Friday, May 31, 2013

Peanut Butter Apple Dip

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I've always, always, always loved apples with peanut butter. It was a snack I remember my Mom serving us as kids and even as an adult it's something I eat on the regular. So, a couple days ago when I stumbled across a peanut butter apple dip recipe in my pinterest feed I was all over it. I didn't look at the recipe closely, I just happened to notice under the image that it was made with greek yogurt, peanut butter, and honey. Before I knew it I was in the kitchen whipping up my own version. 


Peanut Butter Apple Dip

1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
honey
cinnamon sugar

Whisk together the yogurt and peanut butter in a small bowl. Add a squeeze of honey and sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Give it a quick stir. Serve on the side of a sliced golden delicious apple or whichever apple is your favorite. 

I served this for breakfast the other morning. The Mr. liked it {surprising for his picky tastebuds}, my sister liked it, but would have preferred it without cinnamon, and my Dad and I loved it as is. The recipe made enough for two people to share a decent sized snack. 

This is a must make again recipe. It's perfect for an afternoon snack for the kiddos, a summer picnic, or even something to make ahead of time for a camping trip.  

Enjoy!



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

tom design jewelry {review}

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Today I'm so excited to introduce you to Etsy shop Tom Design. Debbie, the shop owner sent me their tiny gold letter necklace. One word, gorgeous. I'm in love with the miniature monogram letter of my love's initial. I've been wearing the necklace with just about every outfit, loving its versatility. I also love realizing I'm wearing it and instantly thinking of my Mr. 


Debbie is generously offering 20% off every order with code TBLIFE {good though June 11th}. 
You will find so many beautiful pieces of jewelery in her shop. 

TOM DESIGN JEWELRY


Sunday, May 26, 2013

My Heart + My Dad

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The fur baby is content as can be right next to his papa, they are the best of buddies.

Yesterday my sister and I picked my Dad up from the airport. He flew in from Alaska to spend the week helping us with the new house. One thing I've realized in my adulthood is that my heart only feels complete when he's here, with us. I'm grateful for this time together.  

Even though he's here for a whole week I'm already dreading the day we have to take him back to the airport and say our goodbyes. It's the part of life I hate the most, saying goodbye for a whole year to the first man that ever captured my heart. It's probably something no one but my sister and I will ever understand. Sitting here typing this it almost brings me to tears. 

Life can be so complicated at times. The people we love most can be taken from us in an instant without warning. We can be separated from them by thousands of miles for hundreds of days at a time. But, we each have our own callings in life, some that require us to live far from family. We have our own responsibliites and obligations that keep us separated for far too long. 

It leaves me wondering what are we all doing here? If family is the most important thing on this earth are we taking the time to tell them how much they mean to us? No one is promised tomorrow. Life is but a moment and I never want to take the ones I love for granted. 

This week I am going to soak up every single moment with my sweet Daddy. I won't let a second go by that I'm not grateful to be with him. He has a way of making me smile and laugh like no other.
 I am my father's daughter. I'm so proud to be his. I'm so grateful for the time we do have together. 

I love you Dad!


Friday, May 24, 2013

High Five for Friday!

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1// The Mr. mowed our new lawn for the first time. He's very concentrated here so you can't see how he was beaming with excitement. 

2// We spent the majority of this past weekend packing for the move we made on Monday. My sister understands my food love language all too well. That's why she showed up with those goodies.  I was happy to take a packing break and indulge a little.

3// I wanted to do something special for our lender and our realtor {my Mom} because they really went the extra mile in treating us so wonderfully. I would have gone through the process 100 more times, that's how great they were.

4// This week has been one for the books; running on the littlest amount of sleep. I couldn't possibly look as tired as I feel. 

5// During a Target trip yesterday I saw these at the checkout. Well, I had to try them, mostly because they're pretty. Best part? Tastes like a strawberry milkshake.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Letting Go

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Last night we finally started packing for our move this Monday. We started in the office closet and boxed every single item up. Now, the office floor is barely visible as it's covered in boxes. 

The Mr. and I moved into this place we call home in October of 2010. It has been our home, our retreat, our safe place. We have built a life together here. We have made countless memories. 

As he packaged up each box with tape and I wrote on the outside its contents, we joked about how it feels like we're unpacking, even though we're packing. Time couldn't have possibly passed by that quickly that it's already time for us to leave, could it? Maybe it's something only he and I will ever understand.

