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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Whose Report Will You Believe?

“I have heard a report from the Lord...” Jeremiah 49:14

Every day we get “reports” from the news, our experiences, our friends and family, and many other sources. We also get reports from the Word of God, which oftentimes, contradicts what others are saying. That’s when we have a choice: do we believe what we hear in the natural, or do we believe the report of the Lord?

We serve a supernatural God! Just because we don’t see a way doesn’t mean that He doesn’t have a way. God can bring one opportunity across our path that will thrust us to a new level. He has explosive blessings that can blast us out of debt and into abundance. “Well, I don’t think I’ll ever get well. You should see what the medical report says about me.” Don't believe that report! While on paper the report may be true according to medical science, but we have another report and it says, “You will live and not die. God is restoring health unto you.” With men it may be impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Choose today to believe the report of the Lord. Stand strong no matter what is going on around you knowing that He is leading you into victory in every area of your life!

Father in heaven, I choose to believe Your Word above all else. I know that You are working behind the scenes on my behalf, and You will cause me to triumph. Help me to tune out the negative voices of the world so that I can focus on Your goodness all the days of my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Exceedingly, Abundantly Above and Beyond

"God . . . is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams." Ephesians 3:20

When I pray about or simply meditate on all the people who are hurting, I have a strong desire to help them all ~ I guess that is why I am a teacher! I have such a desire to listen to others and offer what I can to help them in anyway ~ again I guess that is why my minor is in Psychology! However, sometimes I feel (and know) that my desire is bigger than my ability, but it is not bigger than God's ability! When the thing we are facing in our lives looms so big in our eyes that our mind goes "tilt," we need to think in the spirit.

In the natural, many things are impossible but in the supernatural-spiritual realm, with God nothing is impossible. God wants us to believe for great things, wants us make big plans, and wants us to expect Him to do things so great it leaves us with our mouths hanging open in awe! James 4:2 tells us that we have not because we ask not! We can be bold in our asking even if you don't think it's possible......because it is possible!

Sometimes we approach our prayers and sheepishly ask if we can "request just two things and I won't ask for anything again". That is wrong thinking! We can ask God for all we want to, not just "two things", as long as we trust Him to do it His way and in His timing.

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving my great desires that can be done only through you, when I lean on you and wait for these desires to come to pass in your timing and not my own! Amen

Friday, October 19, 2012

Awesome Halloween Cupcake Decorating Ideas

If you are one of the lucky parents who can still bring "homemade" treats to school for your childs School Halloween party, these cupcakes are an adorable treat to serve your child's class! If you are like me you may just have to make these creepy creations, which start from store-bought or homemade cupcakes, for your Halloween party off school property =).

Black Cat Cupcake
This black cat is anything but bad luck! Using purchased or homemade cupcakes in any flavor, frost each cupcake with chocolate frosting. Cover the cupcake with chocolate sprinkles; be generous to give the impression of fur.
For eyes, cut a 1/8-inch-thick slice from the large end of two yellow gumdrops. Stick a short piece of shoestring licorice to the cut side of each slice to act as the cat's pupil. Press the eyes into the frosted cupcake. For ears, use a paring knife to cut chocolate candy coating dots into triangles. Insert ears into frosting on cupcake.For whiskers, cut shoestring licorice into 1-1/2- to 2-inch lengths and arrange on cupcake. Pipe a frosting nose.

Witch Legs Cupcake
This coconut-topped Halloween cupcake looks totally "wicked".To make the cupcake, follow these steps:Use black marzipan to shape the witch's boots.Stick yellow mini candy-coated chocolates on each boot for the buckles using frosting to secure. Mold each boot around a peppermint stick to create the legs.Top the cupcake with coconut dyed using green food coloring. Insert peppermint sticks into the cupcake.

Peeking Monster Cupcake
This frightful cupcake is sure to be a monster hit at your Halloween get-together. To make the cupcake, follow these steps:Insert sour candy corn in the frosting for hair. Cut one thin candy wafer in half and place at the top of baking cup for eyes. Use frosting to stick two blue mini candy-coated chocolates to thin candy wafer for pupils.

