Funfetti Cake Batter Cookies

12887316_10153435231136319_1891281598_o

After my daughter had a run-in with the stomach bug, we decided to take the following day off to recuperate, which meant she would have to miss her school Easter party. She was heartbroken. So I decided to bring the party to her and do a few of her favorite things. We played on the swing set, fed the ducks, and then made cookies.

In this house, dessert makes any day better! I’m a fan of cake batter cookies, so I of course have several boxes sitting around waiting to be used in the cabinet. Ella goes for the funfetti mix every time. This is one of my favorites, so I don’t mind. It’s super easy and yummy. Got to love simplicity! I found the recipe here.

We gathered all of the supplies and got to work. We wanted to have them ready by the time daddy made it home. Ella loves to help in the kitchen. She turns baking, one of my passions, into bonding. These are the moments I cherish, and I hope when she gets older, she will do the same.

DSC_0028

DSC_0035

Afterwards, Ella and I decided to take cookies to our neighbor, keeping a few for ourselves of course. It makes my heart happy that she’s learning to share and be kind to others. She was so happy to hand them over to Mr. Chuck, our neighbor, even if it meant there were less cookies for herself.

Funfetti Cake Batter Cookies

What you’ll need

  • 1 box of funfettie cake mix
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

What you’ll do

Preheat your oven to 350º. In a large bowl mix the cake mix and baking powder, set aside. In a smaller bowl mix together the eggs, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil together. Combine the smaller bowl into the larger one. Use an ice cream scoop to place dough onto a cookie sheet adding a few sprinkles to the top for a more colorful look. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown along the edges. Let cool on pan for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

DSC_0039

 

Let's get social

Learning To Say No

picjumbo.com_P1000249

Let’s face it: I’m a people pleaser. I hate to disappoint people, so when someone asks for my help, I’m all over it. I rarely say no, even when I know I’m stretching myself thin. I’ve been like this my whole life. I would rather juggle than turn someone down.

Time and time again, friends and family have told me to slow down. In fact, it’s become a typical conversation topic. The more I’ve thought about it, they’re right. I need to learn to say no and stick to it. I constantly find myself trying to squeeze every last drop out of an already busy schedule. Sometimes, things just won’t work out. Accepting that has been a hard concept for me.

I say yes to one thing and then another; before you know it, I’ve said yes to 20 things that need to be done by Friday, and it’s already Wednesday. When I see that my own family and house are getting pushed to the back burner, I get stressed out. All of which could have been avoided if I added less items to my agenda.

Here recently, I have come to realize I can’t do it all, and that’s okay. No one is going to hate me for it if I’m honest and upfront. I have to allow time to simply relax, which is something I don’t do well but greatly need in my life. Learning to say no won’t always be easy, but I plan to start now.

Let's get social

Transformation

picjumbo.com_HNCK2304

My church launched a campus-wide bible study with the book, “Transformed” by Rick Warren at its center. I absolutely love this book and the change it has inspired in my life. It focuses on seven key areas of life: spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, relational, financial, and vocational health.

We have all struggled in these areas of our lives, creating a barrier between us and our creator. When reading this book, I realized I struggle with my physical health the most. I took for granted the fact that my body is not mine to keep, it’s borrowed. In the second week of the study, something pulled at my heart and cultivated my desire for physical change.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corintians 6:19-20

This verse speaks volumes as to why I began my fitness journey. Jesus paid the ultimate price for my body. Why would I not treasure it as he has commanded? Physical health is a form of obedience to God, and I’ve let years go by letting myself think this body was mine to keep. After completing one of the weekly lessons, I decided I wasn’t going to wait any longer. That day, I gave my body back to the Lord.

I struggled when I first started my fitness journey. I wouldn’t stick to my diet; I would miss workouts; and I just felt like I couldn’t do it. When I was close to throwing in the towel completely, I remembered why I started in the first place. God has yet to give up on me. He has granted me salvation, and all he asks in return is obedience to him. So I adjusted my attitude and continuously come back to scripture on the tough days.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

When I feel like I can’t push any further, I always remember I can’t do it alone. There is nothing my God can’t push me through. He is the unseen strength that gives me motivation to continuously reach new goals. He has started great works in me and continues to change areas of my life I never knew were a problem.

image1 (6)

Let's get social

When There Is Nothing You Can Do

doctor-73117_1920

I used to be a selfish person, but the second I became pregnant, that all changed. As a parent, everything you do affects your child, and you want to be everything you can for them. You want to be a role model, best friend, and confidant. But what happens when your child is in pain and there is nothing you can do? I’ve been in this situation too often, and let me be the first to say, it sucks. My child is only three, and we’ve already been to the ER four times.

