Christmas Issue

Page 1

inspired by family

Winter 2012, Issue No. 4

Create. Live. Laugh. Eat.


Feliz Navidad!

Creamy Pumpkin Pie. Family time. Friends. Christmas Morning. Giggling children. Snowball fights. Hope in God’s gift. Fancy parties. Santa. Caroling. The Spirit of giving.

These are a few of my favorite things. In light of all this goodness, I want to share with you 6 gifts you need to open this Christmas! 1. Gift of simplicity. 2. Gift of love. 3. Gift of forgiveness. 4. Gift of friendship. 5. Gift of Jesus. 6. Gift of gratitude. Embrace them fully!

Mari Hernandez-Tuten Founding Editor

Photography by Carla Ackermann

Feliz Navidad From our Casa to Yours!



Caramel Sandwich Cookies

These soft and creamy cookies are the perfect dessert for your holiday gathering. An Alfajor consists of dulce de leche sandwiched between two sweet biscuits.

Alfajores ● 1 3/4 cups flour ● 1/8 teaspoon salt ● 1/2 cup sugar ● 1 teaspoon baking soda

● 1 stick of quality butter at room temperature ● 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional) ● 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten ● 1 teaspoon vanilla ● dulce de leche ● 1 cup grated and sweetened coconut (optional) Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a knife, then mix by hand. Work in the lemon zest and then mix in the egg yolks and vanilla. Shape the dough into 2 balls and chill for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit. On a floured work surface, roll out each ball of dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut into 2-inch rounds and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until done. The cookies will be dry but not brown. When the cookies are cool, spread a spoonful of dulce de leche in between each sandwich. Press together gently and roll the cookie in grated coconut.

Featured in this Issue

Many of our readers have asked about pinning our articles. You can’t from here so what we have done is included links so you can pin the article directly from the blogs.

Our winter issue is packed with fabulous articles just in time for the holidays: recipes, home dĂŠcor, crafts, gift wrapping ideas, party fun, gift ideas and much more. If you are looking for thanksgiving Ideas visit our Celebrating Fall Issue.

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3 Sore Throat Remedies

1. Honey and Lemon hot drink. All you need is juice from a lemon, hot water and 2 tablespoons of honey. 2. Sore Throat suckers - find recipe on the next page. 3. Lemon Ginger and Mint Tea 4 slices of lemon, 2 cm pc. of ginger handful of mint, 2 cinnamon sticks and boil for 5 min. Sweeten with honey. Recipe and image via A Wooden Nest

This recipe is easy to make, but you do need to make sure it reaches the right temperature. Otherwise it won’t harden when you put them in molds. Ingredients: ●1 cup of honey ●Lemon juice from a large lemon ●1 tsp of ginger Place all of the ingredients above in A medium to large saucepan until it boils to 300 degrees. (Use a candy thermometer) Stir constantly until it reaches that temperature. I didn’t have molds so I placed powdered sugar on a baking sheet and then dug a hole leaving some sugar on the bottom and then I filled each hole with the hot mixture. Place lollipop sticks in and let cool. Note: this recipe uses honey and babies under age one should not consume honey. You can change up the flavors: mint, cinnamon…

Lemon Ginger Sore Throat Suckers

If you get sap on your body, just add a couple of drops of cooking oil and it will come off right away.

On a piece of wax paper draw on The backside some reindeer antlers and then turn over and outline with chocolate. Let cool and use.

Glass Water Stain Remover Decorating with glass but you’re embarrassed to show off those home dÊcor items or dishware with water stains on them? All you need is some a vinegar and dish soap solution and soak your glass in it and then brush off with a tooth brush.

9 Organizations Where You Can Purchase Meaningful Gifts Your purchase at these shops helps: Zero Latitude - Women at risk in Ecuador. Jewelry Fernbird- Empower women and stop sex trafficking. Clothing, Candles, jewelry… Que Encantadora - Bringing hope and dignity to women in need. ~Vintage Jewelry Beadforlife - Ugandan women gain hope for a better life. Jewelry Rethreaded People affected by sex trade (local and int’l). Accessories Sutisana- Women at an int’l level leave prostitution. Handbags….. Saribari- Brings freedom to women in India who have been involved In sex trade. Home décor, baby, accessories Peachy Peachy - Equips orphan girls to fund their own education… Headbands, flower clips and scarfs Ornaments 4 Orphans- Orphan boys in Africa.