Mini Monster Cupcakes
These monstrous Halloween cupcakes,made with frosting, gumdrops, and fruit leather, are the perfect treat. To make cut the rounded tops off cupcakes. Frost cut surfaces of cupcakes with black frosting. Place a large gumdrop half in the center on top of each cupcake. Spread green, orange, and purple frosting over cupcake tops as shown. Place frosted tops over gumdrop halves on cupcakes, tipping each top back slightly to form a mouth. For eyes, attach a small piece of black candy to a slice of marshmallow; insert a small piece of black licorice into bottom of marshmallow slice. Press into cupcake. (Or make eyes from gumdrop pieces and small black candies and/or marshmallow halves, gumdrop pieces, and small black candies.) For teeth, cut marshmallows into pieces or use white small oval mints. For tongues, lay a fruit leather roll flat; fold and press together to make four layers. Use scissors to cut out tongue shapes. Attach candy circus peanut pieces to the fronts of cupcakes for feet.

Halloween Spider Cupcake
This eight-legged cupcake cutie sports a friendly grin for any festive occasion. To make cover a cupcake with chocolate icing and sprinkles. Attach sourball halves to circle mints using icing. Place the eyes and a chocolate-candy nose onto the cupcake.Form a smile with a small piece of red licorice. Use eight long slivers of black licorice for legs and two short slivers for pinchers; cut into points and insert into cupcake.

Marshmallow Mummy Cupcake
Slices of marshmallow create a cute mummy cupcake you won't be able to keep under wraps for long.To make the cupcake, follow these steps: Dust a frosted cupcake with granulated sugar.Place three slices of marshmallow on top of the cupcake for the mummy's head. Place two small mint candies between the top two marshmallow slices for eyes, using frosting to attach.Put a candy-coated chocolate between the bottom two slices for the mouth, using frosting to attach.

Green Goblin Cupcake
This chocolaty goblin cupcake, made with sour candy and jelly beans, will be gobbled up in a flash at your next Halloween bash. To make the cupcake, follow these steps: Cut or tear sour gummy straws in half and insert them into a chocolate frosted cupcake for the goblin's hair. Use sour gummy rings for eyes. Put a white jelly bean in each ring for eyes and top with a mini chocolate chip (or dab of chocolate icing). Place a green jelly bean under the sour gummy rings for the goblin's nose.

Sweet Scarecrow Cupcake
With an ice cream cone hat and a candy corn nose, this tasty scarecrow is better suited for eating than for protecting the fields from scary birds.To make the cupcake, follow these steps: Snip green fruit leather into thin, short strips and place on top of the cupcake for hair. Place a piece of candy corn in the center of the cupcake for the nose. Put a jelly bean on each side of the nose; attach a mini candy-coated chocolate to each jelly bean eye using a dab of frosting to secure. Curve a piece of black string licorice into a smile below the nose. Place small pieces of licorice across the smile for teeth. Attach a wafer ice cream cone to the cupcake for a hat.

Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes
With such a simple design, these pumpkin cupcakes can be made quickly for any Halloween event on your calendar.
To make the cupcakes, follow these steps:Frost cupcakes with orange frosting and dust with orange sprinkles.Use a wooden skewer to draw pumpkin veins radiating from the center to the outer edge of the cupcakes.Break large pretzel rods into small pieces and stick into the top of the cupcakes for stems.

Flying Bat Cupcakes
Everyone will go batty for these chocolaty Halloween cupcakes. A cookie, candy, and some creativity are all it takes to make these tasty treats.To make the cupcake, follow these steps: Cover the cupcake with chocolate or colored sprinkles. Break a chocolate cookie wafer in half; use purchased green icing to create wings on each piece of the cookie wafer. Place a candy-coated chocolate in the middle of the cupcake for the head. Make two dots for eyes using green icing. Stick the decorated chocolate wafer halves on each side of the head for the bat's wings.

Graham Cracker Frankenstein Cupcake
Freak out the crowd with this spooky Frankenstein cupcake. To make the cupcake, follow these steps: Ice a chocolate graham cracker square with tinted green frosting, leaving room at the top for hair; place on top of a frosted cupcake. Use chocolate frosting to make spiky hair and Frankenstein's mouth. Cut a small marshmallow in half for the eyes. Dot chocolate frosting on each marshmallow for pupils. Place a dyed marshmallow on both sides of the cupcake for bolts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Don't Be Overwhelmed By the Storms of Life

"Then Jesus told them, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, 'May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and it will happen." Matthew 21.21

We’ve all had seasons when the challenges of life feel overwhelming, that all hope is gone. During these times, it’s easy to be tempted to talk about how bad things are and I would venture to bet that we talk more about how bad things really are rather than talking about how good it can be.

