One meal. One day.

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This might be the best meal you never eat. Hey guys! In case you weren’t aware, ;) today is March 27! It’s the day designated by Compassion International to donate money for children living in poverty. This year they have chosen Ethiopia to receive the donations. The concept is simple. Skip a meal today, and donate the money that you would have spent on food to this organization. If you’d like more information on ONE MEAL. ONE DAY. click here. Or for more information on the actual organization (Compassion) click here.

I love how this ministry allows people to be involved in the lives of children all over the world while sharing the gospel. My husband and I began sponsoring a sweet, sweet girl named Alondra last summer, and I’m still just as happy and excited about it today as the day we signed up to do it. I just love how I can correspond with her through letters, pray for her,  and tell her all about God’s love for her.

Join me in supporting this excellent cause if you wish.

Have a beautiful day!

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Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

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I PASSED MY MIDTERM! :) (If you want to know why I’m taking a midterm click here.)

So in honor of passing, I decided to share this amazing recipe with you guys. The original recipe can be found here. Everyone who has ever tried this has loved it and I’m not even exaggerating. It’s also a plus that my husband loves apple pie /apple desserts. Too bad I don’t have a good apple pie recipe yet. This will have to work until then.

The Recipe

  • 1 pouch of Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup of firm butter or margarine
  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F, and spray the bottom and sides of a 13×9 inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix: cookie mix and butter until the mixture is crumbly and coarse. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture, and press the remaining crumbs in the bottom of the pan for the crust. Bake 10 minutes.
  3. While it’s baking, place cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, and egg in a large bowl and beat with a mixer.
  4. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the partially baked crust. Then in the empty cream cheese bowl, mix the pie filling and cinnamon together. (I cut the apples into bite sized pieces). Spoon the pie filling mixture evenly over the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the walnuts.
  5. Bake it for 35 to 40 minutes or until a light golden brown, and cool it for another 30 minutes. Refrigerate it for about 2 hours.
  6. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in the refrigerator. It makes 24 bars.
  7. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Thanks for stopping by!

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What an Honor

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Wow. I’m so humbled by the fact that someone thinks that this blog is deserving of an award. I’ve been nominated by Hannah at Pocketful of Motherhood for the Liebster Award. Thank you, Hannah! You’ve been an encouragement to me today! She is such a strong woman of God, and you should definitely check out her blog.

This award has a few guidelines that must be followed when accepted. So here we go! I’m SO EXCITED! :)

The Rules

1. The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

2. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.

3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions given to you.

4. Choose 11 new bloggers to pass the award on to and link them in your post.

5. Create 11 new questions for the chosen bloggers.

6. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.

7. No tag backs.

My 11 Random Facts

  1. I’m souled out to Christ. I love studying the Bible and engaging in conversations about it.
  2. I married my best friend in the whole wide world, and April will be our 5 month anniversary!
  3. I love chocolate and strawberries (especially together).
  4. I’m a Cajun Cowgirl.
  5. My favorite place in the world Sandy Creek Bible Camp. It’s where I met my husband and many lifetime friends of mine.
  6. I paint my toes, because I chew my nails.
  7. I strongly dislike scary movies.
  8. I enjoy taking Rogan on runs by myself or with Keith.
  9. I want a plethora of pets eventually. Animals have my heart.
  10. I bake things way too much and end up having to always give it away.
  11. I’m surprised if you’ve read this much about me, so thanks!

