Wednesday, May 29, 2013

♥ Summer is Here! ♥

I thought I'd better pop in here and let you know that I haven't abandoned my blog!  I'm here!

My nephew and his wife (Trey & Shauna) are here for a week, so we've been busy.

But to catch you up on a few things.......

Our mini vacation turned into a stay-cation, which turned into work around here....imagine that!

What was supposed to be a spray-the-deck-and-be-done-in-a-day didn't work out that way.  But does it ever work out like planned?  Nope.....we're having to roll it all on....the entire BIG deck!  And not just one coat....but two!  So needless to say, we're not even close to being done.   Why do we start one project before we are finished with another?  :)

But the kids are enjoying the pool in spite of the deck painting. 

Alot of swimming has been going on around here.  We got the pool opened and ready last Friday and the kids swam in 66 degree weather.  Not this girl.

We've had friends over.....

School is over for awhile....and we celebrated because Algebra 1 is finished (and we're trying not to think about Geometry and Algebra 2).

Oh and Joy and I got new genuine cowgirl boots......we've wanted some for so long!

And Mr. Luke has been practicing his casting skills getting ready for fishing......which he has been talking about doing for some time now!  :)

The next few days will be busy as we have a trip to the zoo planned, a homeschool book sale, and a wedding, but I'll be back as soon as I can!

Thanks for stopping by!  :)

♥ Tammy ♥

Friday, May 24, 2013

Faithful Friday - "Free to Love "

It's been a really busy week.....our last week of "official" school, although we never really cease school, since it is an atmosphere of learning in our home around the clock.  But....... we ARE finished with Algebra 1!  Yay!  This is truly a day to celebrate!  :)

For Faithful Friday, I want to share another devotion from His Princess (Love Letters from the King) by Sheri Rose Shepherd.  These devotions never cease to bless me!  I hope this one does the same for you!

My Princess.........................You are Free to Love

I have set you free to love others, so don't let people who have caused you pain paralyze you from experiencing the joys of love.  I know there is always a risk when you give a piece of your heart away, but I've created you to enjoy the gift of special friendships.  Choose wisely the ones that you invest your time and energy in, and also give those you love the freedom to fail.  Remember that no one will love you as perfectly as I do.  If you let Me take the disappointments that come with relationships, you will be free to give and receive love unconditionally.  Remember, My princess, most people need love the most when they deserve it the least. 

Your King who is Love

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8

If you're naturally a people pleaser (as I am), then you know that it can have its share of trials and disappointments.  I'm so glad I serve THE God of Love!  :)


Faithful Fridays are a day to share Jesus and encourage others.  If you'd like to participate, or just visit other linked posts, click on Joy's button above.  :)  If she hasn't gotten her post up yet, just check back.....we are finishing up school today, so she's running a little behind.  Thanks!  :)

Thanks for stopping by today!  Have a great Memorial Day weekend.  Since this coming Monday is a holiday, I will not be hosting the Pinned it Made it Monday because I will be on a mini vacation.  :)However, I will be back the following Monday.  I've decided that if ONE person enjoys Pinned it Made it Monday, even if there are no participating linkers, it's really ok.  I received a very encouraging email (thank you Carol) and I will be continuing Pinned it Made it Mondays!  God bless you, Carol!  I will be emailing you back!  :)

God bless you all real good!

♥ Tammy ♥

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

♥ This and That ♥

As I mentioned yesterday, my 2 and 3 year old nieces (Ellie and Sydney) were here with us from Thursday until Sunday evening.  It was bustling around here to say the least.  Busy, but fun.  :)

We played inside.

We played outside.

We went to the park, and then to Baskin Robbins for ice cream.

We went to church.

And then it was time to go home.  The house is definitely quieter, but I do miss those little bundles of energy.  :)

Next week my (grown) nephew and his wife (Trey and Shauna) are coming to spend the week with us.  We're all looking forward to it.  We have our week mapped out already!
On another note, since I got my Galaxy 4 S (smartphone), I'm really enjoying it.......maybe a little too much!  I'm really loving Instagram.  To me, it's a little like "mini blogging" - pics with a few words.  So what about you?  Are you on Instagram?  I'd love to follow my blogging friends on there but I can't seem to find many!  Let me know if you are on there and how to find you, and I'd love to be a follower! (My user name is countrygirlathome).
Something else that's on my mind........Pinned it, Made it! Monday.  It seems like interest in it might be diminishing.  So I need your this something you enjoy?  Would you enjoy a more general linky party that would be easier to participate in, say, an "At Home" one that you could link up anything pertaining to home/home life?  Or even no linky party at all....and just go back to general posts by me?  I value your thoughts, input, and suggestions!   And what about the Sunporch Chats?
What kind of posts do you most enjoy here?
Oh, and Joy and I are counting down the days to being done with Algebra in our homschool.......this Friday!  That will be a day to celebrate! 
I know today's post was a rambling bit of this and that but it's what was rolling around in my head today.  Thank you for stopping by.  Have a beautiful day (and evening).  :)
♥ Tammy ♥

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

♥ The Winner is....♥

Thank you so much to all who entered my blogging anniversary giveaway and most of all for the sweet comments!

