Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It's A Wonderful Life

This holiday has been WAY different. We have had lots of parties, performances and parades but I have been a part of very few of them. It's been much different than usual. Yes, there has been stress (a different kind) but time has slowed down, I've been tied to the house, but it's been a blessing in disguise.

The other night it was just perfect, cold enough for a blanket but not too cold that we were freezing. We gathered around our fire pit and roasted marshmellows.  It was a memory I will treasure. Then after we put the kids to bed, Jer and I watched "It's a Wonderful Life.

I can't say it's a favorite. I've personally seen it too many times, but hubby had not and he got it thinking it would be a nice surprise. So, I got my crocheting, curled up and watched the movie.

This time, the message REALLY jumped out at me. A message about his life, a message about my life. A message that asked me, "If I had never lived, would it have made a difference." In the movie, George Bailey (James Stewart) is a man with a dream, but it seems to crash and burn, not once but many times. He always seems to give up his desires for the interest of others. 

His dream has been lost so many times, and he works hard all for little, or so it seems. Then he gets in a real dilemma and seriously contemplates ending his life. Through a series of events he is given the opportunity to see what the world would be like if he had never lived. It's pretty powerful.

We see his brother's death, his mother's despair.  We see the town in the clutches of Mr. Potter. Men with no hope, just bars and women to get their mind off the hopelessness of their lives. In the end, we see that he didn't get to fulfill HIS dream. Yes, it was hard, many times, but the life and the journey that he took led to a wonderful life for him and all those around him. 

So, now I would ask you to look at your life, while I look at mine. 

If you were never born, would it make a difference?

Why are you on this earth? 

Is your life leading others to Jesus? 

Like George saving his brother's life, are you reaching out to other drowning souls and giving them a life line?

Are you fighting for the souls around you?

Do you care about our next generation?

Who do you live for?

I don't know where you are, I don't know your dreams, I also don't know if your dreams have been crushed. What I do know is that there is a sovereign God who has a plan for your life. He always has a better dream for us. 

He wants to make a wonderful life for all those around you. He wants to give them all Jesus and you may be that very person to do that. Possibly if you were never born, they would never have the opportunity to know about Jesus. 

We only have so many years, so many moments, so many open doors.  I might feel crushed today, but just need to have my  spirit open to the Holy Spirit's guiding. Your love, your life may make the difference in someone else's life. - Rejoicing in the Present


Monday, December 22, 2014

Book Review: Forever Mom

For some reason, my blonde brain never registered that the book that I ordered was written by a mother who adopted and was written for mothers that were adopting. 

So, when I received the book Forever Mom, By Mary Ostyn and read the subtitle, I was disappointed.  The subtitle read "What to expect when you're adopting."  It was an obvious title but for some reason it hadn't clicked. 

I have always been open to and interested in adopting but my hands are full with the two blessings that the Lord has given me right now.  So, needless to say, I had a bit of a negative attitude when I started reading this book. 

However, her stories drew me in and very soon I couldn't put the book down.  By the time she started giving advice from her learning experiences, I was already sold. 

I would recommend this book NOT ONLY to mothers in the adoption journey but would also highly recommend it to every mother.

Ok, I have to admit,  I am sick of all the books and methods of parenting.  I feel there is so much of "do this and it will be this way" or "this way is the only way." There is too much method and not enough cuddling and nurture.  I believe that there are different ways for different children and you have to know your baby and do what you feel is best for them. 

So what I LOVE about this book is her passion and her nurturing spirit. Her message of love and perseverance was a balm to my soul. Each of her children were different, so she had to find out the love language of each, speak it, live it and continue to do that. She is still on a journey, just as all of us moms are, but she has decided to be their forever mom.  Period.

When you have some free time, grab a blanket, some coffee and this book. I believe it will encourage you, help you. I hope that when you close the book you will begin to learn, as she did to "walk humbly, love deeply, be faithful and don't lose hope!"

