Friday, February 29, 2008

Show and Tell Friday

For today's show and tell I pulled out my dish rags/towels.

The second picture is a pair of little pants stitched together from dish rags. It has this little message attached... "Now don't get excited, and don't lose your head: These aren't for you but your dishes instead. If you pull out the yarn and pull out the stitches, you'll have two dish cloths, but you'll lose your britches." My mother gave this to me at my wedding shower (almost 15 years ago). I love them so much that I don't intend to pull them apart and use the dish rags. I do intend to pass them on to the first of my daughters to get married.

The first picture is a towel and dish cloth bunny. Here is its message, "I'm more than a bunny all tied up with bows. I serve a real purpose, so everyone knows. Just untie my ribbons and there you will see, a towel and 2 dish cloths to remind you of me." This one I've only had for a few months. It was made at a ladies fellowship at church. Again, I don't think I'll be able to bring myself to take it apart and use it. I will probably pass this one on to a daughter as well.

Of course since I currently have three daughters, somewhere along the time line I'm going to have to come up with a third creation so one daughter doesn't get left out. It's an odd little collection, isn't it?

For more show and tell Fridays go to

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A vain attempt to get comments

My husband and I love to cook with garlic salt. We got addicted to Costco's brand that comes in a grinder. But Costco has discountinued it and my husband's warehouse ran out. Doing what any good husband would do, he got on the computer and found a warehouse that still had some in stock and had them ship it to us. A whole entire case! Needless to say we now have a two to three year supply. (At least!)

So, since I have more than enough, I figured it would be fun to share the bounty and do a giveaway, here at Modern Christian Homestead. If you want to be entered to win a grinder bottle of Kirkland Signature roasted garlic and sea salt, leave a comment here and a way for me to get a hold of you if you are the winner (e-mail or blog addy).

I will close the give away on Friday night/Saturday morning (12am) and announce the winner in a Saturday post.

Have fun!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Poor Blogging Etiquette on my part!

Oh me, Oh my, Jendi over at pointed out a fauxpas on my part. I recently tagged her for a meme and she graciously played along but pointed out (very nicely, too) that I failed to play when she had tagged me in December. I do not know how I missed her tag. I was waiting to be tagged (I've been tagged twice now... so don't feel it necessary to send tons of tags my way.) and read her blog faithfully everyday. I'm just gonna plead frazzled Christmas nerves.

Anyway, now that my mistake has been pointed out, I plan to rectify the situation by doing the meme. I believe we are all properly recovered from Christmas to enjoy a little reminder of the festivities. So here goes...

1. Do I wrap or bag presents? I have children. I wrap. Bags provide too much temptation.

2. Is our tree real or artificial? Artificial all the way! I like my tree up way to long to keep a real one alive. We burn a pine candle to create the real tree smell that my DH likes.

3. When do we put our tree up? Day after Thanksgiving. We are usually too slothful to do it on Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take your tree down? Was I supposed to? No, seriously, we always say we're going to take it down on New Year's Day but again we are to slothful. It usually happens by the second week of January.

5. Do I like eggnog? Yes, as long as it's non-alcoholic.

6. What was my favorite gift I received as a child? I would have to say a Fisher Price play set by my Uncle Dale. I was always shy around him but when he gave this to me one Christmas I ran right over to him and gave him a hug.

7. Do we put up a Nativity scene? Yep, it's set up before the tree. It's ceramic, the shepard is missing a hand and Joseph's staff is broken but the kids love it.

8. Who is the hardest person to buy for? Grandpa Lewis.

9. Who is the easiest person to buy for? My pre-teen daughter. If it's pink, fluffy or horse related it's good. Her ideal present: a pink, fluffy book on horses.

10. Worst gift ever received? I truly can't think of anything. People who buy me gifts, know me pretty well. My DH received a really poor quality champange. Of course it could have been the best in the world and we still wouldn't have appreciated it. We aren't drinkers.

11. E-mail or Mail Christmas cards? I prefer old fashioned snail mail, both to give and receive. I never seem to get as many as I send out, though. Humph.

12. What is my favorite Christmas movie? Does a Charlie Brown Christmas Special count?

13. When do I start shopping for Christmas? August and September... as soon as I see the decor come out in the stores. My goal is to have everything purchased by Thanksgiving.

14. Have I ever recycled a gift? Nope, but I'm not against re-gifting.

15. Favorite Christmas treat to eat? Fudge

16. Clear or colored lights? I like colored. The DH likes clear. Currently we are clear.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Angels We Have Heard On High.

