Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day

 their storywreaths

Although Memorial Day has simply come to symbolize the start of summer for many people, its true purpose is to honor the men and women who lost their lives while serving our country.

Here are a few ways you can observe the real meaning of Memorial Day with your family:

  • Take time to explain the meaning of Memorial Day to children or grandchildren.
  • Proudly fly the American flag.
  • Take your family to a Memorial Day parade in your community.
  • Place a donation in an American Legion kettle and get a red poppy for your lapel.
  • Make a point of attending a ceremony at the local war memorial.
  • Stop by a local cemetery and place flags on the graves of fallen soldiers. flags-in-memorial-day

Also Memorial Day wouldn’t be the holiday that it is  without a picnic, right?  I have many great fond memories as a child uniting with my family for our semi annual gathering.  They were simply the best.  Thought I would share a few helpful tips with you on how to make it go from drab to fab.  

When dining outdoors on Memorial Day show your patriotic colors with a red, white and blue table trim.  This is a very easy way to get a festive feel for you picnic.

  • First, cover your picnic or patio table with a white tablecloth, allowing it to hang over the sides of the table. You can use cloth if you choose, but disposable paper tablecloths are less expensive and require no laundering afterward. They can be found at variety and party supply stores.
  • Next, gather red and blue ribbon in assorted widths. Cut lengths of ribbon equal to the length of the tablecloth. Center the widest ribbon down the length of the table. Place a bit of double-stick tape on the underside of the ribbon at each edge of the table. Add additional ribbons on each side of the wide ribbon, and tape as before. Trim the ribbons even with the tablecloth.
  • Now cut lengths of ribbon equal to the width of the table. Place them across the width of the table between each place setting, weaving them through the lengthwise ribbons, and tape as before. Trim ribbons even with the tablecloth.
  • Place red and white geraniums in a patriotic container on the center of the table. Wrap tableware in a festive napkin; tie in a bow with a contrasting ribbon.

Now, one thing that makes these times so special is the food….take a look at some of these goodies.


Flag Pop-tarts (to cute)

I think your kids would think your the best, with these little treats.


Pop-Tarts® | Tasty Creations | Celebration Flags
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
4 Kellogg's® Pop-Tarts® Strawberry toaster pastries
16 fresh red raspberries or 12 medium fresh strawberries
36 fresh blueberries

1.  In a small bowl stir together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Spread on top of KELLOGG'S POP-TARTS STRAWBERRY toaster pastries, completely covering tops.
2.  Lengthwise quarter raspberries or halve strawberries and thinly slice.  Arrange 9 blueberries on top left corner of each toaster pastry to make "stars" on flags.  Arrange raspberries or strawberries on top of toaster pastries to make "red stripes" on flags.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. 

Ice cream (fun for the kids)

In a pint sized zip lock bag combine:
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbs. sugar
Zip the bag closed getting out as much air as possible.
Put the pint size zip lock bag into a gallon zip lock with:
1/3 bag of ice
1/4 cup salt on the ice.
Zip it closed and shake it (the kids love this part) until the ice cream is firm. Cut a corner off the small bag and squeeze the ice cream into a cup or bowl. Top with toppings of your choice.

Dipped Ice Cream Sandwiches dipped ice cream sandwiches


  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 4 ice cream sandwiches
  • Red, white and blue sprinkles


    • Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. In a microwave or heavy saucepan, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Quickly dip ice cream sandwiches partway in melted chocolate; coat chocolate with sprinkles. Place on prepared baking sheet and freeze. Yield: 4 servings.

    Peach Lemonade

    peach lemonade Ingredients

    • 8 cups lemonade
    • 2 cans (5-1/2 ounces each) peach nectar or apricot nectar
    • 1 cup frozen unsweetened sliced peaches
    • Fresh mint sprigs, snapdragons and lemon balm


    • In a 3-qt. glass pitcher, combine the lemonade and nectar; refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, stir the lemonade mixture; add frozen peach slices. Place mint sprigs along the sides of the pitcher and float the flowers on top of the lemonade. Yield: About 2-1/2 quarts.

    Summer Shortcake

    strawberry shortcake MS

    Serves 12 to 15

    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 8 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
    • Raw sugar or fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling
    • 2 pints blueberries
    • 2 pints strawberries, hulled (small berries left whole, large berries halved lengthwise)
    • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream


    1. Make the biscuits: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, pulse flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add butter, and pulse until largest pieces are the size of peas. Add cream cheese, and pulse again until largest pieces are the size of peas. Add buttermilk, and pulse until dough comes together. Transfer to a bowl, and gently knead into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator at least 1 hour (or overnight).
    2. Divide dough in half. Working with one portion at a time on a lightly floured work surface, pat into a disk, then roll into a 10-inch round. Transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
    3. Brush biscuits with buttermilk. Generously sprinkle raw or sanding sugar over tops and sides. Brush off sugar from parchment. Bake until dough has risen slightly and is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes (if bottoms brown too quickly, reduce temperature to 400 degrees). Leave biscuits on sheets. Using a 2 1/2-inch star cutter, cut out (but do not remove) 7 stars from one biscuit while it is still warm. Let cool.

