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Thursday, December 19, 2013

music | "songs for christmas"

This Christmas season I have been listening to this CD on repeat... If you are reading this, maybe this CD is nothing new to you, because it actually came out in 2011... And actually I am surprised that I didn't know about it earlier because I have liked Phil Wickham's music for a while... but oh well, better late than never. Really every song is SO GOOD! I love it!!

He has wonderful versions of Christmas classics like "O Holy Night", "O Come O Come Emmanuel", "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" & more... Plus, he has a couple original songs that I have fallen in love with, "Christmas Time" & "Evermore". The words to both songs are really good... "Christmas Time" is of course perfect for this time of the year.
But "Evermore" is an especially beautiful, worship song that I could easily listen to all year! 

I read a review of the CD & this statement about "Evermore" that says it well...
"This is a true and pure Christmas worship song as Phil sings, 'Evermore, evermore, He shall reign forevermore.' Simply… it's a worship experience in the midst of holiday cheer." 
Which is how it should be!! 

I wanted to share a few of the songs, just because I really love them
& so you can listen, if you have not heard them before...
If nothing else, listen to "Evermore"... really, really amazing song!! :)
 phil wickham christmas favorites by brightside_02 on Grooveshark

photography | christmas, so far...

Just a few of my favorite shots from this Christmas season, so far...
Christmas is only 5 days away!!! Oh my!!!! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

advent | day 11

|  Today's ADVENT ACTION from She Reads Truth  |
"Write down all of the things you secretly believe give you a right standing before God. 
Then thank the Lord that your salvation does not depend on any of those things, 
but on His grace alone."

This is the part of today's Advent devotion that really stuck with me. So beautifully said. 
 Go to She Reads Truth to see the whole reading plan. If you aren't reading something 
special for Advent, I would encourage you to read this plan. It's not too late to start! 
Each devotion has blessed me so much during this special season!

photos taken last week... now the snow is mostly melted.

Friday, December 6, 2013

inspired | knit & plaid

This season, I am loving the look of combining a cute plaid button-up shirt with a cozy knit sweater. 
I have gotten inspiration from all of these shots, via  my  pinterest (all the links can be found there). 

This is a super cute way to layer for the cold months. I love how it can be casual or dressed-up. Plus, there are so many ways to combine knits with plaids... the color options/combinations are limitless. Plaid looks cute with a classic cardigan, a chunky sweater or a pull-over sweater. And I love that the plaid shirt can be tucked in or left out. I know this is a "trendy look" that I will really feel like myself wearing... so, I think this is going to be a go-to style for me this winter! There are so many things to love about it!!  :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

recipe | amish pumpkin cinnamon rolls with caramel icing

This is a recipe I discovered via Pinterest & I knew I had to try it right when I saw it. Just the fact that these were pumpkin cinnamon rolls was enough to convince me, but when I saw that it was an Amish recipe I knew it it would be even better. I have loved Amish baking ever since having some of it while visiting family in Ohio. The dough mixed up really quickly & easily in the standing mixer, using the hook attachment and after it was kneaded it felt perfect! For recipes like this I am so in love with the Kitchen Aid!!! I do have to say that I think my favorite part of these is probably the caramel icing. I had never tried a recipe like this one before, but it turned out so good. I know I will be using this same icing on other things in the future. So good!

To make the dough...
1/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 package active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour

In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter just until warm and butter is almost melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat & set aside.
In large mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar and salt. Add the milk mixture and beat until well mixed. Beat in the egg and yeast. Add half of flour mixture to pumpkin mixture. Beat on low speed for 5 minutes (I used the hook on a standing mixer). Be sure to scrape the sides of bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour and mix thoroughly (dough will be very soft). Turn into lightly greased bowl, then grease surface of dough lightly. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, for about an hour.
Punch the dough down. Turn onto floured surface. Knead a few turns to form a smooth dough, sprinkling with enough additional flour to make dough easy to handle. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 12x10-inch rectangle.

To make the cinnamon filling...
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Brush surface of dough with melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Beginning with long side of dough, roll up jelly-roll style. Pinch seam to seal. With a sharp serrated knife, gently cut roll into twelve 1-inch slices. Place rolls cut-side-up in greased 9-inch-square baking pan.
Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, approx. 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake rolls for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool for 10- 15 minutes.

It is time to make the caramel icing...
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar

In small saucepan, heat butter until melted. Stir in brown sugar and milk. Stir in brown sugar and milk. Cool over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and cool mixture slightly. Stir in vanilla, salt and powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended. If necessary, add more powdered sugar for desired consistency.

Drizzle this most delicious icing all over the warm pumpkin cinnamon rolls. 

These are best served warm, right from the oven! YUMM!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

my thoughts | getting a little bit Christmas-y!!

I love that Thanksgiving & Christmas are so close together. They are my favorite holidays and I believe 
you can celebrate them simultaneously, starting November 1st!! :) Fall decorations are up on the mantle 
& it reminds me that it's all just the beginning... I start enjoying Christmas music & movies right away 
because I think those things should be enjoyed for longer than just one month. However, Thanksgiving 
will never be passed over; Christmas decorations don't go up until after Thanksgiving. 
And I will not go "black friday shopping" on Thanksgiving night
To each his own, but that is the way I like to do things...   :)

Since I have already started listening to Christmas music, I have been inspired by some of the amazing 
words to Christmas songs! So, I decided to use them to create some fun Christmas-y designs!
 These designs are available for sale in my shop, as 8x10 prints! I thought I would post these before
 Thanksgiving, so there would be plenty of time to purchase them for decorating your wall this Christmas! 

Oh, this time of year... the holiday season truly fills my heart with warmth, thanksgiving & joy!  
This season is about a lot of happy little things... the music, movies, baked goodies, twinkle lights, shopping, family traditions, etc... BUT mostly this season is about giving thanks to God for all He has done over the year & it's about celebrating the birth of the Savior- the greatest gift of all & the sole reason for gratitude at Thanksgiving and joy, hope, love & peace at Christmas... and all year long for that matter!!

Yesterday I watched the "Christmas at the Farm" webcast with Ann Voskamp & Liz Curtis Higgs. 
Their messages were a beautiful reminder of what Christmas is really about & how important it is to stay focused on Christ during this season. It can be so easy to get too caught up in everything else, so we have to be intentional about staying focused on Him through it all. I was inspired & I will definitely be getting Ann's new book, The Greatest Gift to read for Advent this season! I love that it is meant to be a devotional for each day of December. Such a lovely way to stay focused on Jesus this season! I am so excited to start it on December 1st!

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

music | "love alone is worth the fight"

In my last post I talked about going to see Switchfoot in Denver last month...  So, I thought I would share the video for their new song, "Love Alone is Worth the Fight", because the song is amazing & the video is full of beautiful cinematography from their travels. I love it!! Their latest CD "Fading West" will be out in December.
I can't wait to hear more new music from these super talented guys soon!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

snapshots | this fall

Today... I wrapped my Operation Christmas Child shoebox with the cutest Peanuts paper (dollar store buy!!)
And I got started on an extra job that I get to do from home for the next couple of weeks! Thankful that God provides!
Last weekend... celebrated this girl's 3rd birthday! She got a bit embarrassed when we all sang "happy birthday" to her... LOVE that little face!! 
Couple of weeks ago... I got a brand new camera! I am SO thankful for it!! And I got cozy new slippers too!! :)
At the end of October... my mom, sister & I went to Denver for a overnight trip. The leaves were especially beautiful up there! Sadly, it was before I got my new camera, so all I have is these phone shots... But still so pretty!
Our trip to Denver was actually to see Switchfoot! YAY!! We got to see their movie "Fading West" & then a concert... It was an amazing night! Their new CD comes out in December & I have really been looking forward to it... Their new song, "Love Alone is Worth the Fight" is so great!! Have you heard it?? 
Recently... I found cute washi tapes at JoAnn's & I have been inspired by calligraphy (that is my attempt...)!
Last month... I bought my sister a Diamond Candle for her birthday! So fun & the soy candle smells lovely!
Early fall... on an adventure to the nature center, before all the leaves fell off the trees!
While I was without my DSLR... I shot a couple of rolls of film. The first one didn't turn out right & the second I have not developed yet. I am definitely out of practice shooting with film, but I love that old camera!
Lately... enjoying spiced chai tea & beautiful autumn sunsets.

This has been a lovely fall so far, I can hardly believe that it is already coming to an end.
The trees are mostly bare now & the weather is getting colder.
It's okay though, because I am definitely feeling ready for the Christmas season!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

photography | fall leaves & a new camera

Sadly, a few weeks ago, my DSLR broke. I had it looked at and learned that the repair would not be worth the money... 
So, I decided it was time to get a new camera!!! YAY!!
This week, I went to the camera shop & got a new Canon Rebel SL1. And I love it!! It has an LCD Screen, it does video, it has a higher ISO... everything is so much better than on my old camera! I got it just in time to take a few photos of the remaining fall leaves in my yard and I am very excited to have it for all of the holiday fun that is to come... 
I am so thankful for it & very excited to use it more!!!