Crispy Cinnamon Rounds

I know weight gain could be a real issue during this time and I feel so badly for those who have worked so very hard to establish a gym routine to possibly lose their momentum.  Maybe for others though, this extra time and stress will help lead to a faithful walking routine or routine of exercising with someone online.  There is no shortage of options there!  There is no better antidote to stress than exercise. Well, okay, there is prayer...!  Praying while exercising?  Yeah, good too I think for some people!  I can't say I do that too much yet. My mind seems to engage in prayer differently than exercise.   We are using this time to establish a solid walking routine.  (that's the plan anyway!) I'm actually rather new to podcasts listening and would you believe am completely new to wearing ear buds or headphones within the last year?  I've always needed to listen for kids and just never picked up their use.  When my kids are home, I wouldn't wear ear buds and when they aren't home, I don't need them.  Well, times have changed.  We talk and spend all kinds of time together, so some time apart with head phones on, is now a good thing for short periods of time. My point being, that I've taken to listening to podcasts while I walk and have to say, I am really enjoying it!  Now I just need to find more podcasts that I enjoy.  

So, I talk about exercise and then post another sweet recipe.  Balance?  And, sharing baked goods, is such a gift too.  Share with your family or your neighbors, deliver curbside!!  For us, the younger girls and I are trying to really learn about yeast baking.  A skill that needs practice and lots of it, especially when there are three of us learning.

I found this recipe waaaaay back when I was in high school. I believe it was from a Midwest Living magazine.  I made it and my Mom who was a great bread and cinnamon roll baker, loved it and so I have a memory associated with this of impressing my Mom.  :)  Of course now, I realize how much easier this recipe is than traditional cinnamon rolls, but I'm not sure I realized that at the time.  I've probably only made them twice in my adult life.  At some point that ingredient "yeast" began to intimidate me I guess.  And the directions "let rise"...  Oh gosh, those words years way!  Who had the time or who knew what you would be doing an hour later when the dough was ready??

But, now, we have the time and now you will have this recipe too, because wow, it's so much easier than a cinnamon roll and dare I say...better?!?!  I think maybe so!

Crispy Cinnamon Rounds

2 1/4 C flour
1 pkg instant dry yeast
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 C warm water
3 T shortening
1 egg

3/4 C sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
(opt. 1/2 c nuts)

Combine 1 C flour, yeast, 2T sugar, salt and nutmeg.  Add the water, shortening and egg.  Blend on low speed until moistened.  Beat 3 min. at medium speed.
By hand, add the remaining flour.

Cover and let rise in warm place until light and doubled. (an hour or so?)
Stir down.

Combine topping ingredients.  Pour out 1/2 c of the topping on to wax paper or parchment paper, drop about 1/3 cup of dough onto the sugar mixture and pat out to a round shape, flipping it a time or two. Flatten to about 1/4".  Put on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 min.  Time depends on how thin you make them.

Makes about one dozen round at ~4" diameter.  

Let's Just Cozy Up Here!

Shrinking down to doll size and crawling into a cozy, someone else made it for you, bed sounds pretty good right now doesn't it?

When Ann Wood posted this little DIY bed, I knew I would make one.  I think I've said that about a number of her patterns and projects.  I know I have!

I made this tiny rag doll (from an Ann Wood pattern) maybe two years ago.  It's hard to remember. :)  I still hope to make her some little clothing accessories.  I had hoped to make one for each of my younger girls, but it took longer than I thought.  As do so many things.

I made the pillow, pillow case, and sheet from pieces of a very tattered pillow case.  The little quilt was made from an extremely tattered quilt block I had.  Even though I have quilt blocks in really good shape, I loved the challenge of cutting and resewing the really tattered one into something useful again.

Another old piece that was stained and ripped became the little tufted mattress.  I just love the little swirls in the head board and foot board.  

How are you all holding up?  I keep my news watching to a minimum and my praying to a maximum and then I'm okay.  The girls will have more direction from their teachers this coming week and that will help us out tremendously with their "homeschooling".  Because as much as I love creating and science and can easily teach that, it's been too long since I've really done Math to teach anything successfully. And, it's always easier for them to follow through on requirements from their teachers.

