Wednesday, December 31, 2008

busy, busy...

Tagged! has been a really busy week since Christmas. Our Christmas was wonderful, lots of happy kiddos, lots of family, lots of food, lots of love. I hope yours was wonderful, too! Two days later, I photographed an outdoor wedding......really beautiful (the photo above is a sneak peek) and I'll have more photos of that to share soon. Then, a day later.....the worst, worst, worst stomach bug ripped through this family of 6 without mercy! Uggh....the last few days have been rough for us all and after another very long night last night, I think the worst of it is behind us. We're all feeling better this morning and hopefully we'll start the new year off on the right foot.

I was tagged for another meme recently on Flickr by a couple of my contacts and finally participated this morning....if you want to read 16 random things about me, come on over :)

Hope your New Year's Eve is a great one!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

a new project

on the needles....

I'm trying to figure out this knitting thing. I have previously used all cotton yarn and things went pretty easily. However, I used an acrylic yarn for the red scarf that I spent way too much time trying to make. The acrylic just did not knit very easily. It was always snagging and seemed to "pull" too tightly as I was stitching along and every stitch took a concentrated effort. Although I finished it and the color was great, I wasn't very thrilled with it.

So, after getting over my slight bit of knitting discouragement, I decided the best thing to do would be to start another project, maybe a little easier, and see how it goes from there. I had already knit a dish cloth a few weeks ago and it has quickly become my favorite. So, I decided that I'd try to make another from this gorgeous aqua colored cotton yarn. I cast on the stitches and found myself shocked at how incredibly easy it was to knit. Then I thought about the yarn difference and realized that this must have been the problem with my last project. Maybe??

Maybe the acrylic yarn would be better used with crochet instead of knitting since you'd be dealing with a hook instead of needle - I'm not sure. I just wish there were actually choices in the stores where yarn is concerned. In all the major stores in my area, the only option is acrylic. I have heard of a small yarn store in town that I still need to check out and I'm hoping she'd have some natural stuff....otherwise, it's online I go :) Either way, I do know that I'll be paying much closer attention to the yarn I choose for my projects from now on.

I want to start a hat project soon, so do any of you awesome knitting ladies know of a really easy beginner hat to start with? I saw a beginner one that simply said "take measurements, knit rectangle, stitch seam, and gather top. " I can figure it all out except the "gather top" one, lol. Where do you gather it and where does the gathered part go? Hmmmm....I've got lots to figure out here!

On a different note, did you notice I had a little too much fun with my photo for this post? When I noticed the aqua yarn against my red mug of afternoon coffee yesterday, I reached quickly for the camera and had a long photo session with this little piece of a dish cloth, lol! I even took down my little vintage Santa header in exchange for my aqua and red photos....they're my favorite colors and I couldn't resist! :)

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Works in Progress....

red scarf...

I've been knitting this scarf for Ethan for what seems like forever, lol. I knitted my first scarf almost effortlessly, however this second one has taken much more effort! I had it half finished about a week ago, then realized that I somehow added 3 extra stitches at some point, making it resemble a triangle more than a rectangle. Then, since I wasn't too happy about my first few rows of stitches to begin with, I just unraveled the whole thing to begin again. So, here it is again, hopefully to be finished in the next couple of days as my girls and me join the guys at the hunting camp.

The hunting camp is not my favorite place to go. It's definitely a man-place and generally kind of boring while they are all out hunting and we girls must remain vewwwy, vewwwy qwwwiet, hee hee! But, Emma is absolutely determined that she is going with daddy this, I found myself backed into a corner. However, maybe the slow and quiet is just what we all need - whether we think so or not. I typically love slow and quiet...just in my own home :) I'm bringing along a stack of dvd's and a few balls of yarn to try and finish the scarf and possibly start a new project....we'll see ;) Of course I'll have my camera to play with.....who knows, I may never get around to the scarf if there is anything photo-worthy around the place!

quilt in progress....

