Friday, December 31, 2010

Recovery

That's what I want for 2011. Recovery. 2010 has been the hardest year for us, ever.

Yet as much heartache as we've had, we've also seen God move. Mightily. He's never left us.

My precious friend, Jennifer, wrote this song, "Recovery." She sings it on our newest CD, Love.

I would love for you to watch and listen, and maybe find your own Recovery...

"Your freedom spilled out, it was thick and it was loud when the cross was painted with glory..."





Have a very, very Happy New Year.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

My favorite video yet...

I LOVE THIS VIDEO! It makes my heart happy for a number of reasons. First, because it is probably the sweetest video of the Christmas story I've seen. And second, because these kids are in New Zealand, and sound very much like my beloved Australia. Thanks to fellow Relevant gal, Mitzi Eaker for swiping it from Ann Voskamp so I could swipe it from her. : )




Hope you're gearing up for a very Merry Christmas!

Out of this World Candy

Last year I posted this recipe on Facebook and thought I posted it here. Evidently I did not, or else Blogger ate it. Get it? Recipe? Ate it? Nevermind.

My step-mom, Margie, usually fixes this candy, appropriately named Out of This World Candy, at Christmas and gives me a tin to share (or not) with the fam. It is my fave-o-rite candy ever. I thought I'd try it this year. As if my rear end isn't big enough.

It's a simple recipe, but boy howdy you better be prepared to stir. When I was mixing the butter and powdered sugar I thought I was going to pull a muscle. I should have used a bigger mixing bowl and it would have been easier. Make sure your bowl is bigger than 8 cups. You could use a mixer, but I'm not sure how a hand mixer would handle the load.

Anyway, here's the recipe:

2 boxes sifted powdered sugar (or 2 lb. bag from Aldi)
2 sticks melted butter
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
(I never said this was low-calorie)
1 tsp vanilla

1 or 2 cups chopped nuts (
optional, but not really)
16 oz chocolate or vanilla almond bark for coating (chocolate is best...vanilla makes them almost too rich to finish one! And I'd probably make that 24 oz or so of almond bark...just to make sure you have enough).

Mix first 5 ingredients together and place in refrigerator until firm. Roll into 1 to 2 inch balls
(I used my cookie scoop). Melt almond bark in microwave, stirring after 30 second increments. Dip balls using toothpick into coating and place on wax paper until coating is hardened (I just dipped them into the coating with tongs...we were out of toothpicks...go figure).

I promise, you WILL hear the Hallelujah Chorus when you eat one of these.Or maybe that's just the sugar buzz.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No. Way.

I'm gettin' my happy dance ready!

Here's hoping!


Dayspring Winner!

And the winner is... (drumroll please...)

Bonnie!

Sending you an email now. Congratulations!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Haystacks and Memories

I have been in the mood to make candy this Christmas. My neighbor across the street, Mrs. Betty, always brings us a goody bag (or bucket, or dish) full of yummy things at Christmas and I wanted to return the favor this year, not just to her, but to my other neighbors who were so sweet to our family when Momma passed away.

Tonight, I decided it was time to make some Haystacks. I have a couple of recipes in my recipe folder, but neither of them sounded like the one I wanted. So, of course I Swagbucked it (I mean, if I'm gonna search, I might as well get something out of it, right?) and found one that was exactly like the one my cousin, Karen, made when I was younger.

When I first told Kiddo I was going to make them he was all over me until I finally did. He was in the shower when I mixed them up and when he came out I was already dropping them out on the foil (you're really supposed to use wax paper, but I didn't have any, so I used the non-shiny side of the aluminum foil and hope it works). He was talking non-stop and I finally shooed him out of the kitchen, then realized he was one of the reasons I was making them.

