Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte RecipeWhat fall recipe list would be complete without a pumpkin spice latte? You could go to Starbucks and pay $5 for one (which we've all done... let's be honest), or you can make one yourself really easily! Here's how.
Ingredients:2 tbsp canned pumpkin 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 2-3 tbsp Stevia 1 cup nonfat milk 1 tsp sugar free vanilla syrup Espresso (or strong coffee)
Instructions:Heat 2 tbsp canned pumpkin over medium heat with approx. 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice until well heated. Add 2-3 tbsp of stevia (depending on how sweet you prefer your drink) and stir well until heated. Add in 1 cup of nonfat milk and 1 tsp sugar free vanilla syrup and stir continuously over medium heat. Once heated, froth the milk and pumpkin mixture in a blender. Brew 1 to 2 shots of espresso, and pour the frothed milk into the espresso. If you're like me and you don't have time to be heating all this up for 10 minutes each time you just want a PSL on your way out the door in the morning, I'd suggest making a larger batch of the pumpkin/spice/stevia/milk mixture ahead of time. That way, you can brew your espresso, heat the milk mixture in the microwave, combine and be done!
Easy White Chicken ChiliI love chili... like, so much! My husband, on the other hand... well, let's just say his esophagus isn't a fan of tomato sauce. So in this house, we modify things. I had never had white chicken chili until I made a trip to Cincinnati about 10 years ago, and I was hooked from the first bite! Ever since then, it has been a staple in our home. This is a simple recipe, and can be made stovetop or in the crockpot (but if you're like me and you dropped your crockpot, breaking said crockpot into tiny pieces in your garage while it was full of a delicious, freshly made batch of chili... well, we'll just have to make do with stovetop. Le sigh).
Ingredients:1-2 pounds cooked boneless chicken tenderloins 16 oz organic chicken broth 3 cans of great northern beans 1/2 package taco seasoning 1/2 package of cream cheese 1-2 tbsp onion powder (depending on how much you like onion) 1/2 tbsp garlic powder Shredded cheese, sour cream and fritos for garnish
Instructions:This is the easy part. Combine all ingredients except the cream cheese and garnish items in a saucepan (or crockpot). Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Add the cream cheese making sure to mix it well. Let the chili simmer for approximately an hour, then serve with garnish and fritos. If you're making this in the crockpot, cook all ingredients except cream cheese and garnish on high for 3 hours. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for another 3 hours adding cream cheese. Service with garnish and fritos. You're going to want to make a lot of this... trust me.
Jalapeno Popper DipThis is probably more of a game day recipe than anything, but I've made it for the holidays, for get togethers... really any occasion I can find to make it. It's delicious and so very cheesy! Here's how to make this!
Ingredients:4 tbsp diced jalapenos 8 oz cream cheese 8 oz sour cream 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 3/4 cup mayonnaise (I'm not a huge mayo fan, so sometimes I only use 1/2 cup) 1 sleeve Ritz crackers 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese 1 stick of butter
Instructions:Mix all ingredients except crackers, parmesan cheese and melted butter (this is way easier if your cream cheese is room temperature). Pour into a shallow dish. I usually just use a pie dish. Mix together one sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers, parmesan cheese and melted butter in a separate bowl and pour over the top of the cheese mixture. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips. I love recipe cards, you guys, so here are all three recipes available for download in two different styles! [caption id="attachment_2430" align="alignleft" width="300"] Give Thanks Recipe Cards[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2431" align="alignright" width="300"] Chalkboard Recipe Cards[/caption] Have you tried these before or made a variation of any of them? I'd love to know what you think! xoxo
The first time I saw these fabric pumpkins was actually in the form of a gift from my mom. My parents occasionally take a little weekend getaway and they love stopping at little crafty fairs. My mom bought me a cute little fabric pumpkin that was immediately added to my fall decor. I never even thought then about making my own! Until that fateful day I stumbled across this DIY on Pinterest. Then an entire world of soft pumpkiny possibilities opened up! I could choose whatever colors or sizes I wanted. I don't know about you, but for a recovering control freak, that excited me.My tendency is always to go for bright colors and complex patterns. That's fine for an accent piece here & there (and honestly, could work great with these pumpkins!) but I am training myself to go for simpler, more neutral colors in my decor. Thank you, Joanna Gaines. That being said, I chose white and pink for my first couple of pumpkins that I will share with you here. My goal was simplicity, so I grabbed whatever I had lying around. That meant I used a white bedsheet & a pink pillowcase for my fabrics. These pumpkins use a ALOT of batting (stuffing) so make sure you have multiple bags if you want to make a lot. I put wooden stems on these, but I may do fabric stems or no stems at all on the next bunch to make them more stackable. I love that look!! Let's get to it!
