Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

In the Orthodox Church we say, "Christ is Born!" and then the response is "Glorify Him!"

The Priest at the church we were visiting last night told the following story in his sermon.  I was inspired and enjoyed it, so I will share it with you here.

There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and the metaphysical meaning of Jesus The Christ, despite her husband's disparaging comments.
One snowy Christmas Eve, the wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused.
"That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth through a man called Jesus who became the Christ? That's ridiculous!" So she and the children left, and he stayed home.
A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump.
Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet. When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese.
Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.
The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm.
So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.
The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread crumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on.
Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.
"Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?" He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human.
"If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.
Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese.
He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn and one by one the other geese followed it to safety.
He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them!"
Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to lower Himself to be like us? That's ridiculous!"
Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese--blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and enlighten us.
That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and he pondered this wonderful thought.
Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Jesus who became the Christ had come, so that we could become the sons and daughters of the Living Christ.
Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!" 

May your Christmas be filled with love, family and happiness.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Paint Stick Snowman

At the beginning of the school year, when we go to meet the kids' teachers and see their classrooms, there are always sign-up sheets for the parents.  Sign-up to volunteer, to go on field trips, plan class parties, take work home, donate extra supplies, join the pta, and so on.  I have a hard time not signing up for everything.  Well, let's face it, I do sign-up for everything!  And I love it!

At the end of November, I received a letter from my Big Guys teacher stating that I had signed up to plan the Holiday party.  YEAH!  So, I went to work researching and brainstorming ideas and themes.  I went with a snowman theme.  I wanted a snowman project for a class of 25 third graders that was semi-easy and could be done in about 10 minutes...and I found what I thought was the perfect one.  And now that it is all said and done, it was the perfect one!

I found the idea here on Crafts by Amanda, who was also planning this craft for a class Holiday party. 

These Paint Stick Snowmen are super cute and were a big hit among the students, parents and teachers. 

Here is the snowman I made ahead, for an example
  A few days before the party, I picked up a very small can of white paint and a large handful (about 40) of paint sticks at the local hardware store.  Painted both side of the paint stick white, which took several coats and definitely more than I expected!  That was a little time consuming, but easy and I was able to do other things between coats.  I cut felt squares for the hat as well as the material for the scarves. 

Some of the student's snowmen and snowladies:-)

my Big Guy and his friend (my friend's daughter) with their snowmen
 I have to say that the project, with this some of the prep done ahead of time, only took the students 10-12 minutes!  Very quick considering the outcome!

I love them!   I actually liked this project even more after all of the kids were done because it was fun to see the uniqueness in each snowman. 

Have a great day!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fluoride warning at local grocery store

I had to run into the store super quick on Sunday after church, and these WARNING signs caught my eye.  I was thinking...NO WAY!!!  I am still in disbelief that they are hanging there, but thrilled.  I am not the only one in the world who is concern about what is in our water.  OK, obviously I am not the only one, but sometimes it sure feels that way!

I whipped out my camera and started snapping.  People were staring at me like my hair was on fire and my big guy was like, "MOM!"  Ha!  I remember when I was a kid, there were times I was embarrassed of something my parents did in public. 

I first touched on my feeling and beliefs about the use of fluoride and fluoridated water here.  Shorty after writing that post, we ordered up one of those fancy water filters that filters out fluoride.  Every time I read about the awful effects of consuming fluoride, I am so thankful we have the water filter now.

I am so fortunate that my husband and I are on the same page with these issues as it would be extremely difficult to raise kids with a certain level of scrutiny without the support of your spouse!

If you're the least bit interested or curious, check out some of the links below.   Do your own research so that you can make an informed decision for you and your family. 

I was very curious about who had put the fliers up in the store.  Was it the employees?  The suppliers?  A concerned consumer?  So, I asked!  The very nice woman in customer service told me that they (management) are fully aware of the signs and that they believe that it is a consumer who continues to tape the signs up.  She referred to the person as a "him", which leads me to believe that they may know who it is.  She also told me that they don't remove the signs after he hangs them.  Interesting!  I told her that I was elated about the signs and that more people should be aware of the dangers of fluoride. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Cookie Exchange Contribution

It's that time of year; you know what I'm talking about, the hustle and bustle, they merry and cheery, the magical time of year that is so wonderful.  That is, except for when it gets chaotic, hectic, stressful, crazy, and just plain out-of-control! 

My world is spinning faster than usual and honestly, it gets a little bit overwhelming at times.  I want to slow it down a little so that I can enjoy it just a tad more.  But, mainly, I want it to slow down so that my kids don't feel the panic that is starting to invade my body.

If I can make it to Thursday, the day before Christmas Eve,  in once piece (my mental state, that is), everything will be smooth sailing!

Over the weekend I attended my friend's cookie exchange.  I brought Brown Sugar Shortbread drizzled with Dark Chocolate.  They were actually really good, if I do say so myself!  I was in search of a new,  no-fail recipe and was inspired by Bakergirl

Here is my tray of cookies...13 bags with 6 cookies in each bag, recipe attached. 

