What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

'A Camping We Will Go!

Looks like a great weekend for camping! The weather forecast is excellent. We're heading up to north Georgia for our first camping adventure in years. Holly and Maggie have never been, so they are super excited.

Hot Dogs-check
Sleeping bags-check
Air mattresses-check

Breakfast essentials....check

S'mores... check


"Let's go, people!"

Have yourself a wonderful weekend.

Laura Lee

How to Build a Church

Lest you begin to think that this has become a cooking blog, I thought I'd show you the progress that I've made on the Christmas quilt project I'm working on with my friend Ellen, in New York. We got this idea in the spring when she and her daughter, Caroline, came down to spend their spring break week with us.

Ellen is responsible for getting me hooked on quilting. I'd been sewing for years when she started sending me quilting patterns and magazines. I'd look at them and think, "Maybe one day I'll have time for that." At some point, about 10 years ago, I started really becoming fascinated with making quilts. If I didn't have a house full of children and homeschool, I'm pretty sure I'd spend my days doing nothing else! I am crazy in love with quilting!

The quilt has six different rows. We are each responsible for making three rows, one set for ourselves, and one set for the other. Then we will swap and assemble our rows with borders, etc., to finish the quilts. The real challenge is going to be getting it all done before Christmas!

I've been busy working on the church rows. These have been so fun to do.

The church rows are almost finished!

The joy rows are finished!

I'm curious how my partner's are coming along. Here is a photo she recently sent me of the basket row in progress.

Back to the ironing board!

Laura Lee

Life is Good

It is a beautiful, quiet Tuesday here. I have no place I have to go. The lessons are almost finished. Lunch is eaten and the dishes are washed. Warm weather has sneaked back for a spell. I plan to sit outside and drink in this glorious weather, while Lacy plays a serenade on the violin from her open, upstairs window.

May you also enjoy a peaceful Tuesday.

Laura Lee

I'm Talking Some Serious Smack, Y'all!

By now you probably already know that I'm a bit of a skeptic when someone tells me you can take an easy, delicious dish and make it just as delicious with fewer steps. The Slacker Snickerdoodle experiment comes immediately to mind. Well, the other night I was curled up with my four-legged girl, happily chillin' and taking a trip down memory lane with my favorite magazine, Reminisce, when, lo and behold, my eyes came to rest upon this recipe for Two-Cheese Macaroni Casserole.

The girl and I have chillin' down to a science...but I digress...

Anyway, I don't know about you, but I can only handle boxed macaroni and cheese on rare occasions. You might say I'm a bit of a macky-smacky snob, that way. (Usually, I fix a fabulous baked macaroni and cheese casserole that came from none other than the Mrs. Ronald Reagan. And it is PDG, pretty darn good.)
However, this recipe piqued my interest because everything, including the
uncooked macaroni, is dumped in a casserole and baked covered for nearly an hour. Well, let me just say, "Yes, it's true." This is really good. My macky-smacky-lovin' progeny just did the official taste test and gave it rave reviews. So for your cheesy pleasure, here is:

Two-Cheese Macaroni Casserole

  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup small-curd cottage cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • dash salt
In microwave, heat water and butter to a boil. Meanwhile grease a 2-quart casserole and put in remaining ingredients. Pour water/butter over all and mix well. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes or longer until bubbly and macaroni is tender.

I'm thinking this definitely meets my macky-smacky expectations. You might want to try it out.

Laura Lee

A Cookout, A Crowd, and A Cake

For the past few weeks, Brad has been talking about having a cookout for his co-workers. So, later this afternoon we're having a crowd of painter-dudes over, along with their wives, children, and significant "others." Burgers, bocce, badminton, ping-pong (Oops...messed up my alliteration)... promises to be a fun afternoon.

I really hope everyone comes hungry, because we have enough hamburgers and hot dogs, buns, chips, chili, and soda to feed a whole battalion. Plus I'm fixing a big ol' pot of baked beans and some desserts. Oh yeah, there will be plenty of 'zerts, as my young nephew used to call them.

One of the 'zerts is this delicious looking cake I saw the other day on Tina's blog, who found the recipe on Kim's blog. My heart started palpitating the minute I saw it. I knew then that it would be the star of the party. Of course, it has chocolate in it. In fact, it is a triple chocolate delight: chocolate cake mix, chocolate pudding, and chocolate chips. Guaranteed to send the unsuspecting taster into a diabetic coma. A chocolate lover's fantasy. You would be correct to assume I like chocolate. Just a little. In fact, I speak fluent chocolate. I've never met chocolate I didn't like. I'm down with chocolate. Me and chocolate, we're tight. BFFL (Best Friends For Life).

Anyway, back to the cake. It's the dump and mix type. (Super simple for someone like me, who really wants to spend the day sewing for as long as I can before everyone arrives.)

Assemble the ingredients. Can anyone say, "Yum!"? Oops! Did the recipe really call for miniature chocolate chips? Really? Oh well, people, you're getting serious-chocolate-lover-sized-chocolate chips. Hope you're not too disappointed.... Mini-schmini....

One teaspoon? Who measures vanilla??

Spread that thick, yummy batter in the bundt pan. Not that I have any way of knowing it's yummy. I wouldn't stick my finger in to taste it. Never. Not me.

