Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday's Letters

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 {last year's fall pumpkins}

Dear fall, you're here. I could not be more thrilled. Dear followers + readers, have you checked out my GIVEAWAY? It ends Sunday so hurry on up and enter! Dear Mr., today we are going to our all time favorite place; the spot where you proposed. We're also headed to your family's farm. Cross your fingers and say your prayers that we are able to get a good shot for our Christmas card picture. This requires that you get your real smile ready {love you honey!}. Dear camera, please be nice to us and take beautiful pictures so we don't have to do this all over again. Dear master bedroom closets, office closet, and linen closet, you guys were reorganized last week/weekend. It's so refreshing to open you and see everything just as it should be. The nerd in me opens you up even when I don't need anything, just so I can marvel at how organized you are. Dear sponsors, quite a few of you are new around these parts. I'm so blessed you are a part of This Beautiful Life. I hope my readers enjoy you as much as I do! Dear God, Your faithfulness is everlasting. Your mercies are new every single day. You are the same today as You were yesterday. Thank you for Your steadfastness and Your goodness.

check out these great reads:


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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Personalized Monogram Mug {a giveaway}

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The series of events started back in Christmas 2011 when I embraced a "handmade Christmas". I searched the web for countless hours trying to find the perfect gifts to make.
One of my favorite things I made was a monogram mug for my sister, Bree. 



Then, just yesterday I made this mug for my friend's birthday. It's a nice big latte mug.



It got me thinking. What if I bought a plain white latte mug and hosted a giveaway? Then, personalize it for whoever won.


 So...

Because it's Thursday.

Because you guys rock my socks off!

Because I am obsessed with monogramming.

And because you deserve to drink out of a pretty mug!

One lucky guy or gal will win a personalized monogram mug. If you're name is Bob, I can slap a "B" on it. If you like to go by Suzie, an "S" it is. Or, if you go by Eugene, but you want to gift the mug to your wife Gerry, I can by all means make a "G'. 

I think you get the picture. 

Winner will be drawn this Sunday and announced Monday. 

Cheers!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

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I'm back with WILW. It's been awhile since I participated in this link up and I have quite a few things I'm loving this week!

I'm loving that I get to celebrate my very favorite friend's birthday today. If there's something you need to know about me it's that I believe birthdays are a pretty big deal. I love to celebrate the snot out of them! Today is no exception. I am so blessed to be able to take my friend out for coffee, make her a handmade card, and just spend time with her. 

I'm loving fall beverages. Here are my two {make at home} favorites, because if I'm being honest, nothing compares to Starbucks' Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Nothing.
 
{chai}
 
 {hot cocoa}

I'm loving fall, displayed on my ladder shelf {built by the Mr.}. I'll have to dedicate a post to fall decor in our house. It's pretty much everywhere.


I'm loving a recent giveaway I won. That marks win number two and number three is on its way to me in the mail! This notepad is from this beautiful lady, made by this talented lady!


I'm loving picmonkey. Have any of you had the chance to try it? It's a free, online picture editing tool that is super easy and tons of fun! I'm in love.

That's it for this week. What are you loving?


{linking up with This Kind of Love}

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The One Recipe I've Made 1,847,329 Times

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Alright, give or take 1,847,229. In all seriousness, I've been making and serving this recipe since the Mr. and I got hitched in 2006. It's tried and true. Everyone, and I mean everyone I've ever served it to has asked for the recipe. 

I can't take all the credit. We first had this dish at a family friend's house in Kentucky. Ever since that day in March we've enjoyed it over and over again. 

Last night was no exception. The Mr. and I enjoyed this delicious recipe with a side of long grain wild rice and a goblet of chocolate milk. 
Fancy pants. 

I'm sharing the recipe with you because I love ya!


  Chicken Enchiladas

1 medium onion
24 ounces {of your favorite} salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1 3 ounce package cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cumin
8 tortillas

Combine the onion and butter {buttah is how I pronounce it in my head} in large skillet, cook until tender. Stir in the shredded chicken, 1/2 the salsa, cream cheese, and cumin {you must remember the cumin, it's what makes the dish}. Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese {or more if you're me, or if you love cheese, or if you live in Wisconsin}. 

