Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Berry Oatmeal Casserole Breakfast

This is my favorite breakfast right now.  It's pretty easy to throw together, and it tastes great re-heated. I got the original recipe here.

Of course, I have tweaked to it my liking;  I have been using blueberries and strawberries, and I added a few more chocolate chips and a little more brown sugar, just to make it that much better - although less healthy, I'm sure.  . .
I also just use regular oats because Gluten free stuff is next to impossible to find on the island I live on in Indonesia.  I also just throw all the dry ingredients in together; I don't care so much about pretty as I care about it tasting good!

Hope you like it as much as my family does!

Gluten-Free Baked Oatmeal Casserole
Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 6

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup raspberries {any berries work}
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, 1/2-inch slices


Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 10-1/2 by 7 inch baking dish with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet. 
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the walnuts, half the strawberries and half the chocolate. (Save the other half of strawberries, walnuts and chocolate for the top of the oatmeal). 
In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter and vanilla extract. 
Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining strawberries, walnuts and chocolate on top. Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has sett.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Montage: The Seed Basket

Yesterday, we introduced you to Baby Sarah, Ibu Maria, and the folks at The Seed Basket.  Today, we wanted to help you get to know The Seed Basket.

What exactly is The Seed Basket? 
The Seed Basket is a 501(c)3 non-profit that empowers impoverished communities in Southeast Asia through training and technology sharing.  We focus mainly on training versus handouts because the families we work with in Southeast Asia want to change their own lives with dignity.  Often they just lack the tools and know-how to escape poverty.  Our main focus is launching small businesses, health development and sustainable agriculture.
Community Health Worker Training 2012

Who all is involved?
We are families, communities, church groups, and social clubs in North America and Southeast Asia that support each other through resource-sharing.  We collect training and technology "seeds" in North America and share them with needy families and communities in Southeast Asia.  
Fish Farming project on rural island
How did it come about?
One family from the US moved to Southeast Asia and lived alongside an impoverished community, and realized this community's passion for change was only hindered by their lack of training and technology.  This family decided to do something about it and founded The Seed Basket in 2011.  Since that time The Seed Basket has grown, connecting groups around the world who are passionate about helping others in need.  
Free Health Clinic
What are your short and long term goals for The Seed Basket?
Our short-term goals are to provide sustainable income for our current partner families through 2013, expand current business ventures in handicrafts, coffee roasting, community greenhouses, and community health outreach.   Long term we aim to foster self-replicating business models and community health programs that have multiplication in their DNA and make a real difference in the quality of living in the families and communities we serve.
Children at partner orphanages

Can people get involved?  If so, how?
People can buy products made by our partner families, and they can advocate for the communities we work with.  Visit our website and tell a friend!

Is there anything else you'd like to say?  
Thanks to Scarlet Threads for their passionate advocacy of our outreach and so many other grassroots groups like us! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Snapshot: The Story Behind the Batik Cards

It starts with baby Sarah and the folks at The Seed Basket.  When baby Sarah was brought to the people at The Seed Basket, she was in respiratory failure; they were told that she wouldn’t last another 24 hours. 
Baby Sarah and Ibu Maria, the day she was brought into The Seed Basket free clinic
 Being people of faith, they began to pray.  Sarah was hospitalized, but the doctors didn’t believe it would help; her lungs had already begun to fail.

Miraculously, baby Sarah did survive the day

Baby Sarah with Carree Stewart from The Seed Basket
 and the next and the next. 

Almost a year later, baby Sarah is a beautiful one year old who is recovering well!

1st Birthday!

Yummy cake!

Sarah’s foster mother, Maria, adopted baby Sarah, but immediately ran into problems caring for a recovering Sarah, paying the medical bills, and providing for her family. Again, the generous people at The Seed Basket sought a way to help.  Maria needed a way to earn money while also being able to stay home and care for Sarah and her other children. 

