Life In The Congo…No, Thank You

Our book club recently read, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  Let me tell ya, I’ve never wanted so badly to crawl into a book and hit one of the characters in the face…with a cactus.  I’ve always said that if a book doesn’t leave you with some kind of emotion then, it wasn’t all that great.  Walking away from a book in tears or ready to throw a fit, now those books stick with you forever.

The story is told through the wife of a Southern Baptist preacher and her 4 daughters in rotating chapters.  It began with the family learning they are leaving their Georgia home and going to live in a tiny village in the Belgian Congo in the 60’s.  Nathan Price has no narration in the book but his actions speak volumes.  Once there, the family is thrown into a world they’ve never known.  The country falls steadily into turmoil and Nathan refuses to leave and seek safety for his family.

There are parts of the story that you just want to roll your eyes at and others that you are wiping away tears.  Get It.  Read It.  The End.

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Germ-X Anyone?

My love for Scaredy Squirrel has gone on for years now!  Just as my older kids were about to grow out of his awesomeness, along comes the next generation.  I can’t wait to share these books with our new little bundle.

Scaredy Squirrel’s life is pretty bland…because he never leaves home.  He is seriously scared of everything under the sun.  Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt is hilarious!

Scaredy Squirrel has a plan for just about every situation that could possibly happen to him.  He is prepared for shark attacks, poison ivy, and even green Martians.  He quickly learns that for every Plan-A you need to have a Plan-B as back up.  Sometimes, Plan-B is better than Plan-A.

There are several Scaredy Squirrel books and once you read one, you’ve got to have them all!

Bucket Lady

Starting this blog is HARD because I want to talk about EVERYTHING…all at the same time.  I’ve been toying with several ideas over the past few days and finally decided on sharing Paint Bucket Wisdom (insert echo, echo, echo).  This was actually a heck of a lot harder than I thought it would be…not the bucket part but the blogging part.  I’ve made about a gazillion and one of these things and each takes about 2 hours from start to finish.  This time…like 14 days…or that’s how long it felt like.  So, here we are 20 photos and 2 pages of hand written notes later, instructions on how to decorate paint buckets.  Enjoy!

First Things First – Supplies

  • Gallon paint bucket (purchased at the hardware store)
  • Paper trimmer
  • Cutting mat, Circle cutters and cutting cartridges (I used Creative Memories)
  • 2 pieces of 12 x 12 patterned scrapbook paper
  • 2 different colors solid scrapbook paper for letters (I use scraps because an entire sheet isn’t needed)
  • Various ribbon
  • Stencils
  • Embellishments
  • Scissors (I use Cutter Bee.  My kids know better than to take these…because I will hunt them down…)
  • Glue sticks
  • Tacky glue
  • Pencil

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Letters

Once you have all of your supplies, the next thing you need to do is start on the letters.  I like to do the letters first because you have to let the Tacky glue dry.  I use stencils because it is easier to grab them rather than drag out the Cricut machine for a small project (call me lazy…go ahead).  I turn the paper and the stencil over on the back side so when I trace the letter the pencil marks won’t ever show on the front.  Providing no one has used your scissors out in the yard, cutting the letters should be a breeze.  When you have them cut out, glue them to the second sheet of paper with the Tacky glue and let them dry for about 10 minutes.  Then, cut again leaving a slight edge to reveal the second color or “mat”, if you want to get all fancy.  Lastly, embellish with whatever you’d like.  This time I used brads, charms and ribbon.  Anything that you use while scrapbooking, you can use on these buckets.  If you need to glue something to the letters, use the Tacky glue.  Let the letters dry an additional 15 minutes.  Moving on…

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Wrapping

Take whichever piece of 12 x 12 you’d like to be on the bottom of the bucket and make the following cuts.

  • Make a 1 1/2″ cut
  • Divide the remaining paper in half, creating two 5 1/4 pieces

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Starting with the back of the bucket, use the glue stick and glue one piece to the bottom half of the bucket.  Make sure you get as close to the lip of the bucket as possible.  You want to start with the back because the paper will overlap and you want it to overlap towards the back not towards the front.  Add the remaining piece to the front of the bucket.

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  • Next, use the 5″ circle cutter from Creative Memories with the blue blade and cut as close to the edge of the second piece of patterned paper as possible creating a 5 1/4″ circle
  • At this point my cats were helping…of course they were…
  • Wrinkles are okay.  I dare you to find the wrinkles once the paper is glued on…I dare you!

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  • Cut as close to the circle as you can and create a new straight edge.
  • Divide the remaining paper into two equal pieces creating two 3″ pieces or there about (here “there about” means “pretty close to 3”
  • Since my paper trimmer is literally almost 20 years old, it gets wonky sometimes.  Today it has left a sort of fringe on the edge.  FEAR NOT!  We will cover this up with stuff and things and no one will see it!

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The two 3″ pieces (or there about) will go on the top half of the bucket.  We have to work around the handle here so we need to make some additional holes.

  • Measuring 1 1/2″ from the top and 5/8″ from the side make a mark
  • Use the smallest circle cutter and the green cutting blade and cut a circle for the handle

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Again, starting with the back, glue the two pieces on the top.  This time, make sure you get as close to the top edge as possible.

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  • Take the circle you’ve cut and glue the 1 1/2″ strip to it.
  • Then trim the strip to match the circle.
  • Glue the circle to the lid.

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See!  No crinkles!  Bhhhhhahahahahaha (gasp) hahahahaha!!!!

Decorations

Next, you want to cover up that 80’s fringe seam.  I use ric rac a lot.  A.  Lot.  You could really use whatever you’d like to cover the seam but you should use Tacky glue or something similar so it doesn’t fall off.  Put a bead of glue all the way around the seam and then glue whatever you’d like onto the seam.

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Next, glue the letters on starting with the middle first.  Center the letters between where the handle goes in and along the seam.  Use your Tacky glue here too.  You may have to press the letters down a few times to make them stay while the glue dries.

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Here I’ve tried to do a panorama shot and failed miserably.  Oh well, you get the idea of what it should look like, right?

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Ribbon 

Using several different kinds of ribbon, cover the handle.

  • Cut the ribbon in 6″ pieces.

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  • Knot the ribbon on the handle
  • Alternate different styles of ribbon
  • This is seriously not a hard concept

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You are officially done!!!  Ta Da!!  (throws glitter)

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Couple more examples:

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New Year, New Potato Recipe

I’m a collector of numerous things, one of them being recipes. I have recipes on paper, pinned recipes on Pinterest and countless cookbooks all collecting dust. It seems like our family has the same things over and over and over again. This year I’ve made it a goal to try one new recipe per week. So far we’ve tried several new things but this has got to be our favorite.

Shredded Potatoes au Gratin

4 cups shredded hash brown potatoes
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
1/4 cup green onions
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray ramekins with cooking spray
2. Combine all ingredients except 1/4 cup cheddar.
3. Fill ramekins with mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake until bubbly and golden brown. 35-45 minutes.

If you’d like, you can prepare this dish in one 11 x 7 baking dish.  Increase the baking time by 12 minutes.

TaDa!

#Recipes

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Mama Drama

Trying to space out kiddos is tricky business.  My husband and I wanted more than two children but it didn’t look like it was going to happen.  Surprise!  Being pregnant and having a 13 and 9 year old was never the plan, so I was a little bit nervous.  After we got over the shock of finding out we were expecting a little bundle, I went into freakout mode and started worrying about how things were going to pan out between the baby and our older kids.

One night, I was reading in bed and contemplating our future life as new parents.  I could only think of how our kids were going to react to the baby.  Would they be helpful?  Would they be mad about how their lives were turned upside down?  Would the baby ever be as close to them as they are to each other?  All of these things and more were running around in my brain and then, I look over and see my precious husband making shadow puppets on the wall with my reading lamp.  At that moment, I knew things were going to be alright.  It was official…I was going to have 4 kids.2014 07 16_2440_edited-1

Fast Forward a few weeks.  When we found out what we were going to have, I knew one of the kids wouldn’t be happy at all because our son wanted a brother and our daughter wanted a sister.  We let them spray each other with silly string and when they saw that it was blue, our son was super excited.  Our daughter acted as if she were excited and then started crying real tears.  Lesson learned here is that we don’t always get what we want.  In the end, females are outnumbered in our house.  Really though, I think our daughter will not ever want to relinquish her crown as princess.  She now loves having a brother and can’t wait until he gets bigger.  Hold on sister, time is going to fly by fast enough.