The quilt I've been neglecting will hopefully be worked on these next couple of days, as well. Everything is prepared....the quilt top, the backing, the batting, and even the binding. I just need to put it all together. I'm hoping that by next Monday this quilt will be wrapped snugly under my tree....fingers crossed ;-)

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I have been tagged by Amy over at Daily Pleasures for this meme to re-post a photo from my fourth post four months ago. I found the photo and the short, but meaningful verse that I chose to put with the photo. It speaks pretty loudly to me right now, so I thought I'd re-post the entire thing. It may be what we all need to hear right now :)

Happy Tuesday!



I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

~Philippians 4:13


So, if anyone else is interested....please join in and let me know if you do. I'd love to see yours!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

jutting diversion....

jutting diversion...

"Though the circular round-and-round of routine be the bulk of life's affairs, make an occasional jutting diversion - of fun, love, or something that will outlast you - so the shape and motion of your life shall resemble the round lifegiving sun with bright rays shining forth from all directions." ~Destin Figuier

Are you shining with bright rays from all directions?? Do something fun something you love....take time to live in the moment.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Because you were curious....

Christmas stockings

These are the Christmas stockings peeking into yesterday's post. I had several requests to see them from my Flickr contacts and my blog readers, so here they are! These are stockings that my mom made for me from an old quilt top that my grandmother never finished. There was just enough to make these for us and I couldn't have been happier with them. I embroidered our names on them and they are, by far, my most favorite decorations every year.

one for each of us......

This year, the kids decided that every winter and Christmas figurine had to be displayed on the mantle...together, lol! I kinda like it now that they're up on the mantle and not scattered around the entire house cluttering up every table top and empty space.

This is the one time of year that I am so very happy with my wood walls and dark, cozy colors. During the spring and summer I long for yellow walls and big windows covered with soft, flowing white curtains filtering the sunlight, but in the fall and winter, I love how these rich pine walls and dark fireplace make the house so warm and cozy. I especially love it when we pile on the Christmas decorations ;)

What are some of your favorite Christmas decorations?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


taking it slow

"Slow" is the new theme at Self Portrait Challenge and I thought this was a fitting time of year to focus on slow. I am a person who loves a slow pace. I don't like excessive busyness, having my plate too full, losing my focus, not taking time to breathe....

I love this time of year because I love the reason we celebrate, not the hustle and bustle, shopping, wasting precious time in stores searching for gifts that honestly, most of us don't need. I love the little moments of decorating, baking cookies, smelling the Christmas tree scent cover the house, enjoying the fireplace warmth every night while the kids play in the family room, listening to Christmas music almost exclusively, watching a few good Christmas movies that are shown only at this time of year, and taking time to absorb all the good stuff.

Jotham's Journey

This year, we've added a great Advent storybook to our Christmas celebration. We'll be reading Jotham's Journey over the next few weeks and I think we'll really enjoy it. The first two nights were very interesting and the kids are waiting for the next part :)

what it's about

After our story, we stayed quietly around the fire while my boys practiced their guitar playing. They are doing really well with their playing, learning more all the time, and the best part is that they love it. They love practicing and figuring out the chords and they are sounding so good lately. :-)

at home....

I love these slow times. I love the memories made and the togetherness of family that being slow brings. I hope you too, can find moments of slow in your everyday lives this month.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to You!

This is the unmistakable image of Norman Rockwell's 1943 "Freedom from Want." I have always loved this image.....the closeness of a family gathered around a table of nourishing food in a moment of thanksgiving. All of them taking time to be together, to lay aside any differences, to be thankful for the moment, for the day, for the time, for the blessings.

Thanksgiving is such a beautiful holiday. I hope you and your family and friends take time to enjoy each other, a wonderful meal, and most importantly time to reflect on your blessings today.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The leaves are singing....

"How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow."