I called him back in the kitchen to help me drop the last few. After he finished, he stood there with peanut butter/butterscotch on his face, licking the wooden spoon, talking about Spider-man 3. Between licks he was comparing the storyline in the movie to our spiritual lives, and what lessons we can learn from it. My eleven-year-old...what a young man he's become. I knew right then I wanted to remember tonight forever.

In case you'd like a forever memory, here's the recipe. At least for the Haystacks. : )

Haystacks
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 2 cups chow mein noodles
Microwave the butterscotch chips and peanut butter on 50 percent power for 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend to coat noodles thoroughly. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper.

I doubled this recipe because I knew we'd want plenty for ourselves, too. If you make these differently, let me know. I'd like to see variations of it.

Have a great Christmas Week!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Jesus is the Gift - and a Giveaway!

Are you sick of me talking about Relevant yet? Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one who is still posting about it. There was just so much. I haven't even really gotten into what I learned. Or the people that touched me the most.

I have, however, talked about how much stuff we racked up. The "Ever Grateful" Pitcher. The "Studio Dayspring" cards. My Vintage Pearl necklace. Plus so much more stuff that I haven't even begun to tell you about.

Here's one of those things I haven't told you about. Dayspring has a line of Christmas products called "Jesus is the Gift"...and it is beautiful. Everything I saw on the display table, as well as what was around "The (in)courage Lounge" was just lovely. Things I really wanted in my home. When the opportunity to receive and review a "Jesus is the Gift"13.5" Serving Platter came, I JUMPED at the chance.
I love it. It's HUGE. And even though it's a serving platter, I doubt I will ever use it for that. It's just too pretty. And right now, Dayspring's "Jesus is the Gift" line is on sale! So you can get this gorgeous platter for $8.49! What a great way to express your faith...it has the first part of John 3:16 around the edge of the platter. Very pretty, and not over the top. That's the way the whole line of "Jesus is the Gift" products strikes me.


And as my Christmas gift to you, you have the opportunity to WIN a $20 credit toward Dayspring products. Just leave me a comment. That's it. You don't have to tweet, facebook, post, jump through hoops, sell me your first born, or anything else. But, I'd like you to answer this question: What is the best gift you've ever given or received? Besides receiving the gift of salvation. That's a given. : )

I can't wait to hear what your best gifts are.

Giveaway ends Tuesday, December 21st, at 11:59 PM, Central time. You won't have time to purchase any Christmas items for this year, but what a way to rack up for next year!

Edited to add: I just found out that the $20 does not cover shipping, so keep that in mind!


Disclosure: Dayspring compensated me for this review by giving me a "Jesus is the Gift" Platter. My review was my own opinion.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kimba's French Toast

When Kimba posted about the best French toast ever, I knew I was going to have to try it. I didn't realize it would be this soon, but as I was planning my menu, tonight just seemed to be the night. So, at suppertime this is what we sat down to:Well, not exactly, seeing as how this is Kimba's picture. I hope she doesn't mind I stole it, seeing as how I am about to expound on the wonderfulness that is her French toast. But we did have bacon. Oh, and fruit. Which is not on this plate. Seeing as how it's not mine.

Okay, so on with the expounding. Since the only French toast I'd ever made was the way my Mimmie taught me (little bit eggs, little bit milk, bread), I thought I'd try it out since Kimba said it was so good. MMMMMmmmmmmmm......and how. It's lightly cinnamon-y, lightly vanilla-y, and heavily yumm-y. It went so well with the salty bacon and sweet/tartness of the fruit. I won't tell you how many pieces I ate (it rhymes with "for"). It was that good, and I didn't even have all the sugar mixed in. I went to pour the extra egg/milk mixture out and found about half the sugar had dropped to the bottom of the bowl. I'll have to ask her how to remedy that.

As Kiddo and Sound Man were shoveling bites in, I asked them how they liked it. I finally got a decipherable, "It's REALLY good!" and "Definite do-over." So, in case you'd like to make it yourself, head over to A Soft Place to Land for the recipe. You will be glad you did.



