Making Baby Jesus out of Clay

So, the 8 year-old boy that I'm nannying this summer LOVES to play with his action figures. I was trying to think of a fun arts and crafts activity, so I thought we could make our own action figures out of bake-able clay! When I asked him which super hero he wanted to make, he said, "Can we make Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph?" How precious is that? Jesus is his super hero!

He told me that he KNEW how to make them and that he wanted to teach me. So here is 'How To Make Baby Jesus out of Clay' in terms of an 8 year-old!

(He helped me write the directions! How cute!)

1. Buy bake-able clay! You can find it at any arts in crafts store in a variety of colors!

2. Choose skin-color clay and roll it into a ball to make a head.

3. Make a log with any color clay, squish it so it is a little more flat, then poke a hole with your finger in the top that you can put Jesus' head in. Then poke two hole in his face for eyes.

4. Make two little white balls and put them in each eye hole. Then make a black ball and squish it on there for a pupil.

5. Mix together 3 types of brown clay to make a wood texture. Then form the clay into a box to act as a cradle.

6. Roll out little spaghetti strips of yellow clay to make hay for the cradle.

Look! A Baby Jesus in his cradle made out of clay! (And apparently he is on top of the world!)

We then continued on to make a Mary and a Joseph. The above picture is the set that I made, and the one below is the one made by the kid that I'm nannying!

We baked them in the oven at 275 degrees for 30 minutes and placed them on the counter before his mom came home! She was so touched!

Happy Crafting!

Insecurities-Genesis 1:26-27

My biggest insecurity used to be my squinty eyes. Now I love them. Read more below!

In my most recent Bible Study, I was directed to study and reflect on Genesis 1:26-27 (NIV).
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
If God made us in his his image, we are reflections of God's glory. This gives us the ability to reflect the character of God through our love, patience, forgiveness, kindness and faithfulness.

This verse, however, became more to me than just how I came to be the more that I carried it with me during my day.

If we are made in God's image and are meant to represent his love and other qualities, are we downgrading him if we criticize ourselves? If I walk around thinking that I'm ugly or that I'm not smart enough, is that me saying that God's glory isn't perfect either? God CHOSE us to reflect his glory and that in itself should give us a strong sense of self worth.

This self worth allows us to love God, become closer to him, and continue to spread his glory to others. God blessed us with these abilities.

Isn't there a saying that 'you can't love somebody else until you love yourself.' Well if I don't love myself, I can't truly love God and what he has blessed me with.

This reflection has showed me that it is time to learn how to love myself. I'm learning to throw the insecurities out the window, love the muffin around my hip, adore my lack of direction and keep myself tagged in those not-so-flattering Facebook pictures. With less time spent worrying about my insecurities, I have been able to slow down, enjoy my time with myself, and appreciate the smaller blessings I didn't see before.

This reflection has led me to the commitment of using this mantra daily: I love myself because the Lord loves me.


Recently, I've been trying to find a good Bible study plan to help me continue to grow in my faith. After googling about it, however, I found that many of the ones online either cost money or aren't what I'm looking for. My wish was granted, however, when I came across a website called You Version.

You Version is free website, only requiring an email for membership, that allows you to explore several pre-made Bible reading plans. These plans can consist of one days worth of reading to a year long plan. Each plan is broken down into days; giving you one or a few verses each day to read and reflect on. You can keep track of your progress directly on the website. There is even a "catch up button" if you fall behind!

After continuing to explore the website, I found that you can create notes on your readings (choosing to make them public or private) as well as read other people's reflections on passages. You can 'follow' these users and be notified when they post new reflections and you can have followers as well (twitter much).

You can choose the Bible version that you're reading, pull up books on the website and converse with people using the same version as yourself! You can tweet and forward things to Facebook as well!

Let me know if you use YouVersion as well, or if you check it out! 

Pleasure Reading

First off, I've joined the twitter era! If you'd like to check out my personal twitter, follow me at @EliseyGC (I think that is how it works)! Now onto my post...

I have gotten into this bad habit lately of picking up a pencil when I'm reading a book. My english class at Virginia Tech, as well as my AP Literature class in High School, had me annotating nearly every sentence of books in order to do a 'critical analysis.' Should my pleasure reading really be about critically analyzing? No, but it is a habit I can't seem to break away from.

Not only do I search TOO hard to find meaning in whatever I'm reading, but I've recently started to read things that are more factual and do have a definite meaning. For example, I've been trying to read books such as "Buddha's Brain" or the "Gift of Fear." While I agree that these are wonderful and educational books to read, I read them back to back and never give myself time to read my summer romance novel or a book with an inspirational story.