Maybe you received a bad medical report, maybe you’re facing a financial obstacle or maybe your facing a failing relationship, but the more you talk about something, the bigger it becomes in your mind. Think about it because this can be two-sided, we all do this whether it's good or bad however our minds tend to focus more on the bad things!

Instead, we’ve got to dig our heels in and say, “I am not going to give life to that defeat. I am not going to speak sickness over myself. I’m not going to speak lack. I’m not going to speak fear. Instead I’m choosing a different route. I believe the route will be of the Lord which says I am blessed, I am favored, I am prosperous, I am healthy, I am whole, I’m a victor, and not a victim.”

Remember, even if we don’t see how things could ever work out, how things will ever change, God does. We’ve got to speak to those mountains in our life and declare favor over those situations. I've said this before BUT we have to learn to talk to our problems about how big our God is, NOT talk to God about how big our problem is! As we speak to our mountains, they will be moved, and we will move forward into the victory God has prepared for us! Now that is hope when all hope seems lost in circumstances.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word which is life to my spirit. I receive Your strength today and choose to speak to the mountains so I can move forward in the victory You have in store for me in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fast & Frightful Halloween Craft Ideas ~ Home Decor, Crafts for Kids Parties and Party Favors

These last-minute Halloween decorations and projects will fill your home with color and atmosphere. Creepy, colorful, or comic, the decorating and party ideas are quick and easy to create.

Monster Centerpiece

Create a spooky cast of characters using spools of thread for the mini-monster's bodies. Embellish with googly eyes, ribbon and string. We used felt cutouts for the eyes and mouths for the creatures. As party favors stick a lollipop in the hole on top. For a fun kids craft for the party, have them decorate their own.

Masquerade Wreath

Nothing can disguise the appeal of this black-and-white Halloween wreath. The wreath displays all the mystery and excitement of a masquerade ball. To make the wreath, remove the elastic bands from simple black and white half masks. Using a plastic foam wreath form as a base, arrange the masks around the form, alternating colors and overlapping masks. Adhere the masks using straight pins or hot glue. For a colorful contrast, tie a black-and-orange ribbon bow, and glue or pin to the wreath.

Jack-o'-Lantern Luminarias

These no-fuss pumpkin face decorations require no messy pumpkin carving and can be made in minutes. Cut the smiling pumpkin faces from black cardstock and tape the shapes to orange cardstock that has been cut to fit the lantern panels. The finished product will brighten railings or steps during the day, but can also light up the night when you put battery-operated candles or flashlights inside the lanterns.

Hurricane Lanterns

Decorate hurricane lanterns to add an old-fashioned candle-lit glow to any Halloween party. Click on the link below for step-by-step instructions for this easy project. Measure the height and diameter of the lantern; subtract 1/8 inch from the height. Use these measurements to cut a piece of patterned paper and black paper. Spray the back of the patterned paper with adhesive; press onto the black paper. Use a crafts knife to cut a diamond-shape opening in the papers. Type the word you want on a computer, sizing it to fit inside the diamond opening; print onto vellum. With the word centered, cut the vellum slightly larger than the opening; glue to the black side of the layered papers. Cut 1/2-inch-wide strips of black paper to frame the opening. Trim one edge with pinking shears. Glue the strips along the front edges of the opening with the pinked edges toward the printed word. Spray the black side of the layered papers with adhesive; mount to the outside of the lantern with the bottom edges even. The paper should be slightly shorter than the lantern to avoid being a fire hazard.Spray the back of a coordinating patterned paper with adhesive; mount on black poster board for the brim. Measure the distance across the lantern bottom. Cut a circle from the layered brim papers 3 inches larger than the measurement. Glue the bottom of the lantern centered on the brim. Cut a 1-inch-wide strip of coordinating paper to fit around the lantern base. Pink the top edge. Spray the back side with adhesive. Adhere to the lantern bottom with the bottom edge touching the brim. Insert a candle or as a party favor fill with candy!

