Thursday, October 23, 2014

Peanut Butter Chewies Save The Day

When you have an 11-month-old Great Dane, you learn very quickly that she has a very short attention span. She may be gigantic like a big dog, but she's still very much a puppy.

So recently I went back to a tried-and-true distraction technique that always works on the girls - the peanut butter chewie. I was honestly surprised at how quickly she took to it and how long it kept her occupied.
A peanut butter chewie is simply the hardest rubber chew toy we have with an opening on one end. I put a handful of tiny treats inside and then slather the outside with peanut butter.

It only took a minute for her to get most of the peanut butter off, and then another minute to accidentally dump a treat out. From there, it was game on as she chewed and knocked it around, leaving a trail of yummy things behind her. Then she was a canine vacuum cleaner, picking them all up.

If you're looking for something to entertain and occupy your puppy for a little while, this is the perfect solution.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Filled Pancake Muffins

Ok, this is just an amazing idea. Use your favorite pancake recipe to make some on-the-go, dip-able muffins.

They're filled with whatever you love for breakfast - meats, fruits, cheese - use your imagination. I used turkey sausage in some and blueberries in others. Danny didn't think I made enough of the blueberries,so I'll have to do better next time.

Make the largest batch of pancake mix you can because you'll want to make a lot of these - trust me. I made the 18-27 pancake amount as the box instructed.

Fill each muffin cup about 1/4 of the way full, then top them with your filler. A few pieces will go a long way. Finish it off with another spoonful of batter, to make it about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes - check on them at 15 and go from there.

These reheat really well, so you can take them to work or have them for an afternoon snack. I made so many the first night that we were able to have them two days in a row.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Claiming The Victory

I've been reminded several times recently that there is no such thing as a defeated Christian. Any time God repeats something, we should be paying attention. Repetition means it's incredibly important.

So as Christian women, we are already victorious. But what does that mean?

The dictionary says victorious means having achieved victory.

But what does that mean?

Again to the dictionary: victory means a success or triumph over an enemy in battle. It can also mean gaining a superior position over an opponent.

Using this definition in our Christian walk, it might seem like we have a battle on our hands and the only way we can be victorious is to fight to the end and we'll come out the victor. Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God so that we can survive the war that rages around us, and this is useful, profitable verses.

But look at these verses of Scripture -

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. Isaiah 25:8

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. 1 Chronicles 29:11

A Psalm. O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. Psalm 98:1

Where does our victory truly come from? It's not from anything special we could do or from our own power and battle-readiness. God has already defeated the enemy and given us the victory. We have absolutely no reason to consider ourselves defeated or finished.

A Christian woman can live a victorious Christian life simply because she is saved. The God we serve has already gone on before us and triumphed over the opponent. We are victorious because the Lord has already done the fighting for us. We fight daily, but there's absolutely no reason for us to feel defeated or undone.

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. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. Exodus 14:13-14

Monday, October 13, 2014

Calvary Baptist Church Ladies Retreat 2014

We had an amazing weekend at Calvary Baptist Church. It was the weekend for Ladies Retreat 2014.


 Our theme was "I am a princess because my Father is the King of Kings." We used Psalm 45 as our Scripture.


And, of course, everyone received a tiara in their goodie bags. No one can be a princess without a crown. 

Our speaker, Mina Ogelsby, spent Friday night, Saturday and Sunday morning showing us how God has given women the gift of influence - how we use it to glorify Him is up to us. We were reminded that we are a unique creation of the Lord, and we need to be the best "us" we can just for Him.

You are a child of the King!


We have some amazing ladies who have talents in design and decoration. The platform looked exactly like what we envision a castle would look - since most of us have never visited an actual castle.


Instead of doing the typical pink princess party, we chose royal blue and gold. We were blessed beyond measure that these are the most popular Christmas colors this season. The crowns - they're tree toppers! And the towers are all filled with ornaments, lights and garland.


There's a woman in our church who is incredibly talented with mesh, and she volunteered to make all of the pew bows, plus several for the platform. They turned out amazing!


Our Saturday meal was a real ladies' tea. Our men were wonderful to serve us, and the room looked incredible.


We used the same decorations from the sanctuary, just in miniature. I'm not totally sure, but I don't think we could have added more sparkle if we'd tried. And believe me, we did.


 Blue and gold and sparkles, right down to the cupcake wrappers.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Family Walk

One of the great things about a puppy is watching her experience things for the first time. Twice in the past two weeks we've been able to take Molly and the girls out in the woods. Watching her explore is an absolute hoot.


Bailey and Molly will both run if they're off leash, so we put them on 20-foot flexi leashes for these over-the-property walks. Sadie is a pack dog, so she always stays very close.


We have about 33 acres of land to wander over, so we were out for quite some time. Molly was on sensory overload trying to smell and touch and hear everything. The big girls hadn't been out for a while, either, so they were all trying to get in as much fun as they could.


 There are two ponds on the property, and we were told that Molly loves water.


 We were told correctly.


 It was an absolutely beautiful day for a walk - pretty warm but bright and sunny.


We walked all the way to the top of the ridge and then worked our way back down on some of the trails cut through the woods.