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Paper Star Ornament

Seems like forever ago I saw this ornament featured at BHG.com. And I have wanted to try it ever since. Well, I finally got the stuff that I wanted to work with and made my first one last night. I lurve it. Don't tell the altos, but this is what they're getting from me for Christmas. I always like to give them a little something. One year it was a little candle wrapped with ribbon with music notes on it. Another year it was tissue paper ornaments. Those were my favorites...until now. I think. I haven't made 15 of them, and by then my fingers may be cramped up beyond recognition.
In case you'd like to try these, here's the link. To download the pattern, don't click "folding" but go all the way down to "Download Star Pattern." The download has been sort of temperamental, and you will have to sign up for BHG.com, but you don't have to get any emails from them if you don't want to. After you log in you have to go back to the ornament page...like I said, it's temperamental. If you still have a hard time downloading the pattern, let me know and I will email it to you.
The instructions say to use paper, but I wanted a sturdier ornament, so I searched the world over and finally found (by accident, actually) some cardstock at JoAnn's. With my 40% off coupon, the package with several earthy colors was about $4, I think. I wanted an older, antique-ish look. The package also has a burgundy in it and I'd like to see how that would look.

What took me so long to get started on these was finding just the right music. I will spare you the long (very long) story of getting the sheet music from a friend, but I'm so glad I waited to get just the right book. See, my favorite Christmas carol is "What Child Is This?" but hardly ANYONE has the original, full version. So, I waited to do these until I had the full version. Not that the whole song is on here, but still.

And not that I actually used "What Child Is This?" for my first one. This is "O, Holy Night." Anyway, to do this, you download the pattern, and cut it out. Copy some sheet music onto paper or cardstock. Lay the pattern on the music, and trace around it. Cut around the lines. Using the pattern as a guide, fold the star in the 3-D shape like mine. The dotted lines are away from you, the solid lines are toward you. My advice is to do the ones toward you first. It's easier to do the others after you finish those.

When I finished, I wanted something more substantial than just a hole in the paper for the ribbon, so I had bought some itty-bitty grommets at Hobby Lobby. It's not perfect, and who knows how the others will look, but it gets the job done and it protects the paper. I am loving this one. I just hope I can do 15 more that look this pretty.

I mean, I think it's pretty...what do y'all think?


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Studio DaySpring Cards

Relevant's been over with for over a month. And yet I'm still reaping the benefits. In my home as well as in my spirit.

We had the opportunity to receive 50 Studio Dayspring Christmas cards for free in exchange for a review of them. Well, it didn't take me two seconds to sign up for that one!

When Sound Man and I sat down to try to pick out a design, we were overwhelmed. There are so many to choose from! The original design I had picked out he scoffed at. Not that it wasn't gorgeous...it was just to "girlie" for our family. I am the only girl human in the house...I don't think Windi really cares about Elegant:Blue Christmas cards. So a less frilly design was chosen. But you don't get to see it yet. You have to wait until they come in. I'm so mean.

I asked Sound Man (the computer savvy one) what he thought about the site and he loved it. He said he would like to do it again next year, even when we are paying for them. The custom design section was easy to navigate and comes with so many options...change the front, change the back, pick your font size, pick your font color...there were so many ways to customize these cards.

I really can't say anything negative about these cards. There is no minimum order, but you do get free shipping with 25 or more. And it's been so long since I've ordered picture cards, I can't remember how much they were back then. The design I ordered was $1.49 per card with free shipping (and envelopes) if you ordered 25 or more.

Make life a little simpler...don't go out and buy cards...stay in your jammies and design your own!

I can't wait to see them!

Disclaimer: This review was in exchange for 50 personalized photo cards from Studio Dayspring. The opinions and review are my own.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Living out Romans 10:14



But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him?
And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?
And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?

