Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

Invite_no info

Happy Birthday, Caleb! How is it even possible that you are one already?! I only got a chance to meet you when you were 3 months old. This living on different coasts really stinks, but I do cherish all the times I get to hear your sweet sounds on the phone. Please come visit your Aunt Brie before you get too much older.


I loved this picture we used on your birth announcement. You are such a happy-go-lucky little guy. Your big brother, Braden, wasn’t too sure about you at first, but you guys have grown to be best buds. And, Grandma, well, you know she loves you.

Grandma & Boys

I think I startled you the first time I met you!


I know that sometimes it seems like we give Braden all the attention, but I promise you buddy that next time I see you we’re going to have some special “Aunt Bee” and “Kayo” time.

Hope you have a fabulous birthday and enjoy the duck hooded towel and wash cloth puppet I made you for your gift. I hear bath time is your absolute favorite activity and that you go crazy for the color yellow.

Duck Towel_2Duck Towel Duck Towel_w Puppet

I love you, Caleb!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Edit Those Photos

Hubby & I hadn’t had a photo taken of us for awhile so I figured the perfect time would be last Thursday when we went out on the town.

Unfortunately, when I downloaded the photo it was not so great.

29th Bday

The color was washed out. You can see all the junk from two families sharing one living room, my face is a weird orange color, and don’t even get me started on how I’m standing. 

Enter my photo editing program. I prefer to use this one from work, but this works just as great too for free.

A crop here (to remove the junk), some cloning there (to get rid of the humidifier), some red eye removal, some airbrushing (to attempt to correct my funky orange skin) and a little brightening and contrast and this is what you end up with:

29th Bday_edited
Still not the best photo we’ve ever taken, but much better than it started out. I still have to fix the orange skin issue. Must be I need to get a different foundation for winter. Weird how it looks fine in the mirror, but in photos I look like I’m addicted to spray on tans even though I’ve never had one in my life. Promise.


29th Bday

29th Bday_edited

Friday, February 26, 2010

Latest Jewelry Creation

I have some sad news to announce. I’m no longer going to be selling jewelry unless I have a specific request for something. It was too expensive to be able to afford quality materials for the few number of pieces I was selling. I just don’t have the time to devote to it right now so I’m in the process of using up the things I like and trying to sell off the rest of my supplies. I’m eventually going to be switching my focus back to my first crafting love which is making cards and graphic design and my new love of sewing (which is much more budget friendly than quality jewelry). Hopefully once things calm down on the home front and at work I’ll be able to find time to devote to Divine Creations and make it a success.

For now, though, here’s the latest thing I made:

Silver Chandy Earrings_2 

I am in LOVE with these earrings. They hang so beautifully and look so feminine. They have sterling silver ear wires, ivory Czech glass pearls and silver-plated dangles held together with silver-plated jump rings. It was so fun to actually see what I had pictured in my head turn out in real life.

I do have supplies to make two more pairs, so if you would like one, leave me a comment with a way to contact you or e-mail me at divinecreations4u (at) gmail (dot) com. They are $15 each (they’re a little time consuming to make) including shipping within the lower 48 states. These go just as great with jeans as they do with a little black dress.

Stay tuned for a few more pieces I’ll be posting here at discount as well in the near future.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

February Birthdays

Vday Cookie_small
We had two birthdays at work this week. Last year I brought in one cake for both guys. This year I brought in something smaller on each of their separate days.

This year I’m not always doing cake, but whatever dessert floats my boat at the time. Due to a serious lack of sleep Saturday night, I made it easy on myself Sunday and made Blondie Bars for the Monday birthday.

For the other birthday I made a new cookie recipe my mom sent me in 2008. It actually came from my brother’s friend’s mom when my brother was making cookies for his girlfriend. Follow that? My mom thought it was just so cute how Brock & his friend where exchanging recipes.

Growing up, every Valentine’s Day we’d make the same heart-shaped cookies with pink frosting and a conversation heart on top and then drive around to deliver them to all our friends. Supposedly this new recipe is a better version of that one.

Vday Cookie_pkg

I waited to make them until now because I’m a tightwad and didn’t want to spend $3 on a bag of conversation hearts so I waited until they went on sale after the holiday hubby also wanted to bring some to deliver to the lady’s who work in the Mayor’s office at town hall and the meeting around Valentine’s Day was cancelled due to a snowstorm and the next one was last night. I’m all about killing two birds with one stone.

