Monday, October 13, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

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We are embracing fall over here. After a flashback to summer temperatures a couple weeks ago, the cooler weather seems like it's here to stay! What better way to welcome fall, than to bake a delicious fall treat? 

Recently, I made a batch of these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I'm a big fan. I think they are especially cute when they're baked in a square muffin tin. Feels a little fancy.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes 12 muffins

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
7 ounces pumpkin puree
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare muffin tin with baking spray, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, and oil. Once smooth, stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mix until just combined. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.

Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 full. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top of each muffin before baking.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from muffin tin immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything


Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Song

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This post is part of THE SONG Blog Tour, of which I am delighted to be a part, along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more and to join us, CLICK HERE
 
This weekend I had the privilege of screening the new movie, The Song, hitting theaters this Friday! I just finished watching the film and I'm trying to gather all my thoughts and emotions and piece them all back together. There were quite a few moments I had alligator tears welling up in my eyes and times where I let out a laugh. This movie was that good! In my opinion, the best movies are the ones that tug on your heart strings and make you let out a giggle at just the right time. You guys, I'm telling you, this movie has it all! 

I've been a little bit hesitant in the past, when I sit down to watch a "Christian" film. Their reputation has been known to have some poor acting and uncomfortably cheesy moments that make your eyes roll. Can I just say they've come a very long way in the movie making industry. The Song directors cast such an incredibly talented group. Consider my socks blown off!

I enjoyed that The Song showed some real life struggles without watering it down. There are some very raw scenes of substance abuse and adultery. Even though this film has some heavy subject matter, I was pleasantly surprised they showed the scenarios in a very real light without holding back simply because it was a Christian film. I was grateful for the moments that made me smile or laugh because it was a much needed break from the seriousness of film.

I love that this movie is a modern version of the Bible story of Solomon. The film writers and directors did an outstanding job of making this movie relevant for today. I enjoyed the pieces of scripture throughout the film. One of my very favorite marriage scriptures is found in Song of Solomon 3:4, "I have found the one whom my soul loves". This is one of many that is heard throughout. 

http://www.thesongmovie.com/

To wrap it up, pretty please with a cherry on top, do yourself a favor and go see this movie! It's an especially great date night movie, but I would recommend it for anyone, really! The storyline flows wonderfully, the music throughout is well done and catchy, and the characters capture your attention! 

I think as a society we're begging for media that inspires. Find a theater near you this weekend, feel inspired, and support this wonderful film! I know I can't wait to watch it again {and again, and again!}.

Here's a special sneak peek of a clip from the movie that The Song Blog Tour gave me permission to show you! Enjoy!

Baby Asher

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Guys, being an Auntie is one of the coolest and most rewarding things on God's green earth! I love this little man so much it hurts! 

Turns out, I've been M.I.A. for that last couple of months. You have this handsome soul to thank for that! I could sit here and apologize over the interwebs about my absence. BUT, I won't do it. The past couple of months our family has been soaking up all the snuggles, the smiles, and the joy that this little human brought when he arrived! 

I will be back in this space more often, pinky promises! For now, it's back to baby snuggles and kissing the cheeks right off this dude!  


Friday, July 25, 2014

Waiting & anticipating

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For the last 242 days I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Waiting to become an auntie to what I now know to be my nephew. For months I was convinced my sister was having a baby girl. That thought seems so foreign to me now. I'm so excited to have a nephew!

Believe it or not, that little person whom I have yet to meet, has consumed my thoughts and prayers. I've spent the last 242 days of her pregnancy dreaming about the day I'd be able to meet him. To tell him I'm his auntie and I'll always be there for him. To squeeze his little buns and kiss his sweet little head. I'll give his head a long sniff too, just for good measure. 

The waiting will be over tomorrow, as she's going in to be induced at 40 weeks 6 days. I'm so honored that she wants me to be in the birthing suite for her labor and delivery. I'm looking forward to capturing some special moments on video and camera for them. I'm a bit emotional at the thought of being one of the first people to watch baby Asher come into this world. It is honestly overwhelming. 

