Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Caramel Apple Mini Pie Pockets

I woke up this morning feeling very fallish.  Is that a word?  I saw pumpkins at the grocery store and had pictures of crunchy leaves and pumpkins on the porch.  It is still hot in Southern California, but I still had a sense fall is here.

I decided to try out a Pinterest idea to welcome fall.  Taste of Home has a recipe pin for pumpkin filled crescent rolls, but I wanted to try it with apples.  I also threw a container of caramel dip into my grocery basket and decided to make the pies caramel-apple filled.

Besides some sugar from your pantry, these are the three ingredients you need.

I sprinkled sugar over my crescent rolls to sweeten up the "crust."

I separated the cresent rolls, added a tiny bit of cinnamon, and used a dollop of caramel dipping sauce in each roll.

I topped the caramel with a little bit of apple pie filling.

I pinched together all the sides to cover the filling until it looked like a little pastry ball.

As it baked, the breading spread and made little pie pockets.

While the pies were still steaming and hot, I drizzled more caramel across the top.  Here is what the gooey filling looks like once you dig into the pie pocket.


1 crescent roll container (8 per container)--butter flake kind
sugar for sprinkling
cinnamon for sprinkling
Melted caramel or caramel dip (about 1/2 cup)
1 can of apple pie filling

Preheat the oven to 375
Spread out the crescent rolls out on a sprayed cookie sheet
Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the pastry
separate the rolls into individual crescents
Add a small dollop of caramel in the middle of each crescent
Add a small dollop of apple pie filling in the middle of each crescent
Pinch up all the dough sides to cover all the filling and keep it inside.  It results in looking like a pastry ball.
Cook at 375 for about 10-12 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
Remove from oven and drizzle caramel over the top while it is still piping hot.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Christian Encouragement: The authority and validity of the Bible

Our church's Women's Bible Study started up again this week, and it was GOOOOD!  I love our women's ministry director.  She is one of the brainiest people around, but she is full of compassion and grace.  She talked about God's Word and the validity of the Bible and what it says.

I don't know about you, but I am flabbergasted when my non-Christian friends dismiss the Bible as mumbo jumbo for the unintelligent.  If one spends any small amount of time studying the validity of scripture, one realizes that intellect can only lead you to believe in God and the absolute truth of His Word.

People say we are arrogant for believing OUR way is the only way.  Unfortunately, it isn't OUR way.  It is God's way.  He wrote it down in scripture and decided it and our belief is a humble, dependent belief in Him.  Then, people dismiss the Bible as just "another religious book."  If you really take the time to study the historical validity and prophetic truths that have come from scripture, people can't really find a solid argument against scripture.  What it boils down to, ultimately, is that they don't want God as their Creator and authority telling them what is right and wrong.  That is humbling and makes our sinful flesh bristle.  That, however, is where God can step in and soften our hearts, which are hard as stone and slaves to sin without Him. 

Stephanie, our women's director, used Greg Koukl's 5 point finger illustration to help us remember simple arguments for the Bible's accuracy and validity.  It was powerful, and I wanted to share it with you here.  Next time someone dismisses the Bible as just another "religious" book, have these 5 "finger arguments" ready for discussion.

1.  Ring Finger--You wear a marriage ring on your ring finger, which stands for the unity of 2 people--husband and wife.  Use this finger to remind you of the unity of scripture.  Scripture was written over 1,500 years, by 40 authors inspired by the Holy Spirit, on about 3 continents.  Despite this span of time, scripture doesn't disagree.  Though there are obvious points of view and personalities, the difference in authors almost strengthens the fact that the points, laws, prophesies, all agree and fit together like a perfect puzzle.  When people take scripture out of context, they can twist scripture to sound any way they want, but if you read verses in context and entirety, it all is united and in perfect harmony.
Other religious books change over time, have things added or subtracted, or they have parts that contradict.  These are often only written by ONE person and yet it still isn't unified.  The Bible is completely unified despite so many authors and such a long span of time between start to completion.

