Tuesday, November 29, 2011

total sweetness

total sweetness

Dug this out of my son's backpack. Hadn't realized he had Grandma on his mind. Sweet, sweet thing.

Let me tell you a thing or two about her towels...

Day 245/365:  Grandma's Handiwork

They are so special we FIGHT over them. Because certain people [Stacey] seem to receive a TON!

selfie with grandma

We went to visit my grandparents over the holiday weekend. She looks SO WELL for being so sick. Praying she'll continue to tolerate the chemo well. Praying for lots more time with many more moments... because really, she's even more special than the towels.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Monthly Faithbooking Crop :: December 2011

first snow

The December Faithbooking Crop is around the corner! Join us at Hosanna! on Saturday, December 10 from 9:00 am-3:00 pm for a fun and productive day of scrapbooking (or whatever sort of crafting floats your boat). As aways, the crops are FREE and include:

•snacks and beverages
•hourly prize drawings
•monthly journaling lesson
•hours to work on your projects

Just click HERE and follow the instructions to reserve your spot! The rest of the year has been mapped out as well, future dates follow:

January 14, 2012
February 11, 2012
March 10, 2012
April 14, 2012
May 12, 2012
June 9. 2012
July 14, 2012
August 11, 2012

If you have not been receiving my monthly email reminder and would like to, let me know and I'll add your name to the list! (Just a reminder... please RSVP by Wednesday, December 7th!)

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

DIY holiday project :: advent activity calendar

Several weeks ago I was inspired by this lovely advent project on Pinterest:

And it became the visual springboard for my own:

full advent

Begin with two 12x12 cardboard inserts from scrapbooking paper packs as your base. And pick up an 8x8 pad of miscellaneous Christmas papers from a local craft store to use for the pockets.

Create 24 pockets using the holiday paper. Cut the paper into 2-3/4x3-3/4-inch rectangles. Cut an additional 24 rectangles in the same size out of white paper as well, to use as backing for your individual pockets.


Arrange the Christmas paper rectangles on your 12x12 boards. Decorate and number them. I used a Cricket to cut out numbers in varying sizes and colors but you could also use stickers or type them up on your computer as well.

close number

Assemble the pockets using adhesive, brads, staples, and/or stitching around the edges - using Christmas paper for the front and white for the back. Use your favorite scrapbooking adhesive to mount your pockets to the 12x12 boards.

For the final touches, connect the two 12x12 boards together using coordinating ribbon strips and add a ribbon hanger to the top.


Then create 24 inserts for your pockets by cutting down manilla folders to a size that is slightly smaller than the pockets. Use a corner rounder on the edges to help the inserts slide more easily into the pocket.


Use a pen in a coordinating color to write assorted activities on the inserts. Some ideas might include:

1. Visiting the 39th Annual Folkways of the Holidays. Click HERE for details. (It is especially beautiful in the evening.)
2. Christmas in the Village at Dakota City. Click HERE for details.
3. Breakfast with Santa or A Day in the Life of an Elf at Macy's. Click HERE for more information.
4. Watch a holiday movie and eat popcorn.
5. Fill a holiday stocking with treats and deliver it to someone you don't know.
6. Write a Christmas letter far off loved ones.
7. Make hot chocolate and stir with candy canes.
8. Attend The Story at a location near you. Click HERE for tour dates and locations.
9. Make a donation to a local food shelf.
10. Bake treats and deliver them to a neighbor.

Hang your advent activity calendar in a spot that is easily accessible.


advent door

The activities can be changed from year-to-year to suit your family's needs and can include already established family traditions. If you have any questions about the process, let me know! (Too, I'd love to hear your holiday activity ideas as well; to share, just add them as a comment to this post.)

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad

My grandma introduced me to this delicious SALAD years ago. My husband and youngest child insist it is dessert. Either way, it is one of my favorite holiday dishes - a little salty & a whole lotta sweet. The secret lies in its crust.


