Budget Friendly Christmas Gifts

It’s Christmas time! My husband I are a part of a “Bible Study” group at our Church that is called, Grow Group. We do study the Bible but it’s not a curriculum based group. This group is where we do Christian life together. Every Tuesday, we get together over a light snack, prayer and some deep discussion on living life as a Christian. Sometimes it’s rehashing the Sunday message or recent events but we are always opening our Bibles’, talking with each other and praying for one another always. In and out of Tuesday get-togethers. So, of course being Christmas time I like to give gifts to everyone and  that sometimes isn’t always feasible. God, of course, will always make a way.

Unbeknownst Preparation

Over the summer, I had the brilliant idea that I was going to be my middle daughter’s room parent. I was pre planning projects for the kids. I have been my older daughters room parents many times but never my middle for whatever reason. I figured with three lil diva’s I need to get a head start so I won’t feel overwhelm. That is actually my game plan in anything parenting. Start early so I can get a head start if not, I just can’t keep up. I went onto….(any guess?) Yep, Pinterest and found some really cute Hot Chocolate Snowmen crafts.

I had a slight problem I made my own baby food for my now toddler when she first started eating so, I had no baby food jars. I put out on Freecycle: “Wanted Baby Food Jars.” Freecyle: Another, awesome website for those who like to upcycle, declutter, or just get stuff for free, which I fall under all those categories. A wonderful women named Shari contacted me asking what I needed baby food jars for and how many? She was happy to save her jars for me.

Months later, Shari had collected over 100 baby food jars. The only thing was I had chickened out in September thinking that with a new toddler and two other divas. My poor middle child would again have to be slighted and I could not be room parent. Then, I got a message from Shari to come get my jars because who wants 100 baby food jars hanging out at their house.  I picked them up and stored them in my crafts cabinet where I have empty Oatmeal containers, toilet/paper towel rolls, shoe boxes, egg cartons. Quite the organized collection of stuff to do on a rainy day or last minute 6th grade diorama my daughter neglected to tell me about till 2 days before. It’s not like a hoarder’s paradise but I do have quite the stockpile.

Once, I got the invite and the snowmen popped up again it was like predestined crafters fate. I had a plan to make them for my grow group a little crafty token of the Bolton’s love. (I also made a few extras for my daughters teachers.) There are 17 people in my grow group and I only needed 34 jars more research on Pinterest led me to cute little Mug Cakes. I thought that it would be perfect Hot Chocolate and Mug Cakes and the DIY adventure began. I tried to do it with the lil divas but the perfectionist Mommy in me shamefully put them on packaging duty.

projectsupplies

You’re going to need a few items, the reason it was so cheap for me I had all of these items available.

  • Black Spray Paint
  • White Spray Paint
  • Festive Fabric ~2 yds.
  • 2 Baby Food jars with lids per snowman (or 3 if you have the round Gerber food jars)
  • 1 Baby Food jars with lids per mug cake
  • Hole Puncher
  • Black Card Stock
  • Cupcake liner
  • Modge Podge
  • Black Puffy Paint
  • Orange Puffy Paint
  • Tacky Glue

 

Hot Chocolate Jars

  • Canister of Hot Chocolate
  • Bag of Marshmallows

HotChocolateSnowmen

 

Mug Cakes

  • Angel Food Cake Mix
  • Spice Cake Mix
  • Devil Food Cake Mix
  • Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • Chocolate Instant Pudding
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice Chips

 

Mug Cake Recipes

Vanilla Cinnamon Spice Mug Cake

  • 1 Tbsp Angel Food Cake
  • 1 Tbsp Spice Cake
  • ½ Tbsp Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon Chips (or Pumpkin if you can find them)
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder

 

Add ¼ tsp of Vinegar (makes it light and fluffy and not dense)

Add 2-3 Tbsp of water (till moist)

 

Triple Chocolate Mug Cake

  • 1 Tbsp Angel Food Cake
  • 1 Tbsp Devils Food Cake
  • ½ Tbsp Instant Chocolate Pudding
  • 1 Tbsp Chocolate Chips
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder

 

Add ¼ tsp of Vinegar (makes it light and fluffy and not dense)

Add 2-3 Tbsp of water (till moist)

Assembly:

  1. Spray Paint Lids:
  • Black for Snowman Hats
  • White for the Snowman Bellies
  1. Once Lids are Dry Tacky Glue Jar to tops of White Lids
  2. Hole Punch Black Card Stock and Modge Podge dots to bottom of Baby food jar for “Snowman buttons”, let dry.
  3. Puffy Paint Snowman Eyes & Mouth Black and Nose with Orange Puffy Paint, let dry.
  4. Use Cupcake Liners to trace Circles on black card stock (for snowman hats) and use lid to trace inner circle. Once Black lids are dry slide “donut looking circle” onto baby food lid.

snowman hat

  1. Fill top jar with Marshmallows and bottom jar with hot chocolate and screw lids on to jars.
  2. Cut 12’’x 3’’ strips of festive fabric and tie around snowman for scarf.

Mug Cakes

  1. Use cupcake liners trace and cut circles out of festive fabric;
  2. Tacky Glue circles onto lids and hold in place with rubber band till dry.
  3. Place Mug Cake ingredients in layers. Place dry lid on

You can use this download for instruction labels. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD MUG CAKE INSTRUCTIONS

Place Mug Cake instructions in bag so that your gift receiver has “baking” instructions.

I also placed the Snowman and jars into clear goody bags and using curling ribbon to tie. Also, placed a Christmas Card in bag. Merry Christmas! I hope that you enjoyed my little Christmas DIY Project.

PackagedSnowmen

 

Original Post 12.17.15

Budget Friendly Christmas Cheer

My husband I are a part of a “Bible Study” group at our Church that is called, Grow Group. We do study the Bible but it’s not a curriculum based group. This group is where we do Christian life together. Every Tuesday, we get together over a light snack, prayer and some deep discussion on living life as a Christian. Sometimes it’s rehashing the Sunday message or recent events but we are always opening our Bibles’, talking with each other and praying for one another always. In and out of Tuesday get togethers. So, of course being Christmas time I like to give gifts to everyone. But being a new blogger on a Kindergarten teacher’s budget that sometimes isn’t feasible. God of course will always make a way.

Unbeknownst Preparation

Over the summer, I had the brilliant idea that I was going to be my middle daughter’s room parent. I was pre planning projects for the kids. I have been my older daughters room parents many times but never my middle for whatever reason. I figured with three lil diva’s I need to get a head start so I won’t feel overwhelm. That is actually my game plan in anything parenting. Start early so I can get a head start if not, I just can’t keep up. I went onto….(any guess?) Yep, Pinterest and found some really cute Hot Chocolate Snowmen crafts.

I had a slight problem I made my own baby food for my now toddler when she first started eating so, I had no baby food jars. I put out on Freecycle: “Wanted Baby Food Jars.” Freecyle: Another, awesome website for those who like to upcycle, declutter, or just get stuff for free, which I fall under all those categories. A wonderful women named Shari contacted me asking what I needed baby food jars for and how many? She was happy to save her jars for me.

Months later, Shari had collected over 100 baby food jars. The only thing was I had chickened out in September thinking that with a new toddler and two other divas. My poor middle child would again have to be slighted and I could not be room parent. Then, I got a message from Shari to come get my jars because who wants 100 baby food jars hanging out at their house.  I picked them up and stored them in my crafts cabinet where I have empty Oatmeal containers, toilet/paper towel rolls, shoe boxes, egg cartons. Quite the organized collection of stuff to do on a rainy day or last minute 6th grade diorama my daughter neglected to tell me about till 2 days before. It’s not like a hoarder’s paradise but I do have quite the stockpile.

