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Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Confident Heart Review

I am not entirely sure when a book has touched me more. If I could have highlighted this entire book, I would have. The Confident Heart by Renee Swope is a book that every Christian woman should read. To preface, I am a worrier, a comparer, a feeling not enough-er. I would almost always doubt myself saying things like "I'm not pretty enough," I'm not smart enough or qualified enough to do this particular task." I believed these lies I was telling myself. Until I read this book, and it completely changed my way of thinking.

For example, I have always had this hang up about what other people think of me. Do they think I'm weird for knowing a lot about sports? Do they think I'm strange because I am trying to save money and still live at home with my parents? What do people think that I am substitute teaching still, 5 years after graduating college?  I read this quote: 'We become overly concerned about what others think of us instead of what God thinks about us." Other opinions don't matter, God's opinion matters. He's in complete control of my life anyway, so why am I trying to please other people, when I should be pleasing Him?

I'm a planner. I like to know what I am going to be doing throughout the week. Surprises aren't my thing. I love a routine, so not knowing what my future holds is terrifying. When am I going to get a full time job? Get married? Buy a house? Have children? Questions I ask myself at least three times a week. Not understanding why these things haven't happened yet. Again, Renee had a quote to address this exact issue "God doesn't promise understanding, He promises peace in the midst of not understanding."

I could go on and on about this book and how much it has touched my heart. The Confident Heart has a prayer at the end of each chapter to pray, and also reflection and discussion questions. This book would be great to do in a women's Bible Study! I loved this book so much that I am ordering the 60 day devotional next!

If you have read this book, I'd love to hear what you thought about it! Go on and leave me a comment!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Let's Talk: New Year's Resolutions

I'm linking up with Andrea and Erika  today to share with you my New Year's Resolutions! I actually shared them a while back, so you can find them here!

How are you coming with your resolutions? Still on track? Let me know! Leave me a comment and tell me how you are doing!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Homemade Coffee Creamer Recipe

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I only recently started drinking coffee. I prefer the flavored variety. Think French Vanilla, Mocha, Caramel. I definitely have my favorites from both Dunkin and Starbucks, but don't always have the cash to buy those drinks. #flavoredcoffeeisexpensive So, thanks to my handy dandy Keurig (love!) and Pinterest (double love!) I can have my flavored coffee at home!

I have been known to waste coffee creamer. I'm not the type of person who needs to have a cup of coffee to get my day started. I'm more of a mid afternoon, lazy day sip type of gal. So making my own was a perfect alternative.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and tried it immediately! I got the recipe from Mrs. Happy Homemaker. I bet you could whip up a batch right now with the simple ingredients!

All you need is 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 and 3/4 cup of milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix all ingredients into a large jar and mix well. Chill and serve in your coffee!

 She has recipes for over 20 other varieties using this basic recipe! You can find them here!

I am definitely going to be trying more of these!! Have you ever followed this recipe to make homemade coffee creamer? I'd love to know! Leave me a comment and let me know!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Favorites

I am so stinkin' glad it is Friday! It is payday, and dress down day, so it can't be all that bad! Even though it was a four day week, they usually seem to drag on. Why is that? I definitely plan on enjoying every bit of this weekend. I'm linking up with Andrea to share with you some of my Friday Favorites!!

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I have been watching and loving the Hallmark Winterfest and Countdown to Valentine's Day movies.

More info on this book later but, this books has absolutely changed my heart.

Who are you rooting for this weekend for the football games? I like Peyton and Tom, so I don't know who to root for!

What are your plans for this weekend? I'd love to hear about them! Leave me a comment and let me know!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Caprese Skewers

I love anything to do with caprese. The flavors are so fresh, the colors are beautiful, and the flavor combinations are out of this world! With this recipe, I'm not reinventing the wheel. I'm just making it more portable, and appetizer friendly.

Ingredients:

Grape or cherry tomatoes
Tortellini pasta
Mozzarella balls
Pesto (homemade or jarred)
Grated cheese
Parsley

Mozzarella balls that are marinated are expensive. So I got the brilliant idea to use my leftover Italian butter from Christmas and put the balls in there. I left them in the sauce for 3 days, and made the skewers. Easy as pie, and they turned out great!

I cooked up the tortellini pasta according to package directions. (I wish I would have cooked them a minute less because some of them broke when I put them on the skewer because they were too done.) I alternated ingredients on the skewer, tomato, mozzarella, pasta until there were two of each on the skewer. I also just made skewers until I ran out of ingredients.

When I got ready to serve them, I mixed a tablespoon of pesto with olive oil and brushed it gently on top of the skewers. Then I sprinkled some grated parm on top and some parsley.

Tell me these would not be beautiful on your Superbowl party spread!
These turned out great! They are so simple to make for a party, and you can make them ahead and just do the finishing touches right before you are ready to serve! These skewers would be great for the upcoming Superbowl!!