Materials NeededNeedle & Thread, Fabric, Batting, Yarn Needle, Yarn or Jute, Measuring Tape, Pen/Marker, Scissors, Stick (if you want wooden stems) & glue gun. Sewing machine optional.
Step One - Cut Your FabricYou want your fabric length to twice it's height. So for my larger pumpkin I measured 12" by 24". The smaller pumpkin was 9" by 18". You will lose a bit in size once you've completed them. The larger one turned out more like 9-10" and the smaller one more like 6". I don't have amazing scissors for cutting fabric & I am terrible at cutting a straight line. So I make marks all along the fabric to help me cut straight across. They'll be on the inside of your pumpkin in the end so it won't matter!
Step 2 - Sew (Just a little!)Besides not being able to cut straight, I really struggle to do much more than sew a straight line on the machine. Thankfully, that is all you have to do here! Just bring the ends together and sew. Now your little pumpkin fabric is as wide as it is tall. Make sure to only sew that one seam. The top and bottom should remain open.
Step 3 - Running StitchOk, get out your little needle and thread and get to work! This will be the bottom of the pumpkin. Just thread your needle in a loose, wide stitch, all the way across. This is a "running stitch". Once you get to the end, pull! Once the fabric is gathered together, stitch it to hold it in place.
Step 4 - STUFF & StitchStuff that pumpkin full of stuffing!! Think you've got enough? Add more!! You want to fill it until you can't fill it any more. And then add just a tad more, so it's spilling out over the top. Now, do another running stitch around the top, pull it closed and stitch it shut. [caption id="attachment_2381" align="aligncenter" width="813"] This was the easiest way to keep the pouf steady so I could sew & then pull.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2383" align="aligncenter" width="815"] A cute little pumpkin pouf, ready for its ribs![/caption]
Step 5 - Pumpkin "Ribs"[caption id="attachment_2390" align="aligncenter" width="815"] These were super inexpensive at Walmart for only $1.77 - it's a good thing considering the shape mine was in when I finished my two little pumpkins.[/caption] Time to give your pumpkin "ribs." Yes, that's what they're called. I googled it. Grab your plastic yarn needle (you can use a metal one, but it may be so sharp that it will injure you) and thread your yarn or jute through the eye. Start at the bottom of your pumpkin and squish it through the middle and out the top. Then back around to the bottom and out the top again, 6 times (or more if you choose). This way you create six even sections of pumpkin. Be sure to pull tightly each time you create a new rib so that your pumpkin has that charming squashed look. Mine wasn't tight enough at first and I was able to pull on each one (kind of like a shoe lace) to correct the problem. Once you're done, knot it off at the top.
Step 6 - Add a Stem[caption id="attachment_2395" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Super professional. Lol.[/caption] My daughter found a stick outside last night and it just so happened to be the perfect diameter to create stems for my pumpkins. It would probably be easiest to use a small saw to cut it down to size. I improvised with a serrated knife, and while it took quite a few saws to get through it enough to break it off, it was still effective. Dot on a bunch of hot glue, then hold on the wooden stem for about 30 seconds so it has a chance to cool and secure the stem. You could then add extra jute or faux leaves, berries, ribbons, or whatever other decorations you want to spruce up your little pumpkin. To make a stem out of fabric, just cut out two sides of a "stem" shape. Sew them, wrong sides together, flip right side out, stuff it, then stitch it onto the top. I love the look of these little pumpkins stacked in graduated sizes. I plan to create two sets for my mantel & I'll be sure to share them with you when I finish them. By the time I do, it will be time to start decorating for Christmas most likely! Haha! So much in store for our favorite season!! Get excited!
