Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cream Cheese Frosted Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispie Treats

Because it is Autumn; Because I love all things Pumpkin; and because my sweet two year old baking assistant LOVES marshmallows, we spent a rainy morning creating these yummy Cream Cheese Frosted Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispie Treats.

Cream Cheese Frosted Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispie Treats


1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 box Instant Jello Pudding (Pumpkin Spice flavor)
*you could use French vanilla if you can't find the pumpkin flavor*
7-8 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
1 Bag Pumpkin Spice Flavored Marshmallows
1container cream cheese frosting
Cinnamon Sugar to dust on top


In a very large bowl, place 7-8 cups of Rice Krispies. Next, in a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter with the corn syrup over medium heat. Add the pumpkin spice marshmallows, and stir well. Add the vanilla extract, the pumkin pie spice and the dry pudding mixture. Stir until smooth. Pour the marshmallow/butter mixture over the cereal in your large bowl. Use a soft rubber spatula to stir the cereal gently, making sure to coat it completely. Spread the mixture evenly into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Let sit 15 minutes. Open your container of cream cheese frosting and spread it over the top of the Krispie treats. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar (mix 2-3 tablespoons sugar with one tablespoon cinnamon). Place pan in the refrigerator to set for at least 1 hour. Remove and slice into squares. Enjoy with a yummy cup of cocoa or a pumpkin spice latte :-).

Enjoy dearest friends! Remember that your job today is to HOPE in The Lord. He will sustain, strengthen, and love you with an EVERLASTING LOVE.

Jeremiah 31:3
Long ago the Lord said to Israel:“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Apple Pie Monkey Bread Bundles

For our Mothers of Preschoolers meeting tomorrow, I wanted to bring something new and yummy. I perused my pantry and fridge and came up with these wonderful goodies. I called them apple pie monkey bread bundles because they are like a cross between a hot apple pie and gooey monkey bread :-). Try them for your family this weekend. They will make your tummy happy, your home smell heavenly, and your heart smile as you watch the joy they bring to everyone who tries one :-). 

Have a Blessed Day dear friends! You are dearly loved and prayed for! God sings and dances over you with delight...remind your children of that often (they need the encouragment and love so much)!

Zephaniah 3:17
For the Lord your God is living among you
   He is a mighty savior
He will take delight in you with gladness.
  With his love, he will calm all your fears.
  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”


Apple Pie Monkey Bread Bundles

1 can Pillsbury Grands Biscuits (I used the Southern Style type)
4 apples, chopped finely 
2 teaspoons apple pie spice
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar mixture

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and chop four apples finely. Put the apples in a large bowl and add two teaspoons apple pie spice. stir gently. Drizzle 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping over the apples and gently stir. Open the can of biscuits. With a rolling pin, flatten each biscuit. Place a heaping spoonful of apples in the center of each biscuit. Fold up the sides of the biscuit and cinch them together with your fingers. Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Meanwhile, put 1/4 cinnamon sugar in a small dish. Take each biscuit bundle and dip it in the melted butter, coating all sides. Next roll the buttered bundle in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Coat a muffin tin generously with cooking spray. Place each bundle, seam side down in the tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes (until lightly browned). Enjoy this yummy breakfast treat!
Serves 8

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Triple Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies and Patience in the waiting


These cookies should come with a warning label...they are that AMAZING and VERY ADDICTIVE :-). I recently found this recipe on the baking blog, Bakergirl, and since I already had all of the ingredients in my pantry, I decided to give them a try. These cookies were shared with many people who almost instantly requested the recipe. So bake some today and share with friends and family....I promise these cookies will make you a star :-)! The original recipe can be found here:

Have a Blessed week dear friends! You are dearly loved and prayed for!

 This verse encouraged me so much today as we continue on our adoption journey ( and I wanted to share it in case any of you have been called by God and are growing impatient in the waiting.

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day." ~Habakkuk 2:3

Triple Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookies

1 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips or chunks
12-15 Oreos, roughly cut into quarters
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease baking sheets with 
no-stick cooking spray and set aside. 

In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar, 
eggs, and vanilla until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda,
 and salt. Slowly add to the sugar mixture and beat until 
well-combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips, Oreo chunks, 
and white chocolate chips until incorporated. Scoop out dough 
and roll into 2 tablespoons-sized balls. Place on baking sheet 
about 2 inches apart and slightly flatten with your hand. 

Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until done. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Apple Pie Brownies

I stumbled across a recipe for apple brownies that I tweaked, and the result was delicious. These brownies would be the perfect addition to a brunch or breakfast party. Their cinnamon scent smells just heavenly.

Enjoy! You are dearly loved by your Heavenly Father and prayed for daily. This song has blessed me this week given the many tragedies our country has faced recently.
Our God is always Faithful, and His love is unending!

Apple Pie Brownies


3/4    cup    butter ( (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened ) 
2    cups Light brown sugar 
2    eggs 
1    teaspoon vanilla extract 
2    cups flour 
1/2    teaspoon salt 
2    tablespoons baking powder 

1 can apple pie filling

2 tablespoons apple pie spice

Cinnamon sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, salt, apple pie spice and apple pie filling.  Mix well. Spread in a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Stella & Dot Adoption Fundraiser: Buy your "Emma Charity" Jewelry Now

We are so blessed to have a new friend, Ashley Jones, who has provided us with a wonderful fundraising opportunity for Emma's adoption. Ashley sells the beautiful Stella & Dot jewelry, and she is hosting an online jewelry party for us and donating her comission to Emma's adoption.

She and I have selected a few pieces from the Stella & Dot line that will be the "EMMA" line. Each piece holds special significance to our family regarding Emma's adoption. The Odette collection is the "INFINITY" line. Emma Charity which means "complete" or "infinite" "love".  Adoption is similar because you share God's infinite love with a child who has no one...crossing borders and loving completely. Within the Odette collection there are two infinity necklaces, three pairs of infinity earrings, an infinity bracelet/cuff, and an infinity ring to choose from. These items can be viewed here:

We are also offering the TREE OF LIFE charm necklace which signifies family and being rooted together in Christ despite distance or circumstance. It is available in sterling silver or bronze.

And, lastly there will be a child's bracelet, called the "Little Dottie". We chose this piece for all the precious little girls who love to dress up and wear jewelry and who will love that they have helped bring Emma home by choosing this special piece.

How can you shop?  It’s easy!  Head to  At the top you will see “Find your Hostess.”  Click there and type in Christina Burrell.  At that point you can browse the site and shop away!  You may find all the beautiful jewelry overwhelming so we chose a few pieces that have special meaning and will tie us all together for Emma.  The show is open to shop now and will close on April 29.

We will receive 100% of the commission from every item that you purchase and you will have a special piece of jewelry to remind you/link you to our princess from Moldova, Emma Charity. It is our hope that each time you wear the jewelry you will say a special prayer over our family.

The online party will remain open until April 29, 2013, so place your orders soon. Please feel free to share this blog post and the party link and details with your friends and family. Every order brings us closer to our Emma.

If you would like a flyer or more information on these items mailed to you, then please email me at If you have any questions, you can also call me at 956-566-6756.

Thank you so much for your consideration in buying an "EMMA" piece and for helping us spread the word by sharing the link and the party information. May God pour out His LOVE and BLESSING on each of you!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Our Moldovan Adoption-Online Auction for Awesome Items and Other Fundraising Opportunities

For those of you who do not know, we are in the process of adopting a little girl from Moldova. To read about our adoption story, visit our adoption blog here:

We have been so blessed to receive many wonderful things to auction off for Emma's Adoption costs. To everyone who has donated an item, we say "Thank You" from the bottom of our hearts! Each gift is a blessing.

The auction is now live. You can view the items here:

To bid, simply make a comment under the picture. The auction will run until Friday, March 15th at 10:00 p.m. (CST). At the conclusion of the auction, each winner will be contacted via email with instructions on how to pay for the item. If your item needs to be shipped, there is a shipping cost. Please pay for your items within 7 days via PayPal or a Check or Cash.

Please feel free to share the link with your friends, family, on your blog, etc... The more people who bid, the more money we will be able to raise for Emma's adoption. If you have any questions, contact me at

We ask for your prayers as we follow God's leading to Moldova. Pray for precious Emma to be surrounded with love and compassionate care while she is in the orphanage.

There are several ways that you can support our adoption financially.

One way that you can help support bringing Emma home to our family is by purchasing coffee from our store at: http:/
For every bag of coffee that you purchase, we will receive $5. Thank you so much for helping in this way. Please forward the link to everyone you know who likes coffee, hot cocoa, or tea. The coffee is absolutely delicious! My hubby is especially fond of the Rwandan.

