Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolving to do be more KIND in 2012

How can you be more kind in 2012?
I could make an endless list of things to suggest to you to do but what's most important is that the kindness come from within you!   Same with me.  I can't promise to leave more coupons at the grocery store for people by being more kind, or let people get in front of me in line, or this and that and the other.   When  I do kind things it has to come from within me and it has to be with a right heart attitude.  Nothing is worse than being kind to someone because you feel you HAVE to do it.   Don't you agree? 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Twas The Night Before Christmas

Twas’ the night Jesus came
and all through the house,
Not a person was praying,
not one in the house.
The Bible was left on the shelf without care,
for no one thought Jesus would come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
not once ever kneeling or bowing their head.
And Mom in the rocking chair with baby on her lap,
was watching the Late Show as I took a nap.
When out of the east there rose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what’s the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutters and lifted the sash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but Angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
The light of His face made me cover my head,
it was Jesus returning just like He’d said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life that in which he held in his hand,
was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as he searched for my name,
when He said “it is not here”
I hung my head in shame. The people who’s names had been written with love,
He gathered to take to his Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound,
while all the others were left standing around.
I fell to my knees but it was too late,
I waited to long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight,
Oh, if only I’d know that this was the night.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear
the coming of Jesus is now drawing near.
There’s only one life and when comes the last call,
We’ll find out that the Bible was true after all……..
– Author Unknown

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December Gift Cards Galore Giveaway!

Gift Cards Galore is a monthly giveaway brought to you by Jennifers Savings. I have teamed up with Jennifer, along with the other wonderful blogs, to sponsor the December giveaway. We have all provided a gift card with a value of $5 or more to be given out to 13 different winners! These gift cards are from a variety of different stores, including: Amazon, Paypal Cash, Starbucks, CVS, Plum District, and more! The giveaway will run through 12/31/11 at 12:01am EST. To enter, see the Rafflecopter Form below. If you do not see the form, click "Read More" or refresh your page. Good Luck to Everyone!!!

Free Gooseberry Patch Christmas with Family & Friends Cookbook Kindle Edition

Free Gooseberry Patch Christmas with Family & Friends Cookbook Kindle Edition

Free sample: Get a free Kindle download of the Gooseberry Patch Christmas with Family & Friends Cookbook.

How to get it: Download the Gooseberry Patch Christmas with Family & Friends Cookbook Kindle Edition for free on If you don't have a Kindle, you can click this link to download free Kindle Reading Apps.

* Download your free Kindle Edition of the Gooseberry Patch Christmas with Family & Friends Cookbook now!

Comments about this book?  Please use the comments section!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Sherrie Cruson!  She liked the page AND wrote a comment on this blog article.  YAYAYAYAY!

Welcome to the Christmas Cookie Recipe Blog Hop & Giveaway!! 

15 bloggers have come together to bring you some great recipes and some awesome prizes. It's a cookie exchange party - online style!

Below you will find my recipe, along with an (entry/rafflecopter) form for you to enter to win (see photo below of the DOVE Cookie Cutter and Recipe), then using the linky provided at the end of this post, hop from blog to blog and collect all the other great recipes and enter to win more great prizes.

(Tip: Create a folder and name it "Cookie Recipes". Then simply right click on the recipe cards on each of our blogs to save each recipe to this folder. Then, when you are ready to bake, you will have a wonderful recipe collection in which to choose from. Also, be sure to check our facebook pages periodically throughout the giveaway, as some of us will be sharing recipes directly from Hershey's.)

AND that's not all!!! 2 lucky Grand Prize Winners will receive the following prize pack, perfect for hosting your very own cookie exchange party, sponsored by Hershey's:
1 apron
16 bakery boxes to give to exchange participants for keeping recipes

16 sets of recipe cards

3 bags of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses

2 pouches of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix
1 pouch of Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie mix
1 can of Hershey’s Cocoa Powder

So enter my giveaway below, then head over to Mommy's Money Saving Madness! to enter to win this awesome prize pack.

The DOVE represents PEACE.   Because it is the symbol of the Holy Spirt and in the story of Noah's Ark noah let a dove out of the ark to see if the waters supsided and it brought back an olive branch. The Dove is one animal in the world that doesn't kill for food and is fully submissive, even when attacked by other animals, it doesn't retalliate.

The use of the dove as a symbol of peace predates any Christian usage. The dove was a symbol of peace and long life to the ancient Chinese. The ancient Egyptians held the dove to symbolize quiet innocence. These two examples and a number of other references across a number of other cultures all go further back than the use by Christians.