After years of making it myself, I have perfected my pretzel-crushing technique.

my crushing technique

The key is using a heavy, flat-bottomed glass. And not crushing them too small.

crust fixins

Melt a stick of butter, add it to the crushed pretzels along with a half cup of the sugar.


Mix well and then pat it into a 9x13 pan and back for 6 minutes at 350 degrees.

close crust

While it is cooling, mixed together the middle layer.

filling fixins

Which of course, includes more sugar :) Once mixed, you'll have a vat of creamy goodness.

creamy goodness

proof of creamy goodness

Spread it onto the crust and move onto the next layer. Which is the part that includes fruit.


Well, sort of... because it's in all sorts of sugar. So to balance things out, you might want to use a little sugar-free gelatin.

mixin top fixins

After you've dissolved the gelatin with boiling water, the frozen fruit serves to thicken it. Keep stirring until all but a handful of chunks remain. Add this layer on top of the creamy goodness, being careful not to splash red gelatin all over yourself. Or your cookbook.

the recipe book

A better solution might be to pick up one of THESE darling aprons ;) Here's the final product and recipe:

done selfie

Raspberry Pretzel Jello Salad

1-1/2 c. crushed pretzels
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter
2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 large carton Cool Whip
1 c. sugar
1 large pkg. raspberry Jello
2 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen raspberries
2 c. hot water

Mix crushed pretzels, 1/2 c. sugar, and butter. Pat into 9x13-inch pan. Bake 6 minutes at 375 degrees. Mix cream cheese, Cool Whip, and 1 c. sugar. Pour over first layer. Dissolve Jello in hot water. Add frozen raspberries. Allow to thicken slightly. Pour over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate.

Personally, I enjoy it best as leftovers. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 2011 Faithbooking Lesson

whole frame

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
Faithbooking Devotion #42 ~ Stones of Remembrance
Creating Rock-Solid Reminders of God’s Presence
©2011 Tina Vega

Our attitude affects every aspect of our lives. It not only sets the tone for our day, but greatly influences our relationships, the way we view ourselves, and the perspective we have on life. It is a powerful thing. A bad attitude, for example, will not only ruin your day but rob you of peace and contentment long afterwards as well.

God’s word has a lot to say about our attitude as you will see in the following verses:

Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (CEB)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (ESV)

Several recent studies have suggested that people who are more grateful have a higher sense of well-being. Grateful people are happier in general – they are less depressed, less stressed, and have a greater sense of satisfaction within their lives and social relationships. They also have a higher level of control of over their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and self-acceptance. These studies have also shown that grateful people tend to cope more positively with difficulties they experience in life, being more likely to seek support from other people, grow from the experience, and spend more time planning how to deal with the problem. They are less likely to try to avoid the problem, deny there is a problem, blame others or themselves, or cope through substance use. Grateful people also sleep better – likely because they think less negative and more positive thoughts just before going to sleep.

♥ Create a list of benefits in your life and ask yourself, "To what extent do I take these for granted?" What steps could you take to begin cultivating an attitude of gratitude in your own life?
♥ Try reframing a situation by looking at it with a different, more positive attitude.
♥ Take a moment to reflect on the benefits of a grateful attitude listed above. What most appeals to you? Why?

You might want to begin by keeping a gratitude journal or taking on a daily gratitude photo challenge. Within time, you will develop an attitude of gratitude as habit instead of exercise.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
– Melody Beattie

* * * *

Ideas and tips:

