Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Banner Day: A Tutorial

My first tutorial to be exact! *Disclaimer alert* I am no Martha Stewart, but I enjoy crafting and creating pretty things, even if they don't turn out exactly 'as pictured'. They are made with a whole lotta love.

A banner day, indeed!

Taste of Summer

Our summer here in the Seattle area is slow in coming, so to help jump start things, I decided to make some delicious summertime recipe favorites.

Each season has it's distinct flavors and foods that go with it and with summer comes BBQ'ed chicken burgers fresh off the grill with some fresh sauces and produce. This week we tried the chicken burger with pesto mayonnaise. And it is just as easy as it sounds to make. Grill your chicken however you like it and then spread over your sandwich buns the pesto mayo which is 1 part basil pesto to 3 parts mayo. It is so yummy and it's full of flavor!

With Independence day fast approaching, I am trying to figure out which dessert to bring to our church service in the park/fellowship picnic. Martha's Everyday Food sent me an e-mail this week with what looks like an amazing recipe: 'Smore cookies! Who can pass that up? But what could be more American than an apple pie cookie ice cream sandwich? Am I making you hungry yet? If I can't decide on one I might just have to make both, which wouldn't be so bad I guess ;)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crafting for a Cause

My heart has been stirred by some much needed ministries within the church: stopping human trafficking, encouraging adoption of the 147 million orphans in the world and ending all forms of abortion. For now my efforts are focused on a very saddening reality; abortion.

Our church supports a local pregnancy resource center that provides medical, educational and support services to those in need to help make a choice for life and to insure a successful pregnancy and parenting experience. Their ministry focuses on: prevention, intervention and education & support. I am a part of their newest campaign "Change for Life" and would love any support, financial support or prayer support.

Every client is given resources that match her specific situation, showing her the love of Christ at every opportunity. To accomplish this the PRC provides in-center meetings with case managers to obtain medical coupons, a pregnancy support group, free maternity clothing, birth and baby preparation classes, baby clothing/supplies and new mom support groups. In addition to the fundraiser I am apart of, I am going to be using my love of crafting to make some baby toys, clothes and maternity clothes for the center. What a better way to use my hobby? A smart lady once said "Talent is God's gift to you, what you do with it is your gift to God."

Again, I ask that you pray for these efforts and take a look at the fundraiser page. Thank you for taking a stand for

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Something More

I shared with you a few posts back about God taking me on a journey. That journey has opened my eyes to great needs in the church and in the world. I get so caught up in thinking about myself or my problems and forget about what is most important in this life, to love God and love others.

This life is not about us, as much as the world may tell us otherwise. Jesus came and told us that we are here to serve Him. God Himself became human. The text in John chapter 1 begins with this statement, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Word WAS God and the Word became flesh. If the Word was God and the Word became flesh, then God became flesh. God became human. Jesus Christ was human and Jesus Christ was God.

Not only that, but He came and lived a life of servitude. He lived and died for us.

"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!" -Philippians 2:1-8

During this time in my life, I've been waiting on the Lord and He has helped me see that my purpose, my call in this life is to serve Him, His children and those hurting in this world. There are so many people who need God and need His encouragement, His love. I want to devote my life to doing just that. For those of you also seeking to do something more, there are some unbelievable organizations and ministries doing extraordinary things: The Call, The Zoe Foundation, Exodus Cry and a documentary, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.

"Here is my Servant, whom I uphold, my chosen One in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on Him and He will bring justice to the nations.

I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness." -Isaiah 42: 1, 6-7

What do you say; are you up for the challenge?

Friday, June 11, 2010

So excited!!

I know I am a major dork for getting so excited about this but I just received my first comment from someone other than my best friend, my husband and my Mother-in-law. Not that I don't love and cherish that they read my blog because I DO! :)

But getting back to my excitement, the person who commented was none other than Julie of Joy's Hope. Hers was the first crafting blog I read and I instantly fell in love. Not only does she offer beautiful inspiration, tutorials and recipes (I've tried them all and they are AWESOME!) but she offers hope and the love of Christ. I can't tell you how I've been inspired by her and I don't even know her (It does sound weird saying it out loud).

