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A Heart For Home: March 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Meal Plan Nightly Themes

Adopting a theme for each night of the week is a great way to narrow down recipe decisions and make meal planning easier. Here are a few theme ideas to get you started on your own dinner rotation.

Pasta, Soup & Sandwiches, Main Dish Salads, Stir-Fry, Crock Pot, Homemade Pizza, Asian, Casserole, Mexican, Fish, Italian, Something New, Something Easy
We were doing well with our dinner rotations for awhile, but I've fallen off the horse and have been unmotivated to start again. However, I've decided that it's much better to take the time initially to plan our dinner theme rotation than to try to put together meal plans from scratch every week, or even worse, to start thinking about what I'll make for dinner at 4 o'clock every afternoon.

For this month our dinner rotation is going to follow these themes:

Mondays - Main Dish Salad
Tuesdays - Italian (usually pasta or pizza)
Wednesdays - Stir-fry
Thursdays - Mexican (usually fajitas)
Fridays - Something New (usually the night we take a meal to someone's house to share)
Saturdays - Something Easy
Sundays - Small Group (we normally take veggies or fruit)

This Week's Meal Plan:

Monday ~ Spinach salad topped with Veggies & Chicken
Tuesday ~ Baked Ziti
Wednesday ~ Veggie & Turkey Burger Stir-fry over Brown Rice
Thursday ~ Chicken Fajitas
Friday ~ Undecided (Tim & I need to sit down and choose a dish)
Saturday ~ Lentil-Barley Soup
Sunday ~ Veggie Tray or Green Smoothies

Some Other Great Recipes:
Feta & Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Sweet Potato Fries
Freezer Crock Pot Lasagna
Jambalaya
Hamburger-Vegetable Soup
Cream Cheese Chicken Soup
Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies
Chunky Crock Pot Applesauce
Oatmeal Cinnamon Pancakes

Head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for more Monday Meal Plans. Also contributed to Tackle-It Tuesday, Tammy's Kitchen Tips, & Blissfully Domestic.
Do you use themes to help plan your weekly menu? Why or why not? We'd love to hear what meal planning techniques work for you. Leave us a comment with your meal planning tips.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Etsy Shop Showcase & Giveaway ~ Nine Lucky Stars

Tim and I have been looking for a natural laundry detergent for a while now. I have bookmarked lots of recipes online and was weeding through comments to determine the best recipe for our needs when I stumbled upon Nine Lucky Stars. This is a shop that specializes in natural and organic products. Soon I was reading all about their Soapnuts.

"Soapnuts are the fruit of the Sapindus Mukorossi, a tree found primarily in India and Nepal. The shell contains saponin, which is known for its ability to cleanse and wash...The most common use of Soapnuts is to remove dirt from clothing. It's not only highly effective but also very gentle and safe to use on even your most delicate articles of clothing including cashmere, wool and silk. Because it is mild and natural, it preserves the colors and the structure of your clothing longer than chemical detergents. It actually softens your clothing naturally to, so you will no longer need to use fabric softener: The laundry turns out amazingly soft! Because of these characteristics, soapnuts are the
perfect detergent."

We have used the Soapnuts in the laundry a few times now and are very pleased with the results. To try them yourself, head over to Nine Lucky Stars and order a sample of Soapnuts. These samples will wash 6 loads and are only $3.49. Or purchase the .55lb package and wash approximately 200 loads for only $7.99!

Soap nuts can also be made into a liquid detergent, food wash, natural pesticide, and all purpose spray cleaner.
Also check out this listing for soapnut seeds. Yes, you can even plant your own soapnuts tree. Tim and I would love to try this!


Nine Lucky Stars also sells Goji Berry Seeds. I had vaguely heard of Goji Berries and was interested to learn more. This is some of the information I found about Goji Berries as I searched online. Follow the links below for more information.

Goji Berries are reported to contain 18 Amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen), more Beta Carotene than carrots, more Iron than spinach, and 21 Trace Minerals. Goji Berries also contain Vitamin B1, B2, B6, and Vitamin E (rarely found in fruits). The Goji Berry contains more Vitamin C by weight than oranges Goji berries are 13% protein!

