Friday, December 14, 2018

Paper Bows= Easy, Peasy!

I am a girl that loves bows- in all shapes and sizes.
And so when I saw a way to make bows using a page
 from a magazine I just had to try it.
And when I did and I found out how SUPER simple and fast it was-
I made a ton and figured I would share!


Here's what you'll need
(all of which you probably have in your house right this minute):


-a page from a magazine, a piece of scrapbook paper, a piece of wrapping paper or any other kind of paper you might have

-a pair of scissors (or a paper cutter)

-tape (regular Scotch tape or double sided  tape)

-a stapler (I used this type of stapler and it worked fabulously because I could open and close it without squishing the paper)

-a ruler

Step 1:
Use the ruler to mark the back of the page at 3/4 inch intervals and cut out 9 strips.
Set three strips aside as these will remain full-sized. Take three strips and cut 1 inch off of each strip and throw scraps away. Take two strips and cut 2 inches off of each and throw scraps away. Cut a three inch piece from the remaining strip to use for the center of the bow. When you finish cutting your strips will look like this:






Step 2:
Take each of the longer 8 strips and twist each one to form a loop at each end. Make sure that the side of the page that you want to show up is on the outside, not the inside. Staple each piece in the center after making the loops. Take the last piece- the smallest piece- and make it into a circle and tape it closed.







Step 3:
Lay the longer of the 3 strips over each other, spacing them apart. Staple them together in the center. Add the next three in the same manner, and secure with another staple. Repeat with the last two strips and staple one final time. Use a piece of tape rolled up (or use double sided tape) to secure the round loop in the center of the bow.





A few hints:
  • scrapbook paper makes a fluffier bow which I love
  • you can make a larger or smaller bow- just extend or shorten the length of your strips
  • using a stapler that opens and closes easily is helpful because it keeps you from crushing the loops



These are so easy peasy and so inexpensive and quick! I don't think I'll ever buy another bow again. Trust me, if you make one, you'll want to make another and another and another and another...

 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Journal + Devotional = Awesome 365 Devotional Journals

I love journals and I love devotional books. 
I love writing down my thoughts and I love going back through old journals 
to see what I was thinking and praying about at different seasons of my life. 
It is often through journals that I am able to see God's plans 
and hand-prints on difficult times in my life. 
I think journals are little scrapbooks of our lives- that often live on beyond us. 

I have three or four devotional books and start every single day reading at least one. 
They help me to focus on what truly is important and to think about 
what God is calling me to do that day. 
So when you put together a devotional book that includes space for journaling? 
That is perfection! 

Below are three GORGEOUS 365 devotional journals perfect for 2019. 
I love all three of them and am having a hard time deciding on my favorite. 
(Not done shopping? They would make a fabulous Christmas or Happy New Year gift!)
All three have beautiful covers but the true beauty is on the words inside!
Each of the dated pages has a short devotional and then a lined space below
 to write your thoughts or prayers.
They are the perfect way to start a day focusing 
on what is truly important- Jesus!


Description: We pray for peace. We beg for it from others. We make speeches about it. But in the end, the only peace most of us can control is that little portion we display for the world to see. If we are at peace, the chaos around us seems to calm down. Our peace affects others. And the giver of peace awaits to give us the gift that can change our world. It begins with a prayer. It begins with me.

What I Love About It:
  • The blue and green cover with gold foil accent is so pretty, serene and calming! 
  • Each page has a devotional and Bible passage to read
  • There are lines after each devotion to write your thoughts or prayers (I love lines!)
  • It has a lay-flat binding so it's easy to write on either side of the journal
  • The devotions in this journal are focused on peace and finding peace in our lives and in our hearts. It's visually calming and not busy at all.
  • The journal has a ribbon to mark your spot
  • Each day ends with a prayer
  • It has a pretty green closure band so you can keep it in your purse or bag without worrying the pages will get wrinkled

Who Should You Buy This For?: This devotional journal would be perfect for anyone you know who needs a little more peace in their life.

Where can you purchase it?





Description: From the small whisper of a snowflake to the large circumference of a baobab tree, all of nature is the creative expression of God. When we embrace His creative nature by taking the time to stop, notice, and connect, our hearts are encouraged and souls refreshed. Respond to the devotions, add your own creative writing, or keep track of prayers on the journaling lines.

