Wednesday, October 22, 2014

indiana visit

Last Tuesday, after Steve got home from work, we headed out to Indiana to see Steve’s brother and his family. We drove halfway on Tuesday night, and halfway on Wednesday, which was the perfect solution for the craziness of driving with two little guys. Nolan was so excited to spend a few days with his girl cousins!

Our days were full with visiting the library, trekking around the zoo, singing karaoke, playing with Play-Doh, and eating Swedish Fish. One of our nieces danced around in her bright green Tinkerbell dress every day. The other loved to sing us endless songs that I can’t believe a two-year-old has the memory for!

My sister-in-law, Dana is expecting a new baby in two weeks—so it was wonderful to spend some time with them while they’re still a family of four. (Though I wish the timing had worked out with fall break so that we could meet the baby!)

This craft was so fun! Dana mixed food coloring with vinegar in little bowls. Then she poured baking soda all over a tray. She gave the kids little medicine squirters to shoot vinegar onto the baking soda, and make colored fizz! They loved it!


At one point, Ephraim walked across the living room floor pushing this table!


Meanwhile, the guys went for runs and worked on projects around the house.

Blue sand!

Checking out the little lady bug she caught outside.


I have more photos (mostly of the zoo) from my other camera to follow tomorrow!


Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY “trick or treat” package

Trick or Treat Package

Hello! We were on vacation for the past six days, and I didn’t have much of an internet connection. But we’re home now, and we’re getting settled in tonight. :)  I want to share with you a little package that I put together for two awesome friends—one in Missouri, and one in Texas. I am not hugely into the symbols of Halloween, but I still love the black and orange colors of the October season!

Trick or Treat Package

All of the above was found at Walmart this month:

1. Orange and black striped straws (2 different kinds)
2. Wilton pumpkin cookie cutter
3. Land O Lakes “Chocolate Supreme” hot chocolate packets
4. Jello in orange flavor
5. Darice black baker’s twine
6. Scotch candy corn washi tape
7. Black and orange cupcake wrappers
8. Orange sugar sprinkles
9. Black and orange chevron napkins
10. Black and orange tea light candles
11. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear nail polish

All of it was sent in a shoe box with orange crinkle paper (found at Walmart last Easter). I chose items that were light so that the boxes wouldn’t be over a pound each.

Do you have anyone that needs a little “Treat”? :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

“the hardest peace” giveaway

the hardest peace
I’ve been so blessed by this book. I hope this review can do it justice.

Kara Tippetts and her husband Jason are church planters in Colorado Springs, and they have four young children. Kara has stage four cancer that began in her breast, and has since metatasticized to her ovaries, uterus, brain, lymph system, and her blood. She’s been blogging her journey for the past couple of years at

Kara writes that God has not promised us a perfect and happy life—but He has promised us His presence as we walk through it. He grants us peace when we are in places of hopelessness and worry. And He provides us grace in the times of suffering.

I am so encouraged by Kara’s faith, and the book is beautifully written. I immensely enjoyed reading about how she met Jason when they were counselors at summer camp (I can relate ;) ). I loved hearing about her sweet children, and I ache for them because I have been in their shoes. As Kara writes about the future, she speaks honestly of the pain that comes with leaving your family too young to go be with Jesus.

Here is a little snippet:

“Cancer is a gift. There, I said it. I can say that cancer and suffering give the beautiful gift of perspective. It is the gift you never wanted, the gift wrapped in confusion and brokenness and heartbreak. It’s the gift that strips all your other ideas of living from you completely. The beautiful, ugly raising to the surface of the importance of each and every moment. I have loved motherhood in all its nuances. I never cared if a baby slept, I enjoyed snuggles, nursed for years instead of months. I have met my kids in the kitchen, on the dance floor, in their bedrooms quiet at night. There were days I loved interacting with my children, and there were certainly days when I wanted to hide alone in my room to consume a book and let my mind think big thoughts. I have loved my calling as a mama—loved it! But to call it simple would be condescending to the calling. It took me years to find contentment in the mundane momentum of loving in motherhood. Before cancer, I sought kindness in motherhood. The days were not all blissful and simple, but life in the midst of little children was never dull. Tiring, yes; boring, no. I begged for grace to point my precious charges to Jesus, but I lived each moment gluttonous. I ate and ate on the joys of parenthood with no thought of it ever coming to an end. I expected a long life; I may have even thought I deserved a long life.”

Kara’s outlook is heavenward. And I will be praying for her— for as many days as possible with her babies, and for heaps of grace and peace.

Kara Tippetts

I am giving away a copy of Kara’s book. Please enter the Rafflecopter below. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway



"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Must live in U.S. or Canada.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

5 tips for an organized home

5 Tips for an Organized Home

This month’s installment of the “Come On In” series is all about home organization.

I LOVE to be organized. However, this is the first time in my life that I’ve really had to fight to keep everything organized. In 2013, we moved from a two-bedroom apartment to a four-bedroom house. It seemed like we had so much space, we would never fill it up. Guess what. . . it’s full. :)  I am always trying to declutter. I find joy in throwing or giving things away. Less is truly more.