Have you made Caprese skewers before? Is your recipe similar to mine? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What I Got for Christmas

I always get a pretty good mix of practical and fun gifts for Christmas. I am the type of person that typically doesn't hate any gifts people buy for me. I had some "oh, I've always wanted one of these" moments, and that is usually the reaction gift givers are looking for.

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First up, practical gifts! The first practical gift I received was a 2 quart crock pot. I have a gigantic 7 quart one, but most recipes call for a smaller size. I was able to use this already for New Year's to keep rice warm, and it worked perfectly! Next up was a Snackeez. Listen, I know that I am 28 years old. I have an obsession with travel mugs. I am telling you, this thing is genius. I can put a drink and a snack in one package. I've already tested this, and I love it! Trust me, if you don't have one, you are going to want one.

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Next, big gifts! I got a few bigger gifts this year. From my parent's I got an iHome. My old alarm clock worked well, but with this one I can charge my phone and wake up to the music I have on there as well. I love that I don't have to keep turning my alarm off and on throughout the week. I just press the power button and it resets for the next day! The big gift I got from my aunt and uncle was an Isaac Mizrahi ceramic watch. It is a light pink, and neutral enough that I can wear it with almost anything.

Sentimental gifts are next, and are ones I expected to get. Every year, my Bubba gets me a nutcracker. This year she got me two mini nutcrackers from Jim Shore. My aunt always gets me a Snowbabies figurine, and I loved the one she got me this year! She got me one with Rudolph and Clarice. So cute!

I received other items too, but these were some of the big ones! What did you get for Christmas? I'd love to read about it! Leave me a comment and let me know!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Batiste XXL Plumping Powder Review

Do you follow The Small Things Blog? I have followed that blog for a while, and always have a case of serious hair envy when watching Kate's tutorials. One product she is always touting is a texture powder. So I stopped into one of my favorite stores, Ulta, to browse their selection. I asked one of the helpful consultants and she showed me one by Big Sexy Hair. The only problem was it was almost $17. I was hesitant to buy that because A.) I am frugal and B.) I didn't want to spend that much money on a product I wasn't sure if I would like.

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So the consultant steered me towards one from Batiste. I have heard rave reviews of their dry shampoos, and this powder was significantly less money. So I decided to try that one.

Batiste XXL Plumping Powder is a texture powder. I really, really like this product! I just section off my hair and sprinkle the tiniest amount of powder in my hair. Then, I just fluff my hair and tease if necessary. I can use this powder when my hair is straight to give me some lift at the roots, or when it is curly to add volume and make the curls more defined. This is also great for updos. My hair is fine, so it tends to slip out of any updo I create. With this, I can add the powder and it gives my hair just that extra hold I need. It is a texture powder, so it is going to give your hair a bit of residue to it. With that, I can just fluff my hair at the roots, if it happens to fall flat and it revives my hair.

I plan on repurchasing this! At only $8.00 it is friendly on my wallet! Way to go Batiste!

Have you tried a texture powder? What are your favorites? I'd love to hear about them! Leave me a comment and let me know!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Other Random December Happenings

December is and always will be a crazy busy month. I wanted to share with you some other events that went on in the month as well!

First snowfalls are really pretty. 

 One of the good things about being sick, a Rocky marathon.
 I absolutely LOVE Elmo, so when I saw him in a store, I had to get a picture! My future children will love Elmo. Haha!

 Kraynaks is a store where they have toys, ornaments, and displays set up that you can walk through for Christmas and Easter. I collect nutcrackers so that picture was an obvious one to get. Since Frozen has been THE movie of the year, I had to get a picture of Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. 

These were just some of the other happenings in December. What did you do? Leave me a comment and let me know! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year's Resolutions

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A new year means resolutions! I have some resolutions that I want to share with your for this year, but let's take a look back at last year and the resolutions I made. 

I break my resolutions down into categories, and will do the same for this year!

Environment:

Last Year: To buy items locally. 
How I Did: Honestly, I probably failed on this one. I purchased some items locally, but probably not enough to count. 

I plan to restart this resolution this year and make a conscious effort to buy locally, support small businesses, and independent business people. 

Health:

Last Year: Drop some pounds!
How I Did: I did really well until work started. Then work started and I got lazy, and put a few of those pounds back on. 

I would like to lose an additional 25 pounds this year and tone up. I am committing to eating clean 5 days a week, and 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week. I know I can do this!

Beauty:

Last Year: Shorten my beauty routine.
How I Did: I mean, I did okay with this one. Especially more recently. I got lazy and left the house with only eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick on. You know what? I looked fine. No one stared at me like I was crazy. 

This year, I plan to use face masques more. I know they are good for your skin, so I need to carve time out and just get it done. 

Blogging:

Last Year: Consistent with blogging, and grow blog.
How I Did: FAILED! I seriously slacked on the blog front. I was majorly inconsistent with posting. Epic Fail. 

