Thursday, January 31, 2013

Big News!

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I have a pretty huge announcement and I want you guys to be the first to know! Yesterday I took a leap of faith. I opened an Etsy shop! Yes, you read that right. I'm an Etsy shop owner. My love for crafting has turned into a small business.

I'd be so thrilled, honored, and over the moon excited if you'd stop by and give it a looksy!

Let me introduce you to my shop:

{click on the logo to go straight to the shop}

Here's a peak at some of the pretty earrings you can find there.

Pictured from top left to right
7//dotted metallic grey     8//jail break     9//rust chevron

Tomorrow kitt + kaboodle will be part of a Valentine's Day giveaway where a lucky gal will win not one, but two pairs of earrings! I'll make sure to let you know the details.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meet Laura {Showcase Sponsor}

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Today I want you to meet my sweet and drop dead gorgeous {I mean seriously, she is one hot mama!} Showcase Sponsor! Please stop by her blog and give her some love, you won't regret it! 
 
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
 
Hi there!
 
I'm Laura. A wife, mama, fitness addict, wannabe fashionista and blogger on all the little things that make my world spin round. I am so excited to be here today. One of my most favorite things about This Beautiful Life is that this space really is just that- Beautiful. It is always uplifting, fresh, sincere and I so appreciate coming here day after day.  It's an instant smile on my face! Instead of going on and on about me and where I blog I wanted to share with you my top three tricks to kicking the winter blues. Sometimes a little summer pick me up in the dead of Winter is just what the doctor ordered.
 
 
1. Fruit Water. This is a must in my house during the summer months, but you know what? It's amazing how it makes you feel during the cold Winter months too! It kind of tricks your mind into thinking you're someplace warm.. at least it does mine when I'm looking at -20 below. yikes! But seriously, this is the easiest pick-me up in the book. Add fresh or frozen fruits and lime wedges to ice cold water. Delish!
2. Pull out one of your Summer 'pop's of color' pieces and pair it with your winter attire. I wore this neon skirt around with leggings for the day and I'm quite certain I had a little extra pep in my step that day!
3. Manicured toenails! During the days of open toed heels and flip flops one key essential is having nice toenails, right? Right now it's all about boots, boots and more boots. But, do you know how nice it is to take those boots off and see a nice coat of nail polish resting on your toenails? It makes you smile. Really, it does!
 
Currently I live in Alaska where it's Winter for the majority of the year.. as in, from October to April- snow and negative numbers. (Sunday I woke up to -25!) so anytime I can add little hints of my Summer routine to these cold Winter days- I do it! 
xo,
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Easy Peasy BBQ Chicken Pizza

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I think homemade pizza has a bad rap. Most people think it requires too much work, but if you ask me it's one of those no fuss recipes. The combintaions are endless and I will argue that it's undeniably better than any of those pizza chains that start with a "P". 

If you are looking for a new recipe to throw into the meal rotation, homemade pizza is it. You could make it once a week and it would never have to be the same. That's awesome. BBQ Chicken Pizza is one of my very favorite pizza combinations, right up there with Chicken Alfredo and Mac N' Cheese. Something about noodles on a pizza makes me go all kinds of food crazy. 

This recipe is probably the simplest around. Not to mention very economic. I like that too. 


BBQ Chicken Pizza
pre-made pizza dough
Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
shredded cheddar cheese
cilantro, chopped
chicken breast

Follow the directions on pre-made pizza dough to prepare crust then partially bake according to directions. 

Cook one chicken breast and slice into bite size pieces. Set aside.

Sprinkle partially baked crust with shredded cheddar cheese. Squeeze generously with BBQ sauce. Top with chicken and cilantro. Add extra cheese on top. 

Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is melted. 

Enjoy!

As you can see this is a no fuss meal. You pretty much just wing it, adding more or less of your favorite ingredients.

What's your favorite kind of pizza?  Do you ever make it homemade?


Monday, January 28, 2013

DIY Mini Tassel Garland

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Today's do it yourself project is the perfect little something to spice up an otherwise boring space in your home or office. 

I personally needed to bring some color and a punch of oomph to our office space at work. For those of you who don't know, we work together {which makes me feel like the luckiest gal ever}. This also means we share an office. The trick for me was to keep it somewhat gender neutral while still using bright colors.