That is when the card idea was born.  The Seed Basket offered to buy the beautifully handmade cards from Maria at a wage that would allow her to pay her bills and provide for her family – all from home.  
The Seed Basket began selling the cards to their friends and family, but in order for it to become a sustainable enterprise, they needed outlets in which to sell the cards.  About that time, in walked Scarlet Threads, and it was a perfect match.  

Beginning March 1st, we will be offering these handmade by Ibu (which is Indonesian for Mama)
Maria Batik cards on our website.

Also, if your interested in knowing more about the wonderful folks at The Seed Basket come back for tomorrow’s Monday Montage where they’ll be featured, and you can learn more about who they are, and all the projects they have going on here in Indonesia.

'Til then, Cheers! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Our First Adoption Grant

We are so excited to share that as a Scarlet Threads community (that means YOU!), we have just given our first $500 adoption grant to an incredible family.  After a very busy holiday season, we'd built up some funds in our adoption grant fund.  (Remember, all Scarlet Scraps purchases go into the adoption fund!)  Though I know I earlier said that our family would probably be the first beneficiery, I was very convicted one day that the funds were sitting there waiting for us to start the process, and there were families much further into the process than we were who could use them.  So I talked to Eileen who helps make these kind of decisions, and she was on board... the funds weren't doing any good just waiting!  :) 

We gave our first grant to Wendy and Jeff Reed, who you'll hear from in just a bit.  The sweetest little 8-year-old boy, Joel, you could ever imagine is patiently waiting for them to bring him home, and I am thrilled that our little community gets to be a part of the process to give him a mama and daddy of his own.  Joel lives at New Day Foster Home.  I knew him when we lived there, and now, 2 years later, we had a chance to see him when we were there this Fall working on our new product line.  While I was sad to see him still waiting, his spirit was remarkably lighter and happier... why?  Because he knew he had a family.  He was so excited to tell me about them.  I can't wait for the day when he's home with them.

Thank you for being a part of bringing Joel home... It is because you buy our products that we're able to give this $500 grant!  If you want to get involved with the Reed family's fundraising efforts or learn more about their story, check out their blog. (password: joel2013)

Now, without further ado... The Reed Family Story, by Wendy Reed.


We are Wendy and Jeff Reed, and we would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about our family and about the journey God set us upon to bring home our son, Joel, from China. We have been abundantly blessed with 8 precious children, four born to us and four through the miracle of adoption! Our adoption story really begins with our youngest biological daughter, Mikayla. Mikayla was born in 2003 with a congenital heart defect and an extra special chromosome called Trisomy 21, better known as Down Syndrome or what we lovingly refer to as her “Designer Genes.”   Although Mikayla’s first year was extremely rough medically, she began to grow healthier and stronger and she is now a spunky 10 year old! Mikayla is such a joy and a blessing to our family, and she brings a smile to the face of everyone she meets! She has taught us the joy of parenting a child with special needs and grew in our hearts a desire to help another child with special needs that did not have a family to love them and help them reach their fullest potential.

In 2005 we began our very first adoption journey towards bringing home a baby girl from China that had special needs. Jenna, who has a corneal defect in her right eye and is blind in that eye, joined our family in 2006. What an honor and a privilege it has been to watch Jenna blossom and grow before our eyes! We knew when we were in China adopting Jenna that we left a piece of our hearts in that country and that we would be back again soon! We also wanted for Jenna to have a sister that she could share her Chinese culture and heritage with. We returned to China just a year later to bring home our daughter, Sadie, and then went on to bring two more beautiful girls (Ellie in 2009, and Khloe in 2011) home from China, all with various special needs including heart conditions, cleft lip and cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and Down Syndrome. And now our story finally turns to Joel!

