Friday, September 04, 2015

FOUR | PASSION

Today's prompt is: What are you passionate about?

Autumn and every single thing about it, from pumpkin spice to falling leaves.
Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and brings memories rushing forward.
My marriage, other marriages, helping marriages in trouble and helping save them.
Growing closer to Jesus each day and living my life solely for Him.
Creating, getting messy and hands covered in paint. It's an outlet that soothes and calms me.
I adore being different and not like a single other person. It's not only okay, it's wonderful.
Reading...from the smell of a freshly cracked open book to getting lost in it.
Homesteading, living off the land, farming and raising sweet chickens.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

THREE | BLOG TALK


This little blog of mine, we've been through an awful lot together. My first ever blog entry was July 19, 2006. Nine years ago y'all. NINE. I've been a part of the blog-o-sphere for nine years. Here is my first ever blog entry:
I can't believe that I just actually created a blog, this blows my mind. I guess these days though it seems that everyone blogs so I figured I might as well join in. It will give me a place to share my thoughts, views, ideas and layouts. I'm so excited to be starting on this journey!!
It was started as an outlet, a way to share my scrapbook pages and a way to keep in touch with family. But then something happened. As time went on, more and more people started reading.
A few months back, I glanced at my site meter. I saw something that was beyond anything I could have imagined. I have readers from Russia, Canada, China, United Kingdom, Germany, Philippines, France and Malaysia. And I realized, in that moment, that this blog was my Ministry. God has done something I never, in a million years, would have imagined this country girl from a tiny town in central Pennsylvania doing. I have actually "went into the world" from my living room.

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

Every day I write blog posts to inspire others and make them smile; to share hope, grace and truth; to share my own mistakes and sins; to share my heart; and to share Jesus and His amazing love with others around the world.

I write for Him. I write because He has given me a passion and a heart for marriage. I write for broken hearts. I write because I stumble. I write to help marriages that are hurting as well as help strengthen healthy marriages. I write to help you enjoy and grow in the beautiful covenant that God created. I write to let you know you aren't alone. Ever. I write because I'm not perfect. I write to share that we all have our own story and our own past. I write to share my pain and joy, my struggles and triumphs. I write in hopes that my struggles will help you in your own walk. I write to honor God with my words.  I write out of love. I write because He nudges my heart. I write because He is still working on me. I write because He knows my heart. I write because He has a plan for my life. I write because He has called me to write. I write to share love, not anger. I write to heal, not cause conflict. I write to share harmony, not criticism. I write to speak truth that is sometimes hard to hear. I write because I believe.  I write simply out of my absolute love for Him.

I absolutely want my blog to be a happy, positive place. A place where you know, even on your worst day, you can leave it with a smile on your face and feel refreshed. A place where the heart of Jesus shines through.

Want to participate? Or just say hello? Want to share what you love about my blog?  Want me to check out your blog? Comment below and then hop on over to the Blogtember Challenge!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

ONE + TWO | INTRODUCTIONS + IDEAL DAY

Brave Love Blog

Last night while nosing around some of the blogs I follow, I stumbled on the Blog-tember Challenge by Bailey from Brave Love Blog. She started this challenge last year and enjoyed it so much, she's doing it again this year. The challenge is where she posted a prompt for every day of September for fellow bloggers. You take the prompt, make a post on it and then link up with other bloggers. It's a great way for y'all to learn a little more about me. Throughout the month, many bloggers get to know each other and grow in their blog "family" through this fun challenge. I thought it sounded like absolute fun, and I'm definitely up for a good challenge! And with that, I give you days 1 and 2 combined in one post.

Day 1 - Introduce Yourself


I'm Amy, the girl behind the blog. I'm a wife to the most amazing man and Mama to the best littles around.

I love...
Being a daughter of the King. Coconut coffee. Chickens. Makeup. Simple country life. Making lists. Country music. Making new friends. Laughter. Going barefoot. Cooking. Knitting.

I hate...
Spiders. Peas and carrots. El Caminos. Anything hanging crooked on the wall. Clutter. Chaos. Not so fond of camping.

I am...
A follower of Christ. Adopted. A blogger. Never without my camera. Obsessed with my bread machine. Artistic and creative. A reader. Fluent in movie quotes and song lyrics. Hopeless romantic. An organizer. A couponer. A photographer. Obsessed with autumn and all things pumpkin.

