Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Liebster Award & a Giveaway!

Before we get to the Liebster Award I felt like doing a fun giveaway! Beatrice Lanes is stocked with new prints and I'm excited to share them with you! So here 2 of my favorite new prints....enter below to win an 8x10 of 1 of them your choice!

You can also use coupon code BLOGREADER for 20% off your next order now here through February 12th. Enter giveaway below! Winner will be announced next week, Thursday, February 6.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A few weeks ago I got a Liebster Award from Neisha! Not only was I honored, but was so glad to find her blog as well. I love it and I'm sure you will too, meet Neisha here! Now on to the rules:

*Link back to nominator
*Write 11 facts about yourself
*Nominate 10 bloggers (less than 200 followers) and let them know!
*Create 10 questions for nominees

Questions from Neisha...
1) What’s the #1 song that you listen to the most right now?
I'm bouncing between a few depending on my mood, but I think my most played song on my iphone right now would have to be "In the End" by Natalie Grant. If you haven't heard it, you have to check out it! Guranteeed to make your foot tap and your face smile.

2) If you could learn to do anything what would it be?
There's a lot actually, I'm a bit of a perpetual student I suppose. I want to learn how to can, to speak another language (I know bits & pieces of Spanish, French, & Italian but can't speak any of them fluently), how to interpret Greek & Hebrew in Scriptures, and how to be more "business savvy".

3) What's your favorite food?
Umm just one? As soon as I read that question my mind popped up 5 answers:::cherry tomatoes with salt, pizza, salad, chips & salsa, & pasta.

Is it just me or am I bad at this?? I have a terrible time picking out "one" of any favorite thing. Anyways, pressing on....

4) If you're given 1 million dollars, how would you spend it?
First I would tithe off of it. Invest in some ministries I believe are truly furthering the Gospel and are helping God's people. Then I would help my family so that my dad could retire early. Save a lot for my own family. Buy a house that fits our needs. And probably allow myself 1 (ok ok 2 max) shopping days where I didn't even glance at a price tag. Oh and a spa day. And a trip for the Mr. and I. Ok ok I should stop now.

5) What's one thing you miss most about being a kid?
The simplicity of it. I had a crazy huge imagination and could entertain myself for hours with practically anything. I vividly remember spending some summer afternoons in my "office" which was a very large walk in closet that my Fisher-Price desk was stored in with an old phone making "appointments" for the doctor I was working for as I played receptionist. I can actually remember my sister coming and asking me to come play something else with her and politely declining the offer saying, sorry I don't get off work til 5.
And then I'd really stay in that closet "working" until 5:00.
If only I was making this stuff up.

6) Mommy's Girl or Daddy's Girl?
Mommy's Girl. My mom is one of my very best friends. So blessed by her.

7) What/who are you a closet fan of?
Oh Neisha I love this question! I really can't say I'm a closet fan of anyone at the moment because I'm totally not cool enough to know of anything that's popular right now! However I do think I can admit to being a closet fan of some Disney channel stars (old school Disney) when I probably was too old to be. Lizzie McGuire anyone?? Even Stevens?? I wanted to be Ren Stevens!!!

8) What are three things on your bucket list?
-Become a mother
-Go to the beach
-See Hillsong in person

9) If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you go? Why?
St. Simon, GA
*Normal people probably would have answered that as something exotic or overseas. I'm a fairly simple person to please, and have planned a "imaginary trip" to there in the past and now am dying to go in real life
That's normal right? Imaginary trip planning? When you research an area-lodging, shopping, touristy things and pretend plan it like you're leaving tomorrow? Ok good just making sure I wasn't the only person who did that.

10) What's your favorite type of music?
Honestly, if it's clean I like it. But my favorite type of music is worship music. Anything that sets my mind on Him and brings me to the throne of grace in praise.