Something else I've been reflecting on this morning is the body of Christ. I LOVE finding out that so and so is a christian or driving down the road and seeing the Jesus fish on the back of someones bumper because that means we are sisters and brothers. Jeremy and I are so blessed to be a part of a wonderful church with some awesome people. They are not perfect, but they love Jesus and strive to be like Him each day. I guess it just gives me hope seeing all the different kinds of people out there and knowing they too are on fire for Christ. Praise God for His church, may we share His gospel with humility and love. And praise God for the inspiration His church is to fellow believers. You are a real blessing to this world!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Real Simple: Entertaining & Cooking

Party planning is fun, but it can also be very daunting. Trying to stick within a budget, plan the perfect menu and then to actually make it all, can almost drive a girl crazy (and believe me, my husband has seen it happen.) I have discovered some easy entertaining tips and quick easy recipes that are a cinch to make and will impress your guests too!

My husband and I organize small get-togethers with the youth of our church as well as a christian apologetics meetings. Any excuse to try out some new recipes and make a pretty table-scape, I am down. But first...

Organization is key to make hosting a breeze. There are six questions to answer to get started: What is the date? How many guests will be there? What is the location? What type of party will it be? What is your budget? Is there going to be music or entertainment?

For our particular parties, we don't have too much involved but it still requires some delish food to share. This last weekend we had a game night on Saturday and then a belated Mother's Day celebration with the family on Sunday. Both days I tried out these simple yet tasty recipes.

Inspired by Ina Garten's recipe, these beauties took only have the work but sure tasted like the real deal. The secret is in the frosting. Homemade is always the way to go- none of this store bought stuff!

And the cupcakes themselves were equally as easy to make. All I had in the house was a box of Betty Crocker yellow cake mix but to turn my yellow cake into chocolate cake, I added 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the dry mix before adding the rest of the ingredients. You never would have known it was yellow cake. Put a nice dollop of the frosting on the cupcakes and voila, dessert perfection!

For our Mother's day dinner, I made spanish rice to go on the side. In the latest issue of "Everyday Food", Martha offers a simple recipe that is sure to please. I substituted the white rice for long grain rice and cooked it a little bit longer but it was oh so good. Jeremy asked me to make it again for his lunch this week. It must have been good for him to ask for it twice in one week! I was faced with a dilemma, however. I usually buy the tiny 6 oz. cans of tomato paste, but my husband bought the ingredients this time and he opted for the larger, 15 oz. can. What to do with all the leftovers? I certainly won't be using all the rest within the next week.

I looked around my kitchen and found these foil cupcakes trays. After using them to bake my dessert in, I cleaned them out and filled them with remaining tomato paste and stuck it in the freezer. After they have frozen, you can remove the pieces individually and put them in a bag. The next time you need one tablespoon of tomato paste, you don't even need to measure it. Just take one of your tomato paste balls from the freezer and drop it into the saute pan!

Party planning shouldn't be so involved that you can't even enjoy the celebration. Take some time to plan ahead and prepare for the big day, pick out some simple recipes and enjoy the party!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sewing Kit in a Mason Jar

How come mason jars are so cute? I think it is the old fashioned charm they give off. Whatever it is, I love them. I am so tempted to buy the mason jar mugs from Pottery Barn. Our wedding had a 'country chic' theme and we filled some jars with white sand and candles to light the way into the reception hall. Too cute!

When I saw this on Martha's page, I had to make one! But I recently found a full tutorial with pictures to walk you through each step. With just a small list of supplies: fabric scrap, jar with lid and band, cotton balls or fiberfill, card stock and glue gun, it's so easy and definitely a nice addition to your crafting room (or in my case, just a desk but someday :P). I think this would also make a great gift for friends, Mom or beginner sewers. Who wouldn't love to get one of these charming little jars?!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weekend Update: 3-day Weekend Edition

That extra day off sure gave me a LOT more time to devote to some fun stuff that I don't usually have the time to do. That means craft time, of course!

My best girlfriend and brother & sister in law will be graduating in a few short weeks, so with my extra day off I made some very cute cards for them, if I do say so myself.

I've also started on baby gifts for my friend, Iris. I have so many ideas and can't seem to choose one so I will give a preview of all my creations when I get them all done. You never know what she'll need so in the spirit of the boy scouts, I will 'be prepared' with a gift for all her baby needs!

Early Monday morning, my Mom and my Aunt and I went to a local cemetery that is the resting place for some 5,000+ U.S. soldiers spanning from WWI to Vietnam and Iraq. We helped put a flag at each of the headstones in remembrance of their service and sacrifice to our country. What a joy to be able to spend that time with my family reflecting on what the generations before us have done to ensure our freedoms; that's what that day is all about. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend!