Archive for Celebrating the Seasons
Are you rushing about, feeling stressed, short on patience and still have a mile-long “to-do” list? It’s time to step back and change our perspective. To breathe and to center our hearts.
It’s not about the gifts, the perfect decorations, or holiday parties.
It’s not about elaborate dinners, the crowds at the mall, or living up to expectations we have set.
It’s not about things.
It’s about love, people, and the one gift that saved the world…Jesus.
It’s about sacrificial giving, showing love to those who seem to deserve it the least, and sharing what we have with those who are in greater need.
It’s reaching out to those who have wronged us, making time for those we love and hold dear, and searching our hearts for how we can make a difference not only during the days of Christmas, but all year long.
It’s not only showing love, but being love.
Christmas is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. May your hearts be so full that you have no option but to share that fullness. May the blessings that you have been given be those with which you bless others.
He chose bread to feed us.
Water to wash us.
A baby to save us.
God uses the ordinary for His greatest work.
May He bless you and make your “ordinary” life a blessing to others.
I don’t think I have posted a welcome fall post, so I think this will be it! Fall is (one of) my favorite seasons. (In the spring it’s spring, but in the fall it’s fall!) But in honoring all the things that I love about fall, I wanted to share some inspiring images with you to make you feel the crisp air, celebrate the vibrancy of the turning leaves and the nesting that occurs as the temps turn colder.
As you move into this new season we are in, take a moment to celebrate what you love about fall. Because that’s what one of the things life is really about isn’t it? Being grateful for each moment and realizing that the small things are the big things.
Set some time aside for doing the things that bring you comfort and serve others. Make a cake, press some leaves, light some candles, carve a pumpkin… most of all…spread joy.
Stop by and let me know what your favorite thing about fall is and how you plan to celebrate!
We are having a tremendous heat and humidity wave here in the Midwest. (Higher temps and humidity than the Brazilian Rainforest had yesterday…) Eek! I just keep counting my blessings that we have air conditioning. I can’t imagine having to do anything, especially sleep in this weather.
My Top 5 Ways to Avoid the Heat:
1. Ice Cream: Not too picky here, whether it’s opening a Ben & Jerry’s container from the freezer, running to the local ice cream shop, or making it yourself… find yourself a creamy cool concoction and enjoy! Some of my favorite flavors include Chocolate Almond Coconut or Caramel Macchiato. Want to make it yourself to avoid going out in the heat to pick up some? (Especially fun if you have kids!) Here’s a delicious Cherry Ice Cream recipe to try… perfect with cherries being in season right now.
2. Cucumber Water: A nice, refreshing, good-for-you, drink to keep you hydrated and is a bit more fun that plain old water. Add 2-3 slices of cucumber (I like the English Cucumbers, thinner skins and minimal seeds) to your glass of ice water and enjoy! Another delicious alternative if you have an herb garden… Pineapple Mint Water. Just crush a few pineapple mint leaves into a glass and add water and ice.
3. Cooling Massage: Put your favorite foot lotion into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes and then give yourself a cooling foot massage. Even better if you can convince your sweetie to do this… offer to swap foot massages, he’ll love it too! My recommendation… Aveda’s Foot Relief… very refreshing, hydrating and not greasy at all. Hands down my favorite!
4. Read a Bestseller: Pick up your favorite beach read and enjoy one of the joys of summer… spending guilt-free time getting lost in a good mystery or a fun, flirty novel certainly makes you forget about the heat! (This is best while done lounging outside in the shade if you’ve got a good cool spot.) My recommendation… The Help. A fantastic book- funny, serious and eye-opening at the same time. Definitely a must read. Bonus… if you read it now, you’ll be ready for the highly anticipated movie debut in early August!
5. Cooling Packs: Those wonderful little cold packs that can be frozen are a lifesaver when you are overheated. Apply to key places like the back of your neck, temples, wrists, behind the knees or the arches of your feet. Allow the pack to safely cool you down and bring relief from being overheated. You can find the Core Product line HERE. I keep a variety of sizes on hand for either heating or cooling. Perfect for little ones as well.
