Stove Top Potpourri With FREE Printable Gift Tags

Do not eat this recipe. It is not food. Well, it is food…I mean obviously those are oranges and cranberries. But it’s not food you should consume. This is the most amazing, make your house smell incredible, holiday cheer inducing, dance around the living room smelling the air — stove top potpourri. Did you know you can fill your home with the smell of a your grandmother’s baking without creating a flour disaster in your kitchen? It’s true.

Stovetop Potpourri with FREE printable gift tag!

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Genius Golden Grahams Smore Bars

A couple housekeeping items before we get to the deliciousness here. Notice the new watermark gracing the corners of my photos? Isn’t it lovely? Hopefully it will help keep people (who are not me) from passing off my stuff as theirs. Sometimes I’m so disappointed in humanity. Also, just above the actual recipe details, you’ll find a link to print a pdf of my deliciousness. Hooray! No more highlighting text to print it! Now, on to something that makes me very happy. Camping food.

(happy sigh) I love camping food. It’s the best. I’ve shared my smore bars before, with a graham cracker crust, chocolate middle and mallow topper. They’re quite delicious. But, they aren’t very camping friendly. It’s hard to broil the top of a layered dessert when hanging out around an open campfire. Leave it to Betty Crocker to have a solution. Crunchy graham cracker cereal tossed with buttery marshmallow goodness, with chocolate chips and mini-marshmallows sprinkled throughout. Like a delicious graham cracker rice crispy treat. With all the flavors of smores mixed in. Genius! These gorgeous bars take just minutes to put together and require no baking!

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One Man Disney Movie

I cannot remember the last time I watched something on YouTube that I loved this much. I grew up on Disney movies and this video made me want to have a movie marathon of all my favorites this weekend. If this is the absolute only think this guy can do, he’s still amazing. I love this.

The Fairness of Life

I originally posted this last year on today’s sad anniversary. I still struggle with these same things another year later as I remember my friends. I’m comforted by these verses from 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 15:51-57 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—  in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.

“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m thankful I will see my brother and sister again because of the victory of our Lord.

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11 Step Program

I read this today and couldn’t stop laughing – thought I’d pass it along:

Considering having children? Do this 11 step program first to be sure you are ready!

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.

2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.

3. Go home.

4. Pick up the paper.

5. Read it for the last time.

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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

I was out Christmas shopping all day today with one of my favorite people on earth. My sister Amy. Who is not a shopper. Not at all. She was such a good sport today though and we both finished our lists! Yippee.

We rewarded ourselves with a Mexican dinner at one of our favorite places – where I decided to be adventurous and try something new. The description on the menu read: Cazueta de Carne – Combination of chicken and top sirloin steak sauteed with mushrooms in our special homemade moicajete sauce topped with Monterrey jack cheese. Served with rice and beans, garnished with lettuce, avocado and pico de gallo.

Mmmmmm. It sounded absolutely amazing. Trouble is, after taking my first bite, I felt like my entire mouth was going to explode. Lucky me, Amy is very quick with the iPhone camera and caught the whole delightful experience on video. [Read more…]

Freshly Pressed

To all of my new friends, welcome. I’m absolutely blown away by your responses to “Colleen” and many other kind thoughts on various Bakerlady posts. I love having so many new people to visit with in my kitchen. What a blessing!

Thank you for making the last couple days an absolute delight in my blogging life. I’m off this morning to help make about 100 apple pies with my MOPS group – wish me luck! I’ll have lots of pictures and (I’m sure) some baking stories to tell this afternoon.

Your visits, comments and questions have filled up my hours with joy – thanks. Stop by anytime. The kitchen is always open.

WinCo Heaven

Are you kidding me right now?

I have been hearing about WinCo from my couponing websites for a while now, but there isn’t one near my house. One opened about 15 minutes away last weekend. I waited for the opening week craziness to die down before heading out this morning. Holy cow.

I love this place. For starters, their prices are amazing. Second, they sent me coupons in the mail that made the deals even more amazing. Third, they will stack a manufactures coupon on their store coupon. Finally, they do not accept credit cards – which makes me feel proud of them for encouraging people to use the money in their checking account…instead of borrowing for groceries.

A couple of the deals I snagged:

10 lb bag of russet potatoes – $ .68
Bananas – $ .19 per pound
Swanson Chicken & Beef Broth – $ .43 can
Cheese Nips – $ .38 per box (on sale there for $ .88 and had a coupon for $1/2)
Canned Green Beans (hello green bean casserole!) – $ .38 can
2 lb block cheddar cheese – $3.98

I also got crazy cheap cereal, apple juice, toilet paper, gorgeous pork chops, and some potato chips for the hubsters lunch. It was awesome. I want to go back right now.

B v ~B

Twelve years ago I went on my very first first date. It was also my last first date. I was reminiscing this morning and thought I’d share this with all of you.