Brown Sugar Shortbread with Dark Chocolate
                                                                adapted slightly from Bakergirl

1 lb. butter, softened
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 - 3/4 cup flour for kneading
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 335 degrees.

Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add 3 1/2 cups of flour and mix well. 
Turn dough out onto flour sprinkled counter and knead for 3-5 minutes, adding just enough flour to make the dough soft and non-sticky.

Roll to 1/2-3/4 inch thickness.  Cut into 2 inch-by-1 inch pieces.  Place on parchment (or silpat) covered baking sheet.  Prick each cookie with a fork evenly.

Bake for 25 minutes or until bottom of cookie is slightly browned.  Remove and cool on wire rack.

Once cookies are completely cooled, drizzle with melted dark chocolate, if desired.

And there you have it!  Absolutely fabulous cookies that are eye-appealing  AND only 3 (or 4) ingredients!  Most cookies don't have all of those traits together.  Best of all, they were a hit here at home with my family. 

I hope you are staying sane amidst the craziness of the season!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

As we wrap up Creating Christmas week I hope that you have all been inspired to stop pinning and start creating! I’m excited to see what everyone has been working on. This Christmas Linky Party is no ordinary party. This is a blog hop. And what that means is that there are 18 FABULOUS bloggers that are hosting this party at their very own blog. Whether you add your project link here or at any of the other 17 co-hosts blogs, it will show up on one huge party list! Awesome!
If you haven’t already, please take the time out to visit the other co-hosts and go through their Creating Christmas posts. There is some really neat projects!
The Rules are SiMpLe:
  • Add a link to a project that YOU have created!
  • Visit the 2 links ahead of you and check out what they’ve got going on. Leave some comment love. Tis the season for giving after all. {wink wink}

Friday, December 9, 2011

Creating Christmas- Day 6: Felt Poinsettia

Welcome to Modern yet Old-Fashioned, my little blog world!   I have been busy this week co-hosting Creating Christmas with the Girl Creative.   We are on day 6 out of 7, ending tomorrow with a fun linky party!

Today, I had a couple of crafts on my to-do list.  The first one didn't work out as well as I had envisioned and I was totally bummed about it.  So, I started on another one...paper cone Christmas trees.  That was yet another flop!  At this point I consulted my "favorites: to-make" list and went to town.  I chose to make a felt poinsettia flower broach for my purse.  It would also be a great addition to the wrapping of a Christmas gift.
I had seen a a tutorial on Centsational Girl, which I used as a guideline.  I think it looks adorable!

It turned out a little bit larger than I had intended, but I actually prefer it that way.  I mean, why put your sweat and tears into something small that nobody but you will notice?  OK, well probably not sweat or tears!!  But I still like it just the same.

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Creating Christmas- Day Five: Gift Tags and a Hair Clip

I have been working on some gift tags for the gifts we are going to give our family.  They are super cute and because they're handmade, they give a special touch to the gift.  Plus on all of the girl's gifts, I am adding a snowman hair clip.

A couple of weeks ago my friend, Dina, over at 30ish Mama, asked me to make some hair clips for her.  I have made all sorts of Christmas hair clips, like korker bows, flowers, Christmas tree, reindeer, etc.  So many, but I had never made a snowman before.  Of course, I googled it...and found this fabulous tutorial on How She Does It

I think it looks awesome on the gift tag, don't you?

In all seriousness, I would love to get the card with the snowman clip!  I could find somewhere to clip him...he makes me smile because he's so cute.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Creating Christmas- Day 4: Recycled Crayons

It is day four of Creating Christmas with the Girl Creative!  It has been fun so far and I have some awesome projects for the next 3 days that I can hardly wait to share with you!  For today, though, I have a fun craft/project that you can do with your kids. 

If you have kids of any age, you know how crayons start to pile up after a while.  I always like fresh tips, so most of the crayons that we don't use are almost perfect except for the tip.  Instead of throwing them away, we remove the wrapper and break them into small pieces.  Put them into a cute shaped silicone mold, and bake them until they are melted.  Cool them, pop them out and Voila! a totally new and exciting color!

I made Christmas trees.  They would be awesome little gifts with a coloring book or as a favor for the little one's at your Christmas gathering this year.

Stick a couple in a clear cellophane bag for a favor

On my drive home from the farm (picking up milk) I had a genius idea about these crayon trees.  I thought, I'll make them into ornaments!  HA!  Fabulous idea!  Well, this day has been one of those know what I mean, the day that if something can go wrong-it will.  After cleaning up the 1/4 gallon of milk that I spilled in my car, I came in to finish up the crayons.

Here is what happened to the first crayon tree when I was attempting to put a small hole in the top in order to add ribbon.

 However, I did manage to try again successfully.  It is actually really adorable!  I put it on the garland hanging on our banister.

Overall, though, recycling your crayons to melt them into new and exciting shapes is fun and easy.  I hope you will try it with your old crayons.

That's all for today folks!  Have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Creating Christmas- Day three: Gift Giving and a WINNER!!

I love giving (and getting) food gifts at Christmas.  I really enjoy cooking and sharing my goodies with others, which means that every year force it on my friends and family by giving it to them for Christmas!

You can really make your gift stand out by embellishing and decorating it to suite your style or the style of the recipient.  Giving a gift of cookies in a plain box is fine, but not great!  Take a look at my example of my gift box "up-do".

plain and kind of ugly box

the gathering begins
Go around and collect a small amount of ribbon, material scraps, string, paper tags, embellishments, and etc.  All in coordinating colors, of course!  Then get creative...

Here is how it turns out... 

Much more appealing than the plain while box!
 All of my paper crafts are usually inspired by my mom, who is a super-talented scrapbooker (although she doesn't seem to know it)!  Check out this winter picture and matching hanger she made of my big guy, when he was little.  Aww!

Now on to the most exciting news of the day, which is of course, the winner of my first-ever giveaway! 

And the winner is...
True Random Number Generator
Result: 3
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Julianne from Sew Fantastic made the 3rd comment! Yeah! 

Well, have a wonderful Tuesday! I hope to see you here tomorrow with more for Creating Christmas by The Girl Creative!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Creating Christmas- Day 2: Snowman Sleeve

Well...welcome to Day 2 of Creating Christmas with The Girl Creative!  I am thrilled to be part of this fun event with a great group of creative ladies!

I have been looking for a small gift for my kids to give to their friends at school.  I think I have found it!  I'm pretty sure the kids will think that this little guy is cool and they get a treat inside as well, perfect combination.

I love that this snowman stands up and he will look so cute sitting on all of the kids desks at school!

My kids eat Clif Kid Z-Bars like they are going out of style!  I really don't mind because they are pretty healthy.  Much better than some of the alternatives, that's for sure!  I have seen similar snowmen covering candy and candy bars, but I would feel better giving something a little healthier.

The funnest thing about this little gift is that you can use whatever you want!  I used white cardstock, brown fleece, googly eyes, orange felt (nose), tiny buttons and a red jewel flower.  Take a look around your house; I am sure you can find all of the materials needed to make this guy.  It's also great because you don't have to sew it!  You can get as creative as you'd like to and it's easy enough to let the kids do some as well.
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Creating Christmas- Day ONE: Wreath

Hello lovelies!  I am co-hosting Creating Christmas with The Girl Creative here until December 10th.  Now that is a lot of creating, for sure! 

First up is my Christmas Wreath!

When I made my 4th of July wreath, I spent at least 4 or 5 hours on it.  For this Christmas wreath I was looking to make it simple, spending a little less time while still making it really cute and appealing.

Here it is...

Wrap wreath with burlap.  Add Velcro to 1/4 of it, if you'd like to make it a seasonal wreath.

Put Velcro on a piece of felt or fabric, this is where you will embellish

I had these fabric scraps for festive flowers

Added ornament with our initial, spruced it up a bit

I think I like it.  

Stay tuned for some more great projects and Christmas crafts for Creating Christmas all this week.  Also don't forget to check out The Girl Creative who started it all!

Have a great week!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mascara Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

OK, so generally I don't like to shop or promote huge businesses.  I really prefer to support smaller businesses.  I have always felt this way and even more so now that my hubby and I have our own business.  However, this review is an exception to my rule.

I have been on a mission to remove all bad things from our home, from food to toiletries and more without adding to our monthly spending budget.  That is no easy feat!  So we started little by little, first with food, then moving around the house to cleaning supplies, laundry and dishwasher detergents, hand soaps, and toiletries.  My make-up is the last thing I want to change because it only affects me, not the family.  My old mascara was shot and I thought it would be the perfect time to try something new and healthy!

I did some research to find that there are many organic mascara's out there, but the price point is pretty high, with some tubes costing over $30!  OK, so not too outrageous, but still.  Then I found Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara, ringing in at just under $10.  I figured it was too good to be true, but thought it was worth a try.  I am thrilled I did!

I really love it.  Physicians Formula promises that this mascara is 100% Free of Harsh Chemicals, Synthetic Preservatives, Parabens, Clumping, Smudging, Flaking, Fibers & Dyes.  That is a big promise!  Oh, and a little more...100% Recyclable Eco-Brush defines each lash with ultra-soft plastic bristles. I love that it is healthy and that it works well for me.

Check out the pictures below that I took before, during and after using this mascara.

Need Mascara!!!

No Mascara

bad picture!

One eye applied, can you see the difference?


Finished applying to both eyes


Ready to go...

So there you have it... my face with and without mascara.

I am giving a tube of this luscious stuff to one of you!

Here is how you can win:
(make sure to leave a separate comment for each one)

1- Follow Modern Yet Old-Fashioned
3- Share this post on Facebook or your own blog

 I will use to determine the winner and post the winner on December 6th.

Good Luck!