A case could be made for the voice of the dove being the manner after which this easy-going little avian made its way into the hearts of the ancient peoples who came to love it. And it may be part of the reason we look kindly at the dove today.  

<rafflecopter may be located at "READ MORE">   You must do BOTH mandatory steps to enter or you cannot win the prize and you must give a mailing address in the United States in order to win!  :o)


Saturday, December 10, 2011

CHARITY ART SALE! Hope you can help, thank you!

In coordination with the Cayuga Heights Elementary School in Depew, NY, art students turn their projects into prints and greeting cards. The kids get a HUGE kick out of what can be done with Photoshop to enhance pencil drawings, and more so excited when they see their work UNALTERED and on the computer screen for sale!

This year all proceeds go to St Jude Children's Research Hospital.

No child is turned away because their families cannot pay. 

Every purchase is accompanied with a thank you note on behalf of the children of St Jude's, from Giovanna. 
100% of proceeds are donated.
You can view the charity art sale HERE!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Karma Bloggers and their fans: The GREAT Christmas Bowl Giveaway!

KARMA BLOGGERS (and your fans if you wish) This is your Giveaway! There are TWO books available.  Thank you for following the Secret Angel's direction here to see what giveaway is waiting for you.  Here's a little bit about the author. You may share this link on your fan pages if you'd like to invite your fans to be in on the giveaway or you don't need to either.  It's up to you!

The Great Christmas Bowl is by Susan May Warren (a former missionary to Russia, the mother of four children and the wife of a guy who wooed her onto the back of his motorcycle for the adventure of a lifetime.  The award-winning author of over twenty books, Susan love to write and teach writing.  She speaks at women's events around the country about God's amazing grace in our lives.  Susan is active in her church and small community and makes her home on the north shore of Minnesota, where her husband runs a hotel. 

Karma Bloggers is a fantastic blogger's group.  If you would like to join the group, then please write to Carolyn M. at and write Karma Bloggers? (with the ? mark) in the subject. And it goes without saying that you must be a blogger to join the group and have a blog already set up.  Please don't join JUST to get the books.  Because you need to be prepared to know that when you join this group, you will be expected to do a CHORE (easy things to do to increase your readership and the readership of other bloggers on the group).  They are many options of chores to be done and don't worry, the admin of the group is there to help you get on the right path.  Thank you! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011


You all know the original "12 Days of Christmas" song.  Well this isn't that.  This is a Christian 12 Days of 
Christmas reading .   


The Greatest Christmas Gift

"This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ."
- Frank McKibben
    "And what a difference between our sin and God's generous gift of forgiveness. For this one man, Adam, brought death to many through his sin. But this other man, Jesus Christ, brought forgiveness to many through God's bountiful gift. And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man's sin. For Adam's sin led to condemnation, but we have the free gift of being accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins. The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over us, but all who receive God's wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ." Romans 5:15-17 (NLT)
The Greatest Christmas Gift
Each year we are reminded that Christmas should not be just about giving and receiving presents. But, if truly think about Christmas, it is, indeed, all about gift giving! At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift ever given, by the greatest gift-giver of all, our wonderful God and Father! 

Submitted on behalf of

More to come! 


Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Cash Giveaway! Christmas is right
around the corner so here is your chance to win some last minute shopping
money! This giveaway will last for 12 days! Giveaway opens Dec. 1st
12:01am EST and will come to a close Dec. 12th 11:59pm EST. The 12 days of
Christmas Cash Giveaway has a total of $725 in prizes to 12 different
winners! =)

What can you win?
  • 1 of 1 $200 grand prize sponsored by Maddox Cole Media
  • 1 of 2 $100 prizes
  • 1 of 4 $50 prizes
  • 1 of 5 $25 prizes

Monday, December 5, 2011

DRAK: An EASY and INEXPENSIVE Chocolate Cake you could give to someone!

This is a GREAT LOOKING Chocolate on Chocolate Cake, isn't it?  Well guess what! This is my idea for today for a Random Act of Kindness you can do for someone since today, December 5th, is National Sacher Torte Day. What is a Sacher torte? It's a schmancy chocolate cake. 

This easy and inexpensive and low fat, low calorie cake comes from my favorite FOODIE, Lisa Liillien aka HUNGRY GIRL.   I'll tell you more about her and her show on TV after I give you this recipe.  

Slice of Life!

