Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Card for A New Year!!

I finally found some time to sneak into my craft room the other day.  I wanted to experiment with a card I'd found on you tube.  I'm sure most of you crafters are familiar with Dawn from Stampin' Up.  This is one of her creations and I love it.  It's called a "Double Flap Card".  Don't mind my choice papers, I just wanted to try it out so I gathered some scraps to try it.  I really like the outcome and it wasn't hard at all.  Give it a try.  Let me know what you think after you do.  Here's mine:

Happy New Year to one and all!!!  Stay safe.  God's blessings on you and your family in 2011.  2011?  I just got used to writing 2010...LOL

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Have to Ease My Way Out...How 'bout You?

We had a very happy Christmas time at our house.  After Wednesday of this week, we will have had three family celebrations at our house and one at my mom's house.  Shew, a busy time of the year but I do love it.  Now I'm dreading the task of taking down all the decorations, but, more than the task I just hate how blah the house looks afterwards.  I love Christmas and I love the warm, fuzzy feeling the tree, glow of the lights, etc. give to the house.  That's why I let Christmas go gradually...LOL.  I don't just put away my Christmas music, I taper off.   I still play it just not quite as much.  I have to ease my way out of Christmas for my own peace of mind.  To me, it is just too depressing otherwise.  I know, I'm kinda' weird that way.  LOL  Here are a few pics of Christmas 2010 at our house.

Prayers needed

My niece's little baby is a very sick little girl this morning.  She is almost 5 months old.  She is on her way to the hospital right now for RSV test and chest x-ray.  Please keep her in your prayers.  Her name is Tessa.  Thank you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Today began with a beautiful snowfall.  We have a guaranteed white Christmas this year.  I'm so excited.  Nothing says Christmas Eve/Christmas Day like clean white snow on the ground.  It just makes everything look so pretty, just like a Christmas card.

My husband and I took a drive in the snow this afternoon just to enjoy the sights.  Oh it was so pretty.  And, what is it about snow?  Have you ever just stepped outside and listened?  I always have to do that.  There is a quiet and peace outside that you never hear at any other time.

We topped off our day by attending the Christmas Eve service at our church.  Our pastor closed the service, like he has for the past 15 years,  with a prayer written by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I'd like to share it with you.
Loving God, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson

This is a picture of the Nativity in the front of our sanctuary.
Merry Christmas everyone!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wish Lists, Gifts, New Beginnings

How is that gift wrapping going?  I am winding mine down, I think.  There always seems to be something at the last minute tucked in a closet that I forgot, but for the most part I'm almost finished..WooHoo!!  Remember when you were a kid and that mile-long wish list?  All you could think about was what you were going to get.  Even though mom taught the real meaning of Christmas, those pretty packages under the tree kept calling my name and at times that was the most important thing to me.  As an adult you begin to look at Christmas differently.  The most important gifts aren't those under the tree or those that can be purchased.  Family and friends, good relationships, those things are priceless and of course, most importantly,  the greatest gift of all, the Lord Jesus. 

I heard a song the other day (sung by John Tesh) that talked about the gift of today, that's God's gift to us.  Each day we have a chance to start again.  We can put past failures and disappointments behind us and move forward with a new day that God has once again granted us.  As we near year's end, looking forward to the new year, we all think of new beginnings and new goals.  Each day when we wake up we need to thank God for the gift of a new day.  What will you do with this gift?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Clock is Ticking

Tick Tock, Tick Tock...can you hear the Christmas clock ticking?  Are your ready?  Almost ready?  The fact is Christmas comes ready or not.  I'm trying to get those "must do" tasks done so I have time to enjoy some Christmas movies while warming by the fire. something hot to drink, a good movie or Christmas carols playing and the fireplace.  So cozy.

I haven't forgotten my post about the Cricut tip.  I've just had some camera issues.  But, I will remind you gals with Cricuts, don't forget the simple things your Cricut can do for you that will still pack a punch.  Picture it, you are ready to walk out the door to take the neighbors some Christmas baked goods before trying to make the annual Christmas pageant on time and you realize you have to tag to add to your goodies.  Fire up your Cricut and use the ornament or tag feature and "ta da" you will have a very impressive looking tag with very little effort  Don't forget when using the ornament feature, you can add some packing tape (sure beats messing with glue)  to the back of the cutout and then sprinkle on some glitter for some extra pizazz!  So simple but yet so pretty.  What did we do before the Cricut?

Here is a challenge for this weekend:  try to get some wrapping/bagging done.  Such a mundane task but it has to be done.  Don't procrastinate...get it done and you will feel better for it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Are You a Cricut Bug?

If you are a serious crafter these days, chances are you own a Cricut.  If you do, stay tuned.  I will give you a quick tip you can use  for those last minute cards, gift tags, tags for your baked goods, etc.  Be on the lookout Wed. or Thurs.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Little Reminder for your Monday...take time for this one!!!

Sometimes in our hectic schedules this time of year, we think we have to do it all by ourselves.  The economy is a mess and I'm sure Christmas shopping is a big challenge.  You may be wondering how it will all work out but remember this one thing "God Will Take Care of You".  Take time, please, to watch this little video (if you haven't seen it already).