If you follow along on Instagram, you know they've been learning to bake with yeast and two days ago, we began a levain, or sourdough starter as the regular yeast has sold out of our stores.  We've also been experimenting a bit with natural dyes, learning crochet, and just general "life" studies.
They both have their instruments home so will be practicing that too.  

We are trying to walk every day and that is such a gift to get out and about.  
We finished the novena, but of course will continue to pray the rosary for an end to all of this.  For a cure, a vaccine, for healing, for guidance, for everything.

The one thing that I do know and I know for sure: is that God can bring beauty out of all of this.  Pray for graces to come from all of this.  Pray it fervently.  And in that prayer, to me is real light.  I think you'll see it too.  Keep bringing those limitations to Him also.  I heard in my heart consoling words around one of those limitations a few days ago.  And I have felt his peace in the limitations that I feel about the pandemic.  What an enormous gift.

I keep thinking a giveaway would be a good idea.  Does anyone enter those anymore?  I'll have to figure that out.  Happy mail would be nice!

Hang in there, this won't last forever.  It won't!


I tried this recipe a couple of weeks ago and now made them again this week.  They are a bit "rough looking", but that's exactly how they are in the recipe book too and the nature of them.

I was skeptical of the ingredients, but they are called Everything-in-the-Pantry Cookies and that intrigued me because I like to "eat down" our pantry regularly.  The recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk and I had two cans left from Christmas recipes that didn't get made, so I thought I'd give these a go.  My first couple bites, I thought, "meh", but by the end of the cookie, I'd changed my mind. I went back for another.

And, another.

The recipe came from the cookbook Mexican Today by Pati Jinich.  What's strange is that I cannot remember where I got this cookbook.  I haven't had it more than a year and I don't just go out and buy cookbooks.  Maybe clearance somewhere?  Garage sale?  I'm just glad I have it as I'm beginning to try the recipes and they are good. I hadn't even heard of the author, but someone via Instagram said she has a cooking show so I hope to check that out soon.  Our town has multiple authentic Mexican restaurants and food trucks which are all so good, but it's kind of nice to make it at home too.

The recipe:
2 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 sticks of  unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 C dark chocolate Chips
1/2 C peanut butter chips
1 C broken pretzels (1/2 inch pieces)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the butter until fluffy.  Add the sweetened condensed milk, and beat until fluffy.
On a low speed, add the flour mixture.  By hand stir in the chips and pretzels.

Bake 10-12 min at 350 degrees.

I did not use any chips, but did use broken pretzels.  Instead of chips, I roughly chopped up white almond bark that I had left from Christmas baking.  I used about half of one package of it.  That seemed to be about the right amount.  I can see where any combination will work in the cookies which is what the author states.  Use what you have!!

I was surprised at how much I liked broken pretzels in a cookie!  I wouldn't have tried that on my own without it being in a recipe.

I hope this nudges you to modify your own recipes as you need or want.

Ironically, that used to drive me crazy about my own Mom.  She would tell me she made a new recipe, but changed this or that because she didn't like a certain ingredient or didn't have it on hand. I would think, "Well that's not really new then...."  Now, that's often exactly what I do!  Ouch.  


Hello all. Oh how I hope you are all well and are finding some good cheer in your day!

  This Lent, part of my plan for a Lenten practice was to spend time in prayer to explore who I am in Christ and to also  really look at what my limitations are.  Real and perceived.  So far I'm, let's say, behind.  But, good grief folks, if there was ever a time to look at and analyze your limitations?! I think it's now!  I've rebooted my efforts at the extra prayer and journaling time.  It's quite likely you all experience the same spinning around of thoughts when a situation is stressful as I do.  So when you find yourself metaphorically wringing your hands about the state of the world, stop.  Stop right there.  Think about what your limitations are.  The physical limitations are so new and different. No meetings, event, Mass etc. Hitting our mental limitations is exhausting.
Take these limitations (perhaps list them, draw them, note them somehow) with you into prayer and just see what God has to show you.  This will most likely take awhile.  Maybe days or weeks.  Apparently most of us have the time now. 