Vday Cookie_large

So, yes, the birthday boy at work was a little embarrassed today when I showed up with cookies that said “heart throb” and “sugar lips” and “I want you”, but I think he quickly got over it when he tasted how delicious they were.

Vday Cookie_tray

I know it’s a little late for this year, but here’s the recipe for next year:


1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
2 well beaten eggs
2 T. light cream
1 T. vanilla
3 1/2 c. cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Stir together flour and baking powder.  In separate bowl cream together shortening, eggs, sugar, cream and vanilla. Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture.  Shape into ball, wrap in saran wrap and chill overnight.

Dust board or counter top with enough powder sugar to keep dough from sticking.  Roll out until dough is about 1/2 inch thick. Dip cookie cutter in powder sugar before cutting each cookie (to keep from sticking).  Place cookies on lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes or until slightly golden brown on the outside. Cool completely before icing.

For Icing combine the following:
1 lb. powder sugar
1/4 lb. butter (1 stick), softened
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
3-4 T. milk (mixing in one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency)
food coloring (optional)

NOTE: I should have stopped after 3 T of milk, but silly me kept going. I think that’s why my frosting has the white swirls in it. I found the best way to ice the cookies was to hold them by the side and dip them in the frosting. Then kind of shake them to get it to settle down smoothly and put the sprinkles or conversation hearts on right way. Let sit out on the counter a few hours until the frosting hardens and then store covered.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Today Definitely Qualifies

I'm normally not one to say, "I need a drink!", but today definitely qualifies as a day where I may need to utter that saying more than once.

CRAZY insane today at work. I'm sure it's going to stay this way for at least a couple weeks.

I think I may need to buy stock in Jose Cuervo because my consumption of strawberry margaritas will hit an all time high in the coming days. Not really. Well, maybe just one.

What's your favorite way to unwind? Mine would be a frozen strawberry margarita, delicious chicken enchiladas and my favorite tv shows.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Tiresome, but Fun Weekend

It all started Thursday with an awesome night at with my hubby to celebrate my 29th. Dinner at my favorite Mexican joint was just as yummy as I remembered. I even got a birthday cheesecake complete with candle and song from our waiter and guacamole maker. It was a lot of fun! After that it was off to Lincoln Center to see South Pacific. I had heard of this musical but didn't know the story line at all. Let me just say, I LOVED it! The only problem is that now I can't decide if I rank it before or after My Fair Lady in terms of my favorite musical of all time.

Friday night hubby and I were planning to go to a garden expo. My hubby LOVES gardening (thank goodness because I don't have a green thumb at all) and lately has really gotten in growing things from seeds in a little greenhouse. For Valentine's Day I bought him a magazine all about that subject and some packets of seeds. He was in heaven. When I heard about the garden expo I thought it'd be right up his alley. But, it was over an hour away and by the time I got home from work we were both pooped so we decided to pig out on cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory (red velvet for me; caramel pecan turtle for him) while watching our tivoed olympics instead.

Saturday was another fun, but long day. In the morning I scrambled to finish up my nephew's birthday gift so I could get it in the mail in time for his 1st birthday (where has the time gone little Caleb?) this coming weekend (pictures to follow tomorrow) and then in the afternoon hubby and I met up with some of his clients to tour a home expo. We were expecting there to be different presenters with classes and diy tips as well as tables of vendors, but it ended up being just vendors. Don't really understand why you have to pay to go and pick up information from people when you could have found it for free on the internet. Guess we know not to go next time. But, we did meet a few perspective modular home builders that we're looking into for the guest house on the land.

Saturday evening one of hubby's college buddies hosted us for a delicious homecooked dinner and UFC fight night so it was back to the city we went. Only problem is that on the fights didn't start until 10pm EST time and hubby and I had to be up at 6:30am the next morning to head off to church. But, it was such a great time that it was worth getting only 3 hours of sleep!

Sunday was a fantastic day because the church plant we volunteer with and attend officially launched! It's so exciting to see how God is already working in this body and the friendships we're already forming with the people there. We can't wait to grow more with this body of believers. After church we made some delicious homemade pizza and crashed for a few hours before getting up to take hubby to the airport for a business trip.

