Meal Planning Monday

Monday, March 02, 2015

Monday - German Lasagna

Tuesday - Jade is cooking  :)  Italian chicken and bows 

Wednesday - just plain old tacos, my littles FAV

Thursday - Chicken Pie...this is, without a doubt, one of my FAV meals!!! I buy a roasting chicken and just cook it in my rotisserie.

Friday - Creamy Ranch Pork Chops and rice

Saturday - Out to dinner with the fam after my shoot

Sunday - Stuffed peppers and mashed potatoes

hello. goodbye.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

hello march, goodbye february
hello first little hints of spring {i hope}, goodbye winter
hello walking everywhere i go, i've missed you so

hello daylight savings, goodbye early sunsets
hello spring cleaning, goodbye clutter
hello new baby chicks, goodbye quiet house

hello clean car, goodbye salt covered car
hello st. patricks day, goodbye valentines day
hello new younique lip stain, goodbye lip gloss

what are YOU saying hello and goodbye to?

The Unveiled Wife {Book Review}

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Unveiled Wife:
Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband 
by Jennifer Smith

About the book:
As a young bride, Jennifer Smith couldn't wait to build her life with the man she adored. She dreamed of closeness, of being fully known and loved by her husband. But the first years of marriage were nothing like she’d imagined. Instead, they were marked by disappointment and pain. Trapped by fear and insecurity, and feeling totally alone, Jennifer cried out to God: What am I doing wrong? Why is this happening to us? It was as if a veil had descended between her and her husband, and between her and God—one that kept her from experiencing the fullness of love. How did Jennifer and her husband survive the painful times? What did they do when they were tempted to call it quits? How did God miraculously step in during the darkest hour to rescue and redeem them, tearing down the veil once and for all? The Unveiled Wife is a real-life love story; one couple’s refreshingly raw, transparent journey touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach. If you are feeling disappointment or even despair about your marriage, the heart-cry of this book is: You are not alone. Discover through Jennifer’s story how God can bring you through it all to a place of transformation.
Imagine how ridiculously excited I was when I received an email saying I was chosen to be part of a book-launch team. I know, right? And to make it even more exciting, it was for Jennifer Smith's new book. Jennifer has the Unveiled Wife blog. I've been reading her blog for quite some time now. So yeah, crazy over-the-moon excited!!!

Download The First Chapter Free by clicking HERE!

As I began reading the book, I was blown away by how much I could relate.  I wish I could put into words how this book spoke directly to my heart.  I absolutely couldn't put it down, I felt as if I was reading my own story.

Jennifer's story spoke such truth and honesty.  She was completely raw and real about the experiences she and her husband had in the early years of their marriage.

So many times I had to cry with her.  The feelings she experienced and the situations they were in, I could relate to.  Her insecurities created so many other problems in her marriage, my oh my could I relate to that!  She so bravely opens up and allows you see the heart change that she allowed God to do in her.  How wonderful to know if we allow Him, He can do the same in us!

Jennifer has definitely used her trial as her testimony.  I cannot tell you how amazing it was to know I'm not alone.  I'm not the only one who struggles with certain issues.  

I absolutely love Jennifer's willingness to be raw and unveiled.  To share those parts of her heart that the rest of us would hide from the world.  She doesn't shy away from any topic, no matter how sensitive.  Jennifer and her husband Aaron are willing to be transparent for the sake of helping other marriages.  This book is such an encouragement to wives!  Let's face it, we all have struggles.  We may not want to admit it, but we do.  And with those struggles come choices.  We can choose to be unveiled and allow God to do an amazing work in our heart, or we can hide from Him.  

Order your copy here!

Jennifer Smith began, a web-based ministry for wives, in March 2011. She publishes weekly marriage articles including encouragements, devotions, and prayers of the day. She authored The Unveiled Wife, Wife After God, and 31 Prayers For My Husband. She is passionately devoted to encouraging wives all around the world to develop God-centered marriages. Jennifer and her family reside in Central Oregon.

Social media is a large part of Jennifer’s ministry for Unveiled Wife via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, where she serves a community of over 450,000 wives. Connect with Jennifer on social media @unveiledwife!

Meal Planning Monday

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday - Biscuits and Gravy Casserole...can't wait to try this one! I've made sausage gravy and biscuits many times, but never in casserole form.

Tuesday - Parmesan Crusted Chicken and WW Cauliflower Casserole

Wednesday - Subway

Thursday - Million Dollar Spaghetti and garlic crescent rolls {roll out lowfat crescent rolls, sprink with Pampered Chefs Garlic Garlic then roll up}

Friday - Easy Chicken Casserole {minus the poppy seeds}

Saturday - Out to dinner with the fam

Sunday - French dip beef sammy, bacon cheese fries and homemade the request of my youngest little, this is her FAV...

Chili Cheese Dog Bake

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Um, so what is the sorcery?! Say hello to dinner.

This Chili Cheese Dog Bake is nothing short of amazing. And when you make homemade chili for in it...WOW – it’s so delicious.