It’s the best time of the year! Photography by Carla Ackermann

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness

By: Tracie Stier-Johnson

You’ve been RACK’ed

Stop by Tracie’s blog and read the full story and she also has this card in printable form. Some of our activities ● Taping candy canes to ATM machines around town ● Bringing the girls riding instructor {and barn manager} hot cocoa and a muffin early one morning ● Taping quarters to vending and toy machines around town ● Grocery shopping for the sole purpose of putting it in the “Food for Families” box in the entryway of the store ● Plugging meters around town {and lots of fun explaining to the girls what “plugging” a meter meant!} ● Donating 72 stockings with treats, candy and a craft for second graders at a school in need ● Ringing Salvation Army bells ● Handing out Starbucks gift cards {$5.00 value each} ● Paid past due library fees for 5 people ● Bought and donated toys for “Toys 4 Tots” ● Brought the girls teachers their favorite Starbucks drinks ● Brought treats to the employees of our local Post Office branch ● Purged from the girls personal “library” and donated to a school library in need

3 Easy Advent Calendars Photography by Carla Ackermann

You will need: ●A long piece of wood ●Clothes pins ●Glitter ●Paper bags ●Ribbon ●Glue Paint your piece of wood. While it dries add glue to your clothes pins and sprinkle with glitter. Once it’s all dry adhere pins to wood. Add your numbers on top. Fold up each envelope and stuff with your activity or candy.

Bling Bling Clothespin Advent

Pillow Box Advent Calendar

Photography by Carla Ackermann

You will need: ●Toilet paper rolls ●Wrapping paper ●Ribbon ●Tags

1. Wrap your TP roll with wrapping paper and adhere with glue. 2. See picture above on how to fold the ends of the roll. 3. Tie ribbon and add tags. 4. Stuff with your activity or candy. 5. String thick ribbon through each box or tape them onto ribbon.

No-Sew Pottery Barn Knock off Christmas Advent Calendar You will need: ●Green, red, brown and yellow felt ●Good craft glue ●Ribbon ●Alphabet and number stickers

Stop by to get your printable activity cards to countdown Christmas.

1. Trace and cut out your tree on green felt. 2. Cut out 25 red squares, brown trunk, yellow star. 3. Place your red pockets onto green tree without gluing. Once you have figured out how to get them all to fit glue them, leaving an open gap at the top. These will be your pockets. 4. Glue star and trunk. 5. Use ribbon, stickers and numbers to decorate each pocket. Add craft glue to your stickers to ensure that it will not come off.

By: Jodie Hansen The great thing about the fashion formula is that it works well year round. However, you can really have some fun with it when the cold weather hits and layers and textures become an everyday occurrence. Whether you're at the office, running errands in the cold on the weekend, or prepping for a nice night out to celebrate this wonderful time of year, you know you can always take the fashion formula with you.

Above is an example of a winter workday outfit using the fashion formula. The white button-up blouse is a must-have basic in every woman's closet. It is versatile but always looks classic and timeless. The chevron wool trousers make a great interest piece for the office. The pattern is subtle and flattering, but still gives a good contrast to the basic white top. The blue belted cardigan is an appropriate completer piece, pulling the whole outfit together while giving your body a little hug and showing its natural shape. And the accessories, of course, are the icing on an already beautiful cake.

4 DIY Card Inspirations By Kelly Griglione

This card looks fancy because it has a lot of layers, but it comes together in minutes. You will need: snowflake die cut and some flowers, a sparkly brad to go in the center. Use an alcohol marker to color the ends of the flower petals in the same color as your card base, and it ties in perfectly with your card. The only thing left to do is stamp a sentiment on a strip of paper and adhere it below.

Here, the black legging is the basic piece. Just remember that leggings are not normal pants! Still, when paired with the right pieces, black leggings can be a great basic go-to in the colder months. The checkered button-up here is the interest piece. It catches your attention and gives your look some dimension, but doesn't distract from the whole outfit. A denim jacket (or a solid blazer could be worn here as well) completes the ensemble well, adding a bit of structure to a pretty casual outfit. The accessories can go any which way here. Pops of color in a hat, scarf, or shoes are welcome on this somewhat neutral look.

