Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful...

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto himand bless his name."
- Psalm 100:4 - 

Being thankful. It's something that we forget to do many times isn't it? I know so many times my life and the way that I live can scream selfishness instead of gratitude. As the holiday of Thanksgiving approaches tomorrow, my heart is naturally turned toward what I am thankful for. However, I realize that this should be my mindset each and every day, not just the time I gather with family around a holiday meal. 

The truth is, those of us who have the most to say "Thank You" for are the worst at it. I want my life to show thankfulness in every way - to never get over how good God has been to me. Here are a few things that I am most thankful for today and every day...



First, my salvation. In no way, shape, or form do I deserve for a loving Savior to take the penalty for my sin. But He did. It's done - finished. All I had to do was believe on Him and accept Him as my Savior. WOW. I get to spend eternity in Heaven and share a personal relationship with the God of the universe based on nothing that I have done but on everything that Christ did on the cross. 

Next, I'm thankful for my family. I have a wonderful husband - a husband that I know was hand-picked by God to complete me. I know God is still writing our love story, but I love every page and chapter! I have a precious little boy - there is just something about motherhood that cannot be explained or understood except by another mother. I have a little girl on the way - and I am so thankful for a healthy pregnancy so far. And we all have good health - something that I know we too often take for granted. 

I'm thankful for my extended family. My parents and siblings, my in-laws, my grandparents, cousins - God has truly blessed me with a wonderful and loving family both personally and through the family that I married into. 

I'm thankful for my church family - a support group that thinks the way that I do and can help me from a biblical standpoint. 

I'm thankful for the "little" things - plenty of food, shelter, a car, health, friends, family, a job. Not to mention all of the unnecessary amenities and wants that I have been blessed with. 

Some days I wonder why in the world God has chosen to bless me with so much. But I know that I must remember that what He has passed to me, I must pass to others. 

There is no way that I can mention everything (nor would you read a post that long) that I am thankful for, but I thought I'd leave you with a few. 

Take time to thank the Lord for His blessings in your life, and then determine to make gratitude a permanent attitude in your life! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fall Favorites

Hello everyone! Wow! This week is really crazy for me because our church is hosting a HUGE ladies' conference. East Coast Ladies Retreat 2013 has already registered over 1000 ladies, and I'm in charge of the teen retreat going on with it. I am super excited and everything is coming together wonderfully! That being said, I wanted to give everyone a post this week, so here is a super short and sweet one for you...

I love fall and all of the many things that go along with it. Here are a few of my favorite things when it comes to cooler weather and falling leaves:


1. Autumn candle from BBW. This is my absolute favorite candle of all time! It smells just how I imagine fall should smell, and it permeates the house with its amazingness!

2. Chunky knit scarves. Gotta have a warm scarf for those cool, crisp days. 

3. Essie nail polish in Hot Coco. I ordered this on amazon because I couldn't find it in the store, but it is my nail color of choice this fall. 

4. PSL. Also known as Pumpkin Spice Latte. Although I haven't tried coffee again since I was a few weeks pregnant, I'm thinking about picking up one of my favorites sometime this week. It's just not fall until you've enjoyed a few of these. 

5. Pumpkins. I love pumpkins! I decorate with them, carve them, go to the pumpkin patch, and eat all kinds of pumpkin flavored goodies. In fact, the word FALL always brings the image of a pumpkin to my mind. 

Happy November everyone! Enjoy the last few weeks of fall! 


Leave me your fall favorites in the comments! I'd love to hear them, and comments make me smile :) 


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gender Reveal Party

One of the most exciting points on the timeline of pregnancy is finding out the gender of the baby! I know some people would rather wait and be surprised about the gender when they actually give birth, but my personality as a planner just won't allow me to wait. It's still a surprise to me when I do find out, and a gender reveal party makes it that much more fun!


Choo Choo's or TuTu's? 

With our first child, we found out the gender in the ultrasound room, then had a party to tell everyone else, but we found that this time, we wanted to get in on the fun as well. After looking at Pinterest, and finding the perfect way to reveal baby's gender this time, my husband and I decided to find out with everyone at the party instead of inside the ultrasound room.