I hate it. I hate not having the ability to take her pain away. I know she’s looking to me for comfort, and I can’t help but sit there with tears in my eyes wishing there was something more that I could do. It’s a sickening feeling. You can’t just kiss it and make the pain go away. These are real, life-threatening situations where I don’t have the answers or cure.

I knew she had a high probability of developing allergies and asthma, but I didn’t know how scary it would be to watch her go through it. My heart sank when they had to put tubes in her nose. She was pitiful, and my only comfort was to hold her in my arms. After she received a breathing treatment, she was quickly on her way to recovery, but those first minutes felt like a lifetime of torture.

12528541_10153404694806319_87064372_o

What scares me is knowing it can, and more than likely will, happen again. All I can do is pray that God will give me strength to be the rock she needs in times like this. I want her to be able to look me in the eyes and feel like everything is going to be okay.

Ella has made a full recovery and is back to her normal self. She convinced daddy to not only play dolls with her, but to also take her to get pancakes with “shaving cream” on top.

12823063_10153404683201319_1324135093_o

Let's get social
This entry was posted in KIDDOS.

The Importance Of Dating My Husband

10495294_10152342888136319_795094477767392510_o

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to join my husband in the windy city of Chicago. This was my second time making the trip, and just like before, I had an amazing time. Being young parents, we don’t always get quality time to ourselves. Vacation is usually a full family trip, which we enjoy, but I think it’s important to take time for ourselves. Not only one weekend out of the year, but on a regular basis. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you should stop dating your husband. Remember why you fell in love in the first place and continue to grow on that. There is no reason to stop falling deeper in love.

image1 (1)

Change date night up! It can be as simple as a new restaurant or even go the extra mile and plan a fun weekend getaway. I believe this is a  key component to a happy marriage. Be willing to step outside of the box and get creative.

Surprise dates are the best. Those least expected tend to mean more. It shows you put time into planning something without needing a reminder. Ladies, this applies to you as well; don’t wait for your husband to make the plans!

It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life and fall into a routine. Don’t be that couple. Continue to learn about your spouse and things they enjoy. Stay in constant communication and be willing to go on an adventure together, often.

image1 (3)

  1. If you know me, you know going to a trampoline park is my favorite Friday night activity. It’s silly and makes me feel like a kid again. Evan enjoys it just as much as I do!
  2. Evan’s favorite would be bowling. From time to time, I let him have his way. I am probably the worst bowler alive, so it’s nice when I beat him every now and then.
  3. A picnic in the park is always a win. Scooping up your spouse for a surprise lunch date is a sure way to win some points.
  4. Game night. Wait till the little ones have gone to bed and pull out those old board games. You can even use their games. I promise you’ll never be too old.
  5. Workout at the house together. My husband and I did the insanity intro video together once. We laughed so hard we cried. We didn’t accomplish a workout, but had a great time together.
  6. Go a little old school and head to the drive-in movie theater. We don’t have one close by, so the drive gives us time to catch up on the week and enjoy each others’ company.
  7. Go to a Paint and Pour. Another date that is sure to bring laughs, unless you’re married to Picasso.
  8. Take a cooking class. You could also do a dancing class, but my husband is beyond the point of helping.
  9. Go camping in your backyard. It takes the pressure out of actually planning a camping trip and still lets you enjoy the night sky with an actual bathroom close by.
  10. Take a trip to go apple picking. This gets you away from the busyness of life and lets you enjoy the fresh air with a yummy snack.
    image1 (2)

*Can’t decide on just one? Grab a jar and write down the dates you want to go on and take turns picking one each date night. Now get to dating!

Always come back to the things you used to do when you first fell in love. If it was bike riding, then dust those off. If it was fancy dinner dates, than dress up and head out. Don’t be afraid to act like a kid and get messy. Enjoy each other every second of the day because life is too short to do anything less.

 

Let's get social

An Affordable Happy Ever After

12240954_10153208447551319_9191225526808655997_o

Every girl grows up dreaming about how perfect her big day is going to be. At that age, we don’t have to worry about actually paying for it, so we set our standards high and dream big. Then the day comes when he pops the question. You’re in a state of euphoria, until the planning begins and the price tag starts to sink in. Don’t fret; I will share how I was able to have the wedding of my dreams on a budget.