18. Do you travel on Christmas or stay home? Currently we are located far from the rest of our loved ones so we stay home. If we lived a bit closer we would travel to see them. We can't afford to fly six of us cross-country.

19. Can I name all of the reindeer? Ahhh, besides Rudolph? Let's see: Dancer, Prancer, Donner and Vixen, Comet, Cupid, ???? and Blitzen. It would appear I'm shy one.

20. Do we top our tree with an angel or a star? Angel.

21. When do we open our presents? We open one family gift on Christmas Eve and the rest after Christmas breakfast.

22. What is the most annoying thing about this time of year? Political Correctness! and crowds.

23. Do I prefer to shop the mall or online? I prefer the mall. I'm touchy-feely when it comes to my purchases. This is why I shop before Thanksgiving.

24. Do we decorate inside or outside or both? Currently we are only decorating inside. The DH is in charge of outside and he's been non-festive for the last couple of years.

25. Favorite Christmas Cookies? Secret Lewis family sugar cookie recipe, "Grandma Ethel's" sugar cookies with lots of buttercream frosting and sprinkles.

26. Do I wear Christmas jewelry or clothing? NO! I refuse to wear the "festive" sweater look. I watch "What Not To Wear". I wouldn't be opposed to small, tasteful, unobtrusive Christmas jewelry. Nothing tacky.

27. How do we decorate our tree? Ummm... I've let go of having the perfect tree. I let the kids hang as they will and only speak up if we get too big a clump in one section. I also refuse to let tinselly garland on the tree. We use ribbon.

Okay, folks. That was it! And I extend, once more, my apologies to Jendi. I will tag someone else with this when it gets a little closer to the season again. Or perhaps in July.... evil laughter... bloggers beware.

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesdays go to .

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spring fever got a hold...

I couldn't stand it any longer. I needed to plant! I love snow and I'm glad it's still all around me (and will be for four to five more weeks) BUT... I needed green. I needed to do something springlike. Hence: The Lewis Herb Garden.

We planted chives, peppermint, cilantro and sweet basil in empty toliet paper tubes (See - how to make bio-degradable pots for seed starting-for a photo tutorial how-to.) and set them in a cardboard box, lined with a trash bag. We also put a grow light on them.

The cost was minimal. Some store bought seed starting dirt/mix and the seeds.

The process was easy. (Not counting pinched fingers in a sibling fight over scissors and Mom having to say, "This is our science for the day! You will turn off the Playstation 2 and come over!") Once the kids started, they enjoyed it and had fun. They'll really appreciate it when the seed start showing.

I plan on finding some inexpensive containers to transfer the starts to when they get bigger and we'll put our little container herb garden out on the deck. Of course right now our deck is buried in snow. Sigh.

Navigating your way to becoming published

Crystal, over at has a Monday series on ways that you can make money while staying at home and not compromising your family. Writing is one way. What one needs to remember though, is writing is more then just writing. Writing is more then just writing well. Writing includes marketing and networking.

The key to getting your work seen, read and purchased is a good "platform". Think of it in terms of diving if you will. You can have the perfect form in the air and water but if the platform or surface you begin your dive off of is not solid, you will fail.

So what is a writing platform and how does one go about building it? It isn't as hard as you might think. Platforms vary with each writer and it also depends on what you are writing. If you are a non-fiction writer then you need to have a bigger one then fiction. But the basics are the same.

1. Get a blog or a website or both! If you want to publish non-fiction then you should post on your chosen subject matter. People want to know that you are an expert in your field before they shell out $$ on a book. If you are a fiction writer then blog toward your intended target audience. My fiction is meant for the conservative Christian, stay at home mom/daughter, with children or intending to have children. They also have a passion for serving their God and families and have avid interest in homemaking and country living skills. Since this pretty much describes me, I can blog about my life experiences. If I wanted to write say, political thrillers, then my target audience would be different and I might want to alter my blog content.

2. Speak. I know, I know ,you're thinking... I'm a writer not a speaker! But the more you can share your book/passion with others the bigger audience you can build. Give library talks/readings, teach classes, contact newspapers and get interviewed.

3 Get some business cards. Talk your self up and hand them out! Think about creating an author trading card w/ a picture on front and stats about you on the back.

4. Create publicity! Send out press releases to local, regional and national media. You are a writer after all.

5. Network. Join associations and groups, make friends, create contacts (and a great maliling list) attend conferences, guest blog, comment on blogs. Rachelle, a Christian literary agent, over at has a great post today on how she came across her literary clients.

