Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Nail Colors from Julep

Julep is my new favorite brand of nail polish!
It lasts - it's beautiful
it's also completely vegan (no animal products)
and free of  formaldehyde and a few other chemicals that you don't want to breath in as you're painting your nails!
Here are my top 10 favorite nail colors from Julep!





You can get a great deal on these nail polishes right now!
They are normally $14 each....but...right now you can get the St. Patrick's Day Welcome Box for Free!!! Just pay $2.99 for shipping - just use the code 'PINCHME'.
(That's getting three nail polishes plus some cute nail stickers too!)
Expires 3/17/15
Another deal for you is the Welcome Beauty-Full Welcome Box also for free, again just $2.99 for shipping. (Just use the code HOORAY) You'll get three super-cute spring nail polishes for just the $2.99 in shipping! {Crazy!}
Expired 3/31/15

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies That Almost Didn't Happen!

My good friend Carly recently had pretty major surgery. So major that it has put her out of commission for a little while. She is a super lucky gal that her sister dropped everything and flew in to stay with her to help out with Carly's two little girls and fix suppers for her family.

Since dinners were covered by her sister, I asked what could I bring?? Carly said that she loved a good Walnut Chocolate Chip, of course, that's what I'm bringing over!

I  have never made chocolate chip cookies with walnuts. I always make my Aunt Mable's recipe of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Thinking at first that I could just add walnuts until Carly announced that she did not like oatmeal cookies. Hmmmm.

On my hunt for some yummy walnut chocolate chip cookies, I came across this recipe from Brunch Time Baker. I followed pretty closely to this recipe, making a few tweaks of my own along the way.
Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
~makes 1.5 dozen~
(adapted from Brunch Time Baker)
3/4 cup of butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp milk*
1/4 cup instant oatmeal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together butter and sugars for one minute, add egg and vanilla. Beat for another minute.
In a separate bowl sift together the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Add your dry ingredients into your wet, about 1/4 of a cup at a time. Mix until combined and add milk. Mix again until milk is fully combined.
Stir in the oatmeal, chocolate chips and walnuts.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes.**
Allow to cool on a rack.
These can be stored for up to three months in the freezer!
* I added Silk Vanilla Soy milk
**I used my small cookie scoop for these and it worked beautifully!
The funny part about the cookies is that the night before I was going to see Carly, I had planned to make these cookies - that morning I was totally in the mood for baking and was going to make the cookies.
By that evening - I was completely spent. No energy to make cookies. 
Or do anything else but go to bed at 9pm. 
I had a decision to make - either text her with some lame excuse of why I couldn't come over....
The kids have the flu
I think I have small pox
Bad hair day
But instead I decided to just go empty handed. Sure enough...I had to hear about how the only reason she got out of bed was because she thought I was bringing cookies. Even our friend Jessica who was over there said "I thought you were bringing cookies?"
Alright. Alright.
That was earlier today - so tonight I made the cookies and will make the special trip out to her house tomorrow just to drop off the dang cookies. But at least she'll be happy and it'll be a good excuse to see her again!!
And these little cookies will be perfect - a little crisp on the outside but nice and chewy in the middle.
Just perfect.
Do you have a go-to cookie for sick friends? Please share your comments and links below!!
Have a beautiful day!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Goodwill Finds {New shoes, Books and More!}

I had a day off today so decided to meet up with my new friend Jessica at the Goodwill (she runs a super cute consignment store out of her home! Find her on Facebook - Fresh Style.) Between the two of us we had kids that spent the night with grandparents and others there were in school - so we had a kid-free day out! {How rare is that?!}
Jessica found a ton of cute shirts and a few jackets to add to her boutique - along with a few toys and books for the kids.
We ended up being at the Goodwill for 3 hours - just in one store - but they were having some good deals! All the books, DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes were half off (most were only marked $0.99 to begin with!) so we both spent time looking through all of the books. My oldest son Ashton just got his first CD player not too long ago, so I found a couple of CDs for him - Jason Castro and High School Musical. I also got a book for each kid and they were happy as pie when I picked them up from school!
I found myself a few shirts at first, but after trying everything on, I only brought one home. It's just a plain black shirt ($3.59) - nothing much to brag about and I also got Ashton a pair of Air Jordan basketball shorts ($3). I also found a pair of New Balance sneakers for me! I have {really} big feet so I normally can never find shoes second hand - and they were just $6 too!
Here are the few things that I was pretty excited about....
First if the yellow bowl from Z Gallerie ($1)- I love this bowl for some fruit in the middle of the table or a serving dish for dinner. You might even find it pictured right here with some soup in the future!
I love the wavy wooden bowl! Such a beautiful design! I can see some dainty appetizers being served in it...and for $1, I couldn't pass it up.
Next was the book "Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man" by Steve Harvey. I haven't heard anything about this book, but I think Steve Harvey is a riot, so {again} for one dollar, it went straight into my cart!
Lastly is the Casting Crowns CD - anyone else still listen to Cd's? I have seriously never downloaded a song in my life. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't even know how or what to do with it. I still like buying and listening to Cd's. I know this will be a good one!
That's it for me - what goodies have you found recently?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What I'm Reading....

