Flourless Brownies

Welcome to “Wheat Free Wednesday”! Raised on “normal” flour, I’ve had a hard time adjusting to the taste and texture of gluten free flour blends. I am also not a fan of the cost of gluten free flours. So I am on a mission to find recipes that use “normal” wheat free ingredients that most people would have in their pantry anyway. Wheat Free Wednesday’s will be days I am sharing some of our favorite recipes.

Today, I’d like to share with you our favorite brownie recipe. Whether you are are gluten free or not, you will love these. We love serving these brownies hot with ice cream or apple crisp.

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3 Ways to Cultivate a Heart to Shout Up Praise

It was a warm Spring day. I was at a local forest preserve with my Mom and sister. We were taking turns watching kids while the others got a workout in walking the steep stairs.

It was my turn to walk. So I pulled out Scripture Verse memory cards out, psyched myself up and started walking. On one of my first times back down the stairs, I saw a woman coming up the other side. She had a t-shirt on that said, “Shout Up Praise”.

Shout up praise. Oh, there had been a lot of shouting that morning. Shouting praise was not one of them.

That morning had been an ugly morning. I had a rough night of sleep, which made it hard to wake up. My time with the Lord was rushed, if I had a chance to get anything in at all. Prayer time was absent, meaning my Praise time was absent.

Then came the rush of the morning. I was running around trying to get my kids dressed and fed, lunches made, and everyone loaded up into the van.

On the other hand, my kids, as excited as they were to go on this adventure, did not feel rushed. They felt obedience was optional that morning. They wanted to do their own thing. And this tired, missed her time with the Lord mama did not handle any of that well. Continue reading

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Limited Edition St. Patrick’s Day Tees

This post contains affiliate links. Using these links means I may earn a percentage of the purchase at no extra cost to you.

St. Patty’s Day is just a month away! Hop on over to Cents of Style and get a super cute t-shirt for just $17 (+free shipping) with code STPATTY.

Hurry on over to Cents of Style! the STPATTY code expires on 2/18.

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3 Ways to Engage Kids at the Dinner Table

This post may contain affiliate links as a means to support this blog. You may view my disclosure policy here.

Meal time is such an important time of the day. It’s a place for the family to gather, a time for the family to connect. I want the table to be a place where my kids feel like they can share about their day, no matter what may have happened.

There are three ways we have began to engage conversation at our table.

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How to ReCharge and Find Me Time (When You Have No Help)

Motherhood is not easy. It is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting, no matter what age your kids may be. As we try to meet the needs of others around us, we often neglect taking the time we need for ourselves.

Motherhood is not easy. It is physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting, no matter what age your kids may be. As we try to meet the needs of others around us, we often neglect taking the time we need for ourselves.

Yet while I was writing this post, “The Law of Diminishing Return” kept coming to mind. At some point, a mom’s productivity level and quality will greatly decrease if she does not get time to re-charge. Dear fellow Mom, it is okay to take time for yourself. Even if it is just 10 minutes in the middle of your day, you need it to re-charge.

But how? In the midst of balancing the crazy schedules that come with motherhood, how do we re-charge? How do we find “Me Time”? What even is this thing called “Me Time”!?! Well, I took the question to Facebook and let fellow moms in the trenches answer the question!

1. Choose a night to purpose to not “keep working” after kids are put to bed.

Lay aside all the household tasks that still need to be complete. Instead, take time to read the Bible or a book, watch a movie, or even go to bed early.

One mom says, “At nighttime, I take a long bubble bath. Sometimes my toddler is in the bathroom playing beside the tub. But it still helps.”

2. Plug into God’s Strength Through time in His Word and prayer

Wake up early. Utilize naptime. Study after kids go to bed. You may even read aloud to your kids at a mealtime.

Jani Ortland, author and speaker, shared on a Revive Our Hearts broadcast that when her kids were little, she and a friend would take turns watching the kids for 2 hours. The “free” mom would strictly use this time to dig in depth into God’s Word. Yes, she still had quiet time every day. But every other week, she knew that she would have 2 hours to dig deeper and be revitalized.

3. Get Involved with Church

Use Sunday School and Service Times as “Me Time” to get rooted and challenged in God’s Word.

4. Get Involved in Bible Study or a Mom’s Group

Over and over again in my Facebook poll, mom’s would say, “Go to a Ladies Bible Study at your church”, “Join Bible Study Fellowship”, “Find a mom’s group like MOPs”.