Once, I got the invite and the snowmen popped up again it was like predestined crafters fate. I had a plan to make them for my grow group a little crafty token of the Bolton’s love. (I also made a few extras for my daughters teachers.) There are 17 people in my grow group and I only needed 34 jars more research on Pinterest led me to cute little Mug Cakes. I thought that it would be perfect Hot Chocolate and Mug Cakes and the DIY adventure began. I tried to do it with the lil divas but the perfectionist Mommy in me shamefully put them on packaging duty.

projectsupplies

You’re going to need a few items, the reason it was so cheap for me I had all of these items available.

  • Black Spray Paint
  • White Spray Paint
  • Festive Fabric ~2 yds.
  • 2 Baby Food jars with lids per snowman (or 3 if you have the round Gerber food jars)
  • 1 Baby Food jars with lids per mug cake
  • Hole Puncher
  • Black Card Stock
  • Cupcake liner
  • Modge Podge
  • Black Puffy Paint
  • Orange Puffy Paint
  • Tacky Glue

 

Hot Chocolate Jars

  • Canister of Hot Chocolate
  • Bag of Marshmallows

HotChocolateSnowmen

 

Mug Cakes

  • Angel Food Cake Mix
  • Spice Cake Mix
  • Devil Food Cake Mix
  • Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • Chocolate Instant Pudding
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice Chips

 

Mug Cake Recipes

Vanilla Cinnamon Spice Mug Cake

  • 1 Tbsp Angel Food Cake
  • 1 Tbsp Spice Cake
  • ½ Tbsp Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon Chips (or Pumpkin if you can find them)
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder

 

Add ¼ tsp of Vinegar (makes it light and fluffy and not dense)

Add 2-3 Tbsp of water (till moist)

 

Triple Chocolate Mug Cake

  • 1 Tbsp Angel Food Cake
  • 1 Tbsp Devils Food Cake
  • ½ Tbsp Instant Chocolate Pudding
  • 1 Tbsp Chocolate Chips
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder

 

Add ¼ tsp of Vinegar (makes it light and fluffy and not dense)

Add 2-3 Tbsp of water (till moist)

Assembly:

  1. Spray Paint Lids:
  • Black for Snowman Hats
  • White for the Snowman Bellies
  1. Once Lids are Dry Tacky Glue Jar to tops of White Lids
  2. Hole Punch Black Card Stock and Modge Podge dots to bottom of Baby food jar for “Snowman buttons”, let dry.
  3. Puffy Paint Snowman Eyes & Mouth Black and Nose with Orange Puffy Paint, let dry.
  4. Use Cupcake Liners to trace Circles on black card stock (for snowman hats) and use lid to trace inner circle. Once Black lids are dry slide “donut looking circle” onto baby food lid.

snowman hat

  1. Fill top jar with Marshmallows and bottom jar with hot chocolate and screw lids on to jars.
  2. Cut 12’’x 3’’ strips of festive fabric and tie around snowman for scarf.

Mug Cakes

  1. Use cupcake liners trace and cut circles out of festive fabric;
  2. Tacky Glue circles onto lids and hold in place with rubber band till dry.
  3. Place Mug Cake ingredients in layers. Place dry lid on

You can use this download for instruction labels. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD MUG CAKE INSTRUCTIONS

Place Mug Cake instructions in bag so that your gift receiver has “baking” instructions.

I also placed the Snowman and jars into clear goody bags and using curling ribbon to tie. Also, placed a Christmas Card in bag. Merry Christmas! I hope that you enjoyed my little Christmas DIY Project.

PackagedSnowmen

 

Original Post 12.17.15

7 Ways to eat healthy without cooking

 

The three things that you need to be successful in weight loss is incredible support (I believe in the power of prayer and Jesus), but accountability is important.  A great workout that is efficient, fun and relates to you and your lifestyle. Healthy eating of nutrient dense foods that usually is made at home.

Our society has capitalized on our need for convenience and our lack of will to make our meals at home. The grocery store has extensive prepared food section that is starting to be the same size as the fresh produce or meat department. Why? We want to eat well without cooking.  It makes sense, life is busy, and we need to eat. Why not pay for the convenience of already prepared food.

