christmas

Homemade Vanilla Extract

As I have posted pictures of my little bottles of vanilla goodness this week I have gotten so many responses of people being simply amazed. I mean it truly is amazing that you can make your own extracts, but...when you all see how easy this is I promise you will be less impressed.

As I have fallen in love with food and spending time in the kitchen there is one thing I have learned time and time again...just try. So much of what we label as impressive is really easy if you just get in the kitchen, roll your sleeves up, and try. Yes you will fail, I have had my flops of recipes, but trying is half the fun. When you finally get a recipe to where you want it, that point where it went from terrible, to eh...okay...to oh my goodness I want to sing and dance this is so good - the trying is worth it! 

So the next time you see a recipe on my instagram and think...geez that looks amazing, I could never make food like that Rachel girl...GO TRY IT! I dare you. Think of it as an adventure and just see where it takes you! Okay, I will stop preaching. 

Vanilla, extract to be specific. It is in everything we bake, and this time of year we can do A LOT of baking. I had a church friend that said she gave bottles of vanilla extract as gifts one year and knew I wanted to try it out. So I did.

This is not a quick recipe, and requires a lot of patience and planning ahead. (6 weeks -2 months ahead). Making the extract is easy but it must have time to sit and become extract so if you want to give this as gifts you need to wait a minimum of 4 weeks before using and really ideally 2 months! 

INGREDIENTS - 

Vanilla Beans (I used Madagascar and bourbon vanilla beans that I purchased

here

on Amazon)

one large bottle of Vodka (any name brand will work, but you dont want to buy the cheapest thing you can find!)

Boston Bottles (I bought a pack of 12 4 oz bottles

here

)

Labels 

DIRECTIONS -

Take vanilla beans and slice in half and down the middle. Place 2 vanilla beans (or 4 halves) in your bottle. Top with vodka. Seal and let sit in a dark and cool place for 6 weeks to 2 months. 

Enjoy while baking. Or squeeze the vanilla bean pods to use seeds in homemade ice cream, sauces, glazes and other things for a distinctly gourmet vanilla flavor (and all those pretty black specks!)

**

Also you can use whiskey or rum if you have that instead of vodka. The flavor profile is different and I really feel a rum pairs great with the bourbon vanilla beans...but to each his own! 

See!!! I told you it was so simple. So please, for my sake, tell me you will go try it! Be impressed with yourself then spread on the news that homemade extract is easy, more flavorful and cost efficient! YAY! 

Also, you can make cute little labels like I did to make your bottles all professional and gift worthy! I just made these in Photoshop really quickly but you could find a printable online or make your own! 

So what do you think? Are you gonna try to make it? :)

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Christmas Photo Shoot + Christmas Card!

Christmas time is here at last. Our halls are decked (well they have been for quite sometime now ha) and we have been listening to Christmas music around the clock. I have loved this season already. Time has started slowing down some what believe it or not, and I am trying hard to savor this holiday time with my family.


One tradition I have always loved is Christmas cards. It brings me so much joy to send them, as well as receive them from friends and family to see updates on so many that we love! This year we decided to have pictures taken by Lauren of Sincerely, Lo for our cards. Lauren lives just minutes from my in laws and was happy to help us out with our pictures. 

We had so much fun with both Lauren and her husband Sean. Lauren did a fantastic job of capturing our little family, and Sean was a pro at keeping Piper's eyes near the camera with crazy noises and silly faces! It was a blast. So here are some shots from the shoot, and a digital version of our 2014 Christmas card! Enjoy! 

















Merry Christmas yall! And be looking for real paper copies to be coming to some of your mailboxes this week! :) YAY! 

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide (Discount Codes + Giveaway)

Hey Y'all! Man does it feel wonderful to be back after a week away from blogland for the Holidays. We spent Thanksgiving with Ben's family this year and it was wonderful. We ate ourselves silly and then came back home for a restful and productive weekend at home! 

