I'm all about JOY in life.  I have learned the HUGE difference between being "happy" and being "joyful."  

Happiness is dependent upon circumstances, where as joy.... is an internal emotion that cannot easily be snatched away by adverse circumstances!  God bring JOY!  When He remains my focus.... I am able to maintain my joy, understanding He in full control and wants what is best for me, therefore, I have nothing to fear or dread.  He is using every situation in my life for His greater purpose and my job is to allow my life to be used for His glory.  What greater joy could there be than this?

However, I will tell you, I have truly come to value some of the little things God has lead me to do on a daily basis that truly help my joy thermometer stay stable!!  Life can become monotonous, mundane and very routine.  You become almost like a robot, just surviving the day, forgetting that joy was meant to be abundant in the company of the Lord.  

Winter can really become mundane for me.  As a homeschool/ stay at home mom, the long, cold, winter days trapped inside with kiddos can become very, let us say, repetitious!  I long for a variance in my day!  Here are some things God has lead me to do... to help maintain that joy we all so greatly long for!!

1. ALWAYS, ALWAYS start my day with God.  It does not matter if all you have is 5 minutes to pray and read a Psalm or Proverb or any scripture you are lead to.  That is 5 minutes well invested and gives God the opportunity to speak into your heart.  Never let Satan convince you, you don't have time.  You ALWAYS have time for God.  Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier and make Him a priority!  This will be the greatest thing you can do!!!  Trust me on this one!!!

2. Enjoy a warm morning beverage!!  If you aren't a coffee drinker, that is A OKAY!  There are tons of awesome warm and yummy drinks out there.  Flavored teas, which can also be very healthy, Chai Tea is delicious and you can often find pods for your Keurig, which makes them super convenient as well!  This is a great thing to enjoy while you read your scripture and pray!

3. Make your bed!  YES!  You heard me! Make your bed!! As silly as this may sound, here is why.... first off... your room should be your quiet, peaceful, haven!  Make yourself a cozy warm bed with lots of fluffy pillows!  It will not only give you a sense of peace when you are in your room but it will be sooo inviting at the end of the day!!  Allow one room in your home to be a bit organized... your little haven away from the chaos of the world! Put a candle in your room along with a little table by your bed to keep your Bible, journal, your warm beverage or anything else you need to feel peace!

4. TAKE AT LEAST 15-20 MINUTES FOR YOUR BODY!  I try to run/ speed walk 3-4 times per week.  I love going outdoors, but I also have a dreaedmill.  Even though I often do dread climbing on that thing.... I feel SOOOO much better when I am finished!  I do this in the morning.... so I can start my day feeling more energized and accomplished!  If you don't have a treadill, buy a video, do some yoga, run your stairs... anything that helps your body!!!  This WILL make a huge difference in your day!! Trust me on this one too!!!

5. Find a hobby you enjoy and make a slot of time for it as often as possible!  I love to Bible journal.  I don't have as much time as I would like to do this, but even if I am able to spend 10 minutes a day at it, it brings me joy!  You could spend your lunch hour doing something you love!!!  

6. DECORATE your home!  This one is huge for me!!  My environment has a great effect on my mental health!  Though my home is no Better Homes and Gardens, I love to spend time making it a peaceful and cozy place to be.  You can do this by spending very little money, just being creative!  A great idea is to have a home decor swap with friends.  Everyone gets tired of their own things, so if everyone brings the things they want to get rid of, you can just swap!!!  Goodwills and Second Hand stores are fun to scour for items as well.  A coat of paint can change an entire space!!!  Make a place you enjoy being!  

7. LAUGH!  We need to laugh everyday!!!  NEED TO!  So, when I feel I am lacking joy in my day, I turn on something to make me laugh... like I Love Lucy reruns on HULU!  Or National Lampoons Christmas vacation!  Something that always make me laugh and smile!  Call someone who makes you laugh or pull up YouTube videos that make you chuckle!!  Find a way to laugh!! Belly laugh if possible!!!  Laughter is known to boost your immune system and do so much more!!  Read the benefits of laughter here....