First of all, Zack was (still is) a genius. He didn’t just ask me out. He made me work for it. He caught my interest by engaging my mind. Something I love about him to this day. We were both taking the same logic class from Paul Herrick at Shoreline Community College. Zack used our coursework in class to come up with this original logical argument for asking me out. He asked me if we could meet one morning before class to work on a problem he was having. It was brilliant of him. I was hooked from the very beginning.

1. C & S
2. M v D
3. A & P
4. B v ~B
5. ? /{[(C & S) & (M v D)] & (A & P)} ⊃ [~B ⊃ (Z v N)] [Read more…]


I have been blessed with three sisters. My mom used to call us built-in-friends. She always told us to be nice to each other, because we were who God picked as lifelong relationships for one another. Sometimes it was difficult to follow that advice. Often, it was downright impossible.


As kids


I’ve gone thru ups and downs with all of my sisters. Sometimes we are at similar places in life, have lots to talk about and share with each other. Other periods of life are harder on the relationship. When one, or several of us are having a rough time in our own lives, getting together is usually equally rocky. Even if our difficulties have nothing to do with each other, somehow it’s easy to dump on somebody you know has to love you anyway. It’s not right to do that, but that’s kind of how it works out.

From an outside perspective I think it occasionally looks like my sisters and I have a totally Utopian relationship. We are very tight. We laugh a lot. Sometimes we laugh so hard we cry – and at things that nobody else would even find funny. We’re fiercely protective of each other, but at the same time we’re each other’s worst critics. We nit-pick. We tease. The hardest lessons I’ve had to learn are frequently delivered  to me by one of my sisters. I think God put them in my life to be teachers, friends, confidants and the voice of reason. Let me tell you though, it’s hard to hear those “tough but true” words from the girl who used to beg just to have an opportunity to play dolls with you.

I know not everyone has a sister, let alone three. And I think there’s the risk of romantacising anything you don’t have in your own life. I frequently thought about how great it would be to have an older brother (the one type of sibling I do not possess). I pictured football lessons in the front yard, set-ups with hot older guys, car rides to the mall and general coolness from a big brother. But as an adult I now realize that an older brother would have probably picked on me mercilessly, terrorized me at night, laughed at my male crushes, embarrassed me in front of my friends and generally been a total pain. I think it is easy to have unrealistic expectations of relationships you’ve never experienced.

I was reminded of this today as I was reflecting on my sister’s wedding last weekend. Coming into marriage, often people’s expectations are sky-high of their new spouse. Especially in situations (like my sister’s…and mine when I got married) where you haven’t ever lived together. You don’t know what to expect. You have on those awesome rose-colored glasses and anticipate folding laundry together sharing your deepest feelings. You’ll spend evenings cooking meals as a team, blissfully sharing responsibilities, so in love that you bend over backwards just to make him/her feel your total devotion and adoration. Anyway, the new spouse thoughts got me thinking of sister relationships and how easy it probably is to wish for a sister – and in those wishes, picture a totally perfect version.

So, I guess this whole post is just to say. I love my sisters. They are my best friends in the world. But, they drive me nuts sometimes. I’m mean to them more often than I’d like. Sometimes it’s not on purpose, but other times, it kind of is. We always talk things thru, apologize and laugh or cry together, but frequently it’s not pretty. We see the worst and the best of each other. We are privy to the pitfalls of each other’s lives, often pulling each other out of those pits and being the first ones to deal with the damage that’s been done down there. I’m thankful for the open honest relationships I have with my sisters. Even when they are hard on me. Regardless of the times I want to smother them with a pillow to make them be quiet. I appreciate just knowing that what we have is real. I love that I’m not judged for the mistakes I’ve made,  rather that I’m accepted as is, but encouraged to become more like Christ.

As families blend, you get new siblings. My sister just inherited three brothers. Her husband just got three sisters and a brother out of the deal. Actually, at the gift opening last night, my new brother-in-law’s dad (my dad-in-law-in-law?) witnessed a kind of snarky exchange between a couple of us sisters and commented “Man, I’m glad I have boys.” Melding people into new relationships can be tricky, especially if the expectations coming in are unrealistic. For those of you without a sister of your own, a word of warning…be careful what you wish for. Sisters are a bundle of a lot more than sleep-overs, whispered secrets and manicure/pedicures. They are the relationships that will develop your character – a process that is full of discovery, disaster and discussion. I would advise setting the following expectations. Expect tears. Expect pouting. Expect to not like what you hear. Anticipate having to explain the same thing more than once, and still be misunderstood. Expect hugs that you don’t really want to participate in. In the end, expect to be blown away by all that a sister really is. Totally and completely worth it.


Wedding Sisters


PS: This photo was taken by the fabulous Emily Hall. Book her if you want an amazing experience with all things photography related.

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