 I worked on the project this morning and was done in no time. 

Are you ready to see the tutorial?



Here's the finished product in our office


Friday, January 25, 2013

A Favorite in Our House

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Between the Mr. and I we can easily scarf down a bowl of homemade guac with 3/4 of a tortilla chip bag. This is what we ate last night while dinner was in the oven. So fresh and yummy.

My sister, Bree shared this recipe with us years ago and it's the only one I will make now.

Homemade Guacamole
3 ripened avocados
1 ripened tomato
lime juice
garlic salt grinder

Slice avocados in half lengthwise and remove pits. Scoop out the avocado into a bowl, very lightly mash. It's best with a little bit of chunk to it.

Dice a tomato and set aside.

Season the mashed avocado with garlic salt. We use a McCormick garlic salt grinder because it has more of a course salt. Splash in a little lime juice. Give it a quick stir.

This is the really important part. Taste test! Add more garlic salt or lime juice if necessary. Remember, the chips have salt on them so don't go overboard with the salt. Toss in the diced tomato and give it a gentle stir.

Serve with tortilla chips, homemade would be extra yummy.

Enjoy!



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Community

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One of my absolute, hands down favorite things about blogging is the community. I love interacting with other bloggers, having real life conversations via twitter, or sending and receiving genuine emails. It's what makes sharing your heart for all the world to see on a daily basis worth it. 

I can't tell you how many wonderful ideas I've learned from you all, how often some of your posts have stuck with me, how I've found such great advice, how I've been inspired, or how you've left me longing to bring my real life friendships to a better place.

My prayer for myself {albeit selfish} is that God would bring real, genuine friends into my life. Friends that challenge me, inspire me, motivate me, and hold me accountable. I am blessed beyond words to have some wonderful women in my life who are all those things to me. Sometimes I just want more.

I read a tweet earlier this week that blew me away. Here's what it said:  

Amazing coffee and Godly chat with some sweet ladies this morning. We wrote down our fears and tied them to balloons. Today we released our fears and it felt SO good. #friends #God #thankful #fearnomore. 

How amazing is that? I want that. So guess what? I am meeting up with two of my sweet friends at Starbucks for some much needed girl chat and coffee. We are going to share our fears, write them down, and release them. Let. them. go. I am so exited to share this with them and watch what takes place as we release them.

This is why community means so much to me. We have so much we can learn from each other. 

Posts from the week:
Shop My Closet {Coach edition}
Currently.
Campus Book Rentals {how they're making a difference}
 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Campus Book Rentals {how they're making a difference}

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I was recently contacted by Campus Book Rentals and asked to write a post about their company and what they provide. Honestly, at first glance I wasn't interested. I'm pretty picky about what I post about and I won't post anything and everything on here. With that said, the more I read the more intrigued I became. Turns out this online textbook company stands behind some seriously great ethic and moral values. 

Campus Book Rentals isn't just about helping college students get textbooks for cheaper, although that is definitely a perk. {If you're a college student you're generally on a tighter budget.} They go deeper, which is what I love about them.

They have a making a difference program which means they are currently partnering with Operation Smile by donating money with each textbook rental. Operation Smile is an organization that offers life changing surgeries for children with cleft lip. This program generously offers financial help to families in need that could not otherwise afford the high cost of surgery. Campus Book Rentals is also helping make a difference by distributing scholarship money, $90,000 to be exact, to students in communities all over the United States. 

If you want to learn more about how to save money on textbooks go here. You can also go here to learn how to rent back your textbooks and make money {that's something every college student needs more of}.

"So add that extra book to your cart. When you rent textbooks from us, you make a difference."
I couldn't have said it better myself.

If you still want more information, here's a video on the ins and outs of how it works. 
                      
{I was compensated for this post, but the thoughts and opinions are my own. All information is directly from Campus Book Rentals}

 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Currently.

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1//LOVING these Lauren Conrad earrings.
2//WEARING my new Kat Von D's liquid eyeliner. It's a keeper.
3//FIGHTING a runny nose and sore throat. Don't be fooled. Boogie wipes aren't just for kids.
4//CRAVING triple chocolate cupcakes. 
5//LISTENING to Jesus Culture's new tunes. Can't get enough. 
6//LOATHING P90X for kicking my butt and making me incredibly sore. 
7//DREAMING about going back to my favorite place on earth. 
8//EXCITED that I won Kaitlyn's giveaway. 


