Sunday, September 30, 2012

Books of September

                 *If you want to know more about the challenge, my original post is right here*

I am ashamed to say I didn't do as well as I hoped this month. I only read 4.5 books. I was aiming for at least 2 per week. Oh well, I'll do better next month. I'm definitely trying to learn to get off of facebook and pick up my nook instead when I get any down time. This month I read:

1. Plan It, Don't Panic: Everything You Need to Successfully Create and Use a Meal Plan by Stephanie Langford ~ This book was helpful in coming up with a few new ideas for meal planning. If you feel like you're in a meal planning rut or maybe you don't meal plan but you want to start - this is the book for you.

2.  Nurturing Creativity: A Guide for Busy Moms by Renee Tougas ~ This book really helped me recognize the importance of my creativity and how to utilize that in the stage of life I'm in now. I'm glad I read it.

3. Pursuit of Proverbs 31 by Amy Bayliss ~ I love reading about the Proverbs 31 woman. This book revealed a lot I didn't know. I really recommend it.

4.Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life by Emily P. Freedman ~ I cannot, cannot, cannot recommend this book enough. Life-changer.

And I'm still working on Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz. Its really detailed and loooong haha but I'm really enjoying it.

Next month I plan to read a lot more fiction. My brain needs to escape to another world for awhile.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coming this October..

I am so excited to announce that this October I am linking up with The Nester and taking the 31 day challenge! I knew to blog about something for 31 days I would not only have to be extremely passionate about it but also it would have to be something that would help me to grow as a person as well. Thus I decided on..
 I will be trying to come up with 31 unique ways that I (and you!) can draw closer to God. I am so excited about this both for myself and that I get to share my 31 day journey with all of you! Stay tuned to share this journey with me!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What I learned from an oatmeal cookie.

Sometimes the biggest lessons come in the most peculiar packages. Tonight, in the form of a dimpled two year old and an oatmeal raisin cookie.

Earlier this evening after a precious request , "Mom, you make cookies right NOW?" I baked us up some oatmeal raisin cookies. I ate my cookies way to fast. Fighting the urge to have another, I jokingly asked miss Josie for a bite of her cookie. She squealed and hid it behind her. I growled and said "IIiiimmm gonna get that cookie"! She laughed and ran away. I crawled after her like a cookie monster, she continued squealing and hiding her cookie. I reached her and she willingly popped a bite of cookie in my mouth.

We played awhile longer. She gave me more of her precious cookie. I thought, "Why is this so easy for her? A warm fresh baked cookie is a prize. How can she share it so easily?" I realized its for two reasons. 1. She wanted to bring me joy. She knew it made me happy and that was more important to her than the prize she had in her hand. 2. She knows mom is the giver of cookies. Even when we don't have cookies, if Josie really wants one I'll make them from scratch. (She doesn't ask often) She knows when she needs a cookie, mom will provide.

Isn't that the way we should be when it comes to giving to God? Thrilled to bring God joy and confident because we know he is generous and faithful. I've always known of God's faithfulness in that area, but there was something so special and unique seeing the act of giving through a childs eyes.

Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness and generosity. Help me to have the confidence in you as that of a child. Forgive me for the times I have not given to you joyously. Help me to be an example to my children of a joyous, confident giver. Amen.

Matthew 19:14 New Living Translation
But Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dear Ashley,

 Dear teenage self, please stop taking pictures of yourself (or your family, or your friends, or your cat, or whatever..) and listen up for a second. Here's what I wish I knew when I was  your age..

 You are cool (whatever that means), you insecure thing, you. Own it. Shine bright. No matter who you are and how perfect you try to be, someone, somewhere isn't going to like you anyways. So be yourself and stop trying to fit the invisible mold. The people that really matter love you because of all your weirdness, not despite it.

Stop fretting over the way you look! I mean it. That boy (you know which one I'm talking about) won't like you no matter how awesome you look. And get this, when the right man comes along.. he will tell you you're beautiful everyday. He makes you feel beautiful when your hair is a mess and you have sweats on and coffee/morning breath. Oh, and one day you will die to fit in those size 7 jeans again. Just because your friends are size 2 doesn't make that the norm.. Your future husband loves your curves. Embrace them!

And speaking of boys, you don't end up with any of them. Stop pining for that boy you loved all those years, you get better. Stop pouting about that boy that didn't take you to the prom. (and stop slouching in those prom pictures, mmkay?) Don't ever date your best friend, that 6 month relationship wasn't worth losing your friendship. Don't ever date that boy that didn't love Jesus.. sure he was nice but he took your focus away from what matters most. Don't worry, the right perfect guy comes along. And you wont have to wait long for him.. you'll only be 20 years young on your wedding day.

I know graduation is coming up and you're torn. You know you want to get married and have babies. Thats what you feel like God has planned for you. The world will tell you otherwise. You need to go to college. You need a solid career. What if you don't get married til you're 30? You can't live with your parents forever. I know you worry you're making the wrong choice following your gut and not going to college. Those "what ifs" are plaguing you. Guess what. You were right! And because you stuck to your guns, you got to enter into marriage with no financial debt, no student loans. What a blessing! You made the right choice.