I have to admit thinking, “These ladies must all be extroverts!” But even being an introvert, I love being part of a ladies Bible study, getting encouraged and challenged in God’s Word. Our “MomStrong” group is one of my favorite activities each month. Often, a Ladies Bible Study, BSF or Mom’s group will have free to low cost childcare. You will have some time enjoying adult conversation knowing your kids will be well cared for.

5. Wisely prioritize your time to what is truly important to you. We waste so much time on things that don’t matter.

How much time is spent on social media, surfing the internet, browsing Pinterest? Put your phone away! Leave it somewhere in your house where it is not easy to access. Instead, focus on the tasks at hand so that you can have time later on for yourself.

Also, be organized. So much time can be wasted looking for things. My mom always said, “There’s a place for everything, and everything in its place.” I too now say that to my family. Have a “home” for everything in your house. Make sure items get put back into their place.

6. Exercise

Take time before the kids wake up or after they go to bed. Put a show on, or let them play “ABC Mouse” in the middle of the day so that you can do a little workout. If needed, put the kids in a stroller and go for a walk.

Join a gym that has childcare. One mom says, “The YMCA is a lifesaver for me…I get to workout and my little one has fun playing with the other kiddos.” The YMCA even has a Parent’s Night Out.

7. Wake up early or Stay Up Late

Get up an hour before the kids. Take a long shower, enjoy a cup of coffee alone, spend time in the Word.

8. Get Outside

Throw kids in the stroller and go out for a walk. Take the kids to the park or to a place to hike. Sometimes a change of scenery is what both you and the kids need.

9. Allow People to Help

Find a group of God-living, Kingdom-seeking mommas to share life with. Maybe there is a mom you can trade days with once or twice a month so that you can run errands by yourself, or just sit somewhere to read or dig deep into Bible Study.

If possible, find a reliable babysitter so that you can go and do something for you! It’s beneficial to everyone for you to get a break so that you can take care of you.

10. Early Bedtimes

My mom would always tell us, “Kids turn green after 8 o’clock!” And it is so true. My kids could be fun and cheerful all day. Then 8 o’clock comes, and they change for the worse.

In my home, I try to have my kids in bed by 7 or 7:30. There are a couple evenings that we have later nights, due to church or activities we have scheduled. It makes such a difference though when they can be in bed early. I realize that this gets a little more challenging as children get older, or if they are in school. Set a reasonable bedtime for your family and stick to it! You need time for yourself to unwind.

11. Utilize Nap Times / Mandatory Quiet Times

Use nap or rest time to let yourself re-group and breathe. Non-napping children may listen to an audiobook, read, do puzzles, or play quietly. Let them know that interruptions are only allowed for emergencies (otherwise quiet time will be extended).

During this time, have a cup of coffee or tea, take time to read God’s Word and pray. It’s okay to do absolutely nothing during naptime. Sometimes you need time to re-charge yourself, so the rest of the day can be productive.

12. Find Ways to Make Life Easier (like use paper plates!)

One mom says, “When my friend’s husband is on deployment, she uses paper plates so she doesn’t have to wash up after bedtime. Her kids think it’s a blast”

13. Re-Frame and Re-Prioritize “Me Time” and Self-Care

Re-think what you call “Me Time”. Think of it as getting something completed that will add value to your life and will reduce your stress. For example, “Me Time” may be folding and putting away laundry. Or perhaps it is clearing the kitchen sink from dishes. This takes a stressor off your plate, and it’s one less thing to think about later.

14. Be Creative

I remember some time ago, a friend posted on Facebook that she was sitting in her van sipping a Starbucks beverage while her kids watched a movie. As moms, sometimes we have to do whatever works for that moment.

Susanna Wesley was a mother of 10 (living) children. You may recognize the names of John and Charles Wesley, two of her sons. If you have time, look up her story. It is fascinating! She had a lot of responsibility. Yet time with the Lord was dear to her. So, in the middle of home-life chaos, she would sit down, flip an apron over her head and pray.

15. Schedule It

Make “Me Time” an appointment that you cannot miss. Write it on your calendar. Make it part of your “to-do list”. Prioritize it. Take time to be refreshed so that you can be the best mom and wife that you can be!

Chime in! How do you recharge? Is there something you need to start doing to get time for yourself?

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3 Ways to Engage Conversation at the Dinner Table

Marshmallow Popcorn Recipe & Valentine Printable

(This post may contain affiliate links. You may read my policy here.)

