exciting Amazon deal this weekend- 30% off any book

I'm so excited about this deal at Amazon^:

It's only good through today, December 1, and on print books {not Kindle editions}. I am trying to narrow down my selection! I could even give a new Bible as a present... {hmmm!}

What book would you choose for a friend? {Or yourself? :)}

^= Amazon affiliate link - should you purchase an item from an affiliate link, I get a percentage of the sale at no cost to you! that's a sweet deal, right? :P

good thing I'll be burning off these calories with this to-do list

Thanksgiving? Already? Wow. I don't know how that happened, but I'm glad it's here! :)

For the first time in my life we're having Thanksgiving in another state. That's quite a milestone if you ask me! I'm used to doing all the shopping and hosting, but this year I'm making a few things and mostly spending the my hours packing for all of us to travel. It's going to be fun!

My brother and sister-in-law are hosting this year, and I am bringing desserts! ;)

Can you guess what I'm making with this?

I'm making Edie's fudge for the first time! I'm thrilled to try a new recipe.

As far as packing goes- this is what I've got ready so far:

We probably need some clothes too, I suppose, but I really don't want to think about it yet. We have to get our winter clothes out of storage before we go, and I'm not looking forward to that. :/ I'm tempted to buy an outfit for everyone and call it a day. No one will notice if we're wearing the same thing the whole time, right?

I have so much to do. ;) Just don't panic, right? Maybe packing will be better with these:

I have to thank my sister-in-law Cayse for getting me addicted to those. I'm think I'm going to have to make something with them so they don't tempt me all day. :)

Here is my 24 hour to-do list as it stands now:

-- return item to a store
-- run errands {bank, etc.}
-- clean out/switch purse {done!}
-- make fudge
-- make toffee
-- make cheesecake
-- pack mine and Rob's clothes/toiletries
-- have children lay out their outfits and pack them
-- go to the plumbing store and select a master bathroom bathtub {must do!}
-- pick up 25 gallons of paint at paint store
-- get winter clothes from storage building
-- exercise at least once
-- bathe the baby tonight
-- wash/dry my hair
-- wash dishes
-- wash the rest of the sofa slipcovers and replace {another round of sickness yesterday :( }
-- find two lost things I need {one is now found!}
-- clean out the car
-- get the oil changed

Are you wondering why I'm here right now? Me too. :) hahahah!

Happy Tuesday, friends! I'm off to work! :)

life lately: the last 3 weeks in pics

You know one good aspect of getting shingles? {okay, maybe the only thing?}


It's when your mom comes down and folds all the clothes for you!

Oh, and then when she does the dishes too:

Though I have to admit, the hour of alone time at the doctor's office was nice too. :)

I had a pretty short case from what I hear- it took about a week to feel better. Luckily it was only in my neck/ear area and mostly internal. I'm incredibly thankful for medicine that may have saved my face from permanent nerve damage. It's been a few weeks now since I took the meds and I feel a nerve twinge every now and then, but I really believe medicine shortened the whole process by several weeks. Again, so very thankful for the Lord's provision there. Phew!

While my mom was here, I made this asparagus tart from the ^Forest Feast cookbook^:

My favorite parts were the puff pastry and the cheese. :)

And the next weekend after life was back to normal, we had the chance to go on a cheap date at a deli:

We stopped at Baskin Robbins for ice cream, but he ended up with a donut:

And I just wanted the cone:

I know, I'm so weird. {The cone is the only part of ice cream I like!}

And naturally, the only place we went after that:

It might have been the best trip to HD I've ever been on. They had refrigerators on sale. :)

Oh, man. I am so excited about moving in our house. It's probably good that the holidays are coming to distract us in the meantime. Isabella made a chart to check off the days left until Thanksgiving:

Really, it's too bad we don't eat guinea for Thanksgiving, because here was our backyard this weekend:

They heard the water running and rushed to get there. I almost thought they were going to befriend Rob, but they just wanted a drink. :)

Oh, how I love the country. :) 

{assuming those birds don't wake you up early, ha!}

Being awakened by a rooster always sounded so romantic to me... until the first time I had one wake me up before dawn. ;) 

What's your life been like lately? 

Favorite Baskin Robbins ice cream? Do tell!
We've never had it...yet! :) lol! I tend to like caramel/dulce de leche/anything without nuts in general.

Ever been woken up by a rooster? 
Believe it or not, I was an adult the first time!

