Thursday, 14 December 2017

12 Days of Christmas // Day 1 // Christmas in a Mug

Let the countdown begin! Can you believe it? TWELVE more days until Christmas!! Ahh...SO exciting!

Anyway...I come to you with The 12 Days of Christmas, hosted by the lovely Faith P. You can go to her blog HERE to see all the other wonderful bloggers joining us in this fun Christmas blog link up.



To kick off the 12 Days of Christmas, I'm going to start off with a Christmas gift DIY that I did this year for several presents. It's super simple, very pretty, and tons of fun too!

Christmas in a Mug


Sooooo...to start off, you are going to need: 

A Mug

Isn't this sweater mug just so cute?
 You can find a variety of Christmasy mugs at a dollar store. Heads up though, just cause it says dollar store doesn't mean it's actually a dollar xD But...they're still a pretty good price and usually pretty good quality too!
My sister and I went to the dollar store one day and came back with several types of Christmasy mugs like this one. I LOVE the sweater mug, it just looks so nice and cozy. 

A Pair of Fluffy Socks

'Cause who doesn't love a pair of fluffy socks? I think I wear these kind of socks all winter long. Lovely to snuggle up with a warm cup of something hot, a blanket, a book, and these oh so soft and fluffy socks!

A Candy Bar
Any candy bar works just fine! Kit Kat, Snickers, Mars Bar, etc. For this mug, I'm using a Coffee Crisp, but I also grabbed a couple Kit Kats for other mugs. 
A Variety of Chocolates
Choice of chocolate is completely up to you! To make it more Christmas-y, you can grab chocolates that are wrapped holiday style. And really, Bulk Barn is the place to go, y'all! I seriously love that place.
Peppermint Hersheys. SO good. And the wrappers add great colour to the mug!
Ooh, and these darling chocolates-wrapped-like-presents. Perfect for the theme!
Aaaand, almond Hersheys. Course...the wrapper again. Gold accents - perfect. 
Candy Canes
Just some mini candy canes to stick randomly in the cup. I was aiming for a heart...but it wouldn't really stay xD
(proof of this later on)
Other Small Gifts
Totally optional, but if you want to add even more to your mug, you can always grab other small gifts like gift cards or lip balms. One of my students from my English class makes and sells lip balms (her strawberry scented ones are THE BEST) so I bought several from her to use as filling in my mug. And I also got a Tim's card to slip in as well.
One Big, Glorious, Red and White Peppermint Stick

Ok so! To assemble the mug, you're first gonna take your oh-so-fluffy socks and lay 'em out flat. Then put the candy bar on one end and roll it up! Then squish it into the mug so that it fills it perfectly! 
Then stick the gift card in the back and the big peppermint stick next to the candy bar. 
Now for the mini candy canes. As you can see here, I attempted the heart and it didn't look TOO bad...
But then they closed together because yep, that's what they wanted to do. I "sprinkled" both types of Hersheys into the cup, but I will admit, I did a teeeeny bit of rearranging because some of the colours were clumping together. 

Then to finish it off, add the chocoate presents. 

And voila! You're done! 


And that wraps it up for today! Hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you've ever tried this before! 

Don't forget to check by Faith's blog for more Christmas posts by a bunch of awesome bloggers! 

12 Days to Go!!! 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Christmas Comes Early Blog Tour


Christmas tour 

Christmas time is here! Okay, so not quite yet. It's still over a month away, but that doesn't mean we can't start celebrating early, right? So today, we're celebrating the release of not one, not four, but eight new Christmas books! All written by Rebekah A. Morris. I'll be spotlighting two of her books today and you can find out more about the others as you follow the tour.

About the Books


          

  A Christmas Disaster

As the students of Coolidge High School prepare for their annual Christmas play, excitement mounts. Performed at the local theater, the play, with the students in complete charge of, the performances have become a tradition in town. Everything is going well until the morning of the final performance when calamity hits. Should the students cancel the final performance or try to turn the disaster into something good?











