"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4

Friday, December 25, 2009


Sometimes quiet is really, really nice.  Sometimes it’s overrated. 

Our Christmas celebration with our kids and grandkids is over.  Our cabin in the woods is quiet.  Steve and I are in and out of sleep as we sit in our chairs.

Last night at our house was fun, crazy, loud, awesome, special and more…We were yelling over the craziness and still had trouble getting each other’s attention.  Wrapping paper was flying, kids were squealing…there were lots of smiles, giggles, hugs…It was wonderful! 

Maddy and Jack were explaining their sweet gifts they each bought me…Maddy at her school store and Jack on his school field trip to Mighty Dollar. 

Noah had to wait until the very end to open his *huge* gift…the largest under the tree…until every other gift was opened!  He was almost beside himself.

Luke enjoyed his 2nd Christmas and, though he doesn’t actually “get it”, he had fun unwrapping and playing with his toys!

Georgia enjoyed hers and Luke’s toys and…ate wrapping paper!

Being together like this brings memories of Christmases past to mind.  Our three little kiddos “chomping at the bit”, waiting for Mama and Daddy to get up so they could go see what Santa had left them.

I was also reminded of some Christmases spent with our parents…in N. Carolina with Steve’s mom and stepdad…Melanie took her first steps at their house the Christmas of 1978…and in Florida with my daddy and stepmom.  I remember Daddy saying how much fun it was to have children in his house for Christmas and that it just wasn’t the same without little kids squealing with delight on Christmas morning.

And, of course, there are those really special memories of my childhood…Until my 2 brothers and I were practically all teenagers, my aunt, uncle and 2 cousins from Texas spent Christmas Eve night with us in Arkansas and we all 5 would try to stay up to see Santa but then were a little afraid that if we did, he wouldn’t leave us anything.  I remember times when we swore we heard him on the roof!  After the parents took turns coming in (usually about 5 times) to tell us to be quiet or Santa was not coming, we’d finally drift off to sleep.

Our parents, aunt and uncle would stay up late talking and laughing…waiting for us to go to sleep so they could work their Santa magic.  And it *was* magical!  The Christmas I remember the most was the one where I got a little red record player!

After breakfast we would drive the 15 miles to my grandmother’s house where all the aunts, uncles and cousins would be…a house full!  I remember my grandmothers chicken and dressing and all the pies and cakes up high on the buffet.  I remember that my grandmother never sat down.  She waited on everyone the entire meal. 

It was never quiet at my grandmother’s house when we were all there.  And I think the adults had as much fun as we did…

So, yes…I’m enjoying the quiet right now.  And as soon as I finish this post, I’m going to take a little nap.  But honestly, I love the noise and craziness that happens when we are all together.  I do.  I love it…

I finally won something!

I’m always entering contests on the wonderful sewing/quilting/crafting blogs and websites I read.  And I finally won!!!

On the Piece N Quilt Homespun Holiday Show & Tell I entered this blog post of my stockings, etc.  And I won a $20 gift certificate from Piece N Quilt!  I’m so excited!  They’ve got some fun fabrics, patterns and stuff on their site!  Merry Christmas to me!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Day of Christmas Cookies

Today Melanie brought Maddy, Noah, Jack & Luke to our house to make Christmas cookies.  Luke didn’t actually help but he did sample the finished product!
I have very fond memories of making cookies with my own kids…the cutout kind.  The cookies, not the kids. :)  I remember how they would put sprinkles on them until you could hardly even see the cookie.  I liked the iced kind, but the kids really liked those sprinkles!
Making cookies with my grandchildren was very special.  They did a great job, too!  Maddy and Noah completely made the Snickerdoodles.  I gave them a little guidance and information but that’s it!Noah & Maddy Snickerdoodles 3
Jack and I worked together on the Christmas cutout cookie dough.  He measured all the flour himself, 1/2 cupfuls at a time and placed it in a big pile on the waxed paper.  He really loved cracking the egg!  (By the way, the lovely cobalt blue Kitchenaid Artisan mixer is my early Christmas present!)Dani & Jack Christmas Cookies 2
The kids worked hard, the cookies were delicious and beautiful…it was a good day.Christmas Cookies Close

Monday, December 21, 2009

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

My favorite time of the year to live in a log cabin is Christmas! It just seems these 200-year-old logs were meant to be decorated with greenery and Christmassy things.
Kitchen Greenery
Pine Cone Arrangement
For the past several weeks, I’ve been sewing and quilting. I can’t show all my projects right now because some are for Christmas presents! But my biggest sewing project has been to make 13 new stockings for our family…These were made using a tutorial I found at Park City Girl. I ordered fabrics from www.fabric.com and I just love them!
You might notice the space on the right side. The real reason for this is that I put 1 too many little nails up. But…that’s okay because….Georgia’s going to be a big sister next summer and so that space will be filled next Christmas!!! Yay! (And, yes…I did put nails in that 200-year-old piece of wood!)Living Room Mantel
Oh, and I made Ornament Wreaths for us and our kids’ families. I used another tutorial I found from Eddie Ross.
4 ornament wreaths Mine is the one on the far right. I changed the bow and now it looks like this: (should have used wider ribbon…oh well…)Our Ornament Wreath
To see lots of other Christmas projects, go over to Piece N Quilt for a “Home Spun Holiday Show N Tell”.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Maddy is 10!