^^ = book affiliate link from Amazon! :D

big fat homemaking fail

Please tell me this happens to you too?

On the positive side, at least she knows how to write her sibling's name...


Hey, at least I'm not growing a table mold farm or washing hammers again {that I know of...}. ;)

A little dust graffiti never hurt anyone, right? :P

monday menus: chicken pot pie, black bean soup, and basil tofu

I planned these out last night, but after a very long Monday... well, let's just say I'm just glad to have a chance to post while it's still Monday. :D Sickness just keeps making itself comfortable in our little house this fall. : / I guess we must be really hospitable people or something. ;) Would you please pray for us if you think of it? 

:: dinners :: 
this deliciously terrible chicken pot pie
basil tofu, mushrooms + rice noodle stir fry {chicken + butter noodles for kids}
spaghetti marinara, salad, and bread
beans + rice
dinner out {hopefully, man!}

:: lunches ::
turkey burgers + black bean chips
lunch out
eggs + veggie + fruit

:: other meals for the adults ::
chicken + butternut squash
sweet potato + salad
salmon + veggies 
soup + polenta

Any other polenta lovers out there?
I may be the only one, but I love that stuff!! All it needs is a little sea salt and it tastes delicious!!

Is sickness making itself at home around your place too? ;)
I need some super vitamins or something. I think being at the end of the nursing stores makes you more susceptible to sickness. Having a toddler who licks the floor probably doesn't help either.

Zane {15 months}

It’s hard to believe this little guy is 15 months today!

I must be getting old, because even the fit-throwing toddler stage is kind of amusing these days. This buddy is full of life and energy, and knows what he wants! :) He also loves his mama and daddy so much. {Every now and then, he’ll crawl up in my lap and rest his head on my shoulder and then I die. :P}


He’s in to everything, and can make a mess in 10 seconds flat. :) Between nursing and eating real food, I think I feed him somewhere around 17 times a day. And he’s got the size to show it. ;) Bless his little heart, he likes his food! :P


He’s often my early Bible study companion. Trying to read with him nearby, well…my poor Bible. :P


Having a toddler is challenging for sure- he keeps us on our toes! But what joy this little man brings our family. We so love watching him grow up! :)

Is it just me, or does babyhood end sooner and sooner?
Wasn't I just pregnant the other day? LOL.

How do you manage your devos with little ones on top of you? I'd love to hear any of your ideas!

building the walls {our new home exterior: 1 month in}

It's been a while since I've shared a house update! It's come a long way since the last time I showed you our progress! :)

Here's what our property looked like when I posted last time:

After the dirt was filled in, the slab was poured. We did one of the coolest things after the slab was poured- we got to be there when they popped the chalk lines on the concrete for the walls:

That made me nervous, I tell you. We spent four hours outlining exactly where we wanted every window, door, and wall. We initially drew up our own plans in a home building program, so I had spent hours living in this imaginary house in my head, trying to think out each space in depth before we committed to it. And then to see my imaginary floorplan on a real piece of concrete was a little more than surreal. :)

But it was even weirder and more exciting when the actual framing began a few days later:

It's a real house! :D EEEK! The cute little roof was going up too:

I didn't know if we would have one or not in the beginning, but the front porch turned out to be one of my very favorite features of the house:

Rob likes it too. :D I can imagine lots of schoolwork, reading, and playing being done here:

We had to climb a ladder up 12 ft. to get to the second floor before the walls were there. It gave me a new respect for the framers. They are hardcore, building houses and roofs up in the air! :)

And like that, our house was born:

Well, hello home. :D

We have lots more pictures, but I'll save them for the next update! :)

Have you ever built a house?
We've built two houses before this one, but I've always had very limited selections compared to designing it yourself. It's a little nerve-wracking to be a perfectionist and build your own house. :P Funny thing is, you would never think about window placement if you bought a house instead of built one, so I'm trying to remember that it's not that important. ;)

Favorite house style?
I'm a traditional girl. I like classic houses that will be just as beautiful 50 {or 118} years later. For this house, we tried to build a house with a simple, classic style to save money on construction.

what death forces us to do

We've had two deaths in our family very recently- my great uncle died last month, and my husband's grandfather died just last week. :( Both men were incredibly kind, loved their families, and they both were given many years of life- 80 or more. But of course, no matter how long they lived, they are greatly missed by the rest of us.