I made sure everyone was given credit for the correct number of entries and.put them in a big Americana basket.

Luke's job was to mix them up really well.  He loved that job.  :)

And then Joy drew out a winner..........

And yes, you get to see here how my kitchen looks most of the time....papers (and books) end up on the bar and refrigerator quite often.  :)

Sandi....A Primitive Skate!   And I just realized that you have been on a winning streak!  Well, I think after the trials you've also had, you are well deserving!  Congratulations, Sandi!  I'll need your address, so I can get your table bench (riser) out to you!  :)

My heart just breaks and goes out to all the families of Moore, Oklahoma that lost family members in the tornado and even those that endured the tornado devasation.  I know we can count on each other to pray for these families!

Have a great day!

♥ Tammy ♥

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pinned it, Made it! Monday ~ Week 41 ~

Hello friends!  I'm a little late getting to my Pinned it Made it Monday post.  We've had my 2 and 3 year old nieces with us since last Thursday and just took them back home last night, so it's been busy around here.  :)

Today I'm sharing something that I've actually done before but this one looks different.  It's a very easy project.  If you haven't tried this yet, you should really pick out a favorite picture and give it a try!   All you need is your photo, a board cut to size, modge podge, and some paint.

The original pin:

Mommy Models Blog

I made this one as part of my mama's Mother's Day gift.  This is a photo taken 2 months after we brought Luke home from China (September 2010).  The photo was taken at the very swimming hole at East Lake where my mother played and swam as a child.  And that's Luke playing and picking up shells.  Little did she know that her grandson from China would play in that very same spot one day.  She loved it!

I gave a tutorial on a previous Pinned it Made it Monday here.  For my mom's, I used her favorite shade of blue for the edges of the photo.

So now, won't you join me today?  Link up something you've made/tried from Pinterest.  We wanna see!  :)

Don't forget about my giveaway.......if you missed it, you can still enter here.  I'll be drawing a winner tomorrow!

Have a great week!
♥ Tammy ♥

Saturday, May 18, 2013

♥ Kildeer Babies ♥

Remember our mama kildeer sitting on her eggs in our driveway?   Bless her heart, she stuck with it through a BUNCH of rainy cold days.

Well, we managed to protect them from folks pulling in and out of our driveway, and we were watching them closely counting down the incubation days, so we wouldn't miss them.  I knew they wouldn't stay around long.  On exactly day 28, two babies made their debut into this world.  They chose the perfect day......a Wednesday..... because all my piano students were able to enjoy this lesson in nature with us!

Here they are not long after they were born.....being so still while being photographed by this intrusive human.

And within just hours later, they were strutting around the yard.

With their cute little legs carrying them as fast as they go, squawking the entire time and with enough instinct to get away from that lady with the camera, they hurried away in the opposite direction of me.  And then mama squawked a series of squawks to guide them back to her.

One was a little shy......choosing to try to hide from me.....

And the other one chose to high step it away from quick as those little legs would go.  :)

They only stayed over night, and then they were off on their own new adventures.  :) 

What a nature lesson God provided for us! 

♥ Tammy ♥


Thursday, May 16, 2013

♥ Uh-Oh! ♥

............This girl has a smart phone now.  :)

And bless her heart, Joy is being so very patient with teaching me how to navigate it.  :)

Jason actually talked me into it.  I have been resisting for awhile insisting that I wouldn't use it that much when I have a laptop right here.  He said oh I bet you will!  (He has an iPhone provided by his work so he's a pro already).  

Well I hate to admit it, but guess what I've been engrossed in the past couple of days?  :) 

Samsung Galaxy S4

Guess my hubby was right.  :) 

**If you're on Instagram, you can find me on there as countrygirlathome.**

My 5 year blogging anniversary is going on until next Tuesday, May 21st.  To enter click here.   
Thanks for stopping by!  :)
♥ Tammy ♥ 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

♥ Giveaway Time ♥

Thank you all so much for the sweet comments yesterday on my 5 year blogging anniversary post.  I'm so blessed to have met so many wonderful friends through blogging!

As I promised yesterday, I'm hosting a giveaway in celebration of my 5 year blogging anniversary. 

Are you ready for it?

For my giveaway, Jason made a table bench that's almost identical to the one he made for me that adorns the center of our breakfast table (which I love).  It is painted black and distressed with New England Red.

