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Showing posts from March, 2016

Chinese Five Spice Slow Cooker Drumsticks

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Ready for better-than-takeout Chinese Five Spice Chicken? Ready to make it in the slow cooker so it's incredibly easy?

Then gather up these ingredients and get ready for a mouth-watering meal.

Ingredients:
10 chicken drumsticks
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 generous squirts of sriracha (to taste)
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp Chinese Five Spice

1. Place drumsticks in slow cooker and turn to high.

2. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour over chicken.

3. Cook on high 1 hour, then turn to low for five additional hours. Be careful pulling it out of the slow cooker, as its tendency is to fall off the bone.

Words For Wednesday

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Butterfly Embellishments With A Heart Punch

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Forget looking for coordinating embellishments for your spring projects ever again! You can make matching butterflies using the same paper you're working with and have them ready in just minutes.

You only need a few simple tools - a piece of paper, a small length of wire, a heart punch, scissors and glue.

 Fold your paper in half and punch two hearts from the folded edge. Try to make them as close to the same depth into the paper as possible. 

Fold the end of the wire into a "V" shape and cut evenly.

This will be the antenna for the butterfly. Cover the back of one butterfly with glue, lay the wire in the middle and place the second butterfly on top. Basically, you're making a butterfly sandwich.

Trim up the edges as necessary and you'll have tiny little butterflies to cover your paper crafts.

The Light Within You

On this day after Easter, I pray you haven't already lost the wonder of Resurrection Sunday. After days of prayer and preparation, it's easy to fall back into the everyday routine, taking for granted all Christ did for us during the Passion Week.

I think about the parable of the lighted candle at moments like this.

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light. Luke 11:33-36

Our candle - the light of the risen Savior living inside us - shines brightly on Easter morning. We&#…

The Truth Of Easter Sunday

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A Weekend Of Experiencing Earthquakes

There's a fault line that runs near us here in southern Iowa, but we very rarely feel any quaking. I remember a handful of times over the years when there were real, shake-the-room earthquakes, but they're really few and far between.

If you live in an area that is more prone to earthquakes, you know their power and the destruction they can do. Homes that aren't built to withstand the moving of the ground will topple and collapse before your eyes. And even if the building doesn't collapse, there will be damage inside as walls shake and floors vibrate.

There are two moments in the Bible when earthquakes held the most power and most meaning in all of history. One was at Christ's death:

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent. Matthew 27:50-51

And the other was at His resurrection:

In the end of the sabbath, as it b…

Words For Good Friday

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Cranberry Tuna Salad On Apple Slices

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I grew up thinking I didn't like tuna. Since I couldn't get past the fishy smell, I never tried it. It seemed like an adult favorite or some kind of acquired taste, so I stuck to my guns and ate everything except tuna.

And then I became an adult. Now I love tuna, especially when mixed and prepared with some other amazing ingredients, like in this cranberry tuna salad.

So if you've written off tuna, you'll want to try this recipe and see what you think.

Ingredients:
1 can tuna
2 Tbsp vanilla Greek yogurt
1/4 cup dried cranberries (whole or roughly chopped)

1. Open and drain the tuna, getting out as much of the liquid as you are able. Empty into a medium bowl.

2. Roughly chop the dried cranberries, if you so desire. (I like them whole so I can really taste them, but the choice is yours.) Add to the bowl.

3. Add the yogurt and stir to coat. If you like it creamier, add more to taste.

4. Serve on apple slices or crackers.

Words For Wednesday

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Jelly Beans In A Bunny Treat Holder

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Decorate your Easter table with a cute and clever treat holder! Just grab a piece of tissue paper, jelly beans or other small candy, and ribbon.

Cut the tissue paper into a square and pile your jelly beans in the middle.

Fold the bottom corner up just past the candy.

Then fold the top corner down past the bottom crease.

Bring each of the side corners up and in on either side of the candy pile, making sure to crease them well. These will be the bunny's ears.

Fold the tiny bottom corner up to make a straight crease across the bottom.

Make the ears half their width by folding the outside edges in toward the middle.

 Bring the bottom edge up, creasing it in line with the bottom of the candy, effectively sealing it in.

Take each ear and fold it one more time into the center, right against the edge of the candy pile. This will make the ears stand upright and hold everything together better.

Use a piece of ribbon to wrap twice around the entire folded part.