~ Elsie N. Brady, Leaves

Wishing you a wonderful day of preparations.......take time to notice the small things today ~

  • the little fingers helping to make the cake
  • the older "little hands" helping chop the veggies
  • the excitement in the air
  • the family members who gather together in thankfulness
  • the little ones helping clean the house
  • the smell of the fireplace on this cool morning
  • the sunshine coming in through the kitchen windows and casting it's beautiful fall light everywhere
  • the smell of pumpkin pie and stuffing
  • the little ones begging to decorate the Christmas tree that Daddy brought in last night (in my case, anyway ;)
  • the sound of Christmas music coming from the radio to make our preparations even more joyous
  • the reason we prepare and make things so special on this day
  • the little things that we are so thankful for each and every day of the year
  • how blessed we are

Tuesday, November 25, 2008



I'm enjoying the season and finding myself more and more thankful for all the little things around me. Thankful for the beautiful, golden afternoon sunshine, the pieces of nature tucked in every corner for me to delight in, the place in which I live, the wonderful children that call me Mama, the awesome husband that calls me wife, the frame of mind to let it all take the time to soak up the blessings that abound in my life. I am thankful.

Over the next few days, I'd like to spend my time reflecting on the things for which I'm thankful, really living in this this season, and sharing a bit of it here.

"I am rich today with autumn's gold,
All that my covetous hands can hold;
Frost-painted leaves and goldenrod,
A goldfinch on a milkweed pod,
Huge golden pumpkins in the field
With heaps of corn from a bounteous yield,
Golden apples heavy on the trees
Rivaling those of Hesperides,
Golden rays of balmy sunshine spread
Over all like butter on warm bread;
And the harvest moon will this night unfold
The streams running full of molten gold.
Oh, who could find a dearth of bliss
With autumn glory such as this!"

~Gladys Harp

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Little Inspiration....

from Flickr.

some inspiration from my favorites

Just browsing through my Flickr favorites and finding a wealth of inspiration on this early Sunday morning. I thought I'd share a bit of it here :)

Have a great Sunday!

photo credits: 1. iron, 2. believe in miracles...., 3. ready ~ set~ let go, 4. generations of faith, 5. If you get a choice...., 6. Untitled, 7. What if?..., 8. Lois, 9. Stay With Me Dad

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Upside Down

upside down.....

I was playing around with another photo for this month's SPC theme, Upside Down, and came across this edit on Picnik. When I saw it I thought of how much it reminded me of how I've been feeling lately! All jumbled up, wonky, out of sorts, overwhelmed.....

I'm pretty sure that my main problem is that I've let sugar and a few carbs slip back into my diet - and I'm a bit in denial about it. I haven't been gaining weight......but gaining a bad mental state instead. Sugar does it to me every time. I had been sooooo good at avoiding it for over 6 months, losing weight, feeling incredibly good, had a better mental state than I'd had in years, had more energy, felt so strong and in control, and then - it happened. A little taste here, a little bite there, thinking all the while that I was "in control." No....I am never in control when I let sugar enter the equation.

Why did I let it get started again? Why did I lose my healthy motivation? Why did I take the first bite when everything was going so good? How did I let myself get so weak? Why is it so hard to just say no??? Those are the questions to ponder. However, when I look down into the soul of Me, I find that I did not lose my healthy motivation. It has just been on the side lines, feeling all dizzy and moody and blah from my all too frequent sugar overdoses, LOL! I know the holiday feasts aren't going to make things any easier, but as I think back to spring when I was right in the midst of my new healthy lifestyle, Easter dinner was a breeze and with my goal in sight, I gladly passed on the sweets and bread. That is the frame of mind I'm longing for right now. I know I have that same motivation still in me, I know I can do it, I have done it already!

Anyhoo...I'm not even sure what the point of this post is. I suppose it's to go through the rhythm of sorting my thoughts and feelings and typing them all into this blog, this little exposed piece of me, letter by letter, word by word, hoping that I'll have a huge light-bulb-moment again with everything making sense to me.

I know all the "pieces" are there, they are just temporarily jumbled up and tossed on their heads....just like the photo.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Past Few Weeks......

