Monday, May 25, 2009


Saturday was spent with Nancy, Carol, Debby and Melanie at the Nashville Flea Market. Wow! And let me say it one more time just for emphasis: WOW!
The Nashville Flea Market is huge. They meet once a month and use the State Fairgrounds. Nancy and Melanie have been before and said that they were using more of the buildings than they had seen in the past. I was so overwhelmed that I did not take any pictures of the flea market itself but the web site is here (and their pictures are probably better than mine). They had so much; the ubiquitous socks, the dollar store excess, the antiques, plants, Mennonite jams and jellies and pies, tools, furniture, kitchen paraphenalia, linens, books, CDs, DVDs, etc., etc., etc. They did not have any live animals for sale but again, WOW! We had a blast and enjoyed each other's company completely.

In other news, Mark has finished with the pressure washer and the house looks super. Hopefully I can get some "after" pictures to post here later this week when the sun comes out. He's also been busy with his garden (of course) and other home projects. He got out this afternoon and dug some wild pink roses out of a ditch and will get those planted this evening.

I took the Wee Care gowns with me to smock in the car on Saturday and finished them up. I'm close to done with the bonnet I have, so I'll get those pictures up later this week too. Let's see, other UFOs, I'm half-way through the calligraphy project, the photography stuff is almost finished and I'm almost ready for rugging. But Mark got some peaches at the outdoor market on Saturday and strawberries went on sale even more at WalMart today, so the projects will have to wait until jam gets finished this evening.

Pictures coming....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today is UFO day again. As soon as I finish vacuuming (shoot, I may just leave that until tomorrow!) I'm going to get cracking on a few UFOs that are cluttering up that un-named room. Smocking, designing the front garden area, calligraphy, rugging (not really a word, but something I need to do anyway...I'll share later) all need to get finished up. Yes, I'll try to remember to post pictures this time....oh yeah, some photography that needs to be taken care of too.

Late last night I remembered that I promised to get the recipe for homemade coffee creamer up. So here it is. If you are not making your own sweetened condensed milk you can skip the first part but I am a big believer in that recipe. When you go to the store to buy powdered milk and are trying to be careful of the grocery budget that initial cost can seem a bit much. It's worth it!

Put one cup of powdered milk in a small saucepan. Add 2/3 cups of water, stir and bring to a boil, stirring all the while. Remove from heat and add 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet you want the creamer; I prefer the 1 cup!). Add to this 3/4 cup of milk. Notice that you are not adding any butter to the sweetened condensed milk that you are making. I just don't find those beads of oil floating in my coffee to be very appetizing. Now add 2 Tablespoons of cocoa and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of mint extract to make Peppermint Patty flavor. Or you may add just cocoa (1 Tablespoon), 1 Tablespoon of vanilla, or any other flavoring you prefer. Another option I've heard is to crush up your favorite candy (malted milk balls, peppermints or even a Kit Kat bar) and adding that but I have never tried it. I am told that you might want to use a food processor for this and get it as powdery as you can before adding it.

Marvelous Mark will be back soon with a pressure washer, so I've got to go get some before pictures so you will be able to enjoy the big difference with me!

Enjoy your coffee!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A few quick thoughts....

We are home after a wonderful weekend of traveling and visiting with family and dear friends. We went to Sardinia, South Carolina by way of Augusta, Georgia. Dan piped Sunday morning and did a great job playing Abide With Me and Simple Gifts (WOW!) and then piped the congregation over to the Fellowship Hall/Office Building for the dedication of a new memorial window in their library.

After spending yesterday not doing much at all, today will be a busy day. I can't keep putting it off; I've GOT to mop the kitchen floor. Sigh. I do need to let you know that if you are making sweetened condensed milk for creamer it would probably be best to NOT put the butter in it! I'll refine and share the creamer recipe tomorrow.

Now here is the overdue memory verse.

Revelation 5:13 (NIV)
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing;
"To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!"

Did you know that there are very few places in the Bible that use an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Please pray for Layla Grace. She is an 18 month old baby in Texas who was recently diagnosed with an aggressive stage IV inoperable neuroblastoma. Layla begins chemotherapy on Friday. Please pray for her physically as she undergoes this very strong treatment, for her parents as they minister to her through this and for her two big sisters. Her Mom has asked that we pray that the sisters stay healthy so that they can be around her when she is home over the next 15 weeks. Everyone who is asked to pray over this baby will be led to pray for something specific that other people might not think about. Pray as the Spirit leads you and rejoice that all these prayers will piece together to cover the needs of this family!
Sweetened Condensed Milk?