Before we began all the packing hullabaloo I quickly ran to each room in the house and snapped a quick picture. I always want to remember what this place looked like.

half bath
 kitchen
 office
 bedroom
 living room
 full bath

Last night my mom said to me, "There will be emotional feelings involved {with this move}, let's just not go there yet". I think that was the best advice I could have received yesterday. We are obviously so thrilled to be buying a new home on Monday, our first home, and we are overjoyed; filled with excitement and awe at our Creator and His endless blessings in our lives. There will however, always be a part of us that will reminisce about other places we've lived together. Sometimes with that comes a multitude of emotions. I just can't focus on that right now. I'm so glad I don't have to feel sad that we're saying goodbye to our current home. It was freeing to have her say that simple phrase. We will have to physically let go of this home, but we will always cherish the memories that we shared here.

Thank you iphone for capturing the last pictures of this home.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Strawberry Toasted Coconut Muffins

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Today my pal Lindsey is sharing one seriously awesome recipe with us. She is constantly posting recipes on her blog that leaving me drooling. No lie. Not only is she a baking machine, she is a gorgeous fashionista. I want her to take me shopping so badly and share her shopping wisdom with me! AND, she's going to be a newly married woman soon so go wish her a big congratulations, will ya?!

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Hey guys! I’m Lindsey and the handsome devil to my right is my fiancĂ©, B. I started my little blog, Follow the Ruels, right after B and I got engaged over Memorial Day weekend last year. It originally started as a way for me to document my wedding planning journey as well as some of my other hobbies.

One of those hobbies, and something that you will probably find me doing on a weekly basis, is baking. I do a lot of baking. Which is kind of an unfortunate hobby for a girl that needs to fit into a wedding dress in six months.

One of my favorite things to bake are muffins. My stepmom makes the best muffins, so I typically just make variations of her recipe. My latest creation is strawberry toasted coconut muffins. 


These are perfect muffins for summer. You know, if you were looking for a summer muffin. The strawberries are sweet and a little tart, and when paired with the coconut, it almost tastes like a tropical strawberry shortcake. Yum, right?

I hope you give these muffins a try. You can print the recipe here, and if you want to check out some more of my recipes, you can see them all here.

Happy baking!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sunrise Spritzer

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Yesterday we hosted a brunch at our house after church. The guests of honor were of course our mothers and my grandmother in celebration of Mother's Day. 

Something I try to do when we host a gathering is think of one thing that I can do to take our meal time up a notch. For instance, on yesterday's menu was omlettes made to order, belgian waffles with fresh strawberry slices, fruit, and sausage. I knew we would serve coffee and orange juice too. So I began thinking what I could do to make brunch a little extra special.

Then it hit me, my recent obsession with raspberry sherbet could come to use. So, the birth of the sunrise spritzer.  This was the perfect touch to made our time at the kitchen table a little more fun and special!


Here's what you'll need to make one. 

orange juice
sprite
raspberry sherbet

Fill a glass 3/4 full of orange juice. Pour in the sprite, leaving just a little room at the top. Drop in a scoop of raspberry sherbet. Serve and enjoy! 

As the drink sits for a couple minutes, the sherbet begins to melt a little, that's where the goodness is at. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

High Five For Friday!

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 Highlights from our week...


1// This one deserves a little background story. Two days ago I was at my Mom's house and I decided to remove the post you see me kicking down. Her new {last year} tree didn't need it anymore and so while the neighbors watched me and apparently my sister snapped a photo of me I kicked that baby down. Then, yesterday I was sent the picture you see of the fur baby taking a tinkle. No privacy, I tell ya. It seems my sister decided to black mail both the fur baby and I, as she decided to combine our photos into a side by side with the caption, "like mother, like son".  The Mr. and I laughed so hard when we saw it. 

2// This week I can't get enough of raspberry sherbert. It's my go-to every single evening, or in today's case, breakfast!

3// We stopped by the new house earlier this week to measure for new cabinets. One of the trees in our new yard had these beautiful blooms. 10 days and counting till closing day! 

4// The Mr.'s summer softball league started this week. He's a happy, happy man. For the next 14 weeks you can find me all around town at various softball diamonds cheering him on {pretty loudly}. 

5// The Mr.'s dreams came true when he purchased a look a like to this picture; a vintage moped from my Grandpa from 1984. I have to say my dreams came true too, because I have so many sweet memories of my Grandpa and this moped. Once, he put me in the basket {which would be located behind the seat} and drove me down our city's Main Street. We got pulled over. My Grandpa and I laugh about it today, but I was a scared little girl that day when I thought the police officer was going to take both of us to jail!