My Etsy shop,

Oh Simple Joys

, has been keeping me so busy (the best kind of busy), so I have been crocheting, packaging or shipping orders around the clock lately. I cannot express how incredible it feels to have a vision, walk in that vision, and then have friends and strangers come around you and support you in that vision. It is something that I will not ever get over. Every one of your that has bought something from my shop has been prayed over, and your money is going to sending me to Hope Spoken, Influence Conference as well as helping out our family of 3 (our little pup is always included in my count). 

Now that it is officially December I cannot wait to share some amazing handmade shops with you! These ladies are not only amazing creatives, but they love Jesus and I call so many of them dear friends! So it is with a really full heart that I share their shops and products with you today! Each lady has included a discount code OR is donating an item from her shop for several lucky winners! 

SHOPS

Heavens To Betsy Handmade

- Scarves, Handlettered Prints. Betsy d

onates a percentage of all of my profits to kingdom-building work through organizations like Mocha Club, foreign and local missions, and Project Rescue! Use code

ohsimplethoughts

for 10% off!

Elle & Company Library

 - 

The Elle & Company printable library is filled with files for all kinds of paper goods to brighten day-to-day life. This resource is great for inexpensive and creative gift ideas, organizational tools, and pretty paper.

Elah Tree

 - 

Elah Tree is dedicated to creating products and content to encourage, inspire, and equip you in your dreams. Use code

OHSIMPLETHOUGHTS

for 35% off!

Life Lived Beautifully

Life Lived Beautifully is about living life with one purpose: for the glory of God and the love of Jesus Christ. Use code

OHSIMPLETHOUGHTS

for 20% off!

Pretty Lovely Littles

 - 

Pretty little affordable things to add whimsy to your everyday life! Use code

MERRYMERRY

for 30% off!

Arroway Creative Design

 - 

The vision behind this shop is to create uniquely handmade watercolor prints through uplifting words and encouragement. Use code

GIFT GUIDE

for 25% off!

East West Design Co.

 - 

Our vision is to create products that our customers will love, that will be reminders of the glory of God in their everyday lives, & to build a business that always points to Jesus.

Joyful Papery

 - 

I desire to plant beauty, honesty, truth, and hope all around us; Bringing beauty in the everyday.. in the hard, the tired, the happy, and the hopeful. That we might all see Joy hiding in our everyday lives.

Heathers Letters

 -

Heather's Letters is a shop that delights in creating beauty, joy and fun. My faith inspires me to create and watching other women follow their passions and grow closer to God makes my heart wake up! Use code

RACHELCOX

for FREE shipping!

Riley Writes Scout

 -

Hand Lettered prints, invitations, gift tags, stationary and more. 

Magnolia Street Shop

 - 

34 Magnolia Street Shop is all about celebrating life's little moments through custom paper goods. Life is too short to live blandly - let's celebrate! Use code

SIMPLE2014

for 25% off!

Gingerly Styled

 - 

Gingerly Styled specializes in handmade burlap items. Inspired by creating handmade items for my own wedding, burlap has become a material I love working with. It's my goal to create personal items that bring joy into the homes of my customers. Use code

OHSIMPLETHOUGHTS

for 15% off!

Southern Glow Bangles

 - 

Southern Glow offers fashionable bangles at affordable prices. Bangles make great Christmas gifts for any special female in your life. Let me know how I can customize your order. Use code

20off

for 20% off!

Oh Simple Joys

-

Oh Simple Joys is a shop dedicated to creating products that remind us to savor life's little moments. From crocheted goods to coffee mugs and tote bags this a shop striving to surround you with reminders to slow down and breathe deep. 

I cannot encourage you enough to go and check out these AMAZING women and their shops, and to BUY from them. These ladies are just normal ladies using their creative gifts for the glory of the Lord. They are using their gifts to help their families financially and by supporting them you are literally supporting their dreams...how cool is that?! Let's love these ladies and fill up our carts with some handmade goodness! I know I am. 

In addition to these amazing discount codes, several shops donated items to giveaway! So here is what is being given away to 7 lucky winners! 

-a print of choice from Heavens to Betsy Handmade

-a print of choice from Arroway Creative Designs

-6 month subscription to Elle & Co Library 

-Christmas Bundle from East & West Design Co (1 pack of 5 cards + 1 8x10 print of choice)

-8x10 "peace be still" raised gold letter print from Joyful Papery

-8x10 print and set of gift tags of choice from RileyWritesScout

-Tote bag from Oh Simple Joys + 

$30 Etsy Giftcard!