If you would like to enter my giveaway, there are several ways you can do so......And you can tell me about all the way you are entering on one comment.  I'll be picking the winner this time the old-fashioned way - drawing out a winner by hand.  :)

You will notice there are several ways to follow me on the entries below.  Sadly, Google Followers is supposed to be retiring (as in going away permanently) on July 1st.  In light of this information, I hope you'll follow me on Bloglovin and Linky Followers.  I'm not removing my Google Followers until it's gone, so I still welcome followers there (and thank you to all that already do).   Since I'm not sure which will work out best, I'm leaving both the Bloglovin AND Linky Followers options open.....thank you for following!  :)

Ways to Enter 
For ONE entry, leave a comment telling me you'd like to enter.
For THREE more entries, follow me on Bloglovin.   (button on my sidebar)
For TWO more entries, follow me on Linky Followers.  (button on my sidebar)
For ONE more entry, follow me on Goodle Followers. (This will retire on July 1st....but that's ok).
For ONE more entry, post my giveaway on the sidebar of your blog.
For TWO more entries, do a blog post announcing my giveaway.
A winner will be drawn and announced next Tuesday, May 21st! 
Oh, and if you don't have a blog, be sure and leave an email address so I can contact you (otherwise I won't have a way to contact you and I will have to draw another name).
Thank you!
♥ Tammy ♥

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

♥ 5 Year Blogging Anniversary ♥

In some ways, it feels like the time has just flown since I started blogging, yet at the same time, I feel like I've known many of you forever!  My family hears me talk about blogging friends and they know many of you by name (or blogging name at least).  I've met so many friends through blogging, some that are actually bloggers and others that don't blog but we've come to know each other through emailing back and forth.  I'm thankful for each one of you....and for your friendship! 

Today is my 5 year blogging anniversary!  My first post was written on May 14, 2008.  I look back and see that Colt (my oldest) had just graduated high school the year before (2007), so he was 18, and Joy had just turned 9 years old.  Little Luke wasn't even in the picture then.  We began the journey to bring him home from China in the fall of 2009. Wow!  It's been quite an adventure and I love blogging.  It is something that I look forward to every day!  :)

 If you would like to read my very first blog post, you can click here.

I asked Jason awhile back if he would make something for me to give away for my 5 year blogging anniversary and he has granted my wishes.  However, I can't show it to you today, because I have to put a finishing touch on it.  So please come back tomorrow for the giveaway details.  :)

And again, thank YOU for making Country Girl at Home a part of your day.  I appreciate all the visits, followers, friends, and comments!   Ya'll are wonderful!    :)

♥ Tammy ♥ 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pinned it, Made it! Monday ~ Week 40 ~

Hi there!  I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day!  I had a great one and it's just a beautiful day for me to count my blessings!  :)

It's time again for Pinned it, Made it! Monday. 

This week I'm sharing a recipe that I made about a week ago that just might be my favorite dinner's for sure in my top five!  This recipe just really hit it off with my taste buds!  Now I did make adjustments, but I'll tell you about that too.  I liked this so much that I'm making it again this week!  And even Luke just asked me when we were going to have it again! it's called Chili Cornbread Bake.  Here's the original pin:

Source:  Valerie's Kitchen

If you want to make the original recipe, exactly the way it was written, click here.   This recipe calls for using turkey and has its own complete recipe for the chili part.  However, I read on the comments section on that recipe page somewhere that someone else used their own chili recipe and then just followed the cornbread bake/cheese part of the above recipe.  Since I have found THE recipe for chili that our family absolutely loves, I wanted to use it for the chili part of this recipe.  I posted about that recipe here (if you just want to try the chili) on another Pinned it Made it's even called Award Winning Chili.

So this is exactly how I made this recipe....first of all make the Award Winning Chili:


2 pounds ground beef
1/2 onion (chopped)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce (I used 2 (15 oz) cans of tomato sauce
1 (8 oz) jar salsa  (I actually use just a tad more than this....probably about 12 oz).
4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix (I used one package of McCormick chili seasoning).
1 (15 oz) can light red kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans


In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef and the onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender.  Drain grease, if desired.

Add the ground pepper, garlic salt, tomato sauce, salsa, chili seasoning mix, and kidney beans.  Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.

Now it's time for the Cornbread Bake part.......


2 (8.5 oz) boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
Milk and Eggs (see the Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix box for amounts to mix)
2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar Cheese blend

Optional:  Sour Cream, Tortilla Chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a deep 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray.  Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions and pour batter into prepared baking dish.  Remove chili mixture from heat and spoon over the batter.  Bake, uncovered for 30-35 minutes.  Edges of cornbread should be nicely browned and center should appear to be set.  Carefully remove dish from oven and sprinkle with cheese.  Return to oven and bake 5-10 minutes more, until cheese is melted.

