Wings for Autism

Knox went to a fun event on Saturday at the Columbia airport called “Wings for Autism.” It was basically a role-playing event where the kids got to pretend they were going on a flight. My mom picked him up that morning, and he was very excited to go. He told me on his way out the door, “Bye! Gotta go change the world!” Well, kiddo, you’ve certainly changed mine.

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My mom (Gigi) said that Knox had a wonderful time. He was excited about every single part of the day, from checking his luggage to buckling his seat belt. She said by the time she put their bags in the overhead compartment, she turned around and Knox was already in his seat and buckled up! He was ready to go- he told Gigi he wanted to “go somewhere with snow.” Poor kid, he was all ready for a vacation! They did at least get to taxi down the runway, so at least he got to move a little bit!

And how cute is this boy with his airplane arms? Kills me. IMG_1273

 

When he got home, he wore his little wings pins for the rest of the day and played with all of the toy planes in the house that he could find. Plus, Lightening McQueen, because he just goes with Dusty Crophopper, you know. I love that The Arc, Delta and the Columbia Airport put on such a great event for these kids. Major kudos to them for taking so much time and energy to make this sweet boy so happy! If you know of any kids that would like this event, there are more around the country, just click that link above for the schedule. I’d highly recommend it!

Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

I had a group of girls from church over last weekend, and I wanted to make something fresh-tasting, but still really yummy and fun. I thought about utilizing fresh strawberries, and my mind immediately went to cheesecake. But I wanted to do finger foods, and I thought- hey, what if I stuff strawberries with cheesecake? I totally thought I was making this up, you guys, and I guess I technically did, but about a zillion other people have also made it up before me on Pinterest. LOL- oh well! Here’s how to make these delicious, but super easy poppable desserts.

Delicious, quick and easy cheesecake-stuffed strawberries sprinkled with crushed graham crackers. The perfect party food! -- from mycoffeeiscold.com

Ingredients:

2 (16oz) package of strawberries (or more… you’ll want more), hulled
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese
1 can (12 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp vanilla
1 sleeve graham crackers, crushed

Instructions:

Start out by hulling your strawberries (aka taking off the tops and hollowing them out a bit) with a huller or a knife. I used a knife. Cut the very tip of the strawberry off, as well. This allows them to stand up straight on your platter.

Then, mix all remaining ingredients, except graham crackers, in a bowl and beat over medium speed until thoroughly mixed.

Put the cheesecake filling into a pastry bag (or a Ziploc bag with a corner snipped off… works the same!) and fill your strawberries. Once they’re all filled, sprinkle them with the crushed graham crackers.

That’s it. These were so incredibly easy and absolutely delicious- they were also a big crowd-pleaser! I hope you enjoy making (and devouring) them!

Delicious, quick and easy cheesecake-stuffed strawberries sprinkled with crushed graham crackers. The perfect party food! -- from mycoffeeiscold.com Delicious, quick and easy cheesecake-stuffed strawberries sprinkled with crushed graham crackers. The perfect party food! -- from mycoffeeiscold.com

DIY Mint Chocolate Lip Balm

I may need a 12-step program for lip balm.  I use it multiple times per day, and generally spring for the “good stuff.” My favorites lately have been EOS and Say Yes to Grapefruit… until now. I really prefer using all natural brands/varieties, and there are some good ones out on the market. However, since I’ve been on a mission to make my own beauty products, I decided to try to make my own. You guys. This is the best lip balm ever created, no lie. It’s made with all natural ingredients and leaves my lips totally moisturized and smooth. And the smell. Oh the smell, it’s delicious. And you cannot get more natural than these ingredients! I got the original recipe from Homemade Mommy (Lindsey has some awesome DIY natural product recipes, so check her out!) and followed it almost exactly, other than I didn’t measure out my essential oils, I just used about 10 drops. Here’s the recipe:

DIY, all-natural, mint chocolate lip balm. This quick and easy recipe using essential oils will give you about 12 sticks of the best lip balm you have ever used!

DIY Mint Chocolate Lip Balm (Ingredients)

2 tbl coconut oil
1 tbl cocoa butter
1 t/l sweet almond oil
2 tbl beeswax
10 drops peppermint essential oil

12-15 empty lip balm tubes

Click here for the full instructions. I transferred the warm mixture into a measuring cup with a good lip on it to pour into the tubes- that was pretty successful. My recipe made about 15 sticks of lip balm, but I think 12 is the standard it makes, depending on the size of your tubes. That’s a whole lot of product for about 10 minutes of work!

I will officially NEVER go back to store-bought lip balm after trying this, and at about $1 a tube, it’s way more cost-effective than what you can find at Target (take that, EOS!). I love knowing exactly what’s in it, and it doesn’t hurt that it works better than anything I have ever used.  Give this a try- you’ll be hooked!

P.S. I bought my cocoa butter and almond oil through Vitacost (<– that’s a referral link that will give you $10 off your first $30 purchase, which is a pretty sweet deal!). I also buy my organic cold-pressed coconut oil and other natural cooking products through them, and they do free shipping for orders over $49. Awesome company!

All natural, DIY Mint Chocolate Lip Balm using peppermint essential oils- this is the BEST lip balm you will ever use!

Holy Week

So I didn’t post at all last week. Sorry, but such is life when you work at a church and it’s Holy Week. I ran around like a crazy person all week and worked EVERY SINGLE DAY. We did a huge Maundy Thursday service at church, and it was ridiculously amazing and so powerful. My favorite element was a painter that we brought in- during the entire service, she stood off to the side and painted. At the end, she had finished a portrait of Jesus on the cross, then took red paint and poured it down over him. You guys, it was incredible. Here’s the finished product:

2015-04-02 20.04.57After Maundy Thursday, it was full blast to get ready for Easter Sunday. I am heading up a new committee at church that is in charge of the environment for big events, so we all got together Saturday morning to decorate the Worship Center for Easter. It was so much fun! I love these ladies, and it is a blast to get to be creative with them. My friend, Meagan, is an incredibly talented florist and took the lead on our floral cross centerpiece. I absolutely love how it turned out:

11074139_10204038547503323_6359103482594730524_nIt was also nice to get to use some of the leftover flowers in my own house for my Easter centerpiece!