.....have felt so busy for me! It seems to just be one of those phases where you are constantly (or, at least your brain is) on the go, but nothing seems to really get done. You feel lazy in one way, but completely exhausted and unmotivated in another you know what I mean? It's kind of like walking around half asleep, lol! Yesterday was a little more productive, so I'm hoping this "phase" is phasing out! Let's see, what have I done over the past few weeks.....

  • school work with the kids
  • wash dirty laundry
  • hang it all out to dry
  • fold all the laundry
  • put it all away
  • eaten way too much bread and halloween candy (gasp!)
  • found that I can fit into some jeans that I've been holding onto for about 5 years....that made me happy!
  • sewed a little
  • knitted a little
  • went to garage sale with my dad and found these goodies!

  • slept more than usual
  • did grocery shopping
  • fit in a bit of Christmas shopping
  • voted
  • cooked three meals a day, as usual
  • went to church
  • avoided calling my dentist for a needed appointment....I really hate going to the dentist :(
  • took some Christmas photos for a sweet little family
  • took my next upside down self portrait for the SPC
  • washed dishes (the never ending job)
  • cut grass (for the last time until spring...I hope)
  • raked pine straw to mulch my flowerbeds
  • making plans for Christmas gifts (the ones I need to make)
  • ran into an old friend from high school and chatted with her and her husband for at least 30 minutes in Target :)
  • browsing the internet for the all the needful things my kids want and discussing with them whether they really want these things or do they just want the image portrayed in those (now hidden) Christmas catalogs.....
  • talking a lot about the Book of Revelation with my boys.....they are finding it increasingly fascinating and are constantly looking at its verses.
  • listening to Emma (5 1/2) talk, talk, talk, talk, talk........she has so much to say these days :)
  • watching Claire do a lot of growing up.....she'll be 4 in February (I can't believe it!)
  • had a blogging clog........I honestly can't think of much to say or have much to show, hence the non-directional post today :-)
  • just lots of living, noticing, treasuring, absorbing the little moments

Do you ever have phases like this?

Happy Thursday!

Monday, November 10, 2008

'Tis the Season for a Tutorial!

I've been feeling the Christmas spirit ease in over the last week or so and I've been wanting to do nothing more than start all my Christmas crafts and gifts and ideas. I love my Christmases to be old fashioned in almost every way. I like homemade ornaments from homespun fabrics, soft sculpture Santa dolls and snowmen, pine cone ornaments, popcorn on a string, and of course, construction paper garland. This weekend I decided to turn our usual garland from construction paper rings into something permanent out of left over pieces of red and green and blue fabrics. Then I thought that I may as well capture it in photos and post a tutorial for it :)

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So, if you'd like to make one of these for your tree, here's what you'll need and how to do it:

  • 9"x3" strips of your choice of fabrics - as a reference, I ended up with 87 strips and when finished, it was 18.5 feet long.
  • 9"x1" strips of light to medium weight fusible interfacing
  • matching or contrasting thread
  • scissors and/or pinking shears

First cut all your fabric strips and interfacing strips. After they're all cut, heat your iron and get ready to apply the interfacing strips to make your fabric rings more sturdy.

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Lay flat a fabric strip with the right side down. Position the interfacing strip fusible side down and 1/4 inch from the top edge of the fabric.

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Fold the bottom edge of the fabric upward to meet with the top edge of the fabric (folding it in half), sandwiching the interfacing. Next, iron over the folded fabric for a few seconds to fuse the interfacing.

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Open the fabric strip again and fold the 1/4" excess above the interfacing toward the inside as shown and iron down. Do the same to the other side of the fabric strip and iron as well. Do this over and over until you get them all done.

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After all the strips are fused and prepared for sewing, let the fun begin! Sew each strip along the opening.


After they are all sewn along the edge, it's time to put the rings together. Take your first strip and meet the ends together with the right sides facing (this takes a little twist) and place it under your presser foot and sew it together. Trim your threads and trim the excess fabric very close to the seam using pinking shears or regular shears.

