Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Easy Cherry Cheesecake Dessert

If you're looking for a great, easy dessert, try this one. Three ingredients and you're there!

You'll need:
* a pretty bowl
* graham crackers
* cheesecake filling
* pie filling

Break the graham crackers into smaller pieces, but don't crush them completely. Layer them in the bottom of the bowl.

Then spoon in that amazing premade cheesecake filling that comes in the refrigerator section of the store. The top it all off with a couple of spoonfuls of pie filling. You can choose whatever flavor you'd like, but I'm in love with cherry. It just looks so pretty in the dish!

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Not So Secret To Getting Pet Hair Out Of The Carpet

Two black labs. A house with cream carpet. Not the most logical combination in the world, but I'm keeping them all.

Now that spring is here, Bailey is shedding her winter coat like crazy. Sadie has more terrier in her than Bailey, but Bailey is part Chow, so she's got a layer of fur under her fur that is like a parka. And now she's getting rid of it ... yay.

But here's the best tip I've ever found for getting that stray fur out of the carpet - a shower squeegee. Mine is mostly plastic with an edge of rubber that's very stiff. Flimsy won't cut it here.

First, vacuum the area once or twice to get up as much as you can. You'll notice very quickly, though, that the sweeper leaves quite a bit behind.

Then just have a seat on the floor and start with a combing motion. The shape of the rubber edge will get up next to the baseboard, somewhere your vacuum has a hard time getting into.

Here's another secret - I'll put on a movie or watch TV while I do this. It makes it a little more endurable. Or you could put on some great music and sing while you work.

Once you've got the first section done, sweep it up and keep going. You won't believe the difference it makes or how much is in there. It will fluff it up and make it almost like a new carpet again. Danny even said he could tell exactly where I'd stopped and started to take this picture.

So give it a try and see if you don't love the results!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Scripture Tag Book

I've spent the last few weeks rearranging my new desk at work. It's fun to organize a new space, figuring out what will work best and where. That's the joy in a planning woman's heart.

But the one thing it has been lacking is Scripture. I really don't have anywhere to hang anything, so I needed to find a way to have God's Word in front of me, even at work.

So I put together a Scripture book from some hand-tags using some much-loved verses that I want to memorize.

If you'd like to make one for yourself, start with card stock tags. You can make them yourself or check out the ones in our Etsy shop. The tags I used here are 2.75x4.5 inches, perfect for one verse of Scripture.

I printed out the verses I wanted to use and mixed them together with some scraps and embellishments. Then they all got tied together with a gorgeous ribbon.

Now I can have Scriptures for memorization handy no matter where I am.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Baked Doughnuts With Cinnamon and Nutmeg

These were my contribution to Easter Sunday breakfast at the church. It was continental - nothing cooked. So that rules out much of what I would have considered.

Until this beautiful little recipe came along. I am now planning on it for several other occasions throughout the year. They're not greasy and heavy because they're not fried. Just a few minutes in the oven and they're perfect and warm and doughy. They firm up quickly, so get the topping on before they crust and won't take the butter to hold the sugar.

One batch makes about 20 doughnuts, so plan accordingly. You might (will most likely) need more than one batch.

Ingredients for dough:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 whole milk (or substitute almond milk like I did)
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
Ingredients for topping:
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray two doughnut pans with nonstick spray, preferably with flour in it.

2. In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. Stir wet mixture into dry until combined.

3. Fill doughnut pans 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees for 17 minutes. Cool for 2-3 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.

4. While the doughnuts begin to cool - For the topping, melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Dip each doughnut in butter, then in sugar mixture. Finish cooling and seal in a container, if you haven't eaten them all by this point.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Day After

Resurrection Sunday is filled with rejoicing and victory and triumph. It is a glorious day that speaks of hope and love and the completion of a promise.

But what does Monday bring?

Is the King of Glory just as risen on the day after Easter as He is on Easter itself?

Is Jesus just as important and special as He is on the day we celebrate His resurrection?

But today we're not sitting in the church and we're not emotional and wrapped up in the moment. We're in the reality of a Monday and back to the normal daily routine.

Or are we?

Why do things have to change when we're out in the world and not in church? Why do things have to be different the day after Jesus' resurrection than they were on the day we celebrate?

The answer is: they don't.

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Acts 2:32-36

This is the promise and the motivation in a Christian woman's heart. It's not about emotion and it's not about being wrapped up in the moment. It's about living our daily lives with the truth of God's Word in our hearts regarding His Son.

That rings true just as much today - the day after - as it did yesterday when we rejoiced as the body of Christ. That's what makes each and every day special and worth living.

Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living just because He lives.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cake Waffles

 Are you bored with the same old cake? Done with the usual breakfast waffles? Combine the two and you've got the cutest, easiest, most original dessert ever.

And you don't even need a recipe. Just make a boxed cake mix, orange deamsicle in this case, and heat up your waffle iron.


 Two good-sized spoonfuls will make a full, beautiful waffle.

Then you get to be creative and cover your cake waffle with all sorts of lovely toppings. In just a matter of minutes, you'll have about five of these tasty treats. Cut them up, top them and enjoy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fear Not!

Repetition can be a very good thing.

Whenever words and phrases are repeated in the Bible, it's for a reason. These are ideas that the Lord is trying to drill into our heads because we're going to need them. And sometimes it takes more than a few repetitions ...