So... there you have it!  Some small ways to make your 2017 a little more joyful!!!!!  I would love to hear anything you do on a daily basis that brings you more joy!!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend
So... my family has LOTS of traditions!!!  But one of our favorites it the drinking of Tom and Jerry's each Christmas Day! 

We had these warm, delicious and and frothy drinks every Christmas Day at my grandparent's house!

They taste similar to egg nog but much tastier and lighter!!!  And it is a warm drink! I was scouting around online the other day and actually found the recipe posted!  So apparently, we are not the only family that enjoys these tasty drinks!

I am going to share the recipe with all of you today and perhaps you can make this a part of your yearly Christmas celebration!!


12 eggs
1 pound powdered sugar
Nutmeg and Cinnamon
A roaster of boiling water
A pot of boiling water

Take big roaster pan and fill it with about 3 inches of water.  Place on stove top and keep water warm.  Keep mugs in hot water. 

Keep another pot of boiling water going!

Separate egg yolks from egg whites and place in different bowls
With mixer, beat eggs yolks until smooth
Add powdered sugar to egg yolks and beat until creamy yellow

Clean beaters
Photo Credit: Chowhound (my grandparents had these EXACT mugs!!!)
Beat egg whites until they form peaks
Fold egg whites into egg yolks and powdered sugar mixture

Ladle about one ladle full of egg mixture into a hot mug, fill to the top with boiling water!  Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg!  

My family looks forward to these every year and my kids also love them!!!

They are very different... but so good!!!


Merry Christmas!

Love and Blessings
Your Friend

Tis the season for candy making!!!  Perhaps you have always wanted to make homemade candy but didn't have the confidence in your candy making abilities!!!  Well, I have a recipe for you!!  

This turtle recipe is SUPER easy and looks like you spent hours slaving away over homemade candy.  Put them in a cute box and they would make a great gift for any chocolate or candy lover!!


Homemade Turtles

  • 1 bag of caramels
  • 1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bag of pecan halves
  • 2-3 TBS heavy cream
  • 3 TBS butter
  • foil or baking mat
  • cookie sheet

-Remove wrappers from caramels, add 2 TBS cream and butter, microwave for 1 minute stir and continue to microwave in 30 second increments until the caramels are melted and creamy.  This takes a little bit of elbow grease... but you can do it!

Melts chocolate chips in a double boiler.  You can do this in a microwave, but the double boiler makes the chocolate very silky and easy to work with.  In case you don't know what a double boiler is, take a big sauce pan and fill it half way with water, place it on medium/high flame on the stove, place a glass or steel bowl over the water and dump chocolate chips in the bowl.  Stir and let chips melt.  The double boiler also prevents scorching!
Place a piece of foil over a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray.  I use my baking mat, but if you don't have one, foil will work just fine. 

Place four pecans together creating a turtle effect, with four legs. Cover the pecans with about 1 TBS of caramel.  Then cover caramel with about 1 TBS of chocolate and spread with the back of your spoon. If you really want to be fancy, you can sprinkle sea salt on top of the chocolate!  Place in fridge for about an hour until they are set!  


That is literally all there is to it!!!

Consider yourself a candy maker!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend (and fellow chocolate lover!)

Coffee, coffee and more coffee!!

It's funny because when I was growing up all I ever remember being the options for coffee was black or sugar and creamer.  My mom drank a pot of black coffee every morning!

Today.... it's a coffee world!!  I hated coffee for many years.  I used to say it tasted like cigarette ashes!! LOL  Well. that all changed when my husband gained a passion for espresso and starting playing barista in our home.  He would make THE BEST coffees in the entire world.  We would have people calling and asking if he would make them a coffee for the road!!  

We got very good at coming up with our own drink concoctions as well!  Buying a special coffee daily can get extremely costly and here's the thing... you can make them at home and they can be just as great!!!

Today, I share with you one of my favorites.... Pumpkin Spice Latte!  It is easy and you can also make a huge batch of the mix and store it in the fridge so you can use it as often as you want!  