Romans 10:14, NLT

I have a cousin. Well, actually, I have several cousins. Lots, actually. They make me laugh. No, they make me spew sweet tea or diet coke or whatever I happen to have in my mouth at the precise moment they say something like "Not chicken soup! Tuna soup! Tuna fish salad!" (Don't even bother trying to get that...it's a Smith cousin thing....) It's all I can do not to choke.

But I digress. This cousin, Jessica, happens to feel the call of God on her life. She has such an interesting vision...such passion for what she does and the field she works in...well, I'll let her tell you...


"Jesus communicated his love, his forgiveness, and his relationship to us in story, in parables. He believes greatly in the power of the story and so do I. As a filmmaker specializing in both short and feature narrative fiction, I tell stories to help people see God, the relationship He wants, and what He offers in this life. I may not sound like a typical missionary, but I absolutely want to share the love, hope, and redemption in Christ -- through the power of a well told story.

But I need your help."

Please click over and read about her internship with Broken Phonebooth Productions, an organization under the umbrella of Campus Crusade for Christ (for lack of a better phrase...Jess will probably correct me) and The JESUS Film Project.

And, if you're felt led to give, that will be just one more step closer to Jessica's goal...to get down there and get to work.



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fall Tassels on Sale!

With the approach of Thanksgiving next week, along with the relentless tirade from television, radio, Facebook, Twitter, etc, etc. that WE MUST START CHRISTMAS SHOPPING NOW OR WE'LL MISS OUT ON THE BIGGEST SALES EVER!!!!!

Oh...sorry....

Ahem...

What was I saying? OH! Since the Christmas season is upon us, my fall/autumn tassels are now on sale.


Autumn Acorn Tassel - $23.00


Basket o' Plenty Tassel - $15


Pumpkin Tassel with Bow Tie - $14

And of course, since the Christmas season is upon us, I have several Christmas tassels that haven't been snatched up yet.

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go Penguin - $25

And there are several more where he came from. Of course, if you'd like a custom tassel, I'm sure I have a topper and fringe that will fit just about anyone on your gift list. Even your cranky old Uncle Edgar.

Okay...maybe not him. But everyone else!

Oh, and remember, if you have bought a tassel from me before, you get free shipping!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Deja vu - TVP edition

My last post was about The Vintage Pearl. This post is about The Vintage Pearl. Spooky, huh?

Not really. I just want to win $75 IN TVP JEWELRY! The Nester is hosting a HUGE giveaway day and The Vintage Pearl is one of the wonderful participants.

Have I told you how much I love my TVP Relevant necklace? Well, I do. I wear it all the time now.

So, in order for you to have a chance to win some great jewelry, head over to The Vintage Pearl's Blog and enter to win.



Monday, November 8, 2010

The Vintage Pearl Giveaway at 10 Million Miles...

One of the wonderful things about Relevant was meeting so many amazing women. Some, I had read their blogs. Others, like Laura, I had not. I'm so glad I got to meet her as well as hear her story. She shared what she and her family have been through this year as she introduced Angie Smith Friday night. I will more than likely tell more about Laura in the days ahead because she blessed me so much Saturday night. More on that later.

Right now, I'm here to say that Laura is hosting a giveaway at her blog, 10 Million Miles, for a $50 gift certificate toThe Vintage Pearl!
I love TVP's stuff. They graciously donated 200+ necklaces to add to the AWESOME giveaway bags we got when we signed in. Imagine my glee when I took hold of the pretty black bag and opened it to find this beauty. Squealing is the only word I can use to describe what came out of my mouth. (BTW, the brown and pink pin was also in the giveaway bag...it's from the wonderfully awesome Kelly Joy Boutique. If you visit her page and see the University of Memphis hair clip...I sent her that fabric! Hey, I gotta have my 15 minutes of fame somehow...)(oh, and the turquoise flower pin behind it? It's from the wonderfully awesome Ashley at Our Daily Chocolate. It was NOT in the giveaway bag but I did get it as a giveaway. It's a long story. : ) And she really is wonderfully awesome!)

