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Showing posts from 2013

Cinnamon Roll Waffles

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I just had to share our Christmas morning breakfast with you. It was yummy and warm and simple and absolutely perfect.

This may seem silly, but I made cinnamon rolls in the waffle maker. It's quicker than making them in the oven, and they're crispy and lovely when they're ready.

If you want a quick snack, just use a couple of rolls. If you want to make a whole roll, just make two batches. Make sure you spray the waffle maker incredibly well with nonstick spray before each batch.

Using a can of refrigerator cinnamon rolls (I chose the orange ones because they're my favorite), put one in each section of the waffle maker. If you want smaller ones, just use fewer rolls. Place one in the middle to do them individually and they'll spread a little.

They take just as long as it takes for a regular waffle to cook - just a couple of minutes. Spread a thick layer of icing on and they're ready to go!

Try this the next time you're looking for something quick and unique…

Words For Wednesday - Merry Christmas!

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For A Busy Christmas Eve

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You probably have some last-minute plans for this Christmas Eve day, right? A few more gifts to buy, a meal out with family and friends, the Christmas Eve service at church.

As you're with all those people today, please remember these six simple words.

Whoever you're with, believer or not, needs the influence of the Christ Child we're celebrating this week. And you can share that influence everywhere you go today. You may be the only way they hear about it.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Sunday Sketch

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Sometimes sketches look better in my head - and in card form - than they do on paper. I've never claimed to be a professional artist, but the idea that I had for this card didn't draw very easily.

The plan is to make three blocks, each one slightly larger than the one on top of it, and add an adorable accent. Two background layers give you a chance to layer, layer and layer some more.
I ink-distressed all of the paper and then matted each block of patterned paper with a coordinating paper behind it. Put the accent, in this case a butterfly, and you're all set.
If you start with the top layer - your focal point - and build out from there, it's much easier to make your blocks proportionate.
You can find this card, and many other cards, paper crafts and wood gifts, in our Etsy shop. Visit www.stufffromtrees.etsy.com.

A Special Cookie Plate

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No, it's not a cookie plate you'll find in any kitchen store, but it's so special at this time of year.
If you're doing a lot of baking to give as gifts, consider decorating your own cookie plate.

OK, so mine aren't cookies - they're chocolate chip mini muffins - but that's beside the point.
Pick the sturdiest plate you can find and then grab your hole punch. You know, that one that will open a little wider and punch a little further than the others.

The space your punches, starting with the ones at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock. Then add more in between until you have enough to weave your ribbon through. You'll want to choose an even number, like my 12 here, so both ends of the ribbon will end up on the same side of the plate.
I used two different colors of ribbon and intertwined them. You can do something similar, choose a different fiber, color of plate and style. Then just slip it into a big, flat baggie and you're ready to go!

Just Care

A couple of days ago, I stopped caring about something.

It was only briefly, but I just stopped caring.

I was tired, and I was sad, and I was discouraged and I was angry.

So I made the choice to just stop caring.

The devil whispers in that tiny little voice of his - no one else cares, so why should you?

Would you believe that was the most miserable I've ever felt in my entire life? Not caring is the most empty, depressing, evil feeling in the entire world.

I don't want to not care. Danny says that if I stop caring, I'm not being who I am. I'm not being the woman God made me to be if I stop caring.

I refuse to go against who God wants me to be.

I don't want to be so uncaring and so unfeeling that He can't use me anymore. I don't want to have hardened my heart so much that I'm not usable.

Once I put my heart and soul back into that thing that I stopped caring about, the difference was like night and day. A weight has been lifted and I can breathe again. T…

Words for Wednesday

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A Mini Album For Your Pocketbook

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As you think about Christmas, stocking stuffers and DIY, this mini album is the perfect project to combine all three. It's simple enough that the kids can help you make several and personalize them for the recipient.

