Sunday, November 25, 2012

snapshots of life lately

I started knitting a hat on circular needles... & it is going pretty good so far!
I love these botanical notebooks from Rifle Paper Co. So glad that I finally got them!
I finally tried pumpkin ice cream... Yumm!
One of my favorite pictures of my doggie!
Tea in my favorite cup & homemade apple bread!
Finished the last week of the Patriarchs Bible study!
Last week, I loaded my car with lots of Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes for my church!
I love this Peanuts wrapping paper! It is so cute!!
I thought that was a good message from a fortune cookie.
Thanksgiving table decorations & cinnamon rolls for breakfast!
I had a wonderful thanksgiving with family & of course, I ate plenty of pumpkin pie!! Much to be thankful for!
On Thanksgiving night, we played with that cute little girl & we made gingerbread houses! So fun!
( And best of all, we did not go shopping on black friday!! )
And... the day after Thanksgiving we decorated for Christmas!!!!!

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving!
Are you ready for Christmas now??
I know I am!!!

Snapshots via Instagram
follow me @ sarah_brightside

Thursday, November 22, 2012

in all things GIVE THANKS!

 << a little doodle I worked on this week >>

what i am most thankful for...
(big things & little things)

Jesus. My Savior. All that I have to be thankful for is from Him! All glory is His!
His love, grace & forgiveness are the best gifts I have!

God's Word. I have been so blessed by all that I have learned from the Bible, especially in the last
few years! Just last night, I finished an 11-week Bible study about the Patriarchs, with ladies at my church. 
It opened my eyes to so many things that I didn't know. I love that there is always more to learn from God!
Studying the Bible is journey that never ends!! I am so thankful for opportunities to study the Bible with 
people in my church, because I learn so much more that way! AND I am so thankful that I have the freedom
to study God's Word!

My family. Because they are truly my most favorite people ever!!
And my doggie... she is a part of my family too, of course!

My house. Honestly, I feel the most joy when I am at home! I am thankful for a place that I
 can feel happy, cozy & safe. I have all that I need + so much more...

My health. I never want to take my health for granted. In the last few weeks, I have gotten my 
exercise routine going pretty strong again & even though I am sore, I am thankful that I am healthy!

My hobbies. Photography, knitting, blogging, baking, reading. There are so many wonderful things 
that fill my spare time with so much joy! I have always had the means to support my hobbies & I am so 
thankful for that!

and a little more...
Hot chamomile tea & a warm bed. A brand new journal to write in. 
Christmas music & movies. Flowers. Clean water to drink.
Nice clothes to wear. Quiet time. Chocolate. Laughter. 
Sunshine. Memories. Seeing, Smelling, Feeling.

The list could go on & on... I guess the whole point is that, I have SO MUCH to be thankful for!!
We all do. Yet we often forget to be thankful on a daily basis.

I saw this quote & it really got me thinking...
"What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?"

EVERYDAY, I need to be more thankful to God for the many ways He has blessed me!
And even when life is not perfect, I need to trust God 
& still be thankful!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

2 recipes in 1: molasses cookies & pumpkin bars

Molasses cookie crust. Cream cheese pumpkin filling. Brown sugar crumb topping. 
 I had leftover molasses cookie dough in the freezer & I thought it would make a good crust for pumpkin bars!
So, I decided to give it a try & they turned out really good! Here is what I did...

First, I used this recipe to make my favorite soft molasses cookies!
(click the recipe below for a bigger image to save & print)
As I said, I had leftover dough in the freezer, so because of that the crust was really easy. 
If you are making this just for the crust, it might be a good idea to cut the recipe in half. 
Or you could freeze the extra dough for baking cookies later, which is always a good idea!

To make the crust...
Spread out an even layer of the molasses cookie dough into an greased 8x11 baking dish.
Poke it several times with a fork. Bake it at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.
Allow the crust to cool, while you make the filling & topping.

Filling Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla 

Topping Ingredients:
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/3  cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup oats

To make the pumpkin filling… 
Combine all of the filling ingredients in to a mixing bowl. 
Use an electric mixer at medium speed to blend until the mixture is smooth. 

To make the crumb topping… 
Mix the flour, brown sugar & oats in a medium bowl. 
Cut in the butter & use a fork to make the mixture coarse and crumbly.
Finally, pour the pumpkin mixture over the baked crust. Then sprinkle with the brown sugar crumb topping.
Bake at 350 degrees for another 30-35 minutes or until firm. 

Keep the pumpkin bars chilled before serving.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

inspired by: pretty sweaters

'Tis the season for warm, cozy, soft, pretty sweaters!!
I am so happy that I live in a place that has sweater-weather.
Wearing sweaters is the perfect balance of being comfy, yet still fashionable.
That is one of the main reasons I love this time of year! 
I first saw the sweater above worn by Arielle (one of my favorite bloggers) & it inspired me...
I fell in love with it's beautiful fall colors & it's chunky knit pattern. 
Being a knitter, I always truly appreciate the beauty of a knit sweater.
Maybe someday I will be able to hand-knit a sweater of my own!
Anyway, all of these sweaters are from Anthropologie & they are all so pretty...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

snapshots from lately

Last weekend was Ren's 2nd birthday party & it was so fun to watch her open all of her gifts!
I gave her a hat that I made & I was so happy when my cousin told me that she loves it!
That girl is too cute, even if the picture is blurry... always on the go!! :)
My church is doing Operation Christmas Child again this year! It is one of my favorite ministries!
And I gave my hair a little bit of a red tint a few days ago... it doesn't look much different but I still like it!
I have had lots of apple cider lately. Yumm!
And chocolate & caramel for a new recipe that I will share soon!
I made apple crisp last week... I used this recipe for the topping & it was great!
And I organized some of my yarn, now it looks so much prettier! :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

recipe: spiced crockpot applesauce

This applesauce is flavored with cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg.
It is easy to make & perfect for this time of year, because it is made in the crockpot.
Plus, it's the perfect blend of smooth & chunky, which is my favorite!
I have already made it twice, because it tastes so much better then any store-bought applesauce.

18-20 small apples (You could use any variety, I used galas & jonathans.)
4 tablespoons light brown sugar (This is optional, you could use more or less.)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon peel
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
(Note: all of these amounts are approximate because I didn’t really measure…)

Peel, core and chop the apples.
Add the brown sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel and the spices. Mix well.
Set the crockpot on low and allow the apples to cook for several hours. Stir apples occasionally.
 They will slowly break down into applesauce. It will probably take about 6 hours. 
Use an immersion blender to blend until it is the desired texture. 
I prefer chunky applesauce, so I didn't blend it for too long. 

Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
It is good cold, but it can be re-heated in the microwave if you like it warm, which I do!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

the season of thanksgiving

It is November. It is the season of gratitude. A time that so many people intentionally dedicate to being thankful.
I know that it is important to be thankful all year, but I have to admit that I really do love this specific time of thanksgiving!
My heart always fills with joy when I purposefully reflect on the many ways that I have been blessed! 
It is so good to be reminded to be thankful & to be reminded that God is the source of it all!

That being said, the thing that I am the most thankful for in my life is my faith... 
Knowing & feeling God's unfailing love everyday is the greatest joy I have!
Growing up, my family played a big role in my faith. I was taken to church every Sunday since I was born... 
Now that I am older & I have made my own choices with my faith, I am so thankful for being brought up that way. 
My family & my church have really helped me to grow & be secure in my own faith... Because of my faith &
 my church, I have had the opportunity to do many amazing things & to meet many special people along the way! 
I am so thankful for a church that is all about teaching the true words of the Bible & reflecting God's love to the world. 

This past Sunday, at church, the message was actually all about fellowship & it reminded me of how thankful 
I should be for the kind of fellowship I have at my church... We are all very different in ages, backgrounds, etc... 
But so many times we have laughed & cried together. We have shared meals & made memories together. 
I have grown so much because of that fellowship! And today I am especially thankful for my church!