This bright red berry also contains many complex compounds, and phytonutrients, which explains in part, the incredible health benefits being experienced by people today. The Goji Berry also contains extremely high levels of antioxidants. It is quite possibly the highest antioxidant food on earth.

Goji Berry Plants are easy to grow perennials (they come back every year!). The fresh Goji berries are incredibly juicy and sweet that can be consumed raw, fresh or dried. They germinate and grow just as easily as tomato seeds. They will grow in almost any type of soil, light-sandy, Medium-loamy, and heavy-clay, but they tend to flower and fruit better in a well drained soil of moderate quality.
Goji Berry plants have an extensive root system and are very drought tolerant once established. Goji Berry plants prefer full sun to partial shade, but plant them in full sun for the best Goji Berry production. They can survive winters down to -15 degrees Fahrenheit and hot summers above 100 degrees. The Goji Berry grows as a thick bush reaching 6-10 feet tall with vines that can get 12 feet long. Goji Berries can even be grown inside in a large pot by a sunny window, but will be much smaller.

In late summer the flowers of the Goji Berry bush are followed by glossy, bright red Goji Berries. The Goji plant continues to flower and produce Goji Berries right up until the first heavy frost. It can take up to 2 years for plants to flower and fruit so get yours planted ASAP... before you know it you will have wonderful plants loaded with yummy berries.


What do Goji berries taste like? Well, I'm not sure. I've read that some say the taste is between a cranberry and a cherry, others say they taste of raspberry and plum. Either way, we are excited about planting our Goji berry seeds this summer in hopes of eating our own Goji berries in a couple of years.

Now for the Giveaway!
Nine Lucky Stars has generously offered 5 of our readers a pack of Mongolian Certified Organic Goji Berry Seeds (approx. 500 seeds).
These berries would be a perfect addition to a garden or a yard as edible landscaping. They would also make a great gift for a gardener or anyone who's interested in green, organic, or frugal living. So enter for your chance to win! (Continental U.S. Only)

To Enter This Giveaway:
1. Head over to Nine Lucky Stars and browse through the shop. Then come back here and leave a comment telling us why you'd like to win these seeds.

2. Gain an additional entry by placing our button on your blog (include the link in your comment). ~Simply copy the code under the button and paste it into the text box for an Html Gadget on your blog's layout.

3. Subscribe to A Heart For Home (let us know if you've already subscribed).

4. Follow Our Blog (let us know if you already follow).

5. Post about and link to this giveaway on your blog or tweet about this giveaway (leave us the link in your comment).

Please leave a separate comment for each entry!
That's one with the reason you'd like to win the Goji Berry Seeds, one telling us you've added our button to your blog (with the link), one telling us you've subscribed, one telling us you've signed up to follow our blog, & one with the link to your blog's advertisement or tweet of this giveaway.

The giveaway will end Sunday, April 12th, at 12 Midnight EST. We will pick the winner through random generator. Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you.
This post contributed to Blissfully Domestic.

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Seed Starter Pots from Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

This year, we have way more seeds than our three seed starter trays will accommodate. Instead of purchasing more trays we decided to find alternative containers for starting our seeds.

We read about this idea on a gardening forum, but couldn't find any photos or instructions for the process, so we made our own.

Now you can easily follow these directions for making your own seed starter pots from empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls. I've never been so excited to use the last of the toilet paper from a roll before!


Easy Toilet Paper Tube Seed Starter Pots

1. Flatten each cardboard roll lengthwise and crease the sides. Open each tube back up.

2. Flatten each tube lengthwise on the opposite side. Crease the sides so they line up with the previous creases. Each roll will now have four sides and four corners.

3. Cut the tubes with scissors to make shorter tubes. Cut toilet paper rolls in half; cut paper towel rolls into four pieces.

4. Cut along each crease on one end of tube section. Slice each crease about 5/8 of an inch to make tiny flaps.

5. Fold the flaps down toward the center, creasing them well. Interlock the flaps like a cardboard box top.

6. Fill your seed-starter pots with potting soil. Plant your seeds.

Be sure to check out our Tutorial for Sturdy Origami Newspaper Seed Starter Pots. And read about other ways we're "Saving Some Green in the Garden" this year.

