Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Hi, dear friends! I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed time with family and friends! My heart is overflowing with thankfulness and blessings and I just have to spill over a few!
Saturday, Emily and I were invited to a Happy Birthday Jesus party! Collectively, we adopted a family to buy Christmas gifts for and were assigned what to bring based on our last name. I had forgotten until that morning. But, this is how God provides...earlier in the week, I had gone to use a $10 certificate at Penney's and had found some adorable little girl clothes size 4T. With my coupon, they ended up being 0.67 each. Saturday morning when I read the invitation again, I realized we were assigned to bring a clothing gift for a size 4 little girl! Isn't that amazing?! I was so excited at God's great provision! I found some new socks and hair bows in what we already had and it wrapped up to be a cute and fun gift, I hope! I am still smiling at God's faithful provisions not only for us, but also for others through us.
The party was so cute! They acted out the nativity (about 30 kids) and had a cake for Jesus' birthday. This cake was so neat! It was made by my friend, Angie. It had black, red and green layers and each thing about the cake symbolized part of Jesus' birth and life!
We had a wonderful Christmas Eve also! We had our traditional cheese fondue dinner and drove around and looked at Christmas lights - Emily loved it!
Christmas morning was so fun because Emily is actually getting into all the Christmas things this year! We gave her a little kitchen and she LOVED it! It was so fun to watch her enjoying it!
My sweet husband knows that I miss snow (from living in CO) and gave me a box with paper snowflakes and pictures of snow with a certificate for a family trip to the southern mountains to experience the snow as a family! I am SO excited about this! And, even more, I am touched by his creativity and thoughtfulness!
My Mom out-did herself this year! She made me the above card to explain a gift of a new blog design! This is something I've been wanting to do for a while, but I am SO EXCITED to receive this great gift and am busy thinking about how I want this space to look! Yay!
She also gave us a Simpich doll. Now, that probably doesn't mean a whole lot to most of you. But, here is why it is special to me. The Simpich family lives in Colorado Springs and this business started out of their need to create gifts to give their family when they were newlyweds and didn't have a big gift budget! It turned into a thriving business that is well-known in that area. Well, they have been in business for years, allowing people to come into their shop and view the dolls being made, painted, and dressed. I have so many memories of going there to see this and seeing their puppet shows! After 54 years, they have decided to close their shop ~ and my Mom got us one of their special creations to remember being raised in CO and visiting their shop. I was SO touched that I cried! I will treasure this sweet gift for years to come.
I will be sporadic about posting this week as we are planning lots of family time, but just had to share some treasures from my weekend!
Friday, December 22, 2006
A king was born in Bethlehem one day
The animals were there and heard His cry
This baby came to give His life away
For all our sins so that we would not die.
Time passed and He grew to be a young man.
Lots of people came to know of His deeds
He learned and taught and lived His Father's plan.
And this God knew would plant so many seeds.
The apostles would spread what they had known
The love tht had been shown to them Divine.
They would tell all men, of God on His throne
In hopes they'd also say ~ "this love is mine."
Jesus was a human like you and I
But, willing to give up His life and die.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
You can get the ends of Christmas trees that have been trimmed free at Lowe's. When you go to get some free greens, scoop up a few of the little slices of wood as well.
Now, pull off all the spindly branches or twigs and any needles. Bake in a 350 oven on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil for about 30-45 minutes. It will harden the sap so they are not sticky and will give your home a delicious smell!
After creating a small hole in the center, just hot glue on the "tree" and star!
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Each roll of dough is 1/2 batch of the following recipe which is included under the wrapper.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
¾ c. granulated sugar
¾ c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Yield: about 6 dozen.
Anyway, they are allowing viewers to download this issue for free by signing in to their website. Click here to log in and experience the inspiration for yourself! Ok, it gets even better ~ visit Matthew Mead's website and you can download patterns, templates, fun papers, gift tags, etc... Check out the Bonus section for past goodies and ideas as well!
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Bake sugar cookies either from homemade or store bought - it is the thought that counts here! Mix white frosting in desired colors - I used store bought as I had a coupon for a free container. Then I put plastic wrap between the colors so I only had to part with one container. I found the sprinkles on sale for 0.39 at Walgreens recently when their spices were on sale and put some peppermint sticks in a small plastic bag. Put all the "ingredients" into a cute gift bag and deliver!
This decorating kit was delivered to our local children's shelter for children who are removed from their homes when it is unsafe.
A small investment of time and certainly inexpensive, this is a great way to reach out to those around us at a time of year where not everyone has time or resources to do this on their own!
Oh, and if you open your cabinet to find that when you last put the red food coloring away there was only one drop and it has dried: add a few drops of water and shake - the color won't be as strong but it got me out of a pinch!
Monday, December 18, 2006
I also made bookmarks (blue) out of cardstock with a photo of our girls and a thank you note letting them know how much we appreciate their faithful service. I printed out a tag on the computer and it explains that they can each select their own gift and a card from us!
I may decide to adopt this as an annual tradition for them - letting them choose from a small variety of homemade inexpensive gifts.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Now, go ahead and relax in front of the cozy fire...
... and remember the real reason we are celebrating Christmas!
Here's your hot chocolate! This recipe is from Everyday Food
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 quart milk
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
7 peppermint sticks; 3 crushed (1/4 c.), 4 left while
pinch of salt
Place cocoa in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk until cocoa has dissolved. Add chocolate chips and crushed peppermint; simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate and peppermint have melted, 8-10 minutes. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Add salt. Ladle into mugs; serve each with a peppermint stick! Serves 4.
Oh, don't forget to add one of these to the top when you're done! Yummy!
Here are our porch and front door decorations!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
She sat by the fireside 'til her eyes became too heavy,
and she wandered off in dreams with elves at play.
Daddy found her sleepin' and took her up to bed,
where she would spend the night in Santa's flying sleigh.
Christmas was a whisper in her ear
Sounds that only children's hearts can hear.
Little one, in the morning when you waken
You'll find your every dream has taken form
There'll be joy...
Christmas day will come to life because of you
you are loved, little one!
Mary lay and pondered until her eyes became too heavy
and she finally found the rest she'd struggled for.
Joseph sat in silence, watched the baby sleeping
wondered what the future held in store.
Angel voices whispered in his ear
Reaching down, he drew the baby near.
Little one, in the morning when you waken
the world will find that God has taken form.
They'll be joy...
And the earth will have new life because of you
You are loved, little one.
Written by Shirley Watson
Recorded by The Oak Ridge Boys
Listen to a clip here.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I made these place cards several years ago, so I cannot tell you what they cost to make though I do remember it was more expensive than most of my cheap ideas. But, it is an old-fashioned craft called tinseled glass. I have used a dry-erase marker to personalize so that they can be re-used! You simply use 2x3 or 3x4 inch pieces of glass that are painted on the back. You then crumple foil and put that between the glass and a cardboard backing and seal with copper foil tape.
This idea was from Country Living, December 1998.
I'll be sharing another placecard idea in the next week or so!
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Toothbrush: Psalm 51:7, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Candy Cane Headband: Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Pony: Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
Animal Crackers: Psalm 119:103, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Paper: Proverbs 7:2-3, “Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Apple: Proverbs 25:11, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Donation: Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”
Necklace: 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.”
Ice Cream Cards: Isaiah 55:1, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”If you're interested in finding verses to go with your stocking stuffers - try a site like this to search by word or phrase in multiple translations.
Monday, December 11, 2006
She e-mailed me today to share a post on diaper deals that we thought you might enjoy. And, if you want my two cents - I use Target brand exclusively. They are the cheapest (even with a coupon on a better brand) and I have been pleased with the quality.
Thanks, Angie for compiling all this info and sharing it with us all year!
These basics are brown paper (Walgreens often has this on sale for buy-one-get-one free or 99 cents a roll) and brown twine (available at the Dollar Store, Big-Lots or Wal-Mart).
I like to decorate mine with a magazine photo (I know, you are so surprised to hear this!) and a cute tag. I either tie on the tag or use a mini clothespin (available at craft stores or sometimes the Dollar Store). The rusty tin snowflakes were a great find on the after-Christmas-clearance last year. I love their primitive look!
You can adapt this to anyone by simply choosing a photo that reflects them or an interest of theirs. Catalogs and magazines provide lots of options for pictures to be clipped! You could also use photos of your family or cut up Christmas cards that you've received to make the pictures or tags.
One thing I've learned: regular Scotch tape will not cut it at holding this paper together. You have to use packing tape - I like the Scotch clear packing tape that Walgreens puts on sale every so often.
This bag is a simple brown kraft paper gift bag. I gathered a few sprigs of evergreen and tied with torn fabric. You simply staple one branch of the greens to the bag and voila!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
*Scare me: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs (Did I mention I am scared of bugs?!)
*I love: God, family, friends, and if I may add a fourth - home and all it stands for.
*I hate: Evil, my own inadequacies, and injustice.
*I don't understand: why common sense isn't so common any more, why people rely so heavily on the government, why anyone would hurt someone else.
*Things on my desk: DVD remote, clipboard, David's mug of sweet tea
*I'm doing right now: Before completing this: I made recipe cards while watching taped episodes of Martha and started working on my to-do for this week.