Spoon 1/3 of the chicken mixture in center of tortilla and roll up. Place seam side down in 9x13 baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Top with salsa and remaining cheese.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 

Enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Show + Tell Monday {Stuck on an Island}

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This week's questions are very interesting! Let's get started. 

Tell us, if you could only take 5 people with you to a deserted island, who would it be, and why?
{These are in no particular order.}
The Mr. {duh} It's pretty obvious that I would need him to survive plus I wouldn't want to live without that man!
The Fur Baby. So what? He's not a person, but he is someone I would need to take with me. The reasons are obvious.
My Sister. We would both die of a broken heart if we were separated. So there. That's my reason.
My Momma. Since I talk to this woman every single day it would be pretty hard not to have her with me.
My Dad. He knows how to fish well and he can hunt with the Mr. so we have food. See below.

 {Exhibit A: King Crab}

{Exhibit B: 64 lb. Halibut, caught by my Dad in Alaska [where he lives]}



Show us which island you'd like to be deserted at. 
This island would suffice. It's breathtaking, private, and there's some shelter. The water. Are you kidding me? It's crystal clear. If I could bring Target along with my 5 people, I'd be all set. 
 
  {via}
 
Tell us, if you could only bring 3 items with you, what would those items be. And why? 
Hands down, first and foremost I would bring my Bible. It's my rock. I need it for survival. 
My pillow. It feels like home and it's pretty necessary for a good night's sleep.  
A camera to capture all our memories and adventures. 
 
 
Show us 3 pictures that you would take with you.




Tell us what you envision life would be like on that island. Do you think you would go into survival mode? Would you be like those Survivor people and eat bugs? What qualities do you possess that would help you survive. Do share.
Life stranded on an island would be difficult. That's obvious. I wouldn't willing go. But, if for some reason I was stranded with this exact scenario? It might be okay. I think in this situation {and any situation in life} it's how you react that matters. I hope my reaction would be to make the best of the situation. To learn to survive with what I have. To make the most of each day because it's still a gift from God. To strive to be grateful, even when it feels hard. I hope that would be my reaction in this type of situation as well as life in general.

For the record, I wouldn't eat bugs.

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's That Time Again...

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 Hey friends, This Beautiful Life is accepting sponsors! 

Time to get on board with us! We would L-O-V-E, love to have you! 

I have a Featured Sponsor ad that I am making available for a teeny tiny price. Since I am a lover of all things fall you can snatch a Featured Sponsor ad for $5! {$12 savings}. All you need to do is use promo code HAPPYAUTUMN. I am also offering a Sponsor Swap that is FREE with promo code SWAPLOVIN

Sponsorship discounts will start today and run through the weekend. Get busy!

Friday's Letters

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Dear Autumn, you are here {officially tomorrow}, but the weather this week has verified you are here to stay. I'm loving the apple cider, pumpkin bread, autumn crafts, and cozy slipper socks. Dear Mr., this weekend we have no big plans, which means we can have a spontaneous date night, catch up on some good reading, decorate the house for fall, snuggle under blankets, sip on warm beveys, and watch movies. It's going to be glorious. Dear Weekend, did you catch all that? Dear NEW FOLLOWERS, welcome! I am truly honored to have you a part of our lives. I have so enjoyed the emails and comments from you all this week! Dear Perfect Fall Boots, I need you. Wherever you may be, please find me. Bonus points if you are a great price. Dear Kitty Bear, a.k.a the Fur Baby, it's been far too long since Momma has written you a letter. You have been loving this chillier weather which naturally means you stay under the covers all night long, right at my feet. It's amazing to me that I accept mediocre sleep so you can be cozy and comfortable. You're worth it buddy. Dear Self, you learned how to count to 10 last night in French, little rock star. Dear God, you have been speaking to me through lots of other blogs, people, and the Mr.'s sermon on Wednesday that I am a masterpiece. That you made me {and each individual} exactly the way you wanted, down to the very last detail. A masterpiece. It's truly an amazing revelation I've grasped and I just hope others will too. It's hard to think people can willingly reject you. The fact alone that you have created me blows my mind. I couldn't and wouldn't live without you. Ever.


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Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm Here, But There

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Happy Thursday! 
I'm busy over here crafting up some fall decorations. I'll be sure to share them with you soon.
 Burlap, glitter, and pumpkins, oh my!