The biggest problem that I found people have is that they want to eat well but not cook. I promote a Biblical Based Eating plan that encourages whole nutrient dense food and little to no processed food, and that is what makes the difference. My clients want to eat healthy but not interested in cooking.

At first, it was a little daunting for me because I love to cook but after two years of making 90% of the meals from home. I get it!! Cooking can be a little much sometimes especially on a hot beach day or end of a busy day that’s the last thing you want to do.  Well you know me I’m all about research and tips, so I found seven things ways to eat healthy without cooking.

So, I always ask my clients what do you dislike more? The preparation, cutting buying, measuring, etc. or the actual waiting for the food to cook the act of making the meal?

Some hate it all, some prefer prep or prepare, and others like me want everything cut and measured and just need to make it (Like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron). If I could have a lifetime subscription, I would totally use that service.  So, I took the list from both perspectives a little something for both.

7. Make lots of food.  This is not my number one suggestion, but it’s a way to slay the dragon all at once. When you do get in the meal making mood; make two or take the time to make food in bulk. That way on a day to day basis you can just grab and heat just like you would get in the frozen section of your grocery store.

6. Become a Smoothie Queen. I am typically against smoothie and juicing but if my client is not getting what they need and rather sip on their vegetable and fruit servings than I encouraged it done right.

My issue with smoothies is they’re high in calories, sugar, and lack protein.  So, I support a great plant based protein like hemp seed or pea protein.  Low sugar fruits and more veggies than fruit.  Done right you can drink what you need and not have to sacrifice your weight loss efforts

5. Use a Crockpot. I am sure you have experienced the deliciousness of crock pot cooking as well as the amazing smell your house is filled with all day. There are so many dumps, and press-go recipes out there.  You can do like I do; make a batch of fajita or barbecue chicken and use it throughout the week.  Makes it easy to grab and go you don’t have to sit and cook the food, and you are far better than Taco Bell or KFC Chicken Sandwich.

4. Snack Wisely.  I say pack snacks like your going into the wilderness but with fresh fruit too.  Nuts, veggie sticks, fresh fruits, granola, and plant based or animal product protein sources like Hemp seed bars or beef/turkey jerky, hard boiled eggs,etc.. All great ideas to get what you need on the go and not have to cook. Snack all day within your daily recommended calorie goals if cooking is not your thing. Your an adult who says you have to have cooked meals.  I would precaution you though that snacking all day can lead to unintentional overeating so portion control is key.

3. Go Raw.  This is both easy and hard. Easy because once veggies are prepped it’s easy to throw together meals, you don’t have to wait for food to cook. The hard part is food prep and perishable goods. If you don’t commit to eating the produce, you buy you can throw lots of money away literally. Also, cutting and preparing the food still must be done, but technically you’re not cooking.

2. Wrap it Up or add a bun. Learn to love wraps, and you can make breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a one-handed power packed meal. Sandwiches work too for your nutrition needs. You can use Cassava Flour Wraps they’re gluten free and soft and yummy, whole wheat tortilla. Not every tortilla is made equally so check the labels.

1. Make your salads do the job. Just like the wrap you can power pack your meal on a bed of mixed greens.  I like “kitchen sink” salads-grab a variety of vegetables, proteins, and fats you can even add fruit and make a big bowl.

A Hodge podge of a vegetable or fruit variety of colors and try to get creative. You can also do it with fruit too. Giving you something to snack on throughout the day and week. They are an excellent way to get the nutrients you need with little to no cooking.  The toppings are endless and each week or few days can be a different variety.

 

If you really want to be successful, you have to learn to be flexible. Take your weakness’ find solutions and grow and make them a strength. Find other ways to reach your goals and make them work for you. So, if you’re not the world’s best cook or you’re just a burned out chef. Try a few of these ideas to continue to reach your goals and to honor your temple. Get a copy of my “How To make a Quick Wrap” guide and other healthful tips for honoring your temple by Subscribing to my List!