Day 2 - Your Ideal Day


Want to participate? Or just say hello? Want to offer some fun facts about yourself? Comment below and then hop on over to the Blogtember Challenge!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

God Bless Our Fall {Book Review}


God Bless Our Fall
By Hannah Hall 
Illustrated by Steve Whitlow
About the book:
Little ones will love seeing all of God's blessings of fall! 
Parents and children will want to cuddle up together again and again to hear the sweet rhyming story and see the snuggly animal families happy in their fall activities. Pumpkin patches, apple harvests, leaves that change color, hayrides, warm beverages, cozy clothes-God Bless Our Fall highlights all the wonderful things families get to enjoy together when the air turns crisp and cool. 
The fifth installment of the bestselling God BlessTM series, God Bless Our Fall features the same talented writer and illustrator combo from God Bless You and Good Night,God Bless Our Easter, and God Bless Our Christmas. This padded board book with a beautiful orange, gold, and crimson color palette will be sure to catch the eye of Mom and Grandma. They'll love using it to introduce fun fall traditions to their little ones and guide them in giving thanks for God's blessings of the season.
It's no secret, fall is my absolute favorite time of year!  In my family, this season is full of traditions and family togetherness.  And this Sunday, we begin a new Sunday School class with lots of little 2-3 year olds in it.  What a perfect way to share Gods blessings of fall with them.  I'm so super excited to read this book to those littles!

This book is a sweet, charming, rhyming account of all of fall’s most fun components.  I even enjoyed reading it myself!  It covers everything from outside activities like hayrides and fairs to inside activities like baking and sitting by the fire. Hannah C. Hall’s text is a perfect balance of whimsy and reality for getting little ones excited for fall.

The adorable characters that are brought to life through Whitlow’s delicate art work share how the season changes from summer to fall. From the changing of the leaves, the chill in the air, pumpkins, cozy fires, and hayrides we are introduced to the new season.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Book Look in return for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.



Hannah C. Hall is a wearer of many hats. (Except for real hats. Her head is too big.)  She is a bestselling author, award-winning blogger, lover of Jesus, lover of Josh, mother of four, cooker of meals, changer of diapers, and unashamed enjoyer of desserts. Visit her at HannahCHall.com.

HELLO. GOODBYE.


hello september, goodbye august
hello days spent alone, goodbye summer days spent with my littles
hello fall, goodbye summer


hello jeans + boots, goodbye capri's + flipflops
hello clean house, goodbye messy house
hello pumpkins, goodbye flowers



hello ladies bible study, goodbye boring Tuesday mornings
hello cool + crisp days, goodbye heat + humidity
hello truck pulls, goodbye swimming


hello crazy running littles every day, goodbye lazy days with nowhere to go
hello new personal goals, goodbye not having self control
hello canning season, goodbye grilling season

Monday, August 31, 2015

Meal Planning Monday


Monday- baked ziti

Tuesday- creamy chicken and rice casserole...this is super super yummy and it's easy!

Wednesday - baked potato chowder and bread bowls for mi familia. This is an absolute FAV of my family and there is very seldom any leftovers at all.

Thursday - upside down meatball casserole but I will use THIS meatball recipe {and hope to make extra to freeze, they are amazing}

Friday - crock pot chicken, gravy and stuffing but mine will be made with homemade chicken stock and homemade stuffing...mmm, I bet it will be delish!

Saturday - pizza and movie night :)

Sunday - joes famous bbq ribs, cheesy potatoesand ranch bread...can't hardly wait for this comfort packed meal!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Project Inspired {Book Review}


Project Inspired: Tips and Tricks for Staying True to Who You Are
By Nicole Weider with Kristin Billerbeck 

About the book:
Based on the Project Inspired website created by Nicole Weider—a model and actress who integrates her behind-the-scenes experiences with guides on modest fashion, beauty, and advice—teens ages 13 and up will discover positive ways they can uphold their values in today's world. 
Nicole Weider is on a mission: to help young girls avoid the traps that culture sets, which baits teens into thinking they must sacrifice their self-worth in order to be beautiful and popular. After experiencing the dark side of fame firsthand as a model, Nicole launched Project Inspired in 2010 (www.projectinspired.com), a website for teen girls that analyzes pop culture and explores ways girls can live in their authentic beauty. 
In Project Inspired, Nicole shares tips for teen girls to stay true to themselves and how they were created to be, as well as how to dress modestly yet fashionably, make a positive difference in the world, and enjoy their teen years while staying true to their faith. With photographs, real behind-the-scenes stories from inside the fashion world, and an honest look at living a life that looks great on the outside and feels great on the inside, Project Inspired is a book teens will turn to time and time again.
I got this book for my daughter, who has been a part of the Project Inspired site for a while now and she loves it.  As soon as I saw this book, I knew she'd love it as well.  My girl is a teenager and is enthralled by all things fashion and beauty {thank you Pinterest}. She has been devouring it from cover to cover. It has ideas on how a Christian girl should dress, use makeup effectively and other ideas that interest young girls who are living for the Lord but still want to be attractive to others.

It's a book truly geared towards teenagers. The book has numerous pictures scattered through out the book.  Nicole is on a mission to help girls find their identity in Christ and walk confidently with their peers. She has tips on clothes, makeup, modesty, friendship, dating, and much more. I found the tips to be at their level and yet Biblical and what I agree with as a parent.  I found parts of the book interesting; for instance I liked the section on acne help, nail tips, and on how to get more out of perfume. 