A special thanks to Rachel of

Rachel Rewritten

and Jenni of

Frankly My Dear

for the Etsy giftcard! 

All entries will be verified so play fair! The winners will be announced at the end of the day Friday the 5th of December! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The Bread & Wine Project / Homemade Marshmallows

Yesterday I shared about how ready I am for Christmas...I am super ready! So this month's Bread & Wine Project recipe really reflects that! :) Welcome back to the Bread & Wine Link Up for those of you who have joined us before, and for those of you that are jumping in for the first time...so happy to have you! This link up is all about sharing recipes and a heart for others in the form of hospitality! 

This month's co host is Natasha of Natasha Red blog

Natasha has such a huge heart for Jesus and the Gospel which is made so evident from her blog. She is a fellow foodie, and is gifted in the kitchen for sure. Just follow along with her Instagram for a few days and you will see how talented this lady is! :) Meet Natasha friends!

This month's prompt was short and sweet -

How do you approach hospitality and the holidays? 

For me this really goes back to my post yesterday quite honestly. I love opening up my home and feeding friends and family because this is one way I can tangibly be the Gospel to those around me. I get to play a role in showing those around our table a picture of the Lord's provision and love for us as his children. So the holidays are prime time for doing this! And I LOVE that! 

What about you? How do you view these two things and how to you make them co exist? 

Speaking of holidays...who doesn't love a super yummy mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows to get you in the holiday spirit? There is something so nostalgic about this classic winter drink for me. It takes me instantly back to being a little girl and ripping open those powdery packets of instant hot chocolate with the rock hard (Lucky Charm like) "marshmallows". I loved that stuff when I was younger. 

Now that I am older...and more mature in the ways of good food and drink, I have said good bye to the powdery instant stuff and opened my arms to the world of homemade hot chocolate and marshmallows. Not the rock hard kind, but the pillowy, soft, melt in your mouth goodness kind. 

These mallows are divine. They are literally perfect, and you will not believe how simple they are to make friends! So so simple. Which was a surprise to me, seeing as I thought marshmallows had to require some type of magic to conjure up in the kitchen. 

INGREDIENTS - 

  • 3 (1 oz) packets of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • vanilla extract (a teaspoon or so)
  • vanilla bean seeds (scrapings of one vanilla bean, optional)
  • powdered sugar
  • corn starch

DIRECTIONS -  

Combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attached. Let sit for 10-15 minutes to soften. 

Add 1/2 cup cold water to a medium saucepan along with sugar, and corn syrup. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Raise heat to high and cook until you reach 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and slowly pour syrup into the gelatin while the mixer is on low speed. 

Increase speed of mixer to high and allow it to whip for 15 minutes. Meanwhile scrape the beans from the inside of one vanilla bean and add the seeds to the mixture. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and salt. 

Once thoroughly whipped. Pour into a WELL OILED pan, and smooth top with a wet spatula. Coat top with oil and allow to sit for 6-8 hours at room temperature until firm.

Once set, remove from pan, cut into cubes or use cookies cutters to cut into shapes. Toss in powder sugar and corn starch (1/4 cup each) and store in air tight container for up to 2 weeks. 

ENJOY!

Told you! Easy as pie, and so so worth the time you have to wait for the finished product! I cannot wait to try some awesome flavor combos next time with these little pillowy confections! 

Deck the Halls Fever + Advent Giveaway!!

Christmas is my all time favorite holiday! I love the season of celebrating the son of God entering the world, and I love all that comes with it. I truly believe the festivities of Christmas can be something pleasing to our Lord! Our Heavenly Father is a festive being. He calls the Israelites in the Old Testament to observe festivals on a regular basis and he institutes feasts and banquets to be pictures of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb at the end of time. I love that we can rejoice and be a picture of such a glorious day that is coming to those around us!


So all that to say...Christmas is my thang. For real. Just ask my poor husband who has already had to put up with me begging to begin decorating our little home for my beloved holiday now. The rule is not until after Thanksgiving...but I just cannot help it. I want to decorate everything soooo badly! But alas, I am waiting per request of my husband until at least the week of Thanksgiving! 