 When you flip it over, fluff…

Sunday Sketch

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Get ready to tie a ribbon around the perfect little package with today's sketch. Now is the chance to pull out those ribbon scraps you've been saving up and create a one-of-a-kind card.

Choose a background pattern or color that is subtle enough to make the focal point stand out. Double mat it if you'd like for some extra dimension.

On either side of your focal point (a fun image or piece cut from a coordinating patterned paper), you'll tie a small piece of ribbon around a strip running the entire width of the card.

Finish it off with the perfect sentient and you're all set to share a special hand-written message.

For my card, I chose a fun, pattern-striped paper as the background. This way I wouldn't have to put a solid color behind it.

Then I cut a solid purple strip to run across the card, which is just taller than the sentiment. Sometimes it's easier to make a mat fit the sentiment rather than trying to find a sentiment to fit your mat.

I cut out a coor…

A Weekend Of Living In Safety

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The tree house looks as though a stiff wind would knock it over, but it's been standing like this since we bought our property. Yes, the red roof has fallen off since then, and I wouldn't ask anyone to host a tea party in it. No matter how wedged in it is, you might not want to lean against it ... or touch it ... or look at it.

Our battered and broken tree house isn't safe enough to be used as a tree house anymore. You would be risking life and limb to try to use it as a tree house instead of kindling for your next bonfire. It's not secure and safe like it once was.

There be many that say, Who will show us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:5-8

Make this a weekend of living in safety. Like you would risk injury trying to climb into a dilapi…

Six Ways To Fight Those Food Cravings

Is your tummy growling right now? Or was that mine?

If you're like me, you're fully aware of those food cravings. You're tummy rumbles a little and immediately you're up and headed for the kitchen. Or maybe you have some treats tucked away right where you are.

Yes, I know they're there. I have them, too.

While we may not be binge eaters, it's all too common for women to overindulge in the food arena. Our emotions, cycles and deep-seeded desires all tend to bring us back to food. But those same emotions, cycles and desires can keep us from putting the right kinds of nutrition in our bodies.

So what should you do the next time food cravings strike?

* Drink water. A whole glass of water. You might not be hungry at all, just dehydrated. If you're still feeling hungry in half an hour, fix a small snack.

* And trade water for some of the other drinks you have each day. In small quantities, coffee, tea and soft drinks are fine, but they can also give you caffeine …

Homemade Baked Shamrock Tortilla Chips

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In honor of St. Patrick's Day today, make a batch of homemade shamrock tortilla chips. You only need three ingredients and two kitchen supplies to be all festive for the holiday!

Ingredients:
1 package spinach tortillas
nonstick spray
Mexican seasoning

You'll also need:
a clover cookie cutter
baking sheets


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheets with nonstick spray.

2. While the oven heats, cut out as many shamrock shapes as you can from each tortilla. Save the leftover edges and bake them at the end to make even more chips.

3. Fill the baking sheets with the cut-out shapes and spray again with cooking spray. Sprinkle with Mexican seasoning, which will stick to the spray.

4. Bake chips at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned and turned up.

5. Remove from baking sheet immediately and put in a brown paper sack. Continue until all of the clover shapes and the outside edges have been baked into chips. Serve with your favorite salsa.

Words For Wednesday

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Adding Dimension To Your Paper Crafts Without 3D Adhesive

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This is already starting out to be a forgetful kind of week. I'm embarrassed to tell you how many things I've already forgotten in just two days ... but I can't remember what those things were.

When and if I remember, I'll let you know all the things I've forgotten.

The one and only thing I do remember forgetting was to pick up 3D adhesive the last time I was shopping for craft supplies. This is that thick tape or dots that raise your paper slightly, adding some height and shadow to really add dimension to your work.

So I am height-less. And shadow-less. And dimension-less.

But not really.

The easiest way to add dimension without 3D adhesive is to simply add multiple layers of paper between your background and your pattern.

Here, for example, I cut a piece of scrap white card stock down to the size I wanted for this side border. Then I taped it to another white card stock and trimmed it to match. This is all the thicker I wanted it to be, but you could keep adding l…

It Has Nothing To Do With Luck

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Once this third week of March is over, it will be nice to see a color other than green. It's not a terrible color by any means, but in the days leading up to St. Patrick's Day, everyone is using it on everything.

Add in shamrocks, leprechauns and other lucky charms, and it's beyond overload. It's just a sea of lucky green.

But we know better.

