Christmas · Gifts

A Gift for Jesus

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I’m sure most of us are consumed right now with Christmas preparations, and that includes buying and giving gifts. We give gifts to those we care about with the desire to give something that will display our love.

While you’re thinking about what to give, have you considered what you’ll give the Lord this Christmas? It is, after all, His birthday! What could you and I give that would demonstrate our love for Him?
Need a few suggestions?
  • A monetary gift to a missionary
  • The provision for a child to go to Christian camp this summer
  • A Christian book or CD to an unsaved friend or loved one
  • How about sharing a tract with the people standing at the Salvation Army posts?
  • Take Christmas cookies to the waiting rooms at the hospital on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and share God’s love and care for them
  • Deliver goodies to the Fire department on Christmas Day and include Gospel tracts
  • A donation to the Christian radio station that has encouraged you this year

We give gifts to each other because God gave us the greatest gift – His Son. Let’s thank Him by remembering to give Him a gift this Christmas!

Do you have any other good suggestions for a gift to give Him? Tell us about it!

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baking · Christmas · Gifts · Uncategorized

Hot Chocolate Mug Cake

How does this sound – Hot, gooey, fudgy cake ready in 90 seconds?! Not only is it really delicious cake, it can also be assembled to give as a special gift for the chocolate lover in your life!  Can you think of anyone who would appreciate a hot little cake that is ready except for three little ingredients?  Mix it up, pop it into the microwave, and in 90 seconds the cake is ready to eat!

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I found this recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake in the recent edition of Southern Living Magazine.  I whipped up four of these for my neighbors this week and they were super easy and cute as well!  Each mug makes a really generous portion – so you could even share, but hey, it’s Christmas, right?  You might want to enjoy the whole mug yourself!

Here are the ingredients:

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake

Ingredients

DRY MIX

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons mini marshmallow

 

How to Make It

Step 1

For each cake, combine all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, kosher salt, unsweetened cocoa, chopped toasted pecans, bittersweet chocolate chips, baking powder, and cinnamon in a small food-safe gift bag. Place mini marshmallows in a separate bag. Place both bags inside a 12-oz. microwavable mug.

Step 2

To prepare each cake, stir whole milk, canola oil, and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients in mug. Microwave on HIGH until cake rises and is cooked through, 60 to 90 seconds. Remove from microwave; sprinkle marshmallows on top. Microwave on HIGH 5 more seconds. Serve immediately.

Here’s how I wrapped mine up to give away:

 

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You might not be able to have everyone you love over for chocolate cake, but with this simple recipe, you might be able to give them all a cake of their own!

You can watch a video of the process here:

Happy baking/Gift-giving!

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Gifts · hospitality

Hostess Gift Guide

Hostess gift

When someone invites you into their home, they’ve gone out of their way to do so.  What do you to do let them know how much you appreciate their kindness and hospitality?  There are lots of creative things to do, and I got to share a few fun/frugal ideas on my daughter’s You tube channel today.  I hope you’ll go here and check out the whole video we did together!

My mind has been reeling since we filmed that video and I’ve thought a whole list of other ideas you could give to say Thank you!

  1. Buy single, large plates as you  find them on sale or at Goodwill shops.  Use them to fill with piles of cookies or goodies.  No need to return the plate!
  2. A special book or cookbook is a long-remembered gift.
  3. Bags of Coffee or a box of Teas, as well as a container of cream, if you know their preference.
  4. Room Spray in a mild fragrance
  5. Bath splurge items – Bath bomb, bubbles or special soap
  6. Special Kitchen soaps and dish cloths
  7. Oven mitts, or hot pads tied together with a pretty ribbon
  8. Olive oil – Even special flavored oils would be nice, accompanied by dipping spices
  9. Bakery or homemade bread and a jar of jam (maybe even also homemade!)
  10. Gift card for a special place for dessert
  11. Pretty pads of paper for kitchen memos and a pen
  12. A guest book for them to log the guests that come into their home.
  13. Cloth napkins
  14. Spices or herbs in pretty jars
  15. Holiday cookie accessories – Sprinkles and/or cookie cutters

Don’t go empty handed this holiday season.  Be a gracious guest and let your hostess how much you appreciate them inviting you into their busy lives and home!