As a newlywed last Christmas everything was fresh and exciting. Ben and I were experiencing everything together as husband and wife for the very first time and it was so fun. We did everything ourselves. 90% of our decorations were made by yours truly...including all our Christmas ornaments. We were broke, and simply did not have money for tons of decorations...our Christmas tree was even part of our gifts to each other last year! HA! 

So I LOVE making things myself. This usually applies mainly to what I make in the kitchen, but every now and then I branch out and get crafty when necessity calls. So today I wanted to share some fun DIY projects I found that I love for this Holiday season! 


I tend to really find myself drawn to rustic and woodsy materials for Christmas decor. So these all seemed so fun and unique! I am hoping to make at least one if not all of these this year, and I am starting early so that even if I cannot decorate I can at least MAKE decorations before Thanksgiving! :)

More importantly than all the decor is remembering what Christmas is all about...and to many this is called Advent. This is a time leading up to Christmas to remember who Christ is and how he came. It really helps to prepare our hearts for the season, as well as keep our minds focused on who Jesus the Son of God is and why his coming is so important for us who call ourselves his children! 

So, to kick off this week & the upcoming holiday season I am participating in a giveaway with Jenni from Frankly My Dear & friends to make this season mean something.

Advent is a special time of year & it begins in three short weeks. To celebrate we are giving away one Naptime Diaries Advent Devotional + Calendar. The devotion is a 25 day interactive workbook that walks through hope, love, joy, peace, & purity leading up to the Christmas holiday. In addition, the calendar prints that accompany the devotion will bring cheer ANY time of year.





Good luck & have a great week!

Also, don't forget! Tomorrow is the Bread & Wine Project Link Up! Link up any recipe and share your thoughts on "How do you approach the Holidays and Hospitality?" Hope to see you there!

Friday letters.

So I have seen this idea on many blogs that I follow...writing letters. Since my blog is a lifestyle blog and setting out to capture little moments from my newlywed (ish) life, I thought this would be a fun thing to implement. So here it goes. 

Dear Benjamin (my husband), Thank you so much for last night, for loving me the way you do, for cuddling with me on the couch while watching Home Alone. You have had so much riding on your shoulders at work these past few weeks but you are so gracious and selfless to set it all aside at home to sit and listen to me and to watch movies with me while eating popcorn. Thank you for waking up super early this morning to fix my car and change the oil...you are so handy and hardworking, and this never goes unnoticed. Oh and thank you for letting us drive to Jackson Monday night just for an hour or so to show support for my dear friend's engagement...you are awesome, and I love you more than chewy molasses cookies (which you know as of late is really saying something).

To Wednesday game night, you really brought us some great laughs. You allowed us all to get to know each other in a different way outside of church and small groups. However, next time I think all the wives would appreciate it if you would shine some of your game night favor on the girls team in the heated game of catchphrase. 

Dear Christmas, only a few days away and I am so excited. First married Christmas has already been a blast. From baking, to looking at lights, to Christmas movie marathons it has all been better with a husband. Thank you for being my favorite season of the year, and allowing me the excuse to drink hot chocolate excessively and to eat sweets every hour on the hour without shame. 

Dear future puppy, Ben and I talk about you every day now. We have decided on names and everything. We are saving our pennies, dimes, and nickels in hopes of finding you and bringing you home soon. Until then stay cute and cuddly wherever in the world you may be. 

To my in-laws, today is Friday which means today is the day we come to see you all. Can't wait to get there tonight to celebrate Christmas with you. Can't wait to play with Lucy and roll on the floor laughing while forcing her to model her latest doggie sweater or jacket for us. 

To Kirsten, you are back in the USA for Christmas and I haven't seen you yet...but we will be reunited on Sunday, Lord willing, and I am pumped. We have done a terrible job this go around at staying in touch which has made me that much more eager to see you in a few days. Moving to Ecuador cannot do anything to our friendship. 

