Craft/DIY Ideas, Uncategorized

Handmade Christmas 2016: Fingerless Gloves

Howdy, and welcome back. I hope you have a chance to enjoy this gorgeous fall weather!

Fall is definitely here, so I thought it would be a perfect time to share this wonderful crochet pattern. I have been cranking out different pairs of these cute fingerless gloves as of late.

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The pattern is not difficult, and I think that if you have a just a little bit of crochet experience, you could easily make these. It appealed to me because I am not an expert crocheter and am intimidated by making ones with fingers!

I found this pattern on Red Heart Yarn’s website, and it is free to access and print out.

They would make a super cute, stylish Christmas gift for a child, teen, or adult.

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This particular pair is modeled by my 11 year old daughter, who has been wearing a purply pair of these that I made almost every morning to school!

These beauties don’t use up a ton of yarn, and take maybe 1 1/2-2 hours to make (depending on how many interruptions you have!). Once you make one pair, it’s easy to crochet up some more.

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Great for chilly fall days and the approaching winter cold. The Red Heart website has tons of other cute glove patterns too!

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Craft/DIY Ideas, Uncategorized

Handmade Christmas 2016: Simple Sugar Hand Scrub

Welcome Back.

Today I am sharing another item that can easily be made for Christmas gifts to give to friends, teachers, neighbors, bus drivers, etc. Or you can make some for yourself!

The idea I have to share is for a simple Sugar Hand Scrub.

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I can attest to the fact that this is an easy, inexpensive thing to make. It also works really, really well and makes your hands oh-so-soft. I gave these out as teacher gifts 2 years ago and they got rave reviews.

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These only take two ingredients to make: white sugar and Dawn with Olay Hand Renewal (this now comes in a variety of scents).

Here’s the basic directions if you’d like to make some this holiday season:

Pick out a cute container to put your scrub in. I would recommend glass or plastic.

Fill container at least 1/2-3/4 full of the white sugar. Fill the rest of the way up with the Dawn Hand Renewal. Leave a little space at the top as you now need to mix these together without getting them all over the place! Stir up really, really well until sugar is thoroughly incorporated. Put your lid on and make a cute tag to attach to it. (I recommend just a short note saying that it does need to be stirred right before using. That sugar will tend to settle.) Then, voila! Done!

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That was easy. Even if you are not crafty you can totally do this. I promise.

Craft/DIY Ideas, Uncategorized

Handmade Christmas 2016: Button Bookmarks

Christmas gift ideas have started to pop into my mind already. If you know me well at all, you’ve likely heard me state that I can’t stand the over-commercialization of Christmas. I love the simplicity of a thoughtful handmade gift.

This fall I plan to share some of my old & new ideas for sweet little handmade gifts, beginning with these cute bookmarks. I originally shared these waaaay back in 2011 and it’s one of the most popular posts I’ve had since I’ve been blogging! They are perfect for avid readers, obviously, and especially ones who still appreciate a great paper copy.

Thinking of trying to make some  yourself? All the materials you’ll need are: fabric scraps, paperclip, button-cover kit, and hot glue/gun.

All it takes are a few simple steps:

1. Cut out a fabric circle approximately twice the diameter of the button cover.

2. Place the fabric printed side facing down in the button-cover mold.

3. Push the front half of the button rounded side down on top of the fabric.

4. Tuck the edges of the fabric into the center, and then press the button back into it until it is firmly encased.

5. Thread the paperclip through the shank of the button until the button rests at the top rounded edge.

6. Hot glue in place. I dabbed hot glue around the shank area and also where the edges of the button back rest on the paperclip.

 

Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

The Christmas Story: Wise Men

As Christmas is quickly approaching, I am writing a very short series featuring different people in the Christmas story. For the first post I focused on Joseph, and for the second round I wrote about the shepherds. Today I would like to look at the Wise Men and their role in this wonderful account.

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In studying Matthew 2, there is much speculation surrounding the Wise Men. I have read a whole slew of different opinions, studies, and commentary regarding these men. Were there only three Magi? Probably not, we just assign the number three due to the fact that they brought three gifts. Did they visit Jesus, Mary, and Joseph at the stable like you see in typical nativity scenes? Again, probably not. It likely happened when Jesus was a bit older, not an infant. I will tell you that I am NOT an expert, so I won’t go too much into all of those details.

However, this is what I do want to share about the Wise Men, or the Magi:

In sharp contrast to the shepherds, these were probably wealthy, well educated men. In my last post I mentioned about the shepherds and how they would have been on a very low rung of the social ladder. These guys? Totally different story. They would have been well versed in the prophecies as well as astrology and many other studies. Also, the gifts they brought to Jesus would have been very costly items, so they must have been wealthy.

Another thing I’d like to note is that they truly sought out Jesus and recognized him as the Messiah. This may sound obvious, but it has lessons for us. It’s not like they saw something unusual in the sky and just happened to hop on over to the next town to check out why. They would have studied past scriptures and prophecies and recognized the signs. These men must have been attuned to God’s word and leading. Upon reaching their destination, they were “overjoyed.” They didn’t find a fancy king on a throne, but a little boy with humble parents. In Matthew 2:10-11, it says that when they saw him they “bowed down and worshiped him.” Also, they presented their three gifts, very costly items that were truly meant for a king. These guys recognized Jesus as king of the Jews and honored him for who he was.

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The last mention of the wise men in Matthew tells us what happened after they worshiped Jesus. Herod had known they were seeking out the Messiah and had wanted them to come back and report to him about this future king. However, after they visited Jesus, they were divinely warned not to return to Herod. Instead, they returned to their homeland by a different route. This part of the story tells me that they were not only receptive to God’s leading, but obeyed Him rather than man.