2. Pinky Finger--P in pinky stands for Prophecy.  The Bible is FULL of prophecy, and this is what God uses to fingerprint scripture as FROM HIM.  He doesn't give VAGUE, mystical prophecies, but he gets EXACT.  He names names and gives dates and lists places that haven't happened yet.  Guess what?  They happen.  People don't study this because it is so irrefutable.  In the Old Testament alone, there are 300 messianic prophesies about Jesus that came to pass.  In Isaiah 44:28 (written about 700 BC), the Bible names the ruler Cyrus by NAME a couple hundred years before he ever ruled (550 BC).  The Bible talks of Cyrus as allowing Jerusalem to be saved and delivered.  In fact, Cyrus was a Persian King who took over Babylon when Babylon held the Jews.  He allowed religious tolerance (unheard of for conquering kingdoms at the time) and even sent the Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild their city and temple.  You can go today and view the Cyrus Clay which proclaimed all this in Great Britian. 
People might say that Jesus just knew the prophesies about the Messiah from studying the Old Testament and he tried to fulfill them.  Well, here are 3 prophesies he had no control over that came to pass.  Memorize these. 

Zachariah 9:9  This verse talks about Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey and how the people would receive him well.  This foresaw the triumphal entry.  Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.  People laid down palm branches yelling "Hosanna!"  God, save us!  Though Jesus could have purposely found a donkey, he couldn't have controlled how hundreds of people would receive him entering into the city.

Micah 5:2--Jesus is born in Bethlehem.  Bethlehem is a tiny city.  The likelihood of being born there is small, even back then.  We know the story.  The census happens and brings Joseph and Mary back to Joseph's hometown.  She has the baby in a manger.  Christ could have no control over where or how he was born.  This was prophecy fulfilled.

Isaiah 53:9--Isaiah 53 is all about Christ's crucifixion.  This specific verse talks about how Christ would be in the grave of the wicked.  He was killed on a cross between two thieves.  Then the verse says he would be put in the grave of a rich man.  A rich man, Joseph of Aramathea, buys Christ's body from Pilot and buries him in his private tomb.  Again, these are circumstances Christ couldn't control.  They were spelled out way ahead of time.  Isaiah 53 has tons of specifics--his bones wouldn't be broken (the legs were broken of the still alive thieves on the side of him), he wouldn't speak out against those hurting him like a lamb to slaughter, he would be pierced in his side (a sword was thrust into him).

These are great prophesies to know and memorize because they are revealed as historical fact with many witnesses and accounts and they are things Jesus couldn't formulate himself.

Many scholars studied these prophesies and said, "Well, these parts of Isaiah must have been written after Christ.  They couldn't come to terms with the exactness of the prophesies and the historical data that pointed to the facts that they happened!"  That idea lasted until the 1940's when we discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The first book pulled out of the cave?  Isaiah in entirety.  It is dated to 200 B.C. by archeologists.

3.  Middle/Big Finger--This finger should remind us that the Bible talks about BIG topics like life and death.  Many religions talk about  philosophical stuff.  Karma.  Be kind.  Love nature.  The Bible gets down and dirty with specific topics--death, life, love, murder, hate, hell, Heaven, God, creation, judgment, sin. . . It doesn't use vague cookie fortune type quips to fill its pages.

4.  Pointer Finger/Index Finger--The Bible is a historical index.  It is reliable.  Archeologists can only agree that the Bible is historically accurate.  People and places are authenticated.  It doesn't have any error.  Historians and archeologists actually find information IN the Bible that helps them understand discoveries. 

5.  Thumb.  The emperors in Rome would decide a gladiator's fate with a thumb up (life) or thumb down (death).  The gladiator's life was affected and changed by one finger.  The thumb should remind us that the Bible changes and affects lives.  It is active and sharper than a two edged sword.  It is a fragrance of life to Christians or a stench of death to those who reject God.

I hope this helps you remember a visual to have apologetic discussions with others when discussing the Bible.  I recommend The Case for Christ for further reading.  A great book discussing the huge gaps and scientific lies in evolution is Bones of Contention

Thanks for reading through a deeper post today.  I pray this truly will be a helpful tool when evangelizing.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ministry Kickoff Night and Wisdom Theme

Our Tablescapes for our Wisdom Night Kickoff.  We had 31 tables . . .

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know that my hubby and I co-lead a marriage ministry, Thrive, at our church, Compass Bible Church.  I posted recently that I was doing a "school" theme for the night, since our year's theme is the "Wisdom books" of the Bible--Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.

We had our first meeting this week in a bigger, fellowship-hall type of room our church acquired for growing ministries like ours, which was good, as we had about 275 people attending.  We meet every Thursday evening.  I can't wait to see what God does in lives and marriages this year!