It was an exhausting but very fun weekend. Now if I could just get caught up on my sleep....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Belated Birthday Celebration

Tonight hubby is taking me out to celebrate my 29th birthday. We put it off a couple weeks because we were finishing up our FBD experiment.

I've been looking forward to this night for weeks! I'm leaving work at 3pm and we're heading to NYC for dinner at Rosa Mexicano - Budin de Pollo has been calling my name for M.O.N.T.H.S. After that, it's off to see South Pacific. I don't know much about this show, but I've been told by my sister and a couple friends that I should love it. Either way it will be a great night out.

Thanks hubby, for an awesome birthday gift!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Thought People Were Joking

I finally bit the dust and jumped on the band wagon known as the 30 Day Shred.! Jillian Michaels really is the TOUGH! I've done P90X, but this is hard. Level 1 kicked my butt last night. Perhaps it's because I haven't worked out in over three weeks, but my muscles are definitely making themselves known today.

I love it!

Have you done the 30 Day Shred? What did you think?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Finished with my Experiment

Yesterday was the last day of my Flat Belly Diet experiment. I'm very happy with the results both in terms of  my size 4 jeans fitting like they should again and my GI issues are not acting up nearly as much as they used to (as long as I carefully watch my diet).

If you want to see my final measurements for proof that it actually works (even without exercise), check out my latest post on my Journey to a Size 4 blog.

Hubby & I are going to stay committed to the program as much as possible because we feel great on it and love the results (he lost at least 10 pounds - from where I don't know because he was trim to start). I'll make a "regular" meal about once a week and we'll try to eat out only once every other week or special occasions, but for the most part we're going to stick with it.

In other news, it's been CRAZY lately (thus the lack of blogging). I'm still working on the giveaway and hope to have something shortly. I'm also finishing up my nephew's birthday gift and will post that soon as well. I made some flop Valentine's cookies over the weekend - I'll spare you the details of those. And, I'm trying to watch all the Olympics I can but I'm a day behind so I try to avoid the news at all costs to avoid spoiling any events. But, wasn't that so sad about the Georgian luge guy? Heartbreaking. This Thursday hubby's taking me to a Broadway show and dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant for a belated birthday celebration. Friday we're supposed to close on the land. Never a dull moment in our house!

I'll try to be back soon with more consistent posting again.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bought the Farm (almost)

I think I mentioned briefly that hubby and I are trying to purchase 94 acres of farm, woods and wetlands located around the corner from where he grew up, but connected to the hay fields that we currently hay. This property was bought by a commercial developer who subdivided it into 8 building lots. Hubby & I want to buy it all and put it in farmland preservation and then build a guest house over the garage that we’ll live in while we build the main house. Once the main house is built, we’ll give the guest house to his parents to use when they’re not out travelling and enjoying retirement or loan it out to people like missionaries and stuff who need a free temporary place to stay.

We got the good news a couple weeks ago that the bank approved the financing and we got news this past week that it looks like the investor for the down payment is going to come through. The Lord is good and provides in perfect time! It’s going to be a struggle to pay three mortgages each month until the farmland preservation goes through in about a year, but once we get that, it should completely pay for the 94 acres with enough left over to pretty much pay for the guest house.

Eventually we’d like to sell the other house we purchased a couple years ago, but we have to put the kitchen back in that before that’s likely. We’ve also talked with hubby’s parents about subdividing their 5 acre farm and selling that (the third mortgage we pay each month). In addition we can continue to lease the 94 acres to the farmer who currently raises corn and soybeans on it, or the hunters who hunt deer on it, and we’d use all this money to pay the mortgage until the farmland preservation comes through and/or build the main house.

It’s big dreams right now, but we know if this is where the Lord wants us, He’ll provide in due time.

Here are some pictures from a couple Saturdays ago when hubby & I were out walking the land and praying over it.

Jan '10_1
Jan '10_2
Jan '10_3
Jan '10_4

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

*HURRY* Excellent Valentine's Gift Idea

One of my friend's just posted in their Facebook status update that they got $100 worth of gift certificates from for $6.60. Seems that TODAY ONLY is giving everyone 80% off their entire purchase if they enter coupon code HEART at checkout.