Step 7 - Decorate![caption id="attachment_2389" align="aligncenter" width="821"] They might not be stackable on their own with their big ol stems on top, but stacking them inside this decorative bird cage helped me achieve the look I was going for.[/caption]
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a
A friend recently asked me to be part of a musical project he's been working on for some time. My response, of course, was yes! Absolutely. How can I help? As we began planning, I added in dates to my calendar and noticed that I had a lot going on around the same time but thought, Hey, this is no big deal. It'll be fine. Fast forward to the beginning of October and I found myself completely overwhelmed with deadlines, projects, jobs and hobbies not to mention I needed to balance that with spending time with my family, all because I wanted to say yes to everything. See, I am a yes person. If a friend asks me for something, I immediately want to say yes. If there is an opportunity to get involved in a local project, I'm in! If I can encourage or help someone in any way, I'm there
Generosity is a spiritual gift -- being generous with time and effort as well as money. I am blessed to have been given that gift as I know many of you have. As with anything, though, I have to know my limits and when to say no. Discernment is also a spiritual gift, and it doesn't always just mean knowing good from evil. It also means listening to the guidance of the Spirit to know when to move and when to stay still.
We live in a chaotic world, friends. There is political, civil and personal chaos all around us at any given moment. We have so much vying for our attention at all times, and we have become accustomed to running at break-neck speed, constantly checking notifications and calendar reminders. Matthew 11:28-29 says, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
There's that word... Rest. How do we find time for quiet in the midst of the noise of everyday life? Even as I write this post, I'm sitting in the living room keeping one eye on the computer and the other on my daughter. My excuses for not being still in the presence of God are different now that I'm a parent, but the circumstances haven't changed. We are all busy, but in the midst of all that, we have to remember our purpose, our God. He's the reason we have life, and deserves our attention more than anything or anyone else.
Here are a few practical ways we can start each day in the arms of the Father and find that quiet time our souls so desire.
1. Get up early.I am not a morning person, but my day is never as wonderful as when I wake up well before my daughter does and spend time listening to the Spirit.
2. Surround yourself with creation.Whether you take a prayer hike or just sit on the patio, being in the midst of the beauty of God will bring his presence close every time.
3. Worship.Spotify is always going, either on my laptop at work or at home. God has this way of taking me by complete surprise through the words of a song regardless of what I'm doing at the time. In case you haven't found that quiet moment yet today, listen to this tune and just let your soul breathe. [wpdevart_youtube]TAPpunj-dMM[/wpdevart_youtube] In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Wednesday: BootiesBreak out those ankle boots and snap a photo of you rocking your favorites!
Thursday: Blanket ScarvesThere are so many ways to wear these. Stage a flat lay or snap a selfie with your favorite blanket scarf!
Friday: Leather (bags or jackets)Do you have the cutest leather purse ever? Or maybe you splurged on a jacket overseas that's to die for like Amanda. We want to see it! Snap a photo and tell us where you snagged your leather goods!
Saturday: LeggingsSaturday is the perfect day for leggings, right? They're comfy, but can still be dressed up! Snap an overhead photo of your favorite leggings and sneak in a PSL or hot beverage of your choice while you're at it!
Sunday: HatsNo, it's not Easter and it's not Keeneland, but there's a whole line of felt hats to be worn this fall! Why not rock one for church or brunch this Sunday? Snap a selfie or group photo with your favorite style of fall hat! Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't give you some styling tips, right? Here are some of the best posing tips out there for a perfect look every time.