You'll need: One piece of card stock Three pieces of decorator paper Ribbon Several flat embellishments
Start by cutting the card stock into a 4x11 inch rectangle. If you have a scoring blade, score it at the 2-, 5- and 8-inch marks. If you don't have a scoring blade, mark those measurements and use a metal ruler to fold on the three lines. This will give you three equal sections and one slightly smaller. The smaller one will be the front flap.

Cut each of the three patterned papers into 2.75x7.5 inch rectangles. Fold each on in half. I rounded the corners, but you can decorate them as you like.

In the second section (the first large panel), attach the ribbon with adhesive. You want it to be behind the patterned paper so it won't show.

Attach one pattern…

The Cover Of The Book That Is You

Imagine that God gives you a book at the beginning of your life with a simple command: Fill it.

Imagine that the blank pages are ready to be filled with your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your failures and every experience you experience along the way. Some pages will tell of love, others of sorrow and still others of joy unspeakable. And every word of every page will point to the glory of God.

But what about the cover? The cover of a book is what makes someone pick it up from the shelf in the first place. The cover is a snapshot of what's in store once you open it up.

What would your cover look like?

* The cover of your book sheds some light on who the author is. It describes her reason for writing, her inspiration and what point she's trying to convey to the world. Plain and simple, it tells why she's the perfect person to tell this story.

* The cover gives the title of the book. No two books have the same title, just as two people will never have the same story to te…

Sunday Sketch

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There are days that even the most seasoned crafters needs some new ideas. We all have favorite layouts, papers and embellishments that we return to time and again, but something fresh gives us a little creative jumpstart.

This sketch was one of those jump starts for me. I wanted something I would never normally do, and this was definitely our of my comfort zone.

To begin with, I don't normally put all of my elements on one side, but a busy pattern on the center strip helps balance it out. The only thing that's really "me" is all the layers.

I used papers I would normally shy away from - they're not my favorite colors, but they combined perfectly. In fact, I'm planning to use them more often now that I know how well they coordinate.

Also, I really liked how the ink-distressed edges softened the whole card. Normally I wouldn't use this technique on a light color, but here it was the perfect touch.

Give this sketch a try this week and let me know how it tur…

A Weekend of Prayer Walking

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This is my favorite part of our driveway - up the gravel and right before the curve that takes you to our house. It always makes me feel like I'm going to summer camp. If you roll the windows down, all you hear is leaves rustling and birds singing.

This is also one of the first places I pray for when I'm prayer walking. The hedge of protection that I pray around our property and throughout our home begins here ... from the very edge of where we live.

If you've never prayer walked before, it's a life-changing experience. I start at the bottom of the driveway and pray for the traffic that travels up and down the highway. I pray for our mailbox and mailman, asking God to protect whatever comes in the mail and for guidance to handle it.

Then I work my way up the driveway, asking the Lord to make it the most welcoming drive friends and family can have. I pray for everyone who drives up and down the drive, that they will be blessed while they're here and safe when they …

Getting Rid Of Carpet Divots

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This week I rearranged the living room furniture to make room for the Christmas tree. In addition to the tennis ball Sadie had misplaced ages ago, I also found several carpet divots. Those are the indentations left by something heavy on your carpet, which I thought you could just vacuum out over time. Trust me ... that doesn't work.

Here's what does work - ice cubes. Pictured here are two of the divots left by my side table. You can clearly see the one on the left, including a divot within a divot, and the ice is in the other one.

Fill the divot with ice cubes and then let them melt. This may take a few hours, especially during winter. You can either sit and watch them melt, which is a lot like watching paint dry, or you can go on with your day.

Once the ice has melted, use a clean, dry cloth to fluff the area. You're not trying to soak up all the moisture, just get the wet carpet fibers to stand back up. They'll dry on their own and be all fluffy again.
Now I just…

Three-Layer Cookie Bites

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Are you ready for an amazing sugar rush? Do you want to combine three wonderful treats that are fabulous on their own and make something lovely?

If so, you have to try these three-layer cookie bites.