I usually don't read this many books at one time - but between two different bible studies that I'm involved with, my own personal studies and reading for pleasure - my stack has gotten pretty big!
I'll start with Children of the Day by Beth Moore. Beth Moore has got a ton of energy in her writings and in the video series that goes along with this book. This is a great women's bible study group! I've had several AHA moments just in the first few chapters - one that I'm hanging on to is - "Joy is happiness with out the moodiness." Ain't that the truth!
The NIV Quest Study Bible is a great tag-along to any bible study...whether is be a group or your own personal study. The sidebar notes have helped so many times. Think of it as a Cliffs Notes for your bible.
What the Bible is All About by Dr Henrietta Mears is another book that I'm always looking at. I love that it gives word origins, maps and other illustrations. Again, another great book to have by yourself with any type of bible study.
I'm re-reading The Shack by WM. Paul Young. I read this book first as a new believer so I wanted to read it again because I was so in love with the beauty of this book. The second time reading - I'm seeing so many new dimensions of this book and am loving it even more!
If you're looking for a great small group bible study then I recommend Improving Your Parenting by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. It's part of the Homebuilders Parenting Series and is an excellent study. A great study to do along side your spouse to see where you are with the core values you'd like to pass onto your children.
The newest book I've added is Believe  Living The Story of The Bible to Become Like Jesus. Randy Frazee, Editor. Think of it as the bible is story format with some excellent notes to help you better understand situations about how you can use them in your daily life. Look for a full review of this book in the coming weeks!
What have you been reading this month??

Monday, February 23, 2015

{Easy} Crockpot Swedish Meatballs and Bible Study

My husband, Chris, and I have been part of a bible study group for about five years now. I really love being able to get together and learn more about the bible. Just about every single time we meet, I have one of those "Aha!" moments where I realized something that I never had before until that very second.
I love those moments. I  love learning something new - and new way to look at my life.
Our bible study group is now going through one of the HomeBuilders Parenting Series from Family Life Today. Our book is "Improving Your Parenting" by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. So far, we're into the second chapter and already I'm seeing new things about our parenting style and how much is really reflects how our parents parented us!
The last chapter talked about our core values as parenting - what we consider to be the most important traits we want to pass onto our children. Something Chris and I never thought about before we had kids - but I am thankful that Chris and I share a lot of the ideals.
Our group meets on Friday evenings and rotates houses each week and this week we are the hosts! I really enjoy having people over so I'm glad that it's rotated back to us. For our group - the hosts provide the main dish along with water and another drink (we'll do lemonade) and everyone else brings a side dish or dessert to go along. It makes for a nice end to your week and for us - it's something fun to do! The kids love it too - we have a little activity set up for them and make sure they eat first! (We learned quickly how important this is!) And after their craft - they all play or watch a movie together.
For our night we decided to do something easy for the food and have my Great Aunt Betty Lou's Swedish Meatballs. This is something that our family eats along with our turkey every Thanksgiving - it's extremely popular in our family! This is a simple but delicious dish! I love anything I can throw into a crockpot and forget about!
Betty Lou's Easy Crockpot Swedish Meatballs
(serves 20)
2 bags of frozen meatballs
5 cans of brown gravy
2 cartons of sour cream
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp Italian seasoning
pepper to taste
2 bags of egg noodles
4 tbsp. butter
Turn your crockpot on low and add the meatballs. In a separate dish mix together your gravy, sour cream, garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Add mixture to the meatballs and stir well. Cook on low for 4 hours. Stir well when done. Make sure and taste before serving to add more salt and pepper if needed.
When your meatballs are done cooking, that's when you'll want to start cooking the egg noodles. Cook according to package directions. Drain and add butter along with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve meatballs over egg noodles and enjoy!
Hint: If you need to cook these meatballs in a shorter time frame, you can warm the meatballs up in the microwave or a skillet for about 5 minutes then add them into the crockpot and cook on low for 3 hours.
I hope you enjoy these Swedish Meatballs and much as our family does! They were a hit with our bible study group too!
If your church has Community Groups or Life Groups (as our church calls them) - you should really look into joining one! They are a great way to meet new people in your community - the people in my group have become my very best friends. It's also a wonderful way to grow in your faith and even help teach others. If you don't have community groups - read my article about starting your own bible study.
I'd love to know what you're studying right now?! Do you have a bible study group that you mean up with? Are you interested in wanting to become a leader yourself? Did you try the meatballs?? (lol)
Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a beautiful day!

Today I've linked up to:
Creative Kids,