Cloud Bread

CloudBread

Don’t get me wrong I am not one of those people who don’t believe in carbs but I do try to eat them in lower quantities and do have an allergy to wheat. At first, I ignored my wheat allergy but the less I eat the more sensitive I have become. So, bread or the low carb wraps are not my digestive systems friend. My go-to has been lettuce wraps. If it needs a bun I put it in lettuce and love it. (I really do!) But sometimes you do want a bun. I found these about a year and half ago on…..(I know you guessed) Pinterest! Well, of course I had to make it. The description sounds so tempting, “pillows of goodness” and it looked so easy. Just four ingredient bread and I don’t have to worry about it rising. I am doing a sugar detox for the next 14 days (21 days total) and I did really well last week one sugar weakness, lots of withdrawals but one mess up and it was actually unintentional. This week I decided that I will be completely sugar free so bread is out of the picture. That made me go back to my old faithful, cloud bread. It’s a really good substitute for me for bread. Try it and let me know what you think!

CloudBread Ingredients

Cloud Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 8

Serving Size: 4 ( 2 slices)

Calories per serving: 152

Cloud Bread

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. of Neufchâtel cheese
  • 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Sesame Seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Separate egg. Whites in one bow, yolks in another
  3. Add Neufchâtel cheese to yolks and mix until smooth.
  4. In the other bow; add cream of tartar to whites and beat with a hand mixer until fluffy peaks form.
  5. Carefully add the yolk mixture to the white mixture and fold to combine.
  6. Line parchment paper on cookie sheets or grease with coconut oil.
  7. Scoop a bun size of mixture in round shape and sprinkle with Sesame Seeds
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes until Golden Brown.
  9. Let cool on wire rack. Once cooled store in ziploc bags or tupperware overnight. Tomorrow you will have some yummy buns on your hands.

Notes

Nutrition Facts 4 Servings Amount Per Serving Calories 152.7 Total Fat 12.0 g Saturated Fat 5.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g Monounsaturated Fat 3.9 g Cholesterol 207.5 mg Sodium 184.4 mg Potassium 137.6 mg Total Carbohydrate 1.6 g Dietary Fiber 0.1 g Sugars 0.2 g Protein 9.3 g Vitamin A 12.4 % Vitamin B-12 9.2 % Vitamin B-6 5.0 % Vitamin C 0.0 % Vitamin D 10.0 % Vitamin E 0.1 % Calcium 5.2 % Copper 2.5 % Folate 7.1 % Iron 5.4 % Magnesium 1.6 % Manganese 1.4 % Niacin 0.4 % Pantothenic Acid 1.6 % Phosphorus 14.6 % Riboflavin 13.4 % Selenium 1.3 % Thiamin 0.9 % Zinc 5.6 % *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://faithfueledmoms.com/cloud-bread/

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Through the Seasons

Reflecting back I realized what I’ve been through; how I got through; is why I am who I am today. When I was in school, my professor asked, “In ten years from now do you think that you are going to have the same belief system and values? Or, are you pretty much going to remain the same? Two of us said, “No” the majority of the class said, “Yes, the would have the same beliefs and values.” I was one of the two who said, “No.”

I know that I will value and believe some of the same things in 10 years, but I don’t think I could be the same. You get older, wiser, have more to value or a better definition of what it is and then I thought back to who I was ten years ago. That girl and this woman do not have the same values.

Apparently, I have a conviction and a strong belief in God now which I didn’t have before. I wasn’t always a Jesus Girl. The same enthusiasm I have for my faith I had in living in the world. I was a party girl searching for peace and comfort in all the wrong places and things. I was living daily anxious and frustrated, and then I tried something different. It happens we grow up, and we experience life and the seasons and looking back I have to say that through the seasons I have learned a few things that I will keep through the next ten years and hope to add more:

Season of Trust

There was a season that my family went through that we had nothing but to rely on and trust in God to get us through. When I say nothing, I mean that very literally “we had nothing.” Everything had been stripped from us along with our pride and humility.  I like to say, “we ran as far as the world could take us.” Living like the “Jones‘” left us at our rock bottom.  Only then did we begin to trust in God how we should with total and complete confidence because we didn’t have anything other option.

