Monday, December 31, 2012


Happy New Year, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

 Wishing you God's richest blessings in 2013!
New Year, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for


Remember to come back and join us on Wednesday January 2nd, 2013 for a ride on "The Great Blog Train" !!!

Everyone is welcome!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Starting A New Race - 2013

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  Hebrews 12:1-2

It's that time of year again - New Year's Resolutions:  time to plan and strive to improve, live better and give up bad habits.
Have you ever competed in a race before?  I used to run the 100 meter dash in school and there are so many similarities to the verses above.  The audience always felt like a vast "cloud of witnesses" (even though in actuality I think there were about 34 people).  There were so many mental hurdles that had to be dealt with before starting the race - just like "sin that so easily entangles".  When your legs start to feel rubbery and weak -  you must persevere and finish the race.  And then the goal - always "fix your eyes" on that finish line.
I think of every year as a race.  For me the race of 2012 had many obstacles and hardships but I have persevered and learned from those difficulties therefore making me more capable of running this new race of 2013. 

To me, this "cloud of witnesses" as mentioned above is everyone around us:  our friends, our family, our co-workers, our neighbors and even strangers - anyone who witnesses how we live our life - how we run this race.  In order to compete to the best of our abilities we must focus on Jesus! - He is the "author and perfecter of our faith".  Jesus died on the cross so that we all would be saved from our sins.  That is why we must always "fix our eyes" on Jesus so that we will be able to endure all of the hurdles and hardships that come our way in this life race.  The most difficult part is throwing off all of our earthly sinful ways that causes us to stumble, but when that happens just pick yourself up and persevere to the finish line. 
As you begin this New Year of 2013  - decide what you want your goals to be and what (or who) you will focus on.  And remember - everyone is watching!!!  
New Year, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

Thursday, December 27, 2012

10 New Year's Eve Treats, Hors D'Oeuvres & Snacks

New Year's Eve, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

 10 New Year's Eve Treats, Hors D'Oeuvres & Snacks

Instead of having dinner - New Year's Eve has always been a time for sampling little morsels of fun!

Below I have highlighted 10 wonderful Treats, Hors D'Oeuvres & Snacks to make for this New Year's Eve or New Year's Day (in no particular order). 
Please click on each title to go to the detailed recipe - ENJOY!

3.  Lemon Raspberry Tea Cakes - these bite-sized treats are perfect for those guests who just want to nibble

4.  Chocolate covered Fritos - Just plain Fritos=YUM and covered in chocolate=GENIUS!

5.  Hors D'Oeuvre From the 70's - this is a family heirloom recipe - without fail I have had this scrumptious snack on New Year's Eve.
007-2, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

6.  Tomato Desperados - a healthier treat for those guests who actually stick to "New Year's Resolutions"

7.  Bacon Wrapped Zucchini Strips - and then dipped in Caesar salad dressing - totally delicious!

8.  Gluten Free Salsa Crackers - don't let those guests who must eat Gluten Free feel "left out in the cold" - try these delicate & tasty crackers

9.  Orange Mocha Meringue Tarts - for all of those coffee & chocolate lovers - the wonderful combination of orange, coffee & chocolate
Orange Mocha Meringue Tarts, by Angie

10.  Veggie Cream Cheese Swirls - for all of those "Winter Humbug" visitors - make these Garden Fresh Veggie Swirls for a taste of summer

New Year, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day - Joy To The World

DSCF2282, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

 "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Now turn with me to number 105 in your hymnals and let's sing:

Joy To The World
by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748                       composed by George F. Handel 1685-1759
                                                                  later music changed by Lowell Mason in 1839
1.  Joy to the world!  the Lord is come:  Let earth receive her King;  Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and heaven and nature sing.
2.  Joy to the world!  the Saviour reigns:  Let men their songs employ;  While fields and floods, rocks hills and plains, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
3.  No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground;  He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found,  Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as the cures is found.

