Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Look Who's Growing In My Garden!

My garden needs a LOT of work! The herbs have taken over, especially the oregano, mint and parsley. I had big plans to yank it all out next month and start over again, maybe attempt another vegetable garden. I purchased the seeds and the garden soil, but I hadn't gotten around to the job of yanking out those old herbs.

And then this morning, I looked a little more closely at the oregano. Wait a second. Over there, in the upper left hand corner of the patch. Is that fur I see?

I leaned in for a closer look.

A few little somethings wiggled in closer to each other.

Yep! Mama Rabbit decided that the herb garden would be a perfect place to grow her baby bunnies!

Awww! Aren't they the sweetest things when they're not eating my seedlings? :) Look at those little ears!

I can't blame Mama Rabbit for choosing the higher ground of my herb garden over the lower ground of the nature preserve. After all, in the preserve she'd have the coyotes and hawks and owls to contend with, but here in the garden, she just has to contend with an old labrador retriever who would rather soak up the sun than chase a critter. I think she chose the lesser of the two evils. Maggie doesn't walk in the garden, and I think the herbs will disguise the smell of bunnies.

Ah, the peaceable kingdom!

Hippity Hoppity, Easter's on its way!

A bunny card, in honor of brave Mama Rabbit!

{recipe: Friendship Jar Spring Fillers (PTI), Sending You stamps and dies (PTI), white card stock (PTI), My Mind's Eye Dolled Up papers, scallop edge punch, oval punch, versafine onyx ink, kiwi kiss/cherry cobbler/blushing bride ink (SU), prisma markers}

I think I may choose to do some container gardening this year. Sounds like a much safer bet, doesn't it?

Blessings on your beautiful spring day!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Musings for a Monday

Another Monday, another school week begins. I barely have time to take two sips from my coffee before starting the routine. Pack Sam's lunch. Check his folder and book bag. Wake up Sam. Make his breakfast. Find his shoes. Coat? Shoes? Book bag? Check. Out the door. We wait on the front porch, watching petals fall from the blossoming trees as the robins peck in the yard. And then we pray.

Help him, Lord, this day to be
Thy dear child, a' follow thee
Help and save him by thy hand
Until he reaches the heavenly land.
In Jesus' name. Amen.

The prayer my mother prayed with me every morning. The prayer her mother prayed with her in German every morning.

I pray this prayer with Sam, but I also pray it for his brothers who are away at college. Let's face it. It is a dark and scary world. Our children need all the heavenly support they can get.

Ephesians 5:9 says "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light."

A clean and simple card today with a light-filled message. He is risen!

{recipe: stamp from WPlus9, computer generated sentiment, crosses made with marker, crushed curry ink, kiwi kiss card stock, embossing folder, PTI rustic white card stock, corner rounder}

Sunday, March 25, 2012

PTI March Blog Hop

Papertrey Ink's March blog hop was inspired by this photo of sweet yellows paired with aquas. Such a pretty spring color combination, don't you think?

I purchased some new papers from My Mind's Eye and couldn't wait to use them. I decided to keep it simple today with just papers and sentiment. But you know me. I may think "I'll keep it simple", but then I'm distracted by felt and lace and ribbon, and before you know it, what was supposed to be a fast and simple card took me all day!

Have you ever gone out to eat at a restaurant and thought "I'm not very hungry, so I'll just get the soup." And you end up ordering the soup...and the salad...and the entree...and the dessert! This card is the soup. Everything from soup to nuts!

{today's brew: Think Big Favorites #3 and Label Basics (PTI), white cardstock (PTI), papers (My Mind's Eye), so saffron ink and ribbon(SU), cool caribbean ink(SU), label die (PTI), flower die (My Favorite Things), baker's twine, button (PTI), felt (PTI), lace (American Crafts)}

Thanks for stopping by the cafe, today! Next time, just the soup. I promise!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just Pretending

Last month, God and I had a funny conversation. It went a lot like this:

GOD: Mary Rose, I love you!

Mary Rose: I love you, too, God!

G: I think we should start all of our conversations this way.

MR: Me, too!