Long day, great Bible study, late night, long trip tomorrow. Soooo...quick post!
Today I ran out of coffee creamer. NOT GOOD! I am not a pleasant person without my coffee. It's almost as bad as running out of estrogen. But I didn't want to spend another $3 on coffee creamer. So I went on-line and Googled "liquid coffee creamer recipe". You would be amazed at how many sites there are with these recipes. Sadly, all the recipes are either the powdered stuff (I've made that before and was decidedly unimpressed with the results), or require sweetened condensed milk. I don't keep sweetened condensed milk on hand in my pantry. I do, however, keep powdered milk (with the price of milk these days I use the powdered stuff for cooking and the liquid stuff for drinking). Did you know you can make sweetened condensed milk out of powdered milk?! It's quick and easy and it tastes good. I do recommend that if you try this, you use a heavy pan to mix and boil it in. My little aluminum pan is just not quite heavy enough, especially since I have a gas stove now. Here's the recipe, courtesy of Carnation Instant Milk.

1 cup powdered milk
2/3 cup cool water
2/3 cup sugar (I said it was sweetened, remember?)
3 Tablespoons butter

Dissolve the powder in water in a 1 quart pan. Bring to a boil and stir til smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar and butter. Allow to cool. Equals one 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk.

You can store it in a jar in the refrigerator but I usually just make it up when I need it and use it right away. By the way, if you are also out of half and half and/or heavy whipping cream, you can also make that by adding butter to a cup of milk (powdered or not). For half and half, add 1 1/2 Tablespoons of butter to 7/8 cup of milk. For heavy cream, add 1/3 cup of butter to 3/4 cup of milk. Amazing, isn't it?

I'll let you know how the home made coffee creamer turns out when we get back from our travels. In the meantime, have a great weekend and pray us on our trip.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Oh dear, Thrifty Mama just posted that Hancock's Fabrics will be having a HUGE pattern sale the rest of the month. I guess I just added some more projects to that project list!

Here is what I have been doing the past week.
Making Strawberry freezer jam

That's 20 pints plus one more in the refrigerator, thank you very much!

Organizing my kitchen a little better

"Helping" the Marvelous Mark clean out the gutters

And wash some more of the front porch (I wish you could see the door; it's amazing what Marvelous Mark can do with turpentine and elbow grease!)

Cheering on while you-know-who (initials MM) screens in the back deck (Yay, Marvelous!)

Going to tea at Miss Rosemarie's with my sister-in-law (it was chocolate soup week; an item NOT to be missed!)

And finally.....(drum roll and shrieks, please).....


I promise this is not a joke or a photo-shopped trick; this is the second one of these I have found in the new home. This one was in the laundry. YUCK!! My sister-in-law who lives here assures me that these are not the nasty, poisonous kind you would find in Arizona, but I would just as soon not have any kind of scorpion in my new house. My skin is crawling just looking at the picture and remembering. And the cats are much too lazy to do anything about them. Dumb cats.

This weekend we are going to be on the road. Sardinia Presbyterian Church in Sardinia, SC is having their homecoming and we are going home for it. Dan will be piping (the blowing kind, not the sewing kind) and Mark and I will be enjoying some great company and a wonderful dinner. I'll be sure to take my camera!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh dear, I've been out of the loop for a few days. Tomorrow (or even later tonight) I'll post some pictures of what all has been going on at the Akin home lately but for now I want to share a few thoughts.

Sometimes in our life, God shows us that even though we think we know what is going to happen to us next year, next month, next week, tomorrow, or even later today, we really don't. Sometimes when we think we have it all figured out how we are going to take care of ourselves, God reminds us that all our provision comes from HIM and HIM alone. Sometimes when we find ourselves in that place of being reminded, we want to think that coming out of that place depends on what we do or don't do to acquire God's blessing. It is easy to think to yourself, "If I just give more to the church, God will bless me". Or, "If I just witness to more people, God will bless me". Or some other "If I just....". On Sunday The Marvelous Mark and I visited another church close to home and I don't think we will be going back to that one. The sermon reinforced this mentality that our life and God's blessings are performance based. If we just do the little things that we ought to do, everything else will fall into place and we will acquire God's blessing. Because after all, if we are doing the right things, God is obligated to do for us what we want Him to do. The dangerous thing about this kind of thinking is that it makes us more important than God. Think about it; my actions, thoughts, words, whatever, are what force God to do what I want Him to do. The Marvelous Mark calls this the puppy-dog mentality. When you think about it this way, you realize how blasphemous this mentality is! It's as if you snap your fingers at God, whistle and call and He must obey our call. So we place ourselves in God's place and God in our place. Wow! It's scary to realize that, isn't it?
God is the author of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Gifts are not the same as wages, they are given with grace and with no expectation of any payment. The breath that I am breathing, the vision that my eyes have, the ability that my hands have to type this; these are all gifts that God has given me. He is in no way obligated to give me these things, they are free and a result of His grace and goodness. God has given me the gift of Life. His grace has taken all my ugly sin, placed it on His Son and then taken the righteousness of the Son and placed it on me. What else do I need? If I am given the path of suffering, like my sisters in China, in the Sudan, and in other parts of the world are given, I still have everything because I have the surety of eternal Life with Him. If He gives me riches beyond measure and perfect health, it is His grace but still the only thing that really matters is Him. If he takes away my health and I am forced to live under a bridge and forage for food in the dumpster, the only thing that really matters is Him.
And that is what I believe about that!!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Home Projects....