It’s everything you love about a classic chili cheese dogs, made into a comforting dinner that your whole family will love. Trust me, my whole family L.O.V.E.D this.

Chili Sauce

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 finely chopped onion
1/2 clove garlic
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
3 tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin

Sauté meat, garlic and onions till browned. Add all the spices and stir well. Then add in the tomato paste, ketchup and water. I added a little more water, until it was the consistency I liked. Cook over super low heat for 3-4 hours. Make sure to watch it so it doesn't dry out and stick. Once it was finished cooking, I put it in a blender to make it a finer consistency.

Chili Cheese Dog Bake

Chili sauce from above recipe {or 1 can of chili sauce...but seriously, the homemade sauce makes the difference!}
1 can Pillsbury refrigerated classic pizza crust
1 8 oz. block cheddar cheese {cut into sticks}
1 pack all-beef hot dogs
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 9-inch square or 11x7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Pour hot chili into dish; spread evenly. Unroll dough; cut into equal strips so there is one for each hot dog. Cut the block of cheese into sticks. Place 1 cheese stick on each side of 1 hot dog. Wrap pizza dough strip around cheese and hot dog, overlapping slightly in center. Repeat with remaining dough strips, cheese sticks and hot dogs. Place wrapped hot dogs on top of hot chili. The chili must be hot y'all. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until dough is light golden brown. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter and then stir in the garlic powder. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Brush on top of each cheese dog with butter mixture. Serve immediately and enjoy the amazingness!

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Before Saying I Do

Sunday, February 15, 2015

It's no secret, we rushed to get married. Um, hello...met in February, engaged in March and married in June. If that's not rushing, I don't know what is. But we didn't get married for the reason most thought. We simply were ready for our happily ever after to begin. Oh, how naively we went into marriage.

Marriage is amazing and I love it, but it's nothing like I thought it would be. Lately, I've been thinking of what I wish I had known before I got married. Things that would have made it easier to avoid some of our mistakes and to not fall into the traps couples so often do {us included}. Marriage introduces challenges that couples just simply aren't prepared for.

Marriage is not about living happily ever after - If we were honest, we all crave a fairy-tale and a happy ending. I know I sure did. The problem isn't wanting a fairy-tale romance but trying to compare your marriage and your spouse to those whirlwind romances in the movies. Open your heart up to Gods love first and He will show you how to truly love your husband without unreal expectations.

Marriage is not all about you - That's a hard lesson to learn, isn't it? Contrary to what the world tells you, it's not about your happiness. It’s not about getting your needs met. It’s about going through life together and serving God and each other. It’s about committing yourselves to each other, even though you may be different people in the years to come.

The more you put into your marriage, the more you'll get out of it - Marriage takes a lot of work and time, there is no doubt about that. Realize that straight away and commit to it. Go into marriage knowing your not going to have a 50/50 marriage, but a 100/100 marriage. Give your all because you love them, not because you expect something in return.

You can't do it on your own - Marriage is difficult. That is obvious when you see how many couples end in divorce. It's two imperfect people living together, failing daily. The only way to make your marriage truly work is to center it on Christ. God intended marriage to mirror His relationship with the church so that we could basically be a testimony to others and SHOW them what God is like. You have to rely on God for wisdom, power, love and strength for your marriage.

Make time for each other a priority - Make any time together into a mini-date. Whether it is running to the grocery store or a quick little ride on the 4-wheeler together. Snuggle in, hold hands and make that time together count.

My Hero

Saturday, February 14, 2015

This lucky girl is married to a hero.

He doesn't wear a cape or leap from buildings. He’s an everyday hero in this house. A hard-working, tenderhearted guy. He takes care of his wife and his littles, always putting their wants and needs before his own. He will completely stop what he is doing to help someone in need. And he follows God.

Isn't that the best kind of hero.

I’m not sure he realizes what a complete hero he is to me, to us. It’s evident to me daily. So I’m here to let my hero know a few things...

I need him. I love knowing my husband will step in and defend me or protect me in a moment’s notice. He would fight for my honor. Inappropriateness, disrespect, ogling...he'll step in and tend to them all. 
My hero. Sigh.

I lean on him. I know the world pushes independent women. And they sure aren't fond of women that aren't independent whatsoever. I’m totally capable of being THAT woman but I’m so thankful to have a man I can rely on. If there's an emergency, I call him. If there's excitement, I call him. You have no idea how many spiders he has killed over the years y'all (That alone qualifies him as being my hero. This girl doesn't do spiders). He’s held me while I sobbed over a loss. He’s fixed leaks and clogged pipes. He’s calmed me down when I called him freaking out. He's calmed my spirit, telling me everything will be okay. He's my rock.

He is a true hero. Loving me quietly.

I’d be lost without him. I know this sounds a little over-the-top, but it is true. I would be lost without his loving and protecting arms around me. I would be lost without his voice telling me it will all be okay. I would be lost without his body to snuggle me at night.