Monday, January 21, 2013

Shop My Closet {Coach edition}

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Good Monday morning to you. 

I woke up this morning with this idea rolling around in my groggy head. I have quite a few Coach purses resting beautifully in silk garment bags {read: they're just sitting in my closet not being used}. A few of them are still in my purse rotation, but two of them need homes. A home where they will be enjoyed like they once were. 

Here's how it's going to work. Below are pictures I quickly snapped of the items available. Basically the first person to email me at brittany.thisbeautifullife@gmail.com {not comment} will have the item shipped to them. 

Additional information to take into consideration: 
Open to US residents only! {Sorry}
You must pay through Paypal. 
Shipping information is listed with each piece.
After I have received payment I will ship the item. So if you pay today I will ship it today! 
All items are like new.
If you have any questions or requests don't hesitate to ask. 

Okay ladies, here are the items.
 {Coach Soho Hobo Purse}
Cream leather

$65.00 + $10.00 Shipping
{I suggest buyer pays for insurance. I will not be held responsible for lost or stolen items.}

{Coach Soho Hobo Purse}
Inside authenticity

{Coach Signature C's and Butterfly Silk Ponytail Scarf}
30 1/2 x 2 1/2 {rough dimenions}
Can be worn in hair or tied to handbag

$12.00 + $2.00 Shipping
{I suggest buyer pays for insurance. I will not be held responsible for lost or stolen items.} 

 {Coach Signature Square Silk Scarf}
26 1/2 x 26 1/2 {rough dimensions}
Can be tied at the neck, around the waist, or looped onto handbag. 

$20.00 + 2.00 Shipping
{I suggest buyer pays for insurance. I will not be held responsible for lost or stolen items.} 

{Coach Signature Patent Leather Stitch Purse}
Black Patent Leather

$65.00 + $10.00 Shipping
{I suggest buyer pays for insurance. I will not be held responsible for lost or stolen items.}

{Coach Signature Patent Leather Stitch Purse}
Inside authenticity




Friday, January 18, 2013

High Five for Friday!

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1// Excited to have all my handmade Valentine's Day decor up, especially my DIY Gold Glitter Hearts.
2// Scored these thank you cards at TJ Maxx this week. I might have screeched when I saw them.
3// Strawberry cupcakes for the win. 
4// The Flair Exchange giveaway was so much fun. Congratulations to winner Jenna Keenan!
5// I started this book after reading this post. I have a huge responsibility as a wife and I can't wait to learn how to use it to the Mr.'s benefit, spiritually.


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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Comparison; the Joy Stealer

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I once heard that comparison is a stealer of joy. It's a phrase that has stuck with me. I can't seem to shake it, not that I want to. I want to be reminded when I'm stuck in a comparison rut that it's not worth my joy. 

I hope I'm not the only one who catches herself comparing on a daily basis. Whether it's comparing my blog to another and feeling inadequate, or comparing myself to that hot blonde driving a brand new BMW. What's the point, really? Comparison only leads to a lack of joy. 

I also find that the things I hold in comparison to others' are pretty insignificant. Oh, she has fantastic hair {I have a pretty nice head of hair myself}. Her blog is so successful, her life seems perfect, and her posts seem effortless {I have a blog that I love and have met some wonderful people through}. She is so stinkin' stylish {I have plenty of clothes, a lot of which are trendy}.
Do you see how that can be such a trap? It leads no where good. Every time a comparison thought comes I have to combat it with the truth. Comparison points out what you feel like you don't have and makes you ungrateful for what you actually do have. 

I'm going to try to fast unhealthy comparison. Cut it out of my life. Focus on the positive. Remain joyful. Catch myself when I fall in the trap and remind myself of all the amazing blessings God has given me. They are truly innumerable.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shedding Fifty

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I was inspired via a tweet last month about a blogger {I wish I could remember who} that decided to get rid of 100 things in her home that she either wasn't using, didn't need, could donate, or simply throw away. 

I immediately fell in love with this idea. Brilliant. Genius. Couldn't we all stand to live with less in this want, want want, need, need, need society we live in? I can just imagine the freedom that shedding stuff would bring. Oh, the liberation. I can't even wait. 