Can't find a dress you love or would rather break your look down into separates? The basic here is the black tank top. Solid, fitted, and goes with anything. The pleated, flowy skirt adds interest both through its texture and bright color. The black cardigan is the completer piece and will keep the outfit looking sleek and tied together, but the darling bow at the neckline adds an extra touch to make it just a bit more special. The accessories here add some needed sparkle, along with those great snakeskin pumps.

Now with winter weather also come the holiday party invitations. When deciding what to wear to your social gatherings, keep the formula in mind, but also remember that one dress can carry the basic, interest, completer pieces all in one. See these red dresses below. The interest in each of these dresses comes with the texture. In the first dress, the pleats add a lovely flow and movement that draw the eye in. The bodice of the second dress is a beautiful lace overlay, which is everywhere right now and adds a feminine touch without being too overwhelming. Though the sheath silhouette of the third dress is seen often, the hard lines of the sleeves and pockets take this seemingly simple dress to the next level. The completer piece of all three of these dresses comes with the belt and cinching around the waist. It shows off the figure in a tasteful way and is simple enough not to take away from the entire look. Add black tights and pumps to any one of these dresses and you have a killer party outfit.

Mad hatter Tea Party By: Vanessa De Su Mama

Aren’t all of the details so lovely? I love the whimsical but dainty look they were able to capture in all of the dÊcor.

12 Days of Handmade Christmas For our DIY gals we have gift ideas you can make yourself. And For our “I love handmade but I I can’t craft worth a lick” We are sharing gift ideas you can buy and the Story behind the crafter! A little something for everyone! Sometimes shopping is so much easier Than making it yourself. No matter what Your style is we hope These ideas inspire you!

Day 1

Any Occasion Photography

My passion for photography started at a young age when my grandmother gave me a camera she had found. I even remember one of the first pictures that I ever took! I have a degree in photojournalism, but starting a business was an epiphany that I literally had while driving, and led me to tap into my artistic/creative side by creating handmade greeting cards featuring my photographs. Since opening my Etsy shop in May of 2011, I have also added photographic prints in various sizes, and most recently, coasters featuring my photography. This adventure is a dream come true for me, as are the other hats I wear as a wife and mother.

Stop by Leslie’s shop, Any Occasion Photography, She has lots of great Christmas gifts.

Day 2 Fabric Stash Key Chain By: Jess

Stop by her creative place to get a step by step tutorial.

Day 3

Sunflower Moments

Hi! I'm Tiffany, and I'm a stay-at-home mom to a spirited little girl, with another one coming in February. I love to cook, craft, and take photos. I created my shop Sunflower Moments to share some of the baby and toddler items I've designed and created for my daughters. Sunflower Moments features infant to toddler size clothing, along with other handmade baby items. I love to create custom orders, so if you have a favorite color scheme or fabric, contact me and I'll make a one-of-a-kind item, just for you! Stop by Tiffany’s Shop Sunflower Moments Baby blankets, girl Dresses, skirts and more

Grandma Marie’s Quilts Grandma Marie quilts in San Diego where she's lived for 55 years and has been

Stop by retired for the last 13. She first saw Hawaiian quilts while living in Grandma Marie’s Oahu for 5 years and hoped to one day make her own. Many years later, Etsy shop: Marie saw her friend's work as a quilter and was inspired to use her free time Wall Hangings Quits, and Baby to pursue her passion. Quilting gives Marie the opportunity to broaden and Blankets channel her creativity. Her commitment to her craft is evident in each of her handmade quilts that are full of detail and love. When Marie is not quilting, she enjoys spending

time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, cooking and making homemade cards.

A recent highlight in her life has been traveling to Italy and Ireland on a trip with her family.

Day 4

Day 5

Lego Soap By Sara This would be a fun stocking stuffer idea or a themed basket gift with Legos. So simple, just place Lego pieces in soap. This clever idea can be found here.