 

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You Make My Heart Pop FREE Valentine Printable & Recipe

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. So today I wanted to share with you a sweet little treat and a FREE Valentine Printable.

Click the image below to grab the free Valentine! Print it and attach to little bags or cups of Marshmallow Popcorn (recipe below).

You Make My Heart Pop (FREE Valentine Printable)

This Marshmallow Popcorn is super easy and so very yummy. I added a little salt to this recipe, because I like a sweet and salty combination. You won’t be disappointed! I freshly popped our corn in an air popper. If you use microwave popcorn, it may not need the salt. But I wouldn’t know. My family loves our air popper and rarely makes microwave popcorn. I’m sure you will love this sweet little treat as much as we do.

Marshmallow Popcorn

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • 9-10 large marshmallows (or about 1 1/3 cup to 1 1/2 cup mini marshmallows)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 cups popped popcorn

Instructions

  1. Place butter and brown sugar in a medium size bowl. Microwave for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add salt and marshmallows to the bowl. Microwave for an additional 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until marshmallows are melted. Stir well.
  3. In a large bowl, pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn. Gently stir to coat. Let cool before handling.
http://aneverydayblessing.com/2018/02/06/you-make-my-heart-pop-free-valentine-printable-recipe/

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Card Organizer for $4.99 Today Only

Are you trying to get organized in this New Year? Check out this fantastic card organizer from Dayspring.

The Organizer includes 24 cards and envelopes along with removable, occasion dividers. It is on sale for today only (1/8) and is only $4.99! So hurry up and don’t miss it!!

In addition, you can find the following products on sale too:

Journals, Gifts & Thank You Notes- 30% off with code GRATEFUL30 from 1/6-1/13.

50% off Calendars

$20 off a $60 purchase and free shipping on select Cards and Gifts

Happy shopping!

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. You may view my disclosure policy here!

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January 2015 Project Goals and Plan

January 2015 Project Plan

As the holidays have passed, Christmas clutter has cleared away, and we can finally get back into some sort of routine, I am excited to complete some much needed projects!

January usually puts me into a “declutter and get organized” mode, but this year has a deadline with it. In less than 3 months, our little family will be welcoming baby #2, so time is of the essence. My project list is lengthy! I know there are some things that if I don’t get them done before then, it probably won’t get done at all.

First up on my project list is getting our son moved into a “big boy” room. This is a project in itself and has several little projects in it. So this is what I hope to accomplish in January:

1. Paint the Bedroom

Currently the bedroom is pink! The former owners had two little girls, but we weren’t in a rush to paint this bedroom. The bedroom was only used for out-of-town guests, or when nieces spent the night. And from the start, my nieces claimed this bedroom as theirs!

Bedroom

Thankfully, I have a brother who is a painter and is going to come and paint it for me. If it were up to me, it would probably take me the ENTIRE month just to paint the room, while it will take my brother an evening.

2. Declutter Closet (and find a new place for all the stuff!)

The closet in this bedroom has become  the “dumping place” for items I plan to sell at a garage sale, or simply random items I just haven’t found a home for yet. It’s a mess! I have a pile of clothes I need to tag for the garage sale, and the bin I had to place garage sale items in has been used elsewhere. Every time I look at the mess, I just want to close the closet doors and walk away.

Closet

3. Transfer Clothes and Organize Closet

This should be a fairly simple task, as I just need to set up a couple closet organizers and move clothes from the nursery closet to the “big boy” closet. My challenge is that I don’t really have an available dresser to put my son’s clothes in, so I’m trying to come up with other “organized” ways to keep his clothes.

While I would very much like DECORATING to be on this list as well, truth is I’m not fully sure HOW I will be decorating yet We have my son’s bedding, but I haven’t found wall décor that I like yet, and I am waiting for his birthday to ask for a few things that I would like to put in it. His room will be a work-in-progress for sure. Right now I’m just glad my son is excited about his new “big boy” bedding and bedroom.

4. Work on Family Photo Albums

I am embarrassed to admit that my son will be 3 in April and I have yet to complete his Baby Album! I feel like a horrible mother. This year I started his “first year” album, and then realized I was missing a ton of pictures (I am hoping they were not “lost” as we no longer have the computer they were stored on, and many files were lost during the transfer when the computer was getting cleaned out).

Over the past month, I have slowly but surely been working on his first year album, and also on 2014. My hope is that by the time the baby comes, I will have the past 3 years of pictures completed in photo albums.

