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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas, Y'all!

Wishing you and your family the Merriest Christmas and happiest everything!
"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." Luke 2:11
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

It is early on Christmas Eve morning and as I sit to type this, the only lights on in my home are the ones twinkling on the tree. Christmas Eve is so magical...but we can easily miss it if we don't stop and pause to take it all in.

The gifts we exchange this year can't compare to what God gave us on the first Christmas. Jesus brought unfailing love, unending hope, and unflatering peace. Join us this Christmas to celebrate the gifts that only Christ can give.

LifeChurch.TV will have its Christmas Eve services online today and tonight. I would love for you to join with me to celebrate, pause, and remember that Christmas is not Christmas without the baby in the manger who came to save us from ourselves. You can view the services online here. OR if you live near a LifeChurch campus we would love for you to join us for a service at your nearby campus. You can see if there is a Life Church location near you right here.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good." -Psalm 34:8
Merry Christmas Eve!
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Merriest of Days

As I sit here, three days before Christmas, I am starting to think of all the activities we have planned over these next three days. I'm praying that I wont rush through it. Yes, there will be schedules to keep and people to see but I don't want to miss the peace and reason we all truly celebrate this season. As I finish up with wrapping and we begin all of our festivities, I want to remember that this isn't what it's about.  The lights, the gifts, the decor.  It is absolutely nothing compared to the birth of Jesus.  The birth of the Savior.  Jesus didn't come so that we could make a festive holiday.  He came to save crazy sinners like myself  He came for the hungry and the broken and the sick.  He came to give hope and life and salvation.  Jesus Christ was born to give us what we could never get on our own.

Christ came so simply, so humbly.  His birth wasn't grand, it was quiet.  Christ came so quietly to do such a mighty thing for us.  I will never be able to separate the birth of Christ from the death of Christ because they are so tightly wound together.  Christ wasn't just born on that Christmas night.  Christ was born to die.  Let the magnitude of that sink in.  Christ was born for the sole purpose of dying on the cross for our sins.  The perfect Son of God took on human flesh just so He could show the world a Savior.  He took on human flesh just so he could die in the most awful way.  Christ was born so that His innocent blood could cover our sins.  I just can't get over that.  And I hope you can't either.  

Because of His blood, we have the opportunity to be renewed.  We have the opportunity to taste and know freedom.  We have the opportunity to show that freedom to others.  
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:17

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!
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Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Christmas Card

I knew I wanted to try and recreate a Christmas card pose I had pinned on Pinterest for our card this year. I went in search of this five dollar garland on black Friday for the sole purpose of using it for our Christmas photo shoot. A couple of Santa hats and an old barn later my little sister got a few snaps of us. Within five hours I had our cards designed and order. I was not messing around this year since our cards arrived in January for last Christmas! Luckily, they have arrived and been sent out!
 And a few outtakes...
And this pretty sums up our relationship...
This is our third Christmas together being married. Here are our past Christmas cards.
One last pic from this weekend...at church before our Christmas date to dinner, looking at Christmas lights and picked up our last couple gifts!
 I hope y'all have the happiest Christmas week!
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Five on Friday: Christmas Vactation Style

Today is my first day of my sixteen day long Christmas vacation, woohoo! I could not be more excited and feel more blessed to have this time off. Lots of Christmas errands, shopping, wrapping and baking to get done! I plan on trying to beat some of the crowd today in hopes everyone is still working and I can finish my shopping. That being my goal, lets get started...here are my faves this week!
ONE:  Bleeker Visits Santa
Hey, Santa loves puppies too! Especially cute ones like Bleek!
TWO:  Flannel Wallflower
Ok ladies, who is in love with Flannel from Bath & Body Works too? I was so upset to find out that this is such a popular scent and they sold out of the three wick candles SO fast this year! A sweet co-worker of mine knew how much I wanted the candle and surprised me with the Flannel wallflower for Christmas! My house now smells amazing, thanks Patti! AND how cute is the tree holder as well? Love it!

