Saturday, April 30, 2011

Party Inspiration: Blue and Brown

These photos were taken at my friend Malou's 40th birthday party.

One of my favorite collaborations ever!
What a blessing to be surrounded with very creative individuals.

The spread!

They are edible! The nest was made out of butterscotch.

The perfect spring-inspired table accent.

These mini-muffins were delicious!

Caramelized sticky rice, a Filipino dessert.

Pre-party snacks

Monogrammed party favors

Blue and brown all over the appetizer table

Personalized water bottles. No special software. I just did it with Microsoft Word!

The spread looked so pretty I had to have a photo taken with it!

This reminds me of Twitter.

What's in this? Chocolate-covered almonds. Yum.

The appetizer table from a different angle

Cute little guest cards

The beautiful birthday cake

The birthday girl!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Link Love: April 20, 2011

It's been a while since I shared some link love on this blog. I guarantee you that at least one of today's links will leave you feeling happy.

Free Executive Planner Download by Tip Junkie
The ultimate printable planner that includes worksheets like: Babysitter Instructions, Monthly Master Birthday List, Goals for the Week, Phone Numbers, Monthly Planner and Birthday Planner.



When Church is Too Good for Sinners by a deeper story
A very thought-provoking article that challenges churches to openly welcome sinners.

Salted Duck Egg and Tomato Salad by Ang Sarap
The true Filipino in me was extremely delighted to stumble upon this recipe. This is used as a side dish that usually accompanies fish.

Cyber Sabbath by (in)courage
An article talking about taking a 24-hour break from everything electronic and online. It encouraged me to go "unplugged" one day every week.

Dinner: A Love Story
A beautiful blog that aims to help homemakers find creative ways to put food on the family table.

Spring Topiaries by Bee In Our Bonnet
I wanted our little home to have some touches of spring. This DIY project is so easy and it did brighten up our place!

Becky Higgins
She is my 365 Project hero! Click on 'Products' and discover why.

0to100
My new favorite iPad app! The creators described this project as "a poignant glimpse of the true face of the human lifespan: 101 portraits of folks at every age, from mere weeks to a full century old."

The Tie Between Living Simply and Financial Peace by Simple Mom
Five ways on keeping the home simple and clutter-free. Consequently, this helps us manage our money better.

Liberty London + Nike Kicks by Black*Eiffel
I want a pair but I can't afford it!

Keeping book clutter off the bookshelf by Unclutterer
Thinking of going through your books as part of your spring cleaning process? A very helpful article for all of us.

10 Ways to Find Blogs You'll Love by Mashable
Ever wonder how I discover online content and you get a lot of link love?

Simple Salad Recipes for Spring by Blissfully Domestic
I love salads! Tried a couple of recipes from this blog post and I guarantee that you will be making them again and again!

Managing a Company Blog -- Dos and Dont's by BLOGGINGPRO
This blog taught me a lot of valuable lessons that I applied immediately at work.

How to Organize Every Room in Your House by casasugar
This guide helped me so much in getting our apartment situated.

Top 5 Things People Waste Money On by Beauty and the Budget
I love any article on overspending because I love saving. Happy to know that these items are something we can completely eliminate from our budget. Well, except for the occasional eating out.


How about you? Discovered any new blogs lately? 
Any interesting links to share?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Twitter for Ministry: A Guide to Expanding Your Ministry’s Influence on Twitter

I find it truly extraordinary the way family and friends connect with each other today. Staying in touch through Facebook, Twitter, or Skype has made it very easy to stay up-to-date with the lives of the people closest to us.



While there is a lot of unnecessary noise on social media channels today, I still believe that they are still great tools if used correctly and graciously. I have had the pleasure of talking about my faith on both Facebook and Twitter. I love sharing what God continues to do in my life. The blessings of that "online life" are the countless messages and responses from individuals telling me that they want to know more about Jesus. This is a privilege that I never take for granted.

Do you ever feel the same kind of calling? Do you want to use a powerful online tool like Twitter to expand your influence?

Saddleback Church pastor Brandon Cox wrote an excellent 35-page e-book called "Twitter for Ministry: A Guide to Expanding Your Ministry's Influence on Twitter." I read it one sitting and I strongly recommend this to anyone who would like to expand one's ministry with this online communication technology.

I will honestly tell you that I am an affiliate of this material. But I assure you of this, I believe that this e-book must be read by anyone who wants to use Twitter as a means of reaching out, building relationships, and creating meaningful engagement. It costs $10 and available for immediate download on your favorite digital reading device. I promise you that it is a worthwhile read.