Masked Entrance Display

Welcome guests with the glint of candlelight and a spark of intrigue. A stone-look urn resembling a pumpkin makes a lovely anchor for a bouquet of decorative half masks in black, white, and silver. Tuck floral foam into the urn, and press the dowel attached to the mask into the foam. Cover the opening of the urn with green moss. Place the urn on an entry table. Arrange distressed-glass votives on shiny silver fabric draped over the table edge. Accent the vignette with a bit more moss.

Creepy-Crawly Caterpillar Pumpkins

This easy-to-make pumpkin decoration requires no carving at all -- simply paint 10 pumpkins and the stems (we used light green and black paint, but you can choose whatever colors you like), arrange to form a caterpillar, and cover with adhesive-felt dots. Finish the creepy creature with a pair of large googly eyes.

Eyeball Candy Holders

These pull-apart plastic ornaments transform into larger-than-life eyeball candy holders. Use a circle cutter to make two round stencils, then decorate. Enclose treats inside the spooky eyeballs for added fear factor.

Pumpkin Fun Garland

Line up paper pumpkins to harvest loads of cheerful creativity. The accordion-fold shapes can spell out whatever Halloween greeting suits your style and space. Keep it short and simple with a single word (we started with "fun"), or spell out a phrase (for example, "Happy Halloween!" or "Party Like a Pumpkin") to welcome friends to your Halloween haven. To make the garland, draw and cut out stemmed pumpkins from orange cardstock. Make one for each letter of your greeting; you can make extras to leave blank, too. Cut letters from black cardstock to fit on the pumpkins. Accordion-fold the pumpkins with approximately 1 inch between each fold. Use black or brown marker to fill in the stem area. Use double-stick tape to attach a letter to each folded pumpkin, being careful not to flatten the folds. String a length of twine along a wall or above a doorway. Attach each pumpkin to the twine with a binder clip, or tape the stems to the twine.

Vintage Star Ornament

Create these easy, vintage-looking Halloween ornaments from everyday crafts supplies.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halloween Drinks for Your Kiddos Halloween Festivities/Party

Whether you are having a party at your kiddos school, at home or going to somewhere for a Halloween party try these fun Kid Drink Treats!

Swamp Juice

Ingredients
FOR 8 SERVINGS:
1/2 cup small tapioca pearls (found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores)
Food coloring
4 tablespoons sugar
8 gummy fish
Seltzer water
Lemonade
8 gummy worms
Instructions
MAKE THE EGGS: Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and add the tapioca pearls. Reduce the heat slightly and boil the pearls, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes. COLOR THE EGGS: Divide the pearls, with the remaining water, between two bowls. Add 4 drops of food coloring (we used 3 drops of yellow and 1 drop of green in one bowl, and 4 drops of blue in the other) and 2 tablespoons of sugar to each bowl. Stir the mixtures, then allow them to sit uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and rinse the pearls with cold water. ASSEMBLE THE DRINK: Spoon 2 tablespoons of pearls into each glass and drop in a gummy fish. Fill the glasses with seltzer water, then add a splash of lemonade. Place a gummy worm around a spoon as shown.

Halloween Bug Juice

Ingredients
2 10-oz. packages frozen strawberries, defrosted
1 6-oz. can lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 qt. ginger ale
2 cups raisins
6 gummy worms
Instructions
Mix the strawberries and lemonade concentrate in a blender until smooth and thick. Gradually add ginger ale. Transfer the beverage to a punch bowl. Stir in any remaining ginger ale and the raisins. Place the gummy worms on the rim of the bowl for a swampy effect. Makes 10 servings.

Rotten Apple Punch

Ingredients
Apple cider (adjust the amount for the number of people you plan to serve; we suggest at least 1 gallon)
Five 1/2-cup containers (we used Pyrex glass dishes; other small containers or cups will also work)
Red and green food coloring
10 to 15 gummy worms
Punch bowl
Instructions
Pour apple cider into all 5 small dishes, stopping about 1/2 inch from the top. Add 2 drops of red and 1 drop of green food coloring to each dish and stir until the colors have blended. Hang 2 or 3 gummy worms around the edge of each dish and place the dishes in the freezer. If you use more than 3 worms, the rotten apples won't float as well. Freeze until the rotten apples are solid. Just before serving, slip the frozen wormy apples out of the dishes by setting them briefly in a few inches of warm water in your sink. Float the rotten apples in a large punch bowl filled with untinted cider. For added creepiness, drape the gummy worms over the edges of your serving bowl.

