Saturday, November 23, 2013

DIY Christmas ornament

     This year is Little Girl's first Christmas!!! I really wanted to find just the perfect "first Christmas" ornament for her. You know, something adorable, yet unique, something she could take with her when she has a family of her own.  *sniff*     However, on my search I found two problems. One, all ADORABLE ornaments were waaay out of my price-range. Two.....ok really that was the only problem. I can't justify spending $20 on an ornament!! So, I decided to make my own! 
     After a quick trip to Michael's, I walked out of there with a 2" by 2" wooden block.  Anything else I needed I had on hand. So, at about $1.50, this ornament is much more affordable, and completely personalized since I made it!  
     Using scrapbook paper I had, I cut 2 inch squares for 5 of the 6 sides. Then, I cut a photo of her down to size as well. A layer of mod-podge, slap the paper down, smooth all the air bubbles out, then a layer of mod-podge on top! The hardest part about this project was waiting for everything to dry so I could admire it! :-)
     I decided to add her birthdate and weight and so on to 2 sides of the block. On another side I added the verse "...for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Lastly, I marked the center of the top side of the block and attached one of those hook/screw thingys. Yes, that is the technical term for that. :-) 
     After it was all done, I sprayed clear sealer all over it, let it dry again for a couple hrs, then tied a ribbon through the hook! It turned out so great! Now all we need is a Christmas tree for it to hang on! 
     The cool thing about this ornament is that you can completely personalize it! Attach pictures of the grandkids for a grandparents Christmas gift. Or, use pictures from your wedding for a First Christmas Together ornament! I would love to see what kind of ornaments this inspired you to make! Happy Christmas Crafting!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Daily Blessing From God

     So we all know that God blesses us each and every day. But do we really realize it or even think about it? Worse yet, do we even acknowledge the fact that God has blessed us beyond our imaginations? I'm really speaking to myself here. I know that I am blessed, I know that God takes care of me and my family, but I forget to thank Him for that!
     Just in the last 7 days God has blessed us in ways that are so apparent that it has made me stop and say, "Wow! Thank you God!!!".  Last week when I went grocery shopping, almost every single item I needed was on sale! Then I saw a cart full of cans that had the labels ripped or the cans had dents in them. They were almost all what I was needing! For a third of the price!! I KNOW that was God providing for us!
     The end of last week we were blessed when someone paid to have the battery replaced on one of our vehicles! On Monday we were blessed that we finally got our Jeep title transferred to Texas. Yay! It's legal! Today, I really wanted Starbucks and I even had a 50% off coupon for there! Long story short, the barista ended up giving me a free drink AND the 50% off the second drink because he made a mistake. Thank you God for the free Starbucks!!!
     I know that being thankful for things during the month of November has almost become cliche, but really stop and take time to thank God for all the blessing in your life! Even if it's not something so clearly from God as someone paying for an expensive car part, take time to search for and thank God for the big AND little blessings He gives you each and every day! Just so happens that my daily blessing from God was a free Pumpkin Spice Latte. What are some of your daily blessings from God?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Perfectly Wicked Pear Preserves

     Imagine a lazy saturday morning, a hot cup of coffee, your family sitting around the kitchen table, and a steamy plate of pancakes. But wait, something's missing! The only thing that could make that scene any better is if you added a bowl of homemade pear preserves! YUM!
      My in-laws have a pear tree that produced like crazy this fall! They graciously gave us tons of pears. So far I've made pear crisp, pear sauce, and of course, pear preserves. I didn't know that I loved pears so much until this fall.
     This pear preserves recipe is what I came up with after reading numerous old recipes and then giving them my new take on it.  Oh! Let me just say, don't be overwhelmed with preserving fruits and veggies. Yes, peeling those suckers takes awhile, but take your time. I turn on some Pandora and just relax. That way a HUGE bowl of pears doesn't seem intimidating, but rather an invitation to belt songs from Wicked for a good 20 minutes because I have to do something while peeling all those pears! right? :-)

     Perfectly Wicked Pear Preserves

1. In a large pot, mix 1/8 c. lemon juice and 1 cup water. (This prevents the pears from turning brown) Peel, core, and slice about 12 cups of pears and add then to the pot.

2. Drain the water mixture off the pears. Add 1/4 c. lemon juice over the pears. Measure out 2-3 cups of sugar and pour over the pears. I give the pot a good shake to make some of the sugar sift down in between the pear slices.

3. Put the lid on the pot and place in the refrigerator overnight.

4. After setting overnight, there should be a good amount of juice from the pears and sugar. Place pot on stove over medium-low heat. Heat to boiling. Cook on low for 2-3 hours or until pears are translucent and a pinkish color. You may cook longer if you want the syrup to be thicker as well. Make sure there is enough liquid throughout the cooking time so that you don't scorch the pears. Add a little water if necessary.

5. Prepare your jars and water bath. Place the lids and rings in a small pot of boiling water, and wash and rinse the jars. Put the canner on the stove and heat the water to boiling over high heat.

6. Once the pears are done cooking, add 1 tsp. ground ginger and 1tsp. nutmeg, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Turn off heat.

7. Ladle pear preserves into prepared jars. Leave 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar.  Wipe rims clean and firmly screw on the lids.

8. Place jars in the boiling water and process for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool for 24 hours.

9. Remove rings from the jars, label, and enjoy within a year!

Hope you give my Perfectly Wicked Pear Preserves a try! Do you have a favorite jam, jelly, or preserves recipe you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you!

And here's a song from Wicked for you to enjoy! :-)