Day 6

Tender Sapling Tender Sapling offers fun, inspired, and eco-friendly products and ideas to help kids grow noble – cultivate virtues, world citizenship, and environmental Sustainability. Our organic tees & bodysuits with activity ideas make perfect gifts for kids ages 0-12. Add matching tattoos & stickers for extra fun. Treat mom with stationery or a canvas bag. Have fun. Grow noble. Specials:

$50 gift certificate giveaway enter by Nov 12 on our blog 30% off stationery sets free shipping, ends Nov 15 Sign up for email updates at

Stop by our Website

Blog Facebook:

Day 7

Supplies needed: ●Plain glass ornament

Snowmen Ornaments by Jennifer Hagfeldt

●Permanent markers (black & orange) ●Baby sock ●Ribbon ●Fake snow Simply fill some plain glass ornaments with white snow. Using a Sharpie draw the face. Take your sock and cut off the end and tie it with a ribbon.

Day 8

Thunderpeep designs As a little girl I loved stories from far off lands, of strange little elf beings that I believed lived on top of my canopy bed. I eventually grew up and grew out of that canopy bed, but then I started to discover Scandinavian folklore, full of trolls, elves, all things odd and mysterious, and it stirred up that childhood creativity. Nowadays I can be caught in the forest doodling trolls, hopefully one day catching one... As a traditionally trained Graphic Designer, one day I decided it was time to put my creativity to a better use, and saving the long lost art of letter writing is a tradition worth creating for ;) I love cards, mail and letter writing. I love typography. I love illustration. Hence, Thunderpeep was born to service the world's stationery needs with some cheeky fun! Calendars Notebooks Note cards Totebags Stop by: Thunderpeep

Taggie Elephant

Day 9 You will need: ●Fabric ●Button ●Needle and thread ●Ribbon ●Filling

1. Trace a large circle on fabric for the body and freehand the trunk. 2. Trace half circle for the ears. 3. Sew the ears and button for eyes on first. 4. Then with the fabric inside out and both pieces of the body matching up begin to sew. I just hand stitched it. 5. Leave an end open so you can stuff it and to add the feet (ribbon). 6. Fill it and close it up.

Star Garland You’re not going to believe how amazingly easy these beauties are to make. You will need: ●No-bake Clay ●Star cookie cutter ●String ●Glue ●Paint 1. Roll out clay on a flat surface. 2. Place star cookie cutter over clay. 3. Let them air dry. The thinner they are the faster they will dry. 4. Once dry, paint if you wish . 5. Then place a drop of glue on the back and adhere to ribbon.

Day 10

Rayna Jaye’s Shop

I am a full time Mommy and a part-time cosmetologist. I originally created my shop as an additional creative outlet that quickly grew into something much bigger. I am blessed for the opportunity to share what I love with girls and women from all walks of life! As fashion is ever changing so are my Etsy shop items. My goal is to create trendy and affordable hair accessories for the girl on the go!

Trendy Fashion Accessories! Stop by Rayna’s Etsy Shop

Day 11

Sassy Lemonade

I have a passion for jewelry making and you'll f ind me making a new piece every chance I get. I'm a Military Wife and Busy Mom of 4 but when I'm not running after them, I like to spend my time creating new pieces and blogging about the shop and my personal life. I invite you to stop by my shop and take a look around as I'm adding new pieces almost everyday. Have an idea for something you'd like to see in the shop? If so, let me know and we can work together on creating a custom order for you! Use code: INSPIRED for 20% off your f irst purchase!

Visit our Blog Etsy Shop

Day 12

Electronics Caddy By Ashley

Can you believe this was made from a lotion bottle? Yes, I love how clever people are! It’s cute, it’s practical And it’s easy! Stop by Ashley’s creative space for the full tutorial.

Joy Wall Hanging

Photography by Carla Ackermann

You can easily create this masterpiece in your Home by placing garland around a chalkboard Then from white poster board or foam board Cut out J O Y. Cover the letters in glue and then cover it with glitter but leave out the O. Instructions For the O Faux carnations wreath you will find on Page . With chalk add in “to the world.� With duct Tape adhere your J O Y letters to the chalkboard. This is lovely to display on a dessert table, on the hutch or mantle, at your door or on your window.

