Easy DIY Blooming House Numbers

Dear Reader,

From the time we moved in, my house had these house numbers on it.  Pretty boring, huh. I thought about painting them, but honestly, I just didn't like them.

I searched stores for something different, that fit both my personality and the house itself. But I couldn't find anything I liked. I scoured Pinterest looking for fun ideas that I could do to add a little color and life to the front of my house. There were a few that I liked, but nothing that really seemed to fit me.  So I kept pondering.
Then one day, I was in the grocery store and saw these plastic chip n'dip trays.  Although there was an assortment of colors, I thought the purple and pink  looked the most like flowers when you turned them over.  They were only $1 apiece, I bought 6.
I brought them home and scrubbed the stickers off.  A little Lemon Essential Oil helped to get all the sticky residue off. I had found a bunch of old spoons in my father-in-laws shop when we cleaned it out, and I planned on supplementing those with more from yard sales or thrift store shopping.  But I was in a big box store, and saw some 4 packs of silverware for $2.  I bought several packs of spoons, forks, and knives. Then I went to the craft store and bought some big numbers, and some good glue that would stick to plastic.  One more stop at my local home improvement store for some paint and PVC pipe and I was ready for a project.

First, I sprayed the centers yellow.

Now they look more like flowers!

Then I painted the numbers, first with white, then with glow in the dark paint.
I had my fabulous husband cut the PVC into 3 equal pieces. Then I painted it green. Finally, it was time to put it all together.  I glued  the silverware around the flower shapes, then the backs to the fronts, to make them look 3-dimensional. I attached the  numbers to the fronts,  then attached the whole thing to the PVC pipe.  To keep with the silverware theme, I glued butter knives as leaves to the "stem". Then 'planted' my new flowers in a nice sunny spot.
Don't they look lovely!
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Ranch Hamburger Buns

Ahhh, summer is almost here!  In the school district where I work, we are down to the last of school before summer vacation.  Among other things, summer at our house means barbecue season. And one of the best ways to start the season out is with a basic, juicy burger.  My mouth is watering thinking about burgers with cheese, caramelized onions, saute'd mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles....oh my.  When I am going to the bother of adding all those delightful toppings to my burger, I like to make my own hamburger buns.  This recipe came with a bread-maker that I had years ago. The buns are delicious, and hearty enough to stand up to all those toppings.  I've adapted it to regular baking. If you have any left over, they make wonderful sandwiches too!

Ranch Hamburger Buns
1/2 c. water
1 Tblsp. yeast
4 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1 egg
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tblsp. ranch dressing mix
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. flour

Mix water, yeast and sugar. Let sit for a few minutes until yeast starts to bubble.  Mix in remaining ingredients, kneading well.  Let rise until double.  Punch down. Divide into 18 balls.  Smash each ball on greased cookie sheet. Let rise again until each bun is about double in size.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8-12 minutes.

Cool Lime Pie

Dear Reader,

My mom made pie. Every weekend, she made pie. It seemed that every Sunday evening when I was growing up, neighbors would "happen” to stop by, and Mom always fed them pie.  It’s no wonder I like to make desserts for my family.  I try to limit myself to 1-2 times a month, with our Sunday dinner, because I seem to have the sweetest tooth and really don’t need those desserts on my hips.  

This past Sunday I prepared a taco bar for my family dinner.  For dessert, we enjoyed Cool Lime Pie.  This is reminiscent of Mom’s Lemonade Pie, except lime flavor, which everyone knows goes well with any type of Mexican food. 

Cool Lime Pie

2 pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 12 oz. can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
16 oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 graham cracker crusts

Beat cream cheese and milk.  Stir in limeade and whipped topping.  Add green food coloring.  Pour into crusts and freeze.

Often, if I don't have a huge crowd coming for dinner, and do not want 3 whole pies, I will make up some of these cute individual serving size jars.  I mix a little melted butter and sugar with some graham cracker crumbs, press some in the bottom of a half-pint jar, pour in some filling, and top it off with a few more crumbs to make it look pretty.