So, what is my take-away from learning about the Magi? They studied God’s word, followed its leading, recognized Jesus for who he was, were quick to worship Him and honored Him with their all, and obeyed God rather than man. All things that I would like to aspire to today as well.

 

 

Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

The Christmas Story: Shepherds

Today I am writing a second installment in a short series based on the Biblical account of our Savior’s birth. The last one was all about Joseph, but today I will focus in on the shepherds.

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I will readily admit that I didn’t think much about the shepherds’ role in this story until recent years. My husband is actually the one who was most impacted by their role, and from that I sat up and took more interest in their part of this wonderful story.

Here are some things I find interesting about the shepherds:

They were on an extremely low rung of the social ladder in that time, yet God chose them specifically to receive the news of Jesus’ birth before anyone else. Though they were initially terrified by the angelic appearance, their fear turned to joy as they took in the news about Messiah’s birth. That joy combined with great excitement as they visited Mary, Joseph, and the baby. Immediately they spread the word about this baby, and people were amazed at what they said.

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It fascinates me that these shepherds, who were normally not held in high esteem, were able to amaze whomever they shared the news with. This tells me that the townspeople must have seen the genuine joy on their faces and knew that they were speaking the truth. Their excitement must have been palpable! I would have loved to see this play out for real. These men, whether they were old or young or somewhere in between, recognized God in this miracle and quickly glorified and praised Him.

Today I am thankful for the shepherds, ordinary men whom God used in a most extraordinary way. They sought out Jesus, wholeheartedly believed in the miracle of His birth, and glorified and praised God. Most importantly, they couldn’t wait to share the good news with everyone they met!

Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

The Christmas Story: Joseph

Today I am beginning a short series based on the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus. I love the Christmas season and some part of the Christmas story hits me afresh each year. I am always struck by the variety of people God used to participate in the birth of His son here on earth. One of those people usually impact me in a new way, or perhaps I am able to see the story more from their perspective.

As my children were part of a wonderful Christmas pageant last week, I was inspired to do a small series highlighting what I’ve learned from some of these folks–all ordinary people that God used in an extraordinary way.

Today I will focus on Joseph, the man who became an earthly father to Jesus and husband of Mary. In the pageant I just mentioned, my oldest son Daniel played the part of Joseph. I’m not sure why, but watching my young man portray Joseph really impacted me.

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Perhaps it’s because I’ve always seen Joseph as such a man of integrity, which is what I would love all my young men to grow up to be.

Joseph really was an example of integrity. There he was, a young carpenter, engaged to a young lady who suddenly lets him know that she is pregnant. He could have easily been enraged, putting her out of his life and disgracing her in a public way. This would have also gotten Mary stoned, the punishment back in those times. However, even before the angel appeared to him in a dream, he “had in mind to divorce her quietly” because he “did not want to expose her to public disgrace.” Now THAT is a good man, back in those days I’m sure and definitely in today’s world too.

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Joseph was also a man of quick obedience.

An angel did appear to him and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. The angel reassured him that the child was conceived in her from the Holy Spirit and that he was to name him Jesus. So, did Joseph mull this over and weigh out the pros and cons for weeks on end? Nope. It says that “When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” No hesitation or ignoring the dream or explaining it away. Joseph also was quick to obey the Lord when, after the visit from the Magi, an angel appears to him yet again and tells him to escape to Egypt with his family. No hesitation there either as he packed up his family during the night and fled King Herod’s wrath.

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Also, Joseph had to know that when her pregnancy became noticeable and people found out, he also would be humiliated for taking her as his wife under the circumstances. But the threat of public scorn didn’t stop him.

I also want to note that when we first meet Joseph in Matthew 1:19, he is noted as “a righteous man.” Note–it doesn’t say “self-righteous,” it says “righteous.” There’s a big distinction there. What a fine example he is to us all.

So, to wrap up today’s installation, here is my take-away from studying Joseph: I would like to strive to be a person who is righteous (not self-righteous!), obedient to God, not afraid to stand up for what I believe in, and a person of integrity. I am thankful for Joseph and how God used him in the life of Jesus.

(Note: All of my references today were taken from Matthew 1 & 2, NIV)

 

 

Parenting Tales, Points to Ponder, Uncategorized

What I’m Into: November 2015

Well, I happened to blink and it’s the end of November already.

Not sure how that happened, but hey, here we are.

Here is a monthly menagerie of things I’m into as of late:

*Fair Trade shopping. I did a bit of shopping for people at a Ten Thousand Villages store that isn’t too far from us. Above is a pan flute that I bought for one of my little guys, as well as a thumb piano for his twin.

Oh yeah, I may have purchased a cute little something for myself too…including these darling bicycle earrings! They had some fabulous jewelry there, including some great clearance deals.

*Baking. It takes a couple of chillier days and I get into baking mode. Some breads, cookies, and the like. I love all the fun holiday baking recipes I see popping up this time of year!

Speaking of which, my kids really want me to try making these Snow Globe  cupcakes. Are they not the cutest thing ever? I think yes.

*Yarn. Yup, it was on my list last month and yet it remains.

Here’s a button-over cowl that I made up a couple weeks ago. I like making these with big round wood buttons, but I also discovered these wooden toggle buttons that I like. I’ve also been working on a couple of newsboy style hats and a baby gift for my best friend, who is due in just a couple of weeks.

*The Christmas story. Advent has begun and this year I’m super excited about all of my kiddos being in a Christmas pageant next week.

I have two little shepherds, one angel/townsperson, a wise man, and Joseph (played by Daniel, not Joseph. Confusing, I know, when you have all these boy Bible names rolling around in one family…)

Well, that’s all folks. Add in upcoming Christmas concerts, other kid activities, and a bunch of school happenings this week, and there’s my life this time of year. Thanks for tuning in!