As you look at the pics, you can see why I can't be a full time, daily blogger/crafter.  It would be impossible.  I'm a wife and mommy and ministry leader at church first.  Blogging and selling scripture signs are my awesome part time hobbies, and I am thankful to God for the blessing they are and the amazing, supportive readers and customers God brings me!

Excited for Thrive and all the couples coming this year!

Our color theme was yellow, apple red and black.  I had some red frames, so I wrote on black cardstock in chalk and made fake "chalkboard" verses for the entry table. . .

My hubby (standing) running a game with our co-leaders in the ministry, the Gilmores (Scott is sitting).

The church provides family dinners for everyone before the study starts, and the kids go to AWANA and Kid's Club (Sunday School classes) while we meet for our study.

Entering Thrive

Here is a messy view of the tables--Pinterest copied pencil vases with flowers, polka dot ribbon and matching polka dot wrapping paper, table "runners", and stacked Bibles.

Another fun family enjoying dinner and a shot of the centerpieces

Welcome table

Lindsey (shown here) and her husband (not shown) are our activities leads.  She helped me decorate for the night.

We start with worship

My hubby emceeing the night

Thrive's overseeing pastor, Mike Elliott, our church's Men's and Family Pastor

Playing a "wisdom trivia game" to see which small group wins and gets the cushy conference room for their small group breakout sessions.

That's me handing out ice cream for dessert.  I'm always near the treats!

Our AV/Tech team running all the video, sound and power point in the back

I used my Silhouette to cut out "Wisdom" and attached them to paper fans.

We can't wait to dig into the wisdom books and start applying more of God's Word into our marriages and lives.  Join me in praying for this amazing ministry and the work God is doing!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fabric Headband Tutorial

I know school has started because the germs have started making rounds.  Vapo Rub, Robitussin, Sudafed, Advil and Kleenex surround me.  I am in the midst of a chest cold that has really slowed me down. 

Yesterday I started to feel a little better in the afternoon.  It was naptime for the kids and hubby was watching his MSU game.  My Bruins didn't play for a couple more hours, so I decided to craft a fabric flower headband with my burst of energy and rare little pocket of free time.

I had a packet of circular, elastic, work-out headbands from the grocery store, including a white band.  These hold my sleek, straight hair better than a normal headband.  I dug into my fabric pile and found some oatmeal fabric scraps that were soft and fluffy.  Perfect!

I found a mason jar and used the inner lid as my circle template.  I traced one on white felt for the bottom of my flower, and then I traced about 9 or 10 large circles on the oatmeal fabric and about 8-10 small circles (I used a water bottle) to be filler petals to add volume. 

The process and tutorial for these flowers and folding the circular petals is found on my earlier post here.  As you can see, my flower headband is using more petals than my tutorial link, and, because of that, it looks fuller and thicker.  I did not use any cardboard in my base like I did in the tutorial for the flower pins because I wanted the felt base of the flower headband to mold to the shape of the head and not look rigid.   

I always start adding petals on the base edge first and work my way to the center of the flower.  I just keep hot gluing the folds until it looks full and pretty. 

This can be worn in a hipster, forehead manner or as a normal headband style.  I was feeling adventurous and, despite my not so hipster age, I went for a more hippie look.  I paired it with a flowy, chiffon blouse over skinny jeans and went out for a casual family dinner feeling very fun and almost forgetting I was sick.

Have a healthy, blessed week, everyone!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Days of School and My First Morning Alone

My kids both started school today.  It was a day of firsts--first day of Micah going to school at all (he is in preschool 2 days a week), Carter starting first grade, and my first morning alone due to school schedules in 7 years.  I always think of "lasts" when "firsts" hit.  There is a great poem about "lasts" out there by Karen Kingsbury called, "Let Me Hold You Longer. . ."  Get tissues.  For real--go grab some if you have littles who started school this week. 

I am ready to hand my kids to God's will and to teach them independence.  I'm not trying to keep them from growing, but I sure do want to cherish every first and last along the way.  They are a treasured blessing from God.

Let Me Hold You Longera poem by Karen Kingsbury

Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts;
First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away and leave to me your past
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts.

The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips
The last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip,
The last night when you woke up crying,
Needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket
Wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me still small enough to hold
The last time when you said you'd marry me when you grew old.

Precious simple moments and bright flashes from your past
Would I have held on longer if I'd known they were your last?
Our last adventure to the park, your final midday nap
The last time when you wore your favorite faded baseball cap.