There are FIVE new things that I’m doing to try and keep an organized home.

1. Choose a dresser over shelves.

Since Steve and I have been married, we’ve accumulated so many free shelves. Recently, we started to realize that half of the shelves stayed empty, and half were just cluttered and unstyled. We spent $25 to buy this beautiful dresser from a friend’s garage sale. It sits in the corner of our living room, where we can stash cords, papers, or anything that we don’t need sitting out, but still want close access to.

Similarly, instead of having flyers, mail, or other randoms lying around, I have purchased a few cute boxes to keep my counters clean. However, the key is to remember what’s in them, so that you don’t accidentally misplace a bill or other important reminder. :)

2. Keep a daily (hourly) planner.

I write EVERYTHING down—I’m a true list-maker. I have always kept a small “To-Do” notebook
and Post-Its close by. But just a couple of weeks ago, I switched it up a bit; I started a daily planner where each page represents only one day. It’s just a cheap composition book, nothing fancy or expensive. I write down the hours of the day so I can plan things according to a time schedule. I also leave a section for meal-planning, and blogging so I can prepare ahead of time. So far, I am loving it!

3. Cycle the toys.

Nolan has amazing toys, and plenty of them. However, over the summer, I was frustrated that he would get bored even though there was so much for him to play with. I began storing half of his toys in the basement, and I made a rotation schedule. He doesn’t even notice when some of the toys are put away, but he gets excited when he sees new ones out again. A good hour will be spent on a toy that he hasn’t seen in a month! :)

4. Schedule in the chores.

This is something that I’m just starting to implement, so I’m not sure how it will work out yet :) I can never remember how much time has passed since I last vacuumed, since the toilets were cleaned, or since the beds were washed. I just clean when they start to look dirty. Though this is a nice, laid-back approach, we always seem to fall behind in our chores. I would much rather have a routine. So I’m going to give this a try—Sunday afternoon will be laundry time, Wednesday I vacuum, Friday we clean the bathroom, and so on.

5. Get the excess out of the way.

We’ve been blessed that this house has ample storage space. We have an unfinished basement, an attic, six closets, and an extra bedroom. When I’m not currently using something (for example: summer clothes, holiday decorations, random-size cake pans, food bought in bulk), I need to put it completely away for the time being. This sounds obvious, but I often find myself suffocating in unnecessary clutter. To solve this, I cleared off a shelf in the basement for multiples of boxes of cereals and cake mixes, etc. that don’t need to all be in the pantry. I also designated a section of the basement for future garage sale items, and I pared down my closet to fall/winter-only clothes.


As a last thought, I firmly believe that you can’t have enough hampers and garbage cans in your house. I am always looking for the nearest of both! :)

How are you with home organization?

Please leave any tips in the comments—I’d love to hear more ideas! :)

Linking up with Andrea.

Monday, October 13, 2014

raspberry fudge mocha mousse trifle

Raspberry Fudge Mocha Mousse Trifle
I have yet to find a trifle that I don’t like. This raspberry fudge mocha mousse trifle is quite high on my list right now. I think trifles are so perfect for group events because they are pretty to look at, and you don’t have to cut or portion them out ahead of time. I brought it to church on Friday night, and it was welcomed with open arms. So delicious! I had forgotten how much I like angel food cake.

When the recipe called for a jar of hot fudge topping, I decided to make my hot fudge from scratch. However, once you add the coffee to the hot fudge, most of the chocolate taste is masked by mocha, so it’s not really worth whipping up your own. :)  If you aren’t crazy about coffee flavor, maybe use a regular brew instead of “strong”.

The raspberries I got from our garden—the bushes are still going strong in mid-October!

3/4 cup red raspberry preserves
1  1/2 cups red raspberries, washed and drained
1 (12 ounce) jar hot fudge topping
1/4 cup strong-brewed coffee
2 (8 ounce each) containers frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (10 ounce) store-bought angel food cake


Cut the angel food cake into 1-inch cubes.

Mix together 3/4 cup of raspberry preserves and the fresh raspberries in a small bowl. Set aside 5 or so raspberries for garnish.


Reserve 2 tablespoons of hot fudge for a drizzle. Stir the rest of the hot fudge with the strong-brewed coffee. Next, fold in one container of the whipped topping to make a mousse.

Stir up the second container of whipped topping so that it’s ready to layer.


Place half of the cake cubes in the bottom of a trifle bowl (or a 3 quart glass bowl). Spread half of the mousse over the cake cubes. Then layer half of the plain whipped topping above the mousse.

Spoon all of the raspberry mixture evenly over the whipped topping. Top with the rest of the cake cubes, and then the last of the mousse.

Put dollops of the remaining whipped topping over the center of the trifle. Microwave the reserved hot fudge for 5 seconds. Stir, and drizzle it over the top of the trifle. Place the raspberries on top.

Keep chilled in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.


Enjoy! Pin away! :)


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