3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup milk, 1/2 and 1/2 or pumpkin spice creamer, I used almond milk and a little creamer!
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup whip cream (like cool whip) and more for topping
3 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients EXCEPT coffee together in a blender or with a whisk.  The blender works much better as it makes it fluffy and light.  Pour mixture in a microwave safe container and heat up for about 1 minute. Fill a coffee cup (BIG ONE)  half way with pumpkin mixture, fill the rest of the way with hot coffee.  Mix well!  Top with more whip cream and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon and sugar!!!

Make an extra one and share it with neighbor or friend!!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend In Christ

I absolutely love researching and finding household tips that are all frugal, easy and most of all WORK!  It is especially exciting to stumble upon a tip that you did not realize that you were looking for until you found it.  I am going to share a few of these with you today!  I hope they help you as much as they have me!

1. THIS ONE IS MY ALL TIME FAVORITE!!  Mascara.  So, I have found and read that within 3 months of buying mascara it pretty much is ready for the trash!  This drives me crazy because normally there is still a ton left in the tube, but it is all flaky and dried out!  Then.... I found this beautiful frugal and successful tip.  If your mascara starts to become dried and flaky, add about 2-3 drops of saline solution to the tube and kind of mix around with the wand.  I wear contacts so I always have solution, if you don't buy a little bottle and it will last your forever!  You can buy the little Target brand bottles for about $3. 

Once you do this, your mascara is like brand new again... NO JOKE!  It goes on smooth and easily!  I just keep adding solution as it dries out again and have had the same tube of mascara for about 8 months now!!  For real!


2.  REMOVING NAIL POLISH FROM CLOTHING!  My girls wanted to paint their nails the other day.  Normally, I would be supervising, however, I was in the middle of something, so I told them to go ahead.  They know to put a towel down and to sit at the bar in the kitchen. When I came down, they had followed all the rules, but with one little issue, Eden's new shirt now had a stripe of sparkly pink nail polish across the shoulder. 

Instead of getting frustrated (as I normally would) I realized it was partially my fault for not helping them, so, I hopped on the net and found this gem of advice!  

I always thought nail polish remover would take the color out of the clothing, but, I was wrong!  To remove the stain, first grab a paper towel and some acetone nail polish remover.  Place the stain FACE DOWN on the paper towel.  Saturate a cotton ball with the nail polish remover and press down on the stain, holding it there and then blotting.  Continue this process until the stain is gone.  When you lift up the clothing you should see the stain being blotted onto the paper towel.  

Once the stain is gone or almost gone, throw it in the washer immediately and wash!  I was shocked how well it worked.  If you look really close to her shirt, you may see a light stain, but it really is not obvious at all.  

Place your bowl full of dough on a heating pad to help it rise a little quicker!  WHY DID I NOT THINK OF THAT???  

4. THE WORLD'S BEST STAIN REMOVER!! Equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and dawn dish soap!  Yes!  Mix these two items together, pour on the stain, scrub with a toothbrush and throw it in the wash!  I have gotten stains out of clothing that I had already washed and run through the dryer!!

It works like a charm!

So, there you have it!  I hope these little tips may help you out at some point as well! Seriously, the mascara one is my all time favorite!!! 

Now, I know it it is pretty inexpensive to buy hand soap, however, I found this tip to be extremely easy and worthy of mentioning!  Buy a large container of hand soap refill and when your bottle of foaming hand soap is empty, simply pour about 2 TBS of the hand soap back in the bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with water.  Gently roll the bottle from side to side, mixing the soap and water without shaking and causing a major bubble party in the bottle!  

That's it!!  You are ready to use it!  

These are some of my favorite and most helpful tips!  I hope they may work for you and possibly save you a little money and perhaps some time as well!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend

We are big cheesecake fans around here!!!  It would be a very bad thing for us to live near a Cheesecake Factory! We would also need to live near a looooooong bike path to get us there!!! LOL 

For Garrick's 41st birthday I made a pumpkin cheesecake with a sour cream glaze!!  It was DELICIOUS!!  

It would be a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving feast!  So without further yacking...... here it is....