Do you have another suggestion for a hostess gift?

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Christmas · Crafting · evangelism · Events · Gifts · Home decor · Thanksgiving

Pinterest Party Success!

Last Friday I mentioned that our church was hosting our 7th Pinterest party on Saturday.  We had over 70 women, with more than half of them being visitors!  It was so much fun!  It was filled with new friends, great food found on Pinterest, fellowship, and a challenge from God’s Word.  Where would you find Pinterest in the Bible?!  Our speaker showed us!  =)  It was in all the words like, Search, Save, Follow, etc.  So good!

Then of course there was tons of great crafting!  I made only one complete craft, due to helping others with theirs, but that’s okay!  I made many new friends and had a great time!! I thought I’d share with you some of the crafts that were available for us to make.  You could make them ALL for $10!

Wood ornaments

Hip2Save | Not Your Grandma's Coupon Site

Pumpkin Garland

Make this simple yarn pumpkin garland for your fall mantel!

Salt Scrub

Two Fabulous Natural Body Scrub Recipes

Grapevine wreath with felt flowers

Beats trying that with a tomato or orange... 12 More Simple Ideas to Make Everyone Think You’re Crafty | SnarkEcards http://snarkecards.net/12-more-simple-ideas-to-make-everyone-think-youre-crafty/

14 inch Grapevine Wreath Burlap Yellow & Gray by BlessingsAllMine, $34.00

Cinnamon Ornaments

Cinnamon stick Christmas ornaments are easy to make, smell wonderful and make great gifts for friends and family.

Paper journals

make your own notebooks. This is awesome. Last time I wanted to make a personalized notebook, I couldn't find a design I wanted and ended up making everything from scratch. Sewing the pages and everything, totally over 8 hrs of work. This will be much easier for a little gift.

Painted Pine Cones

Delightfully Noted: Painted Pine Cones.....

Most of the crafts were super easy to put together.  I think most everyone went home with a bag full of completed projects!  This has become a favorite event of our ladies each year.  It’s so well executed and is a great tool to reach out to unchurched ladies!  I’ve blogged about it here and you can see how Christina pulls it all together.

If you’re interested in the “how-to” of any of the above crafts, you can find them on this page on Pinterest.  They’re all such cute ideas!

Pinterest is my favorite place to browse for ideas!  I’ve “pinned” LOTS of them with everything from recipes to sewing patterns, and I’ve tried many, many of them.  It’s just a great tool that saves leg work and the accumulation of books.  Anyone else love it like I do?

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baking · Bread · Fall · Gifts

Hello Pumpkin!

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When we recently experienced a very cool morning, all I could think about was baking! I dug into my trusty recipe box and found a tried and true Southern Living recipe for Pumpkin Bread, just a plain, straightforward recipe with nothing extra added, which meant I had all the ingredients! It makes 3 loaves, too! Since I intended to share 90% of the results, that was an added blessing! I baked them up in small pans, yielding 6 delicious loaves. They’re a perfect size wrapping up to give to friends! Even if you make them in the regular size pans, you’ll have one to keep, one to freeze, and one to give away!

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If you’re in a baking mood as I have been, and are hungry for something simply pumpkin, you’ll love this recipe!

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

How to Make It

Step 1

Stir together flour and remaining ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Divide batter evenly among 3 greased and floured 9- x 5-inch loaf pans.

Step 2

Bake at 350° for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted into center of each loaf comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire rack.

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It couldn’t be any easier!  Whip up a loaf, perk some coffee, and invite a friend over for some sweet Pumpkin fellowship!

With love from my country kitchen,

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Family life · Gifts · Husband

Family Friday – Valentine’s Day On a Low Budget

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Valentine’s Day is next week and you have little money to celebrate! What do you do?