While a lot of home improvement projects that one finds in a new home are things that can be put off and done over a period of time, there are a LOT that must be done fairly immediately. That being said, I'll just add that a new home can make you real tired real fast! We are thoroughly enjoying our home and even enjoying the more mundane projects that must be done. It has been a busy week. In addition to the daily household chores, Mark and I had a blast the other afternoon with a hose, some pretty dirty gutters and a mildewy porch ceiling. I felt like I was 10 years old playing under the hose in the yard! It did make a huge difference in the ceiling, too. We have decided to hold off on the rest of the outside cleaning until we get a pressure washer, and even then we'll probably wait on half of the back until a certain bird's nest is no longer in use.
On Wednesday I managed to get about 8 loads of laundry done before the evening thunderstorms came through. While I was hanging out one of the last loads, I glanced down and found a lovely surprise.

A closer inspection revealed this:

I know he doesn't have the prettiest colors I've ever seen, but I still think he is pretty and I am always fascinated by the long front legs and antennae.

While I had the camera out, I went ahead and took this picture too. Mark does grow the best tomatoes in the world!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sadly, I have no pictures of the Birmingham Flea Market. Sigh! I had a good time, after I found it (only I could get lost with such clear directions posted on the website). It was great to meet Rhoda, Sandi and Kathi and spend time with them looking at jewelry. There was a rather interesting Gentleman there who had some good finds. I liked his old metal yard furniture; talk about nostalgia! There were several vendors with antique linens, too, and it was fun puzzling out what I could do with them and how I could embroider them for gifts. There were the ubiquitous sock-vendors, and one man with boxes of Ovaltine, soap, soup and lotions for sale (what a curious mix). I did not buy anything this time, but I just might go back and snag some of those linens for a project.
It has been a rather busy week working around the house. Laundry, mildew on the porch, gutters that needed cleaning, floors; the list is endless if you let it be. Sometimes I have to remind myself that some things are urgent and other things can wait a year or two or ten! I'm whipped from the floors, but tomorrow I'll show you an unexpected blessing God sent me while I was doing laundry on Tuesday.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sunday was a busier day than our family anticipated. We wound up inaugurating our safe room! Storms were headed our way and we were tuned in to the local weather. A little after three the call was made that there was a tornado in our area and we were urged to go to our safe place. We have a big basement with a little room just beside the stairs. That room is on the outside side of the basement rather than the underground side, but the storm gurus all say to use a small enclosed area rather than a large open area (even if it is underground). So we loaded up the cats, the weather radio, and some juice (in case I had an insulin reaction), made sure we were in jeans and had shoes and socks on and headed downstairs. It didn't seem like it was going to be one of those scary EF-5 storms, but we figured it was a good practice run for the new house. Turns out that there was an EF-1 tornado that touched down 4 miles away from us. Fortunately there was a ridge between it and us and it was not a real bad one. No one was killed, no one was injured, so that was a relief. Mark and I drove out today and saw where it had touched down. We were impressed because as many trees as had come down everyone had gotten the trees off the roads and houses and already had them cut into logs by noon today. We did figure out a few things to do differently next time. Like have the safe room swept and clean (I don't know if those jeans will ever come clean again), put the cats in a cat carrier before we take them down (I know, I know; we are some of those pet-people), and have some juice boxes stashed there (juice boxes are a gift to diabetics; just the right size and easy to handle when your hands are shaky). So all we have to do next time is stuff the cats in the carrier, grab the radio, and dash down the stairs. I'm thankful that Mark got me a weather radio that has not only the NOAA weather stations but also has regular radio so we can listen to the local reports. AND it has a battery AND a crank-charge. What more could a girl want?! So we have a plan, our house is intact, and tomorrow it is supposed to be clear so I can hang my laundry out. What a relief!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

With all that has been going on in the new house this week I have not updated the memory verse. So let me correct that now. If you are familiar with Handel's Messiah, this is another one that you will be singing instead of saying. This is a song that all the angels sing as they surround the throne of God and the people of God.

Revelation 5:12
In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"

Have a wonderful weekend. I'm off to the Birmingham Flea Market to meet up with Rhoda and some of the other Birmingham bloggers. Pictures Monday!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Wow. I finished that UFO already. Wow! I'm not thrilled with the way the piping looks; I'm definitely better at smocking than the construction of the smocked piece into something else. But I'm pleased that I finished it. Normally I would take apart what I was not pleased with and fix it, but the material that was used for this does not lend itself to that. Plus, it is just a pincushion.
Here are the construction pictures. When Nancy gets back from spending time with her girls and helping them with some projects I think I'm going to need piping lessons (sewing, not Scottish!)

Now since the party is going on for two more weeks, I think I'll work on another UFO. This one will take a little more coming!