Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


Thanks for following along....See you in 2018!!! 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Light of Christmas


I don't think it was by accident that I as I was sharing my feelings (regarding yesterdays post) to my mom she too was able to add to the "feeling" of Christmas time. She to had gone to church Sunday morning and heard a message about the "Light of Christmas." Thankfully for today's technology I was able to automatically listen to the message from Sunday. It was preached by the pastor of my home church in Cape Girardeau, MO. 

Joy or Happiness 
Which do you have? 

Surviving your suffering...
There are 2 ways: 
the difference between the 2

"1. ones who want someone to relieve their suffering
there are ones who want to be happy in life 
they wanted the circumstances to change

then there are: 

2. one willing to give of theirselves to help others 
those who had meaning and purpose in the midst of their suffering 

So think about ones who want to find happiness are takers 
they want someone or some experience to do something for them that will satisfy the longing in their heart to be fulfilled 

Then there are ones who want meaning and purpose in life...the givers. 
The ones who HAVE received but are willing to give it away. 
The ones who have the perspective to find the fulfillment and meaning in their life.

Which are you?

In the pain and suffering that you are feeling...is it that you want to be happy and you want it to go away OR is it in the pain you are able to find meaning so you can experience TRUE JOY.

Happiness is an emotion that comes and goes. Happiness is a moment. We all like and have "happy moments." That's not where we can place our hope. That's not where we will find joy. We want to find the next thing, spend money, go places, and all the rest...which isn't bad in itself as long as you have the perspective those things aren't going to bring fulfillment in your life. 

It is the JOY of knowing Jesus can bring the only fulfillment in life. "
-Brother Mark

Luke 1:48 


He references Luke Chapter 1...He talked about Mary, Jesus's mother. How she found JOY in the midst of her circumstance. 

This brings me back to what I referenced yesterday...be the LIGHT for Jesus. 
Don't ask for anything just know the true source of JOY for our lives. 

I mentioned about how Wyatt was so innocently raising his hands and worshipping the Lord. It was such a great reminder to stop and refocus on where I get my joy. 
Am I looking in the right place? 






Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Be the Light


It's the Christmas season...a season that gives me "all the feels." It's a time that even people who don't normally attend church or have "feels" get the feels. ;) My heart has been so heavy lately and I still haven't been able to pinpoint it. The more I think about it the less I think it can actually be pinpointed to ONE thing. We have all "stuff" going on. We all have the baggage that comes along with the life we live. (And isn't it funny as humans we all think we always have it the worst!?!? LOL)

It was no coincidence as I sat down in church Sunday it was just what I needed to hear. "Be the Light." We woke Sunday morning tired and with crabby kids but we didn't let Satan win. We made a deal with the kids that they could sit with us in "big church" instead of going to their classes since it was the Christmas service. (proof God is ALWAYS in control)

As we worshipped at the beginning of the service I watched as our 7 year old closed his eyes and raised his hands... he sang ever so sweetly. He was being a light...when no one was watching. (and even if they were he didn't care) Why as adults do we shy away from being a light?

As the service went on we referenced Matthew 5:14


Paster Shawn stated, " Don't withdraw, don't fake it, BE REAL. Let others know we have flaws but we still love Jesus." The entire sermon can be viewed HERE

So as we finish out this Christmas season I am challenging you to join me as we BE THE LIGHT and SHINE....(see the entire song HERE-flashback to youth group early 2000 ;;)



Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Copycat Panera Kitchen Sink Cookies *tweaked*


It's Tuesday talk where we can talk about any topic...anything that makes us happy. Well, I love to bake and I decided to share a fun recipe I have been baking like crazy....head over to Erika and Ashley's blog as well and see what they are talking about today. 


A few weeks ago I was asked to bring a dessert to a Christmas event. Mark mentioned wanting me to bake the "kitchen sink cookies" from STL Bread. I did what anyone would do I headed straight to Pinterest. I found THIS recipe and ran with it! 


Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, browned
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea sat + more for sprinkling
  • 3/4 cup broken pretzels 
  • 1 cup caramel bits 
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips 
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips 

(browning butter is an art...just FYI;))

Preparation:
  • Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. *I sprayed the cookies sheet and didn't use any paper** Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • To brown the butter: In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, whisking as it melts, foams, bubbles, and eventually little brown bits form and it turns amber. Immediately pour into a large, heatproof, bowl, and use a spatula to scrape all the little brown bits into the bowl.
  • Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the vanilla and sugars into the butter for a couple minutes **I set a timer for 2 mins,** until it lightens a bit.
  • Beat in eggs for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and about a third of the flour. Mix slowly, add another third of flour, mix, and add the last of the flour until just combined. 
  • Stir in the pretzels, caramel bits, and chocolate chips **plus the extra chips listed above** until evenly distributed.

  • Scoop out very large balls of dough (at least 1/4 cup, but could be bigger, up to 1/2 cup size) **1/4 was perfect but NO SMALLER** and place on prepared baking sheet, leaving plenty of space in between (will need to do multiple batches.) Add more broken pretzel pieces, caramel bits, and chocolate chips to the tops of the dough balls to preference. **I didn't add anything but salt on the top** Sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Bake 13 minutes (this will vary, though, according to the size of your cookies), until golden around the edges. Remove and allow to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Then, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  **this is always the make or break...the cookie will continue to bake on the hot pan even when out of the oven. I baked for 12 mins then let them stay on sheet for 5 mins. **
  • Serve warm! Store leftover cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days. They will also keep, frozen, in a ziptop freezer bag for up to 3 months.
**This is copied from the site linked above with my adding in what I changed**


Monday, December 18, 2017

Weekend Fun


This weekend went by way. too. fast. ;( It was filled with Christmas events but we had so much fun! Friday night Sloane and I went on a little date night. We surprised her with tickets to the Nutcracker Ballet. We had so much fun and I loved the one on one time with her.

Meanwhile....the boys ate Taco Bell and built a new LEGO. ;)

Saturday morning Sloane and Wyatt were invited to a bowling b-day party. They love to bowl, pretty sure Sloane was the overall winner on her lanes. LOL! I can't believe Jake is EIGHT!!! 


Saturday evening we went to see Star Wars with Kyle and Shelly. The kids love seeing movies with their cousins. It was a GREAT movie!! 


Sunday morning we let the kids sit with us for the Christmas service. It's for sure one of my favorite services of the year. Singing Christmas songs as a congregation is the best! 


Sunday evening was Christmas with some of Mark's family. Presents, food, and games....a party that never ends with these people! ;) The kids were excited to open a few gifts too! Instead of multiple small gifts Mark's aunt/uncles get the kids one (or 2) more costly gifts. It's such a great idea and helps with the overabundance of presents. 


Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Favorites



It's Friday again and I am here to link up with Erika, Narci, and Andrea. I have a few favs from the week...

Wyatt had his Christmas program this week. He did so well! He mentioned being a little nervous but smiled and sang his little heart out on the stage. #proudmama  Even though it wasn't her program she did mention how she looked like a "Christmas princess" as she came down the stairs.  #sendhelp



Sloane started K only going 1/2 she has been slowly working her way to going all 5 days all. day. long. After Christmas break she will be going all day everyday.... we are enjoying our last few 1/2 days together. #cantgetitback #timeslowdown


The elf kinda slacked last night...somehow they got a little comfy the night before so they were in trouble. The went big tonight....


Early Christmas present for the win....#nerdhusband #noshame 


My brother is literally the cutest ever...he works super hard but plays hard as well. I mean, he hunts for play but look at this AMAZING post from this week. #mybrotheriscoolerthanyours 



This kid....I don't have words. He is too grown.  ;( 





I posted about our fun gingerbread house decorating this week. It's one of my favorite traditions!!! 


Speaking of traditions...STL Zoo Wild Lights is another fav. This year they really stepped up their game and we had a great time together. It was a SUPER cold one but totally worth it!!! 


Happy Friday!! We are so excited to start our Christmas celebrations this weekend..... 


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas Tree


It's that time of year again...we love to bake around here! Sloane is a SUPER big helper too. A picture popped up on my time hop the other day with the fun cupcake Christmas tree we made last year. I wanted to share again because it was such a fun and easy dessert to take to a holiday party!


I shared all the details on this blog post. It was a big hit!! 
If you like to bake or have a little that does you should totally attempt this fun dessert. 


Please feel free to "pin" this post so you can refer back to all the fun details! 
Merry Christmas and happy baking! 

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