Today, I'm spending the day with my beautiful sister before she dives into motherhood tomorrow. Life will forever change for our whole family and I can't wait to embrace it! I woke up this morning wanting to write my thoughts out before the big day. I'm so glad I will have these memories and emotions written down.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Asher, this is my very first letter to you, one of many I am sure. I can't wait to read it to you tomorrow when I hold you in my arms for the first time. Sweet boy, you are an answer to prayer. I've always dreamed of being an auntie and tomorrow I'm so proud you are making that dream come true! I am so excited to be a part of your life little man. Your whole life. You are more loved than you could possibly imagine. I hope you feel our love and support. We are so thrilled to meet you, to lock eyes with yours, to hold your hand, to stroke your precious head, to read to you and sing to you. You are loved and wanted Asher. I can't count how many times I've told you that as I feel you kicking in your mama's belly. You are loved and wanted. I'll miss feeling you kick and seeing you move, but holding you will be even sweeter. Tomorrow's the day, but as I read this to you, today's the day. This day will forever be special. We celebrate your life, God's plan for you, and our ever growing love for you. Happy Birthday handsome boy! 

See you tomorrow sweet Ashie!  I'll love you forever, Auntie.
 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Lovin'

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For so long it felt like we kept complaining about our absent spring. It could have been due to the world's longest winter we somehow survived. Or, we could have just been itchin' for the summer months. Regardless, I've found us in the middle of June wondering where our spring went and how we could possibly be halfway through one of my favorite months. 

We have been keeping ourselves far too busy with house projects (read: turning an extra room into a master bathroom), outside landscaping (read: ripping trees out of the yard), spending lots of time outside resulting in sunburns, softball games, volleyball games, squeezing in naps, and trying to maintain a favorite activity of mine; baking & trying new recipes. Somewhere in between all of that we've been able to spend time with friends and family. 

Here's a peek into what our lives have looked like lately. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Bread Master

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I've been on a serious roll making our own bread. It all started last month when a friend of mine gave me a sampling of some delicious bread she made. Since then, I've been kickin' butt in the kitchen, making bread. 

I've tried four different recipes and three of them have been a success. The only one that didn't work out was a bagel recipe. I don't plan on trying it again anytime soon. 

I thought I would share a couple of the recipes that we have tried and really love; Honey Wheat Oatmeal Bread and Cinnamon Bread.

Honey Wheat Oatmeal Bread
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup oats
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup honey
 1 cup whole wheat flour
1 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons dry active yeast

Combine water and butter and microwave until butter is melted. Pour into a bread machine loaf pan. Add yeast, oats, salt, honey, wheat flour, and all purpose flour. 

Secure the pan into the bread machine and set it to the dough setting. The machine should combine the ingredients and allow the dough to rise within an hour and a half time frame. 

When the machine is done turn the dough out into a lightly greased loaf pan. 

Bake immediately in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes cover the bread with a foil tent and bake an additional 20 minutes. This will keep the bread from getting too brown. Allow bread to cool before slicing.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Bread
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
6 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Combine almond milk and 6 tablespoons butter and microwave until butter is melted. Pour mixture into a bread machine loaf pan. Add yeast, flour, 1/3 cup sugar, flour, salt, and eggs. 

Secure the pan into the bread machine and set it to the dough setting. The machine should combine the ingredients and allow the dough to rise within an hour and a half time frame. 

When the machine is done turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, no wider than the loaf pan you'll bake it in. 

Smear 2 tablespoons of melted butter onto the dough's surface. Combine 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle onto the dough.

Starting at the far end, roll the dough towards you, keeping it tight. Pinch seam to seal. Place dough seam side down in a greased loaf pan. 

Bake immediately in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Allow bread to cool before slicing.

Enjoy!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Homemade Sugar Lip Scrub

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 I've been struggling over the last couple weeks with really chapped lips. I'm not talking about the kind of dry lips that need a swipe of chapstick to solve the problem. This has been a bit more severe.  I knew it was bad when the Mr. asked when he came home if I had been eating chocolate. {No dear, that is not a chocolate lip liner I'm rockin', that's my insanely dry lips!}

I've been racking my brain trying to figure out why. I couldn't come up with a solution. I've been drinking plenty of water. It's not winter. I have a really great lip balm I use as needed. 