11 Facts about Me...
1) I paint my nails every single Saturday night.
2) I want to do so many things-I've even thought of going to cosmetology school, I really have no interest in ever working in a salon-however I would LOVE to learn how to professionally do hair & makeup. You know, for myself or friends. (I also think the fact this desire has recently shown up in my life because a State Beauty Supply store has recently opened up a few doors down from my favorite coffee shop and they only allow licensed cosmetologists to shop there. So I just drool outside the windows of the store at the products I wish I could be buying.)
3) I love cooking. I hate doing dishes-not that anyone really loves them. I'm blessed with a husband who frequently surprises me with a clean kitchen when I come home from an errand or wake up from a nap.
4) I often have a candle burning, which I find strange because growing up my mother had very sensitive allergies and couldn't handle a lot of smells so I don't think we even owned a scented candle? So I never ever remember any candles burning except on a birthday cake. But I love have scented candles going and typically have a few favorites for each season. (Ps...I have found myself pulling out my favorite "summery" candle and giving it a good sniff a lot lately. I'm kind of over winter.)
5) I'm a crazy Olympic Freak. I promise to try to contain myself on here over the next few weeks as the Winter Games approach us.
6) When I really get to laughing about something, I'm one of those annoying-I-can't-stop-laughing kind of people.
7) I'm kind of known for carrying a purse that weighs more than most small children.
8) When I find a new song I love, I become obsessed with it. Enter this:::
9) I love a routine.
10) I have a thing for make-up videos on YouTube. It could become soon become an addiction problem.
11) My husband & I teach 2 year old's Sunday School and love it.

Ok the questions for my Nominees are....
1) Show that you could binge watch on Netflix anyday?
2) Are you over Winter too? (Please tell me I've got some friends on this one)
3) What is one "hard thing" you want to overcome this year?
4) What do you do to get out of a bad funk?
5) If you have the day off work and declare it a fun day-what do you do??
6) Coffee or Tea?
7) What is your favorite blog? (Can't be your own!)
8) What made you want to start blogging?
9) Would you ever be on a reality TV show? If so which one?
10) What is your favorite Pandora station?

And the nominees are....
Whoever would like to join in on the fun!! If you'll leave a comment below saying you would like to join in I will be happy to add your name & link above. I want to make sure anywone who wants to participate in this feels free too! Thanks again Neisha!

Linking up with: Love Bakes Good Cakes, Friday Flash Blog,

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tasty Tuesday- Banana Trifle

Last week I posted the chocolate version of this recipe and shared how it was one of our favorites! Well this one is very similar to it and another huge hit with my family. If you like banana pudding, this is a "dressed up" version of it and you will love this simple dessert!

Printable Recipe
1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup Nilla wafers
1 box banana instant pudding (I have a lot of trouble finding this, so I typically use banana cream instant pudding instead & it works just as well)
2 cups cold milk
3 ripe bananas, sliced
1 (8 oz.) whipped topping

Begin by preheating your oven to 400 and mixing the flour and brown sugar.

Then cut in cold butter until crumbly and stir in Nilla wafers. Or if you're feeling rather lazy like me, pulse this in the food processor a bit.

Press then evenly on the bottom of an ungreased 9 inch dish and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden.

When it comes out stir it up with a fork to break up the pieces and turn it back into a crumbly mixture, then allow to cool completely.

In a large bowl prepare the pudding as the package directs with the 2 cups of milk. After it's set start layering your dessert!!
Begin with half of your crumb mixture, half of the banana slices, half the pudding, and half the whipped topping. Then repeat and refrigerate!!

Printable version found here!

Linking up with: Emily, Mandy, Nikki, Darlene, Jacinda, Cynthia, Ali, Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Pint Sized Baker, The Recipe Critic, Kathy, Turn it up Tuesdays, Megin, Kayla, Ladybug Blessings, The Pin Junkie, Kitchen Fun, Love Bakes Good Cakes
, Friday Flash Blog,

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Scripture Sunday

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tasty Tuesday-Chocolate Trifle

I cannot believe this recipe has never made its way to the blog until now. This is hands down one of our favorite desserts, and one that I reach for the most when entertaining. I have used this recipe for guests or to take with me to a group of friends and have had nothing but rave reviews and requests for the recipe. So last night when I needed to put together a dessert for the Mr's Bible study with a few other men this recipe was the one that immediately came to mind, and I'm so excited to share it with you all today!