Dear wifehood, you are hard. I had no idea 7 months ago how sanctifying and refining marriage could and would be. Submission is a daily struggle right now, and it is often hard to stop the bad communication habits. However, you are teaching me more and more about being dependent on the Holy Spirit rather than myself and how prayer is an essential to daily life. Praying the sanctification never stops. 

Dear Harry Potter, somehow I am on your last book even though I started your series only a month ago. I cannot put you down. You have captivated my attention and allowed me to remember childhood by entertaining my imagination. Thank you for being an innocent way of escaping the daily craziness and giving me an amazing wizarding world to enjoy on my own leisure. 

Friday letters are to hopefully (cross your fingers) become a weekly tradition. We shall see how this quest goes. Happy Friday friends! Only 5 days til Christmas!!

Take care.


Easy Holiday Appetizer - Mini Ham & Cheese Puffs

Happy Wednesday friends! I wanted to just take a few quick minutes before Ben gets home from work to share another holiday recipe with you...even though I am struggling with my holiday mood today since it is in the 70's outside here in Mississippi...Anyways, no more complaining. This handy recipe is so easy to throw together and does not call for very many ingredients. Win win if you ask me. This has been a go to recipe for me since high school. I always made it for Christmas parties, Sunday school get togethers and small groups. 

So enough of my babbling, here is the recipe. 

Mini Ham and Cheese Puffs



1 package (2.5 ounces) of processed ham or smoked turkey, finely chopped (I use honey ham usually)
2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion
1/2 cup of Swiss or cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon of snipped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp of dried parsley)
1 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard (I use honey Dijon)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 package refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with non stick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients but crescent rolls in a mixing bowl. 

Unroll crescent dough and press into a large rectangle. Cut the dough into 24 small squares, press each square into each muffin cup with your fingers or the bottom end of an ice cream scoop (real fancy eh?)

Fill each muffin cup with about a tsp of ham and cheese mixture. Bake 12-14 minutes or until puffs are golden brown. Remove from pan; serve warm or at room temperature. Eat and enjoy. 

This recipe only makes 24 puffs so I often double the recipe when preparing this for a crowd. Hope you enjoy this simple recipe that is sure to be a hit at holiday parties this year...also they are DELICIOUS for breakfast in the mornings if you have any left. :)

Take care!



Simple Peppermint Mochas

Hello friends! Thanksgiving has come and gone and I feel as if I am still recovering from all the sweets and loads of food I have indulged in these past few days...so naturally this post is about food. Of course... Ben and I have spent the week with his family in Hattiesburg, MS and then Hernando, MS. It has been a joy, and has been super relaxing. We have pretty much just laid around playing with the newest addition to the Cox (the in-laws, not us) family, the cutest puppy ever, Lucy. 

Anyways now that Thanksgiving is over I can officially begin to get into full blown Christmas mode...as if I haven't been already (those of you who follow me on Instagram know I have been in Christmas mode for a few weeks now). I love this season, the cold weather, cuddling by the fire, sitting by the glowing lights of the Christmas tree...one of my favorite things about this wonderful time of year is the food...treats...yummy drinks...ah my mouth is watering just thinking about it all. So I have decided to share a few different Christmas recipes every week leading up to Christmas. Today's special is, drum roll....... 

PEPPERMINT MOCHA IN THE CROCKPOT
(chocolate goodness that will warm your soul)

What you will need...
4 cups of milk (almond milk, whole milk...really whatever makes you happy)
4 cups of strongly brewed coffee
1/2 cup of sweetener (sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, again whatever tickles your fancy)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 piece of bakers semi-sweet chocolate
4-6 drops (about 1/2-3/4 tsp) of peppermint extract
1 tsp of vanilla

Just add all ingredients to a crock pot, stir well, and allow to combine for 1 hour on high or 2-3 on low. Stirring often. This is delicious served with a big dollop of homemade whipped cream and a peppermint stick. This tastes more like grown up hot chocolate than coffee to me. Makes about 8 servings, and is perfect for a Christmas party since the crockpot will keep the mochas warm. 

Go try this yummy drink tonight! You will not regret it. 

Enjoy the last of the Holiday weekend friends!

