Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thankful Thursday



I cannot tell you how much I have missed Thankful Thursdays!

Today, I'm thankful for thermometers. I don't even want to know how much money I COULD have saved myself in pregnancy tests if I had just been charting my bbt.

I'm thankful for my amazing husband! He's been working hard lately, but it's also opened up a few doors for us to work together on a thing or two, which has been a great blessing.

I'm thankful for my daughter. She's already surpassed me in height and beauty, pretty soon, she's going to be out of my league. I've still got the brains on her for a few months.

I'm thankful for the weather maybe starting to turn just a little.

I'm thankful for return policies!

I'm super thankful for in home shopping with LuLaRoe. Best shopping experience ever! But really how can you go wrong with pretty dresses that are super comfy and cats to entertain you while you wait for the undecided shopper? Let me know if you need another LLR girl, cause Kyla is the best!

What about you? What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Ultimate Chili Book by Christopher B. O'Hara

We have an annual chili cook-off at our church every year. We almost never win, because we like our chili spicy. And even though we throttle it back for the competition, it's still too much for most of the folks that are there. One that we have managed to make and it's been a huge success comes from The Ultimate Chili Book.




The Ultimate Chili Book is one that Joel and I picked up years ago, long before we went on the cookbook hiatus. It's a great little book. Tons of information about spices, beans and different types of recipes. We always go back to the same one, "Commander" Tim's Submarine Chili, it's got us a prize or two and been licked clean when served outside the chili cook-off.

I think part of the reason we like Tim's recipe it is because it's pretty simple, tasty, and has a good bang for your chili buck. And the spice can be modified without changing the overall flavor.

Now if you're not into meat or beans, there are also plenty of other recipes for your taste, as well as lamb and chicken. One of our other favorites includes prime rib. Normally, we just use one that's leftover from a previous meal and add it in right before serving to warm it up.

Do you have a favorite chili recipe?




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tasty Tuesday: Sicilian Pizza review

When I was a little girl, I LOVED pizza! I still do actually. But being mostly low-carb, I've not found that I like many of the low carb options and even worse, the normal high carb options no longer taste good! There should be a law against such things!! Anyway, as a little girl we would either go to Pizza Hut and get a deep dish pizza or on a rare occasion, we would make a deep dish at home using a Bisquick dough (Bisquick was always in our home). So, enter the Sicilian Pizza with Pepperoni and Spicy Tomato Sauce and I am in heaven! No, it's not low carb, yes it is delicious! Worth every single bite.

Okay, but in true HoHa disclaimer* fashion, the day we made it most recently almost became the day of three dinners. Joel started making the dough.

Seriously, it's just five ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and water. NOTHING to be afraid of. In the mixing bowl everything went. They get mixed up until it pulls away from the sides but sticks to the bottom.
video  video

That's when things got a little "oh man!" Even though we have made this recipe several times, when we looked again, we realised that it has to rest for 12 to 24 hours after this point. Thus ends the making of dinner one which wouldn't be eaten until the next day. It had to rest, I guess all that spinning in the mixer wore it out.


Enter day two. I just love sticking my finger in a risen bowl of dough. Cannot help myself.


Yes, that's a quarter cup of olive oil, do it! Oil is your friend!! We put the dough in and stretched it out. Let it rest, while I made the spicy tomato sauce.


In case you were wondering, that's what nine cloves of garlic look like all chopped up. OMNOMNOM! I love the smell of garlic! 


This is where this pizza gets a little crazy, it goes olive oil, dough, cheese, sauce, pepperoni. BUT...


then it goes full on omonomariffic at the table. This recipe gets a 15 out of 10. It's great to eat straing out the oven, cold or reheated day after, even two days after (if it lasts that long). Go and make it yourself, tell me how you like it!

Special thanks to Joel for letting me harass him with my camera phone while he was making this.



*HoHa disclaimer-I practice Hands-on Home arts (HoHa for short). I'm not here to make you think our life is perfect, but to show you that life can be fun. So this day, we put the dough aside for the next day and I decided to make split pea soup with ham for dinner that night. Even though I have the WORST luck with dried beans and it turned out that it was a crockpot recipe, we went ahead with it. At dinner time, the peas were just barely crunchy any more and we were saved from having to make a THIRD dinner in the same day. If you follow me on instagram, this was the biscuit day. I had to make something that was going to be delicious and edible in the same day! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

The DS Mess

I got myself in a pickle. I talked about it briefly in my Saturday Rant. Today, I’m sharing a little more in depth about my DS mess.




I found something that I love and yet at the same time, I couldn’t stand it. I knew what had to be done and I kept trying to make myself the person that would do it. Notice that I didn’t say could do it. Of course, I could do it, I’m a grown woman, I can do what I want. But I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to leave my family on Saturday and Thursday evenings to go out and sell jewelry. I love them! I love spending time with them. No amount of goodwill towards others or cash was going to make up for that lost time. And then I thought that the internet would be my answer!

