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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Inspired by . . . a challenge

I took a few minutes today to play with a challenge from Kim.  Kim provided the image and the texture and I got the quote out of a Christmas letter from some dear friends.




May your 2013 be filled with extra-ordinary moments.

Happy New Year!






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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Inspired by. . . snowballs

Were you a victim of that email that was going around a year or so ago? When you opened the email. . . splat! A snowball would explode on your screen.

Well, have no fear.  I'd much rather eat snowballs than throw them!

Since much of the country is stuck inside the house with their children due to the frightful weather we're having, I thought an easy, fun and yummy recipe might be in order.




Snowball Cookies


1 C butter, softened

1/2 C sugar

2 C flour

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 to 1 C nuts, chopped (walnuts or pecans are my favorite)

Powdered sugar, as needed


Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until combined.  Add flour and nuts.  Beat well.  Shape dough into small round balls.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  Remove and dip into powdered sugar.  Re-dip in powdered sugar when cool, if necessary.



We hope your family had a happy

and blessed Christmas!






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A Crafty Soiree One Artsy Mama

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Inspired by. . . pearls

In the midst of your Christmas preparations, perhaps you'll have time to pause. . . for a story.


The Pearls

A cheerful girl with bouncing golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

"Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please. Mommy, please!" Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.

"A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from grandma."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more then her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked if she could pick dandelions for 10 cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere-Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off is when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.



Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story.
One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"

"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess-the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite."

"That's okay, Honey, Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"

"Daddy you know I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."

"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And, when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you."

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand taking the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of beautiful genuine pearls. He had had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so that he could give her genuine treasure.


Just like our Heavenly Father.

What are you hanging on to?






Story credit: If I remember correctly, I originally received this story in an email. Author unknown. If you know who penned this sweet story, please comment so proper credit is given. Thank you.


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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Inspired by . . . a tree

I want to share with you some scenes from my friend's Christmas tree.  It's a beautiful tree, boasting over 700 ornaments. 





If we're comparing ourselves to Christmas trees, I want to be just like this one: warm, bright and joyful!




That's what our Pastor was doing yesterday; comparing us to Christmas trees.  I thought I'd share a few of his points with you.


You, me and the Christmas Tree...

Like the Christmas tree, we are picked (and placed).

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;" (Jer. 1:5)

"I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of Me." (Acts 26:16)

"You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother's body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful... All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old." (Ps. 139:13-16)




We were purchased.

"God brought you with a high price." (1 Cor. 6:20)

'[Jesus was] in all pointed tempted as we are, yet without sin.' (Heb. 4:15)

"He never sinned, but he died to bring you safely home to God." (1 Pet. 3:18)


Like us, the tree does not have the ability to purchase itself.




We are pruned.

"My Father is the gardener... He trims and cleans every branch that produces fruit so that it will produces even more fruit." (Jn. 15:2)

"[Jesus] himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree..." (1 Pet. 2:24)




Through it all, He decorates us with the fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Even more, He gives us gifts. Not only to keep, but to give to others who pass by.  The star is His word, the light unto our path. And angels hover above, ministering and watching over us.

Such a beautiful picture. 

There is one difference between us and the Christmas tree, though.  The tree doesn't have any say in the matter.  We do.

Stand tall and let Him do His work.

And when you're done kneeling at the manger this Christmas, walk over and kneel at the tree.








You can watch or listen to the entire sermon here:

Because of Bethlehem



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One Artsy Mama

Friday, December 14, 2012

Inspired by . . . cooking light


I've been struggling to write this post all day.

It's hard to be inspired, merry and bright, in light of today's tragedy.

My heart hurts.

Thoughts and prayers are lifted heavenward.  I know He hears.

Truly, there are no words.


I've been wanting to share this little "trick" with you ever since I opened the December edition of Cooking Light.




This is one of my favorite holiday treats. I'm definitely a "label reader" but have always pretty much ignored the facts when it comes to eggnog. Although I personally do not, I know a lot of people like to add rum, bourbon, or brandy to this special treat.  Cooking Light claims that the typically holiday eggnog contains 410 calories and 16 grams of fat!

Yup, that's why our clothes feel a bit more snug come January 1st!

Now before you choke on your eggnog, Cooking Light has come up with a way to drastically reduce those numbers!

How does 156 calories and 2 grams of fat sound?

How did they do it? Well, in part they used melted vanilla ice cream.  I'll admit. I was skeptical. Does melted ice cream really taste like eggnog?

Oh, yeah, it does!

Here's my, slightly tweaked, version:


Ultimate Eggnog Trick – the Inspired version

1/2 cup light vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup rice milk

1/8 – 1/4 tsp. rum extract

Let the ice cream melt, then stir in your milk choice and the extract and . . . indulge!





You can get all the fun & festive original details right here: Ultimate Eggnog Trick


Have a wonder-filled day!







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Chef In Training A Crafty Soiree Nap-Time Creations

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Inspired by. . . Delightful December Guest Post

I'm guest-posting over at Nap Time Creations today.