I finally mentioned something to my sister on the phone this morning. What a genius that little lady is. She basically slapped me upside the head with her verbage. What I needed to do was scrub my poor little lips to exfoliate all the dead, crusty skin that was hanging around. ::gagging::

Here are the supplies I gathered:

Next, I mixed them together to create a lip scrub consistency. It has to have the perfect amount of grit to exfoliate. I slathered that gritty gold all over my lips, rubbing it in a circular motion until they felt nice and smooth.

Afterwards I simply rinsed it with warm water and blotted dry. My lips already felt a million times better. 

The last step is to moisturize. Instead of using lip balm I used a little coconut oil. It has since soaked into my lips, so I'm headed back to the kitchen to moisturize again. I have a feeling I'll be keeping that jar pretty close today. I've got to kick these chapped lips in the booty!


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Camera Roll Goodies

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I found myself scrolling through my camera roll today. What I found really brought a smile to my face. My favorite part of pictures and picture taking is looking back on them. Each one tells a story and holds a memory.

I thought it would be fun to share some of them today.

November 2013
a new scarf | road trip to Nashville | meeting Rend Collective Experiment | a perfect cup of hot cocoa

December 2013
Christmas decorations | me + Charley girl | favorite guy | my sis' pregnancy announcement photo

January 2014
our favorite homemade granola | birthday guy | curled up pup on a cold day | hockey game date night

February 2014
thankful jar; 30 days of thankfulness | my doxie niece | v-day fondue | new pillow from Parris Chic

March 2014
earring order ready to ship | gender reveal tissue poms | weekend getaway | favorite pistachio fro-yo

April 2014

spring mani + pedi colors | quiet time | homemade cinnamon bread success | bright flowers



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Birthday Blessings

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As I celebrate another year of life today, I'm reminded of the special people God has placed in my life. I didn't get to choose the family I was born into. BUT, I'm so blessed that God handpicked those people. 

I've been given wonderful parents who love me unconditionally. They've taught me so much in my 28 years of life. I'll forever be grateful. I have a sister who is also a friend; she understands things about me that no one ever will. That's what's special about the bond of sisterhood.

I've been blessed by beautiful and rich friendships which are truly an answer to prayer. I'm beyond blessed.

Most of all, I've been blessed by the gift of a husband. This man means more to me than I could ever hope to express in words. He is my perfect. I thank the Lord he knit us together in His love. 

I have been given the gift of life from a Savior that has known me before the world even began. He gave me life knowing full well that I would mess up...daily. He loved me enough to look beyond that. I owe Him my life. I will forever be indebted to Him and what He did for me on the cross. That's the richest blessing of all.  

It's so easy to let day to day living cloud out a grateful heart. I don't want to be that person. I want to take time to notice my blessings on this special and every single day. I want today to remind me that every other day of the year is worth celebrating. Life is worth celebrating. 

I hope you can do something today, big or small, to celebrate your life and the lives of others around you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Moisture Renew Vox Box

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Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick: I love the girly, bright purple packaging. It would be easy to find among all the little things that end up in the bottom of a purse. The texture of the lipstick is spot on. It goes on as smooth as chapstick. I wish I would have been able to try it in a different color; something less punchy. I would definitely consider purchasing this in the correct color.

Product Grades:
{1= not for me + 10 = this is right up my alley}
Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick: 7 out of 10 
I'm docking points for the color. Had this lipstick been the right color I would have scored it a 10. 

I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.

Friday, April 11, 2014

High Five for Friday!

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Happy Friday, friends! 
This lady is thrilled to welcome the weekend. It looks like we'll be rained in, but that won't stop me from enjoying it.

Here's a peek at this past week: 

1// I've jumped on the bandwagon and decided to try my hand at watercolor. I can't get over the fact that each little color pod is called a watercolor cake. Makes me want to eat 'em.  No worries, I have restrained.

2// My favorite little guy has been especially full of snuggles and I just can't get enough. I love that he wants to be wherever I am.

3// My sister stopped by to pick me up for our tenth Target run this week. As soon as she walked in I demanded that she stand in front of a wall so I could snap a pic of her growing bump.

