Category: Christmas

FREE “Some people are worth Melting for” gift Tags

 

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My good friend Lorna needed some gift tags for a cute Christmas neighbor gift idea she had. I whipped these up for her and thought I would share it if anyone could use them.some-people-are-worth-melting-for-gift-tag-11

 

 

 

Click here for FREE pdf download:

Download “Some people are worth melting for” some-people-are-worth-melting-for.pdf – Downloaded 502 times – 125 KB

 

Ideas to go with gift tag:

snowman ornament

Build your own Olaf

My friend’s idea was to put white chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate chips, orange candy, pretzels in a mason jar and tie the tag. Guienus right?? I will try to include a pic if I can!

Enjoy!

Other Christmas goodies on this site:

Popping by to wish you a Sweet Christmas Tag and popcorn recipe

3 Simple ways to enhance your Christmas Joy

2016 printable calendar is now available!! 

 

 

 

 

My list of 3 simple ways to experience more Christmas Joy

3ways-to-have-more-christmas-joyIsn’t it sad that Christmas time, intended to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world, the giver of all peace, has turned into a time of heighten stress, anxiety and chaos??

It is crazy that in the hustle, bustle and anxiety of getting Christmas ‘right’ we can unwittingly loose our personal peace…even our connection with the Being whom we are celebrating.

With this dilemma, I have resolved that if I intend to make Him my celebration, then I must make Him my goal. I must keep my own inner peace to provide the stillness needed for me to listen and feel the Spirit communicating with me, and thereby inviting Christ into my heart.

mary_jesus

I have come to know this as a humble and quiet experience. Not outwardly evident as the sparkle of ornaments or the glamour of fancy Christmas party pictures on my facebook page, but as a totally satisfying and edifying feeling beyond anything this world can offer. That is Christ and Christmas coming alive within me.

 

So how is the done? How can I deliberately focus and feel Christ more during this time and experience Christmas at its fullest?

I believe one of the most beautiful truths about Christ is that He is the optimal source of Joy. Joy truly is the purpose of our existence as human beings! Is that not the greatest news ever??  That means Christ is the key to fulfilling the purpose of our existence.  In fact, when things go beyond the scope of true joy, I have learned that I am likely missing the mark and it is time to realign, reconsider and reconcoliate to Him again.

joy

With that said, here is my simple Christmas list of how I can more fully live in the “Joy Zone” and make Christmas truly magic!

Give willingly- Yes, Christmas is about giving but sometimes that message can be so pounded into my brains that I can begin to distort it and I feel must give or do something to every person I come in contact with!! But in that distress to find and do something for so many, I miss the good feelings behind gift giving because I have certainly stressed and burned myself out doing it! I have essentially  transformed something that could give great joy into something I do unwillingly, with resentment and distress.

Whatever I choose to give, I must make sure I give myself enough space, permission and time that I can give with real intent, willingly and lovingly. This way my joy can be maximized and not dragged down with resentment from the heightened expectations of myself and perceived expectations of others. This also frees me from the anxiety of the receipt not liking or appreciating my gift. If done in love, my gift was enough, regardless of the reaction of others.

In the end, seriously, the greatest gift anyone can ever give is a calm, happy, self. Someone who is willing to listen and to help. This true gift of peace to someone else can be totally sabotaged in the hurry and worry of the season.
So, as counterintuitive as it may sometimes seem, I gotta remember to slow down and stay centered to give my best self to others.

Receive graciously- in our focus of giving, giving, giving, it is so easy to forget how to RECEIVE. In fact, sometimes, receiving can be a source of stress and even a burden! When someone gives me a gift, sometimes I end up feeling guilty or ashamed that I didn’t even think of them, guilty that their gift was way more than I deserved, or even burdened that now I should get them a gift too. But gift giving was never intended to be that! A true gift is given without attachment, done for the sheer joy of doing it. Whether or not this is true from the giver’s end, as a receipt I can alway choose to receive it that way. I can let myself by touched and filled by someone’s gift to me. I can allow for gratitude to fill my heart instead of guilt, shame, disappointment or obligation. I can express gratitude sincerely. It is in these simple attitudes that will naturally help me WANT to pay it forward and spread more joy for myself and others.

baby-santa

Do as much and as little as it takes to experience peace and joy AND LET IT BE ENOUGH.- Happiness has always been a balance. During Christmas,  it is no different. Boycotting Christmas and gifts and exiling myself to a snowy cliff to avoid it all was no more joyous than going crazy like all the other “Whos” who have been sucked into Christmas commercialism.

(Source)

I’m beginning to see that the balancing act of how much is enough can be found in my inner “joy barometer”  Whenever an activity takes me away from my inner peace and turns into turbulence of heightened stress, I have learned to reassess and change my pace, activity or attitude towards it to regain calm again. I’m not always great at it but that as a general aim keeps me sane and happy. Being sane and happy helps to me accept that what I am doing is totally enough. (see feeling enough post)

My hope is that these three points, when lived inside and out, will better help me {and others} keep connected to Christ, the true meaning of the season. And by doing that, experience delicious JOY.

joy-to-the-world-christmas-card

Now go ENJOY your Christmas, my friend!!!