I can hardly believe that my "Precious Angel" is 10! She made me a grandmother.

Last week, on Friday (the day before her birthday) her mama picked her up from school early and met her Poppi and me, her Memaw and her Daddy for lunch.

 Maddy Balloons closeup She was excited to get out of school for lunch.  She was hoping she would get to stay out for the rest of the day.

She did.

But she didn’t know this was in the plan:

Maddy at American Girl We left after lunch for Atlanta, where we spent 2 days and we had a wonderful time!

This is Maddy with Samantha.  She got her a couple of years ago.

The Girls are Excited

She added beautiful “Kaya” to her American Girl doll family.  For some reason, I didn’t get a picture of them together, but this is Kaya:

Kaya's TeePeeSweet Maddy, your Dani has loved every minute of the past 10 years.  Watching you turn into this beautiful, caring young lady has been a joy.  I love you so much and loved sharing this special weekend with you and your mama.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Preparing for Christmas

Well, for the past 5 Christmases, we lived in Honduras and came home after Baxter’s graduation, somewhere around the 8-10th of December.  Except for Christmas 2007, I was usually pretty late getting the house decorated and was always wrapping presents on Christmas Eve.
Look what’s been up for a week now…
Do you see those presents??? 
It is fun having time to do Christmasy things…like…
Melanie's Stocking
The first of 13 Christmas stockings I plan to make this year.  (The tutorial is from Park City Girl)  As you can see, this one is Melanie’s.  I was going to let everyone decide which one they wanted after I made them, but then I decided I’d pick!  I have lots of fun fabrics I purchased on sale from Fabric.com so they will all be different.
Now, if only we have a White Christmas, I’ll be even happier!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 2 with the Munchkins

Yesterday was Jack’s Thanksgiving program and lunch at his school.  He was a turkey…pretty appropriate, I’d say! :)

Turkey Jack

He was so happy to see Luke and me and gave us both lots of hugs and dimpled smiles!

Jack Luke OUS

We spent a lot of time in the car yesterday.  Took Maddy and Noah to school…Jack to school…back home…Luke’s nap…back to Jack’s school for Thanksgiving…picked up big kids from school and then back to Jack’s school to pick him up!  Whew!  Bible class last night and finally home for the night!

When Noah and Maddy got in the car after school, Noah told us that he had a part in the Christmas program and proceeded to rummage through his backpack to find the information.  After reading about his part, he announces excitedly, “I’m a Martian!”  Well, duh!!!  No news there! :)

But it was Lukey-Pants…yes, the angelic littlest Smalling…who took the cake yesterday.  He pulled all the freshly-cut pizza slices down to the floor!  I was standing right there but he’s fast!  (Noah and Jack literally cried like babies…even though Dani salvaged it and we all ate pizza for dinner!

After dinner, Luke followed me to the bathroom as I *brushed my teeth tried to do something with my hair before church.  He didn’t stay in there long before he ran out.  I reached down to get my glasses and found they were gone!  Uh oh!  “Luuuuke…do you have Dani’s glasses?!”  Yep…thank goodness they were in his chubby little hands but not broken or bent!

*Thought for the Day: “Is is actually possible for mothers (or Danies) to find the time to be both hygienic AND punctual at the same time?”  Hmmm…

Maddy continues to be my great helper!  She is growing up so much and I love who I see her becoming as a “young lady”. 

Luke’s asleep, Jack is playing “Mousetrap” and explaining every step in detail as he goes, I’m going to rest with my eyes closed for a few minutes before it’s time to get the boys and myself ready to go to Noah’s school for *his* Thanksgiving lunch!

…a blessed Dani

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One down, two to go…

I just single-handedly put 4 kids to bed and they are all asleep!  Woo-hoo! 

Let me just say that I now have more respect for my daughter, Melanie, than ever and am pretty much in awe of her superpowers as a mommy of 4 very active kiddos!

I’m keeping them while she’s basking in the sun in Florida…well, she’s in Florida…more like holed up in her room reading or sleeping or watching t.v. while Jared is in classes.

I. Am. Tired.

But we had a great day!  The hardest part of doing it alone is getting everyone ready for bed.  But…wow…once they were down, I did not hear one peep from anyone…I guess they were tired, too!