4// The Mr. and my Sister's beau managed to lift our new bathtub up through our second story balcony. They didn't even break a sweat, those two. I was there to simply document their progress through photographs. Little fur baby had no idea what was going on so he stood right in the middle of all the action.

5// I stopped home for lunch yesterday and thought it best to enjoy a strawberry cupcake. It was the  highlight of my day.  I think now is a good time to have another.

linking up with Lauren Elizabeth

Friday, April 4, 2014

High Five for Friday!

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Happy Friday! I'm so relieved that Friday finally decided to show its lovely face. It's been a busy week around here so I'm glad to see the weekend is in sight! 

Here are this week's highlights: 

1// I took some time to give myself a mani and pedi. My nails were overdue for some attention. Now they feel so pretty. These are two of my favorite Essie colors; Splash of Grenadine and Turquoise and Caicos.

2// I spent time with my darling little neice, Charley Louise. She is the sweetest thing.

3// New kicks! There's something about new athletic shoes that will inspire you to get out and be active. 
4// My sister sent me this picture of her growing bump. It's been so exciting to watch her grow. I can't wait to meet my little nephew in July.

5// This week has brought much progress on our master bathroom project. While this very large project can be a little overwhelming, it feels awesome to have had a productive week. We get to check the plumber and the heating and cooling off the list! Now we move on to insulating and dry walling. I'll share a picture soon.

linking up with Lauren Elizabeth

Friday, February 14, 2014

High Five for Friday!

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Happy Valentine's Day friends and double happiness to you that it's also Friday! Cheers.

1// This week the Mr. and I worked our little rumps off finishing a project we started last week Friday.  Every single night this week we were either staining or varnishing a couple new doors for the house. While it wasn't exactly my idea of fun, we did it together and I'm pretty happy about that. Also, the finished product was totally worth all the grumbling I did, right babe?! 

2// I was able to spend quite a bit of time with my sister this week, which naturally means I got to squeeze my niece dog a whole bunch too. She's the cutest and if you tell me otherwise I might call you a liar. Look at those eyes. And those velvety ears. She turns me into mush.
You can read more about Charley's story here

3// I've had a fun weekend creating two nursery inspiration boards for my sister's babe. I truly can't decide which one I like better, so I'm just crossing my fingers there's a twin hiding in there. Sorry, Bree.  If you want to know where the items are from you can check out the posts here and here.
4// My mom bought donuts yesterday. She totally knows the way to my heart. This specific one will change your world. I'm not even joking. Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme have nothin' on a local bakery we have. Only problem? They only open their doors on Thursday mornings. So, basically Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat, and Sun are all useless days to me. 
 
5// We started our 11 week volleyball season last night. Our team is a comprised of a bunch of friends, some of us more competitive than others. We had a blast last night falling on our knees and hips. Oh, wait, that was just me {and my darling friend who has a lovely gash to prove it}. I probably looked like a freak out there. I also noticed I screamed quite often. I have no explanation for that. Anyway, it was a whole lot of fun, plus we won! The win was totally worth me sacrificing my body to that hard gym floor. I'm paying for it this morning, folks.


linking up with Lauren Elizabeth

Baby Girl Nursery Inspiration

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A couple days ago I shared my idea of the perfect nursery for a baby boy. If you haven't already heard me declare the news from the rooftops, my sister is making me a proud auntie this summer. I decided it would be fun to put together nursery ideas before she finds out what she's having. 

Today I'm sharing this beautiful baby girl nursery. If you saw yesterday's nursery then you'll notice I kept the crib and rocker the same. I think having gender neutral staple items is key. That way when baby number two comes around the accessories can be changed and it feels like a whole new nursery! 


Crib | Pottery Barn
Sunburst Mirror | Land of Nod
Lamp Base | Target
Lamp Shade | Target
Nesting End Tables | Serena & Lily
Rocker | Target
Ottoman | Target
Ivy Letter Pillow | Serena & Lily
Chevron Pillows | Lulu & Georgia

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Baby Boy Nursery Inspiration

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It's no secret around here that I'm one pretty excited auntie-to-be. This weekend I spent some time throwing together nursery inspiration ideas for my sister. I thought I would share them here too, in case any of you are preparing a nursery! I had so much fun shopping around online, finding what I think would be the perfect items for the babe's new room.