Head over to Heavenly Homemakers to read about other Green Projects. This post also contributed to Blissfully Domestic.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Fun Song for Kids ~ Rhyming


Here's a fun song we stumbled upon the other day. The last word of each line is left blank for your kids to fill in with a rhyming word.

Check out the rest of the SongDrops videos by Bryant Oden. As always, make sure you preview the songs yourself before letting your children listen to them.

Do you know of any free online resources for young children? Please, leave a comment telling us about them.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

FREE Recipe Newsletter & Savings Offers



Sign up for free Generals Mills Spring Recipes newsletter and receive special savings offers.

Go here to sign up.

Finding great recipes is one of the ways I am Blissfully Domestic.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Baked Ziti


On Saturday, Tim and I prepared 3 large trays of Baked Ziti to feed homeless men who are being housed in our church building this week. They were expecting between 20 and 30 men plus the volunteers. We decided to quadruple a 9 x 13 recipe to feed approximately 40 people. We browsed some recipes online and came up with this one which is a compilation of a few different recipes. This recipe makes one 9 x 13 casserole full of baked ziti.
Baked Ziti
1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped finely
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 ounces Italian cheese blend, shredded (Mozzarella,
Provolone, Parmesan, Romano, & Asiago) or shredded Mozzarella
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook about
7 minutes; drain.

In a large skillet, brown onion, garlic, and ground meat over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, 1/2 sauce mixture, Provolone cheese, sour cream, remaining ziti, remaining sauce mixture, shredded cheese, and grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.


If you make a larger batch and bake in a larger pan, plan to bake for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on if the sauce is hot before baking.

This baked ziti is an easy make ahead of time meal. Add an extra 15 minutes to the baking time if your sauce is room temperature.

This recipe also freezes well. Simply thaw in the refrigerator overnight and allow to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.

This recipe Works for Me!

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Reminder ~ Last Day to Save Big on Grocery Savings eBook Package

Today is the last day to take advantage of huge savings when purchasing the Grocery Saving eBook Package (Savin' O' the Green) from Living On A Dime and Money Saving Mom. For my original post of this great deal click here. To view the official package information click here.

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My Morning Routine


I struggle with beginning my days in a haphazard way. I normally use the excuse that since both of our children still get up at night, whether to nurse or use the potty, I'm never quite sure when I'll be getting up so I can't make a definite schedule. However, just because I might not know what time my morning will start, doesn't mean I can't have a plan of action for getting it started on the right foot.

I know for me, one of the best ways to get my morning started right actually takes place before I go to bed. If I take a few extra minutes to straighten the house and do the dishes at night, my mood and outlook is so much better in the morning. It's amazing what waking up to a tidy home can do for you.

So, as part of my commitment to starting my day right, I'm going to be working on tidying up the house before I go to bed. Specifically, I'm going to make sure these things are complete:

1. Living Room floor cleaned up
2. Table cleared off (or at least all of the papers put into one pile)
3. Dishes washed and in drying rack

In the morning, I'll be working on these 5 things:

1. Make bed
2. Put dishes away
3. Make & eat breakfast
4. Bible Time with children
5. Clean one room (we have 5 rooms & I clean one room each weekday)

Are you looking for a little more order as you begin your day? Then head on over to Tammy's to read about implementing a morning routine.


Do you think my plan is realistic? Do you abide by a morning routine? I'd love your comments and feedback!

Contributed to Blissfully Domestic.

A morning routine Works for Me!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Thanks for Stopping By

Ultimate Blog Party 2009




Here at A Heart for Home, we're particpating in 5 Minutes for Mom's Ultimate Blog Party.



If you’re new to A Heart for Home…thanks for coming over!



My husband, Tim and I have two children...so far. Our daughter is a 22 month old ball of pure, smiling, energy. Our 6 month old son is more laid back, but is definitely starting to show his own unique personality. This blog contains "snapshots of our lives, as we live, love, and learn together." We are really just a simple family striving to live a life pleasing to God.



We enjoy our family, great deals, good food, making things with our hands, organizing our home, organic gardening, and supporting small businesses.



We usually participate in a variety of blog carnivals and enjoy reading new blogs and finding great ideas and inspiration.