All is not lost!  There are a ton of ideas to make the day special for you and your spouse!  Let me give you a few affordable suggestions:

  • Get a pad of sticky notes at the Dollar Tree.  On separate pages, write
    • attributes you love about  your spouse
    • a memory of special events/happenings in your relationship over the years
    •  clues to find a hidden gift (more on the gift below)
  • Put the notes
    • All over the inside of his car!
    • All over the house
    • Inside the shower
    • In his daily path –
      • inside his Bible
      • on the bathroom mirror
      • on his coffee cup
      • in his closet
      • in his shoes
      • on the computer screen
  • Give a loving gift
    • Fill a box with little things he loves
      • His favorite candy bar
      • A favorite pen
      • $5 gift card to favorite fast food or coffee place
      • A  favorite movie dvd (even checked out from the library!)
      • A favorite Bible verse printed out from the computer
      • The favorite cookie or brownie you make
      • A favorite picture of the two of you in an inexpensive frame
    • Get him a small journal where you can record your dates and what you do in the next year!
    • Go to a used book store and find a great book he’d love.
  • Dress up for an evening at home.
  • If you have children, make dinneritme a time for the family.  Set the table with red and white.  Add conversation hearts scattered on the tablecloth (yes, add a tablecloth), burn some candles or votives.  Serve salad first, then clear the dishes and serve the main course.  Dessert idea below.
  • Give the children little heart boxes of their own chocolates – if Whitman’s is too expensive, they have cute boxes at the Dollar Tree!
  • To make a heart shaped cake, mix up a box of cake mix and pour half in a round pan and half in a square pan.  After baking and cooling, cut the round cake in half.  Put the square cake on a platter so it looks like a diamond shape.  Put half of the round on the top right and the other on the top left – voila!  It’s a heart!  Cover with pink or white icing.
  • Give the children their dessert after supper.  Save yours and your husband’s for later.
  • After the kids are in bed, serve dessert by candlelight in your bedroom.  Serve it on your good dishes.  If you need to bring in a small table, do so.  Make it special!  Light candles in the room.  Turn on some soft music.
  • If you need a chocolate dessert idea, here’s a favorite of mine!

So, is there an idea here you think you could use?  I hope so!  I also hope you take these ideas and implement them into every day of your marriage!  Valentine’s Day isn’t the day to get caught up or to make up for what you should’ve been doing.  Make the day special, then keep it going all year!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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accessories · Christmas · Christmas decor · Gifts · Home decor

Dazzling Ideas for the Holidays

Every now and again I get a good idea! I thought I would share three of those with you today that might help your holiday, too!

1. I keep two of those “under-bed-storage” boxes filled with my wrapping paper, ribbon, bows and tape. The other day while wrapping gifts on the floor, I realized that the top of one of those boxes would be the perfect place to lay the package and wrap it. I placed a fabric cutting guide on top to make it a flat surface, and it made it the perfect “table” for gift wrapping. So not only is this the place that is the central location for all of my materials, it is also the wrapping station!

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2.  I love the Wet and Wild nail polish, especially the mega last. I love it because it REALLY does last! I recently bought a glittery nail polish for the holidays, because Christmas and New Year’s need a little glitter!

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I layered the glitter over the color just to add a little sparkle. It was just enough without looking over the top. If you’re looking for a way to dazzle up your look a little, add some sparkle in your nail polish! It’s a fun addition!
The colors shown here are:  (the one in the back) Undercover – I love it because it goes with pinks or reds.  The Glitter doesn’t have a color, the only thing on the bottle is “Shine,” but the bar code is 77802 54803.

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3.  My last idea was concerning decorating my bedroom mantle. I didn’t want greenery and all that kind of Christmas decor, but just some winter touches. I changed it, then changed it again, and then again. I think I finally have it in a way I love. Here’s what made a difference –

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  • Grouping my Willow Tree collection together on one end. If you scatter a collection, they get lost; grouping them together shows off their beauty.
  • Adding a pop of red also gives the mantle that effect. It needed something on that end, and red roses are perfect for Christmas!
  • If something doesn’t look right in your decor, keep “fluffing” until you love it. Group like things together, let the heights vary so your eye moves up and down. Add a pop of color.
  • Oh, and add a cat in the room and it will ALWAYS be the perfect touch!  =^..^=

I hope one of my “dazzling ideas” inspired you! I’d love to hear if they did! Now carry on with your Christmas preparations!

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