Cupcakes are great and pies are wonderful, but sometimes you've just got to have an honest-to-goodness SLICE of CAKE... with FROSTING. Our new choco-rific recipe has exactly what you need (deliciously rich cake with an indulgently gooey topping) without all the stuff you DON'T need (excess calories and an obscene amount of fat). And the serving size is impressively LARGE. Let us eat cake...


1 sugar-free chocolate pudding snack with 60 calories or less (like the kind by Jell-O)
1/3 cup chocolate frosting
2 tbsp. light chocolate syrup

2 tbsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Two 25-calorie packets hot cocoa mix (like Swiss Miss Diet or Nestlé Fat Free)
Half an 18.25-oz. box (about 1 3/4 cups) moist-style devil's food cake mix
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" round cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium-large bowl, combine topping ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until thickened and cake is ready to be frosted.

To make the cake, place chocolate chips and the contents of both cocoa packets in a tall glass. Add 1/2 cup very hot water and stir to dissolve. Add 3/4 cup very cold water and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir well. Add chocolate-cocoa mixture and egg substitute. Whisk until completely blended.

Pour batter into the cake pan. Bake in the oven until a knife inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Once cake has completely cooled, transfer to a plate. Evenly spread the topping over the top of the cake.

Refrigerate until topping has set, at least 15 minutes.

Evenly cut cake into 8 slices. Serve and enjoy! (Refrigerate leftovers.)

Serving Size: 1 slice (1/8th of recipe)
Calories: 217
Fat: 5.5g
Sodium: 476mg
Carbs: 40g
Fiber: 1.5g
Sugars: 24g
Protein: 4g

PointsPlus® value 6*

Some brands' cake mixes now come in smaller boxes... Make sure to grab an 18.25-oz. box for this recipe if you go by the half-box measurement.

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting, Average
Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting, Average
Cake Out...
Seriously, is there anything more inviting than a cake with one missing slice? With a whole unsliced cake, there's always that "I can't, it's too pretty" phase. But that ends the second someone takes a knife to the thing. Once that first slice has been cut, it's pretty much open season -- only you're stuck choosing either a pitifully small slice with a reasonable calorie count OR a reasonably sized slice with way too many calories and fat grams. An average slice of chocolate cake with frosting contains 400-plus calories and more than 20 grams of fat! But there's nothing average about our recipe. Not only is our cake wonderfully moist and decadently choco-licious, but it's also frosted with an incredibly gooey concoction that you will fall in love with. (We know how to make a little bit of real frosting go a LONG way!) So accept that invitation -- grab a knife, cut a slice, and dig into the most decadent guilt-free cake this side of reality.
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 440
Fat: 24g
Sodium: 409mg
Carbs: 59g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 41g
Protein: 3.5g

PointsPlus® value 13*

Sunday mornings are made for Hungry Girl! Check out Lisa each week as she shares guilt-free recipes, supermarket picks, and dining-out survival tips! Click here to see all of the recipes and secret finds from previous episodes, and tune in to Food Network Sundays at 10am/9c!

I didn't connect the CLICK to ORDER because if you choose to do that, you can go to her website... and see all the books she has to offer!  I have most of them... just bought them one at a time and then some my friends and family have given to me as gifts!   Makes a nice CHRISTMAS gift for someone who is trying hard to watch their calories!  I put this book on my Target wishlist!  I'm going to hint about it to my family!  

Easy Random Act of Kindness to Make! Pinecone Crafts Part 1

This time of year it is easy to find PINECONES!  Unless you live in Southern Calif. like me and then you have to really look for pine trees yielding just the right type pine cone.  You want the kind that is open, with tips (like the photo above).   I would suggest taking a bag or box with you when you go collecting.  And wear some type of mittens or gloves that you don't mind getting sticky.   

  • Clean, dry pine cones. Any size, any shape.
  • Your choice of finish application
  • Aluminum foil to protect your work area
  • Cooling or drying rack (if you desire)
  • Disposable gloves
  • Mineral spirits (if you use the marine varnish application)

  1. Obtain some clean pine cones. You can purchase them but collecting them in nature is a lot more fun and saves packaging.

  2. Clean the cones. Pick off any pine needles or visible debris stuck between the cone layers.

  3. You can remove sap/pitch with rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip.

  4. Soak the cones. This will help to eliminate any little critters that may have taken residence in the cone. Use a non-sudsing product (for example, a 1/2 cup of vinegar or ammonia) in a sink full of warm water.