On our last journey to China in Sept 2011, our daughter Mikayla joined us to adopt her baby sister, Khloe, who happens to share the same “Designer Genes.”  During our adoption trip, we had the honor and privilege of meeting the Foster Family that Khloe lived with for two years. What a wonderful opportunity to spend time with these people who selflessly poured out their love and attention on our little girl and gave her such a wonderful foundation of trust to build upon. While we visited with them and with Khloe, we also had the opportunity to meet and play with Khloe’s foster brother, Joel. Joel is 8 years old and has spina bifida. Both Jeff and I really enjoyed playing with Joel! He is such a clever little boy with such a kind and gentle spirit! What a blessing he would be to any family! As we were nearing our visiting time, Joel’s Foster mom asked Joel if he would like to go to America with Khloe’s new mom and dad. Joel enthusiastically replied that he would love to go home with Khloe’s parents and he wished that they could be his mom and dad too. Oh, how we would somehow love to make his wish come true!

Joel has been on our hearts since we left China in the fall of 2011. Mikayla’s heart was touched as well, and she began praying every night and at the altar on Sundays for Joel to become her brother. Jeff had been hearing God speak to him for some time (since last spring 2012) that Joel was to be a part of our family. We really connected with Joel, and knew that he would fit perfectly within the dynamics of our family, but it really came down to finances as well as the stress Jeff was under with the hours he was away from home due to his job which was 2 hours away in another state. Jeff had shared with me how he was feeling so convicted that God was calling us to Joel, and I was feeling that as well. I scheduled some time to talk with a very close friend of mine who also has a heart for adoption as I knew that she would understand where I was coming from. As I was talking to her, and telling her how our hearts felt so convicted to move forward with the adoption but had no idea where the funds would come from as we were just beginning to get back on our feet, I felt God stopping me right there. Had I learned NOTHING through the four adoptions He had already brought to completion down to the very last cent??? God clearly said to me during that conversation with my friend that He had that covered as long as we were faithful and obedient to His call! From that point on, I KNEW with all my heart that God would be leading us on another wildly wonderful adoption journey with twists and turns only He would know how to navigate!

Jeff and I spent a lot of time in prayer over the summer and had some lengthy talks about how the adoption could possibly come about during our family vacation at the beach. We were also blessed to meet up with another family who had adopted Khloe's former Foster Brother before Joel, during our stay at the beach. Our talks really strengthened our conviction that we were following God's will and had been led to the right adoption agency. We knew that we only had a small portion of the amount needed to begin the adoption, and we really did not know where the rest of the fees would come from. We certainly were not going to ignore God's calling anymore though, and we knew that if He wanted this to come about then He would provide a way! When we returned home from the beach, this is the verse that was waiting for us during our church service: "Now to Him who is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to His power, that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! AMEN!" Eph. 3:20-21. Yet, another confirmation that we were indeed hearing His call and acting accordingly! And to top that off, we had a pretty major storm system passing through our area later that afternoon that blessed us with the most GORGEOUS double rainbow in the sky!

So, in Sept 2012 we once again stepped out in faith and contacted our adoption agency to begin the process to bring Joel home! We worked as fast as we could to get our Application into our adoption agency so that we could send in our Letter Of Intent for Joel. We were so excited when we received word that we received our Application Approval, but later that same day, Jeff also found out that his department was going to be let go in just two weeks! We decided that instead of getting worried and upset, we would rejoice because we KNEW that we were following His plan and His will! We have a Mighty God who is bigger than any obstacle that he can throw our way! Jeff had such a calmness about him and told me with complete faith that God was going to take this situation and turn this into something "immeasurably more than we can imagine!"  We and a group of close friends prayed in faith that God would answer our prayers and give Jeff a new job, closer to home, meeting the financial requirements for the adoption, and that it would start as soon as possible after his last day at his work place so that the severance could go straight towards the adoption. The very next day after Jeff was told about the layoff, before he contacted or reached out to even one person about a new job, THREE recruiters contacted him about jobs in our area! There have been no job openings in Jeff's line of work in our state for over two years!!! Just three weeks after Jeff found out his department was being let go, Jeff was offered a job that meets all of the salary requirements to bring another child home to our family and he will be just 45 minutes away! PRAISE GOD!!!! With Jeff starting his new job right after the end date of his current job, the first agency fee was covered and we could continue to move forward towards bringing Joel home! Nothing other than a miracle from God that this came about! HE is so faithful!!! Joel's LOI was sent to China on Sept. 4, 2012, and we received Pre-Approval to adopt Joel just 6 days later on Sept. 10, 2012! Currently, we are wrapping up our home study and gathering the necessary documents for USCIS approval and our Dossier.