This year I am going to be consistent with blogging, and to update my Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest page more often. 

I have one more resolution to add to this list! I've committed to reading the Bible this year. I haven't read it the whole way through before. I've just chosen chapters to read. I have a printable from Charles Stanley that I am using, and so far, I LOVE it! 

I will see you in 2017 to see how I did with these resolutions!

What are your resolutions for this upcoming year? Leave me a comment and tell me about them!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year's Recap

How is it 2016 already? Time sure does fly! So, I was really bad about taking pictures for New Year's. It is a relatively low key event for my family. My grandparents and aunt and uncle came out for New Year's Eve. My family decided on a taco bar, and it was a HUGE hit! I got to use some present and former Christmas presents which I love! My fondue pot came in handy for keeping the queso warm, and my new 2 quart crockpot was great for keeping the rice warm. 
My mom, aunt, uncle, and I started off the night playing Uno. Funny story, there was a time a few Christmases ago where they got me an Uno game for 3 years straight.It is now a running joke in our family! Then, we played Dominoes or Mexican trains. I love, love, love this game! I don't play it enough, so I am going to have to have a "game night" and have some of my friends play it with me. Have you ever played this game?
Cashew, Clarice, and I right before the ball dropped. He was in bed, I was heading for bed. Can I confess that I didn't watch the ball drop? I feel better getting that off my chest. After some sonic booms (read:extremely loud fireworks) that my neighbors set off, I headed for bed myself.

My aunt and uncle hosted New Year's Day, so I got up, got ready, and got to enjoy the Rose Parade. Going to that parade is on my bucket list, so I love to watch the floats, the marching bands, and the different groups that march during the parade. My grandparents cook the main dishes for dinner, and they made 18 pounds of sauerkraut. Think that was enough? This picture was even after 8 people ate off of it. I'm not a huge fan of it, so I had a teeny tiny portion. My grandma also made apple pie, so we started off the new year with an American slice of apple pie! My parent's and I went to visit my other grandparents in the nursing home after dinner.  Next stop was home and my bed! 


I can't wait to see what the year 2016 brings!

How was your New Year's? I'd love to hear about it! Leave me a comment and let me know!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Christmas Recap

All good things must come to an end I guess. I love Christmas. The moments leading up to Christmas, carols playing, candelight Christmas Eve service, Christmas morning. Gift giving and receiving, Christmas afternoon naps. All of it. So I guess I will have to wait until next year, but I wanted to share with you some of the fun from this Christmas!

This is NOT tea. 
Right after my birthday, I got sick. With bronchitis. I could.not.stop.coughing. I had no voice, and no energy. It was horrible. I suffered with a cold/sinus crud all through Christmas.

The days leading up to Christmas were a complete blur. I worked, then was usually out running errands until 9 then came home and got prepped for the big day. One trip I did enjoy was getting my favorite Wedgewood Pizza.

Christmas Eve Eve I worked a half day. I came home and finished wrapping some gifts. Luckily, there wasn't a whole lot left to wrap! Then I made my Italian butter, and salad dressing for Christmas Eve dinner.

Christmas Eve my mom and I made our homemade manicotti. We stuffed them with all of the ricotta goodness, and got them ready to be baked for our early afternoon meal. After the manicotti was made, I made my creme de menthe brownies for dessert. I made these for a church dinner, and didn't even get to enjoy one, so I wanted to make a refreshing dessert for after dinner.

At 1:30 our guests came for dinner. We served the meal in courses, with our wedding soup course being first. Next came salad, then manicotti. Finally, it was time for coffee and dessert!

Church was at 6:00, so after everyone left we got ready to head to the candlelight service. It was almost 65 degrees, so it was unseasonably warm. Not your usual Pennsylvania December. Picking out an outfit was a challenge. Haha!

After church, my family came back to the house and we munched on some snacks, and they headed back home.

Here is where traditions get kind of bent. My parents and I opened all of our gifts on Christmas Eve. I know. What is wrong with us? We host Christmas morning breakfast, so it is just easier for us to open our gifts then, so we have the morning to prepare food, etc. Now when I have kids, we will open on Christmas Day, but for this season of life, Christmas Eve works for us.

(Check back later this week for a "What I got for Christmas" post!)

As I said earlier, we host Christmas, so I had all of my family out for Christmas breakfast! We have the same thing every year. Quiche, hard boiled eggs, ham, toast, and my Bubba's nut roll. Well, we might have snuck a few cookies into the mix as well!

It was time to open gifts from my grandparents, and aunt and uncle. We all did our exchanges, oohed and ahhed. Everyone left, and we took a siesta. Haha!

Later that evening, everyone came back out for ham sandwiches, potato salad and dips and snacks.



Just like that, it was over.

How was your Christmas? Tell me about it! Leave me a comment and let me know!
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