My Project Plan

Quite simply I hope to just put 15-minutes a day aside to work in the bedroom. This is a manageable amount of time, and if there happens to be a day where I can spend more time in the room, all the better!!

As for the photo albums, I hope to work on them little by little when I have time in the evenings. Maybe I can even get a few hours one day to focus on it so I can really make some progress!

What about you? As you settle into this New Year, what projects do you plan to accomplish?

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Should Every Party be Pinterest Perfect?

Should Every Party Be Pinterest Perfect

I love Pinterest. Anytime I am looking for a “how to” tutorial, I turn to Pinterest. Need a meal idea? No problem! Pinterest boards come to the rescue. Am I looking for a way to keep my two-year old occupied, Pinterest has the answer. So a couple weeks ago when I started planning our Gender Reveal Party for our little miracle baby, Pinterest was the first place I looked to for ideas.

Yet in the last couple weeks I have been busy canning apple pie fillings and applesauce, dividing 120 pounds of chicken up between four household with my sister, and attempting to turn some of my 35 pounds of chicken into freezer meals.

On top of that I was busy taking care of my husband, who was home from work for a week with painful shingles. Then my son came down with the stomach flu (which lasted 8 days), and in the middle of those 8 days it was inevitable that I too would have the stomach flu for a weekend.

Oh, ideas raced through my head. I dreamed of all the super cute ideas I saw on Pinterest. I thought about having a bakery make a super cute cake for us (until I realized I really didn’t want to spend $40+ for something that was just going to get eaten anyway).

But reality set in. Two days before the party, my two year old and I were finally able to emerge from our shut-in status to venture out shopping. All Pinterest ideas were put aside and I voted for simple.

As family left our house after the party, and as I sat looking at the mess around me, the only thought I had was, “I am so glad I kept this party simple.”

Gender Reveal

Our only decorations ended up being the “Boy or Girl” table covers, plates and napkins I had found at Walmart, along with a little “Baby” cupcake stand. I admit, I did have some streamers and balloons to hang, but I ran out of time. The night before I knew getting sleep was more important than exhausting myself by staying up too late decorating, and before the party we had a visit with my son’s birth family. It ran a little longer than I planned for, which left my scrambling to finish last minute food preparations.

My menu was simple appetizers and dessert. Though I admit, the cake took way longer to make than I thought…though it didn’t help that I only have one 9″ cake pan to make multiple layers in. (And quite honestly, I am not a cake decorator…so no pictures will be shown!)

Gender Reveal Food

Even our beverages were kept simple: some pop we had left from a previous party, coffee and water. My family drinks mostly water anyway, so why do we feel the need to make sugary beverages for parties anyway?

Yes, I did find a lot of cute, amazing ideas on Pinterest, yet I was still so glad I kept it simple.

Gender Reveal Cake

When it was all said and done, the party served it’s purpose: the gender of our miracle baby was revealed, we were able to share the celebration with family, and I didn’t work myself into complete exhaustion trying to do too much.

Was the party “Pinterest Perfect”? Not by any standard! However, the party was perfect for us, and that is the most important.

You May Also Like:

Our Family is Growing by Two Feet                              A Simple Curious George Birthday

Pregnancy Reveal: Our Family is Growing by Two Feet                                                A Simle Curious George Birthday

Curious George Birthday Party Food

Curious George Birthday Party Food

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Cents of Style – $5.95 Clearance Deal

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 10/24/14- $5.95 Clearance Sale, Plus 10% off with Code FALLSALE

Today only, Cents of Style is having a Fashion Friday Clearance Sale. Everything is just $5.95 plus shipping is FREE. Simply use the code FALLSALE at checkout to get an additional 10% off.  There will be shoes, jewelry and scarves all on sale. Here are a few items you will not want to miss:

Black Knit Boot Cuffs: Just $5.35 at 10% coupon FALLSALE

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 10/24/14- $5.95 Clearance Sale, Plus 10% off with Code FALLSALE

Ceroy Flat: Just $5.35 with 10% coupon FALLSALE

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 10/24/14- $5.95 Clearance Sale, Plus 10% off with Code FALLSALE

Jax Knit Scarf: Just $5.35 with 10% coupon FALLSALE

IMAGE: Fashion Friday- 10/24/14- $5.95 Clearance Sale, Plus 10% off with Code FALLSALE

Hurry over to Cents of Style! Since items are on clearance, quantities are limited. Remember to use coupon code FALLSALE at checkout for an additional 10% off! Happy shopping!!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. See my Disclosure Policy here

 

 

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