My Favorite Time of Year

I just love Christmas. I love every aspect, and this year I just LOVED decorating our new home for our first Christmas here. We finished our decorating Thanksgiving night. I loved that we could relax the rest of the weekend and enjoy our time together as a family.
I just love Christmas. I love every aspect, and this year I just LOVED decorating our new home for our first Christmas here. We finished our decorating Thanksgiving night. I loved that we could relax the rest of the weekend and enjoy our time together as a family.

We moved the piano in the dining room and I think it adds a lot to the space.

our dining room complete with a cupcake box on the table. :O)

Entryway

Guest Bath

Decorating…

So our Christmas decorations have been piled up in our dining room for the last week. :O) Since this is our 1st year living in our new home I’m not sure where to put everything. I am trying to get everything decorated before Landon gets home tonight. We are planning on enjoying a special little family thanksgiving tonight! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families and friends. Here are a few pictures of our Christmas Decor…

I LOVE the real pine branches. I used the bottom branches from our Christmas tree to make garland for the door. Everything else is still in progress. :O)

Our new windowpane shelf in the Kitchen. This poor windowpane sat in my garage for 8 months. I was forced to finish it when Landon said he would throw it away if I didn’t use it. I’m a hoarder. :O)


Our tree in progress!

Mercy

For the last week I have felt like a failure. I have blamed exhaustion, sickness and sleep deprivation for my sin. I have been lonely, sad, angry and frustrated. I haven’t been looking to the right source for my strength and not seeking God for His love. I’m thankful for a God who is merciful and loving. There are going to be times that I fail…and I can’t get stuck into thinking I am a terrible mother, wife, daughter and friend. I have to ask forgiveness and give HIM control…seeking Him for the strength and wisdom I need to accomplish the tasks He has for me. I couldn’t sleep tonight because of all these struggles in my mind. I got on my knees and started praying…crying and talking to someone who loves me and is my comfort. “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in STEADFAST LOVE” Psalm 145:8. So comforting and convicting at the same time. I can rest knowing that I have been forgiven…and that tomorrow I can choose to think on Him. I can wipe three runny noses, lovingly hold two very sweet crying babies and clean one more mess knowing he will hold my hand even through those little tasks that sometime seem so hard. If this is all God has for me tomorrow, I pray that I will do it to lovingly…reflecting His love.
Just wanted to share this song...it has definitely been one of those weeks, and I always love sharing what God is teaching me. I hope it will be an encouragement to you!
a thousand times I’ve failed, still Your mercy remains
A thousand times I’ve failed
Still your MERCY remains
And should I stumble again
Still I’m caught in your grace
Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, your glory goes beyond all fame
Your will above all else, my purpose remains
The art of losing myself in bringing you praise
Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, your glory goes beyond all fame
In my heart, in my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love you from the inside out.

Handmade Christmas…

WOW…Thanksgiving is a week from tomorrow. Where did November go?!? For us…it was 5 weeks of CRAZY! TWO waves of stomach flu, Lily’s hospital stay, twins getting molars, Brooke had a uti, 30+ loads (i’m not kidding) of laundry. WHEW! Thankfully we are all alive and on the mend (i hope!). We got a lot of snuggle time in and are looking forward to all the fun that Thanksgiving and Christmas will bring.
I have been busy the last couple days making Christmas ornaments and decorations. We are on a tight budget, but I really wanted some new decorations for our first Christmas in our new home! Here are a few of the things I have been working on…
Wreath – Total Cost $12
I used some of the leftover moss to make a few more letters
These are my favorite!
Total Cost for 36 ornaments – Less than $20!
I wanted a pillow for our couch. Just stuffed this target placemat and sewed it back together. Total Cost – $5.50 Wish I could buy these placemats for my dining room…it’s like a shiny burlap and so pretty!

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

Pumpkin…still not tired of it. Here is a quick and easy donut recipe. I love my mini-donut pan. I used a glaze on top of them, but I am sure they are just as wonderful with the cinnamon sugar. Landon does not share my love for pumpkin and he ate them right up! Have a wonderful weekend.