1. Create a "thankful" framed project, similar to what is pictured above (Becky Higgins is the inspiration behind this project; you'll find her gratitude project HERE). Purchase a frame (I'd recommend nothing smaller than a 16x24) and art paper from a local craft store. While the felt alphabet stickers were from Making Memories, any 1-inch letters will do. Temporarily mount the art paper outside of the glass, add your title, and keep a marker handy for family members. Have everyone add something they are thankful for each day, using pictures and/or words. At the end of the month, simply slip the art paper back behind the glass and you have yourself a beautiful piece of art. (You can see how it looks on my wall HERE.)
2. Using this same idea, create a 2-page layout in your scrapbook album and encourage your family to document things they are thankful for on a daily basis for one month. An alternative would be to have everyone add something to the page on Thanksgiving Day as we did in the layout below:

turkey day layout

Especially meaningful in light of her recent cancer diagnosis, is my grandma's addition to the page:

grandma's signature

3. With the first of the year approaching, you might want to consider a Project 365: Gratitude where you take a daily photo of something you are thankful for. If that's a bit much for you, a gratitude album would be an ongoing project with a little less pressure.
4. Keep a Gratitude Journal. While doing "research" for this lesson, I discovered some amazing things about this practice. Several studies have clearly shown that participants who began keeping this type of journal experienced significant mood changes for the better. This is the best way to cultivate an "attitude of gratitude" as you get into the habit of recognizing and appreciating blessings in the everyday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011



I love this shot from a few weeks ago. There are lots more to share from this day. And lots more after that. I'm down to my last three photo deadlines for the year and then I'll be taking a bit of a break to revamp my blog, send my camera in for a cleaning, change up a few things on my website, etc.

Which also means more time for blogging :)

For those of you who've been waiting, I'll be posting the November faithbooking lesson tomorrow. Have a great evening!

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

5 Fun Things Friday

five fun things

1. Love, love these custom planners and notebooks available through Tiny Prints.


Click HERE for ordering information.

2. This sweet journal from Modern Scrapyard.

modern scrapyard

Click HERE for details.

3. For the musician in your family:

pick punch

A Pick Punch. CLEVER! Click HERE for details.


Which has two different topics - traditional marshmallow along with mix of cornflakes, pecans, and brown sugar.

5. My bed! Because it's late & I need to call it a night.

Happy Fri... er, ah - SATURDAY!!!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

this inspires me


I've been listening to old records and may need to expand my holiday collection. In fact, I just added this little gem to the mix:


Reminds me of when Stacey and I were little, listening to holiday records NON-STOP during Christmas break. These were our all-time favorites:


Now it's called "Winter Break" and we listen to holiday tunes on our iDevices - oh, how times have changed! This record player lets me hang onto a bit of my childhood and is a reminder of simpler times.

Inspiring me to keep things simple in the here and now.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Dr. Phil's Five Factors for a Phenomenal Family


I was working on a little "research" for my next faithbooking lesson when I happened upon some wisdom from Dr. Phil I thought worth sharing. Here's a summary of his Five Factors for a Phenomenal Family:

1. Create a Nurturing and Accepting Family System. This entails making a conscious decision to actively and purposely work on improving your family situation every day, bringing out the authenticity of every family member, and creating a sense of security and peace in your home.

2. Promote Rhythm in your Family Life. Create a predictable pace for your family and be accountable for choices.

3. Establish Meaningful Rituals and Traditions. Do this by means of purposefully planned celebrations, telling family stories, holding naming rituals, and worshipping together.

4. Be Active in Your Communication. Discuss sensitive topics such as politics or religion to help teach your children how to express their opinions and learn how to communicate. Engage in family activities such as tending a garden, painting a room, or washing the car - a "group project" of sorts.

5. Learn How to Manage a Crisis. Be prepared for a crisis before it hits, aim your energy at the PROBLEM - not the person, resolve not to turn on one another, and find meaning in your suffering.

dr phil

You'll find the original article HERE and Dr. Phil's related book (Family First) by clicking HERE.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

The winner of OH Prize Drawing # 8 is...

Heidi said...
Super Cute!
November 12, 2011 10:48 AM

Congratulations, Heidi!! The Creative Memories prizes will be sent out later this week, once my order arrives.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the drawings and placed sale orders this week :) Hope you had fun!

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The winner of OH Prize Drawing #7 is...

simply said

Lori V said...
50 degree day on 11/11/11!
November 11, 2011 3:19 PM

Congratulations, Lori! Prizes will go out this week :)

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