Alphabet for Annabelle

Today starts the 26 day Alphabet for Annabelle project.  I love journaling and playing with all mixed media.  It’s exciting to see others creative work and always serves to be very inspiring.  While sharing art with a community of amazing mixed media artists, I came across the idea of sending “letters” through the mail.

My granddaughter is CRAZY for the Alphabet, and what kid (young & old alike) doesn’t LOVE getting a real live letter in the mailbox?  (pun intended!)


I live for this smile:)

So…here it goes…

Aisforannabelle-front Aisforannabelle-back

I will be laminating each letter and punching a hole in the top left corner so her letters can go with her and hang on any bag. Each card is 6 X 6

Let me know if you decide to join me on the adventure, and send me pics of YOUR “letters!”  I’d love to see them:)

Family & Faith: Training up our children

“We did it!” “All our kids are smart, athletic, popular, and polite. Phew, Our work is done.” Parenting Success? Is it possible to have all these things and miss what matters most? Do you just get through the day caught up in the urgent If we are not intentional about our parenting, we will reap what we sow… … a family filled with achievement, recreation, and niceness. God has much more in mind… He created families for a purpose…. He gave us children for a reason.

Which receives the most time on your family calendar?

Academics,Athletics, Social Activities, Faith & Character Development?

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9    

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”

Deuteronomy 4:9-10


I have worked in Children’s Ministry for over 20 years and this is one of the best parenting books I have read.

Mom’s Famous Cheesecake


In my humble opinion, this Cheesecake cannot be beat. My Mom’s been making this for years and I have carried on her tradition.  My Big Brother has too:)  If I ever order Cheesecake out, (which I rarely ever do anymore) I am always disappointed.  I think  what I like best about this recipe is the topping.  The layer of sweetened vanilla sour cream.  I guess I also like the creamy texture.  It’s not dry like a “New York” style cake.  It melts in your mouth.   You just have to try it!

You start with these…


*Note that I have Costco vanilla…it’s because this month, I couldn’t afford the good stuff that I’d rather use:(

Preheat oven @300

3/4 Pkg. of Chocolate Cookies (Oreos or Gluten Free alternative)
OR- 16 Graham Crackers, crushed
4 Tbs. Melted Butter
3 Tbs. sugar (if using Graham Crackers)

3- 8oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese (room temp)
5 Large eggs
1 C sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Tsp. Lemon juice
pinch of salt

16 oz. Sour Cream
1/2 C Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
pinch of salt

Well, actually you start with these… (notice these are CINNAMON.  If I have them, I’ll use them. If I don’t, I won’t.  They  do add a little extra something something to the crust.)


That’s me grabbing them with kitchen tongs…too short.

You start by making the crust.  Whatever means you have to crush the graham crackers.

(food processor, rolling pin and plastic bag…mallet, wine bottle)

Then you pour them into your Springform pan, add the sugar & drizzle the melted butter on top and incorporate the cracker crumbs and butter until they are all “coated.”  ( I do it right in the springform pan…I just don’t want to clean another bowl)


Then press them down slightly with your hand, pushing some up the side a bit.                        (over the seam of the pan)


My boys like me to make the crust with Oreos.  I use the double stuff…cause it has double the stuff:)  I use the same amount of melted butter & NO extra sugar. I don’t use the whole bag, I save about a stack of 10 to eat:)

Place Softened Cream Cheese

(make sure your Cream Cheese sits out long enough to really be soft, if it’s not, it will make the batter lumpy)

in mixing bowl & beat until smooth and combined.


Add sugar and blend until combined.  Gradually add eggs, one at a time.


Add lemon and vanilla, stir until combined. Pour into Springform Pan.


Ps. See the hinge on the pan?  I had a terrible, no good very bad day when I attempted to put cheesecake in the oven to bake and it WASN’T quite “locked”….my husband found me on my knees crying, with cheesecake dripping down the counter, all over and IN the cabinets and puddled on the floor.  PLEASE check the hinge before “lift off!”

Bake @ 300 degrees for 1 hour.

(While it’s baking, mix topping ingredients and place in fridge until ready to use)


Pull the cheesecake out after an hour and gently pour (spoon) sour cream mixture on top.


Bake for another 10-15 min to set topping.

Gently cool. Quick extreme temperature changes can cause cheesecake to crack, so don’t be in a hurry to get it in the fridge.  Try to let it cool to room temp. before refrigerating.

After about 10-15 min, I run a knife that’s been held under hot running water, around the edge.  This also helps prevent cracks because as the cheesecake cools it will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

(The great thing about topping the Cheesecake with shaved chocolate is that it hides a pesky crack if you get one.) *Heath bar’s bits work well too!

Wrap tightly with foil and place in fridge at least 6 hours. (overnight is best)
Shave Semisweet Chocolate over the top along with a chocolate crust or serve with fruit sauce/glaze + fresh fruit.


I can’t get enough of Alisa Burke

Alisa oozes with creativity…it seeps out of her pours.  I am so inspired by her and love to try out her latest projects.  See if you do too!

Below are photo’s that I altered with watercolors, intense pencils, and markers.

journalpage-annabelle-ohyeah-c journalpage-annabelle-ohyeah-b

And these are Alisa’s  “bug rocks”  I decided to add numbers because my granddaughter already loves to count! (and she’s only 2)


I wanted a place to store them and so I took a discarded “Melissa & Doug” box (it had housed stamps and stamp pads…which led me to my next project by the way, more on that later! )  and painted it.


I  stamped it with Alisa Burke Stamp, and added a little white on some of the “petals” to give the stamp a little more dimension.


I punched out circles that I had stamped and then numbered.

The bottom of the tray is a piece of scrapbook paper.



Thank you Alisa!  My granddaughter LOVED her number bugs!!!

If you love to journal, and don’t know about Joanne Sharpe….

Joanne has amazing online classes you can enjoy FOREVER, courtesy of your home computer.

Below are a few class projects.

journalpage-gabby canvas-romans-tombow-doodle journal-annabelle

Through her site, you can also purchase the class 21 Secrets. This is also a FOREVER class, via computer that allows you to take classes from many different artists. Below are two of my latest projects from 21 Secrets.

annabellephotoalbum2 annabellephotoalbum3 journalpage-copic1

Hope you enjoy them as much as I have!