Take the words "fear not," for example. They appear numerous times throughout the Scriptures, and they are often given in a time when morale was low, tensions were high and anxiety was running rampant. Sound like anyone's life you know?

Here are just a few of these "fear not" verses:

And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake. Genesis 26:24

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. Exodus 14:13

Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. Numbers 14:9

Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you. Deuteronomy 3:22

There are four examples from the first five books of the Bible alone! So think about these circumstances - times of uncertainty, days when it was dark and moments when the enemy seemed larger than life. Those were the moments when they most needed to hear the words "fear not" straight from the Lord.

Chances are you've been through these fearful times, are going through them now or will be in the future. That's just how life works. But knowing where these verses are can give you courage, focus and motivation to make it through to the other side.

I challenge you to do a study this week of how many times the Scriptures say "Fear not." It's an exciting adventure in trusting in the Lord.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Sketch

Here's a fun sketch to play with this week! And there are just a few basic parts:

* A solid background color
* A subtle patterned paper
* A bar across the bottom
* A matted phrase or image
* Two embellishments

Pick your theme and then find one of everything on this list. A little balance, a little creativity and a whole lot of color and you'll have a beautiful, interesting card.

For this Mother's Day card, I picked white for my background color, a lovely spring patterned paper and two colors of card stock. The card stock words coordinate perfectly with the flowers, and I added two swirl paper clips from the home office department.

It doesn't take a difficult sketch or lots of parts and pieces to make a dramatic card.

This card, along with many other Mother's Day and Christian cards can be found in our Etsy shop. Come visit us at www.stufffromtrees.etsy.com.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Handmade TV Stand

Ok, I have to brag on my husband for a few minutes. He is an amazing man and is incredibly handy. The newest piece in our living room is proof of that.

I had been looking for a dresser that I could upcycle into an entertainment center, but it's been a very difficult search. I moved the bookshelves that we had in this spot, and we got a television as our Christmas present to ourselves.

But the dresser and entertainment center were elusive. Finally, Danny said, I'll just make you one.

And so it was decided. In just a matter of days I had this beautiful, handmade, lovingly crafted TV stand. It's the perfect size and the perfect color.

I'm absolutely in love. With the stand and with Danny!

And that's my 1936 miniature Cathedral radio there. It's one of my favorite pieces we have.

Now, Danny says, he can make a short version of this table to use as an entry bench. I'm so excited! I'll keep you up to date.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Are You Listening to Understand Or To Reply?

I know a couple of women who will finish my sentences for me - with the beginning of their own sentence. It often makes me wonder if they actually heard a word I said or if they were already thinking of a story of their own.

And unfortunately, I sometime do it myself.

What we need to do, often on a moment-by-moment basis, is think about whether we're listening to understand or listening to reply.

It's fine to reply to someone. That's what having a conversation is all about - give and take, listen and respond. If you don't, it's a pretty boring conversation.

But if that's all you're doing, just thinking about what you'll say next, you're really missing out.

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. Proverbs 1:5

And how can you learn anything if you're not really listening? If we're listening to understand, we have to put forth a conscious effort. It's an effort to put someone else's thoughts and feelings before your own. You may have something really great to say, but does it really trump what's already being said?

What if your patiently listening to someone else is a life-changing experience? For just a few minutes, you can give someone your undivided attention, and that includes interjecting your own thoughts. How rare that is in today's society. You could be the sounding board that helps someone analyze a problem, find a solution or just vent without having you take over the conversation.

It can also be a life-changing experience for you. Imagine getting outside of your own head for a little while. If your brain is like mine, it's good to shut down and listen to someone else without jumping ahead to your own story or your own comeback. There are so many more viewpoints out there than mine, but I'll never hear them if I'm busy thinking ahead about myself.

So ask yourself today: Are you listening to understand or listening to reply?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Sketch

A sketch that looks very simple can often be modified and built upon to turn basic into fabulous.

This sketch features a strip across the top and three images lined up across the bottom. A simple background makes the images themselves pop, and there's a lot of room for creativity.

The strip on the top can be a border sticker, another patterned paper or a phrase like I chose to do.
For this Mother's Day card, I used a very muted background paper to make the images stand out. A phrase printed on white and flowers matted on white adds to that contrast.

Double matting also sets the flowers apart and coordinate perfectly. Inside I added Proverbs 31:28 and matted it on coordinating paper.

This card, along with many other cards and paper crafts, can be found in our Etsy shop. Come visit us today at www.stufffromtrees.etsy.com.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Miniature Lemon Cupcakes

If it says it's hot, it had better be hot. If it says it's fresh, it had better be fresh. And if it says lemon, it had better taste like lemon.

Not lemon-scented furniture polish, but that real, perfect lemon flavor that makes you want more.

This lemon cupcake recipe is that wonderful lemon flavor in a tiny little package.

5 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk, divided
2 lemons, finely zested
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 Tbsp heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill mini muffin tin with mini muffin papers.

2. In a small bowl, combine egg whites, 1/4 cup of buttermilk and lemon zest.

3. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar, about 2-3 minutes. Add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add in egg white mixture and remaining buttermilk.

4. Fill mini muffin papers half full. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

5. While cupcakes cool, make frosting. Beat butter for 3-5 minutes until pale in color. Add powdered sugar, lemon zest, 2 Tbsp lemon juice and cream. Beat 3-5 minutes or until fluffy.

6. Frost. Eat. Enjoy.