Author: Karen Carlson Page 1 of 4

A Christmas Card Story

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My Christmas card is almost always sent AFTER Christmas. It is more of a New Year’s card. I guess this is partly due to procrastination, partly to the lack of a nice family photo, and because I use this as a tiny yearly journal of our family’s activities, I like to wait until the last tiny bit of our year has been spent. 🙂 This year’s card had a little God moment that I wanted to share.

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A Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Turkey

Thanksgiving is almost here! I have a fantastic trail mix recipe that is perfect for munching on while you are waiting for the turkey or during the big game. This recipe has been in my collection since my Bunco days. (Does anyone still play?)  One of my Bunco buddies would set a bowl of this at each table in some adorable way. It is salty and sweet and ridiculously addicting…..not exactly healthy, but hey, it does have peanuts! 🙂

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Slow Cooker Beef BBQ Sandwiches

It is slow cooker season at our house. I do pull it out occasionally during the warmer months, but it definitely makes more of an appearance over the fall and winter. It is almost Turkey Day, but today I am sharing a recipe that calls for beef. I have been using it for about 20 years! My sister submitted it to the cookbook that our family’s business put together way back in 1998 for the 10-year anniversary of our Betty Jane’s gift store. I am going to guess that you will have almost every single ingredient in your freezer and your pantry. It is crazy simple and full of flavor. It is perfect for one of those nights when your family is eating in shifts. (Basically, most nights around here!)

Winter arrived early

November snow

This is what it looks like already! Perfect weather for a warm slow cooker dinner.

Time for a warm dinner

You will need a nice beef roast, a little water and the ingredients that you see here.

Beef Barbecue Sandwich recipe

You can tell I have used this cookbook a bit! Half of the binder is gone. That is one of my momma’s little line drawings of a sweet little Native American doll our wholesale business used to sell.

All I do is place my roast at the bottom of the slow cooker and add all of the ingredients over the top of it. (The recipe above shows a slightly different way to do it.) Yesterday I let it cook on high for most of the day. Then I just shredded the meat and removed any fat. We normally serve this with buns for sandwiches, but we had a few mashed potatoes left over, so I spooned mine over the top of the potatoes. It was heavenly.

Beef Barbecue Sandwich

Can’t you almost see the rich flavor of this meat?

Here is a printable recipe for you. I hope you try it!!!

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Beef BBQ Sandwiches

This is a wonderfully hearty shredded beef recipe full of rich flavor.


  • 1 3-4 pound beef roast
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp minced onion
  • 1 tbsp beef base
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Seasoned salt to taste (I used Lawry's.)
  • a few drops of hot sauce


  • Place roast in the slow cooker. Stir together the remaining ingredients and pour over the top of the roast. Cook on low overnight. Shred and remove any fat for serving.

If you are interested in purchasing the Betty Jane’s cookbook, just email my momma at [email protected], as she just had some fresh copies printed a short time ago. They are $16, the same price as in 1998, and $3 will ship one anywhere in the United States. There aren’t many left, so get yours today!!!

By the way, I have missed y’all. We have been traveling a bit for kiddos’ activities, and I have been having computer issues. It is good to be back!! God bless!


Another Halloween Home Tour…….Mine

Halloween is less than a week away. Today I am sharing the little touches I add to my fall decor for the holiday. For some reason, this is not nearly as easy for me to share as it was to gush over my momma’s and my sister’s. I have a pretty subtle approach to my decor and a fairly warm, neutral palette….greens, blues and coppers. I especially love to decorate this time of the year because of the traditional, earthy colors used.

Before I get started, I thought I would share a little Christian perspective on Halloween. I loved this post from that answered a lot of questions for me. My main takeaway is that by participating in this holiday, it reminds us that God ALWAYS wins!! To quote the post, “Love triumphs over death, and…evil has no hold on us.” I will take any chance I get to put Satan in his place!!!

My Loves

Family pumpkin patch pic

We were lucky enough to enjoy our annual trip to a pumpkin patch on our wedding anniversary. Our college guy even joined us!

Our Front Porch

Front door mirrror decor

I refreshed my mirror on my front door this year with some new florals and ribbon. I love the way it shines when I pull up to the house.

Front porch display

See how my asparagus fern has turned a lovely golden color.

I am crazy about the layered rug trend. These were both Target finds.

A Few Touches Inside

Halloween entry display

My entry display on my antique buffet. I LOVE my candy corn garland.


The copper penny tile and golden tones in my kitchen were made for fall decorating.

Cake dome full of cookies

Fresh cookies, fresh flowers, fresh lemons and a cute little ghost. Does it get any happier?

Wooden jack-o-lantern

I usually add one or two new pieces each fall. This was this year’s Marshalls purchase. It was the only one they got. Lucky me! 🙂

One of our first Halloween pieces….probably at least 20 years old!

Ceramic jack-o-lantern

Another one of my original pieces. We sold these pumpkins and the Trick or Treat plate at our gift store back in the day!

Pumpkin candy jar

Always filled with our favorite candy pumpkins and trail mix with peanuts and m&ms. By the way, this makes a great hostess gift!

Fun in the Kid’s Space


My kiddos’ trick-or-treat buckets. Mine is the little one at the top. It even has my name written in my young-girl handwriting on the bottom.


Keep them bones clean!!

Well, that’s it for now! I will be sharing some Thanksgiving touches soon, so stay tuned!!!