Here's what you'll need...

1 boxed brownie mix (the one pictured is my preferred one for this dish, but any will work)
1 (3.9 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup water
1 (8 oz.) container whipped topping
1 (12 oz.) container whipped topping
*Depending on how "fancy" you want to go with this, you could easily garnish the top with shaved chocolate pieces or even a few chocolate covered strawberries for Valentines Day!

Begin by baking your brownies according to package directions and letting cool completely. Once cooled cut into small squares.

Then combine pudding mix, water, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth.

Then fold in the 8 oz. whipped topping until fully combined and no streaks remain.

Now start layering in your serving dish (a trifle dish works best for this) starting with a layer of brownies, about half

Next layer is the chocolate pudding mixture, again about half

Next layer is half of the 12 oz. whipped topping

Finally repeat these 3 steps and say hello to one of your new favorite desserts...

Printable version found here!

Linking up with: Emily, Mandy, Nikki, Darlene, Jacinda, Cynthia, Ali, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Pint Sized Baker, The Recipe Critic, Kathy, Megin, Elena, Kayla, Uncommon Designs, Ladybug Blessings, Lisa, Alyssa,Leslie, Kathy, Sweet Bella Rose, Clarks Condensed

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunday is coming

If you've been reading my blog for the past month or so you probably noticed that December was light on the blog. While it was partly due to normal busyness from the holidays, it was also-and maybe even largely-blamed on some trials I've been going through. You could probably tell that as well from my December posts.
I'm still there, I'm still struggling.
As I'm sure many of you can relate, when you're going through a dark season there are good days and there are bad days. Today for instance, is a pretty good day. But last week there were a couple of days that felt like it was just breakdown after breakdown. I had to pray to just get through until noon, or even just the next hour ahead of me. If you've been there too or if you're there right now like me I wanted to remind you of something that I needed reminding of this past week as much as I needed my next breath....

Sunday is coming.

When I get to the darkest of times for myself I have to think of the darkest of times for my Savior-crucifixtion. Ya'll...could there be anything darker then Friday & Saturday must've been? They didn't see the end of the story like we do today. They didn't know that Sunday would come and with it Jesus would too. They didn't know. No hope. But in fact, Sunday did come. It came in such a miraculous way that it reversed the pain of Friday & Saturday.

Which got me thinking-aren't we living in a kind of Saturday ourselves? Waiting on our Blessed Savior to return for us? And oh that Resurrection Sunday. It holds something that NO tragedy, NO mistake, NO disease could ever touch. The day that everything sad will become untrue. Yes---everything.
The loved one that we still ache over losing, we will be reunited with again.
The tears that don't feel like they will ever stop flowing, will cease at once.
The pain brought on by disease & sickness, will be healed in an instant.
The heartbreak you don't think will ever fully mend, will be healed in a blink of an eye.
Everything sad will become untrue.

Because come that Sunday morning, after the darkest 2 days in the history of the world, everything changed.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-1 Peter 1:3-4

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Scripture Sunday

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tasty Tuesday-Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

Good news: After a bit of a break over the Holidays, Tasty Tuesday's is officially back!
Bad news: This recipe was made in the very, very early hours (so that it would be ready for Mr's lunch) and in my not-quite-awake state, I forgot to take pictures of the process. Oops. But-I did grab one tiny bowl of it at the end of the day for the final result. And I do say tiny bowl, because that was all that I could scrape out of the dish. The family devoured this dish. Super easy, and super delicious. Let's get started!!!

