Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Treasures

It's that time of year again! Time to fight the crowds at the malls and stores; trying to decorate our homes inside and out before it "gets too cold"; attempting to get all of the toys and goodies for the kids. Not to mention squeezing in some holiday baking and cooking!  Let the Stress Begin!!

~* But on second thought.....Why do we let ourselves get so stressed out over this holiday season? *~

I can personally relate to all of the "Holiday Worries" of most families today. However, my husband and I have decided to take a different approach this year and are determined to focus more on what we consider to be "Holiday Treasures".

Many of us have been affected by today's economy.  My husband works 2 jobs to try and get us through our monthly bills and to provide what little food we can for ourselves and our young son. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat. So this leads me to ask you:  "What are you doing this year to stay within your budget but still enjoy the Holiday Treasures?"

Here are some things my husband and I are doing. Maybe these little tips can help you. If you have any of your own to share, please feel free to leave a comment below! :)

~ Find ways to make old, new again! -- My mom was going to get rid of her artficial tree. My husband and I are now using it! Trust me, a real tree would be lovely to enjoy! But by using the old artificial tree this year, we saved about $25! Also, we are using ornaments that we already own to decorate the tree. And as you can see by the picture, it still turned out just as nice :)

~ Give a home-made gift!  -- Usually every year we spend a lot of money buying presents for our friends and family.  Unfortunately this year our budget just isn't going to allow us to do that this year. We found a wonderful solution though! We have decided to make a home-made gift, one for each family.  Not only will it be something they can enjoy each year (It's a special Christmas decoration), it can be considered more special and thoughtful because we made it ourselves. Better than trying to find a store-bought gift that you hope "will work" or that "will just have to do". Not crafty? Try a platter of homemade cookies or goodies!!

~ Stick to your list and make one trip! -- I know many people who go "out shopping" sooo many times during the holiday season, each time only bringing home a few things here and there. This year, make a list of everyone you're planning on buying a gift for (if you're not going the home-made gift route), and write down something next to their name that you think or know they would want. Then pick 1 or 2 days to get all of your shopping done -- WHILE sticking to your LIST!! Many of us get caught up in looking at everything in all of the stores and coming home with things we really weren't planning on getting due to impulse buying. Stick to your list and once it's done -- stop shopping :)  You'll save time, money, and gas for the car!

~ And above all -- give the gift of LOVE!! :)    This won't be the first Christmas my husband and I have decided not to give each other presents. Now to some, that might just sound silly, but for us -- putting those couple extra dollars towards buying some presents for our son is even more meaningful!!

These are just a few things that my husband and I are doing this year! Helps us to avoid using credit cards and purchasing more than we can handle financially. I hope that you enjoy your Christmas and Holiday season!!  Let me know how you're "making things work" this year! We'd love to hear from you!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

For the Cyber Monday Shoppers!

Are you going to join in with the Cyber Monday Shopping Deals and Giveaways?!  If you are, I'd like for you to do something a little different this year..... help support a working-from-home Mom! :)
Being a work-from-home-mom myself (or WAHM -- as we've been known to be called)with my own business as an Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultant, I know how important it is to have that extra income to help with paying bills and allowing a little extra spending money for family activities.  But it's more than just about the money!!
By purchasing gifts and products from WAHM's, you are not only helping them with their income, you are also allowing them to WORK from HOME so that they may be there to raise their children and to be there for all of those special moments!  So you see, it's a win-win situation for everyone! You (the buyer), the working-from-home mom, and the children -- all win!

So, if you'd like to support a work-from-home mom during Cyber Monday, during the Holiday Season, and any other time of the year feel free to visit any of the websites or blog sites listed on this blog page!  It's definitely worth it!

Happy Shopping! and May you have a wonderful Holiday Season!
~Vanessa Walker

Monday, November 23, 2009

Parched Corn -- an Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Treat!

