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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

christmas memories

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service  +  the true meaning of Christmas!
Watching "It's a Wonderful Life"  +  festive red nails
Woke up Christmas morning to a little bit of snow (yay!) & my sister got me that pretty watch!!
I got a couple of new books to add to my Jane Austen collection!! Happy!!
I love the Jane Austen Devotional... so good!!! :)
Also, my mom got me an external flash for my DSLR, so yesterday I had fun playing with it!
My sister got that cute piano for Ren! She loved it! 
I made that pink hat for my cousin for Christmas, so now her & little Ren have matching hats! Cute!
And we got my grandma a Kitchen Aid Mixer! I think she was surprised!! Yay!!

It was another beautiful Christmas! And again, I was reminded of how much I have to be thankful for! 
I hope you all had a Happy Christmas with lots of wonderful memories for you to cherish!

Friday, December 21, 2012

christmas snapshots + a few things

Last night I watched "White Christmas"... it wouldn't be Christmas without it!! It is so funny and the ending is amazing
I love that movie! Last week I watched "Rudolph", which has always been a Christmas favorite! And I still have to watch "It's A Wonderful Life" & "A Charlie Brown Christmas"... They are all my favorites! I love Christmas movies!!!

I found that beautiful edition of Sense & Sensibility, when I was out Christmas shopping...
I had to buy it!! (I guess it's a Christmas gift to myself...)

Here is the recipe for the homemade peanut butter cups that my family makes every year for Christmas!

Last week, I saw a cute Christmas play by a local group that does a new one every year! So fun!

I am all done with my Christmas shopping! Yay!!

I am excited because there is a pretty good chance of it snowing on Christmas! I can't believe it!!

And I wanted to share a favorite blog post that I read this week about Christmas Hospitality!
It is really good! :)

Only 3 days left until Christmas...
Oh boy!!! I am excited!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

recipe: easy cocoa fudge

Easy Cocoa Fudge (microwave)

7 tablespoons butter, cubed
¼ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla 
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted 
½ cup cocoa, sifted
½ – 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Put the butter, milk, vanilla, sifted powdered sugar, cocoa & walnuts in a microwave safe bowl.  
Microwave on high for 2 minutes, then mix until smooth.
Pour into a loaf tin lined with parchment paper & refrigerate until cold.  
Cut into pieces before serving.

Only 5 days until Christmas...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

christmas gift wrapping

This year, I was inspired to use brown craft paper with red & white string for my Christmas gift wrapping! 
I love that it is simple, yet really cute & festive! And it's also pretty affordable! I got a roll of brown craft
paper at the dollar store & I got the red & white string from the target dollar section. I added an extra
Christmas-y touch by using a white pen to draw stars on the brown paper & I printed my own gift tags
that I downloaded from oana befort! They are so cute & they were free! Yay!

Only 6 days until Christmas...

Monday, December 17, 2012

the message of christmas

I was, of course, filled with sadness & fear after hearing about the tragedy in Newtown. It is impossible to make sense
of the evil that people can sometimes be capable of. And it is so hard to know what to think or say.
One of the first things I thought was how devastating it was that all of this happen right before Christmas.
I know that is a bit superficial, because it's not like it would be easier any other time... But Christmas is such
a special time for little kids & families. And to know that Christmas time would now be filled with such
 sadness & memories of loss for these families broke my heart.

But after going to church on Sunday, I was reminded that it was for this very reason that Jesus came to
this broken world in the first place.

Many of us celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. We can picture the manger scene... we can hear the story...
and it is all a beautiful thing, BUT the message of Christmas is so much more than that!!!
Jesus came to this world in a humble way, but it was only the beginning of a divine plan.
Jesus was God's way of reaching out to us, in our brokenness. Jesus was God's plan to save us from our sins.
Jesus is God's gift to us! Jesus is the light in the darkness! Jesus came to bring hope!
Because of Jesus, there is always hope!!   We must turn to Him & pray.

That is the true message of Christmas & that is the message we all need to hear, even more now than ever before!! Let's all pray for the families of the victims & the whole Newtown community. That they may see God's light shine upon them, even in the middle of all of the darkness they are facing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

the art of making bread

I am a lover of bread! I love the smell while it's baking & of course, I love the taste.
Watching this video has definitely inspired me to bake my own bread more often.
I have made bread before & it has turned out good... but after reading a bit of Bread Matters,
I realized that it is truly an art & so much more goes into it than I thought.
Plus there are so many different kinds of bread that I would like to try to make!
I think one of my goals, going into the new year, will be to make homemade bread more often!

PS. Kinfolk has many more beautiful videos, found HERE.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

christmas traditions

One of the things I love about Christmas time is all of the traditions! When I was a teenager, my grandma 
gave me that cute little Christmas tree to put up in my bedroom! On Friday, I put up that same Christmas
 tree, like I do every year on December 7th, which is the day that my grandma passed away 8 years ago. 
I can hardly believe that time has gone so fast. My grandma loved Christmas time, and I miss her even more
 during this time of the year! But looking at those pretty little white lights makes me think of her! 
And it makes me so happy!
I just thrifted those cute little star ornaments & I love my Charlie Brown tree!
Another favorite Christmas tradition that took place over the weekend is my church's annual Living Nativity! 
Every year we have actors play Mary, Joseph, shepherds, kings, angels AND we have animals: donkeys, 
sheep, llamas, etc... We always do 3 shows on both Friday & Saturday and a lot of people come out to see it! 
This year, my cousin brought her daughter, Ren & she got to pet all the animals! So fun!! :)
Been eating clementines... love them!
A December Sunrise & Cheddar & Broccoli Soup.
Watching Elf & while shopping, I found a watch that is now on my Christmas list! :)
And we even got snow over the weekend (after the Nativity, Thank You Jesus!) and it has been pretty cold!

So, I would say that it really is starting to feel like Christmas now!
Which is good, because Christmas is in 2 week... Yikes! 
I have only gotten a few gifts... I better get shopping!!
Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet? 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

recipe: salted caramel & chocolate shortbread bars

These bars are so easy to make & they taste like a candy bar, but even better!! :)

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Ingredients for the crust…

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
Ingredients for the caramel layer…

10 oz plastic wrapped caramels, unwrapped and chopped (I used Kraft)

2 tbsp heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
Ingredients for chocolate layer…

12 oz bag of Wilton’s Dark Chocolate Melts

(You can buy them at Joann’s or Walmart)
To make the bars…

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spray a 15 x 10″ glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Cream the soft butter with the granulated sugar and the powdered sugar until fluffy. 
Then, add the vanilla and salt. Mix in the flour until you have a soft dough then press 
dough into the bottom of the baking dish. Prick holes all over the dough using a fork 
then bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown.
Allow the crust to cool while you make the caramel layer...Melt together the chopped 
caramels with the cream & sea salt in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. 
Once melted completely, pour caramel over cookie crust, smoothing with a rubber spatula 
& set aside.
Melt the Wilton’s chocolate melts in the microwave for one minute. Stir the half-melted 
chocolate & then microwave it 30 seconds at a time, until it is fully melted.  Pour the melted 
chocolate over the caramel layer & smooth it out with a spatula.
 Sprinkle sea salt over the top, if you’d like. Then, refrigerate it for an hour to cool 
completely before slicing.
To cut the cookie bars, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen & remove the entire 
“cookie bar” from the pan. Place it on a large cutting board & using a hot knife (keep the knife 
in a cup of hot water), cut it into bars. 

The bars are best served at room temperature. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas ETSY Sale!!

Get 15% OFF your order from my shop!! 
Use the Coupon Code: CHRISTMAS15
Place your order soon, so it will arrive before Christmas!

Monday, December 3, 2012

snapshots from lately

Over the weekend, my mom, sister & I were in a craft & bake sale. So, last week there was a lot of early Christmas baking going on!! 
Oh, so many cookies were made... Happily most of them were sold! :)
Favorite Christmas candies & watching Home Alone 2... I just love this time of year!
Bare tree branches against the blue sky... Winter is beautiful too! 
And... Photoshop Elements 11 was delivered to me over the weekend! Yay!
And today I entered a very fun Christmas giveaway over at one of my favorite blogs:
It's so generous of Arielle to give away such a fun collection of winter-inspired items! Everything looks so amazing!
I know many of you already follow her & have probably entered, but if not, be sure to visit her blog!
It is truly one of my favorites!!