Answers to Hannah’s Questions

1. What is your favorite movie of all time? Pride and Prejudice

2. Who inspires you? Other than Jesus Christ? My husband, Keith

3. Do you prefer chocolate desserts or fruity desserts? Definitely chocolate

4. What is your favorite saying or quote? “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” -1 Corinthians 1:18

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? London or Australia

6. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate

7. What is the last book you read? The Case for Christ

8. Are you a dog person or a cat person? Dog. I’m allergic to cats.

9. What is one of your hobbies? Crocheting

10. Mountain hideaway or beach house? Beach House

11. What is your favorite cereal? Honey Nut Cheerios

My Nominations

Redrunninghood

Proverbs 31 Mom

The Art of Femininity

Rondo Takes Brooklyn

The Fruitful Wife

Ms. Jolly Blogger

Jar of Stuff

Ordinary Fashionista

A Nut and a Bean

Miss Galore

Keeps Me out of Mischief

My Questions to the Nominees

  1. What is your favorite food?
  2. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
  3. List some hobbies of yours.
  4. Do you like waking up early or going to bed late?
  5. What are some of your favorite t.v. shows?
  6. Do you have any pets?
  7. What’s your favorite holiday and why?
  8. Do you have a favorite craft that you’ve made?
  9. Any siblings or children?
  10. What’s your favorite type of music?
  11. Would you rather drive a boat or an airplane?

If you choose to participate, I hope you enjoy it and have fun with it! :)

Thanks again, Hannah for nominating me! It was very sweet of you!

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Garage Sale Treasures

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Yesterday my family held a benefit garage sale for my nephew, Nathan. At 7 weeks old he died, but God, in His grace, decided to give him back to us. Nathan has a long road ahead of him, and his family has a lot of bills. So to help with the cost of a new specialized stroller we held a garage sale. So many people donated things, and the sale ended up taking up two whole yards! We also raised just enough for the stroller. God is so good! To read more about Nathan’s story you can click here.

I managed to find some time while helping at the sale to purchase a few of my own treasures. :)

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Ann Taylor, Light Pink Blazer

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Jimmy Choo, bag

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Campbell’s Soup Mugs

My new favorite thing to do is garage sale shop! I can’t wait to go to my next one, and it’s a plus when people are raising money for a good cause. Thanks for stopping by!

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Conference Stylin’

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I couldn’t decide what to wear to the conference, and after debating it for a while this is what I came up with. Something semi-formal but still comfortable. :)

Excuse the awful photography…

Forever 21 Jacket

Blackbird Trading Co. Dress

JC Penney Bracelet

Self-made Necklace

Revive Our Hearts

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Last night I went to a Revive Our Hearts conference. Nancy Leigh Demoss was the speaker, and Shannon Wexelberg played the piano and sang. Both of these ladies have a wonderful heart for the Lord, and it was a great time of praise, worship, and studying the word together. There was easily a couple hundred people there.

Nancy spoke on Isaiah 40. She compared the images in verse 4 to things in our lives (stumbling blocks, pride, etc.) that we need to hand over to God to fix before verse 5 can take place. It was an interesting message, because I don’t think I would have ever taken that from the passage on my own. 

40 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and cry to her
that her warfare[a] is ended,
    that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
    double for all her sins.

A voice cries:[b]
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

 -Isaiah 40:1-5
 
They had book tables set up at the end of the conference, and I purchased two that are pictured above. I can’t wait to start them! I also picked up a card from Shannon Wexelberg with  four free song downloads. I encourage all of you to check it out here. Her music really is beautiful.

DIY Envelope Budgeting

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Gross. Did I just say budgeting?

Before I was married, the word “budget” wasn’t even part of my normal vocabulary, but after being married for a few months, the hubs and I decided that it would probably be smart to start tracking our expenses. So we sat down one day and came up with a reasonable budget that we could both agree on. Then, we tracked our expenses for a month. At the end of the month it resulted in us having more knowledge of where our money was going. It was super helpful for us, and I highly recommend that others consider doing it as well. Below you will find what methods worked for us and what didn’t turn out so great.

DIY Envelopes

The idea behind envelope budgeting is a neat one. You’re supposed to pay for EVERYTHING with cash, because nowadays (yes, I’m old) swiping a card is just too easy. At the beginning of the month, you’re supposed to take out the money that you’ve budgeted for each category and place it in their designated envelopes. So when you run out of money in the envelope, then you’re done spending in that category for the month. Don’t even think about adding more money, because that’ll just ruin the whole system.

