter

1/2 C lavender sugar

1/8 tsp salt

2 C flour

Cream butter and sugar together, then add salt and flour. Mix thoroughly. Chill for one hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. form the dough into balls (@1″) and roll in additional lavender sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool.

In case you’re wondering how in the world you get lavender sugar, I just did a little research and found out you can easily make your own. Just obtain some culinary lavender (safe for cooking and baking), chop fine in a food processor, and add to white sugar. Let sit in a sealed container for several weeks to infuse. Supposedly it’s good in other baked goods as well as lemonade.