Strike A PoseCross your ankles. This sounds weird and can feel completely unnatural, but it works wonders! Not only does it slim your hips, but it looks completely unposed to the camera. Amanda stood in the first pose below for probably two minutes while I snapped photos from all angles, but in the photo it comes across like she just looked over for a brief moment while walking through the grass. Angle your head. Can you get a great straight on shot? Absolutely, but it takes some work. Unless you've got tons of time to test out that perfect look (we don't), try this tip. Angle your head down and to the side ever so slightly. This accentuates your jawline and is a much more candid look. Twist your body. My wedding photographer told me to stand completely sideways then twist my upper body to face him for photos. I thought he was nuts... until I saw the photos. That's a quick way to shave off inches or show off your figure if you're wearing baggier clothing. Have fun. There's a lot of pressure in our graphic-driven world to take great photos. My husband hates having his photo taken for this reason. He feels like his smile isn't natural or he's standing awkwardly. Think about all of our tips above, and then be sure you enjoy yourself. If you're don't, your smile won't look genuine. Some of the best photos I have are ones where I'm laughing with my daughter, completely unaware of the camera. We can't wait to see what you come up with this week using our Fall Favorites! Let the SLB Style Challenge begin!!! xoxo
1. BootsBoots are always a great fall fashion addition. We've been living in open toed sandals & flip flops and now our toes are feeling a bit chilly. We love a good knee high boot, but our favorite way to transition into the season is with a cute neutral colored bootie. They're comfortable, cute & warm, and with a small heel they add a little more elegance to even the most casual outfit.
2. LeggingsWe love to be comfortable, but we'd rather not sacrifice looks for comfort. Enter patterned leggings! What a simple way to add some fun to a basic, comfortable daily uniform of leggings and a slouchy tee or oversized sweater! What is the massive appeal of leggings? See stretchy material and an expandable waistline, full of forgiveness for "mummy tummies" and thunder thighs. Keep your patterns small & simple to achieve a more slimming silhouette. For the most flattering look, keep tops long enough to come to the middle of your thigh.
3. Leather JacketLeather jackets are perfect for fall. They typically provide just enough warmth to stave off a chilly October breeze and look way cuter than a windbreaker. Lol! I purchased this authentic Italian leather jacket in Florence in 2006 and it has held up amazingly well. However, it doesn't have to be a real leather jacket. There are plenty of imitation leather jackets, in all different colors, that are just as perfect for fall. The texture of a leather jacket adds so much dimension to your outfit and seems much more appropriate for fall than any other season. Pair it with a plaid shirt and some ripped jeans and you'll complete an adorable autumnal ensemble.
4. Blanket ScarfI was OBSESSED with these blanket scarves last season. By the time I had jumped on the bandwagon, I was way late to the party and couldn't find them anywhere. This cute plaid scarf was purchased from the Target dollar bins a few weeks ago for - wait for it - SEVEN dollars!! Of course I snatched it right up and probably should've grabbed a few more in different colors (self control!!!). I think this accessory may be my absolute favorite of the five. What's cozier than wearing a warm blanket around your neck? Am I right? My favorite way to wear it? Take the blanket square and fold it in half diagonally to form a triangle. Take the two opposite ends all the way around your neck and tie them underneath the piece in front. Fluff it up until it looks the way you want. Instant cozy!
5. Leather HandbagHave we mentioned we like leather for fall? I would recommend mixing up your leather colors if you plan to wear your leather jacket & carry your leather bag. A gray leather jacket with this brown leather handbag is a great complementary combo! Whether you prefer a cute crossbody bag, this large oversized one or anything in between, it's the final piece to pull your fall outfit together.
6. Felt Hat (Bonus!!)Ok, we couldn't leave this one out and "Six Fall Fashion Favorites" just doesn't have the same flow. A felt hat is an adorable way to keep your noggin warm and cozy in these cooler temps. Think you're not a hat person? Give one a try and see what you think. You can find them in all price ranges and for just a few dollars, it's worth trying out something new. It could totally change your style this season! Not to mention, it's a great option when your hair is less than its best on any given day. Dry shampoo only goes so far. Throw that cute hat on and go grab a pumpkin spice latte. You'll have the makings of a perfect instagram-worthy selfie.