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Monday, May 6, 2013

The Sunday Currently, Volume 1 {on a Monday}

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aren't these the most beautiful farm fresh eggs? I can't get over the blue/green one.


Reading: Perfectly Unique // This summer I will be re-reading this book with a handful of our High School girls from our youth group. God has given me the revelation of helping these beautiful young ladies realize the importance of their identity in Him, not what the world says about them or the lies they believe about themselves. 

Writing: She Reads Truth journal // To say I have enjoyed my quiet time this week would be an understatement. Reading is great, but the combination of reading and writing down my thoughts and verses that speak to me has been incredible.

Listening: Dishwasher // One thing I'm looking forward to as we transition to our new home is purchasing a quieter dishwasher.

Thinking: Time flies // It seems like just last week the Mr. and I officially started house hunting. A month ago we submitted our offer and now we're closing on the house in 14 days. I can't wait to share some more of the details. The whole experience has been amazing and a true testimony to God's faithfulness and overwhelming goodness. 

Smelling: Fresh flowers // Last Monday I was showered with so many flowers for my birthday. They are literally in every room of our house. It's the best. 

Wishing: Christ's return // We had a guest speaker at church this morning who is originally from India, but now resides in the states. Him and his wife are now missionaries in his birth country. They travel back and forth, mainly spending their time in India helping women who are illegally forced to have abortions as well as giving orphaned children a safe place. Their message weighed so heavy on my heart. It left me wishing for peace on this earth, but more importantly that He would come. Come quickly. 

Hoping: Productivity // One of the busiest times of youth ministry is upon us. We have so many upcoming events to plan and fundraisers to organize. This week I am praying for the time to be extra productive. 

Wearing: Bare Feet // It feels so good to have bare feet. Thankful for this weather that allows me to do so.

Loving: Kate Spade // Last summer I bought my sister the most perfect Kate Spade bow earrings. I would have purchased a pair for myself except I didn't have my ears pierced. Thankfully this fall I took the plunge and now I have two perfect little earring holes in my ears. So yesterday I snatched her Kate Spade earrings from her, to borrow. Indefinitely.
 
 Wanting: Nothing // I'm trying to be content with what I have instead of wanting, wanting, wanting what I don't have. 
 
Needing: Much // Well since we're going to be remodeling a home in 2 weeks there is a whole lot that we need. I'll spare you the forever long list.

Feeling: Emotional // I don't have an explantion for this one. Family members reading this, I am certain your mind immediately went to pregnancy. You guys are too funny. However, I am not with child, just extra emotional lately.
Clicking: Here and here // Unfortunately lately, I haven't been able to keep up with many blogs, my time is spent reading reviews on appliances and such. Exciting stuff, I know.

{linking up with siddathornton}


Friday, May 3, 2013

Love Notes

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As a wife, I'm always on the hunt for ways to encourage my husband. It can be in a big way, like that time I spent 6+ months planning a surprise birthday party, or in smaller ways like I'm doing today. I woke up this morning feeling extra motivated to let my man know how much he means to me, how much he blesses my life, and how much I love him. 

Unfortunately, I think some married couples suck the fun out of their relationships unknowingly. It takes effort to keep the relationship fun and exciting. Life isn't as silly and care-free as it was when couples were simply dating each other. With marriage comes more responsibility and real life issues. With that being said I {along with the Mr.} try to be mindful of keeping our relationship fun, goofy, and light hearted. Life's serious enough, marriage doesn't have to be.

So today I'm showing you a super easy, but effective way to encourage your spouse {or significant other, sibling, parent, etc.}. Each and every one of you can take this idea today, with the items you have in your craft drawer, and bless someone important in your life. 


+ Find your favorite paper, marker, and washi tape
+ Write from your heart; whatever comes to mind that you love about the person you're blessing
+ Hide the love notes in places he/she will easily find 
{sock drawer, refrigerator, in the ipad case, in their car, shower, etc.}
+ Wait patiently for their reaction as they discover love notes from you all day long


Will you be an encourager today?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What Do You Wear?

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Are you a glasses or a contacts wearer? 

When I was in 3rd grade my Mom took me to the eye doctor to get my first pair of glasses. I was mortified the next day when I had to face all my classmates. I've since overcome the fear of wearing glasses in public, thankfully. Now I wear them to spice things up a little and give my contact wearing eyes a break from time to time. Nowadays you even see people choosing to wear glasses even if they have perfect vision; glasses have become a trend. 