My wedding was one of the happiest days of my life, and afterwards, I didn’t have to worry about how we were going to pay off the debt from it. Historically, the bride’s family pays for most of the wedding. Now, more and more couples are footing the bill or having both families pitch in equally.

Whatever the case may be, the average wedding costs $30,000, not including the honeymoon. Wow! Who has that kind of money sitting around? I love all things DIY, so I knew my wedding would be no different. However, be careful because DIY projects can add up if you don’t limit yourself.

12244421_10153207891051319_4718771816750095109_o

My Advice

First, I recommend creating a budget. If this is your first step, you won’t have the issue of making your budget work for your wedding – your wedding will work in your budget. While not always fun, every decision will need to fit within this financial plan. Don’t allow yourself to stray away from it. Know what is most important to you and allocate more money to those areas. For example, we decided that photographs were more important to us than flowers, so we allocated more money to the photography portion of the budget. By the way, there are tons of websites that will give you a breakdown of the average cost for each aspect of your big day.

Next, attend a bridal show. These are helpful for finding local vendors and brainstorming ideas for your big day. Not to mention, they’re a ton of fun. I found most of my vendors at the one I went to. We chose to work with a lot of local businesses that were still fairly new to the game but were highly recommended. This helped cut costs, and in my personal opinion, they did just as well as the high dollar, well-known companies. Before booking anyone, be sure to do your research. Even though some of our vendors hadn’t been around for decades, we were still able to do research by talking to prior clients and reading reviews online. We also looked at pictures of their previous weddings, or in the case of food vendors, tasted samples :), to make sure the vendor would be a good fit for us. Not every vendor you meet has to be the one for you. You are not in a contract until you sign on the dotted line. If you don’t get a good vibe after meeting with them, I would keep looking.

As a side note, I don’t recommend picking an actual date until you have your venue, unless the date you have in mind is more important than the venue. We ended up having to change our date as the venue was already booked for that day, and we booked our venue over a year in advance. So having a flexible date will give you more venue options. Pick a month and try to work with that. We chose to get married on a Friday, which helped save our wallet! Almost every vendor offers discounts for Friday weddings. Also, they’re becoming more and more popular, and our guests didn’t seem to mind at all. After you have a venue, the real fun begins. All of your fun ideas get to come alive.

12238014_10153207971691319_1628230358069964086_o12247696_10153207972036319_3119949874612835772_o

Nowadays, every girl has a Pinterest board for her future wedding, so I don’t think I need to put a lot of stress on getting one started. Once you’re engaged, take the time to sort through the thousands of pins to get a general idea of what your vision is. Focus on picking your color and theme as this will be the cornerstone for most of your decisions going forward.

I highly suggest making a must-have list before jumping on board with every fad going on. Do you really need that fancy wooden arch that will cost you an extra $800? Probably not. Be cost sensitive here. I know all of the extra flowers look nice, but find alternatives that cost less. If you have to stretch the budget to fit that in, perhaps use centerpieces that you could turn around and sell. While making our must-have list, we decided that we wanted to devote more of our budget to the the actual wedding ceremony, so we decided to not have a big honeymoon like most people. We went to Florida for a few days and had an amazing time without forking over big bucks. You have the rest of your lives for an extravagant vacation!

image1

Be realistic and don’t compare your wedding to everyone else’s. Just because your girlfriend spends $50,000 on her wedding, doesn’t mean you need to break the bank to keep up with her.

I also recommend making purchases a little at a time. We made purchases for our wedding over the course of the year we were engaged. This prevented us from taking a large hit to our bank account all at once. Vendors will require deposits to hold your date, so be ready! Most vendors required a 50% deposit, with the remaining amount due 2 weeks before the wedding. Be sure to keep track of all of your spending. This will help you decide if you need to cut back on flowers or if you can splurge on a bigger cake.

The best advice I can give is to remember that this is supposed to be a fun time. From planning to actually saying I do, this time should bring joy, not stress. Not everything is going to go your way. You’re going to hit bumps in the road, but don’t lose sight on the bigger picture – you’re marrying your best friend! Enjoy the process 🙂

12232794_10153207994651319_8931611380722831134_o

 

Let's get social