*I want to do before I die: Make a difference, see my daughters come to know the Lord, and appreciate each day that I do have.
*I can do: Crafty things, smile, and hum!
*I can't do: Drive a stick shift vehicle, draw, make crispy southern fried chicken.
*I think you should listen to: Here I will simply insert Phil. 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."
*You should NEVER listen to: If it doesn't fit with the above.
*I'd like to learn: How to make rag rugs, old fashioned handwriting, and successful vegetable gardening.
*Favorite foods: Broccoli, M & M's, and homemade bread!
*I drink regularly: Water, milk, and Coke!
*Shows I watched as a kid: The Cosby Show, Brady Bunch, and (my favorite for a while) Punky Brewster! (I even wrote a letter to the TV station asking them not to take it off the air when I was 8? years old...)
If you want to play, consider yourself tagged!
Friday, December 08, 2006
Cut two pieces of felt scraps about 1/4 inch larger all around than gift card.
Cut a small shape or initial out of a contrasting color felt scrap.
Stitch straight down the middle of the shape onto the front of one piece of felt.
Stitch pieces together as desired leaving one edge open.
Make a bow and attach it and a tag with a small safety pin.
Cost: FREE! (Or, if you did choose to purchase the felt, they come in sheets at craft stores or Wal-Mart for 20 cents a sheet.)
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Here is mine:
Here are the ones I've made in the past few years:
This year I'm having a hard time with stocking stuffer ideas. We always make a donation to Samaritan's Purse in each of the girls names and put a card in their stocking noting that. But, I'd love to hear your ideas on other *cheap* and *fun* gifties!
My Mom read this poem in Victoria magazine years ago which we have adapted for our gift-giving. Maybe I'll adopt this for stockings instead.
Something to eat,
Something to read,
Something to play with,
Something you need.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Well, this has turned into the tree skirt that wasn't...but, I still have hope that it may turn out. I told you I was working on it and this is what I tried:
I cut the fabric in 1 inch strips and tied them together and wound it all together to make a ball. I had two fabrics and did this for both. Here's where I went wrong - the plaid fabric is thick - it doesn't have enough give to crochet. Lesson learned: use soft cotton fabric and it should work much better. I was then crocheting it into a tree skirt, in a circular pattern, but with a slit so it could be laid around the tree. It was getting so tight that it was turning into a bowl! So, I ripped all that out. Above you will see what I had started after I had ripped out half of it, I decided I should take a picture to remember what I had done so far.
But, I don't want to waste all the fabric I have, so - I am trying a new method. I used two strips of plaid and one strip of green fabric to create lengths and lengths of braid. Now I am going to sew the braids together like a rag rug to form the tree skirt. I hope this will work. In theory, it is something like these ornaments.
In the mean time, I offer you Grace's cute idea - which is to drape homespun fabric around the base of the tree. Oh, the simplicity. My ideas tend to be complicated. So, what do you use for a tree skirt?
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Make your favorite French Toast recipe. Diagonally cut slices of bread into triangles. Lay three triangles of toast to create a "tree". Sprinkle with green sugar. Make a trunk out of sausage links - serve this festive meal on Christmas plates if you have them and play Christmas music in the background!
Monday, December 04, 2006
So, here are my free decorations put to good use:
When my parents were here for Thanksgiving, my Mom and I went to this great store looking at all their Christmas decorations. I saw a door swag that I loved for $68! So, we looked closely and I made the above (very similar) version for zero! I used a wire hanger for the base, wired on evergreen branches and made a homespun bow from my fabric stash. Then I hot glued on some pinecones that I picked up while at Grace's house (actually SHE picked them up - thank you, Grace!) and wired on the old red lantern. I love how it turned out and especially that it was free. Around the door frame, I hung an evergreen garland (not out of real greens) and twisted white lights through it! So welcoming and inviting!
I always love to tie some greens to the two rocking chairs we have on our porch - just lay out the greens and tie on with twine. The red pillows work perfectly, though they are there all year!
This little maple syrup bucket is easy to fill with sprigs of greens and tie a bow around! I love it's greeting at the front door and have another bucket inside the house filled as well! Smells great too!
I also always put greens on both sides of our mailbox. Tie on with twine and make a cute fabric bow from scraps! When I was out there doing this, I was hoping it would cheer our sweet mail lady!
This picture is dark - but, I also tied a few greens to Emily's red wagon! So, when we're out for a walk she will be festive too!
Looking forward to reading all of your ideas as well!
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Here they are:
Thank you, Aubrey - what a fun box!
Thank you, Megan for such a fun idea!