What I Love About It:


  • The peacock artwork on the cover is gorgeous! I would definitely have picked it up in a store- it's truly beautiful!
  • Each page has a devotional and Bible passage to read
  • There are lines after each devotion to write your thoughts or prayers (I love lines!)
  • It has a lay-flat binding so it's easy to write on either side of the journal
  • The devotionals in this journal seem very sweet and almost old-fashioned. They focus on nature and how it's all created by God.
  • The journal has a ribbon to mark your spot
  • Each day ends with a prayer
  • It has a pretty turquoise closure band so you can keep it in your purse or bag without worrying the pages will get wrinkled

Who Should You Buy This For?: This devotional journal would be perfect for those who love being outdoors in nature. 

Where can you purchase it?



Description: When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget to spend time with God. This 365-day devotional journal offers encouraging meditations to help you spend a few moments turning your eyes on Jesus before your hectic day begins. After short devotions and Scripture for each day of the year, you will also find light journaling lines and ample space to record your thoughts, hopes, and prayers—just what you need to start each and every day with the reminder that God is always by your side.


What I Love About It:


  • The floral cover is so pretty! I would definitely have picked it up in a store- it's truly beautiful!
  • Each page has a devotional and instead of a Bible verse there is a song lyric written out at the beginning and a scripture reference at the end (not written out)
  • There are lines after each devotion to write your thoughts or prayers (I love lines!)
  • It has a lay-flat binding so it's easy to write on either side of the journal
  • The devotionals in this journal are my favorite of the three and are all over faith. 
  • The journal has a ribbon to mark your spot
  • Each day ends with a prayer
  • It has a pretty blue closure band so you can keep it in your purse or bag without worrying the pages will get wrinkled

Who Should You Buy This For?: This devotional journal would be perfect for anyone who loves worshiping the Lord through music.


Where can you purchase it?


Notice: Sweet Blessings was contacted by FlyBy Promotions to write this review. All three Devotionals were given to me by the Ellie Claire Gift and Paper Expressions company to review for my readers. All opinions are my own.

Ellie Claire produces beautifully crafted journals, devotionals, and other creative gift and paper expressions. These remarkable products are sold in such national accounts as Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Cracker Barrel, Walmart, Sams, Costco, and LifeWay Stores. At the heart of Ellie Claire is a passion to share the unchanging truth of God’s love in irresistibly creative new ways, infusing into our gifts and books a fresh expression of faith.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

I Will Not Be Shaken

Are you tired this morning? Worn? Weary? Shaken?
Psalm 16:8 is a precious reminder to me of what I am to do when I feel that way…….
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
He is at my right hand. Always.
When I feel lost, He is constant.
When I feel shaky, He is steady.
When I feel anxious, He is comforting.
When I feel scared, He is my security.
When I feel alone, He is with me.
When I feel broken, He is strong.
When I feel unable, He is able.
In the easy and in the hard and the HOLY.
He is at my right hand (and your). Always.

Monday, December 10, 2018

He is at my Right Hand


Are you tired this morning? Worn? Weary? Shaken?

Psalm 16:8 is a precious reminder to me of what I am to do when I feel that way…….
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

He is at my right hand. Always.
When I feel lost, He is constant.
When I feel shaky, He is steady.
When I feel anxious, He is comforting.
When I feel scared, He is my security.
When I feel alone, He is with me.
When I feel broken, He is strong.
When I feel unable, He is able.
In the easy and in the hard and the HOLY.
He is at my right hand (and your). Always.

Memory Verse: Week 50


I believe that Satan doesn’t want us in God’s word and will use any and every means possible to keep us from the truth and therefore we must be prepared and have a PLAN!

To work on hiding God's word in our hearts, 
this year I'm going to be posting a memory verse for each week
 along with a printable to print out and hang up. 


Here's the verse for week 50:


     
You can print out the verses in English and Spanish and the complete list in a folder  HERE


Friday, December 7, 2018

More....CUTE GIFT IDEAS WITH FREE PRINTABLE TAGS

Buying little gifts for lots of people can quickly add up to lots of $ so I decided to come up with a few cute and inexpensive ideas that won't break Santa's bank! 
This time of year everyone is super crazy busy & hurried so it's nice to have 
a few things wrapped up and ready to give when you realize you need them-
for teachers, co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc.

For the past two years I have posted some CUTE & QUICK CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS
HERE and HERE for gifts that are great (& inexpensive) 
to give to co-workers, teachers, or neighbors
or just to have around during the Christmas season.

Below are some new ones for this year I came up with 
that are super easy and super inexpensive!