Christmas Smiles

This was Lana’s second Christmas without her parents, who had died in an accident, and she was sure it would bring nothing but tears, because she and her aunt couldn’t seem to get along. When a frightening experience occurs, Lana, her cousin, and her aunt and uncle find unexpected cause for smiles.






About the Author

Rebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great War, The Unexpected Request, Gift from the Storm, and her bestselling Triple Creek Ranch series. Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn't’ writing, include reading and coming up with dramatic and original things to do. The Show-Me state is where she calls home.






~ Christmas Smiles ~

This story was a delightful read! It definitely doesn’t start off as one of those stereotypical Christmas stories where there’s jingle bells and hot cocoa and soft fluffy snow and everyone’s happy and joyful. Quite the opposite really. Laina is struggling through some difficulties in her life and everything just seems to be in an utter disaster. She isn’t happy in the slightest with her aunt and she is even contemplating moving away to live with her grandmother - if her grandmother can even be located. 

But then just when she doesn’t think the day could get worse, something happens leaving her and the rest of her family in shock. As they all recuperate from the sudden event, Laina learns that all the while, God had a plan for her and, as things are revealed, she is able to understand the reason for certain circumstances. 

I think one of the things I loved most about this story was how Laina was struggling to understand why her aunt was so “mean” to her and then finally figuring it all out and it just making so much more sense. It reminds me of how we all struggle through life trying to seek understanding when, instead, we could just hand it over to God and trust Him because He already knows what’s going on. So no matter how hard it might be, we can just keep smiling because God is in control!


“Life was certainly a mess. It wasn’t anything like she had read in storybooks” ~ Christmas Smiles

~ A Christmas Disaster ~ 

Ahh! Ok this story…the characters! The descriptions! Everything! Rebekah has this amazing way of writing stories that literally stick in your mind. The story is almost like a moving picture when you read it; everything is so vivid and clearly described. 

The students of Coolidge High School are putting together the biggest theatre production they have ever made and goodness, is a lot of work going into it! At first, everything is running smoothly, but then, on the last day, disaster strikes and the whole play is left leaning precariously on the edge of being cancelled. 

If there’s one thing you learn from this story, it’s perseverance. Even though it seemed impossible to continue the play, the students were determined to try their best to keep it going. They set their minds on it and worked harder than they had ever worked before, even though they didn’t know whether it would actually be successful. If there’s a will…there is definitely a way. 



“Whew!” Derek sighed. “There’s no way I want to be an actor now! It’s hard enough running backstage.” ~ A Christmas Disaster 

Tour Schedule


November 13
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Kaylee's Kind of Writes – Book Spotlight
Resting Life – Review and Excerpt
Perry Elisabeth – Excerpt
Rachel Rossano's Words – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 14
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Odelia's Blog – Author Interview and Book spotlight
Bryce’s Creative Writing Corner – Author Interview, Review, and Excerpt
Counting Your Blessings One by One – Review and Excerpt
Perpetual Indie Perspective – Book Spotlight

November 15
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Whimsical Writings for His Glory – Author, Review, and Excerpt
Maidens for Modesty – Author Interview and Review
The Destiny of One – Book Spotlight
Rebekah Ashleigh – Book Spotlight
Stephany's BLOG Snippets – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 16
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Laurel's Leaves – Author Interview
Stories by Firefly – Review
Claire Banschbach – Author Interview
Kelsey's Notebook – Review and Excerpt
Jaye L. Knight – Book Spotlight and Excerpt

November 17
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight from the author
Ruffles and Grace – Book Spotlight
With a Joyful Noise – Book Spotlight
Bookish Orchestrations – Closing Post

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Where Dandelions Grow - Book Release


*throws confetti* Where Dandelions Grow is being released.......TODAY!!!!! Woo hoo! I was honoured to be asked to read Miss Lydia Howe's darling book so today I get to share my review with you!


⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Where Dandelions Grow is an absolutely charming little novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has also given me a wild desire to start a cafe/bookstore of my own. I mean, when I read about Noveltea, oh my goodness, I couldn’t (and still can’t!) think of anything better I would LOVE to do! I mean ahhhhh! Books? And coffee? And baked goods? In the same place??? *hugs self in delight* Seriously, if you can find a way to also add music performance or something in that, it literally could not get any better xD 

Ok ok enough ranting about that darling Noveltea (and isn’t that name just sooooo charming??) The characters! My favourite is probably Lexie because she’s so darling and understanding and she loves writing and is cheery and cares for others and yeahhhh. And *potential spoiler* when all the cousins get together and meet up and reminisce about the past, it’s so sweet! 

And don’t think this story doesn’t come without lessons. It does! And some very good lessons too, I might add. The author does a very good job in adding lessons to the overall theme of the book. And not in a “preachy” kinda way either. Ms. Howe incorporates it into a character’s life struggles, making it very realistic and relatable. 

Favourite Quote: “Learn to not dwell on the past, to live in today, not yesterday. When the memories feel like they’re going to consume you, make the decision to push the hurt out of your mind. Even though it will be hard, practice forgiving quickly and from the heart. Be willing to reach out and take the first; always take the higher road…Fill all of your actions with love.” ~ Mrs. Reed, Where Dandelions Grow. 

I would definitely recommend this book to people of all ages! 

** I received an ARC copy from the author in exchange for my honest review

Find on Goodreads 

Find on Amazon




~ About the Author ~



Lydia Howe (aka Aidyl Ewoh) is a twenty-something adventurous author who enjoys hiking in the mountains of Asia and South America, building life-size models of dinosaurs, taking road trips across Europe and cooking for large crowds. 

Lydia grew up in a barn and has always dreamed of living in a tipi. She is trained as a John Maxwell coach and her passions include self-development and Christian apologetics. One of her life-long dreams was realized when her first book, “Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl”, was published by Answers in Genesis in 2013. Her second book, “Action Kids’ Club” was published in November of 2014. Find her online at https://lydiahowe.com/




Have you read Where Dandelions Grow yet? (If you haven't...well, you know what you gotta do! ;)) 

P.S. Check out her blog HERE to read her post and enter in a fun giveaway!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Goodbye Summer ☀️

Summer is over...and it feels like it's gone by WAY too fast. But *sigh* all the memories we made! It's been amazing ^_^

Also...some of you might have noticed I stopped doing the monthly highlights posts over the summer. *guilty grin* I'm gonna try to continue it over the fall...but this summer was just SO busy I didn't have time to do it. So count this post as a highlight of the WHOLE summer. Which means it's probably gonna be super long, so if you wanna skim over it, don't worry - I won't feel bad ;)


// Church Job.

One of the major things that took up a lot of my summer was the job I accepted at my church. Guess what? Working 30 hours in 7 weeks and working 30 hours a week for 7 weeks are two very different things. Who knew? ;P So my summer was pretty much taken up with this as it was a Tuesday-Friday job working 9-5. BUT it all worked out in the end and I'm so glad I was able to do it. Definitely helped me grow a bit closer to the church and the people there. Some of the highlights of that job...

- meeting the other summer workers. They're pretty awesome people ;)

- helped at my first VBS ever. And I don't mean just helped lead a group of kids. I mean the prep behind it. ALL of it. It is absolutely, completely eye-opening to see all the work that goes behind setting up a camp. I saw and did a lot...and I don't think that was even half of everything! There was still the worship rally prep, and finding people, and organizing snacks, and etc. I just helped with the decorations and the setting up teams. Mainly the decorating though. Two full weeks just decorating. It was space themed. Lots of stars. And paint. And Pinteresting xD


My attempt at galaxy flags.