Now, let's rewind. If you came over to our house today you would find it well organized, simply decorated, clutter-less, and clean. That's just how we live. So, you would probably sit me down and tell me there's no way I could come up with 100 things to get rid of. You might be right, you probably are. That's why I'm going to start with shedding 50 {still a lot} and see where it takes me. I'm not sure if I'll find 50 things in one day or if I will find them in the course of a few weeks.
So, wish me luck. I'm headed to every nook and cranny, every cupboard, every closet, the basement, and even the garage to find things we're just not using. I can't wait to give you an update and show you all 50 items I'm shedding.

If you want to join me in shedding I'd love to follow along! Maybe you want to shed 100 items, or maybe 50 is more comfortable for you. Maybe you can only imagine finding 10 things in your home to get rid of. The number or amount of things is not key here. What I'm focusing on is shedding. Finding those items that I simply don't need, want, or use. I hope you'll share your shedding journey with me!


 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

DIY Gold Glitter Hearts

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This past weekend I took down all our Christmas decorations. While it was bittersweet packing it all up I was excited to transition the Christmas decor to general winter decor and {get ready for it} Valentine's Day!

The Mr. informed me that it's not even February, but that's okay. I love celebrating love, even if it's a cheesy Hallmark holiday

I decided to take my DIY Winter Branches and transition them to fit more of a Valentine's Day theme. Even though it only took a couple of minutes to punch out heart shapes from pretty, gold, glitter paper, I'm in love with how it looks. I really enjoy that it's not over the top, but just enough of a subtle touch.


Now all I need is a big bag of conversation hearts to pour into a pretty jar and I'll be Valentine's Day ready!

Do you decorate for Valentine's Day?


Monday, January 14, 2013

The Flair Exchange {a giveaway}

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Tassel garland anyone? 

 {LOVE THIS FOR BRIGHTENING UP A ROOM}

I recently came across an adorable Etsy shop called The Flair Exchange. Carmen, the shop owner makes the most beautiful tassel garland with an array of colors and even textures. There are 37 garlands in her shop to choose from. Talk about a huge variety. I don't know how I could choose just one!

{SIMPLE ELEGANCE PERFECT FOR A WEDDING}

Carmen is so sweet to be offering a giveaway on This Beautiful Life today! 
Winner will receive one tassel garland of their choice. Carmen will even customize the colors to the winner's own personal style and color preferences. 

{I'D LOVE THIS IN A LITTLE GUY'S NURSERY}

What are you waiting for? 
Enter to win and then start day dreaming about all the places and spaces you can beautify with tassel garland! 

{GOING CRAZY FOR THIS ONE IN A LITTLE GIRL'S ROOM}

Tassel garland not your thing? Check out The Flair Exchange's hand cut confetti. Love this idea for a special occasion.

{MONOGRAMMED CONFETTI TOSS SEND OFF BAG}


{I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.}


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy Saturday {Flash Sale}

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I hope you are all enjoying a beautiful Saturday, wherever you are. 

For me, I am overjoyed to welcome some much needed sunshine. I'm also gearing up to tackle some laundry, clean the house, and maybe cook a meal. The Mr. has been feeling rather crummy all week and he's finally up and about. It too is a welcomed sign of heath!

Now, for the real reason I'm here on a Saturday:


I will be tweeting discount codes for all my Sponsor Ads all day long. You might want to keep a close eye on my twitter {@brittanywalsh} since I will periodically and sporadically be announcing them there! 

I want to welcome new friends to my sidebar who I can get to know a little better as well as my readers. I absolutely adore promoting other blogs and I'd love for yours to be the next one!

And, for a final announcement. 
Make sure to check back Monday morning for a giveaway! This is just the start of much fun. 



Friday, January 11, 2013

A Day For Crafting

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I love crafting. I'm a crafter at heart. I think it might be my love language {well not really}. But, there's something almost therapeutic about it. It's relaxing, creative {naturally}, and down right fun! 

One of my favorite parts about crafting is stepping back to admire something I've made. It brings a smile to my face.

I want to set aside a whole day and spend it crafting to my heart's desire.  Wouldn't that be wonderful? Better yet, I want to have all you craft lovers over and craft with you. We could sip on tea or cocoa and munch on something delicious while our laughter, chatter, and craft talk fills the air. It would be the best day.

