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22 Things I Love About You

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22-thingsAs we celebrate our Anniversary today, I wanted to share 22 things I love about you.

In no particular order…

  1. You are a man of God.
  2. You nurse baby chicks back to life.
  3. You rub my feet.every.single.night.
  4. You work so incredibly hard to provide for our family.
  5. You are a wonderful father.
  6. You say silly things just to make me laugh.
  7. You are always so willing to help a friend or neighbor.
  8. You tell me daily that you love me.
  9. You encourage me in my dream to be a writer.
  10. You’re usually the first one to apologize.
  11. You make special one-on-one time for each of us.
  12. You’re my best friend and remind me daily that I am yours.
  13. You make this blog possible.
  14. You don’t like black licorice.
  15. The way you talk to our puppy.
  16. You tell me daily how much you appreciate me.
  17. You want me to have what I need in my kitchen.
  18. You value my opinion.
  19. You surprised me with the big bag of Peppermint Kisses.
  20. When I beg you to come back to bed with me in the morning, sometimes you do.
  21. You encourage me to get out of the house and spend time with the girls.
  22. You’re beautiful to me… inside and out.

Given the opportunity to do life all over again, there are some things I would surely change, but you wouldn’t be one of them.

Happy Anniversary, my husband and my very best friend. I pray that the Lord blesses us with many, many more incredible years together. I love you more than words can even begin to express. Thank you for being you and for loving me the way you do. 

Shared at Soul SurvivalSo Much At HomeRenewed DailyThought-Provoking ThursdayFaith Filled FridayThe Weekend Brew, & Faith Along The Way.

4

Why We Kissed Costco Goodbye

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Costco

This is not an anti-Costco post.

I really, really like Costco. I’ve been a member since it was called Price Club.

The thing is, though, times are tough. And things that we used to consider necessities are now viewed as luxuries.

When finances are tight, one of the best things we can do is honestly distinguishing between needs and wants. The needs stay while the wants become negotiable.

Today I have the pleasure of sharing this post at Growing Slower. Shannon’s blog is one that I have been reading for several years in an effort to live simply on a budget. I hope you’ll take a moment to hop on over to her blog where she offers tips and advice on saving money, simple living, and family life. 

To finish reading this post, click here.

Shared at Soul SurvivalSo Much At HomeFaith Filled FridayFaith Along the Way, & Have Fun & Live Frugally.

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One Bowl Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {Healthier Version}

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chocolate-cookies The only thing I love more than a delicious cookie is a healthier version of a delicious cookie.

Oh, and candy canes!

I love all things candy cane and peppermint, especially when they are paired with chocolate.

And since I don’t love to do dishes, one bowl recipes are very appealing to me.

These cookies encompass all of those features.

They are also very versatile.

During Christmas, I make this peppermint version, but during the rest of the year, I experiment with other flavors. I have used chocolate chips for a double chocolate version, creme de mint chips, white chocolate chips, and (my second favorite) peanut butter chips.

I’ve adapted these cookies to be healthier than most by cutting the sugar by half of what the average cookie recipes call for and by using whole wheat flour rather than all-purpose.

My family doesn’t miss the extra sugar because of the addition of the baking chips. If you like your cookies really, really sweet, then feel free to add more sugar.

If you’re cautious about using whole wheat flour, you can start by using half whole wheat and half all-purpose. This is my usual method for baked goods because I like the health of the whole wheat, but the lightness and texture of the all-purpose.

There are some exceptions, however, and this cookie is one example. When using all whole wheat flour, these cookies are still wonderful.

Feel free to experiment and find the way you prefer them best. For me and my house, we’re going all whole wheat. That way, we get to eat more!

No matter how you prefer them, you need to make them.

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You are not obligated to make any purchases, but when you do through one of my links or the Amazon search box to the right, I will make a small percentage on the sale. Thank you for supporting my site.

Here’s how you do it:

The Members

1 1/4 cups of soft butter (2 1/2 sticks) or melted coconut oil (the coconut oil does not make the cookies taste like coconut)

1 cup of sugar (add more if you want your cookies super sweet – up to an additional cup)

2 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 cups flour (you can use all-purpose, whole wheat, or a combination of both)

3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt (we like this brand for its health benefits)

1 (10 oz) package of Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips (OR their Creme De Mint version, regular chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips)

The Method

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (unless you are baking with a countertop convection oven which only requires 5 minutes to preheat.)

Combine softened butter or melted coconut oil with sugar in your mixing bowl. I use my Kitchen Aid mixer, but a hand-held mixer works fine, too.

Add eggs and vanilla and mix on low-medium speed until combined.

Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet.

Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the peppermint chips. Using a small cookie scoop, place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake just until set. I check mine after 5 minutes, but they may take up to 9 minutes if your cookies are larger.

Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

These cookies freeze very well. I have frozen the cookies after baking and allowing them to cool, but my preferred method is to freeze the cookie dough balls and bake them fresh.

To do this, I place cookie dough balls on a cookie sheet as if I were going to bake them. I then place them in the freezer for 60-90 minutes before transferring them to a labeled freezer-safe Ziplock bag. When I am ready for fresh cookies, I bake them as directed above, from frozen, adding a few minutes to the baking time.

