Have you ever taken some kind of baking or decorating class? I know that such things are offered at stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. They seem like fun, but I have never taken one from either place because I think I would get too intimidated. However, recently my mom came across a decorating class that was taking place in someone’s home close by. There would only be a few other women invited so we thought, why not?!? After all, it would be a fun mother-daughter event to celebrate Mother’s Day with.

So anyway, this decorating class was going to be adding flowers to cupcakes and making a bouquet. When we got there, the teacher was super helpful in showing us how to do three different types of flowers: a rose, a daisy, and a chrysanthemum. She went through each step carefully, and made sure we could see well what she was doing.

Having said all of that, I want to share some pictures from that night. The first is the set up. We each got five bags/tips, a spatula, tray, mixing bowl, and a flower pin (not really sure what that is called. It’s simply a baking tool that has a round flat top and a sharp tip that allows you to stick it into a piece of Styrofoam or whatever.) And frosting of course!

After going through all the demonstrations, we were able to pick out the colors we wanted. I chose green for the leaves, yellow for flower tips, white for the daisy, peach for the rose, and a dark purple for the chrysanthemum.

Now it was time to get to work! We would take our flower tip and put on a piece of (wax?) paper and go on designing our flowers. Here is my tray full of the flowers I created. There are 14 total, 2 to put on each cupcake we’d be decorating.

These beauties then headed to the freezer so that the frosting would harden, allowing the flowers to peel from the paper easily. While these froze, we set up our boxes that our bouquet would be in.

These are the cutest little things! Up top is room for the seven cupcakes. I picked out three chocolate ones and four vanilla. Then when my tray of flowers was placed back in front of me, I went to work figuring out what flowers I wanted to combine with each other for each cupcake. I then added some leaves. After all was said and done, this is my finished product:

 

Not bad for my first time! I’ve decorated (I say that loosely because it was never anything tough) cakes before, but never had made flowers. I thought the flowers turned out pretty neat, especially my daisies! And they were a lot of fun making as well! I appreciated how the instructor clearly taught us, and then remained super helpful the whole evening through.

What do you think?

This class was a lot of fun, and someday I might do some other kind of decorating class, especially if the same person is doing it. I learned a lot about techniques, gained helpful hints on making baking/decorating easier, and most importantly, I had a wonderful time with my mom!

What are some things you’ve done with your mom for Mother’s Day?

 

Mother’s Day always brings about a mix of emotions for me and so many others. For nearly four years, my husband and I tried so hard to become parents, but it just wasn’t working out. Anyone going through infertility knows the struggle they face when it comes to special occasions such as this. Not just infertile couples, but those who have lost their moms find the day bittersweet as well. Or even those whose children have left home. Mother’s Day (& Father’s Day) can just be plain tough.

What I’m about to share won’t make it any easier, but I think it needs to be said nonetheless. When we think of Mother’s Day, we think of our moms (or if we are a mom ourselves, we might think of ourselves). But it’s about more than that!

  • It’s about father’s pulling double duty
  • It’s about pregnant-for-the-first-time moms
  • It’s about angel-baby moms
  • It’s about grandmas or aunts taking over the role of mom
  • It’s about women who have a mother’s heart
  • It’s about women with biological children
  • It’s about women with adoptive children
  • It’s about women with foster children
  • It’s about step mothers
  • It’s about mothers-in-law
  • It’s about anyone assuming the role of caring for others
  • It’s about those who constantly pray for the wellbeing of children
  • It’s about those trying to become moms
  • It’s about repeat moms
  • It’s even about pet moms

Basically….THIS! I see this going around Facebook this time of year, and it is absolutely 100% truth!

With that said, to all that fit within these perimeters, Happy Mother’s Day! And please know that if you are not particularly happy this day of the year, I (and so many others) can understand.

 

In Western Michigan, springtime brings a lot of things. Mostly rain and thunderstorms, but if it wasn’t for them, it would never bring out the beautiful flowers and green grass. Springtime is a time of hope and things coming back to life. It’s also a time for the birds to grace us with their presence. Anyone who knows me knows that I love birds!

Well, one very early morning (I’m talking about before the sun rises) not too long ago, it was storming. I have a very tough time sleeping in storms so it came as a surprise to me that I was able to sleep through most of it.

However, and this is a big HOWEVER, the storms won when I was rudely awakened by this massive noise that sounded like it was literally right in my room. Of course the house shook a little bit, and I remember my first thought being, “Great. Now the boys will be up and will want to come lay by me.” I have no problem with them being scared and coming to me for comfort, but I also know that it means they aren’t getting a good night’s rest and that they might be a handful come time to get up. A few moments passed and nothing. More time passed and still nothing. Hallelujah! The boys slept through it. I’m not sure how they did, though. Like I said, it was loud!