Idea #1:
Who doesn't love a super cute mug? 
There are so many around for $5 and under. 
I found this cute one at Hobby Lobby and it was on sale for half price. 
I added some mints (but you could add hot chocolate too!) and 
had a super cute gift for less than $5. 
Total Cost: $3.99


 Idea #2:
This idea is an one I'd see on Pinterest and absolutely loved! 
I created a tag for it last year but made a new one this year.
I purchased some super cute Christmas paper plates and napkins. 
All of those pictured below were purchased from Hobby Lobby and were half price. 
Total cost= $10



 Idea #3:
I use a Yeti (or Yeti-like) cup every single day all day long. 
When I found some super cute Christmas ones I knew I had to create a tag for them. 
If you wanted to add another little something to it- 
you could add either a Sonic or Starbucks gift card to the cup. 
Total cost= $10


Idea #4:
One of my favorite little gifts to give are socks from the fabulous Notes to Self Socks
I LOVE their socks- they have a pair for just about
 anyone you could want to buy a gift for!
This tag could work for any pair of socks but I added a pair 
of the Notes to Self I am joyful socks!
Aren't they adorable? 
Total Cost= $12.99



Idea #5:
I love to wrap gifts and there are so many cute kinds of wrapping paper 
out there that I thought it would make a fun gift. 
Total Cost= $8.99


Note: 
I printed my tags on white cardstock- sometimes in wallet size and others in 4x6 
but they are all in JPG format so you can print them in any size you'd like!
You can find all of tags from this year and last year in the folder  HERE


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Peace is NOT the Absence of Trouble


I woke up extra early this morning (as I often do when I need to pray for someone) with several friends who are going through HUGE trials in their life right now on my mind. As I prayed for them I kept thinking of the word PEACE and praying that specifically that would feel God’s peace as they travel the crazy difficult paths ahead of them. I started looking up some of my favorite verses on peace and one of my all time favorites is John 14:27. In this verse Jesus says……
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
When I think about how Jesus spoke these words just hours before He was beaten and crucified- it brings me to tears. To think that He was so concerned for the peace and joy and the faith of His followers is absolutely precious. Instead of worrying about himself, His focus was on us. These words are a reminder that the only way for us to get peace- true peace- is through Him. A peace that comes from looking up and turning to Him. A peace that is not circumstantial (because He promises it in the middle of trouble). His peace is a promise that is true on the best of your days and on the worst of your days. Peace is not the absence of trouble. It is the presence of Christ in the midst of that trouble.

My prayer today is that no matter what you are facing, His peace, peace that can ONLY come from Him, would flood your mind and your heart.

1 Corinthians 13, Christmas Style

I love the month of December as it leads up to Christmas. 
I love all the Christmas decorations and decorating my home for the holidays. 
BUT........as I look at Pinterest and Instagram and Facebook
it's super easy for me to feel overwhelmed and lacking. 
To feel that my decor is too simple and not elaborate enough. 
To feel that my tree is not full of perfect coordinated ornaments. 
To feel that my home doesn't compare to all the beautiful ones that I see on social media.
To feel that I need to make a million perfect cookies and decorate 
everything from my mailbox to my dog in color coordinated 
Christmas decor from Hobby Lobby. 
To feel that I needed to purchase every single item shared 
as a gift idea for my friends and family.

A sweet friend shared a newspaper clipping of this
 precious Christmas poem with me the other day. 
I absolutely loved it because it is EXACTLY what I needed to read. 
And maybe you do too. 
It is so very easy to get caught up in the crazy hustle and bustle of the holiday season- 
worrying about decor and gifts and parties
and forget both Christ and those we love the very most! 

My prayer for you (and me!) today is that we are able to keep
 our eyes on Jesus this Christmas and focus on
loving and serving those God call us to love and to serve.

If you'd like to print out a copy you can get a PDF HERE

(The copy I was given didn't have an author listed but 
I did a little searching and found that it was written by Sharon Jaynes.
Thank you Sharon for sharing these precious words! )

Monday, December 3, 2018

Scripture Bags: December Edition


A few months ago I went to a fundraiser for our local maternity home. I drove home that night thinking that I wanted to start doing something for the sweet mamas staying at the home each month. I decided that surrounding them with scripture to remind them of God’s great love for them would be my goal and that each month I’d give them a bag full of scripture. As I finished the bags for this month and prayed for these sweet mamas this morning, I thought I’d share what I put in each bag in case you have someone that needs to be reminded how loved they are. It only takes a few minutes and can cost almost nothing!

In the bags this month I included:
  • This set of 4 printable Christmas gift cards/tiny prints printed on cardstock. You can print a copy HERE
  • A 5x7 print of Exodus 14:14 that I printed on cardstock. You can print a copy HERE
  • This set of 12 verses with a plaid background printed 4 per page on cardstock. You can print a copy HERE
  • This super cute coffee mug that I found at HEB for $5. It's huge and so cute! I filled it with hot chocolate. 
  • An adorable Christmas ornament I found at Hobby Lobby. It was $3.99 but on sale for 50% off. 

  • A copy of The Birth of Christ Scripture Writing plan for December.  You can print out a copy HERE

Everything in the bag I already had except the mug, hot chocolate, ornament and the bags themselves. Total it cost me about $7 a bag. It doesn’t have to be expensive at all- you can truly use what you have!

Pray for God to show you someone who needs a little encouragement and a reminder that they are loved and create your own Scripture Bag surprise for them today!

Memory Verse: Week 49


I believe that Satan doesn’t want us in God’s word and will use any and every means possible to keep us from the truth and therefore we must be prepared and have a PLAN!

To work on hiding God's word in our hearts, 
this year I'm going to be posting a memory verse for each week
 along with a printable to print out and hang up. 


Here's the verse for week 49:


     
You can print out the verses in English and Spanish and the complete list in a folder  HERE


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Hallmark Christmas Movie Bingo

I LOVE Hallmark Christmas movies. 
I seriously could watch them all day long, every single day. 
And during the holidays I pretty much do! 
I know that they are often super cheesy and crazy predictable 
but I don't care a single bit!
I absolutely LOVE all the Christmas decorations and snow, 
and truly I adore the fact that they are 
wholesome and positive and ALWAYS have a happy ending- 
because life is often crappy and sad
and I love something that I can count on to be happy!
And I can definitely count on Hallmark movies to be happy and festive and cheerful! 

I'm super lucky because my husband loves Hallmark movies too 
so they are just about ALWAYS on our TV during the month of December. 
We often joke about the things we see in just about ALL of the movies.
Things like.....
  • a cute little town that LOVES Christmas
  • a character from the big city who visits the little town
  • decorating Christmas cookies
  • a cute kid
  • an adorable dog
  • picking out/chopping down a Christmas tree


I started making a list of all the things we noticed and came up with a pretty long list. 
I decided it would be fun to use the list to make a game to play when 
watching one of the many fabulous and festive Hallmark movies
and decided BINGO would be perfect!

So the next time you are watching a Hallmark movie with your family or girlfriends, 
print out the 4 cards HERE
grab some candy 
(Hershey's kisses or M&M's would be perfect)
 and see who can BINGO first!






Thursday, November 29, 2018

December Scripture Writing Plan: The Birth of Christ

Happy almost December sweet friends!

The scripture writing plan this month is over a topic perfect for this time of year: 
The Birth of Christ.

I adore this time of year - the decorations, the excitement, the trees, 
the colder weather, the lights, the fun, the parties, the joy-
I love every single bit of it. 
It truly is the most wonderful time of year!

However, as much as I love it, I find that it is so easy for me to get caught up in 
the crazy hustle and bustle of it all- the shopping, the planning, the decorating 
that comes along with this wonderful Christmas season. 

Unfortunately, in this super busy time of year, 
spending time with God and in His word is often neglected. 
(I know I am often totally guilty of this!)
When all of our focus is on decorating our houses, 
finding & trimming the perfect Christmas tree, making sweet treats to give away, 
preparing & mailing Christmas cards and shopping for and wrapping the perfect gifts-
 it is so easy to lose sight of what Christmas is truly all about. 

It’s only when our eyes are fixed on God and we spend time in His Word ,
when we read, meditate on, and truly treasure the story of the birth of Christ
 that we can celebrate the TRUE reason for the season. 
Jesus.

My prayer is that we would spend this month digging into His word
to learn more about the birth of our precious Savior and keep our hearts 
and minds focused on the joy that is found ONLY in Christ!


FYI: I made the plan 31 days and plan to do that with
all topical plans in the future so that they can be done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

TO PRINT: You can find a copy of the plan in English and Spanish in the folder HERE.
{Just a reminder, don't try to print the images below or they will be blurry. Be sure to click the link to download a PDF copy!}