We also spotlight Etsy shops in our Etsy Shop Showcase feature. If you're interested in donating an item in exchange for some free publicity, leave us a comment with a link to your Etsy shop and we'll get in touch with you. (Check out some of our past review and giveaways here.)



Please, leave us a comment telling us about yourself.



We'd also appreciate feedback on our blog. So take a look around and let us know what you think. If you like what you see, follow us or subscribe to our blog to stay updated with what's going on here at A Heart for Home. We'd love for you to grab our button from the left sidebar for your blog. Thanks!



My top 3 prize choices are:
#58 Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer from Moms Who Think
INTL #55 Hassle Free Dinners (pdf) PLUS Three Steps to Planning Dinner (pdf) from Beverly Coggins of 1-2-3…Get Organized
INTL #31 ABC Bible Memory Verse Songs with Parent/ Teacher Guide (Download) from Sonbeams

I’d also enjoy #5, USC #30, USC #1, INTL #26, USC #57, #84, any of the Target Gift Cards or Advertising Spots.



Be sure to take a look at all the great prizes you could win over at the Ultimate Blog Party Headquarters!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saving Money with Swagbucks

If you haven't noticed, we're really excited about Swagbucks around here. We started searching online with Swagbucks about 2 months ago. We also told some friends about it and wrote about it here and here. The reason we're so excited about Swagbucks is because it really works!

So far, in the past 2 months we've earned over 1500 Swagbucks. After looking at all the options, Tim and I decided that we'd redeem our points for Amazon gift cards. Gone are the days when Amazon was just for buying books. Now, you can purchase almost anything on Amazon, from diapers to digital downloads and power tools to groceries.

We've been redeeming our swagbucks as we get them and have received $165 in FREE gift cards from Amazon. We also used our swagbucks to get one FREE $5 gift card from Starbucks. We'll use this for an inexpensive date night.

Sign up for Swagbucks and start getting rewarded for searching online!

We've been using Swagbuck to help get items for the house and garden. Here's a run-down of the items we've "purchased" so far with our Amazon gift cards.

1. Cordless Phone
2. 2 USB Drives (4 GB each)
3. set of 8 Rechargeable AA Batteries
4. Heavy Duty Wooden Spoon
5. Y-shaped Vegetable Peeler
6. Small Stainless Steel Colander
7. 16 Gauge Aluminum Wire (164 Feet)
8. Buttercrunch Lettuce Seeds (4800+ pack)
9. Organic Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean Seeds (100 pack)
10. Oregon Sugar Pod Pea Seeds (50 pack)
11. Hales Best Jumbo Cantaloupe Seeds (50 pack)
12. Crimson Sweet Watermelon Seeds (40 pack)
13. Burpee Petite 'n Sweet Carrot Seeds (800 pack)
14. Organic Roma Tomato Seeds (30 pack)
15. Italian Grape Tomato Seeds (30 pack)
16. Imperial Black Beauty Eggplant Seeds (50 pack
17. Monnopa Spinach Seeds (250 pack)

For more information about how Swagbucks works go here. You can click here to sign up with Swagbucks and start earning points to redeem for your favorite items.

Read about how we're Saving Some Green in the Garden this spring.

Full Disclosure: The SwagBucks links in this post are our affiliate links and we'll get extra points when you sign up. Once you've signed up, you can email or post your own referral links on your blog to earn some extra points as well! :) Thank you to everyone who is helping us receive free gift cards by signing up with us and earning swagbucks!
Contributed to Frugal Fridays and Hooked on Fridays.


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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Innocent Eyes



More Wordless Wednesday Posts:
New Babydoll?

For more Wordless Wednesday posts visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

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Easy Scarf Alternative

Scarves and little children don't seem to go together in my mind. Think about it, what other time do you let your children wrap long objects around their necks?

When Tim decided to take Emahry sledding during our last snow fall, I whipped up this scarf alternative in about 5 minutes. I love how easy it is and I like knowing that it's going to stay on without becoming too tight around Emahry's neck.

Materials:
fleece fabric
scissors
needle and thread
sewing machine (optional)

For Emahry's "scarf" I cut a piece of fleece 20" x 7". Then I simply overlapped the short ends by a couple of inches and hand stitched them together, making a tube. To wear, you pull the tub over your head so that it surrounds your neck. You could easily make these scarf alternatives for any sized child or adult. While a sewing machine would make the seam neater, fleece is so forgiving that handstitching works fine. You also don't need to worry about the edges because fleece doesn't unravel.