    4. Using a paring knife, carefully remove star shapes. Reserve for snacking or another use. (Biscuits can be made up to 8 hours ahead; store on wire racks, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.)
    5. Make the filling: Combine blueberries, strawberries, and 2 tablespoons sugar, and let macerate until juicy, 10 minutes.
    6. Just before serving, beat cream to medium peaks with remaining tablespoon sugar and the vanilla.
    7. Assemble the cake: Place uncut biscuit on a large plate. Spoon half the berries and their juices on top of biscuit, then spread the whipped cream over berries. Top with all but about 1/2 cup berries. (Make sure surface is even; it will support the top biscuit and prevent it from breaking.) Carefully place cutout biscuit on top. Fill star cutouts with reserved berries. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, uncovered, up to 3 hours.

    If time allows I will try to add some grilling ideas….they would be good for anytime this summer….and remember there is always July 4th right around the corner.

    When dining indoors, decorate your table using all your red, white and blue goodies. 

    red white blue table

    sparklers cupcake stand evening dining

    You don’t have to spend alot of time decorating for this holiday, however if you are having friends or  family over during this weekend, it serves as a nice reminder of why we celebrate and puts people in a more festive mood. Just a few simple ideas I found while scouring the internet.



    Well really should scoot for now.  Have some packing to do as well as a few errands.  Hubby and I along with some friends are heading out to Amish Country tomorrow for a few days, should be home late Sunday night .  If I don’t get back before Monday, hope all has a safe and family fun filled Memorial Day. 

    Woo Hoo Summer is here!


    Cin Sig

  • Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    More on Contentment

    Since yesterday’s post I spoke about my contentment, I decided to do a little researching and reading what the bible and bible scholars had to say.  This is what I found.

    What is contentment? One definition states that contentment is “happiness with
    one’s situation in life.” 1 Another definition states that contentment is “the state of
    being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.” 2 So, contentment could generally be
    defined as a state where a person is happy and not anxious with life no matter what
    the circumstances.

    after spending some time reflecting on God’s word and about contentment in our lives,  I ran across this commentary…from Biblegateway.

    It is a good work to succor and help a good minister in trouble. The nature of true Christian sympathy, is not only to feel concern for our friends in their troubles, but to do what we can to help them. The apostle was often in bonds, imprisonments, and necessities; but in all, he learned to be content, to bring his mind to his condition, and make the best of it. Pride, unbelief, vain hankering after something we have not got, and fickle disrelish of present things, make men discontented even under favorable circumstances. Let us pray for patient submission and hope when we are abased; for humility and a heavenly mind when exalted. It is a special grace to have an equal temper of mind always. And in a low state not to lose our comfort in God, nor distrust his providence, nor take any wrong course for our own supply. In a prosperous condition not to be proud, or secure, or worldly. This is a harder lesson than the other; for the temptations of fullness and prosperity are more than those of affliction and want. The apostle had no design to urge them to give more, but to encourage such kindness as will meet a glorious reward hereafter. Through Christ we have grace to do what is good, and through him we must expect the reward; and as we have all things by him, let us do all things for him, and to his glory. (Php 4:20-23)

    John MacAuthur gives these secrets to contentment: (you can read in detail these secrets)

    • First, learn to give thanks in all things.
    • Second, learn to rest in God's providence.
    • Third, learn to be satisfied with little.
    • Fourth, learn to live above life's circumstances.
    • Fifth, learn to rely on God's power and provision.
    • Finally, become preoccupied with the well-being of others.

    Contentment and the Bible

    What brings contentment? Contentment is a gift from God and grows out of having His perspective on life. "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:12-13, NIV.

    Contentment grows out of humility and trust in God. "My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me." Psalm 131:1, NIV.

    Contentment grows out of devotion to Christ and eternal values. "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." Matthew 6:24, NIV.

    Coveting is a barrier to contentment. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17, NIV.

    Materialism is a barrier to contentment. "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction." I Timothy 6:9, still

    I’d like to say that I am feeling more content today about things, but that isn’t the case.  Still at this moment, I feel like I am dangling by a thread with uncertainties.Even a little down about where and how things stand.  So much is going on in my head and heart and I know I need to “be still” and listen.   I know I need to turn all these things over to God and let him do  the work….but my human flesh begs me to hang on.   I know I must “Let go and Let God”.

    Is this something that you struggle with too?  If so, how do you cope with being content?

