We are starting the new year with a new scripture study plan. The kids and I are excited about it. We will work together using The Red Headed Hostess Book of Mormon study pages. I like the way she helps you learn to break things down yourself. The kids like that there will be pictures... I just like that we are doing it together. Now to go make five more bags for the kids today while perfecting the pattern. I love that I figured out how to make the bag with only 2 pieces of fabric (one inside lining and one outside.. oh and the handle but that doesn't count.) I love how excited the kids were to unwrap their new scriptures. They are so new, crisp, and smell great. We were excited to start making this new set up. They are only for family study time. They have their large sets for personal study and church study.
Several events have happened in the last 48 hours (and I guess a little longer) to make me really think about my life and what I want and what I have.
To start off I have been reading a lot of interesting books about thoughts and intention. The whole concept of changing your thought, changing your life appealed to me.
I recently found the author Barbel Mohr and her book Instant Cosmic Ordering. My husband actually heard about her in a random pod cast he listened to while working. The book was 99 cents for the Kindle so I figured... what the heck. She does a very good job of explaining thought and intention and how what you think does affect what shows up in your life... I think she does a better job than most of explaining why it happens. I admit though... if I had just seen the title... I might not have read it because it does sound weird.
Well thinking about that... Here are a couple of things that happened this week that really made me think.
1. Christmas is over and I have been looking at my budget that is totally blown... We do live simply but... I did still spend more than I should have of my budget... This information does not do much to make one think happy thoughts about money. So... In the back of my head, I was wishing that I had more... not satisfied with where I was. (so this is what is running in the back of my head)..
2. My sister and her family came to visit this week. We spent a lot of time talking and having a good time together. While talking (very late one night this week)... I mentioned a super good deal I get on printer ink. It really is a good deal. I have been doing this for years. For half of what I would normally spend on ink for my printer, I can get about 6 months worth of ink. That is a good deal. My BIL flipped. He threw his hands in the air and said "How do you do that?!" I am was like.. .what do you mean?? He said that he has noticed that things I need just show up for me. *blink blink*... I hadn't noticed this about my life, but it is true. Things I need to show up. Because of life choices of being a stay at home, homeschooling mom... I don't earn the salary I would if I were working at the career I was trained in and thought I would be doing all my life. I have had to make do. If I want something bad enough for me and my children, I have to find a way for it to show up within my budget... and it does. We do live simply but well. This has made me think about my life and the really cool things that do show up that I hadn't been paying attention to.
3. Last night... as I was thinking about what I didn't have... I thought... I would really like $500 right now... it would really help with a couple of things I wanted to do. I was looking at the lack of this money. Over the last year, I have found a few interesting and fun... somewhat fluffy... sites. My friend introduced me to card reading... It isn't something that I have ever taken seriously because it isn't something I do. But I don't mock it. A friend of mine showed me a couple of online card sites that are fun to play with. I don't really take them seriously but found them entertaining. Well, for fun last night, I went to one of the sites and I did a one cared draw. It was for fun.. The way it works is... you think of a question or problem you have... you pick a card draw and you get a card with a message on it.. .kinda like fortune cookies... Well... I thought... I could really use some money... I want some money... Can I have some money... So that was my question. I picked the one card draw and waited... and giggled a bit... And then I got my card and was really surprised at the answer. Out of all the cards that could have come up in the random draw, I got the platypus Oracle card. It came from this site. ( I don't support this site or anything, it just came up when I was goofing around). The Platypus card said... "Stop complaining, focus your attention on the blessings in your life." I was struck. That was exactly what I was doing. I was complaining. I was not noticing the good things in my life. That really made me think. I went to sleep last night thinking about this and the blessings that ARE in my life.
4. This morning when I got up, one of my old friends from my collage days (who just recently found me on facebook) posted a picture of a gratitude jar. I LOVE this idea. I am going to give this a try. Starting a new year of gratitude. Only... I don't want to use just any jar... I think I will get one of my cookie jars from my collection and start filling it. This is a resolution that I know I can keep.
It is fall here in the Ozarks. It is always such a treat to watch the leaves change. Our family enjoys so many fall events every year. However.... now that we have 3 kids in High School we have discovered that they have almost all been trumped by band and FFA trips. Sigh!... The bright side is that the kids love what they are doing... Right?!
The one fall event that I look forward to MOST is our semi-annual Quilt retreat. I LIVE for this! I am quilt guild president again (a job I LOVE!) and so am in on the planning and execution of this event twice a year. This time... my lovely committee took care of most of the details themselves and that meant I got to play!!! Thank you ladies!!!
I only participated in one class this time (I think I signed up for all of them but quickly amended my choices). I took a mini twister class. You take lots of little 2.5" squares, sew them together, and cut them up again and sew those together to make a tiny 10" or so quilt. Here is what I finished on Saturday.
