Category Archives: Holidays

10 Hours or Less

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A new year means a new start!  And, like previous new years that have come my way, a resolution is bound to be established.  On Christmas, my mother-in-law, hubby, and myself joined together to make the same resolution together.  Our resolution is simple: We will watch only 10 hours of television a week.

Now, I’m sure some of you are aghast that we watched more than that to begin with.  In an attempt to be as honest with my readers as possible, I will ashamedly admit that I watched A LOT of television previously.  It didn’t feel like it… maybe it was just on in the background while I scrolled through Pinterest, or it was simply something to look at while I mindlessly ate my lunch.  No matter what the reason (or excuse) I had for watching it, the bottom line is it was poisoning me and my health in general.  And I didn’t realize the extent of this until I hit the “power” button.

This morning as I was eating my breakfast, a certain buzzing noise was kind of driving me crazy.  I got up only to realize it was the refrigerator running (better go catch it!).  Is that the sound my refrigerator makes?!  Who knew??  Now, the sounds of my house and my neighborhood in general have become my background noise.  I never knew these sounds existed because the sound of infomercials, car commercials, and screaming reality TV stars were constantly overpowering them.

The idea of the three of us doing this together is for a couple of reasons…
1) accountability: This is not the type of resolution I could do on my own, while my husband sat engulfed in the latest episode of Duck Dynasty.  Let’s face it- I have some willpower, but that situation would not last long.
2) It’s only been a few days, and we are already swapping stories of our various revolutions.  We have become more aware of our stress levels, what we’re eating, our conversations with one another, and our activity level.

I can’t wait to see how this will change us as our resolution continues!

I hope to share with you some of my lessons learned from this change in my life, and I hope I will also have some great DIY projects to share as well.  Now that I have all of this free time, I plan to cook more, start some projects I’ve been wanting to pursue, and definitely post more often on my blog I enjoy so much!

Do you make New Years resolutions?  What are they??  I enjoy hearing from you so much!!

~GOD BLESS!!

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Christmas Eve

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I just want to take a moment to send out some prayers to all of you for a happy, healthy Christmas season.  We aren’t traveling for Christmas this year, and while I miss my family it is nice to host a small
Christmas celebration here at our new home with my mother-in-law.

I leave you now with a Christmas prayer…

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth
~
Philippians 2:8-10

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Christmas Decorating

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Hello loves!

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it is time to start decorating for Christmas!!  I am always excited to decorate my home for Christmas, and this year is no exception!

Here is a sneak peek at some of the decor I have up so far…

The mantel so far…

Christmas trees, glitter, and candles… does it get much better?!

The wreath I made above the mantel

… and a fun basket in the faux fireplace

I can’t get enough of this glitter reindeer!

That’s all I have to share for now, but I will be posting more soon!  I would love to see how you are decorating your home for the holidays!

Punkin Seeds!

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Of course I know “punkin” isn’t a real word, but that’s how my husband refers to pumpkins so this post title is dedicated to him.  Love you, even if you use language sometimes that would make me think you have fewer teeth than you actually do.

I would like to share with you a Halloween tradition for me since college.  Thanks to my roomies my sophomore year of college, I discovered what most people already know: that pumpkin seeds toasted with seasoning salt are the best.thing.ever.    I love carving pumpkins around Halloween, but knowing that you will ultimately end up with a tasty treat makes it that much more enjoyable!

First, of course: carve those pumpkins!!  Have fun with it!  What face are you making? Is it a character? A person?  An animal?  Go crazy!

Matt going to town on his punkin

Once you have all of the innards out of the pumpkin, separate the seeds from the goo.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  After separating, rinse all of the pumpkins seeds so they are free of “pumpkin film”.  Then put them on an ungreased cookie sheet.  It’s ok if they’re wet – the water will evaporate in the oven.

Now you will sprinkle all of the seeds with the seasoning salt of your chosing.  I prefer Lawry’s, but it’s totally up to you.

Put the seeds in the oven for about 10-14 minutes.  I recommend checking them at 10 minutes to do a taste test.  There’s nothing worse to me than a soggy pumpkin seed, but some prefer them soggy.
If you prefer them on the crispy side like myself, leaving them in for closer to 12 minutes is perfect.

Yummy!

Now you are free to enjoy!

Here’s what our pumpkins look like on the front porch:

I love this fall wreath!

You literally have to hoard your own secret stash of pumpkin seeds if you want them to last more than a day in our house.
Is this a Halloween tradition in your home?  As always, I love to hear from you!

Easter Project

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Is it just me, or were we just celebrating the New Year?! I can’t believe this Sunday we will be celebrating Easter.  Just as last year, we are celebrating by gathering with Matt’s family.  Last year I made these really fun bird’s nest treats and I would love to share them with you.  This is a great activity to do with children as well!

Here are the ingredients you will need to get started:

  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • shredded wheat (six large “loaves”)
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips (also a great opportunity to melt down leftover chocolate Easter bunnies)
  • wax paper or cooking spray
  • cookie sheet, muffin tin, or ramekins
  • Cadbury mini eggs or jelly beans (for eggs)
  • Recipe yields 12-15 mini nests

Step 1: Put six “loaves” of shredded wheat into a large bowl .  Crunch them up (or have your child crunch them) into flakes.