This one…

Luke from the Side

is just really starting to talk and gets his “magic” words mixed up.  Like today I was handing him french fries in his car seat (don’t judge!) while waiting in line to pick up the 2 big kids from school.  When he wanted one, instead of saying, “Please”…he would say, “Sorry”.  Cute!

We decided to have chocolate chip pancakes and bacon/sausage (bacon and sausage provided by leftovers from the Lads to Leaders breakfast last weekend…again…don’t judge!)  Noah wanted to do the “liquids” (milk and eggs).  He kept telling me he was going to break the eggs and how much he liked breaking the eggs, etc.  Then he immediately got distracted…and then said, “I know what you’re thinking, Dani.  ‘Those eggs aren’t going to break themselves!’”  Funny boy!

Now, Melanie, when you read this, don’t be sad…you know how Jack is.  He usually only misses you when I’ve told him “no” or made him mad about something.  I don’t know what it was I did or said, but tonight he came over and sat with me in the chair in the L.R. and said, “I don’t even remember what she looks like”.  I asked, “Who?”  He said, sadly, “Mommy!” 

Oh. My. Goodness!  You’ve been gone less than a day and he can’t remember what you look like?  HI-larious!  He got over it pretty quickly though.

Oh, here are the two younger boys wrestling and playing around:



Maddy didn’t say anything particularly cute…she just IS cute!

Pretty Maddy

So goodnight all…maybe I’ll blog tomorrow night too…if I’m not too tired.  I may get Poppi to come over and help me get everyone off to church! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Grandkids!

Well, this blog IS called “My Grandkids’ Dani” and here I’ve been posting all about quilting and sewing and fabric giveaways…

So, here are some pictures of my real treasures.

Maddy is “Trixie, the Halloween Fairy”; Noah is “Wolverine”; Jack is “Spiderman” and Luke is “Incredible Hulk”.  By the way, Noah wasn’t mad.  He says “that’s the way Wolverine looks!”  Aren’t they precious!?

Halloween Smallings

I don’t have a picture of Georgia in her full costume, but here she is in her little peasant dress (precious!) and witch’s hat.   Well, you can’t really see the hat, but…isn’t she cute?!  And here she is eating leaves in our backyard!

Georgia Peasant Dress

Georgia Eating Leaves Closeup

Here’s some of Jack’s 5th birthday!  This one is Jack with friend on the Hayride!

Hayride Jack closeup

Jack painting a pumpkin

Jack Painting Pumpkin Closeup

Luke looks confused

Luke confused face

Jared driving the tractor for the hayride.

Jared Tractor Closeup

Another hayride picture…Maddy top left and Noah in costume.


Uncle Pip (Philip) and Aunt Sarah – trying to hide from the camera.

Pip Sarah Hands on Face

Two cute boys (Luke and Jack) eating at the little table during a family Sunday lunch.

Luke-Jack at little table

This week keeping Georgia…

Georgia in Mirror   DSC03404

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Giveaway on Hawthorne Threads.com!

1st Prize:



This kit includes a pattern with instructions, fabrics, muslin, cording, color coordinated thread and zipper - all necessary materials except interfacing!
What a great splurge for yourself, or gift for the sewist in your life!

2nd & 3rd Prizes:

One Fat Quarter set of GIRLY GIRL Fabrics each! (sweet colorway)

"Girly Girl blends flirty flower designs with geometric lines creating a charming look. These playful and bubbly prints will inspire you to create beautiful designs for your sweet girl."

To register for their giveaway, simply click on their site HERE.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fabric Giveaway!

Lately I've been doing a lot of reading online about "virtual quilting bees" and "block swaps". I've actually joined a block swap recently that will begin soon.

Block Party is having a quilt along and they are kicking it off by a fabric giveaway! Visit their website and you might win.

Dinner in 30 Minutes…more or less

"Recipe Swap" from Park City Girl

I don’t have kids at home anymore and have more time to spend in the kitchen, but sometimes I still want to get in and out quickly!

Here are 3 of my *go-to* recipes for quick stove-to-stomach suppers:

Black Beans & Rice (vegetarian)

**I usually double this recipe**

1 tbls. vegetable oil

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1 med. Onion, chopped

¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 small green pepper, chopped

¼ tsp. dried thyme

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 ¾ cups cooked & drained black beans (canned is fine)

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

½ cup uncooked long-grain rice

Heat vegetable oil. Add onion and pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic, beans, rice, broth, red pepper flakes, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Sprinkle with cheese.

Jeanne's Version of Martha Stewart’s Spaghetti 101

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (use a good brand)
  • 8 ounces thin spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut into 1/8-inch-thick pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil or parsley leaves, loosely packed and torn -- *or* about 1 Tbls. dried basil
  • Parmesan cheese

Put water on to boil for spaghetti. Put olive oil in skillet, heat on medium and add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir them into the oil for just a minute. Do not burn the garlic! Add tomatoes, 1/4 tsp. salt (optional) and basil (if using dried).