I have praised Him now for years for the beauty that has been born out of my limitations.  I could write so much about how my life has been limited in the past years and I have not only encountered God in those limitations, I have found freedom to be who He has created me to be.  
I have hoped to grow to sell my photos and art, but there feels like blocks to do that.  That is part of the limitations that I thought I would be exploring this Lent.  Maybe that's still it.  I don't know, but I think there is great fruit and beauty that can come out of  the situation our beautiful world is in right now.  And I'm convinced that one place to find it, is in these limitations that have been put upon us.

I've mentioned the Out of the Ordinary Podcast before.  This episode was on limitations and you may enjoy it.  Their recent podcast is about the current state of the world and the fear that is gripping many people.

Tomorrow, Thursday, is the Feast of St. Joseph and the Church has asked us to pray for his intercession for our world.  Please pray the Rosary too.  I know it's a Catholic prayer practice, but it is certainly not limited to Catholics to pray it!! Our mother Mary is the mother to all of us and she wants to pray for us. 
This link takes you to a how to pray the rosary page and a novena that starts tomorrow the 19th.

A novena is a nine day prayer.  The reason a nine day prayer is a practice of the Church is because of the nine days the Apostles waited for the Holy Spirit.  When I learned that years ago when I first joined the Church, I thought that was so neat!  Also, growing up Lutheran, praying the Rosary wasn't a practice I knew.  But, the prayers of the Rosary are to pray with the Mysteries of the life of Christ.  So each set of prayers is to meditate on an aspect of Jesus' life.  That was another thing that I thought was amazing and I had no idea about when I joined the Catholic Church.

I hope you consider joining in with this Novena!  It will be a beautiful time of so many in the world praying together. And please know that if you don't start on the same day, by all means still join in!  If you miss a day, pray the next day!  It's not a formula, it's a gift to be part of it.

Praying with all of you, 

(the photos were taken last week down at our little pond)


I planted a Forsythia bush maybe five years ago?  Hard to remember.  I think I've only cut the branches early to bloom inside though once before.  This year I remembered and what a treat it has been!  Just so wonderful to see that yellow bud begin to open followed by the green leaves emerging.  

A photo session was in order!  

I've ordered some seeds and have high hopes of growing sweet peas for the first time this year.  I have some seeds soaking already.  Menards has their seeds half off so I  picked up a number of packets so to plant at different times and places in hopes of getting some going.  I'm not really sure how hard they are to grow. I've only known one person who had them in their garden and that was years ago.  If anyone has advice, I'm all ears.

This weekend is to be quite nice here so perhaps we can do some outside work, or just clean the barn...that always needs to be done.   I hope it's equally nice where you are!

Beautiful Words

By happenstance, this morning I came across this photo that I shot before Christmas. I had begun to play around a bit with it using some free botanical images from Creative Market.  I had saved my file titled "Experiment with Typewriter".  So I continued the experiment now with adding graphic elements to one of my photos. 

My thoughts were about what a beautiful thing a typewriter is and what wonderful words and thoughts have come out of them over the years.  Of course now, it's a keyboard and computer for everyone. When we wrote only by hand or with a typewriter, so much more thought needed to go into our words before they were recorded.

I just really like the visual of our words, being chosen carefully to be released to bloom.

It's Lent---It always sneaks up on me.  And, still not sure what I think my Lenten season will look like.  I'm sure I've mentioned on here in past years that I have a tendency to dread Lent.  I need to always stop and remember that we are an Easter people and I can look ahead to the resurrection.  I do believe that Fat Tuesday will look like hamburgers on the grill and grilling beers though!  (With coat, scarf, and gloves on.)

Over Avocados and Oatmeal

An abridged conversation with my 14 year old this morning at breakfast:

Prayer is confusing.