Ingredients:
1 package pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough
12 snack-size peanut butter cups
1 package brownie mix
vegetable oil
eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Heavily spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray. You might want to use cupcake papers if you have any concerns about sticking.

2. Using 1 1/2 squares in each opening, fill the bottoms of each. You'll probably have some leftover if you want to make more.

3. Place a peanut butter cup upside down in each opening.

4. Mix up the brownie mix according to the directions and pour over each cup, filling about 3/4 of the way full - just enough to cover.

5. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes. Allow to cool briefly, then pop them out and place them on a cooling rack.

You can serve these warm, so the peanut butter cup is soft, or serve within a …

Words for Wednesday

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Christmas Treat Bag

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Here's a great Christmas idea for all of your gift-giving needs. Just a few items and you've got something special to share.

This adorable treat bag starts with a Christmas-themed cupcake liner. Place it in the bottom of a clear cellophane baggie. Then you can fill it with your gift recipient's favorite candy. Thread a handmade gift tag onto a beautiful ribbon and tie up your treat bag.

As wonderful as this is for Christmas, keep thinking. These would be adorable for baby shower favors, holiday treats for a classroom or take-aways for a Valentine's party.

All you have to do is change out the liner, the type of candy and the colors you use in the tag. So much fun, so many creative ideas!

Share What Is Good

We all know people who are perpetually negative. If the sun is shining, they'll complain about getting sun burned. If it's raining, they're wearing new shoes. If their favorite team is losing, it's the end of the world. If their team is winning, it must be a fluke and it will never last.

These are the people that, intentionally or not, tend to bring us down with them. We can start the day walking on sunbeams with a smile that could break our face, but by evening, we look like someone kicked our dog - all because we've spent time with someone negative.

Did you know that there's a way to break this cycle?

It's all about attitude. If your heart attitude is right and you've spent time this morning with the Lord, you've got all you need to fight negativity with truth. And you don't need sunshine, lollipops and rainbows to do it.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister …

Sunday Sketch

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This is such a fun sketch to play with! And it's perfect for just about any theme, giving you four accents to play with.

The two background layers gives you a color to tie things together. The top one is cut to stick out on the sides of the patterned paper, which can be as busy or as reserved as you'd like.

For accents, pick combinations that you can alternate. Images and words can make for a striking presentation when used together.

That's what I did with this example. The white and aqua are the same colors found in the glittered, textured patterned paper running down the middle. I made it a little wider than what I drew in the sketch so there would be more of the glitter stripes.

The snowflakes are all layered as well, adding even more dimension. They came from different sets, but they're still in the same color family. The phrase is stamped, so I was able to use the same blue as in the patterned paper, too. And mixing together the words and snowflakes as my four el…

A Weekend of Amazement

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I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean.

How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be ... How marvelous! How wonderful! Is my Savior's love for me.

This is my favorite hymn in the history of hymns. I woke up singing it this morning, which means it will be with me all day. And I can't think of a better song to have running through my head.

And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. Luke 5:26

I am absolutely amazed by the Lord, and I am even more amazed every time I look out the window. Just a few weeks ago, our property looked like this photo. There were vibrant colors everywhere, and it was truly a sight to behold. Now it's bare and covered with ice, but it's still an amazing, God-given blessing.

You don't have to live on a wildlife preserve to be amazed by the world around you. God is doing amazing th…

BBQ Shrimp

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Chances are, if your freezer is like ours, you have a bag of shrimp in there somewhere. This is a great recipe to use it up and try something completely different and completely delicious.

Ingredients:
1 bag of cooked shrimp (whichever size you choose)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 bunch green onion, chopped
2 oz dry white wine (can substitute apple juice or cider)
1 tsp chopped garlic
4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
cayenne and paprika to taste
1 stick of butter

1. Thaw shrimp while preparing the rest of the meal.

2. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet. Add green onions and cook for one minute. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half.

3. Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, cayenne and paprika. Heat through and reduce to low.