G: Okay, Mary Rose. If you could do anything and be anyone with no risk of failure, what would you be?

MR: Oh, that's easy, God! You already know the answer!

G: Yes, I know the desires of your heart. But sometimes, it helps for you to say it out loud.

MR: Okay. I would be a writer.

G: Great! I love writers! I filled my book with them!

MR: And I love your book! You are my favorite writer, God!

G: You haven't been reading my book a lot lately, though.

MR: Yeah, I know.

G: No guilt! No condemnation! Just a little reminder.

MR: Point taken.

G: So, tell me, what would it look like?

MR: What would what look like?

G: Being a writer.

MR: Well, for starters, I'd have a really cute, sassy haircut.

G: Hmm. Well, okay. That would not have been my first thought, but then again, my ways are not your ways. Tell me more.

MR: A writer needs to try new things, meet new people, and have new experiences.

G: Great! I love my people! What else?

MR: Well, a writer would actually, uhm, you know...

G: I know all things. But do you know? Go ahead. Say it!

MR: A writer would write.

G: Ah! Epiphany! Now we're getting somewhere! Now tell me, do you think you could just pretend to be a writer?

MR: Pretend?

G: Yes. Just pretend. Get the sassy haircut. Try new things. Hang out at the library and the coffee shop. Read good books (a total self-promoting plug here, but I can do that because I am God and you are not!). Oh, and write. Just write. All the time, write. Print off the first fifty pages of that novel and rework it a little. Just pretend to be a writer.

MR: Well, okay, if you say so, God. But I have to say, this is one of your weirder plans for me.

G: I know. But remember, I know the plans I have for you.

MR: But what if I fail?

G: We're pretending, remember? Besides, I believe in you, even when you don't believe in yourself.

MR: Thank you, God. I just needed to hear it.

G: I know. Now stop looking at Pinterest and start writing.

Isn't God awesome? He believes in me! And He believes in you, too!

I made a card for Mom today, just to encourage her on her road to recovery.

It gave me a good excuse to use my new papers from Cosmo Cricket (Tea for Two), my new picket fence die and my new stamps (Papertrey Ink). And, I'll admit, it gave me an excuse to step away from writing for a few minutes.

I believe it's going to be a good weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A New Gooseberry Patch Cookbook!

Look what arrived in my mailbox last week! It's a new cookbook from Gooseberry Patch called Simple Shortcut Recipes. And here's the exciting part:

My recipe for Chicken and Couscous was included! I love my Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, and I love them even more when I can get them for free. Would you like a free cookbook? It's easy! Send Gooseberry Patch your original recipes, and you might find your name in one of these cookbooks in the future! (I can't reveal my Mediterranean style chicken and couscous recipe here, but you can find it on page 136 of this new publication!)

I had to make a trip to the grocery store today, and when I pulled in the parking lot, I saw about one hundred women lined up on the sidewalk. What gives? And then I remembered. Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, was making an appearance today to sign her cookbooks. Folks were lined up nearly two hours before her appearance! If you've ever visited her blog, then you'll know what a hoot she is! I love her stories about Marlboro Man and their four "ranch hands", and her photographs are priceless.

Let me tell you, by the time I finished grocery shopping, the line had doubled! All those people waiting in the hot sun to meet her. Way to go, Rhee! From High Heels to Tractor Wheels to best-selling cookbook author. What a ride!

I can't see myself as a published cookbook author because, well, to tell you the truth, I don't like cooking nearly as much as I like eating. :) Grocery shopping is a chore for me, and I go into a panic every late afternoon when I realize I don't have a clue what I'm fixing for dinner. That's why I'm the queen of shortcuts! For example, I'll use a store-bought, pre-cooked rotisserie chicken when I'm short on time, and turn it into a main course recipe with a few ingredients from my pantry.

Today's recipe is one of my famous short cuts! I've modified this recipe from it's original, which appeared in a Parade magazine a few years back. My mom clipped it out and mailed it to me, and I have loved it ever since!

