Four Things to Stop Doing in 2017

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by Angela

It’s a New Year. A new calendar. And a place to reflect and evaluate and realign a few things. God has placed 4 things on my heart to start, stop and do differently. 

#1- STOP responding with “(fill in the blank- you name it) drives me crazy”.

It just keeps me stuck. It doesn’t solve anything. It often is a rant. I see a lot of people using it to describe their day, the weather, their job, their kids, you name it, you got it it. And instead I want to START to evaluate the bothersome situation for what it is. And if its out of my control, I am going to turn my focus to Jesus and be thankful. If I can change some things, then I am going to prayerfully move forward asking for a solution and the strength and wisdom to implement it.

#2- STOP feeling bad about a lot of little things.

Do you do this too? I tell my hubby I feel bad that he has to help with a computer/ phone/ (electronics in general) issue, again! Or I tell my kids I feel bad they have to do the dishes for me if I am running out the door somewhere. Or I feel bad if I don’t respond to a friends call or msg. I feel bad if I need help, or if I feel as if I am putting someone out. The list goes on. I found myself saying that regularly last year and I have been convicted that it is a bad habit. I am going to need help at times. I don’t have to be shameful about asking others and preface it with, “I feel bad”. If I need to say that I am sorry, than I will. If I need to give understanding to my choice than it will have depth and truth than quick words of, “I feel bad”. I want to START practicing having a humble heart and attitude.

#3- STOP feeling worried about being tired or too busy.

I wake up some days and my first thoughts are I am going to be tired (especially if I didn’t sleep all that well). And my next thoughts are I will never get all I need to do that day done and just be busy all day. And it is sometimes followed with the thought that I should have gotten up earlier (and my hubby and I are early risers) to ensure I get all those things done. That THOUGHT pattern is not helpful. I haven’t even been up for 5 minutes and I already have myself placed at dinner time in a matter of seconds. And as I reflect back, I notice that I am often not as tired as I think and get more done than I maybe anticipated.  So I am going to START by praying that Jesus will gently point to me when I jump on the Too Tired/Busy Bus. And then ask Him to purpose my day. To show me what He has for me. Who He has for me. And to entrust to Him to stretch my time in all that He has called me to do. It is my “nothing more or nothing less than what You have for me prayer”.

#4- STOP Super managing plans.

Planning is good. Preparation brings productivity and thought out mtgs, days, goals. Please don’t take away my to-do list app, or my Post- It Notes on my desk or my little pad of paper in my bathroom drawer when I do my best thinking while blow drying my hair 🙂 SUPER managing planning is different. It is in a league of its own and comes with worry, rehearsing and rehashing, sleepless nights and anxiety driven irritability. THIS has been a long term work of God in my heart. And in 2017 I want to START having my days reflect Isaiah 41:13, “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand. It is I, who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Do you see all those I’s in that sentence. THIS is a promise. Does my day-to-day activities reflect that the GOD of the universe is holding my hand like a dad’s big, strong hand holding the little hand of his daughter? I am starting off this year holding God’s hand tightly back.

What are some things you want to Start, Stop or Differently? We want to hear!

We wish you a DELIGHTFUL 2017 friends!!!




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December Traditions

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by Laura

My most vivid memories of growing up center around specific holidays. My parents took the time to create traditions for each celebration day.  Perhaps this is why so many couples argue when it comes to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they want it done THEIR way because those memories are what makes it feel special and that is what makes it Christmas!  

This is so true for me.  Christmas Eve means church and driving around looking at Christmas lights and sleeping in the living room with my sisters.  Christmas morning means waking up and getting every one in the living room before we opened up stockings.  There was bacon on Christmas morning and wrapping paper everywhere and apples and oranges in the stockings.  

Deviating from these things was difficult for me early on in our marriage because there was so much association with Laura’s Memories=Christmas. When you add my husband’s completely different memories and traditions into that and merge the two, it can be stressful to make the day feel special for both people.  

Very little Eric on Christmas Morning

We had to work really hard and talk almost ad nauseous about our expectations and what each person wanted to do from December 24 until the 25th was over.  I believe there will always be a little nostalgia and sadness that our new family together doesn’t do things exactly how I did as a child, but I love the new memories and traditions we create as husband and wife, and now our children will come to know our traditions as what makes Christmas special to them.  

Our advent wreath and devotional

In our family we begin Christmas preparations early by doing a devotional every day centered around the advent wreath.  After dinner we pull out the matches and we light the appropriate numbers of candles, turn off the lights, and read a special book in the glow of the flame.  We also started doing a children’s  Jesse Tree  devotional three years ago which follows the story of how Jesus is woven into the entire Bible from beginning to birth.  Each day we have a Jesse Tree reading and put the complimentary ornament on the tree.  This year I made 25 felt ornaments for our Jesse Tree!