4. Add the butter in small chunks and melt. Stir to combine. Add shrimp and mix to coat. Heat through.

I served this on stir fry vegetables, which I heated while the shrimp was cooking. This would also be great on rice or noodles.

The Action of Thanksgiving

There are around 100 verses of Scripture than use the words thanks or thanksgiving. At this time of year, each one has even more important meaning than ever.

If you read these verses through one at a time, you'll notice all of the words that are associated with thanks:

* Offer
* Sacrifice
* Publish
* Magnify
* Come
* Enter
* Sing

And over, and over, and over again ... Give.

Thanks is not a passive word. It isn't something that just happens. Thanks is something that has to be done - actively and on purpose. It is not natural for thanksgiving to just ooze out of us. It is actively given, offered and sung.

So while you celebrate Thanksgiving today, remember to give thanks. Not just at the meal, but all day. If you are alone or with friends and family, give thanks. When you are aware of one of the many blessings in your life, offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Make a conscious effort to magnify the Lord by giving thanks.

Actively praise the Lord for all His great and mighty work…

Words for Wednesday

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Rustic twine flowers

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Here's fun and easy project that you can use for many different crafts. These rustic twine flowers can be attached to cards and scrapbook pages or arranged on a table for a party.

Using a circle cutter, make a 3-inch diameter circle out of the corrugated cardboard. You'll also need eight toothpicks, twine and a yarn needle. 

Place the toothpicks into the circle equally spaced. You'll only use the actual holes in the cardboard at the top and bottom. All of the others will have to be pushed through, making their own holes.

Starting with the top toothpick, wrap the twine from left to right. Hold the twine in the center with your thumb. Then wrap it around the bottom toothpick and bring it back to the center, holding it with your thumb. Turn the circle so the next toothpick to the left is at the top and keep wrapping the top and bottom toothpicks.

This will create the first eight petals for your flower. Wrap each one a second time and you'll end up back where you start…

A Layer of Ice

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For the first time this season, the ponds froze over this weekend.

They are absolutely beautiful when they're like this - just a sheet of glass over them to sparkle in the sunshine.

In a few weeks, the ice will be so thick you could easily walk from one side to the other without that terrible cracking sound under your feet. But right now, even a leaf falling on it would probably break through that thin layer of ice.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 2:12-13

Our hearts work just like that layer of ice on the pond. A few thoughtless words said by someone in haste forces us to put a thin layer of hardness over our heart. We think we're protecting ourselves, but we're actually doing more harm than good.

Missing a few days of Bible study will thicken that layer of cold ice, too…

Words For Wednesday

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Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Tortillas

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Simple is the name of the game these days, and this slow cooker recipe is a great way to do just that. With about five minutes of prep, you can have an amazing meal by the time you get home in the evening.

Ingredients:
6 chicken breasts
1 can kernel corn, drained
2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup chicken broth
1 package taco seasoning
1 package small whole-wheat tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Spray inside of slow cooker with nonstick spray.

2. Place chicken breasts in a single layer on the bottom of the slow cooker.

3. Mix corn, tomatoes, beans, broth and seasoning together. Pour over chicken.

4. Cook on low 8-9 hours.

5. Using two forks, shred the chicken while still in the slow cooker. Mix the shredded chicken into the veggie mixture.

6. Using a slotted spoon to drain the juices, pile chicken mixture onto a tortilla. Top with shredded cheese.

Fall Leaves, Jesus Doesn't

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Lots of things change during the fall season - the colors darken, temperatures get colder and the winds get more brisk. And most noticeably, the leaves change color and fall off. This is one of the

Once those leaves drop off, the trees are left bare. The leaves themselves shrivel, decay away and disappear. Those leaves will never come back, even though the tree will grow new ones in the spring.