If you would like to know more about "Twitter for Ministry" and purchase your own copy, please click here. I hope that you read it, be blessed by it, and let me know what you think of it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review: Max on Life

Do you ever have those days where you wish you can sit down with a person whose love for Jesus completely leaves you wanting to draw yourself closer to Him? I have had such thoughts and there a several people on my list.

Author Max Lucado is on that list.  I have never met him. I have never gone to his church. And yet, I feel like he has pastored me in pivotal moments of my life.



His kind, gentle demeanor that is reflected in his style of writing has made him a mentor to many. Kind of like the wise, old grandfather everyone wants.

It is inevitable that someone like Max Lucado receives thousands of questions on life, God, Christianity, spirituality, the Bible and on writing. If I had the time, I would have probably sent him a couple.

His newest book "Max on Life" takes on these questions. There are 171 questions all in all. Each are numbered and answered accordingly.

Here is what I feel this book is. It can be used as a bathroom or bedside devotional. You will see many frequently-asked questions (especially if you are in ministry). Reading a question or two every day can help you discern God's answers to your own burning ones. This is the kind of book that can be used as a reference material when needed. It also makes a great gift.

Here is what I feel this book is not. It is not a substitute to looking in the Bible and studying the Word in order to seek answers to your questions. It is not trying to be one to begin with. Lucado merely guides the readers to what the Bible says. In fact, some of the answers to the hardest questions lack depth because the author tried to keep answers to about a page or two.

Even though this is not the kind of book you will read from cover to cover, it is very easy to do so. As I reached the very last page, I feel like I have spent time with a man whose love for Jesus is very evident in his writing style.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mushroom and Swiss Chicken

This is inspired by a recipe I saw on AllRecipes.com. I did a few tweaks to it because it is a healthy recipe and needed a bit more flavor.



Here is the 'improved' (but still healthy!) version.

Ingredients

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 cup chopped green onion
1 (8-ounce) package slice fresh mushrooms
4 slices Swiss cheese


Directions

1) Combine olive oil and garlic in a small bowl.

2) Dip chicken breasts in mixture until each piece is completely coated.

3) Sprinkle red wine vinegar and Cajun seasoning on each chicken breast.

4) Store chicken pieces in Ziploc bag and place in freezer overnight.

5) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

6) Place thawed chicken breasts in a lightly-greased 9x13 baking dish.

7) Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

8) Remove chicken from oven and sprinkle with chopped green onions and sliced mushrooms until well-covered. Sprinkle with more olive oil and red wine vinegar to keep the meat moist.

9) Return dish to oven for 15 to 20 more minutes.

10) Remove dish from oven and place one slice of Swiss cheese on each piece of chicken. If you are going for something healthier, you can put shredded mozzarella cheese instead.

11) Place dish one last time in the oven for about five minutes so that the cheese will melt nicely. Serve immediately.


I served this with stir-fried vegetables.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Giddy

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

You know when I sit down or stand up.

You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.

You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.

You know everything I do.

You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD ....

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous -- how well I know it.

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.

They cannot be numbered!

I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Psalm 139:1-4, 13-18 (NLT)



If you have read the above Scripture, how does God's knowledge of you make you feel?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Review: The Power-Based Life

A book by a former football player is generally not the kind of book that I am drawn to. I was never an athlete and did not go to a school that put importance into sports programs for girls.

However, it was these very reasons that encouraged me to read "The Power-Based Life" by Mike Flynt. Flynt played football for Permian High School in Odessa, Texas. The football team's winning tradition helped inspire a now popular inspirational television series called "Friday Night Lights."


I knew that I was missing out on a lot of personal discipline lessons by not growing up playing sports. Having watched athletes train and perform affirmed the fact that it takes a lot of character-building to take on a mindset of being able to compete with grace, determination and dignity.

While the title of the book is accurate, it can be misleading. I expected a lot of canned motivational quotes that totally mean nothing to me.

(How many times should I remind myself not to make any assumptions about anything?)

In fact, it is nothing what I assumed it would be. Flynt's testimony on how he became the oldest member of a college football team in NCAA history is something worth reading about.

It is an unusual and impressive achievement. But what is more admirable is how Flynt gives all of the credit to God and none of his own.

Flynt is very bold in sharing how God has enabled him to succeed in his journey -- as a player, as a coach, and as an entrepreneur. He holds nothing back in sharing his faith.

Most of the book gives notable lessons on determining your personal "power bases" which are the sources of our strengths. Once these are discovered, we can live out a lives in the way God designed it to be.

Flynt's principles become more achievable when he explains them through personal, first-hand experiences and Biblical teachings. I personally found these principles relevant and empowering -- even to a non-athlete like myself.

The second quarter of this year just started. If you feel that there is a need for you to re-group. re-focus on your goals for 2011, I recommend that you give this book a shot. It might just be the 'push' that you need to get things going.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."