On Thursday, October 10, we had our appointment and go to see little punkin' on the screen, but we had the ultrasound tech seal up the gender for us. I delivered the gender to a friend and had her prepare our reveal method.

I've seen cakes, balloons, cupcakes, and all kinds of cute ideas, but when I came across the silly string idea on Pinterest, I could not choose a better way to reveal.



We had my friend wrap the correct color of silly string (pink or blue) in paper and remove the lids. She wrapped the cans in a box and we waited until it was time to open the package.



For the party, we invited our family over to celebrate with us, and each member of the family got their own can of silly string. We proceeded to our back yard where the family encircled the three of us, and on count, everyone covered us in silly string at the same time.




It took a moment to realize that this crazy stuff flying at us was PINK! IT'S A GIRL! We were sooooooo excited (except for O, the silly string scared him a little)! It was so much fun to wait and find out with everyone else.



My sister-in-law asked me if it was better and worth the wait to find out with the family instead of the ultrasound room - My answer - YES! Sure, in the middle of a crowd of family squirting silly string at you, it is difficult to have an intimate moment of celebration with your husband, but you don't really get that with the tech in the room at the doctor either.

Well, that's that. Little girl is set to arrive March 5 (or earlier!) and we cannot wait to meet her!




Thursday, September 5, 2013

DIY: Laundry Detergent

I'm so excited about today's post! This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, but I was waiting until my stockpile of store-bought detergent was gone. I love my new detergent and want to show you how it's done! 


 Some want to make their own laundry detergent because it can be made without all of the harsh chemicals in most store-bought detergents. Others  (like me) like the cheap price that DIY detergent offers per load.

If you want a "greener" detergent with fewer chemicals, then leave out the optional items that I added to my detergent. You'll still get wonderfully clean results!

Step 1: the supply list


Here's what you will need:
  • 1 box of Borax (4lbs. 12oz.)
  • 1 box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (55oz.)
  • 1 box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda (4lb.)
  • 3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap
  • Oxy Clean (3lb. tub) *Optional
  • 1 small jar of Downy Unstoppables *Optional
  • Grater

Step 2: grate



Grate the 3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap. I bought a cheap grater at Wal-Mart so that I didn't have to use my nice food grater. You can use the large grater or the finer grater. Above you can see the difference. I chose to use the smaller because I felt it would mix more efficiently. 

Step 3: mix it up



I lined a small trash can with trash bag, put everything in, and stirred, and stirred, and stirred, and stirred. It's important to make sure that everything is evenly and well-mixed. 

After everything was mixed well, I poured it into the large glass jar that I bought to hold the detergent. 

Step 4: scoop and wash

Keep your supply in your washing machine and use 1-2 tablespoons per load. Works great even in cold water. 

I decorated my jar with vinyl cutouts from my Cricut!


Pretty easy huh? I thought so! Enjoy the freshness!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Life Lately...

I'm baaaaack! (At least I hope that I am). Yes, I have definitely been absent from the blogosphere lately, and quite honestly, I haven't even had the desire to check my email.

Since the middle of May, my husband and I have been traveling all over the Western Hemisphere! We've been to NYC twice, Montana, Panama, Colorado, and Kentucky. On top of all of this traveling, I have been enduring as best I know how the first trimester of pregnancy!

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I'm sure you've heard the news...we are expecting our second little Rabon on March 5 (hopefully sooner)! As excited as I am, I must say that I have never been so knocked off of my feet in all of my life. Let's just say that this pregnancy has definitely been a different experience compared to my first.

Nausea and fatigue have controlled me it seems like these days. It is all I can do to get dressed some days. My energy level seems to be slightly improving, but I cannot wait until the icky feeling of nausea goes away. I am currently 12 weeks pregnant, so hopefully as I near the end of this first trimester, I will begin to feel better.

As a result of everything going on (but mostly my extreme need to nap most of the day) I have been neglectful of my little blog. However, I plan to pick back up where I left off.

Thanks for being patient! Until next time...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Running with Flair

Anyone that has known me for a long period of time knows that I hate with everything in me am very challenged when it comes to long distance running. Running the mile in high school is the only category that kept me out of the top award category. Seriously, I hate to run. Put me on an elliptical any day of the week or even let me power walk, but running, NO THANK YOU!