An added bonus to this scarf alternative is that Emahry can put in on by herself.


This easy scarf alternative works for me!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Marsha's Home Crafts Giveaway Winner

Congratulations Kristin, you've won a free pair of custom fleece slippers from Marsha's Home Crafts! We hope you and your little one enjoy the slippers as much as we have.

Didn't win, but interested in a pair of custom fleece slippers? Visit Marsha's Home Crafts to order your own pair.


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Savin' O' the Green eBook Sale

Are You Financially Pinched? Is Your Grocery Budget Starving?

Get your grocery spending under control with the Savin' O' The Green grocery savings e-book special from our friends at LivingOnADime.com and MoneySavingMom.com. This special is a set of 17 e-books to help you save at the grocery store and make your life easier!

Along with six easy audio lessons, these e-books show you how to save money in the kitchen, save with or without using coupons, put together delicious and easy dinners and much more!

This offer includes a special deeply discounted price of only $17 (regular price $75). This special price is only good until midnight March 23, so go get it now!

The e-books that are included in this offer are:
Supermarket Savings 101 eCourse with audio downloads
Grocery Shopping On A Budget eCourse
Money Saving Meats e-book
Saving On Cleaning Supplies e-book
Eating Healthy On A Budget e-booklet
Is Eating Out Eating You Up? e-book
224 Meals In A Hurry e-book
Grocery Savings e-book
Menus That Make Cents e-book
Plan Ahead Leftovers e-book
Quick Dinners e-book
Menu Planning Made Easy
Simply Centsible Breakfasts
Simply Centsible Suppers

Kids Recipes
Menus On A Dime
470 Crockpot Recipes

For more information on this exciting offer, click here.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Tackle-It Tuesday ~ Organized Kids' Shelves

With a very small house (936 square feet) and increasingly more kids' stuff, we decided we needed a way to help them keep their things neat and organized. This system has been working for two weeks now, so I feel fairly confident that with continued training this method will work for our family.

In our living room we have a large cubical style bookshelf. We've designated the bottom two shelves to kids' toys and books. The top two shelves hold books that belong to Tim and me, CDs, and movies.

We had been simply shoving all of Emahry's toys into the cubes on the bottom shelves, which inevitable meant that toys were constantly falling all over the floor.

When Jonathan was born, we received these wonderful plastic bins and had planned to use them on the bookshelf in the children's room. However, a couple of weeks ago, I decided they would be put to better use organizing the living room shelves.

So after some purging and reorganizing we have two neat and organized shelves for the kids' toys and books. Jonathan even got his own baby toy bin. The bins help Emahry keep things together. They also make it easy to pick up toys since we can just place the bin on the floor where she can fill it and then place it back on the shelf. Emahry already know what goes in each bin and where each bin goes.

In case you're interested, this is how we divided the toys. (bottom shelf first, from left to right)

Jonathan's Baby Toys, Wooden Alphabet Blocks, Miscellaneous Toys (these are rotated out every couple of weeks with toys that are put away in the children's bedroom), Emahry's Little Things (small toys and miscellaneous objects that Emahry likes to play with). Emahry's dolls, More dolls and a baby wipes container of Little Books, Books.

Now if I could just get around to organizing Tim's and my things on the top two shelves :)

Check out more tackles at 5 Minutes for Mom. To see what others are grateful for this week visit Heavenly Homemakers.

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Sign up for Gorilla Glue's newsletter and receive free samples, savings offers, and valuable tips.

Hurry, this offer won't be around much longer.

Go here to sign up and receive your free sample.

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How I Spent My Yesterday...

thanking God for my husband who took care of the house so I could rest after being up with teething children for most of the night...

brushing little blonde curls that seem to have changed from baby hair overnight...

capturing the memory of soft baby hands on my face...

delighting in watching Emahry and Jonathan begin to play together...

reevaluating my cleaning schedule...

trying to set realistic goals...

singing with Tim...

watching Emahry dance...

staring into precious eyes...

thanking God for life and family...

remembering God's forgiveness...

being amazed...