Printable Recipe
You will need...
2 pounds beef sirloin, cut into strips (I had some unseasoned beef fajita strips on hand and these worked perfectly as well)
Garlic powder
Vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1 Beef Bouillon Cube
1/4 cup hot water
1 small onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 (14.5 oz.) can of stewed tomatoes (do not drain)
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Teaspoon sugar
1 Teaspoon salt

1) Cut beef into strips and sprinkle with garlic powder to taste, then brown over medium heat in vegetable oil. Once meat is browned put it into the slow cooker.
2) Dissolve the beef bouillon cube in the hot water, then add the corn starch to thicken and pour this mixture into the slow cooker. Add the onion, peppers, stewed tomatoes (with liquid), soy sauce, sugar and salt.
3) Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over a bed of rice and enjoy!!

Printable version found here!

Printable version found here!

Linking with: Emily, Mandy, Nikki, Darlene, Jacinda, Cynthia, Ali, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Pint Sized Baker, The Recipe Critic, Kathy

Monday, January 13, 2014

Having a Good fight [conflict in Godly marriages}

Let's begin this very clearly...

I hate conflict.

Part of me thinks this is something about me I was simply born with, while another part of me thinks the temperamental home I grew up in has a large hand in it. I vividly remembering cowering in a corner with my favorite stuffed animal and my Precious Moments Bible at a very early age anytime I sensed tension between my parents. To be honest, the fear that my future husband and I would become like my parents in those moments was one of the primary reasons I declared as a teenager I would never, ever, get married.

Somehow, by the grace of God, I didn't miss out on the gift of marriage despite my fear and stubborn heart. The conflict I feared however, still creeps in somedays. It doesn't matter how much you love your spouse or how committed to your union you are, bad days still come. Unfortunately I believe they always will until we're on the other side of this life and finally Home.
Because though we pray for our marriage & seek to follow hard after God at the end of the day we are still 2 sinners who commited forever to each other and continue to slip back into the old ways of life and fail each other. Hurtful words. Snappy tones. Blame Game.

You know.

So we face the fact-conflict is going to happen. But I do believe we have some choices in it. We can choose how we respond to it, how we act in the midst of it, and even which fights to fight and which ones to skip over. Here's a small list of some things I've learned so far...

1) Some conflict isn't avoidable, but some is. So avoid it.
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife. -Proverbs 21:19
We didn't marry perfect spouses, which is good because our spouses didn't marry perfect spouses either. So stop expecting them to be something they simply aren't. I will never forget the time I learned this lesson the hard way. Mr is awfully forgetful at times and one day I had really gotten fed up with having to repeat myself so many times, and I snapped something fierce. It was silly and later on I apologized and it seemed no real damage was done. However the next day something much bigger than forgetting things came up and I brought that to his attention to on how he needed to change something. I will never forget how broken he looked when he humbly asked you even love me for me or for who you are trying to make me into, because I can't do anything right. It left me dumbfounded and so hurt that day that I had made my husband feel that way for a second. I approached which battles to fight a lot differently that day.

2) Keep your marriage in the Word-TOGETHER.
"Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in My Name, there am I with them." -Matthew 18:19-20
Daily time with God is crucial for any believer. It's true for couples as well. If we want our marriages to be hidden in Christ we must go to Him together for that before we expect to receive that. Now let me say this gently, I'm thinking of some women who may be reading this who's husbands are not believers, or who are not interested in daily Bible study on their own let alone with you. My heart is so tender towards you. God has placed you in a unique position and your biggest weapon for victory will be prayer that God will open that door for your marriage and soften your husbands heart to that aspect of marriage. Sometimes you may feel like you aren't free to bring that subject up yet, but if you feel like easing into the topic maybe you could suggest a good couples devotional book that has good structure that wouldn't make your husband feel pressured to come up with some big "lesson" or "sermon". All I know is that this crucial part of marriage makes a huge difference in your marriage. How do I know? When Mr and I have been super busy and neglected that part of our relationship for a few days, the "little fires" start coming out in each of us. You know-less patience, grace, kindness towards each other, and more hateful words, tense moments, and annoying tendencies. Why does that happen? We've started trying to do marriage on our own again and in our own strength again, which never works.