 By the time we got back down, everyone was exhausted - dog and human alike - so we got a really great nap in. That's the way to spend an afternoon.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Toffee Spice Cake Loaves

When is a spice cake more than a spice cake? When it's filled with toffee bits and made miniature!

I love autumn, and nothing says autumn to me like spice cake. This version is stepped up with bits of toffee chips both in the mix and sprinkled on top.

The combination is amazing!

Ingredients:
1 box spice cake mix
1 8-ounce package English toffee bits
2 16-ounce cans cream cheese frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 10 miniature loaf pans.

2. Prepare spice cake mix as directed on box. Then add half the package of English toffee bits.

3. Fill mini loaf pans 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (The toffee bits will melt, so make sure you're not hitting those with the toothpick instead of the cake mix.)

4. Allow to cool for about five minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

5. When the loaves are completely cool, top with frosting and sprinkle with toffee bits.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Tiny Treat Bag

 Here's a creative gift idea. This treat bag can be themed for anything - a birthday, ladies' meeting or baby shower. Choose your papers and colors appropriately.


 Inside is a plastic bag of anything you'd like - candy for a child, treats for a puppy or just about anything your little heart desires. If it fits in a baggie, this project will work perfectly!


 All you'll need is a baggie filled with your treats, a sheet of 12x12 paper, a paper cutter, a paper punch, ribbon and a special phrase or image.


 Cut your 12x12 paper into a strip slightly wider than your baggie. I just eye-balled it, but you can measure it if you absolutely have to.


Make the top of the bag even with the one end of the paper, then crease the paper where the bottom of the bag reaches to make a little stand.


Fold the top over to create a flap. Punch two holes through both the paper and the plastic bag, then thread the ribbon through. Add your image or phrase and you're all set!

Monday, October 6, 2014

How To Pray For Other Believers

Sometimes I think we're so overwhelmed when we look at our prayer list that we just wing it. This person is having surgery and is also concerned about how to pay for it. Someone else has children who have strayed, but they're also making some life decisions of their own. Even if we only have a few people on our prayer list, this can be a daunting task. So we just say a couple of lines like "Please touch all my loved ones today, Lord. Give them what they need in each situation."

This may seem like an easy way to take care of your prayer time, but it's definitely not what God intended. We've probably all done it because we're so short on time that praying for specifics for everyone we know would be too much of a sacrifice.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians, he told them exactly how he was praying for them. It wasn't a glossy little verse that asked God for some vague blessings - it was a heart-felt message of how he spoke directly to the Lord about the people he loved so much.

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. Colossians 1:9-11

When we're praying for other believers, this is a great model of prayer. Paul outlines the truly important things that a Christian needs to live a victorious life. These are the things we need to praying for our friends and family, not rushing through to get to something else.

* That they be filled with the knowledge of God's will.
* For wisdom and spiritual understanding.
* That their walk will please God.
* That their works will be fruitful.
* For a longing to know God more.
* That they will be strengthened with the strength of the Lord.
* For patience.
* For joy.

This seems very basic and very simple, but these are powerful requests that only a powerful God can fulfill. These prayers cover all of the individual situations and build them up to handle whatever they're going through right now. It's amazing how individual and yet how all-encompassing they are at the same time.

Instead of tossing out a few requests and moving on, let's use that power to touch other believers' lives with our requests. Ask, and then see the miracles God has planned.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Sketch

This is one of my favorite layouts because of its simplicity and its potential for a gorgeous finished product.

The background is two contrasting pieces in coordinating colors and patterns to make a nice, hefty frame. Think about the matting on a photo and make yours as wide as you'd like accordingly.

The top border is a completely opposite color to create contrast, and the edge is uneven to make it stand out even more. Too many straight edges gets boring after a while, so this mixes things up a little.

The phrase goes across the bottom, overlapping both the background and the border. This ties the two together and clearly sends your message.

For my card, I used black and blue patterned paper as the two background pieces. Then I tore the border for my ragged edge.

I raided my chipboard collection for the phrase, which is the perfect size for this card, and the butterfly with its trail. My patterns were a little too subtle to be left on their own, so I added the butterfly as a great focal point in the middle.

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

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Weekend of Singing

Do you ever wake up in the morning with a song on your heart? It's a melody that sticks with you all day long. You go over the words again and again, tapping your toe in time to the music. It might even bring a smile to your face and a spring to your step.

Then you actually get involved in the day and that song becomes a little quieter and might disappear altogether. By the time you go to bed, you may not even remember which son it was that you were singing when you woke up.

Make this a weekend of singing. Put that song back in your heart and keep it there through the entire weekend.

What song do you want? What are you feeling today? What song is it that you need?

Amazing Grace
Fill My Cup Lord
I Have Decided To Follow Jesus
The Longer I Serve Him
I'm Glad I Know Who Jesus Is
It Is No Secret What God Can Do
Christ Is All I Need
The Wonder of It All
We Are More Than Conquerors
Living By Faith

The choices are practically endless. See what fits best for your heart and soul today. Then sing it loud, sing it out and sing it with joy. That song is there because God Himself put it there. Glory to God in the highest!