We are so very thankful for several very generous donations that came in, especially from Scarlet Threads, which made it possible to fund our home study for Joel and keep his adoption paperwork moving forward. We are hoping to send in all of our paperwork to China in the next month or two. It is with joyous and thankful hearts to our Mighty God that we carry forward on this amazing adventure to bring home our son! We stand in absolute awe and amazement at what God has done thus far in our journey toward Joel and we full of anticipation to see how God will bring it to completion!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Matching Aprons for You and a Pal!

Sorry for this late in the day Thrifty Thursday... we've had a sick household and I forgot it was my week!  When they see them in person, one of the aprons people seem to like the most is our Ella Grace.  Soft grey fabric with a delicate rose pattern in pink, yellow, and green... trimmed with a bright splash of pink polka dot.  It's just about perfect! 

Well at Christmas, so many of our customers would see it as they were picking out gifts and want to buy it for themself.  So I thought we'd give you a Christmas-in-late-February opportunity to get an Ella Grace for you and one for a pal for the price of one!  That's $22 in savings!

Get it this week only in our Scarlet Threads shop, and while you're there, don't forget to check out our new aprons!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Making Cookies Exciting


 What kind of cookies do you like best? I like chewy cookies with texture, and some chocolate. Of course. The other day Lily and I, both recovering from our own respective surgeries (heart for her, mouth for me) stayed home from Sunday fellowship and decided to bake some cookies.

Enjoying the abundance of candy-goodies at the grocery store, I brought home a bag of mint chocolate chips, and peanut chocolate chips. I just couldn't resist. 

I followed a recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and replaced the chocolate chips with my new pearls of yumminess. Lily loved the colors.

Don't they look adorable?

Lily isn't a big cookie fan, but she gobbled down two of these cookies fast. It was the chocolate. I'm sure that it was the chocolate. 

 Baking with a little sister isn't the easiest thing to do, but it's certainly worth it. And it's a delicious way to pass the time. What do you think about baking with little ones?

So now tell me, what are your favorite cookie add-ins? Do you love peanut butter? Fruit? Nuts? Just plain old chocolate?

Monday, February 18, 2013

apron names revealed!

Our newest aprons have names! Many thanks to all of you for the wonderful suggestions. As always, choosing just one (or three, in this case!) was difficult. 

Without further ado, may I introduce you to


suggested by Jennifer, via the blog


suggested by Lolli, via the blog


suggested by Stephanie Davis, via facebook

Also! The winner of the Ella Grace!

Congratulations to Marissa Berlin! 

Many congratulations to each of our winners. Please send us an email in order to claim your prizes. Thank you again for your suggestions. We are so happy to add Bridget, Priscilla and Vivian to the Scarlet Threads family!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Frenchie Style

Among other things, I collect books about style, style icons and designers. For my birthday a few months ago, I got "Parisian Chic" by Ines de la Fressange and I love it! "Parisian Chic" is a guide to dressing like a Parisian and understanding their confident and effortless style. The book is really funny, fairly practical and full of amazing photos of the beautiful Ines de la Fressange.