Want a very old-fashioned treat you can make yourself and share with your family on Thanksgiving?
Here is a recipe for "Parched Corn" that I found in

"The Little House Cookbook
-- Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories"
by Barbara M. Walker.

      This particular recipe is for the parched corn snack mentioned in Laura's book: "On the Banks of Plum Creek".  Laura and her sister, Mary, were given 3 grains of parched corn (similar to eating 3 salted peanuts), and as they ate, were supposed to remember the Pilgrims and the hardships they (the Pilgrims) had experienced and how thankful they must have been for the Thanksgiving Feast. Laura and Mary were given their parched corn treat after enjoying their own Thanksgiving dinner.

So try something more "old-fashioned" this year when making your Thanksgiving treats!

"For 1 cup of parched corn you will need:
Field corn, 1 ear dried, or sweet corn, 1 cup dried
Butter, 2 tablespoons
Skillet, 10-inch

If you are using field corn, shell it and remove chaff by tossing handfuls back and forth; do not wash! Heat butter in skillet over high heat. Cover the pan with kernels, reduce heat slightly, and stir constantly as kernels brown, puff up, and crackle. Cook 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, salt to taste, and serve." (Walker 212)

Walker, Barbara M. The Little House Cookbook. New York: Scholastic Inc, 1979.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Being Crafty & "Green" for my Home -- Plastic Bag Mud Rug

Well, it's finished!!!  After about 2 weeks of work (in my spare time of course), I have successfully crocheted my 1st mud rug/small rug made out of plastic grocery bags!!  More rugs and designs to come in future posts!

Prepping the bags--

~1. Flatten the bag and cut off the handles and bottom.

~2. Cut across the bag, making it into strips at least 2" long so that you have plastic bag "loops" when you are done.

~3. Join these bag loops together by drawing one loop through another, and then back inside itself so that the ends of each loop are knotted together. After joining your plastic bag loops together, you will have a long chain that you can roll into a ball of "plastic yarn".

Creating the Rug--

~1. Start by chaining 50. Then, chain 3 and turn.  

~2. Double crochet into 1/2 of the "50th" chain and continue until you reach the last chain at the other end. In this chain stitch (which would have been that 1st chain stitch you created), work double crochet 3 times. 

~3. You will then continue to make double crochet stitches into the other 1/2 of the 50 chain stitches -- thus making the other "side" of the rug.

~4. Continue double crochet around the rug, only working 3 double crochet stitches into the "ends" of the oval. 

~5. Make as many "circular" rows around the oval-shaped rug as you'd like based on the size you prefer for your finished rug.

~6. When finished, simply pull the "plastic yarn" through itself and through the loops on the "back side" of the rug to secure it. Tuck in any loose strands or bag pieces.

Now you can enjoy your plastic bag rug!  Not only did you recycle all of those annoying plastic bags you had accumulated, but you also created something useful and long-lasting.

How to care for your plastic bag rug--

~ Simply rinse off the rug either in a sink, bath tub, or with a hose depending on the size of the rug and how dirty/muddy it gets. Do Not dry in a dryer!! Hang it up to dry.~

~*~*~ Happy Crafting!! ~*~*~

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On this Veterans' Day

A little poem I wrote for our Veterans:

Remember the fallen,

Remember the brave.

Remember the ones

Who still serve today.

Thank our Veterans,

for keeping our Freedom Safe.

God Bless ALL of our Veterans past & present, as well as their loved ones!

*~*My personal "Thank You" goes out to my brother, my grandfather, and some friends.*~*

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Blog in the Making!

Welcome Friends!

I'm in the process of setting up a Blog for my "Heartfelt Home Creations". When finished, I plan on featuring in my blog posts:

~ crafty creations
~ favorite family recipes
~ favorite "heartfelt" quotes & verses
~ country photos & decor
~ and little tid-bits about a "day in the life" of a working-from-home Mom <3
So, check back soon to enjoy some "Heartfelt Home Creations"!
~Vanessa :)

~*It's the Simple Things...*~

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