Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year Thinking–A Vessel of Hope!


The new year is around the corner!   Excitement fills our hearts, as we think about putting the past in its place and forging ahead to new beginnings. 

Turning over a new leaf.
Making changes.
Seeing improvements.
Accomplishing goals.
Starting fresh.

All of us love the thrill of HOPE.  Life is tough, and hope carries us.  The potential of positive change makes us press on towards better things.

The start of a new year is amazing.  If you think about it, nothing really "magical" happens.  We just flip the page on the calendar and start writing a new year on our checks.

The miracles happen within US, though.

The miracles happen as we transform our minds from thinking dull, laborious thoughts to glorious, life-filled inspirations!

As the new year approaches, may we challenge ourselves to be "new year" thinkers every moment of our lives, not just on January 1st... not just for the first month of 2013.

May the hope of Jesus Christ's good work in our lives and in this world carry us through the hard times and encourage us to keep pressing on.... to keep setting goals for ourselves and push outside the ordinary to extraordinary.

And let us not grow weary while doing good,
for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Best Gifts


When I was a child, I LOVED opening gifts on Christmas.  As I have grown older, I still enjoy receiving gifts, but I absolutely love giving them. I love blessing people and seeing the joy on their faces when they open the gift.  I love knowing that I have touched a heart and brought some happiness.

The experience of giving someone a precious gift reminds me that it is the love, joy, and fulfillment of that experience that is actually the gift in and of itself.

The best gifts in life are those that stem from the very heart of God and reach the soul of man, blessing his days with pleasant emotions.

Our treasured family and friends
Peace during a trial
The secure sense of protection
Sincere and committed love between a husband and wife
Sacrificial love from a parent to a child
The value of self-control
The awe we feel when we see God’s beauty around us
Knowing God personally.

Each day we are presented with valuable gifts.

This Christmas, may we remember the best gifts – the wonderful experiences we have every day with our every day people and every day lives.

This Christmas, may we remember, of course, the best gift of all… that Jesus Christ, God Himself, came to earth that we might have life abundantly.

Thank you, Jesus!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Festive Cranberry Salsa

Cranberry Salsa

I ran into this yummy salsa at a recent Christmas party.  Doesn’t it look so festive?

The color combination is spectacular, and the taste is unique and surprising. This dip is sweet, tangy, and has a bit of a kick altogether.  If you are a skeptic, I still recommend you try it.  A friend of mine was hesitant and liked it once she tried it!

I got this version of the recipe (with just a tad less sugar) from the lady at the party, but I actually found the original recipe on the back of the bag of cranberries I bought. 

Cranberry Salsa
Printable Version

1 bag of cranberries
1 bunch of green onionsPC160013
1 bunch of cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds taken out
1/2 cup sugar
Lime juice from 2 limes
pinch of salt

Chop the first four ingredients finely, and combine all ingredients or you can use a food processor to process the ingredients.

This tastes great with tortilla chips!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Decorated Sugar Cookies


Last week my daughter and I made decorated sugar cookies.  They were her choice.  We were baking cookies for the bake sale I hosted for our girls’ groups at church, and I let her choose what she wanted to make.

These cookies look a bit tedious, and well, to be honest, they are.  However, they are not that difficult to make with some guidance and patience.  You just need a good dose of time on your hands.

First make the dough.  That step isn’t too hard, but you have to let it chill an hour or so before working with it to make the shapes.  There are a slew of recipes all over the internet for sugar cookie dough.  Here’s the one I used.

After chilling the dough, you can use your cutters to create the shapes you want and bake the cookies.

Once the cookies are cool you can decorate them.

We used Alton Brown’s Royal Icing.  We followed the directions and then put most of the icing in a plastic bag to pipe it.  (You can always use a plastic bag rather than a piping bag.  Just cut a TINY bit off one corner.  You can always cut more, so be careful at first.  You will pipe the frosting out of that hole you just made.)

You also want to put some of the frosting in a bowl and thin it with some water until it pours off the spoon.  You will use this to flood your cookies.

You can tint your frosting with food coloring, if you desire.


First, outline your cookies by piping some frosting along the edge.


Next flood the cookies with some of the thin icing and spread it around with a toothpick.  If you have a plastic squeeze bottle, this would be a great time to use it!


Decorate the icing with sugars, sparkles, and pearls!  It will dry over a short period of time, so you want to make sure you finish decorating your cookies while the icing is still wet.


Be festive, have fun, and enjoy!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

This is Your Life


This is your life.

All of today’s blessings, challenges, opportunities,
and duties make up your life.

Accept it.

Enjoy it.

Don’t despise today.  Accept it for what it is.

Live your life with joy.  Today.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Yogurt, Oatmeal, Honey Face Mask


We did these masks recently at my daughter’s birthday party.
The girls enjoyed themselves and felt quite pampered.

Right about now, you may be feeling quite stretched as you attempt to juggle all of the demands of life and the holiday season.

You need a time-out – a good, soothing, pampering, wholesome, homemade face mask!

It is refreshing just to take some time to sit quietly and give your skin a pick-up.  This mask feels cool and refreshing and leaves your skin feeling so soft afterwards.  The ingredients are simple and healthful.  My friend even tasted the mixture and said it would be a good breakfast!

Yogurt Oatmeal Honey Face Mask
recipe found here, along with other wonderful homemade spa recipes

1/4 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 T honey

Finely grind rolled oats in a blender or food processor.
In a small bowl mix honey and yogurt.
Add oatmeal.
Mix.  Put on face and neck. 
Rest, relax, wait… for 15 minutes. 
NOTE:  This recipe makes a good amount, so be sure to grab your daughter or a friend to share this wonderful experience with you!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Give Jewelry–Bracelets that Benefit Children in Need!

If you’re looking to buy a Christmas gift, a birthday present, a token of appreciation, or just something simple for yourself, check out “Give Jewelry”!


My daughter loved this friendship bracelet I got her for her birthday!

With every bracelet you purchase, Give Jewelry provides one week of nutritious food (that's 21 meals!) for a child in need. (Quoted from their web site).

That’s right!  You can purchase affordable, adorable bracelets and give towards a good cause at the same time!

I recently purchased some bracelets from “Give Jewelry” and was very happy with their customer service and products. 

“Give Jewelry” sells friendship bracelets, leather bracelets, wrap bracelets, and more!  Check them out!

Note:  I am not receiving big kudos to do this plug on my blog.  I just think this is such a great way to buy gifts for people and help the needy altogether.