THREE:  Christmas Vacation

I mean, sixteen days off work is definitely worth putting in my top five favorite things this week! I muted my work email on my phone even, that is enough to make me smile. I plan on spending the first part of my vacation on all things Christmas as I mentioned. After Christmas I plan to get our house back in order, celebrate my mom's birthday, get a massage and pedicure and hit all the after Christmas sales as well as spend lots of time with friends and family! Pure bliss.
FOUR & FIVE:  Reindeer! Fa la la la laaaaaaaaa

I've mentioned before that I think Target is killing it this season and I pretty much want the entire store. Literally, I told my family that I would probably just love anything they picked me out from Target for Christmas. I fell staright in love with these reindeer leggings and of course went on a mad search to all four of our local Target stores to find them. They were sold out online and they just happened to being hanging on the rack in my size the second time I checked one location. I mean it was just meant to be! The mug, it took me all of fifteen seconds to decide it needed to come home with me. Tis the Season Y'all!
I hope y'all have a wonderful last weekend pre Christmas! Good luck to everyone braving the crowds like myself, cheers to getting lots done!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Favorite Christmas Tradition

A week from today is Christmas, can you believe it?! Christmas brings back so many magical, loving and fun memories for me. As a child I remember many Christmas eves in Christmas pajamas, leaving cookies and milk out for Santa, twirling the extremely long telephone cord around my whole body while talking to my Grandma and spinning in circles in the kitchen from excitement. I remember years where "Santa" would give my sisters and I a special call to make sure we would be in bed on time and once he even walked on the roof while we were tucked in our beds! He of course had to come back later since our light was still on. And many of years watching Santa Radar on the news to track Santa's sleigh and visiting Santa at the local mall. So many wonderful memories! 

Out of all the special Christmas traditions my family shared I have to say feeding the reindeer was my absolute favorite. Right after we left the cookies and milk for Santa my older sister and I would always take carrots to the front yard for the reindeer. The chopped carrots would be spread throughout the yard and sidewalk just to make sure they were fed for their long night of travel. After waking on Christmas morning and rushing to the living room to find our stockings overflowing with goodies and many packages left under the tree I would always run to the front yard. Never failed, those hungry reindeer had always eaten all the carrots and usually left a few crumbs on the sidewalk for me to see. Such a magical tradition that no doubt will be passed onto my children someday. I couldn't find the picture of me putting out the carrots for the life of me tonight at my parents, just the visit with Santa.

Only one more week y'all and Santa will have come and left by this time! Do you have any Christmas traditions from your childhood or new ones that you might be starting this year with your family?

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Appetizers

Between hosting and attending Christmas parties, dinners and lunches this year I've made a few new festive recipes. I'm always looking for new recipes and new ways to present dishes. Of course Pinterest is considered my entertaining bible especially this time of the year! Here are a few that have been big hits that I've made recently.

Christmas Cranberry Pine cone Cheese ball

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces sharp white cheddar, shredded
1 Tbs milk
¼ Tsp salt
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
Rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)
Assorted crackers for serving

Mix cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add cheddar, milk, salt, pecans and cranberries.
Line a small round bowl with plastic wrap then spoon cheese mixture into bowl. Bring plastic wrap around the mix to form a ball. Refrigerate at least for 4 hours. Once it is firm you will be able to shape into the form of your pine cone.

After cooling, shape into desired pinecone shape and place almonds to form your look. Serve with crackers.

Crock pot BBQ Chicken Sliders
1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup bottled BBQ sauce
½ cup bottled Italian dressing
2 tbsp. yellow mustard
Slider buns

Place chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker.
In a small bowl, stir together the BBQ sauce, Italian dressing and mustard. Pour mixture over chicken and toss to coat.
Cook chicken on low for 4-6 hours, occasionally basting with sauce. Once chicken is cooked through, remove from slow cooker and shred or chop.
Return chicken to slow cooker and stir chicken and sauce together. Feel free to add more BBQ sauce if you think it needs it.
Serve chicken on slider buns.

Hot Corn Dip

1 8 ounce block of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 11 ounce can of white shoepeg corn, drained
1 10 ounce can of Rotel, or diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup Mexican cheese blend
Diced tomatoes and green onion, optional 

Over medium heat, mix cream cheese, corn and Rotel in a large pot until well blended.
Pour mixture into a dish and top with cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Top with tomatoes, green onion and serve with chips!

I made the cheese ball for our office Christmas party today. I wanted something cute and festive but different. I ran across this pine cone on Pinterest but with no recipe. I just ended up combining a few different recipes I had found and came up with this. I got lots of compliments so I chalk it up as a success!

The sliders I ended up actually serving this for dinner one evening. They were super easy, quick and yummy. I served ours with sweet potato fries. They for sure got Kyle's approval!

After seeing the hot corn dip on Christina's blog I knew I wanted to make it, it looked so yummy! I made the dip for a girls night and it was the first dish gone! Another easy and quick appetizer. Thank you North Carolina Charm for the yummy recipe!

I also made this cute cheese and grape Christmas tree as an appetizer for a Christmas party I hosted last week. You can find it in my post from yesterday, here.

What kinda of festive appetizers have you made this holiday season? I want to hear your ideas also! One week until Christmas Eve!!! XOXO

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