Friday, December 2, 2016

My Insta November

pattern mixing // lavender zebra notebook from May Designs // booth at the HVM kids market!
Mocha, fluffy as always // THE MOST AMAZING DONUTS from QuackDaddy // ordering the most amazing donuts
more of the same pattern mixing because it's just SO LOVELY // my snuggly cat // layers


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gifting Books for Christmas

Gifting books to family and friends during Christmas is a tricky, tricky, very tricky thing to do. You may know someone, but may not know what types of books they appreciate reading or already own (unless you've stalked their bookshelf). Gifting books is almost like gifting home decor or clothes. Tastes are varied, preferences are set. And that book that you absolutely loved may not be something your loved one is interested in reading. The book that might have changed your life could very well not change your friend's life; that book that had tears rolling down your cheeks might not be funny to your friend because of its mild language.

Knowing this, I still decided to take the chance on gifting books for Christmas this year...but just a couple and to very select people with a very select two books: my nephew and one of my close friends. And depending on how it goes, I may not be gifting books for Christmas again! Just kidding, I'm sure it will be fine... :)

Besties by Leah Reena Goren // This book will be a gift to one of my best friends. We've known each other for eleven years now, and this year she's been the very best friend in the whole entire world. I'm so grateful for her loyal, trustworthy, fun-loving, caring friendship.

This hardcover book was released in the beginning of November and is full of illustrations of what female friendship is like, some quirky and some serious. It captures all the reasons why best friends are the best. Things like being your plus-one for parties you feel awkward about going to alone and helping you make decisions.

The book itself is simply adorable! I plan on grabbing a gold sharpie and writing little notes and memories I have with my friend in the blank space of each page to make this gift more personalized. What better time then Christmas to give a gift that's full of words of affirmation and sentimental memories?

Jesus: A 365 Devotional for Kids // This devotional will be wrapped up and gifted to my eight year old nephew. Last year, I was randomly received this kids' Bible for review purposes and sent it straight to him. He loved it! It's so kid friendly. I'm hoping this devotional will be just as kid-approved.

This is a hardcover book, almost Bible size, not pocket size like some adult devotionals. The focus of the devotional Jesus (duh!) and exposing kids to the mentions, whispers and echoes of Jesus all throughout the Bible, not just the New Testament. Each day's reading contains a Scripture verse or two, an explanation and a short prayer. The explanations seem to be on a kid level, perfect for the age group 8-12 years old.The only odd thing to me about this devotional is how the days aren't dated (January 1, 2, 3, etc), but numbered (1, 2, 3, etc). For kids, I feel like it would make more sense to have a dated devotional in case they missed a day of reading here and there.

All in all, I think this devotional (including the fun teal colored pages) will be something my eight year old nephew enjoys!


Disclaimer: Some of the books in this post were provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting Sunday Charm!

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Comfy Day Off with Cuddl Duds + Macy's

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Cuddl Duds and Macy's
but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

My current job is pretty much a dream situation. I work in my studied field - accounting - as a Controller at Central Indiana Youth for Christ three days a week. They needed to hire someone at a part-time schedule, and I was looking to detox from my very fast paced and draining two previous positions. Plus, I was considering going back to school for my master's degree (still on the table, but the timing hasn't been right).

So what do I do the other two days a week? Short answer: a lot of things! My normal routine is to sit down for a cup of coffee to ease into the day. While I sip, I either do a little reading or catch up on a TV show I might have missed the night before (I'm addicted to the new show Conviction right now!), or pay and record any bills that came in the mail that week in a little income/expense tracking calendar we use.
Wearing the Cuddl Duds leggings with pockets and the fleece hooded wrap.

After my coffee, I like to do a little light cleaning. While I'm not OCD in my need for cleanliness, I still like a generally tidy and clean house. My normal schedule is to vaccum the rugs, spot clean one of our bathrooms, collect all the trash throughout the house (in the bathrooms, we aren't pigs!), clean out the fridge of any food that has spoiled (I'm very particular about this - I can't handle mold on food), clean my cat's litter boxes and then take out all this trash. It's a pretty solid routine and helps me ease into the activity of the day.