Yes! The internet!! I love the internet, it’s been my friend for over thirty years. Dial-up is one of those sounds that makes my heart squee. I love those notification dings and message requests! My friends live on the internet with me, no matter how far they are I can reach them and leave them messages and hellos and funny memes. The internet could definitely help me with my pickle. I loved it at first. The gathering of knowledge in how to market on the web. I got out of my warm circle, started having parties with strangers meeting in the evenings to show them my stash. It drastically cut down the amount of time I was spending away from my family. But still, I was away. I’d go and put on my stage makeup, prep my script, go live and say hello to the world, turn off my camera and crawl back into my little burrow with my family and try to pretend that I didn’t just lose an hour of time with them all in the same place.

The more reality set in the more it weighed on me. I began to wonder if this was really what I was called to do. I mean I LOVE all the people! I do I love every single person that purchased and hosted and laughed and watched and I want to be their friend. I made some real connections. That part was amazing and beautiful and it’s been such a very long time since I’ve made friends that were based on me.

Hmm, maybe that’s another post for another day. Anyway, there I was in the middle of winter, not spending time with my family, scouring the internet for sales and looking at everyone as a potential party host, because honestly, you can’t do a DS party system without parties. And I started to struggle. My depression started to flare up. I was down and I was done.

I started to look for ways out. I became highly critical of the company I was representing and they could do no right by me. I felt myself falling further and further away from my true self. I lost sight of my passions and kept pursuing what was right for a direct seller. I kept coming up with new marketing schemes, following different gurus, watching free webinars. I wanted to be successful and do what was required of me. And I was, the only problem was that I was still bleeding out money, time, and energy without being in love with my work. I was becoming more and more disgruntled with my work in fact. I would drag my feet and spend all day trying to get things done that should have only taken a matter of minutes once a week. My wheels were spinning and my heart shut down.


I kept going on, mainly because I loved my customers and I loved the idea of helping the artisans that are out there working to keep their families together, but in the meantime, ⅓ of my own family was checking out and drifting aimlessly. I started asking all the right questions which were painful and hard, especially since I didn’t know the answers, but I was also being encouraged to persist. I was intent on making my business what I knew it could be and saw other women accomplishing.


I knew that I needed some more help and so I signed up for a course to help me figure out exactly who I should be selling to. Because I had made a lot of friends around my DS company but the sales were still pretty sporadic. I knew that if I could figure out exactly who I should sell to that everything else would fall into place. So I started thinking through all the questions and old ones popped into my mind, especially the one that I was asked by my business mentor “Is what you’re doing taking you where you want to go? Just think it through.” I started getting the image of someone in my head.


This ideal client was very different than the women I had been selling to already. She had different thoughts and habits. And then I realized that I didn’t want to go find her. She is in her peer groups, listening to her friends, she wasn’t on the internet searching for things on google or looking for a solution to her pain points on Instagram. She was someone that would have to hear about my product by word of mouth. And I didn’t want to go beat the bushes for her. In fact, I wasn’t certain that I even liked this lady. She seemed a bit uppity. And then there was this decision that had to be made. If that’s my ideal client for this product, I can either go get her or I can change my product and find a new ideal client. Guess which I did…


In the end, the mess was easily taken care of. It was a matter of setting down all that wasn’t me in order to pick up exactly what was me.

Simple in concept, simple in execution, not so simple in discovery. I’ve found that’s true of many of life’s great messes. It’s not the cleanup and the recovery that is nearly as difficult as pinpointing the mess itself. I could easily have kicked the can down the road and continued on that path that I was on. No one was going to stop me, though I would have complained and whined and wondered and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong. Once I said yes to me, I saw exactly what I was doing wrong. Could I have come to this discovery with less exploration? Maybe, but it would not have been nearly as clear and I would not have gathered nearly as many journeying companions if I had. It’s a great relief to see the mess being tidied away, shutting down the monthly fees for a website, tossing the business cards I haven’t shared in months, stop looking at friends as potential customers and just be myself. Enjoying my family, my friends new and old, stop being “that girl.” I hated being her more than you did, I can promise you that.


That’s my mess for this Monday. It was a personal one that I’m sure many of us have found ourselves in and wondered how long. And the answer to that is just long enough.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday Rants!

Y'all know how much I love to get real on a Saturday. So here it goes...


This was unexpected for me, but I wanted to share. Recently, I signed up for an Ideal Client Course with Desiree Rose. I was so excited about creating my ideal client for my Trades of Hope business. I knew exactly how much money I'd have to net to get a return on the course and was confident that finding her would help me do that. I went through all of the exercises, watched the videos live and then on replay and made my ideal ToH client. There she was in all her glory.

