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Apple Cider Donut Cake

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Do you love apple cider? Do you love donuts? Do you love cake? If you answered affirmatively do any or all of these questions, you're going to want to head to the kitchen with this recipe immediately. Not only is this beautiful cake soft in the middle and a little crunchy on the outside like your favorite donut, it's sugar crusted and overflowing with apple flavor.  Instead of asking what you can bring to the next holiday party, just say, "I'll bring the cake." Or "I take the cake." Whichever fits. Ingredients:  1 box yellow cake mix 1 cup apple cider 1/2 cup cinnamon apple sauce 3 eggs 2 Tbsp cinnamon 1/8 cup brown sugar 1 Tbsp vanilla 1/4 cup sugar 2 Tbsp cinnamon 2 Tbsp butter, melted 1 cup powdered sugar A couple of splashes of milk, to desired consistency 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally spray a Bundt pan with nonstick spray. 2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, apple cider, apple sauce and eggs to make cake batter. Stir in cinnamon, brown

It's All About The Christmas Music!

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Christmas is a magical time for musicians. The hymns and carols we play and sing are full of Biblical truth. The melodies and harmonies are some of the most beautiful we will play all year. And spending the Christmas season with our church family rehearsing and playing creates a special bond between brothers and sisters in Christ. Then there are those who look forward to hearing Christmas music every winter. They may not play an instrument or enjoy the sound of their own voices, but they make a joyful noise every time they hear their favorite hymns. These songs live in our hearts all year long, and we can't wait until we can sing them together as a church family. We're really just following the example of those who were part of the first Christmas story. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  For he t

My “Christmas Diorama” Planner Layouts

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Remember those shoebox dioramas we used to make in elementary school? I think I had one with forest wildlife and one with dinosaurs. It was those dioramas I had in mind when I made this week’s planner layouts. I have so many adorable sticker sets for winter and Christmas that made picturesque little scenes, like these little girls and that adorable fawn! For Tuesday and Wednesday, my shoebox is full of snowy trees, snowmen and two beautiful cardinals. The two layouts are very similar, from the garlands at the top to the placement of the pine cones and the poinsettias. Facing pages don’t have to be identical to coordinate perfectly. Hello, Santa! Holly and jolly is the way to go. I think the Christmas present washi tape in three places cover the lines and hearts that don’t go with my layout. It’s one of those creative ways to change up a pre-printed page with very little effort. I can’t tell you how much I love these two pages. I combined the four silhouette stickers with two square phr

Make Your Puppy’s Christmas Gift Special This Year

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Everyone loves to spoil their pets at Christmas. Watch the television and online ads and you’ll see all kinds of ideas for what to get. Here are a few ideas to make your dog's Christmas - or gifts for a friend's pet - even more special this year. * Head to the dollar store and stock up on all those fun little toys. They usually have a variety, and I don't mind if they get torn to shreds because they are only $1 each. * Use this opportunity to replace old, smelly beds and blankets. Give the floor a good, deep cleaning and lay out all the new, pretty puppy linens! * While you're baking away in the kitchen, make some homemade treats for your four-legged friends. Click on on the Pets tab at the bottom of this story to find some fun recipes and packaging. * Sometimes all our dogs want is some attention! Plan an afternoon play date and invite all your friends' dogs. Bring a puppy gift to trade, and everyone will be happy. * To keep the spoiling going, look for a fun subsc

Glory To God In The Highest!

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We tend to fall into the trap of glitz and glamor as we decorate and prepare for the holidays - more is more and more is better, right? Watching commercials and seeing ads and lists and other people's Christmas creations makes us feel like we're not making a big enough production out of things. But in all honesty, not every Christmas moment has to be filled with glitter and garland and noise-makers. Yes, I'm celebrating Advent. Yes, I'm decorating the house. Yes, I'm shopping for presents. But I'm also taking time for the most important part of Christmas. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14 Glory: Dignity, honor, praise, worship. These words are to be applied to God and God alone. If the angels can do nothing but praise the Lord, how much more should we? Highest: The Supreme, the heavens, the most high. There is no one who can compare to our Lord, and the angels singing this song of praise wanted nothing more than to

Christmas Password - The Perfect Game For Small Groups

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Looking for a fun holiday game that doesn’t require a whole bunch of people, money, props, supplies or time to prepare? Let’s play Password! Back in the 1960s, Password started as a TV game show where celebrities would pair with everyday folks to get their partner to say a specific word. They could do or say anything except say any portion of the word out loud. In recent years, it’s been updated by adding a time limit and passing a timer around - if you’re holding the timer when it runs out, your opponents get a point. This is a hugely popular game in our youth group. We’ve played it with just two of us and with a room full. You can use the box of words from your Pictionary game and choose whichever one of the words on the card you like best. You can randomly open a book and point at any word,  making that the word you must describe. The possibilities are endless. You can also write out your own words on a particular theme, lesson or holiday. When we played our Christmas Password this