Monday, April 22, 2013

A Testimony

Over the past few weeks I have had several experiences that have led to many hours of pondering and many moments in prayer.

I won't go into detail about any one experience, but I must share the over arching lesson I have learned which is: I know God lives, He loves me, He sent His son to atone for my sins, and I will return to live with Him again. I have been so touched by His knowledge of my life and of the blessings I so desperately needed. He knows me in all of my follies and yet He is still rooting for me, He wants me to keep trying, and wants me to succeed.

I have felt so close to my Father in Heaven as well as my Savior and I can testify to the truth that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Although I feel inadequate in the amount of my knowledge on different gospel subjects, the knowledge I do have I could never deny and inspires me to continue on studying the vast amount of information not only in the Bible, but in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants also.

I am so blessed to live in this day and age. Although there are many distractions from having a life centered in Christ, I have recently felt and seen my paradigm shift in favor of a home and a life filled with the glory of God. I have witnessed my priorities shift in a matter of moments and all the mumbo jumbo that clutters my life is now disappearing. I am slowly learning to lean heavily on my faith in Jesus Christ and to allow him to carry me through each day. I am an imperfect person and yet the Lord sees the goodness in me to allow the Holy Ghost to dwell with me and to feel His presence moment by moment. I love the Lord and appreciate His patience with me. It has taken me a long time to realize the person I can become with the help of the Lord.

I know He lives. I know He loves me. I know I will live with Him again some day, and in that day I hope he will say to me with arms outstretched "well done, thou good and faithful servant..."

Friday, April 19, 2013

Eating Clean Recipes

The past couple weeks I have been really really lazy about menu planning, so when I get home from work I've been just hopping online and googling for recipes that include ingredients I have on hand. Here are some goodies I've found.

Creamy Salsa Chicken- The original recipe makes a TON of food and since it is just my husband and me I altered the recipe to be enough for dinner and a couple of leftover meals. I used about half of everything that was called for and only about 1/2 of ONE brick of cream cheese and it was still super super yummy!

Chicken and Veggie Stew

Beef and Mushroom Casserole- this I came up with on my was a long day and I was like bleh and threw this together. It actually turned out really really yummy. Not the cleanest of recipes, but still tasty.

- 1/2 lb. beef
- about 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1/2-1 onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 cans of cream of mushroom (depending on how creamy you want your casserole)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Italian blend of spices
- Bisquick biscuit mix (mixed as directions say)

Preheat your oven to 350 F.Start by browning the beef. While the beef is browning, chop your mushrooms, onion, and garlic. I don't really like mushrooms so I chopped mine up fairly small. Mix your chopped veggies in a bowl with the cream of mushroom, add salt and pepper and other spices, stir. Once the meat is sufficiently browned, stir it into your cream of mushroom and veggie mixture. Give everything a good stir and dump into a pan. Mix up your Bisquick mixture and plop on top of the meat mixture and spread to each side of the dish. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until your biscuit is cooked, once it is take out your casserole and let it set up and cool for a few minutes. Voila! Of course, if you have more people in your family you can adjust your ingredient amounts. As always, play around with it...add things you think might taste celery, corn, or even some black beans.

Quinoa and Cilantro Salad - yum yum yum!

Quinoa Pancakes - I made these following the recipe, but I also made pancakes with about half quinoa and half pancake mix and both were really good! We made a big batch and froze them and have been having them in the morning for quick heat up and go breakfasts....they taste better and are healthier for you than Eggo!!

Greek Yogurt Biscuits

Friday, April 5, 2013

Date Night Jar

I am so sick of Friday or Saturday night sneaking up on me and when I ask Jordan what sounds fun to do, neither of us can come up with something so we end up sitting on the couch and watching TV all night. I cannot tell you how many hours we have logged watching TV and movies...too many in my opinion. So, out of desperation I got onto Pinterest to see what everyone else in the wide world of cool ideas was doing and I stumbled upon the idea of creating a date night jar!

The concept of a date night jar is simple enough. Come up with a bazillion ideas, write them on sticks and when you are ready to go on a date just pull a stick and BAM there is your date....right on the stick! I looked at probably 10 or 12 different blogs to a) get a wide range of date ideas and b) to find the best way to organize the dates.

I ended up creating a date jar with three different levels or colors of date ideas.