I was given this book by booklookbloggers.com in exchange for an honest review - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cooking W/ Brandy - Reindeer Cookies

Here is an old recipe from Brandy. Please keep them in your prayers as they are moving from VA to Texas this weekend. - Rejoicing


These are so easy and the girls LOVE THEM! Abby helped with these. All you need is a good peanut butter or sugar cookie recipe and the extras...

Reindeer Cookies

What you need...

1. Peanut Butter Dough or Sugar Cookies
2. M&Ms
3. Pretzels

What you do...

1. Place a Tablespoon of Dough on a pan.
2. Place a Teaspoon of dough right under it, attached.
3. Repeat this on the pan until it's full. Make sure the "faces" are not to close
4. Cook @ 350 for 5-7 minutes or when done
5. While the cookies are cooling, place the M&Ms as eyes and the pretzel as antlers. 
6. Grab some hot chocolate and one of those warm cookies and ENJOY! - Brandy

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Snow Dipped Oreos

This is a super easy, fun activity for your kids, during this cold, snowy season. How did this come about? Well that is good question. :-) Our church had a ladies cookie exchange over Christmas and since my kitchen floor was being redone, I had to come up with a creative way to make cookies without baking. So here it is...



What you need...
1. Oreos
2. White Chocolate
3. Sprinkles


What you do...
1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. (Read the instructions)
2. Stir up the chocolate

3. Dip the Oreos half way into the chocolate, or spoon on the chocolate

4. Sprinkle!!!

This is fun, festive and EASY! - Rejoicing

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Homemade Body Scrub Recipe

Thanks to Food Renegage for this healthy, fragrant, edible body scrub - Rejoicing in the Present

Cinnamon Vanilla Spice Body Scrub Recipe

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sweet almond or apricot kernel oil* (OR olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons jojoba oil (or substitute extra sweet almond/apricot oil)*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract**
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E (optional)
To Make
1. Place brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
2. In a separate bowl blend oils, vanilla extract and optional vitamin E.
3. Pour oil mixture into sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. Spoon into an airtight container and store out of direct sunlight.
To Use
Scoop a tablespoon of the scrub into damp hands and rub them together. Apply to body and scrub in a circular motion until most of the crystals dissolve, focusing on rough areas such as elbows, knees, and heels. Rinse and repeat if desired. Follow with moisturizer.
Shelf Life
If only sweet almond/apricot oil are used, up to 6 months. If the other more stable jojoba oil is incorporated, up to 1 year
Notes
This scrub is not appropriate for delicate facial skin.
* If you’re wanting to use what’s already in your pantry, olive oil can be used. However, the fragrance can overpower the vanilla/cinnamon scent of the scrub.
** Make sure your extract contains alcohol. Alcohol-free extract will make the mixture vulnerable to spoilage

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas - Peppermint Bark

It's CHRISTMAS! ....and it's time for Peppermint Bark!!!

In the craziness of it all, don't forget why we are celebrating. Don't forget about the most precious gift that was given to us, baby Jesus, our Savior Jesus. Cut some corners, grab some peppermint hot chocolate, sit down on the couch and enjoy your family. Talk about the true meaning of Christmas. Don't let Christmas get in the way of Christ.

What you need:
  1. White Chocolate Almond Bark
  2. Milk Chocolate Almond Bark 
  3. Peppermint Extract
  4. Crushed Peppermints
  5. Baking pan and parchment paper or Muffin pan.
(You can also use chocolate chips instead of the the almond bark. )

What you do:
  1. In the microwave or double boiler, melt the dark chocolate. This will take a bit of time and you need to be close by to stir it.  If you use the microwave, heat the chocolate in 30 second increments and stir.
  2. Once melted, pour the chocolate into your muffin pan or onto your baking sheet/pan lined with parchment paper. You want a thin layer.
  3. Next, place the pan in the freezer
  4. While the dark chocolate is getting hard, melt your white chocolate.
  5. Once the white chocolate is melted, pour it on top of the partially-hardened dark chocolate (thin layer again)
  6. Sprinkle a few drops of peppermint extract on the white chocolate and stir in, being carefully not to disturb the hardened layer below.
  7. Then sprinkle crushed peppermints over the chocolate.  This is the top layer.
  8. Once this is done, you can place it in the frig to harden. After a few hours,  take chocolate out of pan and break into pieces.
P.S  I make mine in muffin pans so they are about the perfect size to eat.

