Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Micah missed out on our East Coast time festivities, but Carter and his two friends, Janie and Joey rang in the new year with Martinellis, hats, poppers and noise makers.  He was one happy little boy.

May 2011 be full of God's blessings to you!


Boys and noise--a match made in heaven

Sweet Janie and her bears celebrate the night

Martinellis ready for the count down

Ryan and I ready for a smooch

Jen and Joe

Celebrating--Happy New Year!

Toasting the New Year with their Martinellis

Janie, Joe, Jen and Joey

Us minus one--poor Micah


The clean up begins

Oreo Cookie Brownies

Happy New Year!  I was making brownies for my hubby and boys, and I decided to have a little fun baking since it was New Year's Eve.

I saw this idea at the Picky Palate, and I knew right away that I would have to try this combination of two wonderful ingredients together.

I used regular fudge brownie mix and cool mint Oreos.

Make your brownie mix according to the box instructions and send your Oreos in for a nice dunk.  It is chocolicious.

Once the Oreos are dunked, place them in a cooking sprayed muffin tin. 

Cook at 350 for about 15 minutes.

Almost immediately upon taking them out of the oven, run a knife along the edges to loosen each brownie/cookies from the muffin tin.
Let the brownies cool and then pop them out by using a small spoon.  If you cut them open, you will see the minty goodness pillowed between brownie and oreo, which is now cake-like in texture.

Put them on a pretty plate, and add decorations.  The first recipe called for frosting, but I just sprinkled some nonpareils ontop and called it delicious!  Enjoy!

I linked this to:
Tidy Mom I'm Lovin It Fridays

New Year Goals Wordle

Every year my husband and I make goals together over our anniversary, which is December 28th.  We make measurable goals individually, for our marriage, as parents, spiritually, and financially.  We also share with one another what we think the other person is doing well (a long list) and a couple things that our spouse could see as a target for growth (a short list).  Almost all of the goals revolve around sanctification in all these areas, though a few temporal goals, such as what projects we agree are important to finish on the house or how often we want to go on date nights each month, are also on the list.
It is something we have done all 8 years of our marriage, and we are teaching our second workshop in a about a week at church on how to do goalsetting as a couple in order to grow in godliness in all areas of your life. 
This year, I created a Wordle to hang in our master bedroom.  I just printed it out and hung it in a cheap frame I bought at a discount store.  I'll change out the frame each year as our goals change, but we can keep record of our main goals and see them every day.
This year, I think the specifics of our goals were especially personal and sensitive, but I summed up the main ideas in words and made this fun wordle:

                                               Wordle: New Year Goals Art 2011

Wordle can be used to display your favorite verse, write down the things you love about your spouse, list all your family's favorite places to go, do a school project cover, and anything else you can imagine!  I was thinking the fruits of the Spirit or the Attributes of God printed in Wordle would be a fun gift for a Partner's graduate (a discipleship program at my church). 

Have fun creating and Happy New Year!

I linked this to:
Tidy Mom I'm Lovin It Fridays


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Crafty Idea: What to Do with People's Christmas Cards

Our pastor's family once shared the idea that they pray for families from whom they receive Christmas cards.  They have the cards in a file, and at dinner they pray for several families each night throughout the year.
Instead of bagging up the cards and filing them away, I wanted to start this tradition in our family and share my project with you.  Our family gets over 100 Christmas cards a year.  I know some of you get more, some less.  You can adapt this project to the number of cards you receive.  Our number worked perfectly with praying for about 2 families per week during the year.  We will keep the frame in the kitchen so that we remember to pray for these families at the dinner table.   

First, I went out to a discount store and bought a double picture frame.  Not all the Christmas card pictures will cover the entire glass picture area, so I matted the back with craft paper.  I taped mine onto the backing so I can change it with the seasons or with different whims.  You can use fabric for this too, especially if you have a larger frame where more of the background might show. 

Depending on the size of your frame, you can put the whole card or just the family picture in your frame.  I bought a smaller frame, so the family portraits can be cut out from the whole Christmas card and put into the frame--I just taped them right onto the glass where the tape wouldn't show.  Each week, we will change out the pictures and pray for two new families.

I then finished off my frame by writing a verse in chalkboard marker on the frame itself.  Since it is chalkboard marker, I can wipe it off and rewrite a different note or verse as the pictures change.