Fall leaves - but Jesus doesn't. This is one of my favorite fall bulletin boards ever. Many, many things in life will change, from the leaves to the people we're around to the situations we're in. But one thing is forever constant - Jesus is in the midst.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8

How much more simply could God's Word explain it? The Lord that we read about in the Bible is the same Lord that lives in us today. The same Jesus that healed the sick, gave sight to the blind and made the lame walk is the same Jesus Who leads, guides and d…

Sunday Sketch

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Layers are incredibly important in paper crafting, but so are color combinations. There are many different ways to combine colors and patterns, but it's not always easy to make it look like anything more than a jumbled mess.

In this sketch, you'll see the first way is to start with a solid base and then layer a coordinating pattern on top. There are lots of paper sets out there now, so you don't have to guess which will go together well.

Next is another solid color, alternating color and pattern. Varying textures helps, too, so tear or use edging scissors to do something interesting.

Another pattern comes next, and then an image and phrase. Placing this box in one corner will allow you to see the pattern in the background.

So here's the Praying For You card I made with this sketch. I adore the brown and green color combination, and the patterns just scream autumn.

The papers came from a pack, so they're already coordinated, which makes things much easier. The die …

A Weekend of Time Alone

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It's a dark, cloudy morning in southern Iowa today.

On one side of the house, I watched six enormous turkeys run for their lives across the driveway. I'm not exactly sure what they were running to or from, but apparently they were just panicked enough to head for the hills - literally.

On the other side of the house, though, it was an entirely different story. There was one lone turkey, taking his time and scratching for a little breakfast. He wandered around the small pond, and in a few minutes he ambled up into the trees.

Now, I don't know a whole lot about turkeys, but I see a lot more running around the crew on the driveway tan I do the one who was making a day it of it. It seems as though the scared, hurried mentality is more prevalent than the serenity.

Unfortunately, I am guilty of the same thing.

And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. Matthew 14:23

Jesus wasn't esca…

Words for Wednesday

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The Danger of Comparison

I walked into the gym Saturday morning and got ready to do my cardio for the weekend. At about 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday, there are very few people there. (I hope I didn't just give away a huge secret.) There were only two other people in the room, so I got down to work.

Combine fibromyalgia and asthma, and I don't go very quickly on a treadmill. It felt wonderful, though, to have as much time as I wanted to just walk, think and talk with the Lord. I also had time to just let my mind go numb and not think about anything for a while.

That's when I noticed the woman beside me. She was older than me and shorter than me - and she was going much, much faster than me. Suddenly, I started thinking that I could probably go a little faster, just so I wouldn't look like a tortoise next to her hare.

As my hand was reaching for the speed button, I realized what I was doing. I was comparing my own performance with someone I don't even know. I just knew she was doing som…

A Thank You To Our Veterans

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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Ephesians 6:10…

Sunday Sketch

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I'm always looking for ways to use up my ever-growing supply of scrap paper. I think I have more scraps than I have full sheets of paper right now. That's a fun challenge, isn't it?

Here's a sketch that will help if you have a similar, overflowing paper problem. It's also easy to mass produce once you've made your initial measurements.

Choose a patterned piece for the top, overlapping box and you'll instantly have a themed card. The one I chose is for fall, but this layout would be perfect for a birthday or Christmas card, too.

Think about adding some embellishments as well - a wreath for Christmas, some layered flowers for spring or the baby's name for a baby shower card.
The possibilities here are endless. Mix and match your scrap paper and you'll have a variety of cards with different themes and lots of layers.

If this doesn't make you want to go dig through your paper, I don't know what will!

This card, along with many other paper craft…

A Weekend of Saying Yes

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Say yes and make that phone call.

Say yes and visit someone who needs you.

Say yes and get those chores done around the house.

Say yes and follow through on a promise.

Say yes and write that letter.

Say yes and lend a helping hand.

Say yes and make your walk match your talk.

Say yes and see how much of a blessing you can be ... and how many blessings you'll receive.

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. James 4:17

Make this a weekend of saying yes. When the opportunities to do good this weekend, say yes. When you are needed, say yes. When you might normally back out, say yes and follow through.

Who knows how God can use you when you make yourself available.