When GlassesUSA contacted me about writing a sponsored post I was all ears simply because I myself wear contacts or glasses daily. Even though it's a hassle to rely on corrective lenses of some kind it's at least helpful knowing there are some pretty great companies out there that want to supply the perfect pair of eyeglasses. Am I right? 

I spent quite a bit of time pursuing GlassesUSA.com to pick out a few glasses frames I'm currently loving. They have a ton of designer frames which is the first place I headed. I found a pair of Coach and Ray-Ban frames pictured below.

 Coach Midori 2036 + Ray-Ban 5051

The one tricky part you've probably thought of in regards to shopping for online eyeglasses is that you won't have any idea how the shape looks on your own face. Well, Glasses USA solved that problem with the new virtual mirror feature. You simply upload a photo of yourself and you're able to see what the glasses look like on y-o-u. So awesome!

Here I am using the virtual mirror to try on the Coach pair {on the left} and the Ray-Ban pair {on the right}. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see how the virtual mirror works.

I love that I was able to see two totally different styles and shapes on my own face. 

GlassesUSA was kind enough to offer you, my wonderful readers, a special discount. Whether or not you wear glasses because you have to or if you wear them to be trendy {or maybe even both} then I hope you try GlassesUSA.com. Take a look at the deals below.

Take 15% off + get free shipping on your entire order over $50 with code FS15
-or-
Take 10% off any order of prescription glasses with code Blog10

Besides offering awesome discounts they also offer a 110% lowest price guarantee as well as a 100% satisfaction guarantee. That's a win-win.


{I was compensated by GlassesUSA.com to write this post, however, all the thoughts and opinions are my own. I wanted to tell you about a great company and off you, my readers some discounts at the same time.}

She Reads Truth

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Have you beautiful ladies heard about the She Reads Truth movement? If you haven't let me catch you up to speed with the little information I do know. 

+ It's a blog dedicated to encouraging women to dig into the word and connect with other women. 
+ The women who post on the blog are incredible writers; each post is like a masterpiece. 
+ She Reads Truth is down to earth, relevant, and fun. 
+ It's designed to encourage note taking and journaling.

I am only 2 days into the She Reads Truth reading plan of Hosea. I have enjoyed the time spent reading the chapters of the Bible they select while journaling my own thoughts and passages that jumped out at me. 

If you haven't ever taken the time to follow the She Reads Truth reading plan/devotional I highly recommend it! It has opened my eyes to a whole new meaning of quiet time. It's just the right change of pace I need to kind of spice up my time in the word.

Are any of you currently following along with the Hosea reading plan? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

She Reads Truth has no idea who I am or that I have written this post. It's simply me telling you about something that I think is great.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Birthday Cake + Buttercream Frosting

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There's something you should know about me. I have an issue with birthday cake; the issue being I really, really enjoy baking my own birthday cake. I like to decide what kind of cake I want and then I search the internet for the perfect recipe. The day of my birthday you can find me in the kitchen baking away. 

This year I was in the mood for a strawberry shortcake cake. Turns out those don't really exist, ulness you want the Strawberry Shortcake themed little girl's character cake. That wasn't exactly what I wanted, so I improvised. I searched for a strawberry shortcake cupcake recipe and found a winner. The one and only modification I made was baking the batter in one round cake pan.


Strawberry Shortcake Cake

1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 

In a separate mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until mixture is very pale, fluffy, and thickened slightly {about 4 minutes}. Mix in melted butter and oil.

Add in 1/3 of the flour mixture. Mix well. Add 1/2 the milk. Mix well. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture. Mix well. Add the remaining milk. Mix well. Add the last of the flour mixture. Mix well. 

Butter and flour one round baking pan. Pour batter into prepared pan. 

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until cake is just slightly golden. Flip cake out of pan and onto a wire rack. 

When cool, carefully cut the cake in half to make two layers. 

Spread 1/2 of the buttercream frosting onto the bottom layer of the cake. Top with the second cake layer and frost the top. Serve with a dollop of fresh whip cream and a strawberry heart. 

Enjoy! 


Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups powdered sugar

Please do me a favor and use a stand mixer for this recipe. If you don't have one then be prepared to use your hand mixer for a while.  My favorite part of this recipe is that it's not too sweet!

Whip butter until very pale and fluffy, approximately 6-8 minutes. Scrap down the sides and the bottom of the bowl frequently. 
Mix in the heavy cream and fresh strawberries until the strawberries are combined with the butter. Add the powdered sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes, until very pale and fluffy. 

Top your favorite cake with this delicious frosting and enjoy!


{recipes adapted from cookingclassy.com here and here}

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