Whew. Ok. Sooooo....cutting out stars...there were a lot of stars. Like. A LOT. Hundreds upon hundreds. And I'm not even exaggerating. My fingers were cramping after that. And then I had to write over 50 thank you cards xD  





I wrote on rubber balls!! It was weirdly satisfying... :P




- cleaning classrooms. I think the hardest one was probably the toddler room. Had to wipe down every. single. toy. Do you know how many toys were in there? And the blocks 😶


This was only one corner. Of one room. Of TWO rooms that made up the toddler area. A lot of toys, I tell ya

Oh yeah and this really weird Shrek outfit that I found in a bag of dress-up clothes. To be honest...I think it's a little too scary to be in the toddler room. Or that could just be me. 
- Sports Camp. Not my absolute favouritest camp...I broke up more fistfights than I'd like to admit. BUT, despite the tons of tears and finding myself in the depths of despair sometimes... I made friends. And I was even able to witness to someone after one of the aforementioned fights.

- Meeting the youth pastor’s new baby…9 hours after he was born. Seriously, this was probably one of my absolute favourites of the summer…and it wasn’t even part of the job. He was SO cute and seeing first time parents with their baby is so. adorably. sweet. I got to watch the parents learn how to swaddle a child and the father was telling me about the first diaper change…it was so cute. I guess having so many siblings and seeing so many babies has kinda made me take for granted babies. When I get a new sibling, sure there’s the joy and happiness, but it’s also just like “Oh yeah…totally normal.” Seeing these first time parents though really opened my eyes and appreciate babies even more. And oh boy haha. The drive to the hospital was quite interesting. So basically how it went was on Thursday night, us summer workers found out that the baby was on the way. Friday morning, we got news that Baby had been born at 3 in the morning and we were invited to come over to the hospital to visit. So after getting some work done at the church, the two guys (whom shall remain unnamed, let’s just call them K and C) and I got ready to head over to the hospital. C thought it would be a good idea to pick up a helium balloon so we went over to the dollar store first. After a lot of thought and looking through almost all the balloons seems like (turns out boys can take about as long as girls do choosing things ;)) we decided on a balloon that said “Happy 0th Birthday”. C was just killing himself laughing over that and kept saying “He’s only 0! Can you believe it, you guys? He’s 0!!” :P We FINALLY made it to the hospital and ahhhhh. Holding newborn babies is just PRECIOUS. He was sooo cute and so perfect and *happy sigh* Thank you, God, for giving us babies. 

Oh and haha, funny story. While I was holding the baby, he threw up a teensy bit and I asked for a blankie to clean him up. K instantly got up from the seat he was sitting on and said “Ok this I have to see. How are you not freaking out right now?” xD 

Hehe…C and I probably took advantage of K that day. Honestly, he didn’t know much about babies at all. C and I were joking about how Baby had been pretty much just swimming for 9 months and K just looked up startled and was like “How did he breathe??” And oh boy…when he asked what a placenta was and how it worked and all... I tried explaining and then had to stop cause he was starting to look kinda sick xD 

- Taking inventory of the library 
Went through ALL the books in the church library to take stock of what we had and what was missing. Thank goodness I had my friend to help me out there. It was WAY more fun being able to do it with someone 😄


- Basketball Tournament, Pool Party, Water Day
These were fun youth events to help out at! The Basketball Tournament was…welll…yeah. I was the only girl there and I hadn’t even planned on staying anyway. I pretty much just hid in the kitchen cause I don’t like basketball and I’m super shy xD And just saying, trying to bake cookies in a church overrun with teenage boys is HARD. I mean, I guess it’s a good thing cause it means they liked them, but still. I was trying to save them for snack, peoples! I was so desperate I hid the cookies in a cupboard because they were disappearing at such a frightening rate :P 

// Family Trip to Cape Charles, Virginia! 
Pictures here: Family Vacation

// Adventure Camp 2017

Best. Week. Ever.