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Take your next strip of fabric and position it correctly through the loop of the first, making sure that right sides are together (again, with a little twist) and sew and trim it in the same way. Continue this until every strip is used and you are satisfied with the length.

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You can end up with a long strip of garland that can be used every year!

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It really is a fairly quick Christmas craft, easily done in one afternoon. I love the way it turned out and I love the fact that I can put it up and use it again and again. This garland can be done in many different colors and patterns and mine fits in with my old fashioned Christmas style. However, I know it would be beautiful done in Christmas themed fabrics, a more defined pattern to the ring placement, etc. Just use your imagination and do what feels like Christmas to you. If you do use this tutorial, please let me know....I'd love to see your finished product! I know there can be so many beautiful variations to this garland!

Happy Christmas Crafting!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Take Time

Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair...  ~Susan Polis Shutz

Take time to think-
It is the source of all power.
Take time to read-
It is the fountain of wisdom.

Take time to play-
It is the source of perpetual youth.
Take time to be quiet-
It is the opportunity to seek God.

Take time to be aware-
It is the opportunity to help others.
Take time to love and be loved-
It is God’s greatest gift.

Take time to laugh-
It is the music of the soul.
Take time to be friendly-
It is the road to happiness.

Take time to dream-
It is what the future is made of.
Take time to pray-
It is the greatest power on earth.

Take time to give-
It is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to work-
It is the price of success.
There is a time for everything. . . .

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Author Unknown

Just a little motivation to take time today, this week, this month....become more mindful of life's blessings and their true value in life. So, take time, friends!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Upside Down!

upside down

That's the new theme for November at the Self Portrait Challenge group over at Flickr. I'm thinking it's going to be quite a challenge.....but fun, of course! You can see the other entries here...or better yet, come on and join in :)



On another, more important note.................Go Vote!!!

Which ever way you are swayed.....take the responsibility seriously and vote....because every vote counts!

~ Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good: 'Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm. ~

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, October 27, 2008

I did it!

What I'd like to be doing....

Remember a few weeks ago, during my week in the life project, when I posted the photo above about wishing I had time to do some knitting? Well, I made time and I also made my first completed project......


...a new scarf! I'm so glad I made myself find some time to sit down every evening and let my hands stay busy while my mind relaxed. I started teaching myself to knit last fall, knitting ( in a practicing sort of way) all the time, but always unraveling each piece until I could get it "right." My kids thought I had a serious problem with all the unraveling I was doing, but I was never satisfied - until now. The needles felt better in my hands, the stitches were cast on, and the project flowed like it was supposed to. Of course, this was a simple project, easily completed in a couple of evenings, but I'm still so glad that I finally finished something worth keeping, lol!

finished scarf

Oh, I think I could certainly get used to this and all the wonderful, soft, knitted projects that I could work on. The beautiful yarn, the colors, sitting next to a warm fire every night, the busyness of hands that brings peace of mind...yes, I could definitely get used to this.

knitted scarf

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Feeling Thankful's hanging around everywhere

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return."

~Mary Jean Iron

I'm just feeling incredibly thankful for my present life, the present blessings, the present love that's all around me ~ the precious present moment. May I not hold on too tight to yesterday or dream too deeply of tomorrow, but enjoy the moment I'm in right now.

Wishing You a Happy Thursday! :)

For an addictive little song I'm loving right now, listen to this.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

When I wasn't sewing.....

This is what I was doing........

pumpkin butter

I've been in the canning mood lately. I've canned quite a few jars of diced tomatoes and also made some yummy pumpkin butter. I love pumpkin....stuffed pumpkin (here is my recipe...just excuse last year's photos, lol...I'll try to make some better ones this year), pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin butter. One of my most favorite things about autumn is pumpkin! And what better way to make this wonderful season last the whole year through than by preserving the taste of fall in pumpkin butter :)

All you need is a pumpkin, some sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger and a few canning jars.....and you can have this delicious Pumpkin Butter! It is really very easy to put together.