There is so much more I could write about. But I think that's enough to fill your minds today. If you found this topic interesting and want to know more, please leave a comment and/or question. I too am traveling the road to publishing for the first time but I'm more then willing to share what I've learned.

Now go get your figurative hammer and nails and start building your literary platform! Literally!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Things you don't expect to hear...

The kids were all playing downstairs yesterday and I heard my three year old crying. I called her up to me and found out that she was having an arguement with her big brother over some blocks. (Red blocks to be exact.) Now, we have no shortage of blocks. It was simply a case of her wanting to play with what her brother had. I looked her in the eye and said, "Why don't you choose some other blocks to play with?" This question was met with a toss of the head, a jerk of the body and an upset scream. She then stomped into her room and flopped on her bed. The next thing I hear is "THAT'S SO NOT FAIR!"

The DH and I broke into immediate laughter. Yes, I know we should have been disciplining at that point but it just took us by surprise to have her say such a "tween" sentence. She isn't quite three and half and I still don't understand her speech 1/4 of the time but that sentence came out loud and clear. It was like she had aged 10 years in the space of seconds. Life with children is never dull.

P.S. Grandma Schuh- do you recognize the pajamas?

Too many tiny gadgets!

This is the organized drawer... yeah, I know it's still quite, uhm... "full", but trust me, it's much better. You can see the bottom and like items are grouped together.

This is the before I cleaned it shot: I spy with my little eye... a mess!

I cleaned my small kitchen utensil/gadget drawer this weekend. The DH made a comment that he couldn't find anything in it. Well, when you have a nine year old putting the dishes away, sometimes things get a bit dicey- especially when said nine year old isn't cursed... err... BLESSED... with her mother's obsessive/compulsive disorder for organization. So I emptied the drawer, got rid of a few things, moved a few things to other homes, stacked measuring cups and spoons together (What a concept!) and reaquainted myself (and my daughter) with everything. The DH hasn't said anything more so I figure it passes muster. I really didn't take long... ten minutes at the most. Now the drawer that really needs it is the kitchen junk drawer. That one is just plain scary! For more organization projects and ideas go to (Crystal's blog: Making your home a haven Mondays/challenge).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What are you reading?

I'm just curious to know what type of books my visitors pick up to read? What section of the bookstore and what bookstores do you gravitate to?

I gravitate to Christian bookstores and Barnes and Noble. My non-fiction choices are all over the board- what ever particular whim or hobby I'm on. I have a path carved to the craft, hobby, cooking and travel sections and I could go on. Ohhh... and magazines... don't get me started. I'm going cold turkey on buying any. I've promised my DH I will stick to my subscriptions only. (Midwest Living, Country Living and Writer's Digest) So far I have been successful (under threat of an intervention and magazine rehab) at this. I avoid the periodical section in the bookstore and Costco's magazine rack. What is terrible is standing in line at the grocery store. Magazines are like my crack.

For fiction, I'm a sucker for a good romance but I also like fantasy. I do tend to genre hop more than most. Maybe that's why I have so many different ideas for novels of my own. My dreams inspire a lot of my ideas too. But what to do with last night's dream? (Ewan McGregor as a grasshopper who turned human.) Whatever I ate before bed last night probably shouldn't be consumed again, huh? I'll get my people in contact with Ewan's for the movie role! LOL!

I'm playing tag!

Dana over at has tagged me! I've been tagged! Yeah! Yes, simple things really do thrill me. Here are the rules. I have to post five (useless) things about me w/ pictures. (Okay, I'm not doing the pictures.) I have to name and link to who tagged me and name and tag five others, leaving a comment on their blog. Okay, here goes:

1. I have a degree in Fashion Marketing that I have never used.

2. I'd love to be an actress but I have no ability to memorize lines.

3. I wanted to be an archeologist in 4th grade until I figured out that meant digging up dead people.

4. I am vain. I am guilty of Googling myself with shocking results. Apparently someone with my same name has chosen to work in an industry I deem unfitting. (XXX) And no... I have not visited nor explored said doppleganger's work.

5. My guilty tv pleasure is Lost. I'm addicted.

Okay, I'm going to tag: jendi at , trixie at , deanna at , kim at and Mrs. U over a . Tag! you're it!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Show and Tell Friday

These are the front and back insides of all the books

This is Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present

Don Quixote


Last week I showed off the outside of my daughter's collection of 1918 children's story books. This week I will show off some of the inside artwork. We have been enjoying the books very much. For more Show and Tell Fridays go to .

The magic of a child's play

Posing with her club

The club... I believe the Big Dino is the leader.

Strike a pose!

The club picnic-ing - Notice the overturned "high heels" that serve as the tables.