One last thing.. do me a favor and spend time with your brother. I know you love him and you try and be nice.. but do me a favor and go above and beyond? He's the only brother you'll ever have and trust me, you'll really miss him. 

Love, Ashley

{Linking up with Chatting at the Sky (this was her idea!), Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling, and Pink Slippers}

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies & Yaki Mandu

Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies

I found this recipe over
at Sweet Pea's Kitchen and thought they looked pretty yummy. I'm not really a cakey cookie kinda gal but I had all the ingredients so I thought.. why not? I am SO glad I tried these. A huge hit for my whole family. Even the ones that don't love sweets.  Click on over and try them yourself!
Yaki Mandu

"Yucky Mountain Dew???" "No, Yaki Mandu!" "Oh, uhh.. bring me a couple more please."

I am generally pretty intimidated by Asian food. I grew up with a lot of spaghetti and my moms almost famous lasagna.  Anything of the Asian variety was delivered from our favorite restaurants. However, I saw these and immediately thought "Hey, I bet I could make those!" and make them I did! They were easy, fantastically yummy, and fun too. We served them with rice and that Spicy Thai Mango sauce. Head over to Seaweed & Sassafras2 and try them yourself!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Toddler Activity: Pipe Cleaners

I am always on the lookout for things to do with Josie that are quick, entertaining, and not too messy. Considering toddlers and big messes go hand in hand it's definitely not an easy feat. Last week at Office Max (raise your hand if you're obsessed with office supplies!) I picked up a $2 bag of pipe cleaners. We took advantage of Delilahs nap time a couple days ago and brought them out. They were a hit!

We made shapes on the floor, practiced and sorted colors, and made flowers. Josie said the flowers were for daddy so we put them in a vase for when he got home. He said they were beautiful :)
 So simple, so fun. We will definitely be doing this activity again soon!  
*If you decide to do this - do be careful! They poke!*

Sunday, September 2, 2012


 Tonight I tried my hand at Chimichangas. They turned out really good! I need to work on my frying - they got a little dark. Everything else about them was really perfect though. I highly recommend trying them. You could add whatever you want to the inside. I'm not going to tell you exactly how much of everything to put in because it's really up to you. Just make sure you don't overfill them or all your stuffing will fall out!

First take warm tortillas (I made four) and fill them with whatever you'd like. I used refried beans, cheddar cheese, and the meat from these Chile Colorado Burritos. I would love to make one with shredded chicken and pepper jack cheeses too. Maybe with some fresh sliced jalapenos. Yum!

Roll your now filled tortilla shells into cute little burritos. Make sure you tuck those ends in. Place them seam side down in a frying pan with hot vegetable oil. Please do me a favor and don't burn yourself. Make sure your oil isn't too hot. Please do me a favor and learn from my mistakes. When they're golden and beautiful, (don't forget the ends like I did.) take them out and set them on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil. 

You can stop there, but I decided to put some of the sauce leftover from my beef and some more shredded cheese over the top and then put them under the broiler until the cheese melted. Yum.
I served them beside black bean and garlic flavored chips with big dollops of sour cream and guacamole. Did I mention, yum?

Try these! They were so good.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken and Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes

 I am a huge fan of Buffalo Chicken anything. I've been making this chicken for awhile and putting it on sandwiches or nachos or throwing some into ramen noodles. The possibilities are really endless. (I cant find the blog where I found this recipe so if it's yours let me know and i'll be sure to link you up!)
The other day I made these Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Mashies to go with them and it was a match made in heaven!

*Buffalo Chicken*  
-4-6 bonless skinless chicken breasts
-1 bottle Franks Buffalo Sauce
-1 packet ranch dressing mix
-Place the chicken in the crock pot & top with the sauce & mix.
-Cook on low for 7 hours, shred, and then cook for 1 more hour.
-Put in/on/beside everything you eat for the next few days.

easy squeezy, right?

*Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Mashies*
5-6 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion, diced
4TBSP butter, divided
 1 cup blue cheese
1/2-3/4 cup half & half
salt & pepper to taste
-Boil potatoes until fork tender, drain
-Meanwhile, cook diced onion in 1TBSP butter over medium heat until beautiful and brown (be patient or you'll burn them)
-Melt the remaining 3TBSP butter in with the onions
-Pour onions, butter, blue cheese, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup half and half in with potatoes and mash to your liking. Add more half and half if they're too dry.

Serve by your buffalo chicken and some steamed veggies and enjoy tremendously.

Let the challenge begin!

Today is day one of our 100 book challenge!

In honor of our challenge I thought i'd show you my awesome new nook cover. It is.. uhm.. awesome. I bought it on Etsy from The2SistersShoppe. I'm kind of a super hero nerd so it's just perfect for me. (Speaking of which you should totally go buy me this bag. I'd be your BFF fo' life! They say money don't buy happiness but apparently friendship costs $65..)

I'm really pleased with my purchase. My nook fits securely. It feels like its made really well. The shop has lots of other covers. I'm especially fond of this Dr. Suess cover and also this yellow iPad cover. I would definitely return to them for my future electronic cover needs. (I'm not being paid to review this, nor did I receive it for free for giving a good review. I just really really like it.)

Tonight I plan to download Dearie on my Nook and read if after I watch a movie with my handsome husband. Do you prefer eReaders or regular ole books? What is your first book of September?