(For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ines she is France's style icon, supermodel and muse to Karl Lagerfield, among other amazing things.)
It's full of the cute and comical little drawings
The book opens with a six-point guide on dressing with French style:
1. "Outfits are out"- You don't have to coordinate every thing and probably shouldn't.
2. "Bye-bye bling"- Good taste is more important than logos and glitter. Dress simply and you'll look rich. (it's hard for me to leave the glitter behind!)
3. "Explore"- Don't be afraid to try new labels and mix high with low. Trends are great in small doses.
4. "If it feels good, wear it"- Don't be a slave to style for the sake of the style. If something feels too tight, high or short- leave it at home or better yet- donate it!
5. "Worship no idols"- Amen! Don't follow one designer or icon religiously. Be yourself!
6. "Beware of good taste"- Rules of good taste aren't always to be followed. Navy and black together- sure thing! White year round- you bet!

My favorite tip was to always pair something loose with something tight. After thinking about this and guide-point 4 I began wearing my skinny jeans (which I LOVE) with short tunic style tops that are loose and easy. The combination, along with a pair of Saludos flats is heavenly. I have worn this A LOT lately.

I highly recommend this book. I didn't adopt every tip or suggestion from the book but it gave me new perspective on dressing with style but still staying true to myself and my life.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Toothpaste

This Tasty Tuesday recipe may not be the one you're looking for to help plan this week's meals but it will definitely be one worth trying out. This is my toothpaste or toothpowder recipe! That's right, I make my own toothpaste.

I began making my own toothpaste several months ago when I read that it can help with tooth sensitivity and whitening without damaging the enamel. I've also been working on eliminating purchased products from my life if I can make them myself for less money or utilizing less chemical or "manufactured" ingredients. The recipe is very simple and I've been thrilled with the results. I've always had sensitive teeth most of my life but they have gotten much less so since I've been using my toothpaste recipe.

- 1/4 cup Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Truvia or Stevia
- 6-8 drops of essential oil.

In a small jar or resealable container mix the baking soda, salt and sweetener with a fork until it's well blended. Add the oil and blend again. Done!
When you are ready to brush your teeth wet your toothbrush with a little water, dip it in the powder and start brushing! Alternately, you can mix half a teaspoonful with a few drops of water in a little bowl to make a paste right before brushing.

The salt is an abrasive ingredient to help with the teeth cleaning but it is optional and you can adjust the amount if yours is too salty or you want more abrasion. The sweetener is to help combat the bitterness of the baking soda and add a more pleasant taste. The amount of sweetener can be adjusted to your own taste preference but make sure to use a sweetener that isn't sugar based. I like Truvia because it doesn't have the aftertaste that I find with Stevia but you can use whatever you prefer or have on hand.

You can use any sort of food-grade essential oil that you desire to flavor your toothpaste. I use peppermint oil to freshen my breath but you can try cinnamon oil or citrus oil if you don't like the taste of mint.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Montage: A Note from Valentines Past

Looking back into the Scarlet Threads archives, I came across a few recipes that we suggested your Valentine might enjoy. With Valentines Day just around the corner, I thought I might bring them to your attention, should you need an idea to make for your sweetheart!
How about these sticky rolls for a special breakfast in bed? With a cup of coffee (or tea, if you're like me!), I am quite sure they'd be a welcome start to the day! First posted in February 2010, but sure to please three years later!
Click over for the recipe, and see one of our favorite men in an apron! Speaking of, if you can name that apron, which is now in the Scarlet Threads vault, two points for you today!
So, once your darling has had his or her breakfast, you might need to think about dinner. How about ravioli with vodka cream sauce? This is sure to impress! 
Once again, this was posted just last year, but this is something so classic that never goes out of style!  With a simple glass of wine, and maybe some crusty French bread, this would be the ideal Valentine dinner.
Speaking of the Ideal Valentine....here are a few do's and don't's for Valentines, courtesy of Scarlet Threads, of course! Eileen wrote this list in 2010, but I think that it is still true today.
Our Eileen is so clever, isn't she? 
What are your plans for this Valentines Day? Do you stay in and cook at home, or go out to a fancy restaurant? Any fun traditions for you and yours?