I think Nicole is a great role model! She doesn’t shy away from tackling the tough topics such as broken hearts, depression, cutting and abusive relationships. This book has something for every girl.

This book was provided to me free of charge by Book Look in return for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Nicole Weider is a former model and actress who founded the online community Project Inspired, which focuses on helping girls find their inner beauty. Nicole is married to Eric, and lives in California with their son. Visit her online community at www.ProjectInspired.com.

Kristin Billerbeck is the author of numerous Christian novels, hitting the CBA bestseller list and winning the coveted ACFW Book of the Year in 2004 for What a Girl Wants and again in 2006 for With this Ring, I’m Confused. She has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, World Magazine, the Atlanta Journal Constitition and been seen on the "Today Show" for her pioneering role in Christian Chick Lit. She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising from San Jose State University.

Friday, August 28, 2015

FINDING MY MAMA VOICE


I grabbed my baby and settled into my rocking chair. She lay naked in my lap with her hair wildly askew, I picked up her bottle and placed it to her mouth. I cradled her in my arms, gently rocking her while humming a sunday school song.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A question children are typically asked. There are a multitude of common answers...firefighter, policeman, doctor, and veterinarian are among them. My answer always sounded different.

I simply wanted to be a Mama.

"But what else do you want to be? You can't just be a mama. Don’t you want to be a doctor and help people? Or be a dentist and make lots of money?"

I just wanted to be a Mama. That’s it. In my heart and in my soul I knew I was born to be a Mom.

As I grew older, the pressure to choose an occupation mounted. So many days I spent wishing others could see what my heart felt.

Eventually, I felt my hearts-song slipping away. It was drown out by the noise of school work, life-decisions, college and pressure. It seemed simply being a Mama wasn't feasible or acceptable.

I tucked my heart-song away, only pulling it out when I was alone. Fleeting moments spent standing in front of a mirror, imagining my baby belly, dreaming of what my baby would look like and what songs I would sing when they cried.

I was secretly enamored by the black-and-white pictures from the past, where simply being a Mama was enough. The days when Caroline Ingalls would tend her house, fields and babies with a humble smile.

While the world was screaming you must work outside of your home. You must make money. You must help support your family. If not, you're a lazy, worthless mother my heart was saying trust God. Stay home. Listen to the song I sing to you. The same song you heard when you rocked your naked baby years ago.

I had a choice to make.

Safety and comfort or stepping out and finding my own Mama voice.

The choice I made, after years of squelching that voice, was to finally listen to my song. To embrace it. To cherish it. The only regret I have is how long it took me to be brave.

What I’ve now realized is what I’ve referred to as my heart-song, was actually God calling to me. God had called me, even as a young girl, to be a mother, a wife and a homemaker.

I have to remind myself, God doesn't call us to be the same, to follow what everyone else is doing, He calls us to be different! There is one thing I need more than money, fame and a fancy career...Jesus!!! And to be fulfilled in this life I need to follow God's will for me. For each of us, this looks different.  He puts a different song in each of our hearts.

And if I have the approval of God, the world’s opinion can fall by the wayside.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24


Thursday, August 27, 2015

5 Ways to Prepare for Canning Season


I don’t know about you, but I love to can. Every year, as summer draws to a close I start gearing up for canning season. If you're new to the canning world, or an old pro, hopefully these tips help you enter preservation season calm and prepared to tackle those bushels of tomatoes and pickles and corn.

1. Set Goals

What are your goals for canning?  You may want to save your family money or you may just enjoy the craft of it.  You may have a garden and want to enjoy reaping the benefits of it all year long. You may enjoy canning because you have control over what goes into it (like no chemicals and preservatives). 

You may have only one goal, or a few that I listed above.  Think about your goals.  Why do you want to do this and what do you want to get out of it?

I can for a few different reasons.  I love that it saves our family money, it's super yummy, it's convenient and honestly I just really love canning.  I love knowing that I can run downstairs and grab a jar of spaghetti sauce or chicken broth.  

2. Purchase Supplies

There are a few things you'll need regardless of what you're planning on canning. If you're planning on canning anything that requires the water bath method, you'll need a pot tall enough to accommodate your jars. Make sure your pot has enough room for a couple inches of boiling water and a couple inches of head room above that is fine for boiling water bath canning. Your pot will also need to have a canning rack in it.

You'll also need some other basic supplies, some you may have on hand already and some you may need to purchase. You will need spoons (I prefer wooden) and a ladle. You will also need:
  • a canning funnel {to get liquids into the jars without spilling all over}
  • a jar lifter {essential for getting hot jars out of hot water safely}
  • a magnetic lid lifter {a tool for picking up and placing just one lid at a time}
Sidenote...WalMart carries a canning starter kit and a canning utensil kit.

