Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Christmas Cranberry Cake

Christmas Cranberry Cake - Simple and Delicious 6 Ingredient, Made-from-Scratch Holiday Cake Recipe - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Tis the season for baking, desserts, and...cranberries! 

When I saw this 6 ingredient, made-from-scratch cake, I knew that I had to try it.  It is so simple to make and the end result is the perfect combination of sweet and tart.

Christmas Cranberry Cake - Simple and Delicious 6 Ingredient, Made-from-Scratch Holiday Cake Recipe - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

This post contains affiliate links where we may make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link.  See our disclosure for more information.


Christmas Cranberry Cake
(Original recipe from Barefeet In The Kitchen)

Ingredients:

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups all purpose flour (or 100% whole wheat pastry flour - Bob's Red Mill is my favorite)
12 oz. fresh cranberries

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter.

2.  Beat eggs and sugar for 5-7 minutes on low.  Mixture will thicken slightly and close to double in size.

3.  Add butter and vanilla; beat for 2 minutes.  Add flour and mix until just combined.  Stir in cranberries.

4.  Place batter evenly into greased 9x13 baking dish.  Bake for 40-50 minutes until edges are golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

5.  Cool completely before cutting and serving.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Note:  If you want to be able to make this amazing cake throughout the year, buy several bags during the holiday season and freeze them. 

Christmas Cranberry Cake - Simple and Delicious 6 Ingredient, Made-from-Scratch Holiday Cake Recipe - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

I made this especially for my husband because he loves cranberries so much.  Well, he took one bite and wanted to eat the whole cake.  I'll admit that the kids and I felt the same way!  I'll definitely be taking this to our family's Thanksgiving...and probably Christmas too.

It's the perfect holiday treat - sweet, simple, and everyone loves it!  Happy baking and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Advent Wreath Craft

Family Advent Wreath Craft - Celebrate and prepare for Advent and Christmas together as a family by making this fun craft with your kids (complete with retractable flames!).  Links to daily prayers and devotions included! - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Advent starts on this Sunday!

Advent is a time to prepare our hearts, minds, and souls for Christ coming as a Baby at Christmas and for His Second Coming at the end of time.  So Advent is a great time of joy and penitence, which is represented in the Advent Wreath.  (The purple candles symbolize penitence and the pink one joy.) 

I believe getting your kids involved in the details, like making your Advent Wreath together, will help them to remember, learn, and get excited about growing closer to God as a family.

So here is a fun Advent Wreath craft I created that you can all make and use together (since it has retractable flames!).  Then, below I have listed a great resource of daily devotions and prayers to go along with your Advent Wreath!

Family Advent Wreath Craft - Celebrate and prepare for Advent and Christmas together as a family by making this fun craft with your kids (complete with retractable flames!).  Links to daily prayers and devotions included! - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Below I have posted some affiliate links, which means that I may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking on those links. Please see the disclosure page for more info!

Family Advent Wreath Craft

Time needed:  30-45 minutes (1-2 adults with toddler/preschooler/kid assistance)

Materials needed:

Green tissue paper (2 sheets) - they do not have to be the same shade of green!
Green construction paper (1 sheet)
Purple construction paper (2 sheets)
Pink construction paper (1 sheet)  (You can get all three colors you need in this pack)
4 long yellow pipe cleaners (12 inches long, like these ones)
4 empty cardboard toilet paper rolls (or 2 empty cardboard paper towel rolls cut in half)
Masking tape
Scissors
Glue
Stapler (optional)

Wreath Directions:

1.  Fold the green construction paper in half lengthwise.  Cut in a straight line along the fold. You will only need 1 of these pieces.

2.  Take that piece of green construction paper and fold in half lengthwise again.  Cut in a straight line along the fold.  You should now have two long, thin pieces of green construction paper.

3.  Take both pieces of paper and glue or staple the ends together so you have one very long, skinny piece of green construction paper.  This is the base of the wreath.  Set aside to dry.

4.  Take the green tissue paper, and fold in half twice so it is close to the shape of a square.  Cut along all of the folds.  You should have 4 squares.  Cut each square into thirds.  Then, cut each third into thirds.  (I placed each of the 4 large squares on top of each other and then cut them all at together - this saves a lot of time!)  Repeat for the second piece of tissue paper.  You should yield 36 squares per sheet of tissue paper so 72 squares total.  (Don't worry about the cuts being even or straight - it does not need to be perfect!)

Family Advent Wreath Craft - Celebrate and prepare for Advent and Christmas together as a family by making this fun craft with your kids (complete with retractable flames!).  Links to daily prayers and devotions included! - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com


5.  Gently crinkle all of the tissue paper squares.  It worked best for us by pinching the middle and then crinkling the edges (so it kind of looked like a flower).  But you really can't go wrong!