I had to check this out myself and sure enough I just bought $145 worth of certificates for $13.90! This will be excellent gifts for hubby, my in-laws and my parents for Valentine's Day this Sunday.

Check it out now because it's TODAY ONLY! And, don't forget to enter HEART at checkout to get the deal!

Bananas Foster

When my brother & his girlfriend were visiting, hubby made us a delicious treat of one of his favorite desserts of all times – bananas foster. (Obviously this was before we started our FBD experiment!)

The handsome chef_2The handsome chef playing with fire after adding all the rum to his bananas.

He used some puff pastry dough that I had in the freezer and cut it into rectangles before baking. When they were done, we split them in half, placed a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and then topped with the delicious bananas foster. It was heaven on a plate.


The only thing hubby said he’d do differently next time would be to add a little less rum because it was a little strong tasting.

from Southern Living

1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 bananas, quartered
1/3 cup banana liqueur (if you don’t have, recipe says to double the rum)
1/3 cup dark rum
1 pint vanilla ice cream

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add brown sugar and next 3 ingredients. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes or until bananas are tender. Remove from heat. Pour rum into a small long-handled saucepan; heat just until warm. Remove from heat. Ignite with a long match and pour over bananas. Baste bananas with sauce until flames die down. Server over ice cream. Serves: 4

NOTE: We didn’t have banana liqueur and so we had to double the rum. I think next time I’ll make sure to get the banana liqueur.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Me vs. Toaster Oven

Yesterday I made delicious banana pancakes with walnut-honey "syrup" for breakfast. This morning I was heating up the leftovers in the toaster oven while trying to get the rest of our meals packed for the day.

I got in a little bit of a rush and instead of grabbing an oven mitt to pull the tray out, I figured I'd just reach in and grab the pancakes with my hands.

Have I mentioned before that I'm a klutz? I mean there was the time where I fried my fingers with my flat iron or the more recent event of flushing the handle down the toilet at work, but I'm still not 100% convinced that I'm a klutz.

Well, the toaster oven won the battle of hand versus hot burner coils. Never have I seen skin react so instantaneously to a burn. I'll spare you the details, but it was bad. It doesn't cover a huge area...just the middle knuckle on my left hand...but the size of the bandage would make you think I burned my whole hand. Have you ever tried to get a band-aid to stick to the back of a knuckle? It's nearly impossible...especially when one has to do a lot of typing for their blog job.

Here's a photo of the lovely patch I'll be sporting the next couple days until it heals.

I have to admit, though, that the 2nd Skin I picked up at the drugstore on my way to work eliminates all pain from the burn.

Lessons learned:
  1. Always use an oven mitt to pull the tray out of the toaster oven instead of reaching to the back with your bare hand.
  2. 2nd Skin is a necessary product to have on hand
  3. A wound on a knuckle is very hard to keep covered
  4. Banana pancakes still taste delicious once they've cooled off while one tends to their burn

Philly & Valley Forge with Brock & Leah

My brother and his girlfriend came out for a visit a few weeks ago and hubs and I had a great time touring Philadelphia and Valley Forge with them. It was freezing cold, but we kept reminding ourselves that we had more clothes on our backs than the soldiers did who were living there at the time. I didn’t have my camera with me so here are some photos I stole off Leah’s Facebook page:

Brock & Leah at Liberty Bell Brock & Leah with the Liberty Bell

Brock & Leah with LOVE sign

Brock & Leah with the LOVE sign…we were all expecting it to be a lot bigger

 Me & Brock at Elfreth's Alley

Brock & I at Elfreth’s Alley – the oldest continuously lived on street in America. I look about 10 pounds heavier than normal because I had leggings on under my jeans and a bulky sweater under my coat because it was so cold!

Valley Forge Hut

A replica of the huts the soldiers lived in at Valley Forge. It was very informative.

One thing I really love about living in this part of the country is all the neat history that is in this area. Definitely don’t have things like this in Colorado.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Mom’s Birthday Gift

My beautiful mother celebrated her birthday on January 4th. For her birthday she requested a handmade lanyard for her work badge. She works as a flight attendant for Frontier Airlines and the company colors are purple, black and white. They’re required to wear a lanyard, but that lanyard must be able to break away if someone tried to grab it so that they don’t get choked.