You will also need to stock up on jars, lids and rings.  If you're like me, you always have way more rings than you'll ever use.  I'm not quite sure how that happens honestly.  If you are buying new jars, a lot of times they will come with lids and rings.


3. Take Inventory

Before you start canning, take inventory of what you have {if you've canned prior}.  Also, think of what your family eats lots of throughout the year.  For us, it's always spaghetti sauce, corn, stuffed hot peppers, chicken stock, green beans, hot pepper zip, zucchini relish and pickled beets.

4. Buy Your Basics

There are some items that I already know I will use a ton of throughout canning season.  Tomato paste, vinegar, salt, sugar and ketchup are my must-haves for canning season. Your basics might also include pectin and bottled lemon juice.

Stocking up also means you must sort out your recipes first and decide what you're canning.  So before you begin, search out recipes in your favorite cookbook or look on Pinterest.  Here is a link to my Pinterest board all about canning.  There are so many amazing canning recipes there!

Check through your spices, too, and make sure you’re good for italian seasonings, cinnamon, pickling spice, or whatever spices you know will be used. I highly recommend buying your spices in bulk. Fresh spices mean tastier preserves!

5. Invite Your Girls Over

An important part of this process is not overwhelming yourself.  And if this is your first time canning, trust me, you'll want all the help you can get.  Especially if it's someone who has canned prior.  Plus it's just more fun to do this kind of work with another person!

And there you have it.  You're all ready for a fun-filled day of canning.  And listening for that ping ping coming from your kitchen later in the day.  Do you have a favorite canning recipe?  Feel free to share it with me!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

{SEMI} WORDLESS WEDNESDAY




Monday, August 24, 2015

Meal Planning Monday


This week my youngest little goes back to school {super sad Mama face}, so these meal planning posts are a must to make my life easier!

Monday - mashed potato bowls

Tuesday - spaghetti and garlic bread

Wednesday - cheese steak sammys and onion rings baked in the oven with peach cobbler for dessert...

Thursday - breakfast for dinner...buttermilk pancakes with homemade amish maple syrup and the best sausage patties ever {from our fav little amish store}

Friday - bbq ham sandwiches with fries

Saturday - girls day out with two super sweet souls

Sunday - stuffed peppers and mashed potatoes...comfort food


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Why I'm Not Raising a Feminist Daughter


I'm a wife, mama, daughter, sister, friend, business owner and former feminist.

My Dad always told me I could do anything, whether it be putting shingles on a roof, putting a universal joint in his '69 Chevy or dragging out the acetylene tanks and welding. I don't blame this on my Daddy, he had GREAT intentions. And I'm so thankful of the knowledge he taught me.

I'm the one who took it and turned it into a heart issue.

I grew up thinking I could do anything that a man could do. And if a man told me I couldn't do it, I would make sure to prove him wrong. I wanted to be viewed as strong and independent. I even took the words "honor and obey" out of my vows. No one was going to control me, especially not my husband.

And then I became a Mama.

As my babies were growing up, I realized I couldn't align myself with feminism anymore. Their message is the opposite of what I'm teaching my kids.

I'm teaching my daughter modesty, they feel it's patriarchy. I'm teaching my son to be a gentleman, they feel it's benevolent sexism. I'm teaching my daughter to be submissive to her husband, they feel that's degrading. I'm teaching my son to be hard-working and provide for his family, they feel that they can provide for themselves. I'm teaching my daughter purity, they feel your body is yours to do with what you please. I'm teaching my son to treat his wife like a princess, they feel that's offensive.
I simply cannot align myself with a message that has morphed into something accusatory, degrading, offensive and opposed to the morals and messages I am teaching my kids.

I'm actually super excited we are raising our littles the way we are, the opposite of how the world would have them raised.  I want my son to be chivalrous, to open doors and carry heavy loads. I want my daughter to be told she's beautiful. I want my son to ask a girl out on a date and pay the bill without expecting anything in return.  I want my daughter to know she can depend on her husband.  I want my littles to know the beauty of a Christ-centered marriage.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

The recent feminist campaigns are so degrading, I can't help but feel they lost their direction amongst the shuffle of finding issues to fight for. Their messages come across so crass and offensive, it actually muddies the water and their direction is no longer clear.

With God, we have clear direction. We have a perfect owners manual for life in the Bible. And in the Bible we see that while we are created equal, we were given specific roles.  

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church,his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Ephesians 5:23-25


And that my friends is why we are teaching submission, headship and living a Christ-centered marriage. While it might no be the worlds opinion, we are following Gods word. That will bring joy, peace, contentment, fulfillment and freedom! And in turn, your life will bring glory to God. Isn’t that what it's all about?