This is easy but it can take a bit of time. - Rejoicing in the Present







Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Place Card Holders

 I've come up with a few simple things that might help you as you do Christmas. Many of us have Christmas parties and this EASY craft gives your party a bit of Christmas spirit. It is SOOOOOOO easy and takes only a few minutes to make a ton of them.

In the craziness of it all, don't forget why we are celebrating. Don't forget about the most precious gift that was given to us, baby Jesus, our Savior Jesus. Cut some corners, grab some peppermint hot chocolate, sit down on the couch and enjoy your family. Talk about the true meaning of Christmas. Don't let Christmas get in the way of Christ.

CHRISTMAS PLACE CARD HOLDERS

What you need:
  1. Hot glue gun and sticks of glue
  2. Candy canes
  3. Place cards
  4. Curling ribbon (optional)
What you do:
  1. Take 3 candy canes and place them back to back. When you have them angled like you want, (so that they will hold your place card) glue them together
  2. I would recommend that you glue 2 of them together and then glue the last one on. You can also add curling ribbon to give it a little extra flare. 
This is the simplest craft and it's edible! - Rejoicing in the Present



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Ornaments

Here is another few simple thing that might help you as you do Christmas. 

In the craziness of it all, don't forget why we are celebrating. Don't forget about the most precious gift that was given to us, baby Jesus, our Savior Jesus. Cut some corners, grab some peppermint hot chocolate, sit down on the couch and enjoy your family. Talk about the true meaning of Christmas. Don't let Christmas get in the way of Christ.

I shared these ornaments a few years ago. They are so easy to make and very personal.

What you need:
  1. Ornament ball
  2. Scrapbooking paper, tissue paper or decorative napkin
  3. Mod Podge
  4. Glitter
What you do:
1. If using a napkin, separate into 1-ply, if you wish.




2. Cut the napkin, tissue or scrap paper into pieces and paint them on the ornament ball with Mod Podge and a brush.

3. Allow the glue to dry and apply glitter or not :-)

4. Once it totally dries, you can apply another layer of Mod Podge on top (optional)

Below are some examples of a few I have done....





Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas - Candy Sleighs

It's CHRISTMAS! ....that time of year when there are lots of parties to attend, presents to buy and make for EVERYONE, decorating, and much more. So I've come up with a few simple things that might help you as you do Christmas. 

In the craziness of it all, don't forget why we are celebrating. Don't forget about the most precious gift that was given to us, baby Jesus, our Savior Jesus. Cut some corners, grab some peppermint hot chocolate, sit down on the couch and enjoy your family. Talk about the true meaning of Christmas. Don't let Christmas get in the way of Christ.

Here is the first gift. This is an easy gift to make for teachers, friends, neighbors. It doesn't take a bunch of time and it's very cute!

What you need:
  1. Candy Canes
  2. A variety of candy
  3. Hot glue sticks & glue gun
  4. Curling Ribbon
What you do:

  1. It's helpful to have a partner for making this gift.
  2. Place the candy canes about 3-4 inches apart, facing up. Have your partner hold them while you put hot glue on.
  3. Next, place your first row of candy on the hot glued part
  4. Keep gluing and layering the candy until you get the look you want.
  5. Let it all cool and then take your curling ribbon and tie a bow. Simple, yet cute... and did I say it's edible!!! - Rejoicing in the Present




Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Productivity

I wrote this December 2013 but I believe it's so appropriate to this year...

Ok, so it’s almost CHRISTMAS and we have a house to decorate, presents to buy, parties to go to, parties to throw, food to shop for, cookies to make, and all the while remembering and honoring the true meaning of Christmas.