Following a quick shower, I transition to my sewing room and start working on a custom order quilt. Occasionally, I will work as a pattern tester for someone who writes quilt patterns. A few times a year, I'll kick into overdrive and start envisioning, creating and building an inventory for a local market. And shhh! Don't tell, but I have a couple of my own quilt patterns in the works too.

Wearing the Cuddl Duds leggings with pockets and the half zip fleece hoodie.

I'll break for a quick lunch at some point, possibly add in another reading break or step outside the house to run errands, before heading back to my sewing room. When the evening strikes, sometimes I'll keep working depending on any deadline I have coming up. However, mostly I'll just pause all work, flip my sewing room light out and grab some dinner with my husband.

It sounds unbelievably laid back when I type out my day, but selecting fabric combinations, sewing quilt tops, pressing seams, and all the things that go into building a handmade side business are time consuming and a different kind of hard work. Sewing is more mental taxing than physical, for sure.

Lately, as I've been working my way through my day, I've been enjoying wearing my Cuddl Duds gear from Macy's, including my black fleeced lined leggings WITH POCKETS and my charcoal fleece wrap.

The wrap is cozy and perfect for layering in my very drafty 1940's old house. Last winter was beyond chilly and to save money, we kept the house at a very arctic 65 degrees during the times when we were home. I can't see us doing anything differently this year, and am already bracing myself for the chilly temps by investing in quality layering articles of clothing, just like these Cuddl Duds.

Macy's carries many different styles of the Cuddl Duds products, including fleece pullovers, long-sleeve tees (with thumb holes), other colors and styles of leggings (with our without pockets). Head over to Macy's and find your own cozy layers!


Friday, November 18, 2016

The Post Where I Compare Devotionals

Also, titled, "I've been binge-ing on Friends as I sew my inventory for an upcoming market and am adding "the" to my descriptions of what I do" because well, way too much Friends.

Over the last year, I've been quite lucky to try lots of new (and some tried and true) devotionals from gifts from family/friends, blogging review websites or the sale section of my favorite bookstore. Now it's time to do one big blog post summarizing what I think of each devotional and how they compare to one another.

365 Devotions for Peace by Cheri Cowell // This might be the prettiest of all the devotionals in this blog post! The hardcover is smooth and the colors are fabulous. The daily readings are broken into themes that describe times/subjects where women can struggle to feel peace; such as, justice, God, the workplace, the home, peace within ourselves, etc. I love the concept of this devotional - dwelling on the face that true peace comes from God and subtle reminders to bring that idea to application. But that's just what this devotional was to me, subtle. While many days I could gleam something from the reading, I didn't feel like it was exceptionally thought-provoking or full of enough meat for the day's message to feel like more than a feel-good moment.

Savor by Shauna Niequist // I have been a HUGE fan of Shauna's since the day I picked up her book Cold Tangerines. Her authenticity is refreshing, and I adore her writing style. That being said, I am not a big fan of this devotional. The daily readings are light and airy, with little meat on their bones, seeming more like little daily stories - albeit positive stories with a religious tone. Almost like you're spreading out an entire Christian living genre book over the course of a year - full of good things, just not quite the daily reading quality I was expecting with the label "devotional." The book itself is rather large, but with a textured cover (both of which I liked a lot). As an added bonus with this devotional, there are recipes scattered throughout.

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young // (I don't have the traditional book version.) This devotional by Sarah Young is quite powerful. People had been raving about it for years before I decided to get a copy. What's so special about this devotional? The point of view for every day's reading is from God's perspective...but not in a cheesy way. Young does a fantastic job. God has met me in the words of this devotional (and the related Jesus Always) more than I can count, filling my mind with things to ponder on-and-off during the day. I'm trying to not use the phrase "it has a lot of meat to it," but there's no better way to describe both devotionals by Young. And while I adore these devotionals, I can't speak to who Young is in real life, what kind of training or education she has, what her theology is (but I've never noticed anything she's written to be odd). This devotional gets my full recommendation!