3) Be on your guard.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. -1 Peter 5:8
Think about your home and belongings. When you leave your house, or even still at home, do you just leave the doors unlocked and wide open to see if anyone thinks you may not be home and come inside to take what they'd like? No. You protect what is valuable to you. The same is true for your marriage. Guard it and protect it with all you've got long before you see anything coming. This can include anything as big as sexual or emotional affairs, as well as simple things like conflict. I can always tell when the Mr. and I are about to get ourselves into a really bad "blow-up of a fight" when we've skipped Bible study frequently which has led to smaller issues arising and those smaller issues are becoming slightly bigger and more frequent-and worse...we haven't dealt with them. When "small" issues come up or a tone was used that was less than loving make it right immediately. Don't go on and think you'll make that better later. Satan will take an inch and make a mile out of it. Don't let him.

4) Even in conflict-remember who you are.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patinece. -Colossians 3:12
A bad argument, no matter who's fault does not put a "pause" button on who we are called to be in Christ. We are still His chosen people who are holy and dearly loved and who are still called to live, speak and act out of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We can have conflict in Godly marriages without trashing our spouse. For instance, try your best to avoid words like "always" or "never". They're probably exaggerated anyways and they turn a single situation into the entire definition of your spouse. It's not fair. Fighting with unfair words also takes the attention off fixing the conflict and onto all the terrible things being said. The times Mr. and I have done this we have literally sometimes stopped hours into the argument and said in total exhaustion and frustration...I don't even know what we're fighting about anymore. This is such a scheme of Satan that is so easy to fall into. But you don't have to.

5) Set some ground rules.
Before it arises, talk about conflict to your spouse. How do you each want to handle it when it does come. For me, it bothers me and makes me very anxious when Mr. raises his voice in an argument. When I finally told him that, things clicked for him. He realized why I would quickly shut down in the middle of an argument. He apologized and committed to working on it. And you know what? He really doesn't raise his voice in conflict anymore. On the rare case he has he has stopped himself immediately and quickly said, I'm sorry I didn't mean to raise my voice. There are even moments now where I don't think he's raised his voice at all but he has stopped himself mid argument and said, I'm sorry if I got louder there. Making an agreement to stop and pray together during an argument is also a great idea. Whatever solutions you come up with, just make sure you talk about conflict before it even arises.

6) Feelings lie to us.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. -Jeremiah 17:9
The mushy gushy feelings for your spouse are not going to be there 24/7. They just aren't. And that's ok. I have found myself in many times asking God to restore the feelings of love and affection for my husband. Don't get me wrong, I have never stopped loving him. But I have stopped feeling love towards him. Don't be afraid of that or think you married the wrong person, that's another plan Sa
tan can use to destroy your marriage. Your commitment towards each other and vow to God was not based on feelings. Don't let your marriage be either.

Linking up with: Kendra, & Nan, Darlene, Jacinda,
Kathy, Put a Bird on It

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Scripture Sunday

Friday, January 10, 2014

Tangle Teezer Review {New Found Love}

Disclaimer: I was not paid for my review of this product, nor am I affiliated in anyway with this company. I bought this product with my own money and all thoughts are my own.

Alright gals-this is a totally new concept for me to do a "review" on this blog of mine, but this product helped me SO much tonight that I had to share. I thought of some of you with little girls who may throw a fit when trying to brush through their tangled-y hair with much drama (Speaking from experience here...sorry mom) and I decided that this post must happen.

So let me give you a little back story...
Every once in a while I like to curl my hair with these spongey "rod" looking things. I love this hair style but I hate the aftermath of it. It leaves my hair a tangled mess and makes me absolutely dread shampooing it because I know brushing it out is going to be next. (I've even been known to avoid brushing it after this style because I'm a baby. Shameful.)

Well today was the day-the dreaded day to shampoo and brush out my "super curly" hair style. After putting it off all day I finally remembered this product that I had heard a few beauty guru's rave about. So I did what any normal sane person does...look at the clock and realize Sally's Beauty Supply closed in 20 mins and hopped in the car hoping to find a solution to this problem.