How did you spend yours?

Visit my friend Kristin to see my inspiration for this post and read how she spent her yesterday.

To see what others are grateful for this week visit Heavenly Homemakers.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Etsy Shop Showcase ~ Wood Elements

We are very excited to share with you the beautiful work of a truly talented artist. Jackie and Sally are the owners of Wood Elements, an Etsy shop that specializes in hand-turned wooden gift items. Jackie creates all of the items in his wood working shop in Nashville, Tennessee. He and Sally travel to local art shows during the year selling their beautiful products. Jackie also teaches wood turning classes at their local Wood Craft store.

We stumbled upon this shop while looking for some seeds and other things for the garden. We found this beautiful hand-turned garden dibble and were instantly hooked on the natural beauty of the wood and the simplistic design.

A garden dibble is an ancient tool used for planting seeds or flower bulbs. The notches that encircle the shaft are spaced 1 inch apart and are helpful for measuring the depth for planting.

Jackie turns each of these heirloom-quality garden dibbles by hand. They are then sanded silky smooth and finished with beeswax. Wood Elements carries these helpful tools in walnut (shown), cherry, and hard maple.

We think these garden dibbles would make a perfect gift for a gardener. Just imagine how great one would look in a gift basket or pot nestled among gardening gloves, seeds, bulbs, and twine.

Jackie's garden dibbles are very reasonably priced at $16.00 each.

We were so impressed with Jackie's work that we asked him to share with us a little about how he got started with wood turning.

Q: What led you to woodworking?
A: I have a life-long passion for creating objects and bringing ideas into reality.

Q: When did you begin wood turning?
A: About four years ago.

Q: When did you start selling your hand-turned wooden gifts?
A: As soon as I learned to turn and had enough work to sell, I began selling at local and statewide craft shows. In August of 2008, I began selling on Etsy.com.

Q: What do you enjoy most about the process of turning wood?
A: The aspect of wood turning that I enjoy most is it's immediacy. You can start with a raw piece of wood and actually watch it take shape before your eyes very quickly.

Q: Do you have a favorite piece you love to create? If so, what is it?
A: My favorite piece is always that new idea I am developing. I am able to put the completed piece into my repertoire.

Q: We know you teach wood turning classes. What advice would you give someone who wants to learn how to turn wood?
A: I would say to either take some classes or find a work turning mentor. Then start out small and develop your skill and build on those skills. After that, find out what aspects of wood turning you are passionate about and move in that direction.

It was really difficult to choose, but here are some of our favorite things from Wood Elements (http://www.woodelements.etsy.com/).

Click on the photo to view the listing or browse the entire shop. There are many more beautiful hand-turned pieces.




If you make a purchase, please let Jackie and Sally know that you found out about their shop here at A Heart For Home.

Interested in having your shop featured in our Etsy Shop Showcase? Leave a comment & find out more here. Do you have products that you'd like us to review, but don't sell on Etsy? Just leave a comment with your e-mail address & I'll contact you about doing a review.

Also, view all of our Etsy Shop Showcases listed under the Reviews tab.

What types of reviews would you like to see? We'd greatly appreciate your ideas, so please leave a comment.

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Saving Some Green in the Garden

With spring approaching quickly, we've been busy planning and preparing the garden for planting. Tim has tilled the entire garden and laid a fresh layer of compost and manure. He's also created raised beds and has started building supports for climbing plants. I've been put to use drawing a to-scale version on our garden. I've also been put in charge of keeping a record of our gardening endeavors.


This year we're trying to save some green while growing some green. Part of our goal was to spend as little money as possible to get the garden started. So far we've only spent a few dollars out of pocket. This may sound like a small feat, but this is what we've gathered for the garden this year:

~ 2 truck loads of manure (free from a friend who has chicken houses)

~ 4 truck loads of mulch (free from a kind tree cutter)

~ wooden and metal stakes (salvaged, a few purchased from the Habitat for Humanity store)

~ yarn and twine (on-hand from last year)

~ seed starting soil (free with a coupon from Garden's Alive)

~ 3 seed starting trays with lids (free with a Lowe's gift card from our Discover card points)

~ Growing lamp with 2 light bulbs (free with the same Lowe's gift card)