Be sure to subscribe to my email list so that we can become friends and share ideas!

Happy Halloween, and God bless!!




Use That Wedding Memorabilia as Decor

This post was written Saturday, October 20th, but I was out of town and having trouble sending it!!

Today is the 23rd anniversary of our beautiful October wedding! By now you have probably all figured out how much I love fall, so planning our wedding during my favorite season just made sense. We are off to the pumpkin patch to go through haunted houses, so I am leaving you with a super simple post. I just wanted to show you how I still display a few pieces of memorabilia from our wedding 23 years later. They all sit atop the armoire in our bedroom, so they are literally some of the first things I see each day.

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Fun With Outdoor Fall Decorating

Have you done some outdoor decorating for fall? It is feeling a bit more like the start of winter around here already! Hopefully all of our wonderful pumpkins will survive the cold for a bit longer. Remember my parents’ beautiful fall home tour full of antiques? Find it here for a refresher. Today I am finally going to share all of their great outdoor decor! They have a lot of fun with bales, corn shocks, pumpkins and gourds. They live just off of a busy highway. I hope that all of the people passing by get as much joy from seeing it as my parents do from creating it.

“…they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest..” Isaiah 9:3

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A Colorful Halloween House Tour

It is almost Halloween! We are in my favorite month of the year…..October. Beautiful October. I have always had a lot of fun with our kiddos preparing for Halloween festivities around here. Now they are BIG and don’t really dress up to trick-or-treat anymore. Oh well, I can still decorate!! You will get a peek at that later. Today, I am actually sharing my sister’s gorgeous home with you. I promised I would, and it is AWESOME at Halloween. She loves to decorate with COLOR….oranges and greens and teal blue….for every season….and it works!!  As soon as you step up to her home, you know that fun people live inside. 🙂 I love her little family so much. Check this out! She even made three beautiful babies with fantastic red hair. How is that for color?!? The good Lord knew what He was doing.

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Turn Your Skinnies Into Something Groovy With This Simple Costume Hack

Need a cute, simple costume idea for you or your kiddo? Here’s a fun little hack that my daughter and I came up with for her homecoming week at school. One of the themes for her class was Arbor Day. Hmmmm. What do you do with that one? She and her friends started with the idea of being tree lovers, and we took it from there. We made a quick stop at Goodwill looking for some groovy pants. We came up empty, but spied this long green paisley skirt that had potential. I don’t remember exactly how the conversation went, but by the time we left, we had a sweet idea!

Our Inspiration Piece

Goodwill skirt

This is not such a hot pic, but you get the idea. Isn’t it groovy fabric?

How We Made “Bell Bottoms”

See the great long ruffle on the bottom of this skirt. It is almost 9 inches long. Basically, I cut it off and made two very small “skirts” with it. You could certainly do this with any fabric, but this was already hemmed and ready for us (which saved a lot of time) and…..BONUS….it was only $3.50!!! Many of you who sew know just how to make a simple elastic waist skirt, but for those of you who don’t, this is what I did.

Goodwill skirt

I cut the ruffle off all the way around the bottom of the skirt about 2 inches above the seam.


Goodwill skirt

Then I folded the raw edge down and pressed it nicely so that I had a nice crisp edge that was even all the way across.

Goodwill skirt

Then I folded it down over the seam and pressed it again.


Goodwill skirt

The next step was to sew a line of stitching along the edge to create a casing for the elastic.

Okay. Here is where I did not really take any pictures. I think I got too excited to finish!! I now had a LONG ruffle with a casing. I measured my daughter’s calf with the elastic and then cut two pieces of ruffle approximately twice the length of the elastic pieces so that it would gather nicely.

Goodwill skirt

Then I closed up the raw ends, being careful not to close up the slot for my elastic to go into the casing.


Goodwill skirt

The last step was to insert the elastic and close up the opening with a few stitches.

Quick tip: Use a safety pin on the end of your elastic to easily thread the elastic through your casing.

Goodwill skirt

Here it is! One of the little “skirts!”

My girl in her costume….Isn’t she cute?

All Julia did was slip those little babies over her jeans and popped on her Berks. Easy peasy!!! On a side note, I also made the t-shirt with some scissors and my Cricut….with which I am starting to become very good friends! This should have been a very fast project, but I may or may not have slit my thumb earlier in the day and then may or may not have kept catching my bandaid with my sewing machine!

Do you have some favorite simple costume ideas that you have tried? I would love to hear about them!! And don’t forget to subscribe to my email list. You will receive a post with fun ideas about once a week.

Have a wonderful day, all!! God bless.


A Fall Refresher For My Flower Pots

When you read this, the first day of fall will have arrived!!!!!! YeeHaw!!!!! Today I decided it was time to give my flower pots a little seasonal love. They had done their job making me happy all summer long but were starting to look just plain tired. A little subtracting and a little adding is all it took to make them look fantastic for a beautiful Nebraska autumn.

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Fall Home Tour – Papa and GB’s House

My momma (otherwise known as GB for Grandma Betty) taught me to love fall. We love the colors, the smells, the annual trips to the pumpkin patch, the cooler temperatures, the comforting soups and casseroles…everything. We especially love to decorate for the season. You are in for a treat. This is a tour of a home containing loved belongings collected over time and full of stories. My parents are less concerned with current trends and instead concentrate on what rings true to them…warm, darker colors and an eclectic feel. Even though I did not grow up in the house they are in now, it feels like home. So here we go….

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