There's no such thing as luck, and there's no such thing as coincidence. We're not just wishing empty wishes and hoping against hope for something wonderful to happen in our lives.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee. Psalm 84:11-12

When we experience success in our lives, it's not because we are lucky.
When we have a wonderful day, it's not because we are lucky.
When everything seems to be going our way, the sun is shining and the temperature is perfect, …

Sunday Sketch

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This sketch will give you the opportunity to use up some of your paper scraps and some of those little embellishments that I know you have plenty of.

You can't hide them. I know they're there - because I have them, too!

While this sketch works best with a square card, you could easily adapt it for a rectangle.

A single color of card stock and a soft patterned paper will help the embellishments really stand out.

Four large embellishments are off-set by two smaller ones and a phrase on the opposite side to balance it.

For my card, I started with a coordinating teal card stock and decorator paper. This light color and not-quite-so-busy pattern let the embellishments be the focal point.

From there, I punched two sizes of circles, one in a coordinating pattern and the larger in card stock.

Two gemstone flowers balance the vellum thank you phrase in the opposite corner.

To see this card and more great ideas, come visit our Etsy shop! You'll find hundreds of cards and gifts, plus…

Weekend Of Following God's Voice

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Some days it would be nice to just have a Life GPS - a navigational system straight from God that would tell you what choices to make and which path to take. Wouldn't that take away some of the stress and frustrations of everyday life?

Actually, what it would do is take away our dependence on the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct us. By not know exactly where we're supposed to go or what choice to make, we're relying fully on direction from the One who has already been down that path.

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn tot he left. Isaiah 30:21

Make this a weekend of following God's voice. Not the voice of the people around you, not the voice of the world and definitely not your own voice. Those three choices will get you into trouble every time.

Instead, hide away someplace quiet and purposefully listen for God's voice. He is not hiding somewhere, avoiding His r…

DIY Carpet Cleaner On The Cheap

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Why shell out money for a container of carpet powder time after time when you can make your own inexpensively with just two ingredients?

You probably have an extra box of baking soda in the pantry, and many of us have our favorite essential oils on hand. Combine the two and you'll have your carpets smelling so much better in no time.

When you finish your next shaker of carpet powder, pull off the lid and rinse it out. Once it's dried thoroughly, empty the baking soda into it.
Then add 20-25 drops of essential oil - I use lavender. Put the lid back on tightly and shake gently to mix it all together.

And now the fun part - set it aside for at least an hour and go do something else. This gives the oil a chance to infuse the baking soda.

When you're ready just shake it out lightly onto your carpet.

And the other fun part - leave it there for at least 30 minutes while you go do something else.

When your time is up, vacuum the powder up. I noticed that our carpet fluffed immedi…

Slow Cooker Meatloaf Hobo Dinners

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I'm a sucker for anything quick and easy in the kitchen. So putting together a meatloaf and potato packet for the slow cooker seemed like a no-brainer to me.

If you've made hobo dinners over a campfire or on the grill, you'll understand the concept immediately. All you're doing is transferring all of the ingredients into the low cooker and letting it do its work.

And because it only takes five hours to cook, you can turn it on when you get up Sunday morning and it will be ready when you get home from church! Fabulous!

Ingredients:
1 lb 80/20 ground beef (or turkey or sausage)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup ketchup
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp onion powder
15 butter crackers (not just soup crackers, but the ones you use for dip or entertaining)
4 red potatoes, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 Tbsp melted butter

1. Spray the inside of a large slow cooker with nonstick spray. You don't need much because the juices from the meat will help. Turn it to l…

Words For Wednesday

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Seed Packet Gift Cards

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Spring is just around the corner, and now is a great time to pick up seed packets for your seasonal planting. Garden stores everywhere are starting to stock up on great new product.

So this is also a good opportunity to put together a gardening-themed gift that will absolutely make someone's day! This seed packet accordion card provides pockets for seed packets and lots of space for pictures, journaling or personal messages.

You'll want to gather at least four packages of seeds, a sheet of 8 1/2x11 inch card stock, decorator paper in a gardening or outdoor theme and some coordinating ribbon.

Cut the card stock in half the long way, at 4 1/4 inches. You can use any color that coordinates - I just used white so you could see a little better.

Fold each into thirds.

Fold them in alternating directions to make five total sections when taped together in the middle.

The front of the card will be the panel that opens with the crease on the left hand side, like a real book. The back o…