Want to know what would be on our to-craft list if such a day existed? 

First up, these beautiful Gold Leaf Paper Mache Bowls

{source: Kelli Murray}

Then, maybe we could try our hand at Chalkboard Mugs


Could we make this Washer + Ribbon Necklace next? I've had the supplies for about 5 months. 

{source: Nestled}

We can finish off the day whipping up several pairs of Fabric Button Earrings

{source: Casa de Lewis}

So, when's our crafting date?

 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Birthday Cheesecake + Limeade

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The Mr.'s favorite birthday cake is ice cream cake. I've come to accept not asking him what he wants for his birthday cake. The answer is and always will be ice cream cake. 

Since he had two pre-birthday celebrations this year, both of which included ice cream cake, I took the opportunity to have something different for our family birthday celebration for him. 

Next to ice cream cake the Mr. adores cheesecake. While a simple no bake cheesecake would do the trick, his favorite cheesecake is one that is baked. Normally I would make his favorite cheesecake, but I wanted to switch things up.

Enter Key Lime Cheesecake.

I scoured the web for the perfect recipe and found a knock off of The Cheesecake Factory's Key Lime Cheesecake. I have to say, the recipe I made is pretty darn close, maybe even exact.

The recipe calls for 5 limes, freshly squeezed to equal a 1/2 cup. Well, 1 1/2 limes later and I reached my 1/2 cup mark. So, I pondered. What is one to do with a bag full of leftover limes?

Enter Limeade.

I know it's not summer and I also know that summer is the perfect time to enjoy a cool, refreshing beverage such as a limeade. Too bad, so sad. I made fresh limeade and it is awesome!

So, here are two recipes full of lime. If you're a lime lover {like me} then these recipes will certainly be favorites!


Key Lime Cheesecake

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 1 1/4 sleeves)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup fresh lime juice {1 1/2 limes}
3 eggs
whipped cream for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a bowl. Using a fork, stir crumbs until they are coated and crumbly. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and sides of an 8" or 9" springform pan.

Bake crust for 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time until combined. Next, add the lime juice and continue to beat until smooth and creamy.

Pour the filling over the prepared crust. Bake for 60 minutes. Keep a close eye on the cheesecake after the 50 minute mark. It will brown quickly. As soon as the top starts to turn light brown remove it from the oven. Allow to cool to room temperature. Place in fridge for several hours before serving.  {This is a good recipe to make the night before.}

Remove the sides of the pan to cut and serve. Top with whipped cream.

Enjoy!

{recipe adapted from Big Oven}



Freshly Squeezed Limeade

grated zest of 1 lime {1 tablespoon}
1 cup lime juice {3 1/2 limes}
1 cup sugar
3 cups water, divided

In small saucepan bring sugar, 1 cup water, and lime zest to a boil, or just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Place a strainer over your pitcher and pour the sugar syrup through it, straining out the lime zest. Add the lime juice and 2 cups water.

Taste test. If the the limeade is too sweet add a little more lime juice. I found it to be perfect!

Variation: You can also add a splash of grenadine to make a cherry limeade.

Chill before serving.

{recipe adapted from Simply Recipes}


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A letter to the Mr. on his birthday...

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Dear Mr., 
It's your birthday! 
While I want to say Happy Birthday Sweet Pea, Sugar Lips, Baby Bear, or Twinkle Toes, I will refrain from using such embarrassing terms of endearment in this letter.

Babe {is that better?}, I couldn't begin this letter without a thank you, or an acknowledgement of my gratitude for the man you are. I am blessed beyond riches to call you mine, my husband. You are truly my better half, the one I look to for advice, the one who's love I would never doubt or question. You are, simply put, a stand up guy. Honestly, I didn't think it was possible for a man like you to exist. You are incredibly loyal, honest, compassionate, selfless, selfless, selfless, did I mention how selfless you are? You are a servant at heart, a gentle man, loving, patient, tender, and most importantly to me, you lead our family by the Word of God and His standards.  
You are my perfect. 