He is shy and clingy all at the same time, grabbing tight when you show him attention and yet struggles to maintain a sense of normal when someone is not actively loving on him. Oh child, I can feel your pain, yet I know I have never known anything like it before. Dawit is small, not that I would know for sure, when you ask his age he just says “Alawkem” (I don’t know) but to presume by the way he acts that he is around 7 or 8, but to look at his features they are more like that of a five year old. Life has been tough on Dawit, I don’t even know his story yet, but his whole presence screams of it, the scars across his arms and legs, the tenseness in his shoulders, the way he makes eye contact longing to be loved, then receding into a different world when others get some of the much coveted attention…….. I look back at him his tiny frame slowly rising and falling with his measured breaths, his eyes turned down away from anyone, almost as if he is protecting his heart, keeping it in so that no one else can smash it, or break it again. It is a learned skill, not something that he wants, but something that he must do to survive……… I walk back over to Dawit, bend down on my knees and place my arm on his tiny shoulder. “It’s going to be ok, you are home now Dawit, home forever.” ~Benkert When your purchase No Greater Love all proceeds go to help orphans like Dawit.

Bring Love In About the Author of “No Greater Love� My name is Levi Benkert, I live in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with my wife and four children. I want to tell you a little about what we do here in Ethiopia, and why it is that we moved our family from a comfortable life back in California almost four years ago. Often I get people asking me this question "Why did you do it?" Like as if there is some magical reason why we sold everything we owned and moved across to the other side of the earth. I think they are wanting me to say something like "We did it because of the good feelings we get when we help orphans" The truth is, its hard! Yes after the first year we got more settled, bought a water tank that keeps the shower on most days, and we even splurged and got a couch to sit on in our living room. But we still are far from home, raising our kids in a place that is complicated, pushing our selves to the limits and getting up the next day to do it again.

Here is the fun part! We create new families by uniting widows and orphans here in Ethiopia. It is really exciting! We have a partnership with the local government orphanages where we take children from there that would otherwise have grown up in that orphanage, and then we work with local churches to find women who's husbands have passed away, and together they make a new family. We then come along side them and provide for their needs, and help them parent the kids that are now their own. Pretty neat huh? We love it! We are thankful that God is at work and excited to watch things come together, in the last four months alone we have created seven new families with forty five kids! The truth is, and the reason I started this out by talking about the struggles is that we do what we do because of his grace, and we are learning that none of us, no matter how well we may appear to have it together needs God any less. It is all about Him, every day, every waking moment, we just feel blessed that we get to watch his grace in these kids lives first hand. Please take a moment to watch this video about what we are doing in Ethiopia, and how you can help. We would love for you to be a part of this with us, you can read more about the journey here at . I recently wrote a book called No Greater Love, one that I hope you will one day get a chance to read, it is memoir about my journey in moving our family to Ethiopia, how I screwed everything up really bad, and how God stepped in and used our family anyway.

To Pin this recipe and for details go here.

4 Comfort Soups

2 garlic cloves, minced 2 medium peeled and cut sweet potato 2 diced carrots 1/2 to 1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped or 1tsp of ground chipotle 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1/2 large onion diced 2 tbl olive oil 1 tbl spoon of Country crock 4 cps of vegetable or chicken stock 1 cup of cooked quinoa Shredded cheddar salt and pepper to taste

DIY Card Inspiration #2

Gift Wrapping Ideas

Haven't we all run out of Christmas paper right when we need to get a gift wrapped? In both situations, all we need is to look at regular items in a different way. You are sure to have some great wrapping materials throughout your house, ordinary things that we might not normally think of using. Let these photos inspire you and you should have plenty of ideas what to do when you want to show you care, but you have “nothing� to wrap with!

No-Sew Christmas Tree Garland

Photography by Carla Ackermann

You need: ●Ribbon ●Fabric ●Craft Glue -Trace 2 triangles onto fabric And cut out. -Stuff with tissue paper or Poly fill. - glue the tree trunk using ribbon and then go around and glue the 2 trees together. - Glue onto ribbon.

Containers For Gift Wrapping

Boxes don't have to be standard - use some unique containers and shapes. A box from foil or plastic wrap is great for wrapping up a set of smaller gifts or a shirt that is rolled up and placed inside. Use a toilet paper or paper towel roll, covered in paper to hold you gift. Simply fold down two sides of one end, put in your gift, and fold down the other side in the same fashion. Oatmeal, chip, and coffee cans also make great containers.... cover them with sheet music from Christmas carols, or pages from a book. The tags for these gifts were made from bits of left over craft supplies: jewelry wire and small wood shapes.