I made it with the Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheels pattern and cutting ruler. I have several more ideas to try this way... I might even post a tutorial. I am in progress right now with a strawberry pattern I drew up... and I might make a tomato just for fun since I work in the shop at the Strawberry and Tomato farm during the growing season.
Day two of this challenge is SMILE. I am grateful for the ability to smile. I love that Happiness is a choice. When you seek to find it on the outside, you never will truly find it. It is a choice from the inside. It may be one of the hardest choices for some and at some times but, it is still your choice. No one can MAKE you be happy. You get to chose it, and choosing it makes all the difference.
I stumbled across the writings of Louise Hay this year. How I had never found them before, I do not know. But I love them. It was through listening to her and reading her word that I learned just how powerful the choice of happiness is. It has changed my life and I hope, the lives of those I love. Go check it out yourself. You just might love it too.
I love this song "Smile", sung by Nat King Cole. It sums up how I feel about smiling at it's best. Life is always still worthwhile.
I have accepted a 30 day Gratitude challenge. It involves taking a photo and recording the things you are grateful for. I hope to blog them all but... you know my past record.
I have been thinking about gratitude a lot lately. I watched a random Youtube clip this fall that really got me thinking. It is by Robert G. Smith and he tells about a Gratitude Journal. It really got my attention. We are experts at focusing on what makes us unhappy and putting our energy into that. Things like.... oh... your looks... that weird scar on the end of my nose from Shingles a couple of years ago... The fact that no matter what I do... the weight isn't coming off... $$$, failures, etc... you get the picture. I am sure you could make a list of your own... but WHY?! Robert said to make a list of all the things you are grateful for. Then... think about them. You will find yourself being happy for NO REASON. I could use some of that. So... As part of my Gratitude Journal, I am recording some of my favorite things, things I AM grateful for, things I love!... Things that I can think about and BE happy for NO REASON.
(Oh if you want that youtube link... here it is). (oops my bad... it is the Happy journal with the Gratitude list .... call it what you want... it is a great idea!)
So... Today, November 1st (yest I know it is midnight but hey...) I am grateful for food, and in particular... I am thankful for Cream Puffs.
Cream Puffs were one of my Grandma Wood's specialty desserts. She used to make them and bring them to my parents home on Sunday evenings, with my grandpa, and they would have Family Home Evening with my family. I wasn't born yet when this happened. So... I have different memories of these delightful pastries than my siblings to. The cream puffs I ate as a child were made by my mother. And, when she would make them I would get to help. When you cut a hot, fresh cream puff open, you have to scoop out the remaining eggy filling inside. I loved doing this, helping, and getting the yummy eggy bits inside. As I would help with these, my mother and older sisters would tell me stories about my grandmother. She died the week of my first birthday. I never felt deprived of her presence as a child because I always felt her close in the home. They would tell me stories about her amazing cooking, her wonderful needle skills making lace, and sewing wonderfully warm blankets. They told me about her life of service to her family, church and community. She was a social worker and did a wonderful thing for families in California. They told me how kind she was, how wonderful it was just to be near her. I was given one of her last blankets when I was little. I still have it. It is made from scraps of old wool suits and is backed with red flannel. It was so warm and cozy when I was little. I would curl up in that blanket and could feel the love in the stitching (that is one reason I quilt today).
Cream puffs are a tradition in our family. I make them now for my children and tell them the stories about this amazing woman. I have always looked up to her. It makes me feel good to be compared to her when I do things that are good and right and meaningful. I do actually have on physical memory of her before she died. I will have to share that someday... not today.
Here is the recipe as I got it from my mother, who got it from her's:
Grandma Wood's Cream Puffs
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
Boil the water, butter, salt, and flour together and stir rapidly. Cook stirring constantly until the mixture forms a ball that doesn't separate. (always looked like play dough to me) Remove from heat.
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat quickly so you don't cook the egg. Stir until the mixture is smooth before adding the next egg. Repeat with all the eggs.
Cool and take by spoonfuls and arrange on a cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
Bake in a hot oven (450* F) for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325*F and bake for 25 additional minutes. When they are cool, cut off the tops and clean out the eggy goodness inside and fill with cream filling and top with chocolate frosting.
1 cup milk
1/3 -1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour (I use 1/4 cup corn starch)
2 egg yolks or 1 whole egg well beaten
Mix together sugar and flour in sauce pan. Add milk and stir until mixed. Heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat. Take about 1/2 cup pudding in a small bowl and mix in egg with a wire whisk. Add egg mixture back to remaining pudding and mix well. Add flavoring, mix. Cool completely. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Store all leftovers in the refrigerator.
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
Mix sugar, butter, and milk in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Boil about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Drizzle over cream puff... or what ever you want... ice cream, cake... your finger.... :)
I hope you enjoy this little recipe and the story that goes with it. Watch the youtube clip... Make a gratitude list of your own and find something that you can make you happy for no reason.