1 1/2 cups crushed Ginger Snaps
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

3 packages of cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
1 can pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
2 TBS corn starch
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Sour Cream Glaze
2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
additional cinnamon to taste

Caramel topping
Whip cream


Preheat 350 degrees

Mix cookie crumbs, butter and sugar and press on the bottom of a spring form cheesecake pan.  Place in oven and bake for about 7 minutes.  Remove and let cool,

Whip together cream cheese and sugar, make sure it is pretty creamy and whipped up, add remaining ingredients, whipping until fluffy and well combined!

Pour on top of your cookie crust.  NOW.... before you put your pretty cheesecake in the oven, find yourself a 9x13 pan and fill it with about 2 inches of water and place this on the bottom rack of your oven. Then, go ahead and place the cheesecake on the rack above it on TOP of a cookie sheet. This will help your cheesecake bake without cracking and allow it to bake evenly and keep your crust from burning!

Bake the cheesecake for about 55-60 minutes until the middle is set.  If you shake the cheesecake the middle will still move but should move very little.  

While your cheesecake is baking whip up your sour cream topping.  About 5 minutes before the cheesecake is ready to come out of the oven, CAREFULLY spread the sour cream topping on top and bake for 5 minutes more.  

Remove Cheesecake from oven and let cool on a cooling rack or 10 minutes.  Then place in the fridge for at least 3 hours, it best to chill over night!  You can then remove the spring form from the outside of the pan!

Service with Caramel topping and Whip cream!!!! 


Peace and Blessings
Your Friend
SO.... if your family is like my family.... you probably have the common and frustrating battle of pleasing several picky pallets!

Now, I will say, my children have improved greatly over time, (probably mostly because of they fear the wrath of complaining about my food! LOL) However, for the most part, they have gotten to the point that they will accept the contents of their plate without verbals expressions of discontentment.  

BUT!  It is the highlight of my life (or at least one of them) when I can serve them something that the whole family likes! And this my friends.... is one of those recipes!

Unless you have a child or person that doesn't care for piggy pork, this recipe will be a sure winner... I promise!  In fact... even if they don't like pork, this will change their mind, really, I think it will!!

I really wish I had taken a picture of these beautiful chops for you, however, as usual, something always slips my 40 year old, mom brain, so sorry.

On last thing before I give you the recipe.... always, always, remember..... everything you do in service to your family.... done in the right heart.... is service to the Lord.  Though the common societal view from women may be , "it is not my job to always be the one to make sure my family is fed."  It actually is part of God's design for the woman of the house.  No, this does NOT mean the man should not assist when needed or if he prefers to cook,however, ultimately, it was God's design for women to provide meals for their families!

So... my point.... as you whip up these chops.... remember.... your not just cooking for you family... your cooking for your Creator!



*6-8 thick cut porkchops
*1 packet of Italian salad dressing seasoning
* 2 TBS olive oil
*3 cloves crushed garlic
*2 beef boullion cubes and 2 cups of water(or can of beef broth)
*1 can cream of mushroom soup
*1 TBS flour

Preheat oven to 295 degrees. Cut away any fat from porkchops, sprinkle each side of the chop with Italian dressing seasoning.  Heat olive oil and crushed garlic in large skillet.  Brown each side of the the porkchops for about 3 minutes a side.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Place porkchops in the pan.  KEEP the remnants of the porkchop pan for later use! Heat beef boullion and water OR one can of beef broth in a saucepan, add mushroom soup and flour, stir until mixed well and beginning to bubble. Turn your porkchop pan back on high and pour gravy mixture into the porkchop pan whisking well.  You will get all the flavors from the garlic and cooked pork chops this way.  Cook until thick and bubbly.  Pour gravy over pork chops.  Cover the porkchops with foil.  Cook at 295 for about 2-2 1/2 hours.  It is the slow cooking process that makes these porkchops literally fall apart with a fork!

Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving!  I serve these with mashed potatoes!  

Your house will smell amazing while these are cooking and I promise you.... you will not be disappointed!  