    Cin Sig

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    First things first

    Barn-wood-kitchen-cabinet- I think I have finally decided on which blog to use….I am going to stick with Blogger for now.  :)  Woo Hoo, glad I have made that decision.  As stated before there are things about both that I really do enjoy, but overall I think that the blogger blog feels more like me. 

    I’m just a simple girl from the country  with a love of a simpler time and lifestyle. I love the the fresh farmhouse in the spring feel of it.    So for now, you don’t have to change any links….however I am going to keep the wordpress blog around for a bit jic.  :)  Cause that is how I operate.

    So do you like the new look here?  I spent two weeks, making changes to both blogs, before I actually settled here.  It was fun, but relearning wordpress was not.   Anyway, let me know what you think.

    Confession time…..ladies over the last several weeks, I have really been struggling with contentment.  Not really sure why, but I think priorities has something to do with it.  I feel myself just wanting to isolate and reflect.  So I have decided it is time to do something about this.  I have drifted away from using my list to keep me on target, and it shows.  Not necessarily in my home, but in my heart and mind. And for me that is more important than what my house looks like.  Here are some things that I plan to do:

    • Spend time with my creator
    • Study the WORD
    • Memorize scripture
    • WORK off that list

    As you can see there isn’t much on the list of things I plan to do, but GOD is first and center, and I think that is where my problem lies, I just have been lazy lately and haven’t taken  the time I need to spend  with God, and I am feeling the effects. 

    There is so many uncertainties in my life at the moment, and I believe they have fueled this problem.  I have a hard time staying focused on one thing, or accomplishing any project that I tackle. However, I am reminded in Proverbs 3:5-6…..”Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understandings, In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” 

    I know we all feel discontent at times and that is when we really need the support of our fellow Christians, to support and encourage us through, so that  Satan doesn’t get a strong hold on us and keep us from moving forward.  I hope you will remember me in prayer this week as I try to get myself back on track….. Thanks!

    Hoping to get around to visit with you all later today or tomorrow.


    Cin Sig

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Blogger Vs. Wordpress?

    (posted this at my new blog “Country Elegance”)

    Stop by and check out the new blog…

    trying to decide if I am going to like this new blog or not!  Blogger vs. Wordpress?  That is the dilemma I am finding myself in today.  There are things I like about both, as well as some things I don’t like.  I have wanted to do a wordpress blog for a while now, but I really hated to go through the whole webhosting ordeal again unless I knew it was something that I was going to like.  So I decided to try the free version at  (they have limited themes to choose from).  It has the same functionality as downloading wp and hosting it , however on they don’t support java script, so therefore, I had to lose most of my buttons and followers widget. Not happy about that.  :(    Plus I am still tweaking the layout.   For the most part this layout gives me everything that I want, but I am not there quite yet.  

    Have any of you ever made the switch from  blogger to wp?  If so, what are your thoughts? 

    Guess I should  get back at it….as you can see, I still have lots to do?  Let me know what you think…. I would really appreciate your honest opinion.

    Hugs and Blessings,



    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    Getting back to normal

    now that the big day has past.  I want to say thanks to all that sent well wishes and prayers our way.  We had a beautiful day for the wedding.  Couldn’t have ask for a better day.  We were truly blessed.

    the happy couple The newlyweds!  Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Menser

    All the family arrived the middle of last week, and from that moment on, we were extremely busy getting ready for the big day.  Hair and nail appts, rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  Lots of good food, and catching up with family.  For the rehearsal dinner, my son wanted a backyard barbeque but since we didn’t know how to plan for the weather we decided to rent a venue to host the festivities.  We had our rehearsal dinner at a sports bar and grill, with all the backyard barbeque fare.  Simply yummy.  Anyone that knows my son, knows he is a die hard sports fan, so this was very appropriate for him. Complete with a tribute to his favorite team.

    DSC00566 DSC00562

    DSC00565 DSC00553


    On the big day, the morning started off rather weepy for me.  I was extremely emotional, lots of tears as I reflected back on my son’s childhood and the man he has become.  I am so proud of who he is.  Such a gem! 

    DSC00639 before the ceremony

    Don and I with our son

    The groomsmen

    My nephew Joshua with son Derek, doing the John Wall dance prior to the ceremony

    Don and I as we walked out of the ceremony. One tearful momma!

    My beautiful daughter Tori with her honey Mark.


    Well that is a sneak peek into our day….please feel free to stop by the photo album and view the pictures (link below).  We took over 500 ourselves, but I’ve posted around 70 or so.

    I wish the new Mr. and Mrs. all the love and blessings in the world. 

    I have posted wedding pictures at my FB….so even if you aren’t on FB you should be able to view them at

    Really should start my day but wanted to share some of our big day with you….hope all have a blessed day.

    Cin Sig