SCREECH! PUT ON THE BREAKS!!!!
What is the goal for your Christmas?!?
What is the point of Christmas?
 What do you want your children to come away with this Christmas?
“We got the most presents?”  “We had the most memories?”  “The food was yummy.”  “Mom was stressed.” Or “Mom was not stressed”

So ask yourself some questions again.

  1. GOALS
    1. What do you want accomplished this Christmas?
    2. What can be crossed off the list?
    3. Is it about Jesus’ Birthday or Christmas Holidays?
  2. Who can help me?
    1. How much can you actually afford without hurting your finances?
    2. Can you hire someone to help with the workload and spend less on presents and decorations? Thus giving the gift of a stress-free mom
    3. Check at church and see if there is a responsible teenager or college students that wants some spending $$$.  They will do more for less $$.
    4. What can the children do? What can dad do?
  3. What can your friends do?
    1. What are your talents? Can you share talents?
    2. Maybe you’re a better decorator and a friend is a better cook. Your friend can make you some freezable yummy dishes for the holidays while you come over and decorate her house.
    3. Maybe you can take her kids while she does some shopping for you.
  4. Decorations
    1. What is the point? Do you want to give the house a warm holiday, Christmas feeling or do you have to have “the house” on the street?
    2. Are you focusing on the manger and the true meaning of Christmas?
    3. Just because you were given all those decorations by your dear relative does not mean they all have to be put up.
  5. Presents
    1. How much do you have to spend financially?
    2. How much do you need to spend?
    3. Do you really need to buy all of those family members and friends a present?
    4. MAKE A LIST OF THE "YES" PEOPLE and write ideas and then what you have already ,bought so that you can remember everyone. Organization lessens stress.
    5. Can a friend or teen wrap your presents?
  6. COOKIES
    1. HAVE A COOKIE EXCHANGE 
Make a list and then stick to it.  Cut out and delegate as much as you can.  Dip into your gift/decoration $$ and get help.  It will be the memories your children share with you that matter 15 years from now, rather than the presents you bought or having the #1 house on the street.  Do less and have a better time.  Include your kids on cooking, cleaning and decorating.  Give them some great memories this year. - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, December 5, 2014

Come Worship With Us

Sickness happens. Life happens. Over the last couple years, since I have had kids, I have found myself stuck at home on quite a few Sundays. Recently, with "T's" run-in with RSV, we found ourselves in the hospital on Sunday.

Thankfully, our church has a wonderful ministry. They live-stream the service, so that you can come and worship with them, even at home

This has blessed me immensely! So, here I was with Sweet T, singing along with the congregation. It was really a blessing. So I want to extend an invitation to you. If you are sick one day or you're not able to attend church, check us out and come be apart of our service!



There is also a sermon library where you can listen to past sermons. Just go to www.faithfulbaptist.com and click on Resources. 

The sermon will start a few minutes after 11am on Sunday. So, click Play and hold on. 

Come worship with us! I know it will encourage you as it did for me. - Rejoicing in the Present



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

MYO Formal Invitations


























My husband's parents are celebrating their 30 year anniversary and, in conjunction with that, are going to renew their vows. My MIL asked me to do the invitations.  So I designed them myself and even printed them out on our home computer using matte photo card stock paper. When I was done, I had the top 2-hole-punched and tied a ribbon. You can't even tell that they are homemade. 

HOW DID YOU DO THAT?

  1. I made them on Microsoft Word, by inserting the pictures adding text boxes, changing up the font and so on. 
  2. When I felt like they were done, I took a screen shot, by pressing "Fn" and "PrntScr" at the same time. (If there is no "Fn" key on your computer just use "PrntScr")  The picture was saved in my Dropbox (yours may save to your Pictures)
  3. Then I went into my Dropbox and saved the picture again as a JPG.
  4. After I did this, I was able to crop the picture and print it out as a 5x7.
It really is quite simple to do. The most time will be spent designing the picture. This is so much CHEAPER then buying invitations. If you don't have a printer you can always go to a Staples store or a photo center and have them printed out. You just need to make sure that you print them on MATTE card stock paper - Rejoicing in the Present