My hope for you is that this birthday, your 27th {wow, where did the time go?} will be the best one to date. That this year will hold many blessings for you both physically and spiritually. I know we talk about how quickly time seems to be passing, but look at all the life we have yet to live together. What we have created together, our family, our home, our story is beautiful to me. I am eager to watch the rest of our chapters unfold, knowing the best is yet to come.

My prayer for you is that God would continue to mold you into the man he desires you to be. That you would continue to follow Him with all your heart all the days of your life. That you would continue to lead our family as a strong man of God. That you would continue to find fulfillment in your places of employment. That you would continue to know your Father's love for you, your family's love for you, and my love for you. Don't forget about the Fur Baby. He loves his Daddy something fierce. My prayer is that God would also make you a real Daddy in His perfect time.

Babe, no matter what else this life has in store for us I hope you know how deep my love runs for you. I hope you understand the depths of His love for you. I hope you know I am wild about you. Celebrating your birthday today {and every year} brings me so much joy! 

Happy Birthday! Now let's go celebrate!

3 squeezes, 
Brittany



Monday, January 7, 2013

Wii U {a giveaway}

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Today I'm co-hosting another amazing giveaway with Kaitlyn from Wifessionals
{and all these pretty ladies pictured below}. 
We're giving one lucky person a Wii U this week!

Was the Wii U on your Christmas list and you just didn't get it?
Do you want to get fit for the new year in the comfort of your own home?
Maybe you just like intense super mario matches against your significant other...

Whatever the case is, you can have the Wii U in the picture above for free!
1// Kaitlyn  2// Marquis  3// Ashley  4// Samantha  5// Ashley
6// Nilda  7// Kaitlin  8// Janna  9// Clara  10// Alexandria
11// Stephanie  12// tookies  13// Casey  14// Kristin  15// Melissa
16// Hallie  17// Alli  18// Gayle  19// Brandi  20// Brittany
 
All you have to do is use the Rafflecopter below to your heart's delight.
This giveaway will run from 8:00am (EST) Monday,  January 7  -  11:59pm (EST) Thursday, January 10.
 
RULES
1// Giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS only
2// Winner will be notified via email on Friday 1/11/13. You will have 48 hours from the timestamp on the email to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.
3// WINNER WILL BE VERIFIED. If you claim to have done a task you did not - a new winner will be chosen!!!
4// View the Terms & Conditions listed on the Rafflecopter below
 
Now why don't you enter and win yourself a Wii U?!

Friday, January 4, 2013

High Five for Friday!

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This week has been good. It's been a time of reflecting, which I'm thankful for.
 Today I'm counting my blessings, High Five for Friday style. 


1//Circa 2004. I'm thankful I found this photo of the Mr. and I, snapped the summer of 2004. The summer we met. The summer the Mr. told his buddies, "I'm going to marry that girl" the very first time he saw me. 

2//Christmas socks. We had a Christmas celebration with some wonderful friends on Tuesday. Complete with quite possibly my favorite feast; Belgian waffles {with strawberry sauce and whip}, bacon, and hot apple cider. Their company was just as sweet. 

 3//Me + hot curlers for the first time. I'm no beauty expert, clearly, because I had a hard time getting these buggers to stay put. The end result was less than impressive as well. I'll have to take another lesson on YouTube to try and perfect my skills. 

4//Sharing my heart with you yesterday. I'm thankful for all the wonderfully sweet and encouraging comments. 

5//The Fur Baby. Such a sweet little face.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Matters of the Heart {Learning Humility}

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I need a lesson {or two} on humility. It's hard to even admit that. 

I am reminded that I need to put into practice 1 Peter 5:5, "...All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble'." I want His measure of grace to be poured out on me, on my life, and I want it to be visible to others around me.

As I was cleaning my house yesterday, in preparation for a Christmas party we're hosting, the Lord was dealing with me; my heart. As I was scrubbing those toilets till they sparkled I could feel Him gently calling me to clothe myself in humility. 

I want to be an open book. I want to be honest enough to share a weakness of mine. We all have them, don't we? So it probably won't surprise you when I tell you I have some. Many. One in particular I need to work on is not being judgemental, but rather being humble. 

I guess one would argue that the opposite of humble is prideful. Correct? Well, for me when I'm not being humble I am being judgemental. I am seeing myself greater than whomever I am judging. 
Perhaps it's something as little as, "now why couldn't so and so just keep their house clean?" Or maybe a much larger one, "why on earth would they make that decision. That was stupid. Don't they see the consequences? Where's their head at?". 