If you are out of wrapping paper, go for the stuff you have. Here we have used kraft paper, waxed paper and computer paper. Both the kraft and waxed paper were folded at regular intervals to give it some interest and texture. Glue or Stitch the folds (use a plain straight stitch) in place. Wrap it up with thread or ribbon if you have it. Sew a random pattern on plain paper with a free-motion sewing using festive colored thread. Tags can be made quickly with paint chip cards.

In the Kitchen Cupboards For Gift Wrapping

The kitchen if full of great materials to wrap up your gifts. Use a mesh produce bag to hold a soft, light item wrapped in tissue paper. Styrofoam trays can be sandwiched together to hold a gift (make sure they are good and clean first!) A two liter soda bottle also makes a great container: cut off the top and the bottom, cut one to two inch slits every inch or two on both ends and fold down these tabs on one side, hot gluing them closed. Tuck your gift inside and hot glue the tabs on the other end. Here initial tags are made from scraps of felt and extra beads.

Fabric Scraps For Gift Wrapping

Dig into your fabric stash, or piles of discarded clothing, for gift wrapping. Make a quick bag by cutting off the sleeve of a shirt or sweater. Stitch the wider end of the sleeve closed, tuck in your gift and tie it closed with some string or cord. You can also sew any size envelope with some left-over fabric. Or take that fabric and stitch a simple sleeve to slide over your gift. Use burlap, crumpled kraft paper or leaves for rustic tags.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Sausage

Creamy pumpkin soup with a dash of curry on a cold winter night is just what the doctored ordered! For recipe details go here.

Amazing Chicken Tortilla Soup Authentic Mexican flavor! Ingredients: · 1 garlic clove minced · 1 can of cream of corn · 1 can of corn drained · 1 can of diced tomato · 1 can of hominy drained · 1 can of green chiles · 1 can of black beans, not drained · 1/4cp of cilantro · 3 tbl corn meal · 3cps of cubed cooked chicken · or 2cps of shredded rotisserie chicken · 3 cps of chicken broth · 1 onion, chopped

For the rest of the recipe or to Pin It go here!

Worlds Colliding Cheesy Potato Soup Find out how this recipe got it’s name. You won’t want to miss making this comfort soup this winter. To Pin recipe go here.

Christmas gatherings usually mean a room full of friends and family of various ages.

Family Christmas Party Games And Food

This Christmas be prepared and have some easy fun games and treats planned for the whole family.

Snowman Bowling

Shaving Cream Snowball Catch

Snowman Pizza

This little guy is perfect for a family night or a Christmas gathering! All you need is 2 pre-made pizza bread, sauce, cheese and pepperoni for the body. Then you will need bell peppers for the scarf, carrots for the nose and figs for the eyes and mouth. Bake at 350 until done.

Indoor Snowball Catcher Recycle an old juice jug and cut the top off. Cover the serrated edges with duct tape. Use large styrofoam balls for snow.

No Bake Snowman Cookies Use chocolate covered cookies and using corn syrup as the “glue�, to make the face. For eyes and mouth are made from the chocolate morsels the noses are made from candy corn.

Reenact The Christmas Story This is a recent family favorite Christmas tradition. Friends and family have a part And we assign a narrator from Reading from a children’s Bible that has a short version.

Snow Ball Fight

Just grab some glue, styrofoam balls and cotton. Cover styrofoam balls with cotton. There are Some fun games you can make up with these Faux Snowballs.

Wrapping Paper Snowball Fight Instead of throwing away all of the wrapping paper after opening Christmas presents, save it. Place it in 2 buckets evenly and split into 2 teams. It works for indoor or outdoors.