Yes, that is how I have always felt about running. BUT, my husband has had this crazy idea since January to run a 5K. Great for him, but not for me. At least not until he got me interested in the Color My Run. It sounded like it would be so much fun, so I jumped on board and agreed to walk  run it with him. Granted, I didn't run the whole time, but I did push myself harder than I have in a very, very long time.

Here are some pics from our morning of fun! Fun and running - who would have ever thought I'd use those two words together?





Lots of color!
My sister-in-law ... so glad she could run with us!

Little Man came out to cheer us on.



One of our teen girls...yeah, she kicked my tail!

Can you tell Dad avoided the color?


TJ...the man crossing the finish line victoriously! Love it!

Overall, it was an awesome experience. My only complaint about the day was that I didn't actually get to check the 5K off of my to-do list. The course was not actually 5K long which was very disappointing when it was over. Oh, well, guess that leaves room for more challenges ahead!

What good came out of preparing and accomplishing this task? I actually don't despise running so much anymore...you cross the finish line a lot faster if you run instead of walk! Be inspired!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Glimpse of Montana

This week as are on a mission trip with our teens to Bozeman, MT, serving alongside Pastor Phillip Brown Nd the Calvary Baptist Church. Today we hiked the "M" Challenge, and believe me, when you are not used to the lower o urgent level, it is TOUGH! But we all made it! It was great to look over the city that Pastor Brown and his family are called to reach.
I'll be recapping our trip during our return trip but until then pray for our big day Saturday!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 24, 2013

High Five for Friday!

This week is one of the few that I have actually at home this summer, so it has been sorta crazy-hectic around here. Trying to get so much done in so short a span of time can be exhausting! But here are some highlights from the week:



1. Love this $.97 nail polish from Target - didn't chip until day 5! I did have trouble with another color in the same brand though. But this color is awesome! 

2. Roxy's Deli on Times Square - not impressed - lots of meat but dull flavor. 

3. Dad built the frame for my small raised garden (plants to follow soon). 

4. Little man has a throat virus that has taken some extra care and time the past few days (poor thing)!

5. My little bro graduates from high school tonight! I'm so proud of him!


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Good Read...

I literally just got home from a baby shower, and my heart is full of excitement for this new mom! In fact, I have several friends who have either just had their first baby or are pregnant with their first. Naturally I am super stoked for each of them, and talking to them causes me to relive my own experience in becoming a new mom. My baby will be 19 months in just a few short days (not a baby anymore).

Of course, parenting is something that never stops. Each new stage brings on new challenges and questions. There are days when I feel like I am superwoman, tackling every mom challenge that may come my way; then, there are days I call my husband crying because I feel like a total and complete failure as a mom.

What's a mom to do? The only thing I can do if I want to be successful as a mom is to turn to Scripture and the guidelines that God has set in place for me as a parent. In my own personal time with the Lord each day, I just started studying verses and passages of Scripture that deal with parenting. Sure, I've claimed several verses and models of godly parenting to follow since little man was born, but I really want to know God's mind when it comes to being not a good mom, but a godly mom.

Sticking to Scripture is the only perfect advice that you will get. Therefore as a mom, I must use the Bible as my chief source of knowledge and wisdom. But there are also some great books from experienced, godly parents to help expound on biblical principles. I just finished reading Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman, and it shed some major light on my discipline procedures (Thanks for the recommendation, Christine). So, I'd like to share a few of my favorite titles with you. 

Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman

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Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp

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A Mom After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George

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Passionate Parenting by Cary Schmidt

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Six Ways to Keep the "Good" in Your Boy by Dannah Gresh

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Six Ways to Keep the "Little" in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh

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Dare to Discipline by Dr. James Dobson

These are just some titles that are good to read. Of course, I don't agree with all that is in them, but only God's Word is perfect. Read with discretion and filter it with the Word of God. Take each day a step at a time and do what is right each day. I find out more and more that parenting is difficult, but you reap what you sow. 

Happy Reading! 