When spaghetti water is boiling, add 2 Tbls. salt, then add spaghetti. Cook according to package directions.

Sauce will cook down while spaghetti is cooking. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, then add the basil, if you’re using fresh. Cook another minute and top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

“Tastes Like Fried” Tilapia (or any other fish fillets you like)

4 boneless Tilapia fillets

2 Tbls. olive oil

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

I love to buy the frozen Tilapia in individually-wrapped fillets. I take out the fillets about 15 minutes before I need them, place them in a big bowl of cold tap water and they thaw quickly!

Heat (on medium) 2 Tbls. olive oil in non-stick skillet. Pat Tilapia dry with paper towels.

Mix cornmeal, salt, pepper, cumin and ground red pepper together on small plate. Dredge fillets in this mixture, covering both sides. Shake off extra.

Lay the fillets into the hot oil, cover (if the fillets are thick) and cook for about 5 minutes, until golden brown. Flip and do the same with the other side.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

After posting the photos of the Sunbonnet Sue Quilt recently, it got me thinking about the quilts I've made for my own grandchildren.

I made Maddy's (almost 10) quilt before she was born and, since I didn't know that she was going to be baby girl, I decided to do generic yellow and green. Melanie wanted duckies and, since I couldn't find a duck pattern I liked, I decided to cross stitch the squares. The ducky in this photo is upside down, but you get the idea.

Noah (7 1/2) was the first grandson! Unfortunately, I have only scanned one photo of his quilt. (Hand appliqued Fishing Boy as the center motif surrounded with hand appliqued fish.)

Jack's (5 in a few days!) quilt has a story behind it...

Steve and I moved to Honduras to do mission work 4 months before our Jack was born. I thought it would be neat to purchase the fabric AND make his quilt *in* Honduras. Maybe it was just that I didn't know where to look at that time, but I could not find 100% cottons in Honduras! I ended up buying a cheap, poly cotton blend and the only baby blue I could find had these little white flowers on it. I went to all the trouble of cutting tons of 1 1/2 inch squares out of the blue and also a white -- I was going to do an Irish Chain pattern -- and even started sewing blocks together when I decided it was horrible and put it aside.

Sadly, Jack did not get his baby quilt. It was only when we were awaiting the birth of his brother, Luke, the 3rd grandson, that I hustled to get Jack a quilt made before Baby Luke arrived! Since he was no longer a baby, I decided to make a quilt I thought he'd love NOW. He was totally into everything *pirate* at that time and I found a cute fabric in the U.S. while on a visit that I knew he'd love. It's simple. You can see the fabric I used on the back of the quilt. For the front, I just cut out individual images and hand appliqued them onto solid blue blocks. He loves it still!

So, on another trip home from Honduras, I purchased the fabric for Luke's (16 months) quilt. His is "Overall Bill", using several different blues on a white background. The little guys are also hand appliqued (can you tell I LOVE to hand applique???). Here's finishing up the quilting after arriving in the U.S.
And here I am holding the little darling.

...and little Luke at one year with his quilt.Okay, those are all of Melanie's & Jared's kiddos! Whew!

Now for Georgia's (6 months)! She belongs to Maggie & David and her quilt, too, was made in Honduras. Again, fabrics were purchased in the U.S. I adored making this quilt! First, it was the first girly one I had done for a grandchild and we were all so excited to have another girl...especially after losing our precious Ruby about 2 1/2 years earlier. Maggie chose the fabrics (mostly reproduction 20's and 30's) but wanted me to decide on the pattern. Since I knew how much she loved all things old, I chose a traditional "Grandmother's Fan" pattern and used 5 or 6 inch blocks (can't remember which). After hand quilting (all of the 5 were, by the way) it, I embellished across the top of each fan, where each of the pieces met, with embroidered flowers.

Doesn't she look like she's really excited about the quilt her Dani made her?!

Georgia at 3 months, me at...ahem...
Wonder who'll be next?????? Oh Philip.....Sarah.....

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Heart Quilts!

Although this isn’t a quilting or sewing blog, those are two of my passions. I have been perusing sewing blogs lately and came across some incredible ones!

Amy at Park City Girl is hosting a Bloggers’ Quilt Festival. As of right now, there are 477 links to blogs, each displaying one particular quilt. If you love quilts, you need to go click on 2 or 200 of those links!

I have made several quilts and the one I’m sending over to be included in the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival is a Sunbonnet Sue baby quilt I made for a friend’s granddaughter. It’s the only quilt I’ve ever been paid to make and I don’t know that I’d do it again. Making a hand-quilted and hand-appliquéd quilt is very time consuming!
So, here are the 12 individual appliquéd blocks: