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Dec 31, 2012

GFC Blog Hop

 To kick off the New Year I'm participating in a blog hop to meet more people! I'm always looking for amazing blogs to read. :)
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It's Tuesday again which means it's time for the GFC Blog Hop!
When I want to follow a blog the first thing I look for is GFC (Google Friend Connect), it's so easy and  nice to be able to go and see all of the blogs you follow in one spot. It's really a great tool to have. 
One side note- Did you know you can follow through GFC using your Twitter Account? TRUE, it's definitely an option!
Ok, so let's get to the party, shall we?
RULES are simple:
1. Follow your host via GFC
The First link below
2. Follow your co-hosts via GFC
The Next 8 links below
3. Link up below using your main blog url not a specific post.
4. Make sure to visit some of the blogs in the link up and follow them via GFC 
and if you want to leave them a comment, I'm sure they'd appreciate that as well.
5. Tweet about this blog hop
6. Share about this blog hop by grabbing a button and putting it on your sidebar!
Post Sponsor Ad:

Dec 28, 2012

Christmas Photo from 2011


Here's our card from last year, along with what I wrote:

Merry Christmas to all of my encouraging, warm readers! It's been a joy to share my heart with you this year; very excited about new things to come in 2012. There just might be an exciting secret ruminating!

I pray your family is blessed astronomically and amazingly; we have much to be grateful for as we celebrate the King of Kings coming to earth in human form, that we might fall in love with Him and accept His gift of salvation.

Oh what fun this has been.
Thank you for reading my blog!

Dec 27, 2012

Dec 26, 2012

5 Things I'd Scream At My Younger Self

This post is inspired by a recent Rags to Stitches coffee date topic.

I'm often reminded of the effects of time when I look at my old driver's licenses. I'm weird and like to keep them, so I can see how I've changed. 

Of course I'm still me, but there's something in my eyes where the change happens most.
Because I know more. Things I wish I didn't know and things I'm glad to know.

Eyes carrying memories of things I wish I'd done and things I wish I hadn't.
Pride in those eyes for accomplishments.
Love in those eyes, for my husband and babies.
Sorrow behind those eyes, for the hurt experienced.
Exasperation behind those eyes, for the position our sinful world is in.

And always a hope and a joy in those eyes, placed there by Christ.

Always.
If I had the chance to talk with a younger Mindy, I'd tell her (while trying not to scream so she gets the message clearly):
 
1) You have much to offer this world, sweet soul. You are not defined by the pain in your past. May it not govern you. May it have no effect on you except that it give you increased faith in the power of the cross. Don't let it cripple you. Indeed it is part of your story. Use those experiences to encourage others who fight similar battles.

2) You are beautiful. You don't see it, but you are. Do not strive to be like the women you see in the media. It sounds cliche, but you will reap greater rewards for gardening your inner beauty, than your outer.

3) Pursue the Lord with every ounce of your being. I know it can be easy to only go part way, but I challenge you to allow God to take you far, to take you to places of beauty and adventure. Allow him to have and heal your heart.
4) Don't place so much of your identity in your relationships. Friendships will come and go, and it's sad that it's that way, but other people, in their humanness, are going to fail you. That doesn't mean you can't be the loyal friend you were raised to be. Still be that way. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in your friendships. But be mindful that your identity doesn't rest in their opinion of you. Your identity is in Christ.

5) Don't stress out so much! Much of your tendency toward anxiety/depression has to do with the genetic chemical makeup of your brain. Please don't be embarrassed by that or give into any stigmas attached to that. Just take care of yourself. Do the things you need to do in order to stay healthy. The little things are not worth the worry. The Lord can easily handle those things.
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I can only imagine what I'd want to tell myself in TEN more years.

Thank you, Lord, for wising us up, even if, sometimes, we have to learn the hard way.