For a simple15 min christmas popcorn to share with free printables!

Other post that might be helpful:
My obsession with getting things done and how it blocked real happiness
Why Christ matters: a mother’s saving grace
Object lesson that helps explain why Christ is so important.

Why Christ Matters. A Mother’s saving Grace.

I gave a lesson to the Young Women in my church about preparing to establish a Christ-centered home* this last Sunday. It caused me to put my thoughts together and further reflect about why I feel that Christ matters so much. With Christmas just about here, I felt strongly to announce to the world my own feelings about Christ and why it IS such a big deal that little baby in Bethlehem was born.

Why is it that so much of the world is celebrating the arrival of this person? Why does it matter that Jesus came? How did it affect the world and how does it affect us personally, every day?? I don’t have all the answers, but I have come to know through my experiences a few, simple things that have helped me get closer to answers, to more hope, to more understanding, to greater happiness and to closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ.

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Why does it matter that I base myself, family, home and life around Christ? Let me share a personal story about how I came to better terms to why it matters to me.

I was having one of those moments as a mother that I realized how blatantly short my efforts fell from being the mother I wanted to be. I found that because of my very human limitations, insecurities, fears, and personal weaknesses, I simply could not show love to my kids as beautifully as I wanted.  I got frustrated with them, snapped at them, was easily distracted when I could better be attending their needs and so on. I came to the thought, “Wow, what in the world did my innocent little children do to be raised by a mom like me? Nothing, they did nothing to deserve it. They were just born to me.  I realized that no matter the effort I put in, I would still be lacking somewhere. Simply because I am human, weak, temperamental (can you say hormones?), unwilling, selfish – and- even my very personality and all its flaws that are more or less incompatible with that of my child’s would affect  him and his life. I realized my very shortcomings as a human could one way or another mess up my kid. GULP. What a predicament.

Hope for my kids.

Then like a glimmer of hope in the midst of mental implosion, this scripture came to my mind, “And we atalk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our cchildren may know to what source they may look for a dremission of their sins.” 2 Nephi 25:26

It hit me that the reason I make the effort to teach, talk, celebrate, write and testify of Christ is because it is HE who will do the saving, NOT ME.  If I can just do my best to teach my littles to turn to the Light that is Jesus Christ, they can be redeemed from their weaknesses (sins, insecurities, fears, sorrows), and EVEN the weakness that became theirs because of my influence (my sincere efforts as a mother that simply were not enough). Jesus Christ matters because my children have as much of a chance to enjoy satisfying and true happiness in this life (and the next to come) as I do. Oh what a relief!

Hope for me.

Even though I am human, weak, and SO blunder prone, there is still hope for me as a mother. Christ not only compensates for what I could not do, but enables me to do and be more than I otherwise could on my own as I mother. I have personally experienced the real enabling power of Christ in my life. I have seen it in those moments when I am humble and willing enough to know that I cannot do it alone, when I start relying on His spirit more, those moments of quiet listening to the real voice within that stills me, helps me harness life and myself to do those things that really matter. It comes to me in those miraculous little moments that I didn’t have to get upset, that I stopped and listened, that I sought an opportunity to teach instead instead of punish. Those are the moments that I can more clearly see the light in my child’s eyes, see him for who he is. Love him more sincerely and deeply than ever before and experience a joy more exquisite than I thought possible.

He sets me FREE.

I’ve experienced and still do experience all sorts of heavy and crazy types of slavery. What? Yes. We all do. We are all slaves to nasty slave masters that come in mean voices in our heads, that pushes us around, that say we are not good enough, that suck the life out of us in negativity, guilt, worry, frantic fear of the ridiculous. That voice that keeps us a slave to anything less than joy and keeps us away from really enjoying life and  seeing yourself as the glorious beings we really are. I have learned that those voices can be ignored, can be quieted, and can be overcome. It is a gift and power I have found Christ lends to me. To focus more on His spirit, less on the things that drag me down, more on the inspiring, less on the depressing, more on the things to rejoice about, less on the things to whine about. It is liberating, it is true freedom. (Read an eg of this in this post-My obsession with getting things done and how it block real happiness )

He came so we could receive, know and show LOVE.

If for some reason the idea of Jesus Christ still  seems quite removed for you, perhaps the idea of LOVE can complete it for you. Christ’s whole missions was for love and out of love for us. Christ =LOVE. When we feel true Love we are feeling part of Him. For me it is a feeling that things will be ok, that there is much to be hoped for, much to be happy about, it is a feeling of security within myself, confidence to take on life, the gift of ability to love others and give of myself without fear. He is what makes life beautiful. LOVE is why Christ matters. There is little I want more than Christ and His love in my home.

See helpful object lesson on this topic here.

*For lesson helps: In my lesson we talked about ways to create a Christ-centered home. With the help of resources found in the lesson (specifically “For peace at home by Elder G Scott, Family Proclamation, Becoming Goodly Parents, and scripture references) we listed things that help create a Christ-centered home (Here is a handout to use if you are going to be teaching).

christ centered home

 

[Download not found]

**Update** 4/15/15

I was asked if I could create a handout without the ‘prepare to’ so it can be used for more general purposes like Relief Society or family lessons, etc..Here it is!