There are many ways to uphold your own traditions, begin your own, and create special memories with your children and I encourage you to do so!  The more traditions you have in your family the stronger their association to your family will be.  

We were just reading in a book recently that kids whose families have nightly or weekly traditions are more likely to stay at home or want to be at home so they don’t miss out.  This makes us all the more motivated to want to make our family feel fun and alive for our kids.  

New Years Eve is approaching!  What traditions do you remember from your own child hood and what do you do now as a family?   

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Baked Potato Bar

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by Angela

With being a wife of a pastor, I often serve lunch or light dinner for a meeting. Sundays after church are a great time for meetings! Yet people are ready for lunch. One of my favorite meals to prepare is a Baked Potato Bar.  With food allergies or likes or dislikes, a lunch where people can pick their own toppings is a must! The prep is easy, the potatoes can cook while I am church, the cost is good for a crowd, and the results are yummy!! Here are the steps I follow.

I like to do as much prep as early as I can, especially for larger groups. Clean those potatoes the day before. And use your Norwex Fruit and Veggie cloth. What? You don’t have one? You will want to get one. It makes cleaning potatoes really easy. I have a Norwex lady so let me know if you need her information. 


Next you will want to poke some slits in the potatoes and rub some sea salt all over the outside skins. Place them on a large cooking sheet and set them aside until you are ready to put them into the oven.


Now, the best part of the Baked Potato Bar is all the toppings!! These are some of the goodies you will want to include on your grocery list. (grated cheese, broccoli and cheese, french fried onions, sour cream, chili, butter, bacon bits)


When you are ready to bake your potatoes, you will want to cook them long and low. Bake 350 degrees for 75- 80 min. I am often at church on Sunday mornings when I am ready to cook the potatoes so I set my oven on the delay start to come on while I am gone. Check out your ovens delay start settings. You can do some creative cooking with it.


Once you are ready to serve the meal you will want to get all those toppings ready. (I usually serve some fruit or bread to go along with the lunch.)


Take the potatoes out of the oven and place on some platters. (I slit the potatoes completely so that its easy for the guest to fill them with all the toppings.) I also offer a few sweet potatoes for those who have food allergies or if they prefer not to have the carbs.



That is it!! Easy, I tell you. And a hit!! Potatoes heat up well too and make great leftovers the next for day lunch.


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DIY Fall Door Hanger

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By Angela

I regularly change out some wreaths/ decor around my house. I had moved some of my wreaths and door hangers around so I found myself without a festive wreath for my front door. Because I like to “shop” from my house first, I looked around to see what I had that I could use and searched Pinterest for some inspiration!

I had an old rusted dustpan. If you don’t have a rusted dustpan or time to make up a rusted dustpan. Spray paint a metal dustpan a fall color- brown, burnt orange, mustard yellow (That would be a great color).


I attached some jute so that I could hang the dust pan. You should never be with out jute in your home- ever! 🙂



I had some fall flowers. If you don’t have any spare flowers, they are on sell at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s already! Because if you haven’t noticed Christmas has taken over the stores and I am over here still enjoy fall!!


I tied the flowers to the dustpan with the jute.


Then covered with a burlap bow to give it a more finished look. Burlap ribbon is another very useful item to have around.


Hang it from a wreath hanger. Simple. Unique and people will stop and admire your delightful handiwork when they enter your home. dust-pan-wreath-on-the-door



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Easy Caramel Dip Recipe

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by Angela

This recipe makes  THE.BEST.CARAMEL. dip. It is my favorite, and its easy, and it is delicious with granny smith apples.

Start with a can of sweet condensed milk. Put it into a pot and fill it with water, covering the can completely. I use one of my older pots as the glue from the can label can get on the pot and it takes extra scrubbing to clean.


Lightly boil for a while. A long while. Like 4 hours- awhile. (There are some crock pot versions of this recipe, but we tried it and our crock pot didn’t cook it hot enough- so it was an epic fail-ha). You will want to refill the water several times and turn the can over with tongs a few times during the 4 hour cooking time.

Next, take the can out and let it cool for a bit. Then you get to see the magic- from sweet condensed milk to caramel.


This caramel is sooooo soft, sweet, and creamy. It really doesn’t compare to the pre-packaged caramel dip. You don’t need to buy it ever again when you have a recipe this easy! Put the dip into a cute fall bowl and plate add some extra fall decor- because food should look pretty too!


And then serve it to your friends of course! Because things this delightful are meant to be shared!


Some of our blog readers taste testing the creamy sweet caramel at our Cultivate Study!!! They approved 🙂

If you want more caramel and apple ideas check out these blogs. Can you have too many caramel recipes? No the answer is no? 🙂

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