Dessert Made Simple

Friday, October 24, 2014

As you all know, I love baking sweet treats for anyone who will eat them! However, sometimes unexpected occasions pop up. A friend drops by for coffee or maybe it's 7pm and you're in the mood for a little sweet snacking while you watch the latest episode of your favorite show.

My point is, sometimes, you need a sweet treat and you need it fast.

Food Should Taste Good comes to the rescue with these Kettle Corn tortilla chips. I know what you're thinking, but let me tell you, these chips are perfect. They are for those of us who love a mix of sweet and salty.

Pair them with a little homemade chocolate glaze and they are fancy enough to serve to guests. If you're looking for my recipe for this glaze, I'll share another secret, it's actually the glaze that goes on THIS cake.

It's getting colder and the days are growing shorter. I'm ready for movie nights in and games on Sunday afternoons. Winter living calls for plenty of snacking.

Whether you're looking for sweet or savory, Food Should Taste Good has a product line with all kinds of varieties. They have you covered!

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*This post was sponsored by Food Should Taste Good. All thoughts are my own honest opinion.

The Circle: October

Thursday, October 23, 2014

When Kiki announced that this month's theme for The Circle would be BOOK related, I knew it was going to be a lot of fun! I've read a lot of great books this year and I'm excited to find out what all of you have been reading as well!

I don't expect you to read every word of this post. I decided to provide some short reviews so that you could know more about any book that caught your eye!

-Book of The Year-


Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin // It's no secret...I loved this book! If you're looking for a step-by-step guide as to HOW TO study the Bible, this is your ticket. I want everyone that I know to read it. This is by far the most helpful book that I have ever read on Bible study and it has changed my entire approach to my daily time in God's Word.

-Just Finished-

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Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck // Robuck is famous for her fictional biographies. As far as I can tell, she does her homework very well and tries hard to tie in as many pieces of reality as are available. I picked up this book because it seemed perfect for fall and I've really wanted to know more about the Fitzgeralds and specifically, Zelda. This book was moving and eye opening. Tragedy and suffering can accomplish so much and for this couple, the accomplishment came out in words.

By Searching by Isobel Kuhn // This is Isobel's autobiography and it covers her life through her late teens and into her 20's. Raised Christian, she spent much of this time trying to determine whether or not she was going to live by faith. I love hearing about people's journeys, especially after they've come out on the other side of the tough stuff. She turned 20 in 1921. I kept having to remind myself that this woman was facing the world when she did. Paired with the other books I've been reading, this book has opened my eyes to the way things were for "everyday" people back then.


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An Autobiography by Agatha Christie // Christie was born in 1890. For all you Downton fans, that puts her right around the age of Lady Mary! This book has been fantastic. It reads like an eyewitness account of life in the early 1900's. It's less about Agatha and more about everything that was going on around her. Writers will love it because she talks a lot about her influences as a writer.

Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald // I am a huge F. Scott Fitzgerald fan. After reading Robuck's book I knew I had to read Zelda's novel too. I didn't plan to spend my fall reading about women of the early 1900's, but that's the way it worked out and I'm intrigued. I have been taking my time with Zelda's work mainly because I don't want it to end. 

 -Up Next-

Something from THIS list.

-Childhood Favorites-

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Good Morning, Muffin Mouse by Lawrence Di Fiori // If I remember the story correctly, my Mom saw to it that we had several copies of this book. We read it everyday and sometimes several times a day. I'm sure she'll comment with some of the lines...I remember enjoying it because things were orderly and predictable and sure. As it happens, mornings are pretty much my favorite. 

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White // This is the very first chapter book that I ever read. I was in 2nd grade and filled with excitement as I set out to read a book that so many had read before me. I related to Fern and have always looked back on this book and her story with fondness. 

The Face on the Milk Carton by Carolyn B. Cooney // This is the very first series that I got HOOKED on. I was in 5th grade when I found this book in the library and realized that Cooney had a whole shelf of books to work my way through. Shortly after that, it showed up on TV. I got my friends into the series and then my Mom and years later she even bought a copy of the last installment of the series when it was realized. I've tried to read that last book several times, but I never actually have because I don't want the series to be "over"! 

-Deserted Island-

The Reformation Study Bible // This is my closest companion and I couldn't imagine being on a deserted island without it! I'd probably spend a lot of time in the Psalms and Ruth and Isaiah and Ephesians. Deserted island or not, somethings don't really change. 

-Favorite Author-

One last author that deserves attention is Mary Higgins Clark. She is by far my favorite author. She is famous for writing mysteries that are intriguing, challenging, and clean. My favorites are "Remember Me", "A Mount Vernon Love Story" and "Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir". Honestly, any of her books are enjoyable! 

I'd love to hear about your favorite books and authors!

Be sure to link up with Kiki and her co-host Anne for this month's edition of The Circle.

Fall Etsy Swap Reveal

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Last fall AMY and MEGAN hosted their first ever Etsy Swap. I absolutely love taking part in blogger swaps, but since I had just done the mug swap, I had to wait. Then, they announced that they would be doing another one in the spring and I made sure to sign up (you can read about that HERE). They're at it again!

* * * * *

On September 22, I found out that Brittney over at The Yellow Umbrella was my partner.  I looked through pretty much every post on her blog (admitting that is definitely weird), clicked around on her pinterest, and studied her shop

Whenever I've taken part in blogger swaps, my partner always ends up reminding me of someone I know. Shopping for Brittney was pretty much just like shopping for my sister. In other words, it was super fun!

Here's what I sent: 

* Yellow pencil pouch from Jane Hayden Designs - Brittney LOVES yellow and this is really cute and practical.

* Owl notepad from boygirlparty - Brittney mentioned that she liked owls and that her style was bright and modern.  I love notepads but almost never buy them for myself, so I thought this might be fun.