Spooky Punch

Ingredients
For the ice cubes:
2 packages gummy bear worms
1 (32-ounce) container cranberry juice
For the shrunken head straws:
6 plastic drinking straws
6 pitted prunes
18 whole cloves
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup sweetened flake coconut
For the punch:
3 (12-ounce) bottles strawberry smoothies
2 quarts orange juice
3 cans lemon/lime soda
Instructions
For the ice cubes:Stick 1 gummy worm in each cube, with half of the worm hanging out. Pour cranberry juice into the ice cube trays. Place in freezer 2 hours before mixing the punch.For the shrunken head straws:Push a straw up through the center of 1 prune where the pit used to be, so it sits one-third of the way down the straw. Repeat with remaining prunes.In a small bowl melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave for 45 second at 15-second intervals stirring between intervals. Take 12 cloves and dip the round ends into the melted chocolate. Place on a plate lined with waxed paper and allow chocolate to set about 15 minutes.Meanwhile using a small brush or toothpick coat the top part of each prune with melted white chocolate. Carefully sprinkle the coconut on top of the white chocolate to resemble hair. Repeat with the remaining prunes.Stick 2 white chocolate-coated cloves into each prune to create 2 eyes. Place 1 undipped clove into each prune under the eyes to resemble a nose.For the punch:Pour the strawberry smoothies, the orange juice and the lemon/lime soda into a large punch bowl and stir.Take the gummy worm ice cubes out of the freezer, and add half of them to the punch. Place remaining cubes into glasses and fill each glass with punch using a ladle.

Helter Seltzer

Ingredients
1 cup corn syrup
10 drops red food coloring
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cans lychee nuts, drained (about 24)
24 maraschino cherries, chilled
24 skewers or toothpicks
1 liter seltzer water, chilled
Instructions
For the blood: In a small mixing bowl, add the corn syrup, food coloring and vanilla extract. Mix together well and sent aside. For the eyeballs: Begin with the lychee nuts. Insert a maraschino into the hole of each lychee nut and drizzle with extra blood syrup. Insert a skewer or toothpick into each "eyeball" to secure the cherry.
For the mocktail: To serve the cocktail, drizzle the blood syrup around the rim of each glass and let it drip down. Pour the seltzer into the glass and garnish with an eyeball. For the Eyeball Highball: Prepare the cocktail as noted above and add a splash of vanilla vodka.

Bloody Punch with Floating Hand

Ingredients
3 cups cranberry juice
1-1/2 cups apple juice
1-1/2 cups grape juice
2 cups caffeine-free cola
1 cup frozen strawberries
Instructions
In a large pitcher or punch bowl, combine the cranberry juice, apple juice and grape juice. Stir, then refrigerate until you're ready to serve. At the last possible moment, add the cola, the strawberries and, of course, the Floating Hand of Death. For the Floating Hand of Death: In a measuring cup or jar, stir a few drops of green food coloring into some water -- not too much, just enough to give it a slightly decomposed tint. Pour the greenish water into a disposable rubber glove (the stretchy kind -- make sure it's not powder-coated inside) and tie the top securely. Place in the freezer for several hours or overnight. At serving time, peel the glove off the hand and deposit icy hand in chilled punch. Yum.




Halloween Appetizers for Kids and Adults Alike

Whether you are in charge of your kids school Halloween party, having a party at home or going to a party here are some cute ideas to get the "veggies" in your kiddos tummy! You can certainly substitute any of the garnishes to fit the needs of the kids you are preparing to serve.

Cheese-Finger Food

Ingredients
Mozzarella string cheese
Green bell pepper
Cream cheese
Instructions
Wearing plastic gloves or sandwich bags over your hands to keep the cheese as smudge-free as possible, use a paring knife (parents only) to cut each string in half and then carve a shallow area for a fingernail just below the rounded end of each half. Mark the joint right below the nail as well as the knuckle joint by carving out tiny horizontal wedges of cheese, as pictured. For the fingernails, slice a green bell pepper into 3/8-inch-wide strips. Set the strips skin side down on your work surface and trim the pulp so that it's about half as thick. Then cut the strips into ragged-topped nail shapes and stick them in place at the ends of the fingers with dabs of cream cheese.