Dec 24, 2012

22 Weeks Pregnant

Merry Christmas Eve! 
We enjoyed a candlelit communion service followed by dinner, just us.
Tomorrow morning we will be in our own home; we had it that way last year. So neat how it's happened two years in a row.
Praying all blessings over you and yours this season.
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Outfits
Mindy: Tank, jacket, jeans from Target; shoes from Payless; Burberry Scarf 
Bag from Rue21
Wilder's tie was made to match, by Tickled by Three Giggly Girls

Dec 22, 2012

Champagne Cork Angel Ornament DIY

Hello all! I am Carrie and I blog over at Frugal Foodie Mama about my life as a stay-at-home mom to a baby and a teenager, my family's journey to become a little more eco-responsible everyday, and how I still manage to stay a foodie on our one income budget.  Please stop on over and say hi!
This holiday season I have been a *tad bit* obsessed with making wine cork ornaments.  I have been collecting them for quite some time with visions of Pinterest inspired crafty wine cork projects dancing in my head.  It started with my Wine Cork Rudolph Ornament, and then the wheels started spinning.  I have made Christmas trees and crosses since.  But then I realized I had 3 or 4 champagne corks in my stash.  What to do with those?  Why, Champagne Cork Angel Ornaments, of course! ;)

What you will need:
1 champagne cork
1 wine cork, cut in half (I used box cutters to do this.)
Wire rimmed ribbon (I used 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon.)
thin (1/8 inch) silver ribbon (or whichever color you would like to use)
hot glue

This angel ornament is so crazy simple to make!  Just glue your half wine cork on top of the champagne cork with the hot glue.  Let it set for a minute or two.

Cut a 10-12 inch piece of your wire rimmed ribbon.  Fold the two ends in towards the middle and then twist.  Tie a piece of your thinner ribbon around the middle of the twist in the wire rimmed ribbon, then tie the open ends together in a small knot.  This loop will serve as your ornament hanger after you have glued the "wings" on.  Squeeze a little hot glue onto the back of your champagne cork right under the wine cork "head".  Now press your ribbon wings on and hold for a few seconds until the glue sets.  Adjust the wire on the ribbon to make your wings.  Now take a small piece of your thinner ribbon and glue it around the top of your wine cork head to make the angel's halo.
And there you go!  A pretty and unique Champagne Cork Angel Ornament! :)

If you need a few more last minute handmade Christmas gift ideas, come check out my Santa's Little Bloggers series.

Happy Holidays! 

Dec 21, 2012

Last Minute Christmas Teacher Gift: Cost $0


I found myself scrambling to put together a gift for Wilder's wonderful preschool teacher. I was too exhausted to go to the store for something...then I spotted a mason jar in our pantry, and, poof, I had an idea!

Who doesn't love the gift in a jar? Especially when it's food?

This project cost me $0 because I had the baking ingredients and embellishments on hand, of course.
Recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar can be found here.
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Dec 19, 2012

Tudor Rose Designs Giveaway! $50 value

Have you ever worked with polymer clay? I have, and jeepers, it takes some skill!
My sponsor, Jill, with Tudor Rose Designs is here to share some of her product with us today.
 A writer and librarian by trade, she first began working with polymer clay in the summer of 2011 and soon after opened her shop Tudor Rose Designs! Her jewelry is inspired by strong women from history and literature while her figurines and ornaments are a chance for her to express her quirky side. Her favorite part of the craft is having an idea and seeing it brought to life right before her eyes. 

She's lost over 120 lbs in the past two years and writes about her journey at The Year of the Phoenix.

That's some serious girl power!
 
the giveaway:
 
how to enter:


She's also offering 15% off in her shop using code TRDMGRD.
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Winner of the Liston's Designs Giveaway is Miranda Young; email me for details! 

Dec 17, 2012

Protection

Sharing this excerpt from Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony today:

What my children needed were the skills and faith muscles to be able to walk through the trial and be strengthened, not victimized, by it. This is an essential life lesson for them, and it's necessary for me, because protecting my children from the evils of this world would be a full-time job. We live in an evil world. Bad things will happen to our children. People will hurt them intentionally and unintentionally.

The best gift we can give our children is the confidence to see that we believe everything is filtered (even the bad stuff) through God's hands. We need to release our control of their circumstances. We need to start looking at these hard things that happen in our kids' lives as things that God wants to use to refine them--and then we need to walk with them, prayerfully, and model for them how they should respond in grace under trial.