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The Easter bunny visited Knox and Brody on Saturday night since Trevor had to work on Easter Sunday (lame). We are going through a bit of a sugar problem in our house right now (aka Brody is addicted to it) so that sweet Bunny didn’t bring any candy to the boys, just a pack of fruit snacks with their new sandbox toys. They got cute buckets with little shovels and dump trucks for our sandbox since they always want to take the good toy trucks out there to play with. They also got some stretchy/squishy lizard/snake toys that Knox loves. Not too many good pictures since they were in motion the entire time, but here’s the gist:

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Sunday morning, the boys and I went to church to celebrate our risen Savior- what a great morning! I kept thinking I needed a picture of us, but that never happened. Oh well, we looked nice, take my word for it. Easter dinner was weird for us because Trevor worked and only my mom and sister came over for Easter dinner. Usually we have about 15 people for Easter, so it felt very empty! I would say that it felt quiet, but seeing as how my children were present, it was NOT quiet. I made a pork roast, mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans, then my sister made macaroni and cheese (and a second gluten-free mac and cheese for me), a Derby Pie and a paleo apple crisp. Have I mentioned that my sister is awesome?? I thought it was so sweet that she tried to accommodate my dietary changes- plus she works at a bakery and a really talented cook/baker, so everything she makes is awesome. Knox and Brody really like with Aunt Kayla comes over because she always comes bearing cookies!! I didn’t take a picture of the food (I know, so unlike me) except of my pork roast, after searing it, when it was going into the oven.

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Brody was being a bit of a busybody while I was cooking, so I decided to teach him a new skill to occupy his mind and his hands! He learned how to snap the ends off of green beans, and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever. We did eat a few stems, but all-in-all, it was a valiant first effort! He was also very proud of himself, which was adorable.

11081449_815921215128746_9026243716797651325_nAfter dinner, the boys ran off their sugar high, then we went to bed! That’s pretty much how our Holy Week went- did you do anything special for Easter? What are your family traditions?

 

More Stuff I Like

So I posted a couple weeks ago about this, and apparently you guys really like when I post about stuff that I like. That’s good, I guess, since now I have other people succumbing to my same addictions. Now I don’t have to feel alone in spending all the money on all the things. So this may become a regular addition to the old blog. Without further ado, here is another batch of goodies that I am loving right now:

1) Homemade Face Wash

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This is pretty much how I look when I use my face wash. It’s that thrilling.

Y’all. The love is intense here. I am enamored with this face wash that I MADE BY MYSELF. It is the easiest thing ever. Ready for the four ingredient list? Wait for it… unscented Castile soap, hazelnut oil, water and two essential oils. I KNOW. Life changing.  And it works amazingly well. My face is so soft after I use it, and I have had NOT ONE break out since I started using it. Again, utter amazement.

Here’s the recipe:

1 c unscented Unscented Castile Soap
1 tbl Hazelnut Oil (can also use olive or Sweet Almond Oil)
5 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil
5 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil

Just combine everything in a container with a flip top lid, shake to combine and that’s all she wrote. I use the tiniest bit morning and evening when I wash my face. I follow up with my homemade face serum and a good moisturizer.

2) The Pioneer Woman’s Dreamy Apple Pie

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This pie is the bomb.com. Do people still say that? Probably not, but I just did, so it’s coming back. I use Martha Stewart’s pie crust recipe for EVERYTHING, including this pie. I do not like shortening in my baked goods, so I opt for full-fat, real butter. I follow the gist of the recipe, but I halve the heavy cream or it is way too runny for my taste. I don’t like to cut a pie and have the filling run out all of the plate, but I still like it to be really moist. I also skip the pecans. Those changes make it work perfectly for me. Reminds me of my peach pie with the streusel topping, which is a win. Go ahead and make two while you’re making one. Because yes. Also, I will live vicariously through you since I am trying to cut gluten- but I made this a few weeks ago before I took that step, and it was so, so good. I’ve been t thinking about it ever since.

 

 

 3. Talenti Gelato

Talenti_group_1I wish I had never tried this, because seriously, I cannot quit. It’s becoming a real problem. Every ounce of weight I have lost from eating healthily is going to come back if I don’t chill out. I do split one container into at least two sittings, so that’s better right? Hush, don’t judge me. Trevor eats a whole thing at once, even though I tell him that’s against the rules. I love any chocolate-flavored variety… they’re all delicious. I buy mine at Publix, but it’s everywhere sinfully amazing ice cream products are sold.

4. Women are Scary by Melanie Dale

bookcover-flatY’all. Holy cow, this woman is my favorite ever. I read a blog post she wrote called “if anyone mentions oils, i’ll punch you in the face” and started reading through her blog and just laughed my butt off- that was all it took to hook me. She loves Jesus, orphans and sarcasm, and that’s pretty much a magical combination of loves for me. She’s basically the hypothetical humor child of Jen Hatmaker and Jon Acuff. That is literally the highest compliment I have ever handed out because they are both MY PEOPLE. Some of my best and favorite friends and I are reading this together, and it’s a riot. It’s all about making friends with other women as an adult- isn’t that something all of us need and/or want? You’ll laugh until you cry, and probably until you snort, so you should totally read it. Here’s a little book trailer featuring Melanie that will convince you.

 

 

That’s all for today- happy Monday!

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