4.  He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders His love, And wonders, wonders of His love.
Please listen to the video below - Julie Andrews performs a lovely version of "Joy To The World".

A special thanks to "Bigjoemig2003" for posting this on YouTube

Other Christmas Hymns on this blog:
O Come All Ye Faithful
O Little Town Of Bethlehem
Away In A Manger
The First Noel
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve - It Came Upon The Midnight Clear

Christmas, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.' When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 'In Bethlehem in Judea' they replied, 'for this is what the prophet has written:
But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, 'Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.' After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with this mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route." Matthew 2: 1 - 12

Stars are amazing - I'm sure we have all spent hours looking at the night sky in search of the "Little Dipper", "Big Dipper" and the "North Star." I have only seen the "Aurora Borealis" (northern lights) once in my life, many years ago and that memory has stuck with me for these many years - I still get chills just thinking about that magnificent display. Just imagine what it must have been like to see the Star of Bethlehem - so marvelous and glorious that it guided the three wisemen to Jesus.

My Bible Commentary states that since these verses talk about Jesus the "child" as opposed to Jesus the "baby" - this suggests that the Magi visited Jesus many months after his birth. How impressive that the Magi - who were educated and wealthy - knew that Jesus was the Messiah and even money couldn't buy what Jesus brought. Of course I am talking about SALVATION.

What a wondrous gift we have in Jesus - God's only Son, who was born and who died for our sins so that we might have everlasting life! Merry CHRISTmas!

Now turn with me to number 101 in your hymnals and let's sing:

It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
by Edmond H. Sears, 1810-1876                       composed by Richard S. Willis, 1819-1900
1.  It cam upon the midnight clear, That glorious song of old, From angels bending near the earth, To touch their harps of gold:  "Peace on the earth, good will to men, From heaven's all gracious King."  The world in solemn stillness lay, To hear the angels sing.
2.Still thro' the cloven skies they come, With peaceful wings unfurled, And still their heavenly music floats O'er all the weary world:  Above its sad and lowly plains They bend on hovering wing.  And ever o'er its Babel sounds the blessed angels sing.
3.  And ye, beneath life's crushing load, Whose forms are bending low, Who toil along the climbing way With painful steps and slow, Look Now!  for glad and golden hours Come swiftly on the wing:  O rest beside the weary road, And hear the angels sing!

4.  For lo!  the days are hastening on, By prophet bards foretold.  When with the ever circling years Comes round the age of gold;  When peace shall over all the earth Its ancient splendors fling, And the whole world send back the song Which now the angels sing.
Please listen to the video below - Bing Crosby's fantastic voice is perfect for this beautiful Christmas Hymn.

A special thanks to "Richard S Willis - Topic" for posting this song on YouTube

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fourth of Advent - The First Noel

Advent & Christmas, for godsgrowinggarden.comby Angie Ouellette-Tower 

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.' When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.' So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." Luke 2: 8-20

It is interesting that the shepherds were the first ones to be told about the birth of Jesus. Shepherding was a lowly job (no offense against any sheep farmer today) - they were uneducated and others knew that they could not have made up such a story. Just imagine a "company of hosts" - how many were there? - hundreds.....thousands. A choir of angels - what that must have sounded like. The shepherds would have been able to give a detailed account of what they saw - this was even more proof to others that this could not have been made up by the shepherds. Everyone of that day who heard this story from the shepherds believed them: "and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them."

The shepherds were told first to show the world that Jesus came to save us all - It doesn't matter if you are poor or rich, weak or strong, it doesn't matter if you are Jew or Gentile - Jesus is the Savior of all!