I had a very hard time finding a magnetic clasp that was strong enough to hold the weight of her badge and everything else she has to carry on the lanyard, but that would also break away easily if pulled. The best solution I came up with was to use the clever clasp. It’s a magnet that also has two twists. If pulled hard enough, it will come apart, but under normal use, it should be strong enough to hold.

Here are some photos of the finished product:

She received it this past week and really liked it. If you need a custom lanyard for anything, drop me a line at divinecreations4u (at) gmail (dot) com.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow Day!


I’m sure you’ve heard about the storm that is hitting the East Coast hard right now. There’s nothing better than being snowed in with a roaring fire and loved ones. To top it all off, I’m going to make FBD approved brownies for later. Hopefully they’ll taste good.

Here are some photos I took about an hour ago. After I took them, I noticed one of the garage doors was open so I just went out to close it and looks like we have about 18” so far and it’s still coming down!


I think one of the most beautiful things is a landscape with freshly fallen snow.


Only one of our cows was out braving the storm at the time. Looks like the mamas and babies are hunkered down in the back barn.


It’s Grown On Me

I was going to post the other day that the sign I made last weekend has grown on me finally. I actually really like it now and am proud of the affordable art I made for our family to enjoy.

Well, imagine my surprise yesterday when I was checking out Kimba's blog and saw that I was the winner of the $40 store credit to The Rusted Chain! How exciting!! I really like these items:

Create Dream Inspire Necklace

Create Dream Inspire - $23.00

Loved by Necklace

Loved By - $29.00

ANNA earrings ANNA earrings - $15.00

All I Need Necklace
All I Need - $23.00

We’re getting whalloped with snow this weekend and I have an incredibly cute nephew who turns one in a few weeks so I plan to craft his birthday gifts this weekend and will post photos soon.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Valentine’s Decor

Our mantle has been bare ever since I took the Christmas stuff down the beginning of January. I was waiting for inspiration to strike and strike it did this weekend.

Not having a lot of money, I came up with the idea to use wedding photos from my hubby’s side of the family – us, his parents, his siblings and his grandparents – as well as a custom art piece and candles. I wanted some sort of red item to make things “pop” so I was so excited when I found these red berry plants on Christmas clearance for 90% off! I paid a whopping .40 cents for each of them! A coat of white paint on their pots was all the needed to blend in with my idea.

100_5199 100_5203

You can see the beginning stages of the art I made behind the freshly painted pot.

I wanted to make a piece that I could use at times of the year besides Valentine’s Day. The quote I decided to use is by Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave but not our hearts.” I thought it was perfect to accompany family photos.

First I made a file in Publisher that was the size of my board and arranged the fonts just how I wanted them. Then I printed it out and taped the pages together and taped them on my board.

Next I traced over each of the letters while pushing hard to transfer their outlines to the wood. Then I filled in each letter with the corresponding paint. In hindsight, I should have left it at this stage:

Unfortunately, I decided to try and antique it a little. First, I used my sanding block on the edges and gently across the face of it. I loved this and wish I had a photo at that stage. But, I took it a step further and used some Ralph Lauren glaze I picked up at Home Depot hoping to antique the white letters even more. The result?

I HATE it! The glaze went on so blotchy and no matter what I tried it just made it worse. Now I’m tempted to make my own glaze by watering down some black paint and hoping it will darken it up a little bit again. Any advice?

Which version do you like better:

Before “antiquing”



After “antiquing”?

One thing I do know…I will be making art like this again because it is great impact for very little money. The final cost for this 18” x 21.5” art and mantle makeover?

Wood: Free from work scraps
Frames & Photos: Free from shopping the house
Berries & Vases: $1.20 for three
Jar Lantern Tea light holders: $3.38 for two
Paint & Brush: $3 because I was out of black and wanted a larger foam brush

TOTAL: $7.58

(Note: I also paid $15 for the stupid glaze that I didn’t consider in this cost because I used a gift card hoping I’d be able to use it on many house projects to come. After this, I’m not so sure it was a good buy.)

I’m linking this up to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before & After Party today and to Kimba’s DIY Day on Tuesday.