ANYway...back to the subject at hand. Look at this necklace that I am drooling over.LOVE it! It's called "vintage lovebirds" and even though we're not quite vintage (no matter WHAT Kiddo says), I think this is perfect for Sound Man and me.

If you'd like a chance to win the $50 gift certificate to The Vintage Pearl, hop over to Laura's blog to enter the giveaway. I know you will like her as much as I do.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ever Grateful!


One of the most wonderful things about Relevant (aside from hearing from amazing women like Sally Clarkson and Ann Voskamp) was all the great products that sponsors gave away. Since one of the main sponsors was Dayspring, they offered some WONDERFUL products to review.

Dayspring's line of Ever Grateful Collection is absolutely beautiful. As the recipient of this gorgeous pitcher, I can honestly say this is quality stuff.

Ever Grateful - 10" Large Pitcher
Photo by Dayspring

When the box came to my door, I was so excited. I've never had a pitcher to grace my kitchen, so this is a beautiful addition that makes me happy just to look at it.

Having the chance to look at so much of the Ever Grateful Collection in person, I now want every piece! The beautiful, earthy colors go with any decor, and the inspiring sayings, verses, and designs allow you to share your faith with friends and family without being over the top. Please check out the Ever Grateful line out from Dayspring. You might even find something to put on your Christmas wish list!

*Disclaimer: I recieved this pitcher from Dayspring in return for an objective review of the product. I really do love it and the rest of the Ever Grateful line!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Blogging Has Purpose?

This post is not about all I got from Relevant. It's been over a week since I returned home, and I still have yet to write it all down. Fear not, though...I will write it down. The men are going hunting this weekend so I will have some time to just sit at the computer to my heart's content.

But I will say that the Lord taught me several things that weekend. He taught me (through Ann Voskamp) that my blog has a purpose. It's not just random thoughts that I think no one really cares about. Well, some of it is, but it has a higher purpose.

"This is what I blog. Because this is who I am. I am a mess – who often doesn’t want to get out of bed. Who struggles and preaches ugly self-sermons to herself and some days just really doesn’t know how to go on. I don’t have it all together. I blog about not having it all together. And you know what? I’m almost willing to hazard a guess that there a whole lot of other women out there like me who are a bit of a mess and who don’t know how to get out of bed some mornings and who have to fight. Hard. For. Joy.

"...And when you sit down to your keyboard, and you write a blogpost — you are writing for me. You are writing for messed up me, and the messed up woman next door, and the messed up woman sitting beside you in church and messed up You. We need your messy stories. And you need your messy stories." ~ Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience

The Lord is showing me that even though I started out this blog with no real purpose but to put some random thoughts down, I want it now to bless other people. To bless me. So...I will be making some changes. Not that many of you will see them...but I will.

So...for now, please go read Ann's keynote speech. As soon as she opened her mouth to speak, I knew God was going to speak to me. And guess what? You can hear her read her speech (I HIGHLY recommend you do this! Her voice is like buttah) or you can just read it yourself. My guess is that you'll find yourself written on her page.




Monday, October 25, 2010

My Soul is Full!


Okay, I know you want to hear ALLLLLL about Relevant. And I want to tell you ALLLLLL about it. But there is just too much. I have to write everything down, and process all I wrote, and filter, and pray, and praise, and, well...it's going to be a long process.

I will say that this weekend was better, more life-giving, more restful, than I EVER thought it would be. I met so many amazing women I lost count. I agree with Kristen when she says, "Know this: the weekend had very little to do with blogging." It was more about meeting God.

There are so many posts out there about the weekend I'm sure you can find one, but the one I've read so far that sums it up best for me would be Kristen's. Read it here.

And if you don't already subscribe to Ann Voskamp, do it. NOW. No...I mean it!

Never fear. I will post. And post and post and post. I'm telling you...it's too much.