Peace and Blessings
Your Friend

Over the weekend Garrick and I visited the Amana Colonies!  If you have ever been there you know all of the DELICIOUS foods they have to feed your face with!  Baked good and candies are the best!  

We went to the chocolate store and indulged in a delicious gourmet caramel apple!!  That did it!  I had to have one at my disposal at all times... are at least part of the time! LOL  

So when I got home I looked up a recipe for gourmet caramel apples, headed to HyVee with my kitchen apprentice, Addy, purchased the needed ingredients and came home and got to work! 

THEY WERE DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!  I learned some new tricks along the way and I am happy to share them with you all!!  They were pretty easy, very fun and extremely tasty!  


*8-9 apples of your choice 
*popscicle sticks
*1 Cup of butter
*2 Cups of brown sugar
*1 Cup Corn Syrup
*1 Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
*1 t Vanilla
*Ingredients for dipping apples such as; mini chocolate chips, mini M&M's. nuts, toffee bits. chopped Snickers or any other addition you would like to try!

1. Wash apples thoroughly. Place a popsicle stick in the core of each apple!  As you can see... I ran out of sticks as one of my adorable children chose to use them to build a "house!" So.. I improvised and used plastic knives! Place tray of apples in the freezer. Freezing them helps the caramel adhere to the apple once you have dipped them! (didn't know this, new little secret!)

Peace and Blessings
Your  Friend

2. Place butter, brown sugar, condensed milk and corn syrup in saucepan.  bring to a boil and boil until candy thermometer reaches 235-240 (soft ball stage) this will take around 14 minutes. The mixture will become thick and creamy.  Once caramel has reached desired time, add vanilla and mix well.  
3. Set up your dipping station with your goodies!  Then remove your apples from the freezer.  Dip each apple in the caramel, coating well! If you find the caramel getting to thick and globby, just throw on the heat for a minute or two to soften the caramel! Then roll in any other goodies you want on the apple!  I have found it easier to sometimes use my hand and smash them on the outside!  Place apples on a cookie sheet covered in foil and sprayed with cooking spray!
We used melted white chocolate, nuts, chopped Snickers,  mini chocolate chips and cinnamon sugar!
Place apples in the fridge until caramel is set!  
Keep apples in fridge, but you may want to remove for 5-10 minutes before eating to allow caramel to soften!
First off, I want to start by saying thank you to everyone who participated!  You don't know how badly I would love to send you all a candle!!! 

I truly believe this challenge of allowing God to transform your heart to be used as a foundation of peace in your home, is so very important!!  SO... if you are not the winner!  Treat yourself and buy yourself a candle!  Right now Yankee has a coupon code for $20 off a $45 purchase!  So you could also throw a little something in your cart for a Christmas gift!

Go to the Yankee Candle website and use this promo code-  CATH116


OR run to Wally World and grab a cheaper one!  But please join me in this challenge!! A heart that has found peace.... is a heart unshakable!!

SO.... if you don't have time to watch the video.... The winner IS................


Congrats sissy!  I will send it home with mom!  

I pray you all, no matter what season of life you may be journeying through... find that peace that surpasses all understanding!!

LOTS of love and blessings
Your Friend

PS  stayed tuned!  I love giving gifts... so more giveaways will be coming up!!!

It is a beautiful thing.  What do you think of when you think of the word "peace?"

My mind begins filling with visions of quiet mornings with warm coffee, a hot bubble bath by candle light, a rejuvenating walk/run by myself, the sound of the gentle waves crashing on the beach, silent evenings laying cozy in my bed watching a good movie or reading God's word. I see people holding or shaking hands, hugging, smiling, laughing.  

You can visibly SEE peace. Even just seeing it can bring immediate solace to even the anxious of hearts.

One of the most wondrous attributes of peace, is it can be contagious. 

Just a misery loves company, peace loves partners.

Have you ever experienced that in your own life.  Perhaps you were stressed, hurting, angry or extremely worried or anxious....