There’s just something about spending a whole week with your friends. Definitely something to treasure. And we made so many good memories *hugs self in delight* 

Woot woot RED TEAM!! 😄

My best friend and I were put on the same team…we were so incredibly happy. Seriously, when we found out, we had to go outside and just dance - we were so excited. Squealing and jumping up and down…literally. It wasn’t just some sort of ‘put in asterisks’ kind of thing. We were literally, real life going crazy with joy xD 

The third person on our team was a new guy but we went together a LOT better than I expected. We communicated really well and worked together and listened to each other and yeah. I was really blessed with my team 😌


We had a hayride, and ran up a very, very big hill, attempted a lip-sync battle (and kinda failed at it xD), wove milk-bag mats, learned about Paul and his missions, played a new game called “The Lord’s Army” (created by the camp director…it was amazing and SO much fun), and sang some AWESOME songs. The “My God” song is a twist on “My God is So Big”. A HUGE twist, I might add. When I first heard it, my eyes nearly popped out, I just totally wasn’t expecting it. But it is SO much fun to dance to…I think it’s a camp favourite now. 

My God

He is the Light

Follow Him

Besties 💕
On Thursday, we also have a camp cheer, so on Wednesday, Livs, Daniel, and I gathered on Facebook and started brainstorming. I will admit, we probably did more joking and teasing and laughing than we did writing a cheer. BUT we ended up with a cheer ready for Thursday and we won too! So yippee!! :D 

We also had a falconry show and goodness was that man funny. And his winks! Oh goodness…we were all positively dying. Let me see if I can find a GIF for you. 
































There. Literally. That's what his winks were like xD (Also no clue why there are two GIFs showing up...but better two than none I suppose :P)


And I got to hold an owl. They’re not my favourite birds, I’ll admit, but the EYES. They were so yellow and bright and big they almost seemed unreal. 

Ah yes. And this picture shows the view I had during a game of leader hide and seek where all the leaders hid and the campers had to find them. I sat in a patch of goldenrod. For 45 minutes. It rained. I kept sitting. No one found me.
xD
OH. And of course...Water Day. 'Cause no camp is complete without a water day. SO. MUCH. FUN. We all got very nice and wet and we had an awesome rapidfire slidedown with all the leaders. Ya know how people set up long tarps on a hill and cover it in soap and water? Well that's what we had, with leaders going down about two seconds after each other. It was very fun. And we only had a pile-up once :P I will say though, the day after, I discovered a lot of bruises on my legs, knees, and FEET (cause yes, apparently feet can bruise. A lot xP)

All the Head Leaders on the last day. Exhausted but alive ;)

Last picture on the last day of the last camp of the summer :'(
Next year can we make it two weeks maybe? ;) 
So yeah! Adventure Camp 2017 was a complete blast and we made a lot of memories. With best friends, old friends, and new friends. Can't wait for next year!! :D 

// Complete Summer Randomness

Made a lot of cookies this year ^_^

Toblerone's birthday cake. I'll leave ya to guess how old he turned ;) 


This dear girl started working at Timmie's. I got to train her ;)
#sistersforlife

CANADA DAY!!!  150 years...woo hoo!!! 

I dyed my hair....
It was with chalk. It was completely for fun. It washed out. It also wasn't that bright xD It was SUPPOSED to be pink...but dying dark hair pink isn't the easiest thing in the world. Honestly, Tiger Lily and I were trying so hard to get the colour to show and we started using the other hair chalks in the set to see if those would work... and by the time we finished, I had blue, green, purple, and pink in my hair. And it looked more red than anything else xD But we had fun. That's what matters. 😂

My attempt at capturing the golden light and completely failing with these wackos ;P 

Oh yeahhhh and I got my braces off!!! *cheers*

// Friends
Ok so...while this was probably the hardest years with people I've ever experienced in my 17 years...I'd say it was also THE best year of friends ever. Seriously. We grew closer not only as friends, but as sisters in Christ. We shared laughs and tears, we danced and prayed, we had endless supplies of hugs (btw as awesome as "virtual hugs" or "ghost hugs" are...real hugs are waaaayyy better ;)) and We. Made. Memories. Memories that will forever remain in my heart. Memories that we'll look back on years down the road and have fun reminscing.