Today I'm also guest posting for Stormy. Please head over to her blog and show her some love. Her and her new hubby are honeymooning in Mexico, so I took over her blog for the day with a fun post.


If you're smart, {and I know you are} you'll stop by and read my post about a DIY Wedding Towel Cake.

Have a super fabulous day, friends!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A New Recipe + an Update

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First an update. Life is good. How cliche, but it's true. There is however, a small struggle going on. Remember this? The challenge of self control. Dun dun dun. Guy's, it blows. That's the honest truth. 

This past weekend we ate at Olive Garden with the Mr.'s family. My favorite part about eating at Olive Garden is when the bill arrives. You know why? The waitress always accepts my request of extra Andes mints and brings a large handful. That's worth a $20 tip. For some reason the mints taste better straight out of Olive Garden's refrigerator. I don't know what it is. Anyway, I grabbed the first mint like a freaking ninja and popped it in my mouth. I took one bite down and realized I was eating a CHOCOLATE mint. Needless to say, I spit that delicious thing out into my glass. I was devastated.

Now, four Andes mints are sitting in my fridge, waiting for me until October 1st at 12:01AM, when I can freely indulge. 

Some of you may not realize just how hard it is for me to give up sweets. I wish I could say that the challenge is getting easier, but I think it's actually harder as time goes on. {11 more days, 11 more days, 11 more days.} My own mother keeps forgetting I can't have sweets and offers me homemade apple pie, vanilla bean ice cream, or a bowl of chocolate candies. I don't blame her. Typically I would be all.over.that. I'm getting really good at saying "no".

My sweet friend, {thank God} is going through this with me and she is having quite the time too. I'm so glad we have each other to call when we feel like giving into temptation. "It's not worth it", I'll tell her. Or she'll say, "we're half way done". It's friends like these that are true jewels that come along side of you to help you through something hard. Even if it's something as silly as not eating sweets for one month! 

__________________________________________________________________________________


Now, for the recipe. This is a really yummy recipe we made last week. It's a perfect appetizer and even a great football game snack. 



Buffalo Chicken Bites

3 cups shredded, cooked chicken 
1/4-1/2 cup Frank's buffalo sauce
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups Corn Flakes cereal, crushed

Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, or spray with baking spray. 

In a large bowl, combine chicken, cream cheese, and buffalo sauce. Mix together well. Then add shredded cheddar cheese and green onions, mix well. 

Take a heaping tablespoon of mixture and roll into a ball. Continue until all the mixture is gone, placing each ball onto a separate baking sheet or plate. 

Place flour in a shallow dish. Place the eggs into a second shallow dish and the crushed Corn Flakes into a third shallow dish. 
 
Dip each chicken ball first into the flour, then the egg, ending with the corn flakes. Place on the prepared baking sheet. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm with ranch or blue cheese dressing. 

Enjoy!




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

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 The sweet and lovely Mallory nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks girl!


I love that this award is from a blogger to a blogger. What a great community this is. 

Here are the "rules" {so I've been told}

1. Nominate up to 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging. 
 2. Let the nominated bloggers know that they have been nominated for this award. 
 3. Share 7 random facts about yourself. 
 4. Thank the blogger who has nominated you in a blog post linking back to their blog. 
 5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post.



I smack my gum when I chew it.

I don't eat seafood.

I don't like roses, especially red ones.

I got married when I was 20.

I had headgear when I was in grade school + braces for 6 years. Can we say overbite?

I lived in Hawaii.

I feel uncomfortable going through a car wash alone.


  Now, for the lovely ladies I have chosen for the award. 



Kristin at Young and Southern

Chané at What the Hart Likes


Ariel at On A Whim

Manda at Eat Cake

Jillian at faith that laughs




Monday, September 17, 2012

Show + Tell Monday {High School Memories}

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Time for another Show + Tell Monday! I love being able to learn about other bloggers and for you to learn a little more about me too. 