~ 2 Packs of pole beans and 1 Pack of ground (husk) cherry seeds (purchased from Johnny's)

~ 2 Packs of heirloom tomato seeds and 1 Pack of heirloom pepper seeds (free from a gardening friend)

~ 10 packs of seeds: Lettuce, Spinach, Melon, Watermelon, Grape Tomato, Eggplant, Roma Tomato, Snow Pea, Pole Bean (free from Amazon using gift cards from Swagbucks, click to find out how you can get free gift cards and more)

We'll be posting more about our garden as the spring progresses. We hope to be able to eat well, can a lot, and share our abundance this year. Head over to Heavenly Homemakers to see other Green Projects.

Are you planning a garden this year? We'd love to hear about what your planning to grow. If not, what would be the one thing you'd like to grow if you could?

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Tim!

I am so blessed to be married to my wonderful husband. Even on the rough days, I wouldn't trade him for a million Gilbert Blyths or Mr. Darcys. :)


As a little trip down memory lane, here are some photos from our wedding.


Four years ago today.

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Happy Anniversary

Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook


Visit more Thankful Thursdays here.

Celebrate our anniversary with us by leaving a comment.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Winter Wonderland

Here are a few photos of the icicles outside of our bedroom window.


A portion of our snow covered garden.


The beautiful view out of our kitchen window.
For more Wordless Wednesday posts visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

By the way, tomorrow is our wedding anniversary, so stop back by and leave us a comment.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Etsy Shop Showcase ~ Marsha's Home Crafts Review & Giveaway

Emahry has been getting a lot of use out of her shoopers, but our girl really knows how to get dirty, so I found myself having to throw them in the laundry every few days. We decided it was time to get a second pair of slippers so we can always have one pair clean to keep Emahry's little feet toasty.

I found these adorable gray fleece slippers at Marsha's Home Crafts Etsy shop. Marsha is what I'd call a "Jack of all trades" when it comes to crafts. She's been crafting for about 40 years and has tried almost every type of craft out there.

Marsha's Home Crafts is filled with a large variety of items like adult and child fleece slippers, hats and scarves, baby items, drawstring backpacks, cellphone cases, and more.

These slippers are made from super soft fleece and lined with the same. They have an embroidered design around the top and bottom. An elastic band around the ankle provides a comfortable fit and the non-skid bottoms help keep you or your little one from sliding. Marsha has a variety of colors and sizes in her shop, but she also makes custom slippers based on your foot size in inches.

Our fleece slippers were custom made and shipped within just a couple of days. Emahry, of course, wanted to wear them immediately. What is it with this girl and shoes?

We've used these adorable slippers for a few weeks now and we are very pleased with their quality. As a slipper for a child they are also nice because they can be worn on either foot. An added bonus is that Emahry can almost put these slippers on by herself. If Tim and I didn't already have slippers, I'd probably get a pair for each of us, too.

Here are some more of our favorite things from Marsha's Home Crafts (www.marshashomecrafts.etsy.com/) Simply click on the photo to view more details. We hope you'll check out all of the wonderful listings in Marsha's shop. Also be sure to visit Marsha's new website at http://www.marshashomecrafts.com/.




If you make a purchase, please let Marsha know that you found out about her shop here at A Heart For Home.

Now for the Giveaway!! Marsha has generously offered a custom pair of slippers to one of our wonderful readers. (Open to International entries also.)


To Enter This Giveaway:

1. Head over to Marsha's Home Crafts and browse through the slippers section. Then come back here and leave a comment telling us which pair you'd like to win. Remember these can be made in any adult or child size.

2. Gain a second entry by browsing through the rest of the shop and leaving us a comment about your favorite item.

3. Subscribe to A Heart For Home (let us know if you've already subscribed).

4. Follow Our Blog (let us know if you already follow).

5. Post about and link to this giveaway on your blog (leave us the link in your comment).

Please leave a separate comment for each entry! (That's one with your favorite slippers, one with your favorite non-slipper item, one telling us you've subscribed, one telling us you've signed up to follow our blog, & one with the link to your blog's advertisement of this giveaway.)

The giveaway will end Monday, March 16th, at 12 Midnight EST. We will pick the winner through random generator. Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you.

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