Let's glorify and praise God for all that He has done for us and for all that "we have heard and seen"

Advent Wreath
Fourth of Advent
All 4 candles have been lit on the Advent Wreath

Now turn with me to number 108 in your hymnals and let's sing:

The First Noel
an "Old English Carol"                                      Traditional melody in W. Sandys'
                                                             "Christmas Carols"  1833
1.  The first Noel, the angel did say, Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;  In fields where they lay keeping their sheep, On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
2.They looked up and saw a star Shining in the east, beyond them far, And to the earth it gave great light, And so it continued both day and night.
3.  And by the light of that same star Three wisemen came from country far;  To seek for a king was their intent, And to follow the star wherever it went.


4.  This star drew nigh to the northwest, O'er Bethlehem it took its rest, And there it did both stop and stay, Right over the place where Jesus lay.

5.  Then entered in those wisemen three, Full reverently upon the knee, And offered there, in His presence, Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

Born is the King of Israel.

 Special thanks to "Rebel Warrior" for sharing this song on YouTube.

Special thanks to "NostalgicDecember" for sharing this song on YouTube.

Other Christmas Hymns on this blog:
O Come All Ye Faithful
O Little Town Of Bethlehem
Away In A Manger
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
Joy To The World

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Great Pickle Walk of 1992

DSCF1065, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

 The Great Pickle Walk of 1992

A few days ago I shared with you a precious heirloom recipe for an Hors D'Oeuvre from the 70's (click to view).  I have had this treat for New Years Eve for more than 3 decades.

Back in 1992 I was 20 something and in college.  At that time (I'm sure many of you can relate) - money was tight - I had no garden of my own and therefore I did not have my own home canned goods stored away in the basement.  It was New Years Eve day and I realized that I did not have any pickles to make my family's traditional "Hors D'Oeuvre from the 70's".  A few days prior I had purchased the cocktail sausages and the Pillsbury dough and I thought that I had a jar of pickles in the fridge - I was wrong - I was "pickleless"!

We had a substantial amount of snow in 1992.  The county in southern Michigan that I lived in did a great job of clearing snow off of the main roads but the subdivision and country roads didn't see a plow for days after a storm.  Depending on the depth of the snow, there had been many times when, without a 4 wheel drive vehicle, these back roads were impassable. 

In my opinion there are 5 different kinds of snow:
1.  Sparkly and powdery snow that "poofs" along as you walk.
2.  The dry pebbly snow occurring during the coldest parts of winter.
3.  Slushy, sloppy, slippery snow - usually occurring during March when we are getting closer
     to spring.
4.  Then the dense Igloo making snow.
5.   Finally, the icy glazed snow similar to a hard crust.

Now, don't get me wrong , I love snow and I love winter! - But the snow that year, at the end of 1992 was a little bit of everything all at once.
Getting back to my story - I decided to walk through the unplowed snow to the closest corner store to buy a jar of pickles.  This "Dairy Mart" was a 1 mile away (2 miles total - there and back).  I was confident that they would be open because they were located on a main road that connected to my unplowed subdivision roads.
I also decided to take my "boyfriend's" (who is now my husband) dog along for the walk.  The dog's name was "Buster Shombilina" - he was part Collie and part Golden Retriever (the picture above is my current Canine baby - I just don't have a good picture of Buster since that was before digital cameras).

As we started walking I realized how difficult this was going to be.  I had to plod through the 5 different layers of snow with each step.  I first had to break through the 1/2 inch rigid top snow crust, then through the dense Igloo type snow to the worst slippery slush at the bottom.  When I thought I had good footing on the road the slush would make my foot slide into the upper crust jabbing my shin - by the end of the walk my shins felt like I had just played field hockey.  Then, even worse was lifting my foot up out of the snow to take the next step.  Therefore removing a 16 inch chunk of the upper crust - alot like lifting weights with each step (snowshoes would have been ideal in this situation).  Let me tell you - half way to the corner store I was huffing and puffing and I was in the best "20 something" physical shape!  Occasionally Buster had to stop to chew off the snowballs that had collected on the bottom of his paws but overall he seemed to have an easier time walking than I (I guess because he had "4 paw drive").  I finally reached the store, gasped out "Dill Pickles please", paid and left.  The walk home was somewhat of a blur but I do recall the return voyage being a little easier if I stepped into my previous pathway.
Needless to say - I did make "Hors D'Oeuvre from the 70's" that night and I have continued to make this wonderful treat every New Years Eve since.  My husband now refers to this incident as "The Great Pickle Walk of 1992".