Anyway, as I lay there, trying hopelessly to fall back asleep, I got a beautiful gift. In the midst of the rain and now lower rumbles of thunder, a bird was chirping! The song was gorgeous! It calmed me, and believe it or not, I fell back to sleep smiling!

This experience just reminds me of God in so many ways. Not just His character (being strong and mighty like the thunder, yet also sweet, comforting, and beautiful like the bird), but also His presents. It was a gift for me to hear that bird chirping away in the midst of a storm. It was a gift I got to sleep some more. It was a gift that we were all kept safe!

I am just so thankful for the springtime. I may not always like the rougher weather, but I see God in it. Same way with life. Storms will come and go; there’s no doubt about that. But I can still see God in them. Like that bird, He is there!

My mom came across a recipe she wanted to try for a get together, and it’s something so easy, so refreshing, so beautiful, that I just had to share! This would be good just at home or fun to make for a party/get together.

It’s called Broken Glass Jell-O.  Here’s a picture, as well as the recipe, taken directly from Just Jenn Recipes (www.justjennrecipes.com). Please check out her site for more pics, and definitely for more awesome recipes!

BROKEN GLASS JELL-O

Ingredients:

4 small boxes of Jell-O (3 oz), different colors
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
water

Instructions:

Dissolve each box of Jell-O separately, using just one cup of boiling water per flavor. Pour into individual containers (small Tupperware works well) and chill overnight.

Once solid, cut the flavors of Jell-O into small blocks and mix together carefully in a glass 9×13 pan.

In a separate bowl, dissolve 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin in 2 cups hot water. Let cool a bit and stir in the condensed milk. Cool to touch and pour cooled milk mixture over Jell-O and chill overnight.

Cut into squares and serve.

 

We used berry blue, lime, cherry, and grape Jell-O. The nice thing is you can use whatever four colors you want, though! It’s where you can get creative. I love recipes like that!

I loved how it turned out. We accidently didn’t cool the condensed milk, though, so we poured it over our Jell-O squares hot, which melted the top layer a bit, but it was still mostly white, and it still gave off a beautiful look. It tasted great. And it actually stuck together wonderfully.

If this is something you have tried, let me know what color combinations you choose!

For my husband’s birthday not too long ago, I decided to surprise him with a date night. He had to work all day so a night of fun and relaxation would be good for him. I didn’t want him having to wear his work clothes as we went out so I took it upon myself to pick out an outfit for him! (It didn’t work out because I failed to see the shirt I wanted him to wear had a stain on it.) Oh, well! Regardless, I picked something out and left this note on it:

It may be hard to read so this is what I wrote: Dear Jeremy, Put these on as well as your thinking cap…we’re going on a date, but you have to figure out what to do and where to go! You have 1 1/2 hours should you accept my challenge! Love, Frances

Do you think he accepted? ABSOLUTELY!

So what did we do that night? My husband LOVES going to watch movies so it came to no surprise when he said he wanted to do that, as well as get some Chinese food to eat. (Another no surprise – he loves Chinese food!) I definitely had no complaints since these also top my list of night out activities!

Anyway, we went to this fabulous, authentic, sit-down Chinese restaurant where we ordered a dinner for two. I swear that dinner could be for more, though. It comes with egg drop soup (the best, in my opinion), two egg rolls, four crab rangoons (my favorite), and then fried rice with two meat dishes. We were stuffed, but it was oh, so good!

When dinner was done, we went to watch “Beauty and the Beast.” We were hesitant at first because of a few things, but being one of the better options, why not?!??! I want to say that we were not disappointed. I think the acting was great. The singing was overwhelming at times, but you would get that with any musical. I actually had to laugh because my husband apparently didn’t remember that the original cartoon had singing. After a couple songs he asked if I knew it was a musical, and I just had to flat out tell him it’s all in the original, too!

One of the things we watched for was based on some news that had been going on around this movie. Some people were making a fuss about there being a part in the movie that would make gay people proud. I have to admit when I read that article that it turned me off from the movie a bit. NOT because I have anything against homosexuals, but because I didn’t think that would be true to the original movie, and who here likes it when things change!?!? Not me anyway! I also don’t like it when people use certain entertainment just to get their own views across. It happens a lot, though, I know.

So anyway, after watching the movie in its entirety (and I mean until the last of the credits scrolled past the top of the screen), we both came to the same conclusion: there was nothing that would have made me believe it was a moment for gay pride! In fact, had I never heard about this in the first place, I would never have once thought any of it promoted or supported homosexuals.

I share this because some of you may have heard the same thing and will not watch it now. I think it’s still worth watching! The movie was extremely well made, and I’m looking forward to when it’s on DVD so I can show the kids!

As a bonus, Ewan McGregor was in there! I had NO idea! He’ll always be Obi-Wan Kenobi to me, though!