I just love making memories, don't you? 💜 💛 💚 💙 ❤️

Our lovely, sweaty selves after a water fight at the park. Fun times, y'all ;)




Surprise!! Tiger Lily and I planned a secret visit and we drove down and caught them completely by surprise ;) And then helped make curtains xD And also talk (lots and lots of talking) and eat lunch and then explore the town and just have a ton of fun!

Girl date at Starbucks! #mochafrappsarethebest 

Watching WCTH!!! FINALLY! ❤️
Bring-Your-Friend-To-Work Day! K so...it's not actually a thing, but it totally should be. Since I was at church working, Livs came down with me one day to help me take inventory of the library. So we got a whole awesome day together and then came home to find out that our younger siblings had made an awesome gooey monkey bread for dessert ^_^

MONKEY BREAD 😋


Sleepover night during Adventure Camp! 
Baking late at night makes for some...um..very interesting times. Very. Lots of giggles.
Lots of music. And dancing. And more giggles. End result was Cookies-made-with-lots-of-love.
The best kind really ;)

Bed time! Kinda. Not really xD 

Oooohhhhh this was fun xD We had a mini photo shoot...and someone had the brilliant idea to try and capture all of us jumping at the same time in mid-air on the trampoline. Problem #1. There was no one to take the picture so the camera was on a timer. Problem #2. The trampoline had been moved a considerable distance away from the deck because the boys had been lawn mowing. Problem #3. You literally had to leap into the trampoline to get in. So basically...one of us (guess who...yep, yours truly) had to press the shutter, run across the lawn, leap into the trampoline, get up, and then jump with everyone else when the light went off. In 10 seconds. 

Hey. We tried it. The first time, I set the timer, ran across the yard, leaped....and landed on my stomach. Half in and half out of the trampoline #fail And when we jumped...well...as you can see in the below photo...we weren't zactly synced :P 


Or in this one either for that matter...

Fast forward about 3 or 4 more photos...and yep. None of them worked :P It's HARD, I tell ya! Oh well. We tried it. And it was funny. Maybe one day we'll get it ;) 


Love these girls so so much 💕
#friendsforever #sistersinchrist #besties

// Music

This summer I have listened to ... a LOT of music. My friend and I made a whole playlist and there's about 50 songs on there. And that wasn't even all the music I listened to. However, these 4 are some of my absolute favourites, especially Thy Will. 💕

Thy Will

No Matter What

You're Not Alone

Whole Heart


// Life Lessons

God. Is. In. Control. He was, he is, and he shall forever remain in control.

I think one of the biggest things I've struggled with over the summer is learning to just lean on God, trust in Him, and believe that he will do what he thinks is right when he wants.

I've battled with thoughts...been tempted to just give in and let the horrid thoughts take root and become words and actions. "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" - Proverbs 4:23

I've demanded justice. I've wanted to make things right and make sure that people knew the right thing. "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."" - Romans 12:19

I've felt completely helpless. I've despaired. "But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak." - Isaiah 40:31

And God's shown me, either through His word or through my family and friends, that you know what...it's not about me. All I've been doing is thinking about myself. "I think..." or "I wish..." or "I want to do this...". I, I, I, I, I. Getting to be pretty self-centered *shakes finger at self disapprovingly*

It's time to hand things over to God. Let him do his amazing work and stop trying to take matters into my own hands. And it can be hard to let things go and hand it over just like that. But I'm gonna keep on praying and I'm gonna let the Spirit work in my heart. Because God is in control. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


And that about wraps up my summer! It wasn't EVERYTHING that happened...I'll spare you from that. You'd be here at least a week if I did that ;) But this pretty much sums it up. I can't wait to be able to re-read this post a couple years or maybe even just a year from now 😄 I love memories. Making them and remembering them. It was a good season. 

Goodbye, Summer ☀️




Do you like making memories?
What's one of your favourite memories from Summer 2017?
You ready for fall?