Thursday, March 20, 2014

My 5 Fat Files

I was reading one of my books by Elizabeth George (either A Woman After God's Own Heart, or A Woman's High Calling - can't remember which one), and she noted a really interested idea.

The idea was to create 5 fat files on topics you want to study by using the bible - God's word, through prayer, church, sermons, podcasts, books...or whatever. You basically try to learn and study everything you can on these 5 topics so that you almost become an expert in these areas with enough information to fill a book!

So I decided to pray about what my 5 fat files would be, and this is what I'm come up with so far:

1. Being a Godly Woman, Wife, and Mother
2. Parenting and Raising Godly Children
3. Healing & Faith
4. Anxiety
5. ??? TBD...

It's interesting how much more fascinating your quiet time digging into God's word can be when you are able to focus in with a purpose, instead of just reading to read. 

I feel like so often I hear people talk about their reading plan so that they can read the bible in a year, and yet we forget that we really should be studying God's word, not just reading it. It's so much more fulfilling, and almost as if a whole other world is being opened to us when you truly seek after Him with our whole hearts. 

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." ~James 1:5

So, what would you want your 5 fat files to be?

Gluten Free Blueberry Crumb Muffins



One of the biggest things that bummed me out about eating gluten free was not being able to bake my favorite recipes anymore. You hear so many horror stories of baking gluten free, from the texture being 'off' or it just plain tasting bad. There are gluten free flour blends on the market that some people swear by, but even they don't always give the best results.

Until now, that is...

I have discovered the amazing GF flour blend - Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour! No, I have not been asked to promote this, nor am I getting paid. I am just so over the moon about this flour that I've been practically shouting it from the rooftops! You literally do just what the the title says - you substitute cup for cup in your recipes when it calls for flour. Let me tell you though, that this is the ONLY GF flour blend that I have found that makes your baked goods taste exactly like the version with real flour. Some of my favorite recipes I use it for is Banana Bread, the Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (yum!), pancakes, and now this divine Blueberry Crumb Muffin. It's not available everywhere, however. If you have a Wegmans that is local, they carry it, but otherwise you would need to check their website (here) to see what other local places have it. And of course you can always order online through Amazon.

So without further ado...so you can enjoy this little piece of heaven, here goes!

This Blueberry Crumb Muffin recipe has been taken from Allrecipies.com, here, and has been altered to be gluten free, as well as a slight change to the topping similar to how my Mom makes hers for Apple Crisp. Yum!

Gluten Free Blueberry Crumb Muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups of Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour blend
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg beaten
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil (or vegetable)
1/2 cup milk (approx - see instructions below)
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen. If frozen, make sure to thaw first and drain any blueberry juice)

Topping Ingredients:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter softened
dash cinnamon
1/2 cup GF old fashioned oats -

Directions:

~Preheat oven to 400 degrees
~Line 12 cup muffin pan with muffin liners and spray the top of the muffin pan to reduce sticking if the muffins spill over at all
~Combine 1 1/2 cup GF flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 tsp baking powder in a mixing bowl
~Place 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the 1 cup measuring cup. Fill an additional 1/4 cup milk and mix all into the dry ingredient mixture (do NOT overmix!) - and it's ok that the batter is super thick.
~Fold in the 1 cup of blueberries and fill the muffin cups evenly with the muffin batter - about 2/3 full.
~Mix together the topping ingredients, using a fork and/or fingers, and sprinkle over the muffin batter in the cups - use a good amount to cover the top - but not too much, as this could cause it to sink in the middle (3/4 of this mixture is about how much I use, so you could cut down on the amount on top of each one to avoid it spilling over)
~Bake for between 15 and 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Times may vary depending on oven, so make sure to check.

And enjoy! Super easy and super yummy!!!

What is your favorite GF baked good?
































Friday, February 14, 2014

DIY Touch and Feel Photo Book for Baby


 My son loves touch and feel books, almost as much as he loves photo books of his family. I knew I had to create a touch and feel photo book especially tailored just for him, and there had to be DIY instructions out there. Well I found a bunch, and probably by way of mish-mash, just kind of fashioned one up. 

So let me tell you how YOU can make one for your little one! 