Step 2: Add 1 cup of coconut to the shredded wheat, toss until mixed well.

Step 3 There are a few different options with this step:  1.) Using a cookie sheet/metal tray covered with wax paper or 2.) Using a muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray or 3) Use a ramekin sprayed with cooking spray.  The cookie sheet option DID NOT work for me, but it may work for most skilled bakers.  My favorite option is to use ramekins because each person gets their own container.  Plus, it’s a lot easier to create the shape of the nest with the muffin tin or ramekin.  So for step 3, prep your pan of choice.

Step 4: Use a double boiler (or a heat-safe bowl set over pot of bowling water) to melt 2 cups of chocolate chips.

Step 5: Pour melted chocolate over wheat mixture and mix up until the chocolate evenly coats.

Step 6: Form the nests, either in the muffin tins or on the tray. Make sure to make a little center for your eggs.

OR…

Step 7: Put in your eggs and put in the fridge to harden. If you used a muffin tin, use a knife to “pop” out the nest after it’s hardened

This is how my tray of bird’s nests looked:

 If you use the muffin tin, the nests will have a more structured form, like this:

If you do not use a muffin tin or ramekin, the nests will be more free form, like this:

This is what the nests looked like in a ramekin:

To make this project even more kid-friendly, there is a special book to read along with this project.  It’s called The Story of the Easter Robin, by Dandi Daley Mackall.  You can find it here.  This is a beautiful story about the reason the Robin has a red breast.

Here is a great excerpt from the story “The thorn gave way. And as it came out a drop of Jesus’ blood fell onto the robin’s breast, staining it red from that day to this.”

I hope you all have an amazing last week of Lent and a special Easter Sunday with those you love.

GOD BLESS!!

Magazine Christmas Trees

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As I’ve stated before, I love DIY projects for Christmas gifts.  In addition to gifts, I enjoy DIY projects for holiday decorating as well.  I’ve been meaning to fill you in on one of my favorite DIY Christmas projects for a while, and I’ve finally had time to do so!  This project is SUPER easy and the Christmas trees look great!  I have about 7 of them throughout my house.  The best part?  They’re made from magazines.  Whether you use thick magazines (think “O” magazine), or catalogs you get in the mail, these Christmas trees make for fun, funky holiday decor!

Step 1: Break the spine of the magazine.  You want it to be flexible.

Step 2: With the magazine facing you, fold the page from the top right corner.  Begin by folding the front cover.  

Continuing folding each page until the entire magazine is folded 

Step 3: Beginning with the lower right point of the triangle you’ve created, fold each page of the magazine a second time.  The pages will look diamond-shaped.  

This is how the magazine will look after step 3:

It will be fairly thick

Step 4: There will be a small triangle at the bottom.  Fold the triangle and tuck it into the folded paper above.  This will transform your diamond into a triangle.   

This is how your magazine will look after step 4:

TA-DAH! Your magazine Christmas tree is complete!  While no tape is necessary, I tape the front cover and the back cover (not to each other, separately).  They tend to want to come undone because of the thickness of the cover paper.  From here you can leave your tree as is, or you can decorate it accordingly.  Here are some trees from my house decorated in various ways.  The possibilities are truly endless!

This tree was sprayed with adhesive, then sprinkled with glitter

The front 2 trees were spray painted with different metal tones

As a centerpiece for a gathering

I hope this has been helpful to you.  I have enjoyed making these Christmas trees for years and they are always a fun conversation piece.  These also store fairly well, so at the end of the season you can just fold them down and put them away until next year!

GOD BLESS!!

Lemon Body Scrub

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I am all about homemade presents, especially for Christmas!  We put too much emphasis on material gifts this time of year, and lose focus on the true reason for the season.  Therefore, I try to create homemade gifts as much as possible.  In turn, homemade gifts are always my favorite to receive.  For all you busy ladies, I know this may not be a possibility, but trust me when I tell you this lemon body scrub will take 5 minutes of your time.  And the best part is you probably have the THREE (yes, 3) ingredients necessary to make this scrub in your kitchen right now!

I know scents this time of year focus on cinnamon, peppermint, chocolate, etc. but I’m going to change it up and throw lemon into the mix!  Lemon has a great ability to lift your mood and energize you.  I hope this scrub gives you that extra boost of energy you need!

Here are the ingredients you will need:

2 lemons
1.5 cups cane sugar
3/4 cups olive oil

Directions:

Step 1: Put entire amount of cane sugar in medium-sized bowl

This is the cane sugar I use

Step 2: Slowly pour olive oil over cane sugar.  Fold olive oil into cane sugar.  Do not pour entire amount of olive oil into cane sugar at one time, as you want to keep the sugar separated from the olive oil.  The consistency should be a thick paste.

It will look like this:

Step 3:  Zest your lemons.  Sprinkle zest over the olive oil and cane sugar mixture, fold together.

lemon zest!

Step 4: Pour juice from 2 lemons over mixture.  Mix together.  The final product will look like this:

Transfer your mixture into an air-tight container.  Feel free to decorate and gift!

I got this container from Ikea a while ago, but haven’t found a use for it yet- until now!  This body scrub is just perfect for this jar!  How cute would that look in your bathtub?!

GOD BLESS!