I know.  Our prayers matter, but God doesn't need our prayers to help us or others.

And people who are baptized still are sinners.

And those who aren't baptized can be really good people.

What's the point?

Sometimes I think the life of a Christian is to figure out 'What is the point?'  When you've felt the hand of God, you know there is a point and you want to spend your life figuring it out.

:::walking out the door::

I think the point is the relationship. Our following Him, delights Him, and our being known by Him brings us joy. And, you're pretty sure you need to evangelize.

What's does evangelize mean?

It means to let others know that this gift of joy is for them too.

It's Heart Season

For the last number of years I have made hand made Valentine's for my family.  I think I've only posted about them once here.  (Still get excited about fish and puns!)

This year I'm jumping the gun and posting photos of some of them now. 

I've posted a few process shots and videos on Instagram.  I used Pellon wash away stabilizer to layer scraps and tidbits and threads into a "scrap sandwich".  Then using invisible thread and the free motion embroidery foot on my machine, I stitched and stitched and stitched.  I then washed away the stabilizer, dried the new piece of "fabric" and cut out the heart shapes.

I used heat and bond to fuse two heart together; then I added little bits of stitching and beads here and there.

As you know, I'm a fan of scrappy and this little project satisfies that need to use all the little bits!
Of course there are scraps left of my scrap fabric...may actually toss them!  We'll see. :)

The back sides are actually fronts (because I fused two hearts, wrong sides together) just without any embellishments.
I still have more to stitch and hopefully will complete those yet tomorrow.

Here are few links from past Valentine's Day posts, perhaps you'll find some project to inspire you to cut, paste, or sew!!

Completely unrelated to Valentine's and Hearts:  I started listening to this podcast, Out of the Ordinary last week.  It is so good.  SO VERY GOOD.  It's a conversation between friends about the ordinary holiness of life.  Their stories are simple, relatable, and true to how God moves in their lives.  Maybe you would enjoy it too.

Two Sweet Little Needle Books

Happy New Year!!

It's been awhile since I've been able to stop here and post.  I hope you all had a blessed Christmas.  We much gratitude for the season. ♥

Yesterday I got the bug to make Ann Wood's "World's Sweetest Needle Book".  And since I had all the materials out, I decided to make two.

One for the drawer at my sewing machine to hold sewing machine needles and

one to 'travel'.  Travel where?  Upstairs? Maybe the car?  

The traveling needle book has a little pocket for thread.  I took a piece of vintage crocheted trim and hemmed it in fabric so as to stop the raveling and then stitched it on.

On this page I stitched a piece of braided trim to hold a leather thimble.  If you do hand stitching at all, I would really recommend this type of thimble even though appearances are lacking compared to a lovely vintage hard thimble!

I sewed in a length of recycled sari ribbon to hold a teeny pair of scissors.

Basking in all the vintage scraps, picking and choosing was so satisfying, just like when I made the tissue covers.

I pinned those little vintage lace trims in just to look pretty. :) ♥

Now you may think I hand stitch often to put all the time in to making this.  Well, really not all that often.  But I have taken some projects on the go (that link is one of my favorite projects) and I hope to have some ready to go for when I do just want to stitch.  

This little needle book will be the one to keep my sewing machine needles in.  I had been keeping them in one of my daughter's felt 4h project needle books or just throwing them in the drawer.  Then I have to squint with a magnifying glass to see the size after I rifle through the drawer just to find one.

I took a piece of old linen, ironed a piece of freezer paper to it to stabilize it, then put in one of my typewriters to type out the labels.  

That worked so well!

I use any old needle for when I sew on paper so I think I should keep those separate.

I have never actually used a leather needle, but I have some so now if I ever use one, I'll have a place to keep it.

I am thinking maybe this sweetness will keep me organized?!?!

It's been soooooo cold here this past week that it was perfect weather to spend quite a bit of time organizing and sorting all my supplies.  My sewing room/studio is getting spiffed up and ready for more projects.  Up next I believe will be some Valentines!

Have a great week!
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