And guess what?

I did.

I'll be honest, I brought it home and after taking it out of the package and looking it over I had my major doubts. Besides the unique shape of the brush, what was going to make this any different? However, after I got out of the shower, the tangles were so bad I could literally see them in the back of my hair. Ugh...I thought this was going to get ugly.
No problem at all.
I even easily brushed through the underneath side of my hair that I avoid on a good day, let alone after having as much product as I did in my hair. It didn't hurt at all, and it slid through my knotted mess of a hair with ease.

SO even though this kind of thing is not something I typically post on here, I couldn't help but share what worked really well for me in hopes that it will help you all too! I found mine at Sally's Beauty Supply for about $11.99.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Top 10 Posts of 2013

Hey friends! We are finally winding down off of "holiday mode" over here and slowly finding our way back into a routine. Today I thought it would be fun to go back and recap my top 10 posts from 2013! You'll see a running theme here that recipes were the main name of the game last year-so hopefully this post will also help some of you out getting back into the meal planning mode like me! These posts are posts in order of the most hits from 2013. Enjoy!

10) U.H.S (Ugly Heart Syndrome)
Nothing like getting all real & vulnerable about breaking down over spilled coleslaw. Ugly cry post right here.

9) Tasty Tuesday- Easy Summertime Cherry Salad
This salad was the result of my mother's servants heart after having me when a friend called her desperate for a salad for a funeral dinner. In a moment of frenzy and with what was available in her cabinet after having a baby just a few days prior, this salad was born. It is still to this day a family staple at most family dinners. And a big hit at funeral dinner's as well. (Sad but true.)

8) Tasty Tuesday- Quick & Healthy Personal Pizzas
I honestly find this hilarious that this recipe was so popular! The day I wrote it I probably almost deleted the darn thing 5 times thinking um...really...this isn't an actual recipe? You cannot share this & call it a "recipe". It's too easy to be called a "recipe". So even though I kind of felt like I was writing a post with a recipe for "ice water", I posted it anyways and am so glad people found it helpful!

7) Home Life Series Part 1-Kitchen
This was such a fun series! Call me a creeper, but I love sneaking a peek at other's people's homes-especially their kitchens! (Before you chalk me up to some kind of total weirdo-I don't show up uninvited to just start looking around at my friends homes.) I think it's so fun to see how other people run their houses and decorate and getting ideas from them. (See? Not so weird. Right?)

6) Tasty Tuesday-Homemade Strawberry Jam
My poor mother and I were cleaning up strawberry juice & stickiness for days after this project. But the memories, laughter and delicious jam that resulted made it all worth it.

5) Tasty Tuesday- King Ranch Chicken
Ahh I'm so glad to see this one was a good one for you all too-it's hands down one of my favorite "casserole" kind of dishes.

4) Tasty Tuesday- M&M Cookie Bars
These are so crazy delicious. I'm laughing inside looking back at this post because those 2 cookie bars in the final picture? Those were all that was left when I came back to get my pic. I snatched them up immediately for the pic. And then I probably ate them too.

3) Tasty Tuesday- No Bake Peanut Butter Balls
If you love peanut butter, you'll love these. Period.

2) Tasty Tuesday- Slow Cooker Garlic & Brown Sugar Chicken
I'm a fool for anything slow cooker & delicious. This one rates high my friends.

Aaaaaaaand drumroll please...the #1 post of the year was.....
1) Tasty Tuesday-Best Chocolate Cake Ever
There really is a reason this cake is called "the best ever". My only regret is for the final pic the Mr and I couldn't wait for it to cool to dig in, making for a less than flattering pic of this cake. But really-who am I kidding? That hot gooey piece of cake was totally worth the less than perfect shot.

A huge, huge thanks to each of you. If it weren't for you I wouldn't keep doing what I do here. I've loved this, and I've loved the friendships I've made over 2013 on this blog. I've got lots in store for 2014!!!!

Scripture Sunday