Note card set from wit & whistle - I thought that these fit Brittney's "eclectic" side and would be perfect for any occasion. 

* French Roast and Blueberry Cobbler Coffee from New England Coffee - My Mom suggested adding some coffee to Brittney's package. The French Roast was in honor of her love of Paris and the Blueberry Cobbler was because the people who introduced me to New England Coffee claim that as their favorite special blend.

Brittney, I hope you enjoy your goodies as much as I enjoyed shopping for them! I'll admit, I went through a bit of frustration hunting for the last few items to (the cards and owl notepad were the last to be ordered), but once the package came together I decided that it was PERFECT.

* * * * * 

On October 8th, I received my package and found out that it was Krista (be sure to check out Krista's shop HERE) who had been "stalking" me! She included a really sweet note with all of the goodies and did an EXCELLENT job on her mission to find things that I would love. 

It just so happens that the mail that day was EXTRA awesome, because I also got a letter from my Post to Post pen pal, Amy

In the note that she sent along, Krista explained that she noticed how much I love books and reading so she decided to do a book theme. She did a great job at her homework!

Look at all the purple, and the pens and pencils, and the paper, and that pencil pouch! Everything right down to that little pumpkin pin brought a smile to my face!

How about some close ups?

The shops featured in my package were: Silke Jacobs and Meow Kapow. I don't know where the Fortune Fish came from, but my Mom knew exactly what to do with it. We had laughs with it right away and Krista even admitted to playing with it before she sent it my way!

Krista, thanks again for putting together a package full of things that I would love! I hope you had as much fun with the Etsy Swap as I did. :)

Amy and Megan, you're both awesome for putting this swap together and answering our questions along the way! Thank you hardly seems like enough for all the the time and work that goes into hosting a swap. :)

* * * * *

And since you're all here, I wanted to highlight one more shop before you go! My friend Monica from Prince Snow Farm recently threw a giveaway featuring items from her Etsy shop and I WON! 

 If you are looking for QUALITY cards that come with the cutest packaging and beautiful images on the front, you'll want to get them from Monica!

Thank you, Monica! They're gorgeous. :)

Just Passing Through

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 14, 2014

Today I bring you the final installment in my Contemplating Heaven series!

This series started off with an honest post written by my anxious little heart. Then we turned our attention to the joy God has set before us. And last week I tried to communicate why we need to contemplate heaven.

I think we're ready to take some time for a little HOW TO.

How to set yourself up to contemplate heaven:

*Read God's Word - This is water for your soul. It will be your biggest help in living the Christian life. You need to stay in it.

*Commune with God's people - This communion takes place through real life conversations, sermons, books, music, and  even blog posts. You need to have a chorus of voices around you reminding you of who you are as a Christian and that your hope is in God.

* Preach the glories of heaven to yourself - Use Scripture that you have memorized or are memorizing to continually bring you back around to the truth. Your mind is one of your biggest enemies and it needs all the help it can get to stay on track.

Those three things are key and with them come praying and serving and obeying, all the while remembering that heaven is our home. As Sam Storms wrote on p. 170 of his book "One Thing",

"Heaven is characterized by the [eternal] increase of joy [in God]." 

Let that sink in! Can you even imagine ANYTHING greater?

You might find it helpful to put together a list of things about heaven! Here's the list that I put together.

In heaven:

- We will be with and see God.

- Seeing God, we will be enamored with Him and His grace and His holiness and His kindness and everything about Him...Our joy in Him will be filling up and spilling over.

- We will be satisfied and yet always increasing in grace and knowledge and joy and holiness.

- We will hear the sound of perfected souls singing His praises.

- This joy in God and union with Him will go on an on for all of eternity and it will never grow old.

If you're like me, you have a serious tendency to focus on the here and now. It makes you anxious and afraid and downright sinful. Being reminded that my soul needs to set itself up to hope in God and more specifically, the promise of eternity with Him has really helped.

Taking the time to consider why I should contemplate heaven and then how to even begin going about it has been crucial. I hope that you have found this series both helpful and inspiring.

This earth is quite the place. The good news is, we're just passing through!

Contemplating Heaven Series:

What I Learned in September

Monday, October 20, 2014

September 6, 2014
September 14, 2014
You all already know how great September was, so let's just get right to the list of things that I learned last month!

* Hawaiian Salted Caramel is better. It is less sweet and tastes a little nutty. If you're at a small coffee stand, ask for it!

* America reminded me that acid washed jeans are "back", mullets never left, and apparently three pairs of shorts are better than one (it helps if each pair is a little larger than the last). These fashions were spotted on people in the classiest of establishments, namely, Wal-Mart and KFC. So, obviously they are trends to keep up with.

* Test hot oil by placing a wooden spoon into it - if it sizzles it's ready, if not, keep waiting. I learned this once before, but I keep forgetting about it.

* Apparently, the Smithsonian is not one single museum in DC, but consists of 19 places and a zoo in New York. Correct me if I'm wrong, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this one!

* I was born on the 255th day of the year. 

* There are audio books of EB White reading Charlotte's Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, and Stuart Little. I checked several of them out from the library and they are MAGIC. There's just something about hearing someone read the books that they wrote. Oh, and White's accent is beautiful.

September 24, 2014

*You can make your own evaporated milk. AND pumpkin pie in a 9x13 works too!  I'll be posting about both of these tricks next month.

* I also "met" two new bloggers last month (Amber and Elena) thanks to Kiki's "The Circle" link upMy favorite thing about link-ups is meeting new people. Thanks, Kiki!

What are some of your favorite link ups?

PS: I added something new over the weekend, you might have noticed it below! You can read more about Engageya and find out how to add it to your site HERE