"There is something about music
that moves our very soul."In a perfect world, I would wake up "early" (and let's pretend that early is 7 am), pour myself a cup of coffee and spend an hour just praying, journaling and reading God's word. Then my children would wake up at 8/8:30 and I would be so ready. I would be ready for whatever the day could throw at me. I know I still wouldn't be perfect, but my emotions would be stable, and I would be able to continue my day in the spirit in which it began: in the presence of God. Reality check: my kids are up by 6:30 am, if not earlier. It is highly unlikely that I could get my rear out of bed any earlier...although I have considered it, given the pay off. Most days, I start my day grouchy and annoyed. Just ask my husband. I then change poopy diapers, make breakfast, clean up messes, sew holes in my husband's work pants, do laundry - all before I've even had my first cup of coffee! This is a problem. It takes me until 10 am to feel awake and ready to do anything with my day. And at that point I still haven't said two words to God besides "please let them stay asleep!!!" Those few days leading up to that worship service were worse than ever. I felt this dark cloud hovering over my mood and it just sucked any life right out of me. I nearly didn't go to that worship night due to trouble finding a sitter for my kids and working around my husband's work schedule. I'm not divulging all of this to you to receive any sympathy, please understand. I have a feeling many of you can relate, whether you have kids or a demanding job or other commitments, time with God is easily crowded out of the picture.
"I know I still wouldn't be perfect, but my emotions would be stable, and I would be able to continue my day in the spirit in which it began: in the presence of God."That night, I just let go. I let all of the words and the music wash over me and I shut everything else out. Some people raise their hands while they worship and some people don't. I'm going to tell you why I do. It's an outward symbol that I am giving everything I have over to God and I am ready and willing to receive whatever he has to give me. During that 90 minutes of song after song, God spoke to my soul. There were lyrics in songs that moved me to tears because they spoke to burdens I didn't even realize I was carrying. My soul felt so refreshed by that night of corporate worship. It taught me something.
"I let all of the words and the music wash over me and I shut everything else out."It taught me something that I'm sure I used to know, but over the years I had forgotten. HE restores my soul. He leads me beside quiet waters. When the weight of life's daily demands gets to be too much and it's all I can do to get through the day without breaking down in tears, HE wants to refresh me. On those days when I feel like I'm dragging, I'm unmotivated and uninspired, HE is ready to pick me up, dust me off and encourage me to keep going. All it takes is a few minutes of quiet focus on him, on his word. Whether you have an hour or five minutes, I encourage you to take that time. Put the kids in front of Daniel Tiger for a few minutes longer, put in some ear buds and listen to your favorite worship song. Let the words speak to your heart and don't think about what else needs to be done. Just for those few minutes, let God restore your soul. [caption id="attachment_2194" align="aligncenter" width="501"] Feel free to use this photo as your lock screen on your phone as a reminder.[/caption] This coming Tuesday evening, October 11, there is another opportunity for an all-worship service. At Southland Christian Church on Richmond Rd in Lexington, KY at 6:30 PM. Come out and worship with us!! You will be so glad you did.
- Coffee sack (obtained for free from a local coffee brewery)
- Magnolia leaves (literally picked off a tree in my in-laws' backyard)
- Chalkboard cards (I had this banner from my daughter's birthday party last year and cut the bottoms off to make it rectangular)
- Chalk pen (the greatest thing ever invented!!!)
- Plates (mine are from Target, and we've had them for eleven years! So not fancy!)
- Wood crate (mine came from my in-laws' basement, but you can purchase these at thrift stores for around $30 or build one yourself. You can!) *in some areas, you can get empty wine crates from Costco and liquor stores for free!!!
- White pumpkins (all of mine came from Kroger for $1 each!)
- Greenery (I used boxwood because I had some left from a garland I purchased at At Home for $7, but you could use cedar branches, cotton stems, etc.) *I just stumbled on this tutorial for making your own cotton branches! Check it out!
- White tablecloth (mine is actually just white material that I had on hand)