Overall, great night. It’s fun doing surprises!

Empty tomb

Faith Blum has a new book! She wrote, edited, and published a short story in just three short days and you can now get it for free! Read on to learn more about it.

About the Book

3D ChristArose

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

No longer could I say I was lonely. But oh, how I wish I could! Who could have done such a thing to the Creator of the world? Who had so much hatred for Him?

Available for free on all eBook vendors: http://books2read.com/christ-arose

About the Author

Author Picture 2015-2016 cropped

Faith Blum is a 20-something author of multiple books in various genres. She loves to write, read, play piano, knit, crochet, sew, watch movies, and play games with her family. She lives in Wisconsin with her family on a small family farm where they raise goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and have 2 dogs and a varying number of cats.

Faith’s goal in her writing is to encourage Christians in their walk with Christ. If you enjoyed this book, go to her website to sign up for her Monthly Newsletter so you can get an email with fun facts, giveaways, and so much more every month. You will also find links to her other Social Media sites on her website. She loves to hear from her readers so feel free to contact her.

Giveaway

Christ Arose Giveaway.png

Faith is offering a really neat giveaway for this tour. The ParLaGrace etsy seller has an April special right now for a really beautifully made block that says ‘He Lives’. Isn’t it pretty? You can enter the giveaway here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt

As the day slowly drags on, more men approach. Are they here to lend aid or to harm the body of my Creator? Oh, Creator! Give me a way to defend Your Son’s body if need be!

The Jewish guards come near and take some wax and put a Roman seal on the stone. Doubly safe. No one could take my Creator’s body without facing whatever penalty the Roman’s gave. I should never have doubted You, Creator and Provider!

Two of the guards stay behind and stand on either side of the rock. As the day creeps by again, every few hours, new guards replace the ones already there.

Tour Schedule

April 22
Bookish Orchestrations-Intro Post
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima-Book Spotlight
Written Rest-Book Spotlight and Review

April 24
Leila Tualla-Book Spotlight
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae-Book Spotlight

April 25
With a Joyful Noise-Book Spotlight and Review
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Book Spotlight

April 26
Frances Hoelsma-Book Spotlight
Perpetual Indie Perspective-Book Spotlight and Review

April 27
Bookish Orchestrations-Giveaway Winner

I have been feeling so generous lately, and thought it would be a fantabulous idea to let you all in on a little secret regarding a freebie. Well, I guess it won’t be a secret any longer! (And I really didn’t want it to be a secret anyway. I want the whole world to know!)

Today, Friday, April 21, 2017, until Monday, April 24, 2017, my second novel, Next Door Neighbors, will be FREE! (The eBook version only). Yes, I know that I just had my debut novel, Growing Up Neighbors, for free not too long ago, but since that book is a different genre, I thought it would be a good idea to also try Next Door Neighbors for free.

Next Door Neighbors is my first contemporary romance. Don’t let that scare you away, though! It’s completely clean so you don’t have to worry about reading things that will make you blush or feel ashamed about. You can also feel perfectly good about sharing, which I hope you will!

One great thing about Next Door Neighbors is that it also has an underlying message of what true love is all about. It’s not something you just feel and say to one another. It’s actually something you DO! Throughout this novel, you’ll see some strong attraction, yes, but you’ll see some ways the main characters show true love.

Sweet, right? I thought so! And this is all for FREE!

I’d be so honored if you’d take a chance on me and read it! I’d be even more honored if you’d share this great news!

Oh, and one more thing. Though this is the second book in my Neighbors series, it is a completely standalone novel. You do not need to read the first book, Growing Up Neighbors, or last book, Long Lost Neighbors, (though, I hope you do!) in order to enjoy Next Door Neighbors!

Here is the book’s blurb, as well as a link on where to get your free download:

Elena Montgomery, an elderly victim of fibromyalgia, has two main loves in her life: Brian, her attractive and hard-working son; and Jill Stevens, her caring friend and next door neighbor. When Brian and Jill meet for the first time, they have a chemistry that no one can deny.

Although Jill finds herself wanting to get closer to Brian, she believes she can’t. Being hurt in the past, she vows to remain single the rest of her life, thinking it’s better not to love than to love and get burned. Brian, on the other hand, wants to get to the bottom of her fears and show her that not all men are the same. He is determined to win her trust, her heart and her hand in marriage.

Through pain, passion and pursuit, will Brian be able to prove to Jill what true love is all about?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D8XZJ1U

Image courtesy of Engedi Church

 

Every year, our church, Engedi Church, partners with the Holland, MI, community to run in the Tulip Time race. The only difference is that our church is not running for the sake of running. We are actually running for a purpose. This event is called Tread, and I’d like to share a little bit on what it’s about. All of this information was taken directly from the Engedi Church charitable fundraiser page because no one could have said it better!