Honestly, I hate funerals. They are so hard. It's never easy to say goodbye to someone- and I can only imagine the pain their closest family feels. Sometimes you know they're in a better place- maybe they're no longer suffering, but the sting of their loss is always real.

Death is just never easy.

Death also forces you to stop- it forces you to realize that no one lives forever. Somehow we can go about life and think very little about death, and yet we know the truth: death is inevitable. And we understand it all anew when someone we love dies unexpectedly.

When we are faced with death, we are forced to do three things:

1. Death forces us to look inward.

As much as we don't want to face it- one day the funeral is going to be ours. We can't stop it, and chances are that it will come like a thief in the night. We don't know when our day is coming, but as sure as the sun rises, with the exception of Jesus' return, it will happen to us. There will be a day when you do not open your eyes again. It is coming.

Are you ready for that day? And am I ready for that day? There's no wishful thinking- there's only the truth. If you believe in Jesus, you can't deny Him before man and expect Him not to deny you before the Father. If you claim to be a Christian and do not walk with the Lord, you are in grave danger. Please, please hear me. Who will deliver you on the day of wrath? Is Jesus, Lord of All, the Lord of your life, or do you esteem Him lightly? Do you think God will be deceived by empty words you say with your mouth? Remember Galatians 6:

7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 
8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

What are you sowing in your life? Do you live to please yourself, or do you live to please the Lord?

If you claim to know Jesus, let me ask you this: does He know you? Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." 1 John 2:6 says, "Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." The tree is know by its fruit.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit." Matthew 12:33

As much as we don't want to believe it, there are such things as false teachers and false converts. How do we know? Titus 1:6 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work."

Do you profess to know God? Are you being made new in His image? Do you long for the things of the Lord? Do you see His Spirit bearing fruit in your life? Do you want to obey Him? Is He your God? Or does your heart reject His Word? Do you desire the things of the world, or the things of God?

You cannot fool God. 

Death forces us to look inward.

2. Death also forces us to look outward.

Not only are we going to die one day- everyone we know will die too. Our time on earth is short, and so is everyone else's. Isaiah 40:6 says "All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field." 

Grass only lives for a season before it's gone. The older we get, the more funerals we will attend. Do you see it?? The harvest field is white. Your mom, your dad, your uncles, your aunts, your cousins, your friends, your neighbors- they're all headed for death just like you.

Do they know the truth? Do you know if they will face eternal condemnation and separation from God? I never felt more convicted about sharing the truth than I did last week. Person after person lined up to visit the family, and several of them were not far from death themselves. Have they been told the truth? Do they know it? Who will try to stop them from heading straight to Hell? Has anyone? Will I? If I can be willing to share the Gospel with strangers, will I not be willing to tell my own family?

If I don't love these people enough to tell them the truth, will anyone? How will they hear without someone preaching the Gospel?

14How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?c And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10

We can't assume anything. Please, for their sake, don't assume they know the truth. The road to life is narrow, and few find it. Tell them, please tell them about the only name under Heaven by which man must be saved.

Death requires us to look outward.

3. More than anything, death makes us look upward.

Without the Lord Jesus Christ, we have no hope. For ourselves- for our loved ones...without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have no way to be saved.

Our best attempts at righteousness are like filthy rags before God Almighty. We desperately need a Savior to rescue us from this body of death.

Because of our sin, we have separated ourselves from God. We can't walk with Him, because He is light, and in Him is no darkness. Because of our selfish, sinful deeds, we have broken God's law, and death and eternal destruction is our payment for our crime. We cannot go to Heaven and dwell with God, worshipping Him for eternity when we've rebelled against His glory and might here on earth.

Death is inevitable. The payment of sin is death. And a death was the only payment that would satisfy the wrath of God. Only a perfect sacrifice needing no payment of its own would pay the debt for a flesh-sinner. 

For us- for everyone we know- to anyone who believes on His name!

What can we do if we want Him to pay our ransom? How can we be saved?

 8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10

Repent from your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! Nothing else is more important. 

Now is the time. You don't know how long you have, or I have, or how long anyone else has. But you can believe today. Now is the time of His favor toward you- He has given you the chance to know Him and love Him.

Today is the day of salvation. We have no guarantee of tomorrow, my friend.

This flesh will surely die.

But what Hope we have in the face of death when we believe. One day, death will lose its sting. On the day when the dead in Christ are raised,
 53For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
He defeated death for those who believe. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we die to our sinful fleshly selves so that we can be raised with Him in new life:

5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old selfa was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set freeb from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Again- what hope we have in the face of death! He gives us new life with Him- both here and in eternity forever.