A great hero. An everyday hero.

My hero.

I love you sweet boy. Happy Valentines Day!

I Love You More Than...

Friday, February 13, 2015

A few years back i read a post from my friend Erika. She decorated her house for her boys for Valentines Day and she hung hearts all over the house that said "I love you more than..." I love that idea and am playing off of it for this post. Thanks E for the idea {love you pretty lady}!!!

I love you 3 more than...

outback (and i love it a lot…like a lot lot lot)
cheesecake coffee creamer
days spent in sweats
american eagle
big fat hair buns
red velvet cupcakes
central pizza
biggest loser
my durango
coconut coffee
custom exhaust
buffalo chicken nachos
all the stars
talking (and you KNOW how much i love this)
ice cream with sprinkles
t-shirts and jeans
little house on the prairie
real world
lazy days on the beach
dirt roads
movie nights
summer nights
cowboy boots
blands park
truck pulls
mountain dew
my blog
the dixie chicks
project runway
basically i love you more than everything in this world ♥

A Love Letter ♥

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dear amazing, loving man...

Little did I know that first night I met you that you were the one I had been praying for since I was a little girl. So many nights I spent on my knees, praying. Over the years the prayer changed from asking for prince charming to asking for a man that would simply treat me well. All those years God knew you were the man for me, my future husband, and was busy preparing your heart for mine.

I can still remember the first moment that I saw your face. You were looking at me. And I thought to myself "what in the world is this guy staring at". Year after year we repeatedly kept resurfacing in each others lives. Until finally, I realized you seemed very familiar to my heart. You stole my heart and our life journey began.

There are no words to describe how thankful I am that God brought us together. We were two imperfect sinners that God saw something in. Others around us didn't understand it, but it didn't matter. God knew exactly what He was doing and His plan was perfect.

At that point in my life I needed to feel worthy, loved and protected. You rescued me from all the past pain, struggles and hurt. You showed me I didn't need to be weary, always questioning, afraid and on alert. In your arms I felt safe and protected. You showed me that God did answer that little girl’s prayer for a prince charming.

You knew you were getting a broken girl, yet you grabbed my hand, looked me in the eye and stepped forward with me. With you by my side, everything else seemed to melt away. You put up with so much in those first days; tears that came from nowhere, fear that wasn't understood and anger that was unfounded. Yet by my side you stood.

And your voice, oh that voice, I’m not sure you ever truly understood how much it meant to me. When you sang to me, I believed every single word. Your voice mended my broken heart. It sewed the pieces back together. Your voice lifted me up, making me feel as if I was the only beautiful girl in the entire world. You didn't just sing to me with your voice, you sang to me with your heart.

When we got married, I thought I knew what love and marriage was. I thought it was about bliss and kisses. I thought it was about being swept off my feet daily. What I know now is that being married to you has allowed me to be myself. You want me to be the best I can be and you support me every chance you get. You want me to to be happy. You like me the way I am even though I am outspoken, sometimes sassy and I roll my eyes. You are so patient with me (which is no easy task, sir). You bear with me, gently correcting me. You allow me to be myself.

The reality of our marriage has been so much more complex. We make life changing decisions together. Marriage involves an intimacy that takes my breath away when I allow myself to think about it. You have seen me at my worst and you love me anyway. You have been so incredibly mad at me and still you love me so much. The intimacy of that love year after year is astounding. At every crossroad there is a choice to make...keep committing to our love or to get annoyed, give up and stop. Every time, you choose love. Here you are, still by my side.

Being married to you is the most interesting, challenging, amazing, mind-opening, loving, growth-inspiring decision I ever made. Such an amazing man I've been blessed with. I look forward to 50 more years of crazy love.

I love you so very much, Mr. Cutler.

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

19 Years Ago

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

19 years ago today, my life changed. I can still remember getting ready...doing my (big) hair, putting on my jeans and flannel and lacing up my boots. Little did I know that night I was about to meet the one I had been praying for since I was a little girl.

I wasn't quite sure what to think of this long hair and tattooed guy. He was basically the exact opposite of anyone I had dated prior. Which made my heart quietly sigh a hallelujah! He was funny, oh so funny. We would laugh for hours at absolutely nothing. He was a little wild, which my Mama didn't quite care for. But most of all, he was so sincerely nice and he treated me with respect.  What an absolute breath of fresh air that was.

Our paths had crossed numerous times before that night. I can still remember the first moment that I saw his face...staring at me...from behind the pizza counter. And I turned to my friend and said "what in the world is this guy staring at". I then promptly gave him a sassy look, rolled my eyes, spun around and left.  Time after time, we ran into each other.  Until finally, I quit looking past him and looked directly in his eyes.

He stole my heart and our life journey began.

That first night we went to Pizza Hut and hung out with friends. I remember it like it was yesterday, from the butterflies in my stomach to laughing non-stop all evening. And from that day on we spent as much time together as we could. One month later we were engaged and four months later we were married ♥

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