Your last few hours of kindergarten, last days of first grade,
Your last at bat in Little League, last colored picture made.
I never said goodbye to all your yesterdays long past
So what about tomorrow? Will I recognize your lasts?

The last time that you catch a frog in that old backyard pond
The last that you ran barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn
Silly, scattered moments and bright flashes from your past
I keep on taking pictures, never quite sure of your last.

The last time that I comb your hair or stop a pillow fight,
The last time that I tuck you in and pray with you at night.
The last time when we cuddled with a book just me and you,
The last time you jump in our bed and sleep between us two.

The last piano lesson, the last vacation to the lake
Your last few weeks of middle school, last soccer goal you make.
I look ahead and dream of days that haven't come to pass
But as I do I sometimes miss today's sweet precious lasts.

The last time that I help you with a math or spelling test
The last time when I shout that "Yes! Your room is still a mess!"
The last time that you need me for a ride from here to there
The last time that you spend the night with your old tattered bear.

My life keeps moving faster, stealing precious days that pass
I want to hold on longer, want to recognize your lasts.
The last thing that you need my help with, details of a dance,
And the last time that you asked me for advice about romance.

The last time that you talked to me about your hopes and dreams
The last time that you wear a jersey for your high school team.
I've watched you grow and barely noticed seasons as they pass
If I could freeze the hands of time, I'd hold onto your lasts.

For come some bright fall morning, you'll be going far away
College life will beckon in a brilliant sort of way
One last hug, one last goodbye, one quick and hurried kiss,
One last time to understand just how much you'll be missed.

I'll watch you leave and think how fast our time together passed
So let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Silhouette Projects I've Made

Lately, I've had a lot of people asking me what machine I use for my cutting and design projects.  I use the Silhouette Cameo.  I didn't have any Cricut experience or history, and as I was looking for a machine, the Cameo was being introduced.  I love that it is all on my computer, and I don't have to buy cartridges.  It can cut vinyl, paper, fabric . . . I can print designs off the machine and then program the machine to cut around the printed designs.  It is fabulous.  Here are a few project ideas and examples . . . 

I make scripture signs as an Etsy business.  The Silhouette cuts my vinyl die cuts which give me a template for my paint.

My "Give Thanks" leaf wall mobile.  The boys put an item or person for which they were thankful each day.  The Silhouette cut my leaves and my font.

Scalloped signs for the fall wedding shower. . .

Leaf tags on each caramel apple we gave as a favor at our fall wedding shower.  They said, "Thank you for coming to celebrate Katie being the 'apple' of Jon's eye!"  The leaves were cut off my Silhouette.  I also had leaf garlands around the party.

A better view of my popcorn bar sign

A better view of the apple tags

I made Christmas signs for our wall using my Silhouette

I made hanging JOY signs using Silhouette cut letters

I love making banners.  Here are some of my Christmas samples.

I made a fancy "Hot Chocolate" banner for my sister in law's hot chocolate bar at her wedding.

Our Christmas mantle--Silhoutte cut banner

For teacher appreciation week, I made summer trays for my son's teachers.  Here is a sample.  It simply requires Silhouette vinyl and a fun plastic tray.

Here is a Valentine's banner that I made using Silhouette heart shapes and font

We served airplane lunches at my son's airplane birthday party.  Here is a print and cut label from the Silhouette.

I made our teacher appreciation posters for my son's class in a superhero theme.  Each student signed under their superhero.

Another scripture sign example.

I got inventive and made airplane "ticket" invitations to my son's airplane party.  This is all from the Silhouette.

I put bulletin boards in our playroom and used Silhouette cut vinyl to label each with my sons' names.

I made a 4th of July hostess sign gift.

My son's held Silhouette cut letters to create this fun sign for Father's Day.

Cupcake toppers for my son's birthday party using the Silhouette print and cut.

Both Teacher Appreciation Posters here

"Flying" airplanes beneath cloud balloons.

Print and cut from the Silhouette--airplane "thank you" tags for our airplane party favors.

Airplanes print and cut to be cupcake toppers.

A canvas sign made by using Silhouette Vinyl as a die cut for me to paint

I made print and cut tags that said "Happy Trails to You!" on trail mix filled mason jars for my western themed tea table.  Each namecard was a Silhouette cut sherriff star (in front of mason jar).

This post was not endorsed by Silhouette.  I am just letting readers and friends know what I use for all my projects!  For full disclosure, I also might enter my Silhouette projects into a contest to try to win a free Silhouette--future giveaway!?
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