 

What It’s All About

In Turkey, Guatemala, and Nepal, thousands of children lack access to basic needs, including things as simple as food, shoes, and education. As a result, there is an entire generation of children filled with the potential to do great things, yet they do not have the opportunity to develop a brighter future.

 

The Need 

  • Turkey is home to nearly 3 million people who have fled violence in Syria since 2011. Over half of these refugees are children whose families are in search of a better life, but they are currently experiencing great difficulty in providing even the most basic needs for their family.
  • Guatemala is still feeling the effects of a 36-year-long civil war. Nearly half of all children under the age of five are malnourished, 54% of the population lives below the poverty line, and access to basic resources is limited.
  • Nepal, home to the Himalaya Mountains, is one of the least developed countries in the world. Over half of the children in this area will die before the age of 8 due to severe medical, social, educational, and environmental challenges.

 

The Opportunity

On May 6, 2017, Engedi and the Holland community will partner together through Tread. Tread is an annual initiative that involves hundreds of individuals and families from Engedi who run and volunteer in the Tulip Time Run to help kids gain traction. This year, our goal is to raise $70,000 to provide: Continue reading “Tread 2017”

I’m sure that a few of you reading the title of this blog are scratching your heads, wondering what this one is all about. I promise you it’s not something weird! Mistakenly Married is actually a book! Let me share with you some things about it!

Mistakenly Married

By: Victorine E. Lieske

 

 

Penny’s gotten herself into another one of her crazy messes. She’s broke and about to be evicted. When her online boyfriend suggests they elope, she agrees. Why not? She loves him, even though she hasn’t met him, so she blows the last of her cash on a fun Las Vegas wedding. Except, William stands her up and the limo driver picks up the wrong guy. A smokin’ hot wrong guy. Too bad she doesn’t find out who he really is until after the wedding.

Harrison Williams needs a wife to gain access to his trust fund account. He goes to Las Vegas to meet someone, but there’s a mix up and he ends up at the Chapel-O-Love exchanging vows with Penny, a spirited girl in a cheap veil. When they realize the mistake, he convinces her to go back to Bel Air with him to prove that he’s married, and he agrees to pretend to be William so her family doesn’t have to know about her big mistake. Sounds like a good plan. What could go wrong?

 

If you’re into clean romances, this book is a must read! It does say on the Amazon page that it is a romantic comedy, which for those of you who like that will appreciate it all the more. However, I don’t consider it a romantic comedy myself. There was nothing that really made me laugh. But that doesn’t mean the book wasn’t good!

Quite the opposite, really. I think this book was great on many levels! I thoroughly enjoyed the character development and descriptive elements that were part of the story. Though the two main characters made a mistake, it was neat how they ended up falling in love with one another in the end. The build up of attraction and desire between the two was amazingly written!

Although I loved the ending where the two do end up together, I wish the way the book got there was different. But that’s not something I would change the rating of the book for. It’s just a personal opinion. The ending it has is still good!

Overall, Mistakenly Married is very well written! It was a fun, clean, and enjoyable read. I found myself wanting to read more each and every time I had to put it down! And, as a side note, I hear Victorine E. Lieske is kind of the queen of clean romance novels, having books on the New York Times and USA Today best sellers lists. So you know that this book is going to be good! I totally recommend reading if this is your sort of style!

 

To purchase, please visit the book’s Amazon page at:

www.amazon.com/dp/B01D3U63NG

 

 

 

This year I have been inspired to try new things, mostly in what my husband and I do on our date nights. No matter what we do, I always enjoy my time with him. However, I do want to span our horizons beyond a movie and dinner. Thankfully, my husband is more than happy AND willing to try all these new things with me!

Our 11th anniversary was just a short time ago. We made it our goal to do something different, something new. I’m excited to share with you that it was a success!! Here’s what we did!

Just recently the western Michigan area has been getting some Chick-fil-As. For some of you this is no big deal because you’ve always had them around. We, however, have not. And we really haven’t been in any areas where they were around. But we’ve sure heard about them! There is a lot of hype around their chicken and their special sauce. So because we needed someplace quick to eat, and this restaurant is now around, we decided to give it a shot.

Lol – here is a shot of me holding their cup. We actually shared a cherry coke. This after we remembered we were supposed to try their tea. Whoops! I guess we’ll have to go back and try it again!

Overall, it wasn’t a bad experience either. The sandwiches were good. The waffle fries were sure different. I’d go back again if we felt like chicken. I think the best part, though, was the sauce. OH MY GOODNESS, that sauce is really, really good! I liked dipping my fries in it, and I loved putting the remaining sauce on my sandwich!

After eating at Chick-Fil-A Continue reading “Something New”