I think she's referring more or less to "lighter" (if there is such a thing; they all rip out a mother's heart) battles like bullying, etc. But this excerpt did give me some comfort as I try to calm my heart and direct my prayers regarding the CT shooting.

Dec 14, 2012

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

I'm so excited to be sharing another recipe with MarigoldRoad readers.  I love to bake, so I never turn down a request to bake and blog about a recipe!  I blog over at A Modern Hippie about healthy eating & living, crafts, recipes, and more!  Thanks Mindy for letting me share a recipe. 
Do you try new recipes often?  I love to try new recipes, but sometimes it can be frustrating because new recipes always seem to take me longer.  The good thing is that after I've made it once, the recipe comes together quickly the next time.  Have you noticed new recipes take you longer then normal? 
I decided to try one of the Christmas cookie recipes I pinned on my "Recipes" Pinterest  board a few weeks ago.  I am always hesitant to try recipes on Pinterest, as I have had a few that turned out horrible.  Good news, this cookie recipe is really good with a few changes I made to the original recipe!  You wont regret making these for your holiday parties.   Full, printable recipe is at bottom of post.  So lets get on with how to make White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies!  

First, gather the ingredients for recipe. 
Drain cherry juice from cherries. 
Pull stems off cherries, unless you are lucky enough to find them with stems removed.  Chop the cherries up with a knife or Pampered Chef Food Chopper (one of my favorite tools in the kitchen!)

Cut COLD butter into small pieces   
Put flour, sugar, and butter pieces in bowl.  I used my Kitchen Aid Mixer, but you could use a food processor or just a large bowl and pastry blender.  

Mix flour, sugar, and butter until it resembles fine crumbs.  
Chop up chocolate.  
Add chocolate, chopped up cherries, 2 TBSP cherry juice, and almond extract.  
Mix until combined.  Add a little cherry juice to mixture until it forms a ball. 
Using cookie scoop, make dough balls. Place dough balls 2 inches apart of un-greased cookie sheet.  Dip a glass in sugar and press down each dough ball.  Since the cookies do not spread much when baking, this is an important step! 

Bake in 325 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until centers are set.  Let cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet, remove and place on cooling rack.  
Once all cookies are cooled, melt chocolate in double broiler.  
Once chocolate is melted, dip half of the cookie in chocolate.
Place on wax paper. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. 
Let chocolate set before placing in storage container. 
Time to enjoy eating these festive cookies with friends and family! 

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies
Below recipe adapted from BHG.  I have made changes to recipe, so click link for original recipe.  

Ingredients:
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped (reserve 4Tablespoons of liquid from cherries)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
4 ounces white chocolate (chips or bar)
8 ounces almond bark 2 teaspoons almond extract 
White nonpareils, sprinkles, and/or red edible glitter (optional)

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Drain cherries, reserving 4 TBSP cherry liquid.  Remove stems (if you purchased the kind with stems).  Place cherries on paper towel and pat dry so they are not extremely juicy.  Chop cherries.  Set aside. 

2. Chop 4 ounces (2/3 cup) white chocolate.  Set aside.  

3. In kitchen aid mixer or food processor (or large bowl and pastry blender), combine flour, sugar, and butter cut into small pieces.  Mix until it resembles fine crumbs.  

4. Stir in drained and chopped cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of chopped white chocolate. Stir in the 2 Tablespoons of the reserved cherry liquid,  and almond extract.  Add a little more cherry liquid while combining until it forms a smooth ball.  Probably will not use all 4 TBSP of reserved liquid

5. Using cookie scoop, make 3/4-inch balls. Make sure to form the balls after using cookie scoop, as the dough does not spread much when baked.  Place balls 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Do not over bake! Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

7. In a double broiler, melt 8 ounces of Almond Bark. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.  Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. 

Storage: Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Click here to print recipe.  

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I will be posting more holiday cookie recipes and gluten free recipes & tips for holidays at A Modern Hippie. Make sure to stop by for recipes!