This is very easy and a great tradition to start in your family.  We are always trying to teach our boys to pray for others, and this will help them (and us) pray for various families we love throughout the year.
Now, our family and friends' lovely faces greet us on our kitchen counter and remind us to pray for one another throughout the year.

I linked this idea to:



Monday, December 27, 2010

Child's Thank You Note Printable

Okay, moms of little ones.  Here is a cute printable for you to help them write some thank you notes for all the blessings they received over Christmas!  I found this great idea over at In Between Laundry.

I'm off for a few days as I go celebrate my anniversary in Santa Barbara with my hubby.  See you soon!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Upcoming Posts

Well, we are picking up and organizing the loot of Christmas, while packing and planning our 3 day get away for our anniverary trip to Santa Barbara.  My wonderful parents are taking the boys while Ryan and I go away for two nights. 
When I get back, I have two ideas to share:  saving your Christmas cards and turning them into a yearly prayer notebook for all the families you know AND posting your annual goals creatively in your home.

See you soon!  I'm signing off for a couple of days as I celebrate my wonderful marriage to Ryan!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nativity Craft

Today I braved rainstorms and ran to Michaels to get the supplies for the nativity craft.  We have a Happy Birthday, Jesus party to attend in the morning, and I thought this would be a cute hostess gift for their family, which has young children.

Before you look at the tutorial, take a minute to check out the cute spouse gift I posted on Helpmate.  It is a printable template to do 12 creative date nights throughout the year.  What a great stocking stuffer and way to keep those date nights happening!  You can read about them and find them here.

Okay, here is how to make this super duper easy nativity scene:

First I collected supplies:  2 medium sized wooden balls, 1 smaller wooden ball, 2 small pots, 1 tiny pot, acrylic paint in desired colors, Tacky glue, straw, fabric scraps and paint brushes.

I painted the materials and let them dry (it dries quickly!)

I drew on the faces with both paint and permanent marker and I filled the "manger" with straw.  I Tacky glued all the heads into place.

Ta Da!  Isn't that cute for a family with little ones?  I thought about printing a verse on the manger, but I was short on time and worried I'd ruin it if I hurried.



Baby Jesus

I linked this post up to:



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Meaning of Christmas and Ideas for Nativity Crafts

This weekend at church, we had an amazing message about seeing the cross from the manger--realizing that Christmas leads to Good Friday.  It was called "What Christmas is All About:  Exploring the Purpose of the Incarnation."  I highly encourage you to listen to it while you read blogs or work on the computer.  You can hear it here
Being a Christian, I love when I find blogs that include cute ideas for kids' nativity scenes.  Instead of plastering Santa all over our house, we want to do activities that point to Christ and our need for a Savior.  Today, I plan to share a few with you and then I'll post a creation I try later in the week. . .

Craftily Ever After has a darling idea of using small pots, wooden circles, left over fabric, glue and acrylic paints to create a sweet, homemade nativity scene.  This is one I definitely want to make.  How cute is her final product?:
Here is another picture using the same idea:
Terra-cotta Trio

Mason's Roost wrote a great post on nativity blocks for kids.  I thought this was the easiest of all the nativity crafts.  Also, I messaged her and mentioned how great it would be to put a small verse about each person in the nativity scene on the back of each block.  She loved the idea, and I think that is what I will do to keep my blocks as Biblically grounded as possible.  Here is what her blocks look like--so toddler friendly, right?

Helping Little Hands also wrote about her kids' nativity blocks.  Her craft is a little more involved, but it is beautiful and long lasting.  Here is a picture of her craft creation:

I don't know about you, but Ryan and I are forever trying to find an affordable, normal nativity scene for our lawn that doesn't have halos around Mary and Joseph.  Well, our friend Kelly just bought a great one made of PVC plastic signboard made by a local craftsman.  We hope to buy this scene sometime this next year so that we can share the Christmas story with all the people who come look at lights on our street.  The cost of the nativity includes a spotlight and straw.  Here is the website, and here is a picture of the darling set. 
 Outdoor Nativity Set, Outdoor Nativity Store, Outdoor Nativity

I KNOW there are other great nativity scenes out there made from ornaments, candy, fabric, or even food!  Share your links or pictures with us!  Just leave the information in the comments below.
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