BUT THEN.... you were brought into the presence of a person that spreads peace.  Maybe it is just who they are.  Maybe it is their environment they create.  Maybe it is their ability to live in peace and joy irregardless of the circumstances that surround them.  Maybe its their unshakable faith.  Maybe its their gift of always knowing the right thing to say that brings immediate peace to your own heart.  Maybe they say nothing.... they simply listen, touch your hand and smile.

Maybe its not even a person but an environment.  Is there a place where you feel the most peace?  When you walk in the door contentment fills your heart.  You can feel the presence of God there.  The surroundings are tranquil, uplifting and safe.  The environment simply displays peace... from every corner.  

I have known those people and I have experienced those places.  And in both situations the peace that was displayed.... began with one common thing...

One persons heart. 

All it takes... is one person that knows peace to spread it to hundreds and possibly thousands of others.  Maybe more!

Is your home peaceful? 

I understand those of us raising children often lack consistent peace in our homes.  That is a given, however, as a whole, do you find peace in your home?  Do you look forward to walking in your doors or do you dread it?  Do you have a feeling of unrest when you are in your home or do you feel a sense of comfort and contentment?  Does your family experience joy and security there or is a place of chaos and instability? 

I have experienced both in my home.  During the difficult seasons that Garrick and I have gone through, there were many stretches of time that our home was chaotic and unstable.  It was brutal.  

We had been so used to, for the most part, a stable, peaceful and joyful home.  This season of war we have experienced was devastating to all of us.  Most tragically, my children.  

It is our job as parents, to provide that peaceful home environment for our children.  They, will learn by example.  We failed at that, off an on throughout this season.  

Oh God, never quit convicting and speaking to me.  And once again, even though the journey was painful... I learned so very much about .... peace. 

Peace in my home.... can begin with me.  

Yes, others in my home can be in utter turmoil!  My spouse can be choosing things that may hurt me or be devastating to my heart.  My children can be mouthy, disrespectful or full of attitude.  We could have illness, stress and struggle happening all around us.....

BUT... I can still... bring peace. 

I failed at this many, many times.  

Why?  Because of what I have blogged on previously... my hasty reactions.  Folks, I will not sit here and tell you that I did not have just cause or justification for the way I felt on many occasions... I absolutely did!  Very often, I had the right to feel angry, hurt and broken beyond belief!!
However, my reactions very often did turn that mess... into a disaster.  A war zone.  I know darn well that I CANNOT control others.  Ever.  BUT... I can control myself.  If I want peace in my home... even during a chaotic season, I can bring that into my home.  

With God, all things are possible.  Since learning that I can have and choose and bring peace, even during a painful circumstance... my world has changed.  My home has changed... back to what we once all knew.  I feel a contentment I have not felt in a very long time.  And I wish I had a magic wand to help you feel this same thing... I don't.

BUT... God has the power!!  It is all Him friends... not me!  He has shown me He stands in the eye of the storm, with His arms raised, blocking the deadly waves from crashing over me.  I may still feel the heavy winds that leave me staggering for a time, but I WILL NOT FALL!!

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

His peace is like no other and I want you to experience THAT kind of peace.  

It is a process that only God can help you master, however, I want to be as much help as possible... SO....

Join me for my "Fall into PEACE giveaway!"

I am going to be giving away a full size Lemon Poundcake Yankee candle!  They are my FAVORITE!!!!  

Most people attribute peace... the the low and calming flickering of a candle.  The scent can also bring peace and tranquility.

Each morning or evening, whenever you are home for the day, I want you to light this candle.  If you don't happen to win mine, I want you to purchase a large candle.  You can buy great smelling ones at WalMart for pretty cheap!  When you light your candle I want you to remember the peace God gives and can and will give you.  I want you to meditate on the scripture I posted above from the book of John.  I want you to pray that God would fill your heart with that peace and every time you begin to doubt, may the flickering of the candle and the pleasant scent remind you how intensely God's love burns for you and the magnificent peace He gives.  

If you would like to win the giveaway, simply leave a comment and I will connect you via facebook if you are the winner!  I will be drawing a name a week from today!!!  

May the peace and joy of the Lord... be yours... today.

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend


Leave a comment and you could be the winning sniffer of ME!!!