Monster Toes

Ingredients
Cocktail wieners
6-inch tortillas
Ketchup or mustard
Toothpicks
Instructions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut a wedge into the end of each cocktail wiener to make a toenail. Cut the tortillas into strips about 4 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. Discard the ends. Soften the strips in the microwave between damp paper towels for 10 to 30 seconds. Roll each wiener in a tortilla strip and secure with a toothpick. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove them from the oven, then fill the toenail with ketchup or mustard. Remove the toothpicks before serving.

Edible Eyeballs

Ingredients
Carrots
Cream cheese
Pitted black olives
Instructions
Simply slice carrots into 1-inch-thick chunks, top each with a blob of cream cheese and one half of a pitted black olive, and serve.

Pizza Mummies

Ingredients
English muffins
Pizza sauce
Black olives
Scallions
Red or green pepper
Cheese sticks or slices
Instructions
Heat the oven to 350ยบ F. For each mummy, spread a tablespoon of pizza sauce onto half of an English muffin (toast it first, if you like). Set olive slices in place for eyes and add round slices of green onion or bits of red or green pepper for pupils. Lay strips of cheese (we used a pulled-apart cheese stick) across the muffin for the mummy?s rappings.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the muffin is toasty.

Goblin Grins

Ingredients
1 pea pod
1 red bell pepper
few slivered almonds
Instructions
For each one, use the tip of a paring knife to cut a slit centered in one side of an edible pea pod (a parent's job). Cut out a tongue shape from red bell pepper and insert the top of it through the opening in the pea pod (it looks best if the inside of the pepper faces up). For the finishing touch, insert a few slivered almonds for teeth.

Friday, October 12, 2012

For the First Time

""Then the King will say to those at His right, "'Come, my Father's blessed ones, receive your inheritance of the Kingdom which has been divinely intended for you ever since the creation of the world." Matthew 25:34

There was this college student who was about to take a very important final exam. She asked people at church to pray that God will help her make a C on this test or else she may flunk the class. Why would she want prayer that God would help her make a C and not an A? Because she thought that that is all she ever makes in this subject, C's, and that is what she needed to pass the class. Unfortunately this situation isn't a new thing for many of us.She, like many of us, have conditioned our minds to strive for a certain level, often a mediocre or satisfactory level.

In this case this girl needed encouragement to dream a little bit bigger. She needed prayer that she would break through and make an A, that she wouldn't stay in the rut of mediocrity. This is just a simple example, but how often do we get conditioned in our minds to live at a certain level? We may think, "This is the way it's always going to be. This is what I make. This is where I live. This is my level of talent." But don't just look at things in the natural ~ remember that we serve a supernatural God!

I encourage you to break out of the rut and start praying bolder prayers. It's time for all of us to have some "first times" in our life. For the first time, we have an abundance; we're not struggling. For the first time, our child is making good decisions. For the first time, there is somebody in our life to love. We're not just talking about the dream ~ we're living the dream. Take the limits off of God and stop asking for a C and start asking for an A.

Stretch your faith and for the "first time" let God do what He wants to do in your life. He wants to give us the secret petitions of our heart, the things that we dream about but never tell anyone. Maybe you would love to start a business, love to take a mission's trip, love to get married, love to own your own home, love to be debt free but it seems so unlikely, so far out of reach. These are our true desires and if we told some of our friends, they might laugh or they wouldn't understand. That's okay because we don't need their approval ~ this is between us and Almighty God.

In our quiet time when nobody else is around, we need to be bold and start asking for those hidden dreams, the true desires of our hearts and for the promises God has placed on the inside of us. As we pray those bold prayers according to His will, it won't be long until you see every dream and every desire come to pass!

Father God, thank you for wanting more for me than mediocrity! I turn my whole life over to you now and thank you for the abundance in every area of my life. I ask that the true desires of my heart will come to pass in your timing and your will. In your name, Amen.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Too Cute Halloween Party Favors/Treat Bag Ideas

These are the perfect little Party Favors/Treat Bags for your kiddos school party or where ever your party may be this Halloween season. If you use any of these ideas I'm sure you will be the talk of the party!