First you need to gather your materials:

*Photos
*Cardstock (computer paper or construction paper may work fine too)
*Scissors
*scotch tape
*exacto knife and an old magazine to cut on
*duct tape (don't use metal tape like I did above! I had to redo one of my books because the pages eventually tore and then cut my son! I thought it was just shiny tape and he would love it...but not, it was metal tape. Sheesh. So yes, use duct tape, it works best and is the strongest for the job. Plus you can get real creative with all the different colors and designs out there.)

*Touch and feel materials - use whatever you have laying around your house: old sock, plastic bag, tin foil, saran wrap, wrapping paper, curling ribbon, sandpaper, felt, fabric, old stocking, ribbon, cotton balls....etc.






Steps:

1. Cut your cardstock paper. You will need to cut these slightly larger than the photo size that you have. I had 4x6" photos printed at the one-hour photo and just cut the paper maybe 3/4" larger on each side (roughly pieces that were 5.5"x7.5")


2. Cut the photos. Take your exacto knife and start cutting on your photos where you want to put your different materials. Cut out little blocks, squares, whatever, making sure to cut on top of an old magazine.


3. Tape the material to the back of the photo. Make sure the material is facing the correct way, and then tape the material using scotch tape (or duct tape if it's difficult to do with scotch) just to keep the piece in place. 

4. Place a couple piece of scotch tape to the back of the photo and put in the center of your cardstock. The scotch just keeps it in place until you can duct tape it.

5. Flip the cardstock over and do the same with another picture on the other side.

6. Duct Tape the edges. Your duct tape is likely around 2" in width. You want to cut off a strip (doesn't need to be exact measurement) and start taping around one edge of the photo, then wrapping the excess duct tape around to the other side taping the edge of the 2nd photo on the other side. One piece of tape should be taping TWO edges of TWO different photos to each side of the cardstock. You will need to repeat this step around the other 3 edges. 


7. Repeat steps 2-6 for all of your pages.

8. Assemble your book. Once you have all of your pages, put them in the order that you want. Then open to the first 2 pages side by side, leaving a tiny gap between them, and put a strip of duct tape holding those two pages together - allowing that little gap to be there (this will make it possible for the book to close. If the pages are touching when you tape them together, you may have difficulty opening and closing the book). Do this to all the pages. Once you have each page taped to the next, close the book and place one last piece of duct tape along the edge to provide as the binding for the book. 


And that's it - you're all done!! 

You can adapt these steps however you need to! Don't worry about making it perfect, mine certainly isn't. My book is nowhere near perfect or pretty, but my son ADORES this book and lights up every time he sees and plays with it. Kids love to see pictures of themselves, other babies, animals, and the family that they know. 


So tell me, what unique ideas have you seen or created for your kids that they enjoy?



Happy Valentine's Day!!!


I am so blessed, it takes my breath away.

Thank you Lord for my amazing husband, father, and best friend. 

You have blessed me beyond belief and I treasure every moment with this man you have created just for me.


Rustic Nautical Corner Cabinet Re-Do

You should have seen this corner cabinet when I got it. Y.U.C.K.Y! But of course you can't see it because once again I forgot to take the before picture. *sigh* 

But alas, you can imagine it! 

Think...knotty orange pine, broken decorative top, gross dirt build-up everywhere...and get this....BIRD POOP. Yes, bird poop was so nicely laden all over this cabinet. How that happens? Beyond me...I have no clue. But after a nice tough cleaning and scrubbing and a coat of shellac to seal it, we were on our way to achieve my vision for it.

I wanted this rustic corner cabinet to have a nautical theme - all centered around these amazing knobs. Though I knew white sells better, I really wanted to mix my Annie Sloan paints to get this awesome navy blue to match the compass rose painted knobs. In fact those knobs were the biggest investment of the whole project! 

After a few coats of the navy and white were in place, I clear waxed and followed it with the dark wax - which came out much better than I expected. 

I really love the outcome of this one! The picture doesn't do it justice, but I'm really excited to see if she sells! (If not...I would be ok keeping her too!!)

So...what are you working on this week?

(This post is linked up on www.craftsalamode.com and missmustardseed.com)