Picnic-ers close up

Every Thursday my Pastor and his wife hold Bible Club at a local elementary school. I take my kids and help out. Since my three year old is now able to sit attentively during this time she also gets to come as an unofficial member. She loves it. So much so that I caught her playing "Bible Club"with her toys. "Mama! I playing Bible Club!" I thought that it was the cutest thing. "Train up your children..."

Pots De Creme' Au Chocolate

The finished product (Okay, yes, this photo is out of the cookbook. We all dived into our dessert before I remembered to take a picture.)

Cream, sugar and chocolate over low heat

Chocolate mixture- smooth and melted

Eggs whipping

Chocolate and egg mix

Individual dishes ready for the oven (Don't forget to add your 1 1/2 inches of boiling water to the big dish).

This was a new dessert I tried yesterday. It's easy, but kind of fussy, so I recommend saving it for special occasions. It is very yummy.

2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
5 eggs

Heat the cream on low heat and dissolve the sugar into it. Add the chocolate. Stir until melted in and smooth. Remove from heat. Beat eggs until smooth. Slowly add chocolate/cream mixture to eggs while stirring. Mix well. Pour into individual souffle dishes (2/3 full). Put dishes in a pyrex baking dish filled with 1 1/2 inches boiling water. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately one half hour. (Until the mixture is firm.) Let cool and transfer to refridgerator to chill for 2 hours. Top with whipping cream and serve.

This makes 6 very rich individual servings. Only my husband could finish his in one sitting. The kids and I had to eat in portions. That being the case... I would find the smallest dishes possible to fill and bake. (You would probably have to play around with baking time, but this would not only stretch the dessert but not overfill your guests/family.)

Happy baking! I'm off to have the rest of my dessert for breakfast!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I've been listed!!!!

Nothing lifts a lonely blogger's heart than being listed on someone else's blog with out having to ask! Over at, my site is listed under "blog candy". Oh, what a uplifting moment! Thank you soooo... much! Go on over and spend some time there. It is a beautiful site with lots of great stuff. Oh... you do have to do some clicking to find my link. You have to click on the "homemaking cottage" link on the left and then you have to click on "cottage blog". That will bring you to the Sanity With Seven page and I'm under the blog candy listing on the left. Yes, little things make my day!

A Chef's Breakfast

I love it when my DH has the day off and he decides to cook breakfast. This morning I am receiving a bacon/mushroom omelet- not from a recipe. My DH doesn't need such things. He creates from the heart. I will forgo my normal "sweet" breakfasts for such a savory dish! Yummm!

He even "plated" it! (Making it look fancy on the plate with garnish and presentation.)

Born in Leap Year

Not for Uncle Mike's eyes... do not read further if you are said party!

My husband's older brother had the unique priviledge of being born in a leap year on "leap day". This means that his actual birthday only comes every four years. This year Uncle Mike will be "10". My kids are enamored with this. They have made birthday cards and my oldest is gloating that she is older than her uncle. (She's 11.) We are not too sure what Uncle Mike will think of the kid's celebrating but the DH and I think it is cute.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesdays go to

Future Chefs of America

The boy has got it in the head that he wants to be chef. Anytime I go into the kitchen he is right behind me asking what he can do to help. For a boy who hates to pay attention at school time, he is very attentive to learning how to cook. I for one would love to have a professional chef in the family.

Last night he helped me make beef stroganoff and cheesy broccoli. As he can now brown hamburger and microwave vegetables, the mom in me sighs in relief. If he never learns anything more about cooking at least he can feed himself as a bachelor.

The down side to this: he is so eager to help and learn that my girls are not getting time in the kitchen. (They are quite fine with this.) But since the probability of them both marrying chefs is small and as it is the woman's role to be a helpmeet to her husband (ie: cooking for him) I'm going to need to schedule kitchen help so that everyone gets training.

Blog posts of note

For those of you with spring fever, Suzanne over at Chickens in the Road has a great tip on starting seeds in starter pots made from empty toilet paper roles. She even has posted pictures of the process.

For writers, Rachelle, over at is talking about how to establish a "platform" for fiction and non-fiction. This is very important for writers trying to find representation and become published. Writing professionally is so much more than just telling a good story.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I eat brownies for breakfast...

Is that bad? I fix my kids toast and oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs etc. But I choose muffins, brownies, cookies, danish etc. I have even been known to shovel in leftover birthday cake. Oh... and donuts... the little powdered sugar kind! (But any donuts will do.)

Sigh. I'll eat an omelet or biscuits and gravy if someone else makes them but I'm just not a chipper, cheery, get to the day, morning gal. I need my coffee and as little movement as possible.