Now when you have finished watching it and you've ooo'd and ahhh'd at the cute little boy, watch it again.  This time listen to the words and take them to heart.  You don't have to do this holiday season all by yourself.  After all, you have God taking care of you.  What more could you possibly ask for??!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Year I "Believed"

I say the "year I believed" with tongue in cheek..LOL  I don't know about you but Christmas always brings out the child in me.  I seriously think if it doesn't in you then you need to slow down a bit and just let the Christmas spirit invade your being.  This little chuckle I'm about to share with you today is true and really happened to me.

The Christmas our daughter was 3, she and I made the expected trip to the mall to see Santa.  Of course, we all know that sometimes at that age the excitement of the man in the big red suit is more for mom than the little one.  As was the case this particular year.  Her excitement began to wane as we approached Santa's workshop and she realized she was to go through that gate by herself.  We stood outside looking in at all the pretties as I tried to encourage her to have fun....for my sake..LOL.   While I talked to her about how fun this would be, she continued to resist.  Santa was watching all this and finally he looked at me and said "Just bring her on in Sharlyn."  Needless to say, I was dumbfounded.  Santa knew me by name.  What?  How could this be?  Again, he called out my name.  I couldn't move, I couldn't speak.  You see, unbeknown to me, the husband of one of my mom's cousins was playing Santa that year.  I cannot explain to you the thumping that took place in my heart at that very moment.    It is a story of Santa that always makes me smile every year when I think back on that experience.

Just think, our Heavenly Father, knows us by name.  He calls out to each of us to come to Him.  As you reflect on the Saviour's birth this Christmas season,  reach out to Him.  Remember,  He knows your name and loves you so very much.

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.  Isaiah 43:1

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter Time = Soup Time At Our House

Some requested the soup I mentioned in my first post so here it is:

African Chicken-Peanut Soup

1-1/2 cups cubed peeled sweet potato
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (8oz.)
1 cup bottled salsa
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (16oz.) cans fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
2 (15oz.) cans Healthy Choice Chicken w/ Rice Soup (any brand will do)
1 (15oz) can of black beans, drained
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

Place a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot.  Add sweet potato, onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno; saute for 5 min.  Stir in chicken and next 5 ingredients, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer for 10 min.  Add peanut butter, stirring with a whisk; cook 2 min. Yield 11 1-cup servings.

Now for some time-saving tips I use:

Put you sweet potatoes, unpeel/uncut,  in a pot of boiling water before you begin soup.  Let boil for 10-15 min.  Drain and while holding under cold water those jackets will slip off easily and it also makes cutting that sweet potato so much easier.

Also, I use canned chicken breast and we like it just as well.

Remember to use caution when handling jalapeno peppers. 

Don't let that peanut butter discourage you from trying this recipe, unless of course you have peanut allergy.  I know I probably would not have tried this had I just seen it in a magazine but we had it at a friend's house for dinner and I was sold.  One of our favorite soups.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Let's talk Books

Do you have a favorite holiday book?  I always try to start around November 1 reading books about Christmas.  What can I say?  I love Christmas.  I've read a lot of fiction books over the years but I think my all-time fav is a book entitled "Two From Galilee", a Love Story of Mary & Joseph, by Marjorie Holmes.  I would encourage you to check your public library, church library, and if all else fails purchase it.  You will enjoy it.  Have you ever thought of what Mary's family went through when they found out she was carrying a child?  What about Joseph?  About the town's people?  What did Mary go through when her friends, her siblings found out her news?  It is really fascinating but also very touching.  I hope you will have time to check it out.

Another one is "The Christmas Bus" by Melody Carson.  Such a warm story about several different people who are spending the holidays at a bed and breakfast "The Shepherd's Inn" (catchy, huh?)  The inn is full when a young couple arrives in their bus, they are broke and she is about to deliver their child.  You will laugh and cry as you read this wonderful story.  I certainly enjoyed it.

And last but certainly not least, Karen Kingsbury has a set of 3 Christmas stories sure to warm your heart.  I've read all three and would be hard pressed to name a favorite.  The series of 3 is called "The Red Glove Series".  The first book is called "Gideon's Gift", the second is "Maggie's Miracle" and the third is "Sarah's Song".  These books are very small, a quick read,  so they are perfect for this busy time of year.

Well, that's it for my book reviews.  LOL  These books are all available through Amazon if you don't have time to shop or go to the library.  (I've used Amazon for a few things this year & I'm totally impressed with their service)   I hope I have inspired you today to take time to relax and read a good seasonal book this year.  Taking some time for yourself will renew you for the rest of those holiday tasks on your "to do list".

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Don't Procrastinate!

Happy December 1!  Well it's here "my most favorite time of the year".  But, with it comes more and more tasks to complete.  Over the years I have learned that if there ever was a time not to procrastinate, December is that time.  Procrastination leads to frustration.  Don't waste time being stressed out this year.  Get those cookies baked, gifts wrapped, decorating done so you can sit back and enjoy.  There are many opportunities for fun this time of year, choir performances, plays, parades, and on and on.  Learning to pick and choose what you partake in will keep your life simpler.  You can't do it all so don't even try.  Don't underestimate the value of time at home this year.  Take time to sit down with a cup of hot chocolate, a cozy throw, some good music and admire the awesome job you did decorating that tree.

Speaking of cookies, here is a wonderful recipe I found recently and it is quickly becoming a favorite in our house.  Check it out.