What do you think? What is your favorite flavor of baking chips? Do you freeze your cookies?

You might also enjoy:

cracker-roca

 

Must-Make Cracker Roca

 

 

coconut-oatmeal-cookies

 

Healthier Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

Shared at The SHINE Blog HopWeekend PotluckPretty Pintastic PartyMama Told Me, Show Stopper SaturdayRetro Re-pin PartyWednesday RoundupSo Much At Home, & Faith Along The Way.

Also at Have Fun & Live Frugally & Saturday Night Fever.

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41

Must-Make Cracker Roca

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cracker-roca

My life changed that night at Bible study. It was the study, for sure, but the Cracker Roca helped, too.

A friend of mine showed up with the most delicious version of Roca I had ever tasted. When she told me how simple it was to make, I couldn’t believe it. I had to go home and make it for myself. Continue reading →

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A Day of Giveaways {& a B4AC Update}

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starbucks1

I love gifts!

I enjoy being the recipient of a gift and I really, really enjoy being the giver of gifts.

It must be one of my 5 love languages.

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You are not obligated to make any purchases, but when you do through one of my links or the Amazon search box to the right, I will make a small percentage on the sale. Thank you for supporting my site.

And while the greatest gift the world has ever known has already been given...

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ~Luke 2:11 (NKJV)

…this is a season of giving. Continue reading →

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Dear Thin-Skinned Blogger,

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letter

The life of a blogger is a delicate balance.

When we see our blogs as a ministry, we must have a level of transparency necessary to reach our readers.

If they don’t know our hearts, our struggles, our fears, and our faith, how can we encourage them in their walks?

If we don’t share our burdens, how can we demonstrate how God has worked in our lives?

If we don’t let them see who we are, how can they possibly relate to us?

So we walk a thin line between sharing our stories and guarding private information. Continue reading →

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7 Tips for Keeping Christ in Christmas

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nativity

I’m sure that expressions like the reason for the season and keeping Christ in Christmas have become cliché, but I would challenge us to live these out this Christmas. Cliché or not, they are Biblical and should be the heart of Christians, not only at Christmastime, but throughout the year.

You see, what is meant to be a time of year that we ponder and celebrate the birth of our Savior, can very quickly become a season of stress, overscheduling, and overspending.

While I am not anti-spending, gift-giving, or Christmas-partying, I do think that the gift of Jesus should be at the heart of the ways that we celebrate.

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” ~Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)

I’d like to share 7 Tips for Keeping Christ in Christmas: Continue reading →

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A Week of Thanks {27 Gifts}

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A Week of Thanks {The Basics}

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fall-leaves3

I’ve been sharing this week that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and reminding us all of the fact that we have so much to be thankful for.

We’ve looked at the gifts of Salvation & Eternal Life and how much we have been given in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Yesterday, I shared my appreciation for family, friends, church family, and my online community of readers and bloggers.

While I do love living life with a daily attitude of appreciation for these incredible blessings in my life, I never want to take for granted some of the blessings we consider to be smaller and simpler. Yet to those who lack them they are everything. Continue reading →

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A Week Of Thanks {Family & Friends}

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fall-leaves2

This week, in honor of my favorite holiday, I am sharing the things I am most thankful for. (If you missed yesterday’s intro post, you can click here to read that.)

Yesterday, I shared that “We have been given an incomparable gift in Jesus Christ for which we should be eternally grateful for.”

Today, I’d like to share my thankfulness for my family, my friends, my church family, and the incredible community that I have found since I began blogging. Continue reading →

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A Week of Thanks {Salvation & Eternal Life}

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fall-leaves

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I know what you’re thinking, but it is not because of the food. Really – it’s not.

That’s the second reason. Oh, how I love a Thanksgiving dinner! But I digress…

Thanksgiving is my favorite because it is more than a holiday for me. It is a way of life. It’s a way of choosing how I see things. In that way, every day is Thanksgiving.

This week, in honor of my favorite holiday, I’d like to share some of the things I am most thankful for. Continue reading →

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Attitude of Gratitude: Thankful for Singleness {Guest Post}

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Thankful-for-singleness

Today I am pleased to share a Guest Post with you from Erin at It All Matters Mom. 

I had a plan.

It was a good one, too. I’d seen it work out so many other times, so I decided I was all in.

I was going to go to college, fall in love and then get married. Continue reading →

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Even If…

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even-if

A few days ago, I shared about losing a precious aunt to cancer and about others in my life who have survived it. (You can read Locks of Love…A Story of My Aunts & Uncles in a new window by clicking here. Go ahead… I’ll wait for ya!)

After losing her, I found myself in the middle of the biggest crisis of faith I have ever faced. Years of fervent prayers by countless people left us all with a huge hole in our lives.

