Monday, December 31, 2012

the Christmas cards have all been sent...

If you are like me, one of the sweetest parts of the Christmas season is receiving so many beautiful Christmas cards! From family and friends, those near and some from afar. Reading the updates and family letters, remarking on the growth of children and rejoicing over new additions to families. Christmas cards become a cherished part of our Christmas season.
So, when the Christmas cards have all been sent…..what do you do with them?
I just can’t bare to take them all down and simply toss them away! You, either? Well, here are two things you can do with your Christmas cards to preserve the memories well beyond the ringing in of the new year.
{create a contact photo}
  Use the camera on your phone to snap a pic of the picture cards to use for a contact photo. I’ve seen this idea used many times {nothing new here!} and started using it last Christmas. It’s great! Simply take a pic of your photo Christmas card and then assign it to that contact in your phone. Now, you will have a beautiful photo to view each time that call comes in! Perfect!
{create a photo prayer ring}
A friend of ours shared this idea with me years ago and it is something I have loved doing ever since. Use your beautiful cards to make a {photo prayer ring}.
Take the Christmas cards and punch a hole in the upper left corner then place all of the cards on a ring. (You can get a package of these rings for a few dollars at mass retailers or office supply stores.) I like to accent with some cute ribbon to finish it off. {You know me and ribbon!}
Now what?
There are a few ways you can use these beautiful prayer cards. Place the cards with your family devotion materials and incorporate them into your family prayer time. If you read the Bible together at breakfast, keep the cards with your bible or near the table. If you spend more time in prayer together at bedtime, then keep the cards handy for that place and time. Whatever is going to be more convenient for you and your family.
Each time you pray, choose one card from the ring and pray specifically for that person or family. We also add an index card with each photo card and jot down specific ways we can pray and any praises that come in as well. This has been a great way to show God’s faithfulness to our children as we have prayed for needs and seen God work in lives. We also add cards of scripture that encourage us to pray for others and point to the power of prayer. Verses like John 14:13-14, Ephesians 6:18 and Philippians 4:6-7 are a few of the many scriptures that encourage us to pray and bear the burdens of others.
So, if you are finding yourself taking down the Christmas cards and wondering what to do with those special greetings, I hope these ideas will get you thinking outside of the box.

Monday, December 3, 2012

pumpkin snickerdoodles

It’s Christmas time and most of us are busy cooking and baking sweet treats in our kitchens. I love making several varieties of goodies each year but this year I have been on the hunt for gluten and dairy free recipes to add to my recipe box.
I have found a winner!
These cookies are so delicious you wouldn’t even know they are gluten and dairy free! I took one bite and my mouth was happy, happy! They are tender and tasty and even my little cookie tasters agreed.

{pumpkin snickerdoodles} gluten and dairy free

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated organic sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 2 cups gluten free flour {I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour}
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Cinnamon Coating:
  • 1/2 cup granulated organic sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon coating and set aside.
Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a medium bowl. Set aside.
If the coconut oil isn’t soft enough to mix well then you can melt it on the stove over low heat. Place in a mixing bowl and add the sugar and egg. (You can make this recipe egg free with an egg substitute in place of the egg.) Beat the oil, sugar and egg with a hand mixer until well mixed.
Add pumpkin and vanilla and beat well again.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined but don’t over mix.

Time to make your delicious cookies!

Take a small amount of dough and roll into a ball. Give it a roll in the cinnamon coating and then place on a baking stone about 2 inches apart. Press lightly with your fingers to flatten the top of each cookie.
Bake for 10 minutes or until beginning to brown. Cool for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. {If they crumble when you transfer them, just wait a few more minutes and try again.} I also sprinkled some of the remaining coating on top of the cookies after they came out of the oven.
Mmmm! These cookies smell amazing!! Happy, happy, happy!

I am definitely learning some things about gluten free and dairy free baking. Let’s say, it can be interesting!

With this recipe, make the cookies smaller rather than larger. They can be crumbly with the use of gluten free flour and this is helped by a smaller cookie size. Definitely use a baking stone if you have one. That seemed to help the texture and they cooked more evenly than with a metal sheet pan. Also, don’t be freaked out by the use of coconut oil in place of butter. It is a healthy and great dairy free substitute. I personally don’t care for anything coconut but I can’t even taste a trace of that in these cookies. Wahoo!
adapted from the original recipe at