I save healthy eating for other meals when I'm actually awake. What about you? Am I the only "bad" breakfast eater?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Food Network Wanna-be

The DH and I love to watch the food network. So much so that this year with our Costco/American Express yearly rebate we purchased a bonafide Cuisinart food processor. We have only had a mini Braun processor in the past and it was not very effective.

I am very excited to experiment with it, yet petrified at the same time, for two reasons. The first- I am not naturally "chefy". The DH is the one who looks at our pantry and throws together wonderful stuff from scratch. He is the one who remembers to saute fresh onion and garlic for the base of his dishes. I on the other hand cook more like the school cafeteria lunch lady. There is little pizazz to my dishes. I will even need to re-train the brain to actually remember to use the food processor.

The second- I think I've mentioned once or twice (or a few hundred) that I am not naturally inclined to technology and innovation. I'm a story teller not a scientist. The food processor came with a lot of interchangable parts, do-dads/attatchments and the most scary thing of all... an instructional DVD. If I need to watch a DVD to understand how to operate this thing, I'm doomed.

Oh, well... I did add a couple of gizmo's to this web site over the weekend, so I will continue the battle and conquer my ineptness with intricate kitchen appliances. Paula Deen... look out! Hmmm... or should I be warning my family?

...He sets up kings and disposes of them.

Daniel chapter two was the source material for Adult Sunday School yesterday. What a wonderful and timely reminder of God's Omnipotence.

Daniel 2:20-22

...Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness. and light dwells with Him.

These verses hit me in three distinctly different ways:

1. Now that it's mid-winter and I'm getting my fill of snow, I start thinking about spring; the texture of grass, the chartreuse of newly burst leaves, and the smell of the warm sun. (I've already ogled the newly stocked seed section at the grocery store.) These verses served to remind me that everything happens exactly in the timing and at the command of the Lord. Spring will come at the precisely correct time as it pleases God. The seasons don't "just happen". They are held in the hand of the Creator.

2. With all the hoopla of this year being a Presidential election year, it is easy to get excited or dismayed at the way events are shaping up. While it is my duty to place my vote in the person I believe will honor God and the U.S. in the most capable way, God ultimately places who he desires in control so that his remarkable plan will continue to be executed. This may mean someone I don't care for wins the Presidency. It also means that if God wants a non-front runner to win the office, it will be. God will work out his plans.

3. Lastly, with my focus lately on finishing my novel and getting published... It is easy to get discouraged with the way the publishing business works. (It takes more than just writing a good book to get published. There are a lot of marketing hoops to jump through as well.) But God gently reminded me that He, not me, holds my writing dream in his hand. If God desires me to be published then it will happen. Yes, I need to do the work but He is in control. It is very freeing.

Praise God! He reigns in perfect majesty!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Come on over to my house and stand under these!

Snow Evangelism at "The Dump"

Westside's Sledding Ministry

Spreading the cocoa Gospel

Reagan is my snow angel

Pastor Sam Hendrickson and his wife Jill

Rem trying out snowboarding

Jenison, Michigan has a Mars Hill! The local sledding grounds- Charlie's Dump/The Soccer Bowl- is where you can find the locals gathered on the weekend. Our church, Westside Baptist ( hands out chips and hot cocoa to all and, if God opens doors, we share the Gospel and invite people to visit our church. It is a good, non-intimidating way to meet our "neighbors'.
It works well as a family ministry. My kids are occupied with sledding and meeting other kids and I can help out at the table. Now I just need to get out of my comfort zone and actually start conversations with people. My small talk ability stinks. But the more I practice at it and work at it, the better I'll be.

Site meter added!

Give me a cheer and a standing ovation! (A shout out wouldn't hurt either... LOL.) I have successfully added sitemeter to my blog. It tracks my visitors (excluding myself) so I can see how many hits I get. Since I want to build my audience to gain a "platform" for the publishing industry, this will help me.
What you all don't know is how untechnological I am. So this is a major thing for me. Good heavens, I might be programing in HTML before the year is over. LOL!

If you are interested in adding sight meter to your site go to . It's free and they hold your hand step by step to add it. Trust me: If I can do it, you can.

A special shout out to Kara at for encouraging me to do this!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Show and Tell Friday

My Pastor and his wife were given these books and since they have no kids of their own they passed them on to my oldest daughter to loves to read. They are beautiful, old books; published in 1918. What a great addition to the book shelf. We are missing one of the set because it was damaged, but the rest are in good condition. For more Show and Tell Fridays go to .