Jesus Always by Sarah Young // This 365 day devotional was just released in October. It's a follow-up to Sarah Young's smashing success in the Jesus Calling devotional. There's not much to say because everything I feel about Jesus Calling, I feel for this devotional too. Young has a way of speaking that truly feels like it could be God speaking to the reader (in a non-heretical way). I give this devotional two thumbs up for fullness, quality and thought-provoking daily readings!

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers // This classic devotional has stood the test of time for a reason. It's been said that it's one of the most influential books in church history and Christian living. The format is easy to use, and Chambers' writing style is challenging, forceful and to the point. It's thought-provoking and perfect for a deeper moment for focusing on God in your day.

Devotions for a Deeper Life by Oswald Chambers // This new daily devotional (just released) is a collection of lesser known essays Chambers' wrote in the early twentieth century. More than seventy-five years have passed since the original publications of the essays, but that doesn't mean the words are any less truth or powerful. I am a fan of Chambers' deep and compelling writing style. The actual book is insanely pretty with a padded cover and gold lettering. While this devotional is good, and a nice alternate in my devotional arsenal, it's not my favorite one to reach for. I'd prefer either Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest or Young's Jesus Calling.

Mornings with Tozer AND Evenings with Tozer by AW Tozer // These are two separate books, one for the morning and one for the evening (duh!). Technically, both devotionals weren't written specifically to Tozer for daily devotionals, but were pieced together by editors from his writings. Having not read very much by Tozer, his name was floated around in my Christian college classes and chapels. He's been quoted, and his books have been recommended. I've found that both of these devotionals have a TON of wonderful insights and thought-provoking readings. Sadly, they are not the loveliest of all devotionals, with more of a book and less of a devotional type texture to them. The size is quite large (think small notebook size), and they are very thick. Definitely not the type of devotional that you could simply throw in your purse, which at first was a bit of a deterrent for me. However, the longer I used these devotionals, the more I appreciated how long each day's reading was. Just as would be the case with a devotional complied with CS Lewis' writings, these by Tozer have more of a deeper spiritual implication, and therefore, are longer than the ten sentence limit that would be required of a smaller sized devotionals (like the Jesus Calling/Always or similar sized books). I would rank these devotionals on the same level as the Oswald Chambers devotionals, but just under the Jesus Calling/Jesus Always duo in a list of my favorites.


Monday, November 14, 2016

No Fuss Apple Treats with Puffs Pastry Sheets

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the Puff Pastry brand,
but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

With the holiday season in full force, at least in all the stores I've shopped in within the last week, I have been working on my holiday baking. Extra points for any recipe that is truly no fuss and can be whipped together within twenty minutes. Today's recipe? Absolutely no fuss. Almost as no fuss as a recipe gets.

I love apples. Apple cider, apple muffins, apple pie, apple pie ice cream. Actually, I just found apple pie ice cream at a local place and fell in love with it. Working with my apple obsession, I thought it would be fun to make a little apple treat using the Puffs Pastry Sheets I discovered last month.

The no fuss part of this recipe all hinges around these Puffs Pastry Sheets. They are found in the freezer aisle.

What You'll Need:
- One package of Puffs Pastry Sheets
- 3 medium apples (peeled and thinly sliced)
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- One jar of caramel ice cream topping

What You'll Do:
- Thaw the pastry sheets for about 40 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Mix the cinnamon, ginger and sugar in a bowl.
- Cut a pastry sheet in small squares (size of your choice).
- Roll the edges of the pastry sheets to create a small lip.
- Arrange the thinly sliced apple slices on the pastry sheet, overlapping the slices significantly.
- Sprinkle each square with approximately 1 tablespoon of the sugary mixture you just made.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Finish off by drizzling the caramel topping over the freshly baked apple tart.

I may or may not have eaten this for breakfast one day because it was so tasty...and well, because apples make it a healthy breakfast option, right?

This recipe has been adapted from a recipe on the Puffs Pastry Sheets giant list of recipes for all meals. They've got some yummy options, so you might want to pop over and scope out what else you can make with the Puffs Pastry Sheets!

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