What are your favorite ways to “beat the heat”? Have any suggestions that you want to share? Let us know by commenting below!
Thanks and stay cool!
Today we are going to think creatively with all this winter that surrounds us. I think it’s so easy for winter weather to make us less creative, so today I want to use it for INSPIRATION!
Yes, today I would like you to ‘think outside the box’ and be inspired by snow, shades of gray and simplicity of landscape. At first glance, it seems colorless and almost lifeless. But… wait… there is beauty and inspiration there, we just have to slow down to take in all of the details.
Okay, I know there are some readers who do not have snow outside their windows. If that is you, I envy you a bit… but I believe you can still gain some inspiration from this post, so, please read on. (Maybe consider remembering a time you were in a snowy landscape or browse some online resources- photos, blogs or the like, to find some wintery scenes to pull inspiration from. Try here at Anna Malin’s blog or here at haus maus .)
Now, for the details that will allow us to create in a new way….
In a typical winter scene, there seems to be lack of color, but it’s really abundant in color, one just has to spend some time really looking. The twigs, trees and wood that are exposed have many shades of gray, brown, gold, tan, and even some purple or red hues in them.
Where there is snow that has fallen, it can be heavy and wet, icy and hard, or soft and clumped. What do those textures represent?
Look at the sky… the various shades are determined a bit by the time of day. Maybe some early morning pinks and purples, afternoon blues and grays, and possibly some evening color with a bit of orange or magenta.
How does the landscape lay? Are you looking at fields of softly blanketed white, a backyard of greenery laden with heavy snow, or a city boulevard with homes and buildings lined up like soldiers along a snowy avenue?
Now that you’ve really spent a few minutes looking at the details, how can you use that information to inspire your creativity today? What did you gain from looking at the scene outside your own door or window?
Can you imagine creating a piece of art with those colors, textures and details? Would you like to take a photograph to capture the beauty?
Would you like to pull your gardening books and make plans to update your garden areas to better compliment a winter landscape?
Would you like to gather some friends and enjoy a day outdoors sledding or going on a quiet winter walk?
Are you compelled to plan a menu to incorporate hearty comfort foods to share with friends on a cold winters eve?
Would you like to nestle in and knit a sweater for someone special with the colors of winter?
Are you inspired to redecorate a bit, embracing the hues and textures outside your window?
Creativity can take us to new places. When we take the time to really look at the details around us, we take those details with us to other parts of our lives. We can be changed by nature and our surroundings when we slow down and take the time to welcome those bits of beauty that can often go unnoticed around us.
What beautiful things did today’s winter scene inspire you to do today?
Looking for some cookie recipes?
I wanted to share a couple of my family’s favorite Christmas Cookie recipes with you… the ones we make every year. (Always multiple batches!) They are great for cookie exchanges and travel well.
The original cookie recipes came from a Taste of Home magazine years ago…
Very easy and very delicious- you must bake more than one pan!
12 graham crackers (4 3/4 inches x 2 1/2 inches)
2 cups miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup flaked coconut
Line a 15″ x 10″ x 1″ baking pan with foil (I like to use parchment paper, or spray the foil.). Arrange graham crackers in pan; cover with marshmallows. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Spoon over marshmallows. Sprinkle with almonds and coconut.
Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes, until browned. Cool completely. (I like to remove the foil or parchment from the pan, put on a cutting board and to use a chef’s knife for the cutting.) Cut into 2″ squares, then cut each square in half to form triangles. (Makes about 6 dozen)
(For a twist, you can add mini-chocolate chips when you put on the coconut and almonds.)
Similar to spritz by MUCH easier! Delightfully light, crisp and almond flavored, be warned… you can’t eat just one!
Here is a link to the recipe- ready to print and bake!
While you are baking, remember to turn on some Christmas music… it will make the cookies turn out better and if you are dancing and singing while you are baking and tasting, the calories consumed dissolve….
Some ideas for fun cookie baking music…
Happy dancing and cookie eating!