Pumpkin Spice Donuts

For Donuts:
1 3/4 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t allspice
1/8 t ground cloves
1/3 c canola oil
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
3/4 c canned pumpkin
1/2 c milk

For cinnamon/sugar Coating:
1/2 c butter, melted
2/3 c sugar
1-2 T cinnamon (more if you’re a cinnamon lover)

For the spiced glaze: 1 c powdered sugar 1/4 t cinnamon dash of nutmeg, ginger and cloves or pumpkin spice if you have it 2 T Milk

Preheat oven 350 F. Grease your mini donut pan (or mini muffin pan if you don’t have a donut pan).

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together and set aside.

In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the mixture and stir until just combined, careful not to over mix.

Using a pastry bag (a ziploc with the end cut off) fill each donut cup with the batter. The donut cups should be fairly full, but not overflowing. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until donuts spring back when gently pressed. Turn donuts out onto a wire rack and allow to cool for a few minutes.

If using the sugar coating… When donuts are still hot (but not too hot to touch), quickly dip each donut in melted butter, then coat in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve immediately.

If using the glaze, wait until the donuts cool and then put the glaze on.

*Note: If you’re not going to serve the donuts immediately, you can bake them up to a day in advance and store them in an airtight container. Do not coat them in the butter/cinnamon-sugar mixture until just before serving or they may get soggy.

You can also adapt this recipe for mini muffins. Just bake muffins for 10-12 minutes then follow the same procedure for coating.

blessings.

Several years ago I “suffered” what I thought to be a great trial in my life. The Lord was gracious enough to erase a lot of the memories I had from the past, but I can still remember the hurt. I remember just asking God several questions. Where do I go now? What do I do with my life now? Will anyone ever love me again? There was so much hurt in my broken heart, that the only thing I felt I could do was look to God for love, forgiveness and healing. He did all that and MORE. He gave me more than I asked for and more than I deserved. His amazing love does that. Psalm 36:7 was one of the verses that I kept in the forefront of my mind. “How precious is your steadfast love, O GOD! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” His love forgave, comforted and healed. I’m thankful for a God that will never leave me.

Here comes the HUGE blessingS part…

After going to Northland Camp to work for the summer and seek wise counsel, I started working at NIU full time. Northland has a special place in my heart…for many reasons! Northland was where I met my husband Landon. Landon was the crazy, curly red-headed, soccer playing, bridge jumping, red tahoe driving “boy” that I never saw myself dating. He pursued…and pursued. I resisted for almost a whole semester…until Thanksgiving break. I saw a different side of Landon. He was crazy…but he was (and is!) Godly, sweet, FUN, forgiving and patient. We began dating in February…got engaged in July….and got married in November. We do things fast around here.

“From the fullness of HIS grace, we have all received one blessing after another.” John 1:16.

10 months after we got married Brooke came along. 20 months after that came Lily & Lauren. Our family grew QUICKLY….and it is awesome. We love our girls. We love each other. Things get hard sometimes, but we all get through it together. Landon ALWAYS reminds me of the truth and points me back to my LOVING father. I am so blessed. He GAVE me that trial…so I could be broken and see HIM. Those questions I asked God before…He answered each one in His time. He brought me to Oklahoma and gave me a very amazing husband who loves me very much. In one week we will celebrate our 4 year anniversary. He gave me the amazing opportunity to be a mother to my girls. It was all in His plan and all in His timing. I’m thankful that my life is guided by His hand, and not my own.


“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plan for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11


Christmas Ornaments

I decided that I wanted to do something new with our tree this year. I have a limited budget for things like this since we are still keeping Huggies in business. :O) So i went to hobby lobby and walked around…and around until I finally decided what I was going to make. You can personalize this and make it your own! My old piano books are still packed away somewhere, so I purchased some “antique” music paper in the paper section. The paper I used in the tutorial has black notes and the paper in the “final product” has red notes. You could use music, scrapbook paper, an old book, newspaper….whatever is cheap and on hand! Total cost for 24 ornaments was only $13.00. I purchased all the supplies at Hobby Lobby for 50% off. Here is a quick “tutorial”.
Here is what you will need: Your paper, Glitter spray paint and plain glass ornaments.
Shred your paper! I shredded into small strips and then tore the strip in half. Roll up the strip and put it in your ornament. After I filled the ornament up I “shook” it to loosen the rolls up a little bit.

I used the carton to hold the ornaments while I was spray painting them. Spray one side. dry. spray the other side.

I am getting excited! They are almost finished and extra sparkly in the sunshine.
Put the topper back on and leave them plain or add a ribbon! Hang them on your tree, or reluctantly shove them back in the box until November 25th. :O)