Treat Cone
What you need: white card stock ~ 2-1/4" paper punch ~ hole punch ~ double-sided tape ~ ribbon ~ scissors ~ crinkle filler or tissue paper ~ Halloween candy, trinkets or small toys ~ Halloween Party Circles ~ Halloween Scrap book paper
Roll paper to form cone and secure edges with double-sided tape.Use a standard hole punch to punch each side of the cone to accommodate the ribbon handle. Thread ribbon through holes and knot on each side inside the cone so the knots aren't visible. Tie bows and attach to the outside of the cone, covering the holes made for the handle. Fill cone with crinkle filler or tissue paper, then top with an assortment of candy, small toys or Halloween trinkets.


Thank Them for "Popping" By
With so much candy around at Halloween parties, a salty snack will hit the spot. Whip up some homemade kettle-popped corn or one of our popcorn recipes below and place in scallop-edged cups. Embellish with dimensional scrapbooking stickers (found at craft stores) or one of our free printables. If you're sending a cup home with your party guests, wrap it in cellophane and tie with ribbon so the popcorn will stay fresh.


Go a Little Batty
Easily turn wooden clothespins into cute Halloween bag clips. Download our bat-shaped template, print it onto card stock, cut out, then attach it to the clothespin with hot glue or double-sided tape. Fill a clear bag with Halloween candy or gumballs and attach the clip for a fun favor.


Cupcakes To Go
Everyone loves cupcakes, especially kids! Place cupcakes in paper or plastic bowls and wrap with cellophane for a portable container they can take with them. Add one of our free printable Halloween tags to dress it up.


Preserve Party Memories
This photo frame idea is perfect for photo booth or Halloween costume parties. Before the party, print and cut out several of the 4" x 6" frame designs (template below). You can also purchase several simple plastic frames, like this one from Ikea, to hold the finished photos. As each guest arrives, take their photo, then print out the photos during the party. Insert photos in printed frames and give them to departing guests as party favors.


Mason Jar Favors
Mason jars are everywhere these days and they're a great, affordable party favor. For Halloween, fill with white candy to make a ghost or orange candy to make a pumpkin. Top with a circle cut from our printable black-and-white striped paper and replace the lid. Use decals or stickers to create the ghost or pumpkin face. Tie on one of our printable tags with twine to complete the look.


Them Bones, Them Bones
Mini candy bones give these marshmallow treats a crunchy texture kids love. To create them, skewer a regular-sized marshmallow onto a 6-inch lollipop stick. Dip into melted chocolate and, while the chocolate is still warm, roll in candy bones. For perfect presentation, display in small cupcake liners and top each stick with a little black bow.


Trick-or-Treat Tubes
These clear tubes are turning up at parties everywhere not only because they're adorable, but because they're so easy! Just fill with candy or gumballs and top with a printable Halloween flag design.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fabulous 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes

You are only five ingredients away from a delicious slow cooker meal with these recipes for sandwiches, chili, pasta, pot roast, ribs, and more. The photos are in are in order of the recipes listed below.



In-Your-Sleep Chili
Ingredients
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 15 ounce cans chili beans in chili gravy
1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
1 11 1/2 ounce can hot-style vegetable juice
Sliced green onions, dairy sour cream, and/or shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Directions: 1. In a large skillet, cook ground beef and onion until meat is brown; drain off fat.2. In a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker, combine ground beef mixture, beans, undrained tomatoes and green chiles, and vegetable juice.3. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 6 hours on on high-heat setting for 2 to 3 hours. If desired, top each serving with green onions, sour cream, and/or cheddar cheese.

Bean-and-Rice-Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients
4 medium green, red, and/or yellow sweet peppers
1 15 ounce can chili beans with chili gravy
1 cup cooked converted rice
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
Directions:1. Remove tops, membranes, and seeds from peppers. In a medium bowl, stir together chili beans with chili gravy, rice, and 1/2 cup of the cheese; spoon into peppers. Pour tomato sauce into the bottom of a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Place peppers, filled sides up, in slow cooker.2. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 6 1/2 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.3. Transfer peppers to serving plate. Spoon tomato sauce over peppers. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Ingredients
5 cups water
2 10 ounce cans condensed cream of chicken and mushroom soup
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (about 10 ounces)
1 10 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables (cut green beans, corn, diced carrots, and peas)
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper or garlic-pepper seasoning
1 1/2 cups dried egg noodles
Directions: 1. In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, gradually stir the water into soup until smooth. Stir in chicken, frozen vegetables, and seasoned pepper.2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours.3. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Stir in uncooked noodles. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes more or just until noodles are tender.