Tell us what kind of student you were in high school {popular, nerd, sport obsessed, choir, etc}
I was the good girl in high school. I was friends with everyone, played volleyball and basketball, and was involved in student council and the yearbook club. I was also voted Class Sweetheart my Senior year and graduated Salutatorian.
{I attended Freshman year, was home schooled Sophomore and Junior year [per my request] and then went back for my Senior year.}


Share with us some high school pictures. We know you have them somewhere. 
This is the only picture you're getting; my sister and I at graduation. I am not one to flaunt my high school chipmunk cheeks around the interwebs. I can already hear the conversation my sister is going to have with me. I'm in big trouble. 



Tell us about your school. Private? Public? How many in graduating class? Mascots? School colors? 
I attended a very small Christian school. Small, as in, I have a graduating class of 8. Eight! I wouldn't have had it any other way, though. We were the Falcons and unfortunately our colors were PURPLE and GOLD. See purple gown at graduation, above. The year after I graduated they changed the school colors to dark green and white.   


Tell us about some of your favorite memories of high school. Or what stands out the most? Any teachers? Specific classes?
Some of my favorite memories of high school are those that were made outside of the school setting. Spending time with friends, eating at Dairy Queen for lunch every single day, {a blue slushie with ice cream was my go to drink}, t.p.-ing, and skipping class {just once}.


Tell us a piece of advice you would pass on to your children or any child entering high school. 
 Have fun, study hard, and make memories. The four years fly by and then it's over. After graduation the time goes by even faster. Cherish true friendships. Stay true to the morals and values you were raised with. Keep God number one. 



Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday's Letters

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Dear Self, you went and got your ears pierced this past weekend? All by yourself? You even took a before and after picture to capture the memory? Dear Fellow Ear Pierced Humans, how did you withstand the torture of cleaning your fresh earring holes 3 times a day? It's the worst part of this whole deal for sure. Dear Mr., this week we received your official licensing as a Pastor. I have to admit, it's a little strange to hear people address you as Pastor Jim. I am proud of you, who you are as man, and I'm thrilled I get to call you mine. You are making a difference and it's so special to watch the transformation in your life. Dear Mom, you have been a lifesaver this week. Your God like character is admirable and I so desire to have people see in me what I see in you. Dear Sweets, I want you so badly. 16 more days and this 30 Day Challenge is over. Part of me thought I would want to stay off sweets, but I want to devour them the second the challenge is over! Dear Self Control, hang in there. Dear God, you are so good. In the midst of a storm you are still so good.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul

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Alright, so this might not be chicken noodle soup for the soul, the stomach rather. 

Are you ready for a yummy recipe heading into fall? Good, because I have one just for you!

My friend is amongst a handful of people that I would consider to be great in the kitchen. She gave me this recipe yesterday after I threatened her cat's life if she didn't hand it over. 
Not really. 

I've nicknamed her recipe Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup. Here's why. 

You don't have to use your spoon to fish around for a little piece of carrot or a noodle. This soup is full of the good stuff. If you like lots of broth in your soup, this recipe is not for you. Don't even look at the picture because you will tirelessly search and search only to find a small puddle of broth in the bottom of the bowl. 


I just finished making this recipe. You better believe me when I say, I devoured a steaming hot bowl of it. Boy, did it hit the spot.

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

10 cups water
10 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 small onion, chopped
egg noodles
2 bay leaves
pepper to taste
the meat of 2 chicken legs, pulled into pieces
{Side note: I recently bought an organic chicken from a local farmer. After I baked it I shredded the chicken breasts for a different recipe and used the meat from the chicken legs for this soup. You can use whatever meat from the chicken you prefer. I'm done talking about chicken parts now.}

Bring the water to a boil. Add bouillon cubes and the bay leaves. Next add the carrots. Let them sit in the rolling boil for a little bit. Then add the celery. Let them enjoy the jacuzzi too. Finally, add the chopped onion and chicken. Give everyone a minute to get acquainted with each other.

Meanwhile bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the egg noodles and cook until al dente. Drain. 

Add the noodles to the soup pot and pepper to taste. 

Serve up one, two, or seven bowls and....

Enjoy!

 


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Bucket List for Fall

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I adore Autumn. It's both mine and the Mr.'s favorite season. 

I've compiled a few of my favorite things about Fall as well as a few things I want to make sure we can check off our "list" before the snow starts to fly. 

Do you love Fall? 
What are some of your favorite things about this beautiful season?





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