  5. Soak the cones for about 20 minutes. Swish them around every few minutes. Rinse them thoroughly. You can run them through the dishwasher, too, but don't use any soap. The cones will close up when wet.

  6. Place the cones on a towel or newspaper to dry. The drying time can take several hours or even a few days. Let them air dry. (See warnings.) As the cones dry, their layers will re-open.

  7. Finish the cones with a preserver. There are a couple of methods you can use to put the "preserving" finish on your cones. Whichever you choose, it's best to do it outdoors.

  8. Prepare the work area. Cover the work area with a layer of aluminum foil. Use an old window screen or a baker's cooling rack over the foil to place the cones on while the finish dries. This will help keep the cones from sticking to the work area, and allow air to circulate.

  9. Begin applying the finish to the bottom of the cone first. After applying the first coat of finish to the bottom, lay the cone on its side, atop the cooling rack and let it dry. Then do the tops and sides of the cone, standing each cone upright to dry. 
    • Method One: Spray finish. Using a non-yellowing spray varnish (see Tips), follow the manufacturer's instructions. Lay the cones on their sides and spray the bottoms of the cones with a light, even coat of finish. When the bottom is dry, invert the cone to a "stand up" position. Covering the top and sides of the cones, hold the can at an angle slightly above the cone to ensure you get inside the cone petals. Repeat these steps as many times as you desire, but allow each light coat to thoroughly dry before applying an additional coat.

    • Method Two: This is messy and labor intensive but produces a great finish. Use a marine varnish, available at most larger, reputable hardware stores. Following the manufacturer's instructions and warnings, apply a light coat of varnish with an inexpensive brush that you can dispose of when your project is complete. Wear disposable gloves; you're going to get sticky. Hold the cone at the "pointy" end and apply a light, even coat of varnish to the bottom of the cone with the brush. Lay the cone atop the rack and allow the varnish to dry to the touch. (See Tips.) Once the cone bottom has dried enough so you can hold it, (just slightly tacky) apply the varnish to the top and sides of the cone. Angle the brush between the cone petals, too. Set the cone upright on the drying rack to dry.


  • Avoid the "cinnamon" scented pine cones. They've been treated with chemicals that may react to your finish.
  • If you use Method One: Be certain to use spray varnish, and not spray acrylic.
  • If you use Method Two: While waiting for marine varnish to dry between coats, clean your brush in mineral spirits, and wash it lightly with warm water and dish soap. Squeeze out any excess water/moisture between paper towels. This will prevent the brush from stiffening during the time your cones dry. When your project is complete, dispose of the brush.
  • Depending on the humidity levels of your community, marine varnish can take several days to dry to a hard finish. Once dry, they can withstand rain and snow.


  • Some people will dry their cones in the oven at a very low temperature (no higher than about 175 degrees F.). This is a personal choice. Remember: (1) there is a fire risk to consider and (2) warm sap runs. It's best to allow the cones to dry naturally and not "force" the cone open. Do not attempt to dry the cones in a microwave oven.
  • Use your "preserved" cones in wreaths, centerpieces and floral arrangements, garlands, or display them in a basket or bowl. Avoid placing your varnished cones in or around arrangements that contain lighted candles and NEVER put them into an oven or near a lighted fireplace to enhance the drying time.
  • Store any unused varnish product and mineral in a cool dry space, away from pilot lights, or washing machines and dryers, or the water heater. Dispose of empty cans properly.

*In Part 2 I will begin sharing with you what different crafts you can do with your prepared pinecones. 

Friday, December 2, 2011


Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Cash Giveaway! Christmas is right
around the corner so here is your chance to win some last minute shopping
money! This giveaway will last for 12 days! Giveaway opens Dec. 1st
12:01am EST and will come to a close Dec. 12th 11:59pm EST. The 12 days of
Christmas Cash Giveaway has a total of $725 in prizes to 12 different
winners! =)

What can you win?
  • 1 of 1 $200 grand prize sponsored by Maddox Cole Media
  • 1 of 2 $100 prizes
  • 1 of 4 $50 prizes
  • 1 of 5 $25 prizes

How many entries can you get?
  • 64 mandatory facebook "likes"
  • 21 mandatory twitter follows
  • 17 GFC follows
  • 2 subscribe to emails
  • 17 daily vote via picket fence for 12 days (204 entries)
  • 1 daily tweet for 12 days (12 entries)
Each person has the opportunity to redeem 320 entries! Please keep in mind
when entering you must do ALL of that item in order to submit the green
button! Entries will be verified so use your real name when entering! Good