I feel like I am "supposed" to read these books and become more scholarly because that is what my college-level schooling has pushed upon me. I feel that I have been pressured by the college atmosphere to appear a certain way, which sometimes, means reading a certain kind of book at a coffee shop; one with more "intellectual meaning." These pressures and reprogramming to annotate has rid me of the desire to read, which I have always loved to do.

I actually have a list of books to read, in order in which I am going to read them. This, however, is being torn down today. My love for reading shouldn't be measured on a list and it shouldn't be confined to what I think is expected of me! I should read what I want to read in the fashion that I want to depending on my mood.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with reading a Jodi Picoult book or one by Rowling. Pleasure novels still build your vocabulary, teach you social patters, give you insights on life, and leave you with ambitions, they just do it in a more subtle way.

So today, I'm putting all of my 'smart books' on the book shelf, for now, and putting my Jodi Picoult novels back on my night stand. It is time to start living happily and stop measuring my brain capacity. I will read what I want, when I want.

This is a pretty random post, huh?
Happy reading!

PS- I just finished rereading Eat,Pray,Love! I'm watching the movie now! Has anybody seen/read it? What are your thoughts?!

Taking Time for Myself

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." 2 Thessalonians 3:16

The last couple of days have left me feeling rather...tense. I have had several interview for part-time nannying positions (for after hours of my 9am-5pm nannying job), have had emails to send for my sorority and for paws4people, and have been working through some disagreements with some family members.

Yesterday I decided to close the laptop, turn off the cell phone, sleep in, and enjoy a relaxing day at the pool reading and getting a tan (to some degree) with my sister. The rest of the evening was dedicated to continuing to read through the Book of John, watching a few Disney movies and eating ice cream with some friends!

After church this morning, I realize that I wasn't quite ready to go "back to work" today but knew that it was necessary. So, I decided to combine a day of relaxing and work by sitting in front of the television catching up on my recorded TLC shows, catching up on reading my favorite blogs, and responding to emails and finishing up a few excel files. What do you think? Well, it is working out nicely for me!

I will be more productive tomorrow; I think.

What do you guys do to relax during the summer?

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Well, I have been crazy busy the last couple of days with interviews and dog training and haven't had a whole lot of time to post. I decided to stop in and post a recipe that I have been wanting to share with you guys!

A couple of days before my boyfriend left for Texas for the summer, we decided to make special breakfast together instead of going out like we usually do! I hope you enjoy it as much as he did!

Note: I, unfortunately, did not take pictures. I will be using the pictures from the website, Tasty Kitchen, where I originally found the website.

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

1 Loaf French Or Italian Break
4 Eggs
Cream Cheese
Jam Or Fresh Fruit (Choose Your Own Fruit Or Flavor)

1. Slice a loaf of bread in 2-inch pieces. Using a paring knife, cut a deep slit across the top in the middle of each slice, approximately 4 inches long (as pictured above). This will form your “pocket.” Once you’re done, set the bread aside.

2. Wash the fruit, remove the stems, and cut slices in each one (making quarter pieces).

3. Next, add a little bit of sugar to the strawberries and let them sit for a little.

4. Next, add jam to the cream cheese and mix both of them until well combined. The cream cheese mixture now looks like strawberry yogurt. (You can also use strawberry cream cheese to save some energy!)

5. Grab a slice of bread and add about a tablespoon (or as much as you like) of cream cheese filling (2 tablespoons per slice worked for me). Do the same thing with the fresh fruit. Make sure to close the opening by gently pressing the bread together. This will make frying them easier and less messy. Set the filled slices aside.

6. Mix eggs, milk, and cinnamon together until well mixed. Turn the stove top on to medium-high to preheat the skillet. While your skillet is heating up, dip sliced bread in the egg wash for about 20 seconds on both sides.

7. Add a little butter to the surface of skillet to help prevent the French Toast from sticking.

8. Fry each slice for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove from heat and serve.

I know the directions are detailed, but simply, you make a strawberry and cream cheese filling, stuff it in a slice of bread, and make french toast with it as you normally would! It's so easy, but so rich!

Recipe Credit: Tasty Kitchen

Happy eating!

What's In Your Fridge?

How cute is this fridge?!

In a rush to make dinner and don't have time to go to the grocery store? Did an unexpected snow storm trap you in your house?

I came across a website the other day that I thought a lot of you guys could appreciate!

It is called 'My Fridge Food.' You simply check off the items that you have in your kitchen, and it provides you with easy recipes that you can make with what you have laying around!

It gives you SO MANY OPTIONS, so you are able to register for an account and save your ingredients for next time you use it! This is all absolutely free!

Check it out! Just click the image below!