Come on over and join us for a...

Nap-Time Creations



Have a wonder-filled day,


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Inspired by. . . Delightful December

Well it's that time of year again! Sing it with me!


It's the most wonderful time... of the year!


If you were with me last year, you may remember my Inspired Noel series.  You may find some of these posts worth reviewing again this year.




This year, I'm excited to be a part of Emily's (naptime creations) Delightful December series. . . going on all month long!


Nap-Time Creations


Here's a look at the great line up Emily has put together:

1. Angela@Hoops by Hand 3. Emily 4. June@Inspired by... 5. Emily 6. Jamie@LovesBakesGoodCakes 7. Emily 8.Alyssa@therecipecritic

10. Emily 11.Krissy@BInspiredMama 12. Emily 13.Katie@FunHomeThings 14. Emily 15. OPEN 17. Emily 18. Jenna@MumCentral 19. Emily 20. Nancy@SkinnyKitchen 21. Emily 22.Jutta@HungryLittleGirl


As you can see, I'll be guest-posting on December 4th.  I hope you'll stop by to see what I'm sharing and be sure to check in all month long to see the merry crafts, yummy recipes and other jolly fun the other bloggers will be sharing!

In the meantime, we're taking a road trip to see my sweet new niece! 




...and take a much needed vacation!  I'll be sharing a few scenes of the season along the way.








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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Inspired by. . . year end – ings

It's been a fabulous and inspiring year over at Kim's Café! I can't believe this week marks the last Texture Tuesday party of the year! It can only mean one thing: holiday craziness is about to ensue! I'm for a little holiday PEACE this year, how about you?



Textured with Kim's Autumn Burst


I thought a collage of images from 2012 would be fitting for the last TT of the year. That's my precious {new} niece in the center. After disrupting everyone's Thanksgiving dinner, she finally made an appearance this past Friday!  I hope your Thanksgiving celebration held similar blessings.

And now we march on to Christmas! This Sunday marks the first Sunday of Advent.  Whatever your reasons for celebrating Christmas, counting down to the 25th can be a fun and meaningful experience.

Last year I shared with you a very special Advent calendar that my Nana made for me when I was a child. You can view that post here.  I'm always looking for new and fun advent calendar ideas. I've found a few this year and you can check them out on my CHRISTmas Pinterest board! Don't miss the link to over 30 calendar ideas!

If you're looking for a digital calendar, Jacquie Lawson has amazed us again! This year she's offering an Olympic look at London as well as a charming Alpine Village. You can demo all the fun right here!

In addition to counting down with an Advent calendar, I also enjoy {and am always blessed by} the spiritual aspect of Advent.  Every year I choose a book that explores the Truths and blessings of the Advent season.  This year I'm especially excited because our Pastor, Rich Ronald, has published his four-part sermon series, Be Born In Me. Based on the song "Be Born in Me," by Nichole Nordeman and Bernie Herms this book explores what should be every Believer's heartfelt cry.




The cold weather in Texas this morning certainly has me in the mood for hot cocoa and jingle bells!  I'm itching to decorate Casa Verde, but that will have to wait until we return from visiting my new niece!

In the meantime, I'd love to hear about the creative ways that you count down to Christmas!


Have a wonder-filled day,







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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Inspired by. . . snail mail

Love getting letters? little notes of inspiration and not so news worthy anecdotes?

I have to admit, I like getting {snail} mail. And at no time of year is that more true than at Christmas time!

The "catching you up with my life" letters are the best. I enjoy the snowy scenes, manger scenes and forest critters on the paper cards that come my way. But my favorite by far are the holiday photo cards!



Available through  Persnickety Prints


It's true, pictures are worth a thousand words. Don't you agree?



Available through Snapfish


Over the years I've sent many Christmas letters and cards proclaiming the Reason for the season.  Funny, as much as I love the photo cards, I've never sent one myself! This year I decided to let the pictures do the talking!  My first inclination, naturally, was to design and print the cards myself. But, as evidenced from my lack of posts recently, my time has become a rare commodity!  Also, after figuring the cost of paper and ink to produce the quantity I needed, online retailers like Persnickety Prints and Snapfish were far cheaper by comparison! {those just happen to be the two I checked, there are many options out there!}




Available through Snapfish


As you can see by some of the examples I've posted here, there are many creative options available!



Available through Snapfish


Both sites I visited offered easy to use, custom design tools.  I will say that I liked the search-ability at Snapfish the best. You are able to filter the card choices by color, number of pictures, size etc. which was very helpful for me since I needed a card with 6 or more photo options. Having said that, I will also say that Persnickety Prints has a very favorable rating in the scrapbooking community for quality and attention to detail. {Neither company has any idea who I am or that I'm mentioning them in this post}



Available through Snapfish


I played with five or six designs before choosing the one I liked best.  I really had fun with this! And am looking forward to getting the printed cards in the mail, ready to send to friends and family!

What about you? Do you send Christmas cards? letters? photo cards? or nothing at all?


Have a wonder-filled day,






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