Chickpea Ragout with Chicken

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 T. minced garlic
1 t. ground cumin
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 t. dried
2 t. honey
2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 3/4c. chicken broth
Couscous cooked according to pkg.
1/2 c. chopped parsley
Rotisserie chicken, cut and cubed

Heat olive oil in sauce pan over med. low heat. Add onion and garlic, sautee for app. 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cumin and stir. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, thyme, honey, lemon juice, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, season w/ salt and pepper, and simmer for 4 minutes. While chickpeas cook, prepare couscous. Taste chickpeas and adjust seasoning. Remove thyme sprigs and stir in parsley. Serve over couscous in shallow bowls. Top with chicken and enjoy!

I have a rotisserie chicken waiting for me in the kitchen. Time to get creative!

Tell me...what's for dinner at your house?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Paper Crafts Practical Solutions

Happy Spring! Isn't this warm weather glorious? The flowers and trees are in bloom, the birds are singing, and the sun is shining. Sure, it seems a little early, but I will take spring weather any day!

Spring weather means driving the bug with the sunroof open, letting the fresh breezes blow while running errands to fun places like Barnes and Noble. I picked up a skinny vanilla latte and the newest publication from Papercrafts magazine called "Practical Solutions for Paper Crafters". It's chock full of inspiring storage ideas and lovely cards.

Cath's Moxie Fab blog has been featuring this magazine all week. Today's Moxie challenge was to come up with ways to use up scraps of pretty papers. I was inspired by a card from the magazine (p.101), and borrowed the sketch for my card today!

I had all kinds of little scraps from the Crate Paper Random collection, and decided to pair them up with some chipboard pieces. Look ma, no stamps!

{today's brew: kraft card stock (PTI), Crate Paper Random papers and chipboard, Martha Stewart lace edge punch, SU modern label punch, SU corner rounder punch, pearls}

Want to participate in Cath's blog hop? Just click on the moxie fab world link at the right!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Reflections on Motherhood

Yesterday was my son's birthday. And because Luke is my firstborn, I realized that I have been mothering sons for twenty-two years now. It's been quite a journey! I thought I'd post a few recent observations I've had on motherhood today, particularly motherhood as it relates to being the mother of sons.

Mothering sons means you might find your dining table converted to this if you take even the briefest of naps one afternoon.

As the mother of sons, you might find something like this in your junk drawer. Yes, the world's smallest sharpened pencil! It might make you scratch your head and ask "Why?" The answer is pretty simple. Because they can!

Mothering sons means you have been schooled in LEGOs and received a degree in Star Wars terminology. A mother of sons can look at this photo and spot a Millennium Falcon, AT-AT walker, Death Star and Darth Vader, and can differentiate between an empirial guard and a mere clone trooper. Take that, George Lucas!

A mother of sons will know how absurd it is to see Chewbacca doing a half pipe on a skate board!

A mother of sons will see a train table become a LEGO table, and a LEGO table become an alien-battling military base.

A mother of sons will never have a perfect house, but she will have a fun house.

As my sons grow older, I can see how important a healthy diet is to their daily routine.

A mom knows that video game soldiers require a steady supply of Mountain Dew at the ready.

Yes, mothering sons is quite a caffeinated adventure!

When I recently quit my last dead-end job, I had a heart to heart with God about how to fill my life with purpose. God gently inquired of me "If your entire purpose in this life is to love your husband and raise your sons for me, would that be enough?"

Yes, I can see now that it would be enough.

It may not seem as important as heading up a corporation or becoming a missionary in a third world country. It may not be filled with daily excitement, constant respect, or even monetary achievement. So why do I do it? Because one day, I want to stand before my Father and hear the words "Well done, my good and faithful servant. Well done!"

I'm off to treat my son to a birthday lunch today. And yes, caffeine will be involved! Today, on this beautiful spring day, I feel richly blessed.

Blessings on your weekend, friends!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Easter Primarily

On a lovely pre-spring day, with temperatures in the seventies, it's not that hard to imagine Easter right around the corner! Let's hope this wonderful weather is here to stay!

I made a card today using primary colors. Normally, you'd see a lot of pinks and greens and purples for an Easter card, but I think this color combination really makes the designs of the eggs from WPlus9 Designs stand out. I paired the three stamped eggs with three patterned papers from Cosmo Cricket's Material Girl collection to give it a nice homespun charm.