I found the template for the envelopes at a blog called, One Good Thing By Jillee. I absolutely love her blog. Click here to go to the envelope template, and check out her blog while you’re there. You just print it out (I used pretty scrapbook paper), and tape it together. Super easy!

So the envelopes are cute and all, but honestly it didn’t work out so well for us. It’s just so much easier to use a card, and it’s also difficult to share the envelopes when you’re trying to track the expenses of TWO people. So what we ended up doing was just saving all (and I mean ALL) of our receipts. I would place them in the envelopes, and enter the data into this nifty excel spreadsheet that we personalized for us. This method was so much easier for us.

Excel Budget Spreadsheet

So I’m gonna share the site where I found the spreadsheet that worked for us as well. Click here to go to a website that provides 10 different spreadsheets all for free. It’s pretty cool and generous of them to share their pre-made spreadsheets. It saved us a lot of time making one ourselves (even though my husband is the smartest, most proficient Excel user I know).

I hope you find a budgeting practice that works for you! Until next time, thanks for stopping by. :)

Good Deed of the Day

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http://www.freerice.com

I was so excited when I found this website that I decided to share it with the whole world. It’s an entire website dedicated to donating rice through the World Food Program. All you have to do to get involved is answer simple trivia questions, and for each question that you answer correctly 10 grains of rice will be donated to people in need. FreeRice.com is now my homepage, and every time I get online I answer a question or two. It’s my prayer that people in need will be blessed through this website’s contributions.

I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words in John 6:35.

“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'”

How awesome it is to know that we can intimately know the Savior of the world, and that by believing in His name we can have confidence of our eternal security.

SO COOL.

Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball

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YUM! Seriously, this thing is so delicious, and it’s super easy to make. I wanted to share this jewel of a recipe that I found around Christmas time (original post found here). I made it a total of three times for all of the different family gatherings that we went to. Apparently after you get married your family doubles. ;)

You can make one giant cheese ball or two smaller ones. I found the smaller ones to be a more appropriate size (even for my ginormous family). If you want to make two small ones just divide the recipe in half.

  • 2 (8 oz. each) packages of cream cheese (you can use fat free too)
  • 1 (1 oz.) packet dry buttermilk ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 pieces of turkey bacon, fried and crumbled (I tried it with bacon bits as well. I prefer the bacon bits, because it’s way easier and less time consuming. I used about half a cup of bacon bits)
  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives, optional (I left these out)
  • pecans, almonds, or walnuts, finely chopped for coating
  1. Mix together the cream cheese and dry ranch packet. I put mine in my mixer, and it was so easy.
  2. Add the cheese, onions, olives, and bacon.
  3. Shape into a ball, and roll in the nuts to completely coat the outside.
  4. Store it in the refrigerator, and enjoy it with Ritz or your favorite type of cracker.

So easy! I love how it can be made a couple of days in advance. This is what I’ll be bringing to any type of party from now on. It’s always a huge hit. Enjoy!

Easy DIY Dog Toy

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So I had a lot of free time on my hands today, and decided to share this dog toy post with you as well. I was inspired by Stephanie Elizabeth’s blog post on, Fab You Bliss, found here. If your dog is anything like mine, then it’s probably hard to keep toys from being completely demolished/chewed. That’s why I love Stephanie’s idea! After making one rope toy, I still have enough materials left over to make at least two more. Now I don’t have to worry about whether or not this toy gets ruined. It’s not a big deal, because it was free.

All you need to make this dog toy is any type of jersey fabric (I used 3 of my husband’s old t-shirts), a rubber band, and some spare time. You simply cut the fabric into about 30 long strips, knot one end, braid, knot the other end, and voila! You’re finished. Cutting the fabric takes the longest, but the next time I make one I won’t worry about making the strips exactly the same size.

For the complete directions you can visit Elizabeth’s blog.

Here’s Rogan with his new toy. What do you think? I’d say he likes it.

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