Here's how you do it...... Wash and clean out your pumpkin as shown. Then cut into large wedges.

pumpkin wedge

Next, cut those wedges into chunks and add them to a large pot of boiling water. Boil them for about 20 - 30 minutes, until really soft. While your pumpkin is cooking, wash and prepare your canning jars and lids. For about 8 cups of puree, you'll need about 5 or6 pint jars.

pumpkin pieces

Then, get out your food processor and gather your sugar and spices. With my medium size pumpkin, I ended up with about 8 cups of pumpkin puree, so adjust your spices accordingly to the amount of puree you have and, of course, your taste :-)

spices and jars

Peel the skin from the boiled pumpkin, after it cools a bit, then load it in the food processor. Puree it until it is smooth, then add it into another large pot. To the 8 cups of puree, we add 4 cups of sugar, 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 1/2 Tablespoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground cloves and 1 teaspoon of ground ginger. Then, of course, you mix it all very well. Cook again over low heat (covered) for about 20 minutes to let the mixture thicken and take on the taste of the spices. After about 20 minutes, when the mixture has a thicker consistency, remove it from the heat and spoon it into jars. Fill them, wipe the rims and put on the lids and bands. Submerge them in a stock pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes or so. Carefully remove the jars from the hot water and place on a dishtowel to cool. As the jars cool, you'll hear the joyful "pop" of the lids sealing.....yay! You're done!

pumpkin butter

Now, just put the jars in your pantry...or, better yet, give these as holiday gifts! You know, the holiday season is right around the corner! And who wouldn't love and appreciate a basket of homemade goodies!?

pumpkin butter

You can use pumpkin butter in many ways, including toast, bagels, on pancakes and waffles, warmed up and spooned over vanilla ice cream and topped with a sprinkling of pecans, swirled around in your Thanksgiving cheesecake recipe.....the possibilities are endless!

Have a yummy weekend! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SPC :: Mirrors :: Week 2

out and about

Life is too short for traffic. ~Dan Bellack

I had to go into town today and got this shot through my visor mirror. I thought this quote was funny since I totally despise the city and know, life is too short for all the hustle and bustle. Besides, what are people buying at these malls on a continuous basis?? I may go to the mall once or twice a makes me wonder. But, sometimes, one must go into the jungle for some new jeans ;-)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall.........

Self Portrait Challenge

The new theme at Self Portrait Challenge for the month of October is Mirrors. Here's my simple interpretation for this week.

See more interpretations of Mirrors here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Recipe Box Swap

I'm joining Randi at I Have to Say for another recipe swap. This month's theme is Lunches....and this is an area that I find so hard to keep interesting. I am SO looking forward to seeing everyone's ideas :)

We do have one lunchtime favorite that we all agree on. It is easy to make, perfectly portable, yummy, healthful, and you can change it in so many different ways. We call them wraps - here they are.....

Ingredients (per wrap):

  • 1 flour tortilla
  • Mayo, mustard, ranch dressing, any sandwich spread.....whatever you like
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • roasted red peppers (these are sooo good on these wraps - they really make the flavor 100 times better)
  • pickles, jalapenos, olives.....anything else you want to add
  • cheese - or cream cheese spread

lunch wrap

Lay out your wrap and spread on your ranch dressing, add cheese, lettuce, tomato, red peppers, and whatever else you want to add. Arrange it to one side of the wrap, then fold in the ends, and wrap tightly toward the other side. Cut in half and enjoy!

lunch wrap

You can make these with warm chicken, turkey, taco fillings, peanut butter and jelly.....anything :) We've used these for birthday parties several times and everyone loves them. We take them on picnics and they're easy for little ones to handle because the ends are folded in. And, as I said before, the roasted red peppers really make the wraps. You can get them in the pickle section of your grocery store. It's fun to change the ingredients around and make them different each time, warm the tortilla after you make it, add in corn chips for crunch....I could go on and on. Anyway, you get the idea....have fun with it!

So, click over to Randi's lunchtime swap and check out the other great recipes :)