Remember my spring wreath project? My dear friend, Beth, called to tell me that the missing element I was looking for was some sort of greenery around the whole wreath to tie all the parts together. She was right! Here's the much improved wreath now:

Thanks, Beth!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Shades of Blue

My baby boy is having a birthday this week, so I made him a card in shades of little boy blue. Luke may not be a boy (he is turning twenty-two, after all), but he is MY boy. My boy is often driving in his car...from Ball State to home, from home to Purdue, from Purdue to home, from home back to Ball State. The road of life is an adventure when you are a young man with wheels. But wherever Luke travels, he does indeed make the road of life more fun!

For this card, I used four different blue papers from Amuse, pairing it with Amuse image and sentiment along with an Amuse stitched grosgrain ribbon to make the road. It's all mounted on a creamy card base that I embossed with a Sizzix dots embossing folder. The clouds (MFT die) pop off the dotty sky, making them float a bit. Overall, just a simple card that's simply fun.

Happy Monday, java friends!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Inspired By LEGO

Warning! Lots of photos in today's post before an actual card makes its appearance! Be patient, scroll through, and find a little inspiration!

LEGO Brick World convention came to town this weekend. We thought it would be a great way to entertain an eight year old boy on a Saturday.

It was a great way to entertain a LOT of boys, and girls, for that matter! We heard of people traveling from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois just to attend this event!

These were truly inspiring creations! I am always amazed by the creativity. Imagine...a lovely cottage garden made of colorful plastic bricks!

Or how about a farmhouse complete with barn, garden, and clothes hung out on the line to dry!

How about a princess house and gazebo?

And for the local crowd, a scale rendition of Lucas Oil stadium with retractable roof that was made for this year's super bowl festivities!

Sam had a chance to do a little building of his own. He quickly made this version of the Empire State building with King Kong perched on top!

I came home after this boyfest and decided to unwind with a little crafting. But as it turns out, I still had LEGO on the brain! I used the colors of LEGO bricks for today's card!

Can I just take a moment to tell you how much I LOVE my new stamps from wplus9 design? These are high quality clear stamps with the cutest designs. And can I gush over the customer service? Easy website to navigate, an instant order confirmation, and super fast shipping! I just ordered some more stamps and matching dies from them this weekend, so expect more creations from wplus9 in the future!

{inks: wild wasabi/daffodil delight/pacific point/real red from SU, PTI cream card stock and die, amuse gingham paper, amuse ribbon}

Thanks for visiting the cafe today!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Wreath For Spring

I went out shopping at some of the local craft stores this week, looking for a spring wreath for my front door. I must have been in my Goldilocks mood...too pricey, too froo froo, nothing just right.

I've got it! I'll go home and make a wreath with the things I have. How hard can it be?

{insert Spongebob's Jacque Cousteau narrator voice here saying"Three hours later."}

I started with the flowers, using felt from Papertrey Ink and pairing it with rosette dies from My Favorite Things. With a dab of hot glue to hold it all together and a pearl for the center, I thought they came out pretty sweet for my first attempt at felted flowers.

But I didn't want an entire wreath of felted flowers. Hmmm. How would this rusty little piece of picket fence look? Too rusty? I know, I'll dab on white craft ink, clear embossing powder, and then heat set it. Hey, it worked!

Maybe a little sign for the picket fence? Hey, my new WPlus9 stamps would make a cute wreath tag!

And then the agony of the ribbons. What color? Yellow? Green? White? Too narrow, too wide, too shiny, too too. In the end, I settled on this wide brown stripe. But the bow looked lonely. I scrounged through an old old jewelry box. This box holds stuff from the nineties when I was a teacher...every themed pin and piece of jewelry for each holiday and season. Do you remember those? We had to have jewelry to match our holiday themed sweatshirts, right? Yeah, I'm dating myself here, I know! I found this sweet bunny pin and decided he was "just right!"

I'm not sure if the wreath is quite done yet. I feel like it still needs something. Maybe more felted flowers or a little spring grass. Any suggestions?