Family Advent Wreath Craft - Celebrate and prepare for Advent and Christmas together as a family by making this fun craft with your kids (complete with retractable flames!).  Links to daily prayers and devotions included! - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

6.  Lay out the long green construction paper.  Starting about one half inch from one end, vertically draw a line of glue, and set 3 of the crinkled tissue paper squares on it.  Continue doing this all the way down the green construction paper, keeping the crinkled paper squares tight together, until you get to about one half inch from the other end.  Save 3 crinkled tissue paper squares.

7.  Staple or glue together the ends of the construction paper to form a circle.  Once dry, draw a line of glue over the seam and use your 3 saved pieces of crinkled construction paper to cover it.  Let the wreath dry.

Candle Directions:

1.  Fold each pipe cleaner in half and twist the folded end. 

2.  Place a piece of masking tape over the opening of each toilet paper roll.

3.  Using the wire end of the piper cleaners, poke two holes fairly close together in the center of the masking tape on the toilet paper rolls.  Stick one end of each pipe cleaner in each hole.  Gently move the pipe cleaner up and down in the tape til it moves fairly easily.  (It should look like the picture below - except I twisted my pipe cleaner later!)  Set aside.

Family Advent Wreath Craft - Celebrate and prepare for Advent and Christmas together as a family by making this fun craft with your kids (complete with retractable flames!).  Links to daily prayers and devotions included! - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

4.  Fold the pink and purple construction paper sheets in half.  Cut in a straight line along the folds.  (See the piece of pink construction paper in the picture above for the approximate size.)  You will only need 1 of the pink rectangles and 3 of the purple ones.

5.  Wrap one piece around the toilet paper roll so the bottom of the construction paper and the bottom of the toilet paper roll line up (the twisted pipe cleaner end is the top).  The construction paper will be significantly taller than the toilet paper roll.  This is what you want - then you will not be able to see the cardboard!

6.  However, there was quite a bit of excess of construction paper vertically so I trimmed mine.  (Feel free to leave the excess if you want.)  Then, draw a line of glue along the long, trimmed edge of the construction paper and glue the ends together forming a cylindrical candle around the toilet paper roll.  (You do not have to actually glue it to the toilet paper roll.)  Hold until dry.  Repeat for each candle.

7.  Push each yellow pipe cleaner down into the candle so that it can't be seen (but you can still easily reach it!).

Family Advent Wreath Craft - Celebrate and prepare for Advent and Christmas together as a family by making this fun craft with your kids (complete with retractable flames!).  Links to daily prayers and devotions included! - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Your Advent Wreath:

Now, you're ready!  Place the candles freely and evenly along the inside edge of the wreath in a place of prominence in your house, like your dining room table.  Every week, you light one candle by pulling up the yellow pipe cleaner.

The candles are lit in this order: purple, purple, pink, purple (on Nov. 29th, Dec. 6th, 13th, and 20th).

Family Advent Wreath Craft - Celebrate and prepare for Advent and Christmas together as a family by making this fun craft with your kids (complete with retractable flames!).  Links to daily prayers and devotions included! - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com


Daily Advent Reflections and Prayers for:

Week 1  -  Week 2  -  Week 3  -  Week 4  


We are very excited to celebrate this Advent by growing closer to Jesus through prayer, fasting, and good works together as a family!  

May God bless us and draw us all closer to Him this Advent and Christmas Season!
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You may also like:

Printable Advent Wreath Banner


http://www.sweetlittleonesblog.com/2014/12/diy-felt-nativity-scene.html
DIY Felt Nativity Scene for Kids




Are you looking to link up with Tuesday Talk?

Head on over the next post...
It features several posts on how to 
celebrate and prepare for Advent as a family! 
Today, I'm linking up with 
my link party Tuesday Talk along with my 12 other awesome hosts
and with these awesome parties :)

Celebrating Advent with Your Family Features (Tuesday Talk #47)

Welcome to Tuesday Talk!

Advent begins this Sunday, November 29th!  

Advent is a time of quiet preparation in our hearts and minds for the coming of the Son of Man at the end of time and also as a Child on Christmas Day.  We are very excited to use this time as a family to grow closer to Jesus through prayer, fasting, and good works!


This past weekend, we got an early start by making our own kid-friendly Advent Wreath (with retractable flames!).  We have an actual Advent Wreath, but I really wanted to make one with the kids too.  I think that the more they get to be involved in the details, the more they'll remember, learn, grow, and have fun this Christmas season.  (Here is how we made ours!)


We're planning on having a Jesse Tree together as a family as well.  We got this awesome book Our Family's Jesse Tree that has a devotion, activity, and ornament each day.  It's simple, inexpensive, and very family-oriented.  This is something new for us, so I know we're going to learn a lot!

We will also be celebrating saint's feast days, such as St. Nicholas Day on December 6th.  These holy men and women loved Jesus with all their hearts, minds, and souls.  So their love-filled words and actions point us towards Him whom they loved so deeply - Christ. 