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by Angie Ouellette-Tower for photo WeeklyTitle_zps5l1xvjx6.jpg

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I'm Co-Hosting: Adorned From Above Blog Hop #31

Content, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

I'm thrilled to be a guest Co-Hostess for "Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop #31!


Welcome to Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop 31. This weeks party has one blog Co-Hosting.    Angie from God's Growing Garden (that's me) is a great blog that I think you are going to love.

This is a blog hop, so when you share your posts on Adorned From Above, they will also be seen on God's Growing Garden.

So on to this weeks party. The rules are easy.

1. Follow all of three hosts in some way (GFC, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, or Linky Followers )

2. Anything goes with posts. ( recipes, parties, etsy shops, crafts, inspirational writing, absolutely anything. Just make it family friendly )

3. Comment on other posts. It is a party. Get to know your fellow bloggers. I have met some of the nicest people at the parties, including my co-hosts.

Let's get to it then. First, here are last weeks featured bloggers. Featured bloggers on Adorned From Above are picked by most page views. So all of you pick them.

Congratulations to all of our featured bloggers. Grab the featured button from the sidebar on Adorned From Above or copy & paste from below:

Adorned From Above


We hope you have fun at this week's party. All of us love hearing from you. We love your comments.

Now let's party

Have a great week.
Debi, Angie


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hors D'Oeuvre From the 70's

007-2, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

Hors D'Oeuvre From The 70's

Hors D'Oeuvre is of course French and literally means: "apart from the main work" - they are little taste explosions or tiny bundles of flavor served before the main course.

My mom has made these wonderful treats for New Years Eve ever since I can remember - for my entire life really.  Now as an adult I cannot go without making these scrumptious morsels as a Holiday delight  (click HERE to read a funny story about this treat:
"The Great Pickle Walk of 1992").

70's Hors D'oeuvre, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

1 package of Cocktail Sausages                                          Printable Recipe
1 container of Pillsbury crescent dough
1 jar of dill pickles (I used my homemade Spicy Dill Pickles - click to view)

STEP 1:  Slice the sausages half way through (don't cut them in half only make a slit so that you can insert the pickle later)
STEP 2:  Count the number of sausages (and remember this number for later) and then cut enough pickle slices for each sausage (cut each pickle into quarters or into 6 pieces depending on the size of the dill pickle)
STEP 3:  Insert 1 pickle slice into each sausage (see picture below)
70's Hors D'oeuvre, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

STEP 4:  Open the dough container and break the dough into 2 (it should break apart easily).  Unroll 1 half of the dough and separate that half into 2.  There should be 2 triangle dough pieces - pinch those 2 triangles together to make a rectangle (as seen below).  (there will be a total of 8 triangles in 1 container of dough - you should have 4 rectangle pieces of dough when you are finished pinching all of the triangles pairs together).

70's Hors D'oeuvre, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

STEP 5:  On a lightly floured surface - roll out 1 rectangle piece of dough at a time.  
STEP 6:  Take the number of sausages and divide by 4 - you will cut 1 dough rectangle into this number of slices (for example - if you have 40 sausages - divide by 4 and you have 10.  That means that you will cut each rolled out dough rectangle into 10 smaller rectangles)  (SEE PICTURE BELOW).  (this is where grade school math word problems come in handy!)
70's Hors D'oeuvre, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

STEP 7:  Place each sausage (with the pickle slice already inserted into the sausage) onto a small rectangular piece of dough and roll (see picture above).  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet with the seem side down (see bottom left picture).
STEP 8:  Continue rolling until all of the dough & sausages have been used up.
STEP 9:  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 8 to 15 minutes (or until desired golden brown color is achieved) (see bottom right picture).