These are clearly judgements. And, unless I too want to be judged then I need to cut it out of my life. I need to catch myself when the thought comes, or even worse, when I speak it out loud to another person.

I'm not perfect. No one is. That's the beauty of it. Not one of us is better than the other. We are all human. We are equal. We all sin. I'm just thankful that there's One who is greater, who can wash me of my impurities and still call me His own. 

I'm thankful that He loves me enough to gently prod me and prune me, even if it's while I'm cleaning our toilets. Isn't that just like Him? Dealing with my heart, shedding light on an area that needs His grace in great measure, when I least expected it? I think we've all come to expect to receive something from Him while we're in the Word or praying, but what a great reminder that He's always there. He is always speaking. We just need to be listening. I've found that when my mind is on auto pilot {read: cleaning house} I have less on my mind. My heart and mind are open to receive. 

I'm grateful that He found me right where I was. That he cleaned house in my heart and that I'm able to share with you today that He is greater. His grace is greater than our failures, our past, our weakness, and our mistakes. He makes us new. 

I'm forever grateful to Him.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Making the Switch {a tutorial}

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I've been tossing around the idea of purchasing my own domain name for a few weeks now. 
I know there are many benefits to purchasing a .com, but I honestly had no idea the hows of it all. 

Kaitlyn from Wifessionals answered many of my questions {she's the sweetest} and I felt pretty confident in taking the plunge after talking with her. 

So, on New Year's Day I did it! I took the leap from blogspot.com to .com. It's the perfect way to start this new year. I can't wait to see where this year takes us and this blog of mine.

This leads me to the tutorial part.

I'm not sure about you, but I enjoy learning by watching someone, then trying it for myself. That's why I'm turning this little "I just switched to .com" announcement into a tutorial. I'm hoping there are some of you thinking about making the switch, but need some questions answered. Maybe I can help answer them for you! 

I decided to take screen shots of each step of the domain purchasing process and add my little notes to the images. This will help those of you like me, who learn by watching. 

Before we dive into the tutorial I want you to know a few things: 

1//Purchasing your domain through blogger means you don't have to transfer anything. Blogger does everything for you as soon as you make the official switch.
2//When you purchase through blogger, blogger notifies godaddy.com {a popular domain hosting company} so your domain will not be available on their website to anyone else. 
3//Purchasing your domain on blogger is only $10.00 a year. 
4//If someone goes to your blogspot.com address blogger automatically points them to your .com address. Easy peasy.

Here's the tutorial in 6 steps...


Step 1: While at your blogger dashboard select settings, then basic. Click on "add a custom domain". 


Step 2: Type in the domain name you want to purchase. If it's available {cross those fingers} then you will see this message, if it's not available it will let you know it's taken {boo}.


Step 3: Fill out all your personal information, including payment method.



Step 4: Review and place your order!


Step 5: You did it! Now simply click on "retrieve your purchase" and you'll be directed to your blogger dashboard. This is important!

Step 6: Once you're at your dashboard you'll be able to verify the final step. Simply make sure that your new .com address is the first listed and you're blogspot.com address is listed second with "redirects" after it. 


That is it! That's all it takes. 
It will most likely take you less than 10 minutes to get from step 1 to the final step; step 6.

Give blogger a couple of minutes to make the switch effective, then go to your new site. And smile. 

That's what I did. 



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Kicking Off the New Year

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Hey friends!
 

We're celebrating the start of 2013 by watching the Rose Bowl {go Badgers!} while munching on one of our favorite football game snacks. I am quite certain you'll want to make a batch of your own so I'll share the recipe.


Homemade Caramel Corn

 9 ounce bag puffed corn
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Pour puffed corn into a large paper bag. Set aside.

Microwave brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir. Microwave 3 additional minutes. Remove from microwave and stir in baking soda until mixture is foamy. 

Pour mixture over popcorn in paper bag. Fold top of bag down and shake well. 

Microwave 1 minute, shake bag. 
Microwave 1 minute, shake bag. 
Microwave 30 seconds, shake bag. 
Microwave 30 seconds, shake bag. 

Spread caramel corn on cookie sheet to cool. 

Enjoy!




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