I'm very excited to begin this Advent season - I know it will deepen our Faith as a family!


Now, for the Tuesday Talk features!


There were several great posts relating to the spirit of Advent from last week's link up.  So here are my favorites to help you and your family prepare your hearts and minds for Christ's Nativity in just a few short weeks:


Preparing for Advent with Kids by Keri at Living In This Season

Keri has some great tips on how to be prepared for this upcoming Advent.  I think my favorite one is to be realistic and give yourself grace in the moment.  Remember what this season is all about: preparing for Christ!




It's too late to participate in Operation Christmas Child for this year, but she lays out great tips on getting ahead for next year.  But I also think these are great tips for buying for anyone in need, such as families at homeless shelters.  And that is something that would be wonderful to do not just at Christmas, but year-round.



Five Favorite Acts of Kindness by Holly at While I'm Waiting

Holly talks about several fun, easy, and cheap (or free!) ways to spread love and kindness around.  The best part is that they are all things you can do with your kids.  What a great way to involve your whole family in cultivating hearts of generosity and charity this Advent!


So what do you and your family do during Advent to prepare for Christ's Nativity?  


Happy Thanksgiving and have a blessed start to Advent! 



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Delicious Dessert Recipes – Buckeye Brownie Cookies, Buckeye Cocktails, Pumpkin Coffee Cake, Chocolate and Oats Muffins, Snickers Poke Cake, and Fluffy Pumpkin Spice Cookies –Tuesday Talk Features – www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
(Starting from the upper left:)
 
Beth - Our Pretty Little Girls ~ Michelle - Grammie Time
Keri - Living In This Season  ~ Christina - Waltzing In Beauty
Lauren - Simply Free Becky - BYBMG
Jess and Katie - Sweet Little Ones ~ Whitney - Polka Dotty Place
Laura - Life Is Beautiful ~ Elizabeth - All Kinds Of Things
Sarah - Abiding In Grace ~ Stephanie - Wife Mommy Me
Emily - Morning Motivated Mom

Sweet Little Ones - Tuesday Talk Link Up and Party

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You may also like:

http://www.sweetlittleonesblog.com/2014/12/diy-felt-nativity-scene.html




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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Most Important Mission: Love


I've never been on a mission trip.  But I do live a mission everyday.

It's not as life changing as taking care of orphans in a foreign country or teaching Christianity in far off lands.  Those missions are amazing, and God calls certain people to that kind of service and sacrifice.  But that doesn't mean that the rest of us aren't called to important missions as well.

For 15 years, my mission was to help my patients at my dental office.  I didn't just beautify smiles and teach adults and kids how to brush and floss.  Sometimes, when I would lean that chair back, I became like a therapist, an ear to listen.  So many people just need someone to listen to them and to show them that they truly care.  I didn't always succeed, but I tried very hard to treat every single one of my patients as a fellow human being and not just a set of teeth in my chair!

I'm also a missionary to my children.  To teach them about the Faith through my words and actions.  To raise them to be loving and holy men and women of God by reading them Bible stories, teaching them how to pray, loving their father, being thankful even when times are tough, living a joyful life in the midst of messy rooms and little sleep, and so much more.

But in all honesty, I'm called to be a missionary to everyone in my life!  My family, my friends, my co-workers, and everyone I come in contact with.   

And so are you!

I believe that every single one of us is called to be a loving Christian example to all of those we meet.  What better way to lead others to Jesus than through our actions?  It could be anything from helping a friend get through a crisis to thanking the grumpy sales clerk with a smile.  In this way, we embody the love of Christ.

We are all called to different missions, but in the end, no matter where we're sent or what we're called to do, every single one of us is under the same mission, His mission: 
 
to bring our fellow man to His Son Jesus Christ through words and acts of love. 
 
This was very important for me to hear and understand as a new stay-at-home mom.  It's easy to get lost in the everyday monotony of making meals, changing diapers, and cleaning up messes.  How is this mission of mine important? is something I would consistently wonder.
  
What makes my mission important isn't what I'm called to do or where I'm called to do it.  That is just what makes it uniquely mine.

What makes my personal mission important is my goal and how I live it: leading my children to Christ by a loving example.
    
Like St. Thérèse of Lisieux said:  My vocation is love.
How true that is for every single one of us. 

Photo by my lovely friend Amanda Jo


So to all my fellow missionaries wherever you're stationed at this very moment:  
may we live out our missions with holiness, love, and fervor for the glory of His Name!


               


Are you looking to link up with Tuesday Talk?
Head on over the next post!


Today, I'm linking up with 
my link party Tuesday Talk along with my 12 other awesome hosts,
Andrea at Momfessionals for Show and Tell Tuesday: Share Your Mission,
and with these awesome parties :)


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