DIY Card Inspiration #3 It's easy to make a custom-looking card like this with almost any background stamp you have. Any geometric design, dots, script words, ink splatters, etc. will do. Or even a circle stamp used repeatedly in a random pattern. Just stamp in different colored inks on a 1" strip of paper, attach the strips next to each other on a paper, and cut a triangle shape. Now you have a unique Christmas tree! Use light to dark inks and you have a trendy ombre Christmas tree. For this card I used a stitched sweater background, so I cut in a zig-zag way around each stitch. But you can just make a straight cut for your tree. This design would be easy to mass produce as you cut many triangles out of the larger paper

Children’s Books Activities Fun lunch from Amy Hudson Adorable Bear costume from Jodie Hanson

The Lion and the Mouse By Jerry Pinkney Hearty but fun lunch from Amy Hudson Cute mice from Lilla

Yarn Snowman By Kim

In 4 Easy Steps:




4 1. Take your styrofoam board and trace cirlces on using Plates. 2. Cut out your circles. 3. Glue cotton balls on circles. 4. Cover it with yarn. Using your hot glue for areas that are tricky to cover. Use wired twine for arms and hat. For more details or to pin this project, stop by here.


Days Of Contagious Gratitude Be thankful for one thing each day. Tweet about it, Facebook it, blog about it, take a picture and share it!

Have you heard of 21 Days of Contagious Gratitude or have you seen the hashtag #21DaysGratitude? Seven days into this Gratitude Movement and I have been amazed by all of the moving comments and emails people have sent me and blog post where people Are sharing life as we know it and how they are finding ways in the midst of the busyness to be thankful. That we want to be a part of something bigger then us, Join us it’s not too late! My hope is that you will find beauty and blessings in the mundane, in the beautiful, in the ugly And as you: change diapers, wash dishes, sit in holiday traffic, stir the pot of soup, look into your spouses eyes, hold your child in your arms… We are constantly surrounded by small miracles let’s open our eyes and embrace them. May the Lord open the eyes of my heart so I can see them!

I love to listen to _________.

I love all the colors on this animal _________.

I love to feel _________.

I love when my tummy is full of _________.

I love when mom does _________.

I love when dad does _________.

I love when I love this I love when God does about I get to _________. nature Give Thanks Family Activitydo this _________. _________. In our Celebrate Fall issue we shared a Thanksgiving countdown activity that you can use these cards with. To get the set of 24 cards printable go here.

DIY Card Inspiration #4

Mantle Basics 1. Size of fireplace -Assess the size of your fireplace. If it’s large don’t just decorate with small items. If it’s small don’t clutter the mantle area with too many items 2. Room Decor- The fireplace mantle is an extension of your room decor. Look around at what colors, themes you have going on and add a splash of it to the mantle. 3. Create a Focal Point- Whether it’s small or large this will help you as you place the rest of the objects around it. You can use a mirror, wreath, clock, artwork or flower arrangement, candles, vases as your focal point. 4. Placing items: Once you decide your theme, start playing around with the placement of your items. 5. Use various objects from around your house. For examples and pictures stop by here.

. Photography by Carla Ackermann

By Joyce Kim

1 chicken breast, poached and diced 1 (14.5 oz) can cream of chicken soup 1 cup frozen mixed veggies 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1 Tbs Grilled Seasoning 1 tsp onion powder 1 tsp garlic chopped 2 (10 oz) cans wheat biscuits

1. Place biscuits in a lightly greased muffin tin, along sides and bottom of pan. 2. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. 3. Spoon mix into each cup. 4. Bake at 375 for 15 min or until biscuit cups have browned.

By: Kim Rowe When it comes to little ones it can be easy to fill the literal or virtual shopping carts right up. Before you shop, read this list of dos and don’ts so that you’ll be getting the most fun and learning out of what you buy.

Strawberry Santa Hats

DIY Pom Pom By Pretty Quirky Pants

Photography by Carla Ackermann

Christmas Village using Paper Bags

DIY Cake Stand You will need pie pan, glass cup, spray paint and super glue. Spray paint first, once it’s dry glue the pieces together. Spray paint is not food safe so make sure you place something in between the pan and the goodies.

Heather shares her tutorial here on how to make these darling table pieces using a die cut. I am going to show you here how to make them from a toilet paper roll. Flatten empty toilet paper rolls and cover them in red or green paper. Once flat, round the ends. Then on just one side draw an eye shape and cut it out on both ends.

Utensil Holder By Heather Summers

Add the belt using black & silver construction paper.

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