-Rachel

Pom Pom and Garland DIY Tutorial

Happy Hump Day! It is such a beautiful day here in Mississippi...the wind is blowing, it is chilly enough for me to have on socks and be wrapped up in a blanket, and leaves are just falling away outside. I love the mornings, they are a fresh start to a new day, and remind me that the Lord's mercies are new today. My morning coffee and time alone after Ben has left for work is such a sweet time. I am able to sit at the feet of my Heavenly Bridegroom...and that is always so precious. The Lord is so worthy of our praise and this weather here is just crying out for everyone to take notice of how awesome our God is. 

"But this I call to mind and I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are NEW every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:21-23

"Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?...The heavens are yours; the earth is your and all that is in it, you have founded them...You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you." Psalm 89:5-6;11, 13,14

So let this hump day not be a day we get in a rut, stuck and finding ourselves groaning about how we are longing for the weekend. Let's REJOICE in the LORD!

Can you believe it is November? I cannot...time is just flying right on by. Christmas will be here before we know it! YIKES! I have not even started on Christmas presents, and I hardly have any Christmas decor...newlywed life I am afraid. :) So this year I am making a lot of our decor for around the house...like this awesome music sheet wreath...



 Another really fun and easy thing to make for your mantel, doorway, tree, or for a friend is a pom pom garland. So so easy. I have included pictures of each step below but please feel free to ask any questions in the comment box below if something is unclear.


What you will need:
yarn (in whatever colors your heart desires)
really sharp scissors
large yarn needle

To start, pick the color yarn you want your pom pom to be...then begin to wrap it around your fingers (I used the first three fingers) or for a little bit larger pom wrap the yarn around your palm. Continue wrapping for about 70-75 times around. I think doing any less doesn't make it full enough.



Once you have wrapped your yarn as many times as you want, carefully slide it off your fingers and cut the end. Take another piece of yarn and tie it around the center of the yarn. Be careful to hold on to it so you don't undo all your wrapping. It should look like the picture below once you have tightly secure your knot. 



Then take your REALLY sharp scissors and cut all the little loops.


Once you have cut every loop your pom pom will look a little crazy...so now you have to give it a good trim. 


Cut all the little strands of yarn until you feel your pom pom is all tidy and the size you like. mine looked about like this once I was finished. 



and there you have it. Now you know how to make pom poms, and trust me you will find yourself addicted to this easy and fun craft! Now for the garland...silly me didn't take any pictures of this part but it is just as self explanatory as the poms. Just thread a yarn needle with yarn that you want to hang your pom poms on and push it through each pom pom. If you do not have a yarn needle you can just leave a couple stands of yarn long when you are trimming the pom up and use those to attach the pom to the string for hanging. Either way works great and will still get you to an awesome finished product.


Now go make some garlands to decorate your house with. Make some for your friends, family, neighbors...make one for a stranger even. This easy craft is sure to put a smile on your face and on other's faces as well. 

Take care! XOXO.













Thankfulness

Hello friends. bet you thought I fell off the planet after almost one month of no posting. my excuse is....well honestly I don't have one, but sometimes a break is necessary and October seemed to be break time for me. But now it is November so I plan to do much better about posting. 

This is the month of thankfulness. A month dedicated to reflecting on the many God-given blessings in our lives...and wow I am blown away by the way the Lord has blessed me and my family of two. Marriage is the sweetest, hardest, most sanctifying and joy-filled experience I have ever been a part of. I would not trade it for anything. I have an incredible family with siblings that are some of my closest friends. My "in-laws" are some of the most loving and selfless people I know and it truly is a joy to be a part of such an amazing family. My job brings me such happiness, I am so extremely grateful to have a daily job that allows me to get coffee with college girls, unpack the Word with them and teach them how to hunger and thirst after righteousness. It is the sweetest thing to do life alongside so many incredible young women who are learning to love Jesus in deep ways. I could go on and on and on...so I am going to stop, and reflect on other sources of gratitude via pictures. 