Looking back it was that “Fix it Jesus” mentality like, “Okay, Lord I’ve done everything that I could do. I’ve messed everything up, and I could use your help to bail me out.” Like the kind, good Father that He is He not only delivered us but that reliance and trust in Him brought my family into an intimate relationship with God. It was when we became FaithFueled.

Season of Be Still

Through God’s mercy we began to rebound, but then God started to prune another area in my temple; obedience.  God sat me down, shut me up, and through devotion, Bible study, prayer, and worship taught me to wait on God.Through much persistence, God asked me to “Be Still.” I was speaking with a good friend one day, and she said something that made me think of this season.

Before Jesus kept the 12 disciples very close to Him before He would be crucified and then send them out into the world to evangelize.  During my season of stillness, all I had was to take care of my family and dive headfirst into the Word. I studied inductively, attended Bible Study I submerged myself in the Word and learned so much about “learning the Bible.” It is now how I study daily, and I feel crucial in my daily walk with God.  I look back on those two years and remember being ungrateful for the season of rest and God continually reminding me it was but a moment.  Hindsight 20/20 because I don’t think I’d have the stamina for that season. It’s also when I was very depressed and abused food for comfort. Then I learned about prayer.

Season of Prayer

Everyone knows how to pray.  There’s all kind of prayers: rehearsed prayers you say for grace or your kids know, “fix it Jesus” prayers, “genie” prayers, and then there’s prayer.  Having an intimate conversation opening your heart to God with your gratitude and appeal. At the time, of course, I didn’t realize the power of prayer.  I knew praying was talking to God but until I started journaling, researching and doing some heavy praying; it’s all that people say and more.  Like anything you have to practice the skill often and do it often in this case-pray often or (“Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thess 5;16)

I used to be one of those people who say, I’m praying for you and honestly, didn’t always do it. Then I started reading, praying and reading more and praying more and learned. Praying for someone is the easier yet most powerful thing you can do for a person.

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

Now, if I say I am praying for you if I don’t do it that moment which I usually do because it only takes a moment. We waste our time on so many other things taking 2-3 minutes to pray for a friend, family, peace; strength isn’t much.  When you journal or track them and realize that God is busier than you think because He does answer.  I have a journal and a prayer box.

Boxing it all Up

My journal idea came from a friend, Antracia Mooring who writes on her blog Unfolding Words.  I adopted the approach and journal often, (not daily I’m working on that” and looking back on answered prayers is such an uplifting feeling.  Then my prayer box came from a friend and mentored introduced me to the idea of putting my prayers in a box and then giving it to God.  Well, I went through that box, and the amount of answered prayers was so confirming. All but one had been answered at the moment and some I had forgotten.  It made me appreciate my season even more.

 

I think God likes to surprise us like we want to give to do for our kids or loved ones.  We do those things for the look of excitement on their face and the joy.  When we’re blessed with an answered prayer, I don’t know about you, but I jump around dancing and singing like a child who just got a surprise.  Its unexpected out of the blue and nothing that I have expected that’s when I know, “Yep, God that was you and thank you!” I have grown in patience and intimacy with God through this season and continue to glean from it.

Season of Focus & Legacy

I am now in a season of focus it’s what was my “word” for 2016 and has carried on into 2017. With all that has fone on this year (College, Started working after 12 years of staying at home, three daughters and Prepping for my first Figure Competition). I need to remember moment by moment to focus on God first and foremost and let Him lead me through the rest. This year in prayer and different conversations and signs the word “legacy” has presented itself.  With all life busyness, I don’t have much hindsight about this season as of yet, but I have been learning some new “skills” for strengthening my focus and will probably be sharing my journey. Regardless of what season looks like; doing life with God has made it worth every trial and triumph.

“Set your eyes on the things above and not the things of this earth.” Colossians 3:2

When looking back do you see a theme to your seasons in life?

 

Original Post 1.16.17 updated

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