Corned Beef and Cabbage
Ingredients
1 3 - 4 pound corned beef brisket with spice packet
1/2 small head cabbage, cut into 3 wedges
4 medium carrots, peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, quartered
2 medium yellow potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup water
Directions:1. Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut brisket to fit into a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle spices from packet evenly over meat; rub in with your fingers. Place cabbage, carrots, onion, and potatoes in the slow cooker. Pour water over vegetables. Top with brisket.2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. Transfer meat to a cutting board. Thinly slice against the grain. Serve vegetables with a slotted spoon. Makes 6 servings.

Pesto Meatball Stew
Ingredients
2 14 1/2 ounce cans Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 16 ounce package (32) frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs, thawed
1 15 - 19 ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
Directions: 1. In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine undrained tomatoes, meatballs, drained beans, the water, and pesto.2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Simple French Dip Sandwiches
Ingredients
1 3 - 3 1/2 pound boneless beef bottom round roast
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 large sweet onions, cut into thin wedges
2 14 ounce cans seasoned beef broth with onion
1 0.6 ounce envelope au jus gravy mix
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 - 8 hoagie buns, split and toasted if desired
Directions:1. Trim fat from meat. In a large skillet, brown roast on all sides in hot oil; drain off fat.2. Place onions in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Place meat on top of onions. In a bowl, whisk together broth, gravy mix, and pepper. Pour over meat in cooker.3. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 11 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 5 1/2 hours. Transfer meat to a cutting board. Slice meat across the grain and return to cooker to keep warm. With a slotted spoon, remove meat and onions and serve on hoagie buns. Serve with bowls of cooking juices for dipping.

Nacho Cheese Chicken Chowder
Ingredients
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 14 1/2 ounce cans Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 10 3/4 ounce can condensed nacho cheese soup
1 10 ounce package frozen whole kernel corn (2 cups)
Shredded Mexican-style or cheddar cheese
Directions:1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, stir together chicken, undrained tomatoes, soup, and corn.2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Sprinkle each serving with cheese. Makes 6 servings.

6 Halloween Party Table Ideas

Host a spooky yet elegant Halloween gathering with colorful, bold table settings and decorations. These easy Halloween ideas are sure to impress even the bravest of guests.

Eerie Elegance
Put a spin on traditional Halloween colors with bright green and lace accents. Attach inexpensive lace to the wall for an over-the-top backdrop, and write Halloween messages on a framed chalkboard. Bring an elegant look to the table by placing cupcakes on black candelabras and adding sparkle with green sequins pumpkins. For an inexpensive, easy party favor idea, fill a bright orange bag with Halloween candy and embellish it with lace, a plastic spider and a sticker.

Pumpkin Carving Party
Carving pumpkins is one of the most interactive Halloween activities, so throw your own party filled with delicious treats and whimsical decor. Set a playful spider web tablecloth as the backdrop and enhanced it with inexpensive paper Halloween fans. Find all the edibles from the local supermarket and customize with party printables found on the web. Set the pumpkins on cake stands to make them the focal point of the table.

Pumpkin Punch Bowl Tablescape
Fill this pumpkin vessel with dry ice for a smoldering display, or use it to serve punch (omitting the dry ice) and set it on a table surrounded by little pumpkins. Use branches in an urn or flower pot and affix little pumpkin throughout.

Pumpkin Candy Faces
Create a ghoulish Halloween candy face with a variety of candy, but be sure to warn children not to eat the candy on the face. Whatever jar you fill, use that candy to decorate the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Lantern
Fill vases and hurricanes with snacks on the table and illuminate the table with pumpkin lanterns. Sugar pumpkins are small and have only the slightest ribbing. Those with flat bases are best.

Spiderweb Tablecloth with Spiders
Thrill Halloween party guests with a tablecloth covered in a ribbon spider web -- complete with eerie painted white spiders. Adorn the rest of the room with card stock bats.