Today I'm featuring the baby boy nursery. Check back tomorrow for the baby girl version!


Crib | Pottery Barn
Metal Letter Initial | Land of Nod
Lamp Base | Target
Lamp Shade | Target
Sheets | Land of Nod
Ceramic End Table | Pottery Barn
Rocker | Target
Ottoman | Target
White Anchor Pillow | Houzz
Navy Anchor Pillow Cover | Nimli

Monday, February 10, 2014

Parris Chic Boutique | A Valentine's Day Giveaway

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I recently had the pleasure of working with Alyssa, owner of Parris Chic Boutique. Her online boutique is filled to the brim with some of the most beautifully chic home decor. You guys, she was even featured on the Pottery Barn blog and Chicago Home & Garden! Check it out.

http://parrischic.com/store
When I first checked out her shop I had a list of several items I loved, but I had the impossible task of choosing just one. It was so painful- I even had to solicit the help of my sister and husband. "Just pick for me, I can't do it! I'd rather eat Limburger cheese than choose just one item!" Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that dramatic. However, I do remember sending my sister an email with the word HELP typed in the subject line. It was really that hard to choose just one item! 

I'm happy to say I did it! I choose the perfect item to accent our guest bedroom and....I love it! I'd been on the hunt for the right pillow to add to the bed, and I have to say this is a charming little addition.

I don't know about you, but when it comes to shopping I'd rather purchase home decor items over clothing, shoes, or accessories. So Parris Chic Boutique is for reals, right up my alley. 

Today, Parris Chic Boutique is offering to give away one item of the winner's choice. Check out the shop, enter below, and cross your fingers that you'll be the lucky winner!
Winner will be chosen on Valentine's Day!



Disclosure: This item was provided to me in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
Today's giveaway is provided by Parris Chic Boutique.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

High Five for Friday!

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It's amazing how quickly this week flew by. I'm not even sure I remember Monday or Tuesday even arriving! It was still a good week in my book. Here's why:

1// I decided to start dressing like Spring. This was mostly related to my decision to boycott Groundhog's Day because of the poor announcement that little rodent made. I can't handle another 6 {SIX!} weeks of this cold.

2// On Monday I shared my February Goals on the blog. I'm excited to knock those items off the list, one by one. This month I decided to take time each morning to jot down something I'm thankful for, whether big or small. I love looking at that blue mason jar filling up with happy things! 

3// I ordered new glasses last week. My sister talked me into these crazy ones. I originally really loved them in the store so I bought them right then and took them to they eye doctor to order lenses. I picked them up on Tuesday night and was more than a little apprehensive about what I had just done. I felt like thee biggest nerd on the planet.  I'm definitely getting a little more comfortable in them, but it's a big change from what I'm used to. 

4// I am knee deep in planning my sister's gender reveal party. This week I focused on the invites, but now that those are out I'm going a little nutso planning all the little details. I absolutely can't wait to find out if I'll be spoiling a little niece or nephew. 

5// The Mr. and I started a new devotional yesterday. I have always really loved going through the She Reads Truth devotionals online. I don't necessarily think that they're just for women, so I suggested we give that one a try. Right now they're going through 1, 2, & 3 John. It was so enjoyable spending time together digging into the word and sharing what each of us got out of it. He brings a different perspective than I do, and vice versa. I love that.


Keep your eye out for a pretty sweet giveaway coming to the blog this week! 


this week's previous posts:


linking up with Lauren Elizabeth

Monday, February 3, 2014

February Goals

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At the start of this new year I talked about how the Mr. and I go about setting goals for ourselves, both personally as well as together. I thought it would be nifty to jot down my own personal goals for the month of February. I'll hopefully check back in at the month's end to see how I did. 


Read a book
Plan a date night for my favorite guy
Celebrate Valentine's Day
Plan a gender reveal party for my sister's little babe
Try a new recipe
Start our master bathroom remodel
Stain, varnish, and install our back entry french door and kitchen pantry door
Do something nice for a stranger
Have a ladies night
Take more pictures, capturing the every day
Complete a DIY project 
Speak my hubby's love language
Work on being less busy
Find something to be thankful for every day and write it down

 


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