Then, it hit me. I don't really love her and I'm not too interested in selling to her. She has her network and is content. The only way to sell Trades of Hope as a profitable business would be to answer a different pain point and I'm definitely not up for selling to someone whose pain point is "Are my accessories going to go with my outfit?" Don't get me wrong, there are lots of great salespeople out there that are excellent with that pain point. I am not one of them. Not in my wheelhouse.

Fortunately, I've been contemplating my passions lately. Midlife will do that for you. And I remembered a few things that I love and an outlet to share them. Hello, can you say dusty old blog? I went back through the entire course, answered the questions again thinking of my blog and there she was! Mary, my ideal client, was waiting for me, excited to see what we're going to discover together.

By looking at myself first I was able to truly see the best of what I have to offer and the people who are most likely to benefit. I am super excited about spending more time writing and sharing about our life. In a lot of ways, we are on the other side of parenting and money struggles, though either of those things could come back at any moment. (A couple of people have been asking me if I'm expecting a baby lately, but I'm just going to blame that on the packzi).

My hope for this space is to help you with your messes, meals, and memories. I want you to have more time doing what you love and spend less time doing what needs to be done. I will be sharing products and people that I have found helpful along the way. And I'll still be able to help you with your Trades of Hope orders, but I won't be marketing it anymore. It will quietly do its own thing. But I will be hopefully, with God's help sharing right here with you about all the things that I know and love and you know and love about me.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thankful Thursday!



Today, I'm thankful for new beginnings! I have been thinking all year that I need to dust off this blog and get my writing juices flowing again. Thankful Thursday seems like an ideal day to do just that.

I am thankful for new friends and old friendships renewed. The internet is an amazing place!

I'm thankful for my family as small as we are, we are mighty when we need to be.

I'm thankful for a dog that is ready to walk with me whenever I want, regardless of the weather. In fact, she prefers that we walk every day.

I'm thankful for rhythms that lead to comfort and peace.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Returning by Rachelle Dekker



I read the first two. In fact, the first was one of my favorite books the year it was released. I loved the social commentary in The Choosing. The Returning was a conclusion of the story of a people that had abandoned themselves to man's law and were found and rescued by God.
This final installment in the Seer series focuses on the child, Elise, that Rambo and Carrington had stolen away from them in the middle of the night at the end of the previous book. Elise has become a young lady that was raised by the archer in seclusion in the Authority city and told many lies about herself and her past.
She, however, is rescued by a group of Seer that have been called to the city to bring change. They have encounters with people all over town, awakening them from the Genesis project that has kept them docile and obedient to the leader of the city.
Dekker does an excellent job again of exploring our fight with faith. She delves into the darkness that can overtake us and how the light can still find its way in.

Overall, it's a great series, though I do believe that The Choosing is still my favorite of the three.

How about some Q&A from the author??



The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair.

 1. Set the scene for The Returning. What has happened since The Calling ended?

Well, it’s been nearly 20 years, and the world has changed. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t read the first two, so I’ll just say the world is very different and much more dangerous than it once was. But something is brewing under the surface. Change is coming, and people know it.

2. What themes are explored in this book?

Identity is something I am always exploring, so that’s no different in The Returning. But in this novel I took a really hard look at forgiveness and how that relates to our journey of discovering who we really are.

3. How have Carrington and Remko developed as characters throughout this series?

Well, we meet them as young adults, just out of their teen years, and we find them middle-aged in book three. So we’ve journeyed quite a bit of life with them. They have grown and changed, as people do, and even in this last novel they struggle with remembering their true identities. I believe life is always stretching us and showing us different ways to love, so their growth reflects that.

4. The Returning focuses on Carrington and Remko’s daughter Elise. Tell us more about Elise’s character and her growth throughout the book.

Elise starts the book in a pretty dark place. She grew up without parents, believing she was abandoned, only to discover there’s an entire world that has been kept from her. Her journey can be divided into two parts, in my opinion: first, learning who she really is; and second, learning how to live that out. It’s the same journey we all take, and I believe that makes her pretty relatable.

5. You talk about the power of belief in the book. What is the purpose of faith, and what makes faith so powerful in people’s lives?

Belief and faith are everything. We form our own realities. We make judgments based on the past and what we think the future will bring; then we shape our idea of what we are capable of around those beliefs. Imagine if we truly believed we were infinite sons and daughters of the creator. How Kristen Schumacher | kristenschumacher@tyndale.com | 630.784.5126 different would the world look then? When we believe and have faith in who the Father calls us, then the world looks pretty different.


To find out more about Rachelle and to keep up to date on what she's currently writing, follow her on Goodreads.


A copy of this book was provided to me by Tyndale House Publishing for the purpose of review. I'm never required to give a positive review, but I'm always happy when I can.