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

I would love to hear book suggestions from you! Leave a comment!

Friday, May 17, 2013

High Five from The Big Apple

My husband and I spent the week in NYC with our high school seniors on their Senior Trip. Naturally, all of my five come from our trip here this week. I'll be posting more about the week later, but here are some highlights from each day!



1. Rickshaw tour of Central park.
2. Yankees game.
3. Statue of Liberty.
4. 9/11 Memorial.
5. WICKED!

Look for more to come! Have a great weekend!


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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hi from NYC

Good Morning! I'm in NYC with our high school seniors so probably no new posts this week... But I'll definitely be giving you some highlights from the trip via twitter and Facebook! Have a great week! Look for a post later about the trip!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

Last night we had a ladies' event at church featuring a tutorial on how to make strawberry freezer jam (a project that I am super excited about taking on within the next two weeks). When asked to bring a refreshment, I began to look for something uniquely strawberry. After all, it was a night all about strawberries. Not wanting to spend too much money and wanting to use what I had in the pantry already, I found a recipe for strawberry shortcake cookies.

The original recipe come from Martha Stewart (I think), and I found it on wearenotmartha.com. Making a small tweek here and there, here's the recipe for you! Strawberry season is most definitely kicking it up here in the South, and this recipe is a great way to incorporate fresh strawberries to fill that sweet spot for your summer menu!





RECIPE:

Ingredients:
  • 12 oz. fresh strawberries sliced up into 1/4" chunks
  • 1 teas. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tblsp. of sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teas. baking powder
  • 1/2 teas. salt
  • 6 Tablespoons of cold butter, unsalted
  • 2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Sanding sugar (optional for garnishing the top of the cookie)

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Slice strawberries into quarter inch pieces or smaller depending on your preference. 
  3. Mix sliced strawberry chunks, lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons of the sugar in a separate bowl and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes. 
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Cut cold butter into small chunks. 
  6. Add butter chunks to the flour mixture and knead in butter with hands until the mixture takes on a crumb-like appearance and you no longer feel clumps of butter. 
  7. Add heavy cream to the mixture and knead or stir until dough forms. (Dough will seem very dry until strawberry mixture is added).
  8. Add the strawberry mixture to the dough and work in well with hands.
  9. Scoop dough mixture onto greased cookie sheet. 
  10. Sprinkle sugar on top of unbaked cookies (sanding sugar or regular sugar).
  11. Bake at 375 for 19 minutes. 
  12. Let cookies cool for 10 minutes, and enjoy at will!
I saw a suggestion to try them warm with vanilla ice cream! Sounds amazing! 


Linked up with How-To-Tuesday!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

High Five for Friday

This week... Yeah it's been a doozy! But I try to remember it's a blessing to be busy!

1. We concluded Ladies Morning Edition Bible study and our teen Bible study this Monday. The teens celebrated at IHOP for dinner! Love these ladies!

2. Saved some major dough with Harris Teeter triple coupons this past week. I aid a total of $28 for $130 worth of groceries! Yay for saving $$$$$!


3. Little man had a double ear infection this week... Poor thing! But he is feeling better now!



4. Target.com has a $2 Essie coupon! Woot woot! I haven't decided on a color yet though...

5. My Faithful Friend ( secret sis) gave me this wonderful array of coffee for my keurig! Made my day Thursday!



Happy Friday everyone!









Friday, April 26, 2013

High Five For Friday!

Hey, hey! It's Friday (night by this time) haha and I am headed to an all-night lock in with our teens! I must be losing my mind, right? It should be a blast though! This week has been fun and busy!

1. Tuesday night we went to see the Canes play...and they won in a shootout! Definitely exciting, and hockey is so much better from a suite's perspective!

2. This week was Administrative Professionals Week, so our bosses treated us to lunch and prizes! Love these people!



3. I played the role of teacher on Thursday!
4. My husband allowed me some much needed time alone in which I indulged in some Target Therapy! My husband's words, "How can you walk around Target for two hours and enjoy it?" Haha...just my thing!
5. Today I was catering with Stephen's Catering...the best chef I know! StephensCatering

Have a great weekend everyone!

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