Frankly, I was angry at God. He failed us. He let us down. He wasn’t there for us when we needed Him. Why should I spend my life loving, worshiping, and serving a God like that? Continue reading →

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Locks of Love…A Story of My Aunts & Uncles

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haircut

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of one of the most heartbreaking days of my life. My beautiful Aunt Sharon ended her two and a half year battle with cancer and entered the arms of her Savior. She was such an integral part of my life that not a day goes by that I don’t miss her still.

About a year after her passing, I was missing her so much I could hardly stand it. I wanted with all my heart to do something. I knew I couldn’t bring her back, but I felt that I didn’t know how to move on. Continue reading →

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Creamy Vegetable Soup

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vegetable-soup

This soup is a favorite in our home because it is healthy, frugal, and delicious. You can follow my exact recipe or experiment based on your own preferences and with what you have on hand.

Soups are pretty adaptable and forgiving. They are also an excellent way to use up leftovers.

Without any further ado, I give you my… Continue reading →

20

My #1 Tip For Trimming Grocery Spending

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grocery-tip

If you’ve read my blog, you’ve probably heard me say that our bills may not be negotiable, but our grocery receipts usually are.

When finances are tight, often the only area we can control is our food spending.

While my husband works hard to bring the money in, my job is to make it go as far as it can while feeding our family healthy meals. With two growing teenagers, that task isn’t always easy, but it is possible.

Today I’d like to share what works for our family.

I’m honored to be sharing this post today at Family Balance Sheet. Kristia’s blog has been an inspiration to me as she is “a mom on a mission to help families live well on less.” She shares “money-saving tips and ideas about family finances, food, home management, & family life.” 

To continue reading this post on her site, please click here.

Shared at Inspire Me MondaysMy PinterventuresWake Up WednesdaySo Much At HomeI Choose Joy!New Mrs. AdventuresMom’s The WordHomemaking Link-upThriving ThursdayHomestead Blog Hop, & Mom’s Morning Coffee.

35

Light Up The Sky

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star-field

As I stood in my kitchen the other night listening to this song, I fought back tears as I thanked God for the ways He has moved in my life.

Songs have an incredible way of bringing back memories don’t they? Though it has been a few years, I remember it like it was yesterday.

I can recall how my heart raced with fear as we heard the news. How we simultaneously cancelled plans and packed the car while trying to have faith and trust God. Continue reading →

39

A Letter To Our Son

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birthday-cupcakeHappy Birthday, Young Man!

When Solomon was given an opportunity to ask for God anything that he desired, he chose wisdom. By that very request we know that he already possessed a great dose of it, don’t we?

One of the greatest gifts we can give to you is to share the wisdom and knowledge of things we have learned in our lives. It is in that spirit that we share these with you.

These are the things we want you not just to know, but to live out in your life: Continue reading →

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The Ultimate Christian Living Bundle – 96% Off – 5 Days ONLY!

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If you know me or you’ve been reading my blog, you know that the Bible is my favorite book to read and my True North.

That being said, reading is one of my favorite hobbies so when I’m not reading my Bible, I’m usually reading another encouraging Christian book.

From finances, family, marriage, business, Christian classics, devotions, parenting, or reaching the lost, Christian books easily make up the majority of my reading material.

That’s why I’m so excited to introduce this incredible offer to you! Continue reading →

0

Free From Sin

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Bible-and-cup

Romans 8:1-5 (Click the red text to read the verses)

This morning’s reading took me into the Book of Romans. It’s a place where I spend a lot of time soaking up the Word of God and reminding myself of what it is that God has done for me through His Son.

While this is a passage that we sometimes go whizzing by, I think it appropriate that we pause this morning to read it through three or four times to get the real flavor of what Paul is saying. Continue reading →

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Shining Light In The Darkness – 31 Scripture Verses

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candles

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ~Psalm 119:105 

But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.~John. 3:21

And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. ~John 1:5

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” ~John 8:12 Continue reading →

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Expect To See God

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sunset-trees

Remember when you first fell in love with your spouse? They could do no wrong. You know as well as I do that that is not the case. The truth is that we chose not to see it when they did.

Conversely, when there is someone we don’t particularly like, isn’t it true that all that we will see in them is the negative?

When we seek to see the good in people, we will. When we seek to see the less than desirable, that is exactly what we’ll find. Continue reading →

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The Easiest Brownies You’ll Ever Make (w/ a Surprise Healthy Ingredient!)

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pumpkin-brownies

If you know me, you know 2 things:

  1. I make most things from scratch and very little from a box or can.
  2. I’m not perfect.

As a result of #2, you will occasionally find a boxed brownie mix in my home. The idea is that I have something on hand for last minute baking for church, company, or a visit to a friend’s home.

That’s how it works in theory. Continue reading →

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3 Things We Wish We Had Done When We Had More Money

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money-background

Things have not always been as tight for our family as they are now. They’ve always felt like they have been, but as our income has consistently declined over the last 8 or so years, we’ve had to learn to make do with less and less.

In retrospect, we had it pretty good before. We had consistency and reliability. Now we have neither. I wish we had realized then how good we had it. Instead, we focused more on how little we had.

They say hindsight is 20/20, right? I’m sharing this personal information in hopes that you can learn from our experience.

Here’s what we wish we had done then: Continue reading →

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