A Granny-Inspired Stocking

I adored my great grandma, affectionately know as Granny, and known to me as Grandma NeeNee (I couldn’t say ‘Granny’ when I was younger; it came out as ‘NeeNee’). In fact, I think everyone adored her. She was just fun to be around and very adventurous.

She would play teacher with me, and, of course, always be the misbehaving student. She would wade in creeks, play in barns, climb in fishing boats on land, and walk in pastures with me. She would write letters-in-a-bottle and throw them in the creek with me, allowing me to believe the letter would actually make its way down the creek, someone would find it, and said someone would call us back using her phone number I included in the letter. She did all of these things well into her seventies. Granny was just, well, Granny! Continue reading »

Update: Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

A couple of months ago we finished off the freezer meals I prepared back in May. In short, I was sooo disappointed with them :( ! Here’s a quick summary:

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo:  At first, this tasted pretty good, but after several bites it just got gross.

Beef Stew:  This was actually edible and tasted ok. It’s not worth making again, though.

Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken:  We ate this over rice. Without the rice it would have been inedible. It looked really gross, too, lol.

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans:  This was ok. It would have tasted better served with tortilla chips. I won’t make it again.

Italian Beef Sandwiches:  We would definitely make this again. It’s one of our favorites. I think it tastes better as a non-freezer meal, though.

The original post is below with my updated comments included at the beginning of each recipe. Hopefully you’ll have better luck than I did with freezer meals!

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In preparation for our baby girl’s June 6th due date, I decided to make some freezer meals. With the help of my bother, I was able to prepare five freezer meals in less than an hour (including clean up). Not too shabby! The grocery shopping probably took an additional hour. I’m just not a very efficient grocery shopper, plus I just despise doing it! Look at all those groceries :/ (most of them were for the freezer meals, but not all).

Groceries

Continue reading »

Back to School: College Student Gift Baskets

August means back-to-school! If you’re looking for something to give a college student, a gift basket is a great option.

Some family members of mine are going off to college, and I wanted to give them a practical gift as they start this exciting time in their life. I opted for gift baskets because who doesn’t like a gift basket??? Plus, I really enjoy making them :) . I scoured the internet for ideas of what to include in the baskets and came up with some ideas of my own as well.

I’ll share with you the items I included in the two gift baskets below. One is for a commuter college student, and the other is for a college student moving out on her own for the first time.

Gift baskets are so simple and also allow you to be creative! Buy a basket or storage container of some sort, cover the bottom with some crumpled up tissue paper, and start filling it with all the goodies!

Commuter College Student Gift Basket

gift basket college commuter

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Cookie Dough Truffles

I found the recipe for these no-bake cookie dough truffles on Pinterest. They only take a few minutes to make, plus the time it takes for the dough and chocolate to harden. The not-so-great part is they are definitely NOT healthy :( . It’s ok to indulge every once in a while, though :) .

Cookie Dough

Cookie Dough Truffles

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Our Unexpected Journey: An Answered Prayer

After years of prayers and prayers and prayers, we are so thrilled to share that our baby girl arrived on June 5th, 2015. She’s happy, healthy, and beautiful (I know, I’m biased :) )!

Newborn

I’m totally in love with this girl! Her little toes and feet are just adorable; I can’t help but kiss them. And, if I’m kissing toes, you know I’m in love :) . I’m not a fan of feet!  Continue reading »

Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

In preparation for our baby girl’s June 6th due date, I decided to make some freezer meals. With the help of my bother, I was able to prepare five freezer meals in less than an hour (including clean up). Not too shabby! The grocery shopping probably took an additional hour. I’m just not a very efficient grocery shopper, plus I just despise doing it! Look at all those groceries :/ (most of them were for the freezer meals, but not all).

Groceries

Continue reading »

Bar Keepers Friend

Shortly after we updated our kitchen, I was preparing to take pictures of it for this post. As I was cleaning, I moved a rinsed-out mixed vegetable can I had put on the counter behind the sink the evening before and noticed RUST SPOTS on our BRAND NEW quartz countertops! I could not believe it! What bugged me the most was that when I put the can on the counter I even thought to myself, “This might leave rust marks. Maybe I should move it.” However, I decided against it because I knew I would be cleaning the kitchen the next morning. I thought “It won’t leave rust marks that quickly.” Well…I was wrong!

I tried cleaning the rust with vinegar – didn’t work. Windex (which is what the countertop installers recommended I use to regularly clean the counters) – didn’t work. Scratching the spot with my fingernail – didn’t work. I think I finally searched online for products that removed rust. Anyway, somehow I remembered this powder cleaner called Bar Keepers Friend that my grandma told me about years ago.

Bar Keepers Friend

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Our Unexpected Journey: We’re Expecting!

It's a Girl!After two an a half years of miscarriages, doctor appointments, surgeries, and countless prayers by countless people, Mark and I are super excited to share we are 20 weeks pregnant with a baby GIRL due in June! This is truly a miracle :) .

As many of you know, we experienced four miscarriages. After our first two, we were referred to a specialist who found I had a very minor uterine abnormality that could be partially corrected with surgery. We were excited to hear this news because this meant something could be done to potentially increase our chances of a successful pregnancy. Choosing to have the surgery or not, though, was a bit of a tough decision for us. Here’s why…

  1. The uterine abnormality was so minor that the doctor wasn’t even sure himself that it was causing the miscarriages. He said he’d seen women with much more severe uterine abnormalities than mine have successful pregnancies.
  2. The surgery was minimally invasive and low risk; however, there were obviously risks associated with it, as there are with every surgery. If something went wrong during the surgery, my body could have had an even more difficult time carrying a child or, worst-case scenario, my body would be unable to carry a child. This is what really scared both of us. I just kept thinking, “If I have this surgery and my uterus is irreversibly damaged causing us to NEVER be able to have children, will I be able to get over it (especially since our doctor couldn’t be sure the abnormality was causing the miscarriages)?”

We stayed in constant prayer, and it wasn’t until two miscarriages later that we truly felt at peace with the decision to have surgery. I truly believe the Lord was with us throughout all of this, helping us make these decisions.   Continue reading »

The Reason for the Season…

The Reason for the Season…is Jesus! I thought this would be a fitting time to share the story of the birth of Jesus.

Luke 1: 26-38 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.37 For the word of God will never fail.”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.   Continue reading »

Food for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is less than a week away…boy how time flies. If you are anything like me, you’re trying to decide what dish to cook for the big meal. Below are several simple recipes that would be great for a Thanksgiving meal. I’ve made all of these, and highly recommend them!

Brown Sugar Ham

If you are hosting Thanksgiving, this is a great main dish.

ham

Source: crockingirls.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 ham, pre-cooked, bone-in, spiral cut (mine was 11lbs)
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 can pineapple tidbits, undrained

Directions:

  1. Cover the bottom of the roaster with brown sugar.
  2. Place ham on top of brown sugar and add the pineapple with the juice. Sprinkle ham with more brown sugar.
  3. Cover and cook on low (about 200 degrees) for about 8 hours.

The original recipe said to use a crockpot, but I didn’t have one big enough to fit an 11lb ham.

Parmesan Ranch Mushrooms & Green Beans

This recipe works really well because you can throw all of the ingredients in the crockpot in the morning, then you’re done. It’ll be ready by lunch.   Continue reading »