 

[Download not found]

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Easy Microwave Caramel Popcorn (Free printable)

popcorn

I love sending my Christmas wishes to friends and family during the Holidays. But ya know, for me taking care of my little children alone basically consumes all time and energy, add holiday parties+gift shopping +Christmas traditions (ok, maybe I’m not that mom with many cutsie christmas activities but the ONE we have takes time too!) +cold weather crankies (agh, the gloomy, winter is not my friend, I need me some sun!)  and my good intentions rarely come to fruition. Luckily, earlier this year I come across this super yummy and too simple to be true (oh, but it’s true) microwave caramel popcorn recipe.  I was trying to make caramel popcorn one day but the top google search for caramel popcorn took a whole stinkin’ hour and half to make, (I must have been in quite a  hurry to consume fatty sugary goodness as quick as possible) so I kept looking. I googled microwave caramel popcorn actually hoping to use my already buttered microwave popcorn bags I had but instead I found this recipe.  15 whole minutes to a delicious caramel popcorn, you won’t even believe it was made in the microwave! It does call for air popped popcorn but one of the most wonderful tricks of the trade I have ever learned is that you can actually pop popcorn kernels in a brown paper sack in the microwave. So the version I have for yous can be made the microwave entirely. Woot.

yummy-microwavecaramel-popcorn

I’ve experiment quite a bit before to get the right amount of popcorn kernels and microwave time to suit my microwave and get the most popped kernels without burning them. Yes, many times my OCD attempts to be ‘efficient’ ends up costing me triple the time but now that I’ve got it right enough times, it is that much quicker, right?

popcorn-in-brown-paper-sack

So I have found 1/4 a cup of kernels  in a brown paper sack does a splendid job.

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Then microwaved for 2 minutes works really well (listen for your kernels when you do yours, all microwaves differ if the time between popped kernels slows down to 2-3 between pops, get it out) Make sure you roll up your bag a bit like so. Make two-three bags depending on how rich you want your popcorn.  This is a trick I learned as I experimented: shake the bags of popped corn so the unpopped kernels settle to the bottom, you’ll see why. Leave them in their bags!

melted-ingredients-in-bowl

Meanwhile dump 1 cup brown sugar, one stick of margarine (I used butter), 1/4 cup corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl and stick it in the microwave for 3 min. Bring it out, stir and put it back in microwave for another 1.5 minutes. Pull it out and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, it will fizz up a bit.  I know, weird ingredient but I like to think it is the magic touch,  I think it gives it a slightly crisp crunch!

mix-in-popcorn

Now, instead of dumping the popcorn straight from the bag into the bowl of melted goop, GRAB the popcorn fistfuls at a time from the bags  into your bowl. Since I had you shake the kernels to the bottom, you won’t get unpopped kernels in your popcorn!! Hurray.  Mix as you go. But don’t use a whisk like I did. I soon had to grab a spatula after I took this picture. Put back in microwave for another 1 minute and continue stirring until coated as desired. Let cool. Enjoy!

One time I resorted to this recipe when I needed some quick potluck item. I realized only after I had started the recipe that I didn’t even have brown sugar. I used white sugar, I also added nuts and raisins to try to offset all that sugar since the potluck was with peeps in my exercise classes. I already felt funny bringing caramel popcorn to a lunch potluck with people who all, of course, brought ‘healthy foods’, but the fact that I didn’t even know if all my modification even worked made me not want to announce my offering in anyway. Eventually the ladies found the culprit food and I don’t know if it was because there was nothing with as much sugar and butter in sight but those females devoured it like there was no tomorrow! They couldn’t stop commenting on how good it was.

So there you have it. White sugar works (favorite combo, half white, half brown sugar) and now it is common for me to add raisins/dried cranberries and nuts to at least half of the batch since, quite honestly I think is an awesome team of yum.

Here is the download:

[Download not found]

just-popping-by-gift-tag-popcorn microwave-caramel-popcorn

Easy Microwave Caramel Popcorn
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Sariah tate
Cook time:
Total time:
15 minutes to delicious popcorn! Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/microwave-caramel-popcorn/
Ingredients
  • 4 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine (or butter)
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. <b>To microwave popcorn in paper bag:</b>
  2. Put 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in paper bag for 2 minutes (listen as kernels slow down, you might need longer or less time depending on your microwave)
  3. Pop 2-3 bags depending on how rich you want your popcorn
  4. Shake bags so unpopped kernels will settle to bottom
  5. <b>For Caramel</b>
  6. In a microwave safe bowl combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and vanilla.
  7. Microwave for 3 minutes.
  8. Remove from microwave and stir.
  9. Return to Microwave for another 1.5 minutes.
  10. Remove from microwave and stir in baking soda.
  11. Grab popcorn from bags fistfuls at a time into bowl of caramel sauce, stir and with coat caramel. Stir in nuts and raisins/craisin if desired. Put back in microwave for another 1 minute and continue stirring until coated as desired. Let cool. Enjoy!

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