**Serve with tortilla chips and top with sour cream if desired.**

And here's mine:


If you make the recipe with the award winning chili recipe above, you won't need to use all of the chili on top of the cornbread mix part.  This makes a bigger chili recipe than the one on the original recipe.  I used only about half of my chili.  There needs to be room to allow for it to rise.  So that leaves the other half of the delicious chili for another night!  This particular recipe actually fed us for three nights.....two nights on the chili cornbread bake and one night on the chili.  That's another reason I loved it!  :)

Also I didn't have tortilla chips to dip into it nor did I have sour cream on hand.  We just ate it as is.  However, when I make it this week, I will be pulling out the chips and sour cream to try it out with those this time as well.

This recipe gets about a 9 on a scale of 1-10 at our house!  Yummy!!!!


Now it's your turn!  You know the guidelines by now, so I'm not even putting them on here today.  Just link up below and try to visit some of the other participants as well!  We all love visits and comments!  I hope we have more participants than last time.....we had only one last week!  :(

Thank you for stopping by and a special thank you for joining the Pinned it Made it Monday linky party.  :)

 Have a great week! 
♥ Tammy ♥ 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Faithful Friday - "The Highest Calling"

It may not feel like such an honorable "job" when we're caught up in the busy(ness) and sometimes craziness of home from day to day, but I truly believe that being a mother is one of THE highest callings.  God loans us our children and raising them to trust and serve Him is a huge responsibility and blessing! 

I count it a blessing that even though I'm not out in the world making a difference, I am making a big difference when I pour myself into our home and raising our children.  My children, husband, and home are my ministry.  I take this seriously.  I'm far from perfect at it, but I love the standard God gives us mothers to follow, as far as striving to be a virtuous woman and mother.

Who can find a virtuous woman? She is far more precious than jewels...
Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle.
Her sons rise up and call her blessed.
He husband also praises her:
Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.

  ~Proverbs 31:10, 25-30 ~

Who knows, we just might be raising the next Billy Graham, Amy Carmichael, Mother Teresa........  I think about THEIR mothers and how THEIR mothers helped shape who they were. 

I love these words of encouragement.  We can really use these words of encouragement as mothers!

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
Don't' worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving; let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 4:4-7 

And I love this one because it even tells us what to do with our thoughts.....  :)

Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of a good report - if there is any virtue and if there is any praise- think on these things.
~Philippians 4:8 ~ 
 Adding children to our family didn't come easily (or quickly).....they were all quite a journey.  I thank God for the gift of motherhood!  I stood on and believed this scripture for each one of my children.  As a matter of fact, it was posted on my mirror.  (I liked the idea that it was plural too). 

He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.
~ Pslam 113:9  ~ 
Our 3 blessings
And I thank God for MY mother who helped shape me into who I am.  She invested her life in her home and children and I am so thankful.  She gave me my favorite scripture and instilled it in me.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
~ Proverbs 3:5-6 ~
My mother
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!  Remember YOU do make a difference!  You are special!  God bless you all!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
For more Faithful Friday posts or to link your own Faithful Friday post, visit Joy (Doodlebug )
Have a great weekend!

♥ Tammy ♥

Thursday, May 9, 2013

♥ Swing Dancing ♥

Joy just loves to dance!  She's danced since she was 3 years old - ballet, tap, and jazz.  This year she's been doing Chinese dance.  Lately, she has practically begged to learn to swing dance.  Well recently, she got the opportunity to learn a little swing dancing.

After a little inquiring about lessons, we were put in touch with another homeschooling group that was having an event with swing dancing instructors.  And then right after that, a long time friend of our family invited us to his graduation party where the theme was swing dancing taught by professional instructors.  Joy was excited to say the least!

Here are a few highlights from the party.......

The whole gang..... 

This is Trent (the graduating senior) and the adorable instructors!

Joy learned to dance with Trent at the first event, so they did really well together.

They pretty much rotated and danced with everyone, so everyone had a partner at some point or another.  You know how it is.....there are always more girls than boys! 

Later on, she got the chance to dance with the instructor.  He was SO good, so she was just going with the flow, but she had a blast! 

Even Luke was pulled into the action......

But he was pretty stuck to his sister when she wasn't dancing.

And of course, they couldn't end the party without a little line dancing........

This guy (Matthew) was definitely the life of the party.....he was quite the you can tell!

I think Joy is hooked on swing dancing now.  We are listening to swing music these days and she's really hoping to be able to take some more lessons in June.  But then I think she's kinda struck with the pretty dresses the girls get to wear too!  :)

♥ Tammy ♥