Death forces us to evaluate everything we know in this life. It's so, so hard, but what an incredible gift we've been given to have the chance to look inward, outward, and upward before it's our day to leave this earth.

Thanks be to the Lord God for His great mercy toward us. His love never fails. He is good.

Oh Father God, please hear our cries before you now. Our hearts know the truth, please show us the right way to walk in it. Please show us those who are perishing every single day. Let our eyes be opened before it's too late, Lord Jesus. Give us strength and boldness to share the truth without holding back. Holy Spirit, please help us as we long to please you. Please make it known to our hearts what we need to see, and what we need to do in our time on this earth. Lord God, may your glory be known to the nations through your people. Please let us do your will in our time here. I pray for eyes to be opened and ears that will hear your Word and receive it- that it would land on good soil. Please send laborers into the harvest for the many, many people who are condemned in their unbelief already. Jesus, we need you so desperately. Thank you for your sacrifice.

menu plans this week {sundried tomato quesadillas, soup, and more soup}

Ever since we moved 6+ weeks ago, it has felt like we were in a different world. We've been out of routine with everything that's been going on. We've eaten out, we've eaten lots of last minute hot dogs and ramen noodle meals, and while our trusty beans have remained on our easy fast food list, I think we're all ready to get back to a more normal dinner schedule.

I have to say, cooking dinner is a slightly different animal than it used to be since we've moved to a smaller place. We don't have the storage room we were accustomed to at the old house, so I find myself making more frequent trips to the store to buy what we need {and partly because I've skipped the planning side of it too, LOL}.

Thankfully, I'm finally feeling a little bit of a routine for meals coming back so I decided to jump in and make menu plans for this week. I never know what might be thrown at us, but it never hurts to plan, right? ;)

:: the dinner plan ::

beans and rice
taco soup {double batch for freezer}
dinner out

:: the lunches {and/or dinner back-up} plan ::

pb + j
pinto beans
chef salad

What's on your menu this week?

Any fellow soup lovers out there praising the Father for cooler weather with me? :P

late, late for a fun birthday date

I had the chance to get away for a late birthday date with this handsome fella. I won't tell you how old he turned the other day, but let's just say we're firmly in the mid-30's territory. ;)

Good man that he is, he wanted to visit Anthro for his birthday. 

{kidding :P} Going there is probably more like the equivalent of me wanting to visit the auto parts store. :)

Of course, Anthro is my favorite birthday place to shop but I had to wait for a picture with better lighting outside... :P Down lighting inside is scary these days, LOL! :P

We hit up an interesting grocery store for snacks while we were in the area. Why exactly are expensive grocery stores so enchanting?

I think it must be the way they display their goods- like these brownies... oh yum:

He wanted the turtle but got m&m so I could share {I'm not allowed to eat nuts since Zaner is still nursing}. We took this little buddy on our date with us too. :) We've decided he's a certified carb lover:

He's reached a new stage of challenge- toddlerhood and tantrums. The man-boy knows what he wants these days. And then there's teething {!!} on top of that strong personality. :D Those baby kisses make up for it all though. :P

After a little outdoor browsing, we hit up a mall in Plano and found this amazing feat of modern times: indoor surfing in a surf shop. So cool, except the audience is watching you so you'd better be good at it! If you fall, the water is so strong it pushes you all the way back up. On your face.

And then to complete our date day, there was a little Pei Wei:

I'm so thankful for this guy and all the years I've gotten to spend with him. He's so easy going, he doesn't even mind my lack of gift wrapping. He must love me a lot. ;)

I know I sure do love him. :) Life is crazy, but we're doing in together thanks only to the Lord. He is good!! :D

Any late October birthdays at your house?
I think October is the best month ever, but I'm a bit biased. :)

Favorite casual-fast restaurant food chain?
Is it weird that I love places where you wait on yourself? We drink inordinate amounts of fluids and I hate making a server run back and forth, so I'd rather go to the fountain myself to save them the trouble. I love places like Newk's and McAlister's {and I think everyone I know can vouch for me here! We eat there so often! :P}.

What have you been up to lately?
Birthday celebrating. Dating. House building. Home schooling. Cleaning, cooking, diaper changing, toddler chasing, children herding, exercising, getting sick, recovering, and repeating all of that over again and again. :P I hope to have a normal day again sometime in spring 2015. :P