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Unlock Your Medicine Cabinet

Dear Reader,

We live fairly close to our local high school.  Towards the beginning of track season, I was puttering around the house while my daughter was at practice.  Suddenly, she burst into the house with a friend and said "We need some oils!" The friend was having some pain, and my daughter went straight to the essential oil stash, got out the ones she knew would help, and gave them to her friend. Talk about a proud mama moment!
I have seen a lot of commercials lately about the importance of locking up your prescription medications. It seems that children (teenagers) like to get into the medicine cabinet and use the medications as drugs.  I would propose that maybe a better idea would be to stock your medicine cabinet with such healthy, natural things that it's okay for your teenagers to invade your medicine cabinet.
When my daughter came running in the door to get some (essential) oils, I was not concerned that they could possible harm her or her friend.  Or that they might become dependent on the oils.
Essential oils are a great way to start building your natural medicine cabinet. T.here are several great essential oil companies, and a few not so great.  Whichever ones you choose to purchase, make sure they are safe for dietary use, a lot of less expensive oils are 'for aromatic use only'.  The essential oils I choose to keep in my house are Spark Naturals.  They are high quality (pure Pharma grade) oils without the high price tag.  {Hint: If you choose to order from Spark, use the code 'purplelinen' and you'll receive 10% off your order! Every time you use it!}
My two favorite things for starting out are the Basic 4-pk kit (available in 5 ml and 15 ml size) and the Oil of the Month Club. The basic 4-pk kit contains 4 oils (Lemon, Lavender, Melaleuca, and Peppermint) that are versatile and most often reached for.  They are great for starting out and learning about the many uses of oils.  Once you have a basic 4-pk, I would strongly urge you to sign up for the Oil of the Month Club.  You get a full 15 ml. bottle each month for only $15.99 -- which includes shipping!  A great way to build up your inventory with a variety of oils, so you are prepared for any situation.

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Do you 'Butt Dial" God?

Dear Reader,

My father-in-law recently died of cancer. A few days before his death, he requested that his children gather for a family prayer.  One of the sisters in the room, called the out of town sister so she could be a part of it. But the timing was off a bit. So in the middle of the prayer, we hear "Hello....hello...did you butt dial me?" After the prayer was over, a brother-in-law made a comment that he hopes God doesn't say that to him. But then I got thinking....when I "butt dial" someone, my phone just automatically rings the last person I was talking to, or someone who I have in  my easy access numbers.  So maybe it would be a good thing to have prayer be such an automatic response to everything in our lives that it is almost as if we did 'butt dial' God.
Sometimes, when I listen to the prayers of other people, I wish I could pray as eloquently as they do. And that used to prevent me from being willing to pray in public. Speaking is not my gift.  If I really want to get all of my thoughts across to someone, I know that I need to write it down because they can't read my mind.  But in Romans 8: 25-27 it says "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."  So I know that no matter how much I stutter and have to search for just the right words, God understands what my heart is trying to say. And of course, the more often I talk to him, the easier it becomes. Along with the more formal prayers, at set times ( devotional time, bedtime, meals)  I find myself talking to God as I am driving down the road, or just going about my day.  Whether it is something I am grateful for, or something I am hurt or angry about, it helps when I take it to God first.  In the margins of my Bible, by 1 Thessalonians5:17 I have written 'God should be the first one you talk to about every detail of your life, he should be your best friend.'
I know that as we have been going through the grieving process, it has been a great source of comfort for me to have such constant and easy access to God.
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Why "Purple and Fine Linen"?

Dear Reader,

A lot of thought goes into choosing a blog name.  You want something that reflects what you want to write about while also reflecting a little of your personality.  You want something that is easy to remember (and find again!). And you want something that is a little bit unique.
I love to read blogs. I have always enjoyed writing, and felt this was something I could do. I just want to write about some of my daily struggles and inspirations and hope that they are an encouragement to someone else besides me. I had felt God gently nudging me to write about some of the lessons I am learning along the way of life for a while. He kept inspiring me with great post ideas reflecting the life lessons I keep receiving. I am not some sort of guru who has all the answers, but I am learning more and more where to turn for the answers. And with a 25 year marriage, and 4 children, I have a lot of life lessons to pull from.

Proverbs 31 Woman

Dear Reader,

I remember reading Proverbs 31 as a young mother and feeling overwhelmed and a bit bad about myself.  The woman described in these verses is a woman with a very strong character, great wisdom, many skills and great compassion.  She is industrious and resourceful. Quite simply, she is amazing.

In case you haven’t read it recently, here is the English Standard Version:

10 An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[e] with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[f]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;

    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

See what I mean? Biblical Wonder Woman!  I can’t live up to that!  I think the only part I get right is the purple clothing from verse 22.  ;-) .But a few years ago, I noticed something I had never noticed before.  Verse 30. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”  When I read that, it was almost like God whispering to my heart…don’t worry about all that other stuff child.  If you will focus on your relationship with me, I will help you accomplish all that you need to accomplish. I have given you many gifts and talents, and I will help you use them in a way that will glorify me, drawing others to me through you. 

So, I take life one day at a time.  I spend my time trying to focus on knowing God and applying what I learn to my life. And somehow he takes the jumbled mess I offer and turns it into something beautiful that he can use.  Simply Amazing!

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