70's Hors D'oeuvre, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for   70's Hors D'oeuvre, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for

Remove from the oven and serve immediately - but
BE CAREFUL!!  It is very hot!


70's Hors D'oeuvre, by Angie Ouellette-Tower for


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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Third of Advent - Away In A Manger

Advent & Christmas, for godsgrowinggarden.comby Angie Ouellette-Tower

"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria). And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2: 1 - 7

This passage seems very historical and unnessecary but there is a reason - it was prophesied long ago that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. During that time, the Roman Empire was reorganizing their administration and needed to perform new censuses for the purpose of taxation. It is because of that census that Jesus, our Lord and Savior was born in Bethlehem - just as it was prophesied. God had a purpose for everything in Joseph & Mary's life and our Heavenly Father also has a reason for everything that happens in our lives.

In these verses it implies that Joseph and Mary were not yet married. I had to look this up in my Bible Commentary and it states that the fact that Joseph and Mary travelled together proves that they were married (but had not consummated the marriage).

Verse 7 is the most precious verse - "she wrapped him in cloths and layed him in a manger" - a priceless gift - our Lord and Savior born in human form to save us forever.

I praise you and thank you Lord God Almighty for sending us your Son!

Advent Wreath

Third of Advent
Three candles have been lit on the Advent Wreath

Now turn with me to number 110 in your hymnals and let's sing:

Away In a Manger
by Martin Luther, 1483-1546                                                      composed by Carl Mueller
1.  Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.  The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
2.The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes, But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.  I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky, And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
3.  Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay Close by me for ever, and love me, I pray.  Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, And fit us for heaven to live with Thee there.
Please listen to the video below - Nat King Cole's version of this beautiful Christmas hymn is amazing!

A special thanks to "Nat King Cole" for posting this song on YouTube

Other Christmas Hymns on this blog:
O Come All Ye Faithful
O Little Town Of Bethlehem
The First Noel
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
Joy To The World


Friday, December 14, 2012

Themed Blog & Shop Hop - The Colors Green &/or Red


WELCOME to the 10th
"Themed Blog & Shop Hop"
December 14th 2012!
I'm so glad that you stopped by!

For those of you who are not familiar with "Hops" (a.k.a. Linky party) - a Blog Hop &/or Shop Hop is an event where viewers/followers can upload links onto my blog......Links to their items in their Etsy shops (or online shops) or links to their Blogs. And then we can "hop" from blog to blog or shop to shop.

The theme this month is:
"The colors GREEN &/or RED"
Link up anything that is mostly RED &/or GREEN -  whether it's a recipe, a craft, something about a green Christmas tree. Or anything that has both of these colors or one of these colors.

If you have anything that remotely touches this topic - then please share it with us.
Please checkout this month's wonderful Sponsor!!
Cynthia Tessmer from "Shoreline Designed" creates Natural Beach Stone Jewelry (Please click on the ad below):

Find out more about this amazing artist CLICK HERE
Although I would love it if everyone joined my blog or became followers of my blog - that is not a requirement to participate in this "Hop". All I ask is that you keep your submissions decent - no offensive content please.

Well, actually there is a second rule:
only 2 submissions per person please.
If you do not have a blog or a shop then please still stop by and take a digital walk through our virtual mall.

I will be having a "Themed Blog & Shop Hop" once a month - the middle of each month. Next month's hop will be on:
JANUARY 15th, 2013


To Etsy shop owners - please only upload links directly to the items that you would like to share with us - not a link to your entire shop - Thanks.

To Blog owners - you may submit any post that fits into the theme - it can be an old post from many months ago (it does Not have to be a recent post). Also, please submit the link directly to the post and Not a link to your homepage - Thank you!

I will be "tweeting" about the submissions throughout the week to come.

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