The blue sticks are dates that cost little to no money and require little planning:
- Live local music
- Movie marathon
- Chick flick & popcorn
- Homemade pizza & an Italian movie
- Sodoku & Pancakes
- No electricity night
- Create a bucket list
- Look at dream houses
- Plan a trip (even if it is impractical)
- Take the Color Code test or Personality test together
- Wander around downtown
- Walmart Bingo (free printable found here)
- Go for a hike or nature walk
- 1,000 piece puzzle & pizza
- Blanket fort & movie
- Have friends over for game night
- Picnic at the park
- Window Shopping

The green sticks are dates that require an average amount of money and require little planning:
- Pottery painting
- Swimming at the YMCA
- Geocaching
- Dessert only date
- Dinner & Ikea
- Mini Golf
- Zoo Trip
- Studio Movie Grill
- Go to a comedy show
- Melting Pot
- Dinner & a movie
- Art museum visit
- Ice skating
- Bonfire & S'mores
- Top Golf
- Aquarium
- Arboretum
- Sporting event
- Drive-in movies
- Laser tag
- Hot cocoa & bookstore
- Bowling
- Reunion Tower
- Go play racquetball or tennis

The pink sticks are dates that require a higher amount of money and require planning:
- Weekend Getaway to Dallas
- Couple massage
- Dinner cruise
- Horseback riding
- Purchase a $50-$100 Groupon and use it
- Road Trip
- Dinner & a show (theater, concert, etc.)
- Dinner & the symphony

I had so much fun making my date jar and I discovered a ton of stuff there is to do in the Dallas area. Check around in your area and if you have white water rafting or paddle boarding or hot air balloon rides or sand castle building available and it is something you have always wanted to do....put it on a stick! You should tailor your date night jar to things you and your better half would enjoy!

Have fun ya'll!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gone Crafting Crazy!

I was supposed to start training at Joann's last week, but it turned out that there weren't enough hours for me to come in and work a few days, so I had the whole week off! Long story short, I went craft crazy!

Wednesday afternoon I got together with one of my good gal pals, Amanda, and we tried our hand at making homemade lotion bars. They turned out pretty well!

** A couple of notes for future use: 1) I would highly recommend using silicone molds versus plastic or metal ones. 2) Next time I'm going to use raw cocoa butter or raw shea butter and not the cocoa butter that you can buy from Walmart. 3) I'm going to try a few different scents.

** I got my coconut oil from Kroger, beeswax and scent from Hobby Lobby (but if you can be patient and get it off the internet, you can probably get it cheaper and much better quality!), the body butter and Vitamin E (not pictured) from Walmart.

Thursday I woke up, ate breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen a little, and then went. to. town! First, I put up a decorative shelf in our bedroom and put pictures and little knick-knacks we've collected from trips on it. Next, I rearranged my living room (which was no small feat) and then took out all my extra decorations that were shoved away in my laundry room. I knew I wanted to use most of them so I re-vamped them to better incorporate each piece into my new rearranged living room.

This is what I came up with! *Deep breath!* Here we go!

I originally saw this idea on Pinterest, of course. I couldn't find any print-outs for the background, so I just made my own. I created mine in Photoshop, but you could easily create one with some cute scrapbooking paper and scrapbooking stickers/supplies.

Jordan and I see a ton of movies and since the tickets are small, I liked the look of the 8x8 shadow box rather than a larger 8x10 or 10x10, plus it is what I had tucked away in the laundry room.

In addition to a shadow box, there were also some of those collage frames. It took me awhile to decide on the pictures I wanted to put up, but eventually I decided on some older photos from vacations past and the reliable last name word art. 

Among other unused frames hiding in my laundry room was this bute!

Originally I liked the frame because of the dark accent it created, but after it being empty for almost a year, I decided to re-vamp it so it would be better suited for the color scheme I'm trying to develop in my home.

Boom baby! Silver can of spray paint + unused frame = delightful new decoration! I still wasn't quite sure what to put in the frame, so I had a major brainstorming session and decided to jump on the "subway art" bandwagon.

Voila! I'm so proud of how it looks! Quite eggcellent I'd say! Tee hee!

My last project of the day, in no way related to my home decor projects, also turned out to be fantastic! Again, I got the idea from Pinterest, however the website it originally came from was in a different language, so I pretty much had to go off of pictures and my own experience with sewing.

I had an old pair of jeans lying around that I didn't wear because the unflattering straight leg cut on me. I thought this project would be perfect for that pair. I was so excited about this project that I wanted more than one pair and I actually tried my luck at Goodwill and miraculously found a pair of jeans for $6.00 that fit perfectly!! My laced jeans turned out really well and I'm so excited to wear them around!!

 These were the jeans I had already and just cropped off. 

These are the jeans I got at Goodwill for $6.00!

I'm really happy I was able to reuse and recycle many items already at my disposal and that I was able to turn them into things I now adore. Here's to creativity! *Fist pump!*