A little bowl-licking action before breakfast never hurt anybody.

Place the cake on your prettiest plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

And try not to think about it for the next seven hours.....Can I hear a hearty "Amen" from my chocolate-loving soul sisters?

I hope your Saturday is special.

Laura Lee

A Drawing and A Winner!

I decided today was a great day for a Fall drawing. The temperature outside is cool, the skies are overcast, and there is a brisk breeze blowing. I tossed all the names into the basket.

Lacy was more than happy to pause her school work to assist me. She closed her eyes and mixed the names all around.

Out came the winner....


Congratulations! You're the lucky winner of the Golden Blog Post Give-Away. In addition to the table topper, you'll get all sorts of fun fall-ish goodies I've been picking up here and there.

I hope you enjoy them all very much.

Now, before the rest of you fall apart, rest assured that there will be another give away in a few weeks. The Christmas give-away will be the best yet. Everyone who enters will win something!

Laura Lee

MO Tasty

We all have those recipes we come back to again and again. You know the ones I'm talking about. They are splattered and stained from years of use. Though they are practically committed to memory, we still go to the recipe file, just in case. Comfort foods they call them.

Here is a recipe for meatloaf that I've made for over 20 years. Our good friends Gary and Kim J. in Knoxville, TN, shared this recipe with us and boy I'm glad they did. It comes from a barbecue restaurant in Missouri (MO), their home state. It's definitely not your average, run-of-the-mill meatloaf. We've long since lost touch with those dear friends, but every time I make this I will always remember the fun we had with them.

This can be mixed up and then baked in the oven, which is mostly the way I've done it for years. However, it originally was created for the grill. In the past few months, we have gone back to doing it on the grill. I doubt we'll ever go back to the oven. It is just so fabulous done on the grill. And yesterday was per--fec--tion grilling weather.

(I double this for my school of piranhas, and we fight over the left-overs the next day.)

Barbecue Meatloaf

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup crushed crackers
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Mix beef, egg, onion, and crackers. Add in remaining three ingredients and mix well. Mix sauce and set aside. Pat meatloaf into an iron skillet and cook on grill for about 15 minutes until it gets nice and bubbly on the sides of the skillet. Remove skillet from grill. On the grill, place several layers of foil through which you have made a few small slits . Turn the meatloaf out onto the foil. Grill another 15 minutes until cooked through. Top with sauce and cook another minute or two.

Mix up the meatloaf.

Stir up the sauce....this makes it really yummy.
You'll pour this on later.

Pat the meatloaf into an iron skillet and
set it on the grill rack to start baking.

Flip it out on the tin foil. When done, pour on the sauce.
I clean the skillet and scoop the
cooked meatloaf back in to take to the table.

Serve to your hungry crew.
We enjoyed mashed potatoes and
broccoli casserole with this.

"Mo Tasty!"~ Tom

Golden Post Give-Away

It's that time again. The other day I noticed my little blog ticker was approaching 50! So you know what that means...; it's time for another give-away! This time, in the spirit of fall and my continuing effort to embrace this season, I have designed and quilted a little table topper in warm colors with a sprinkling of leaves and other fall-ish motifs. Would you like to win it? Just leave me a comment or or an email telling me to enter you in the drawing. And if I don't know you, I will need a way to contact you if you win. I think it will look just beautiful on your kitchen table or hanging on the wall in your home this season.

Quality assured by Bella.

Laura Lee

Sew Proud to be An American

I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news on September 11, 2001. Do you?

I'm so thankful for the brave men and women who are risking their lives, half way around the world, fighting to preserve my freedoms as an American.

Recently I became aware of an organization that provides adaptive clothing, free of charge, to wounded service men and women at every major military hospital in the United States, Landstuhl (Germany) and at Combat Surgical Hospitals. The name of this organization is Sew Much Comfort

Many of the wounded troops are left with a hospital gown as their only clothing option. Sew Much Comfort is helping out by providing adaptive "normal" clothing for these service members who have given so much of themselves in serving our country.

I filled out the volunteer application online and received in the mail a packet of information telling all about how to make these adaptive garments. My first assignment is rather simple: adapting a pair of purchased boxer shorts by taking out a seam and applying velcro up one side. When completed I will send these to the regional director who will check the quality of my work. Once approved, I will send the garments directly to the distribution center in Ohio.

Many different types of garments are needed: boxer shorts, polo shirts, pajama pants, etc. They are either purchased and adapted, or created from special patterns. I'll make as many as time allows.

I am excited about using my sewing skills for such a worthy cause. It is the least I can do for my country.

To all the brave American soldiers, including my brother Doug, who is in Iraq, I say "Thank you!" from the bottom of my heart.

Laura Lee

Henny Penny Bakes Bread

As promised, here is a photo journal of bread baking, from grinding the wheat to the finished golden loaves.

We purchase wheat in 50 pound bags.

I make the flour by pouring the wheat berries into the electric grain grinder.

My lovely assistant is always at my side.

She adds the flour to the liquid ingredients.

When the dough forms a ball and begins to clean the sides of the bowl, we stop adding flour.

I shape the loaves and put them in the pans to rise.

An hour later....perfect! Ready for the oven....

Hot from the oven, cooling on the counter.

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."
John 6:35

Have yourself a beautiful week!
Laura Lee