First I am grateful for a trip home to Georgia a few weeks ago and for some really godly fellowship with new and old friends. Also, I am thankful for this guy...anyone who knows me in the slightest knows how much my little sister and brother mean to me. This is my brother Reed. He is a published writer now at the age of 15. He, along with several others from my home church, wrote devotionals in this newly published book for teenagers. I am so proud of Reed and his commitment to our Savior. This guy loves Jesus, and is a hard worker, not very many guys his age are like this. I am thankful for his dedication in all he does and the loving way he is with everyone he knows. Proud of ya Reedman!



I am so thankful for my husband. He is passionate about Christ, the gospel and the Scriptures and I will never get over how lucky I am to be married to a man who loves the Lord deeply and fully. He desires to sanctify me in the truth of God's Word, and you know what, sometimes I make that so hard for him, I fight sanctification, but he patiently and graciously bears with me loving me the way Jesus Christ faithfully and patiently loves his rebellious bride, the church. I had to speak at an event for a sorority at MSU Sunday night and Ben so willingly took time to sit down night after night leading up to the talk to walk me through the Word in order to help me piece all my thoughts together...yeah basically he is my favorite.
I am thankful for Friday nights in a small (ish) town where all you have to do is go to Wal-mart and walk around. I love baking, and Ben's dreams of being a farmer...these basically were ornaments made for us. 


Below are craft supplies, and while yes I am thankful for them and the impending Christmas season...I am more thankful for my sweet friend Nikki that I got to spend my Saturday morning with getting these craft supplies. We had a girls morning drive to Tupelo, MS and just knocked around a few stores and enjoyed some much needed catch up time. It was great!
Crafts. yes okay I am super thankful for crafts, for the free time to make them. For my grandmother and mom's own piano sheets that make up this wreath, for Miss Mustard Seed's awesome home decor book, and for CHRISTMAS. :) 


Last but certainly not least I am thankful for the ability to love my church family through service. My way of loving often is translated through food. Through baking, cooking, and sharing meals with our family of believers at Redeemer. This is a fresh apple cake made for some very special friends of ours that go to our church. I am thankful most of all for a church of people that do life together outside of a Sunday meeting. Who love each other well every day of the week and seek to be God's people as much on Wednesday nights at small group as we do on Sundays when we got together for our church meeting.


I think it is so special and needed sometime to stop and reflect on things we are grateful for. I encourage you to do this. What has the Lord blessed you with this year? these past months, weeks and days? 

Take care!





Anthropologie Inspired Snow Globes DIY


Hello everyone!

Sorry it has been awhile since my last post...finals week and school have been rather overwhelming. BUT finals are over now (whoooooo) and so I have lots of time on my hands. 

With more time on my hands, I am getting OH SO EXCITED about Christmas :) and especially Christmas crafts and baking!

So I am here to share my latest craft project. SNOW GLOBES. and super cute ones at that. 

WHAT YOU NEED:
  • Canning Jars (I used Mason Jars)
  • Glitter
  • Water
  • Baby Christmas Trees
  • Hot Glue
  • Hot Glue Gun
This is a very easy craft and turns out so adorable you will want to keep it up all year long. I made it for my roommates and several others, and people have been flipping out over how adorable they are. If you give these as a gift they are SURE to be a Christmas hit! :)

So to make... Start with the little trees, mine were 4 inches tall. If you use a larger jar then 6 inch trees will fit inside also. 




Add hot glue to the bottom of the tree and then attached to the bottom of your canning lid. Use a generous amount of glue to guarantee the tree wont budge with all the shaking. 


Next add your glitter to your canning jar. I added about a tablespoon or so, it's up to you on how much to add. Too much glitter can trap air inside the jar so watch out for that. 



Last step, add your water to your jar. This is probably the trickiest part because you have to make sure you literally fill it to the brim with water so there are not any air bubbles trapped inside. 

What I did is filled the jar up almost completely, then I put the tree inside and pulled the lid over with just a crack of space and let a little more water trickle in the jar until it was about to overflow. 

Then screw on the lid as tight as you possible can, dry off any water...and SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE!!

**Also, you can add liquid glycerin to make glitter fall more slowly if you want!

And now you have a Handcrafted, Anthropologie look alike, adorable, SNOW GLOBE for the Holidays! :)


MERRY CHRISTMAS YA'LL!!

Let me know what you think!

-Rach.