We also have an online store where we are selling tshirts (both adoption-themed and Christian-themed). For every t-shirt you purchase, we will receive $8 to put towards our adoption. Please consider purchasing a shirt and forward the link to the store to your coworkers, friends, and family. The link to our store is:

If you feel led to just donate directly to our family, we promise you that 100% of your gift will go towards her adoption. You can contribute money by making checks out to Darin and Christina Burrell (please email me at to request our address) or through paypal at the paypal address:

Our greatest need is prayer-prayer of protection over Emma and prayers for God's provision and timing on the entire adoption process.

Thank you to everyone for your continual support, prayers, and love
Praying her home, Darin, Christina, Jaythan and Bella Joy

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Contributing to Beauty

Do you ever feel worn out, just burdened by so many things, on the verge of exhaustion, overwhelmed, inpatient, etc? If you are a Mama then the answer is "Yes". Lately, I have felt all these things, often at the same time. This morning in church, I could feel the tears on the crisp of falling. I fought to hold them in because I was fearful that if they started to fall it would be an avalanche of brokenness. I am not good at expressing my feelings or my hurts, and they often get bottled up inside only to surface at the most inappropriate times in a not-so-pretty manner.

Right now our family is burdened with two house payments, raising provisions for our adoption, health issues, family concerns, ongoing grief over our daughter in heaven, insecurities, and recovering from two months of sicknesses in our home. Exhaustion mentally, physically, and spiritually overwhelms daily.

So when I first heard this song, "Worn" last week, I felt like God was speaking clearly to me (song link is below). He is able to carry my burdens, to give me the rest I seek, to heal our sicknesses, to sell our home, to give peace in our grief. My God is Able in ALL things. How often I forget that.  I think as Christians we often get so consumed in our messy lives that we forget who can make beauty from those messes. God sees the final picture, and that picture is a beautiful masterpiece. My current messiness is just a small part that contributes to that final beauty. So, I can choose to see my discouragement and anxieties as contributors to beauty or as a mess. When I choose the "mess" option, my heart will feel the same-an utter mess. However, if I focus on who I know God to be (Faithful to keep His Promises; Able to perform miracles; Always Present with me; Always for me; Always loving me; Never giving up on me) then, and only then, can I view my circumstances as "contributors to beauty."

No matter what you face today, dear friends, your circumstance is a CONTRIBUTOR TO BEAUTY,  so surrender it to God. He is the only who can bring beauty from ashes and joy in the morning.

"Worn" by Tenth Avenue North

Romans 8:28
The Message (MSG)

26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Easy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie

My hubby loves chocolate and he loves cheesecake. Each year on his birthday and Valentine's Day I make him one of my famous from-scratch cheesecakes. They are enormous and take forever for him to eat (no one else in our family likes cheesecake). So this year, I experimented a little and came up with a quick, easy, homemade smaller version of his favorite dessert. He declared it to be absolutely amazing, and he says he looks forward to eating all eight small slices :-). This would be the perfect dessert to make when cooking dinner for a new mom or some one who is sick. It is delicious, easy, and the perfect size to share. 

Enjoy my friends! You are dearly loved by your Heavenly Father and prayed over! Zephaniah 3:17 reminds us that our Heavenly Father rejoices over us with singing! Wow! That humbles me with the knowledge that He loves me that much! How Awesome is our God!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Pie

Makes ones 8-inch pie
INGREDIENTS for Cheesecake:
  • 1 (8-inch) store-bought graham cracker crust – chocolate or regular*
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
INGREDIENTS for Chocolate Glaze:
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I use 1/3 cup chocolate chips)
  • ¼ cup whipping cream (or milk)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange 1/2 cup chocolate chips on the bottom of the crust.
Beat together cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Beat in egg, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix well.
Carefully pour on top of the chocolate chips in the crust.
Bake 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or just until set. Cool completely.
Melt the semi-sweet chocolate and whipping cream together over low heat, stirring often (I do this in the microwave for 45-60 seconds.
Pour over the cheesecake and then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips on top. Chill several hours before serving.
*NOTE: If making your own graham cracker crust, keep in mind that this recipe is designed for an 8-inch pie pan (and many pie pans are 9-inch). If you use a 9-inch, you will probably have to adjust the cooking time (and obviously, the finished product will be slightly thinner).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Chex Mix

I whipped up this super yummy and easy Valentine's Chex Mix this morning to share with friends and my family. The red and pink candy make it look so pretty-almost too pretty to eat :-).  Almost :-).

Mix some up to share and show God's love to others with a smile and a yummy treat that lets them know you are thinking of  them.

John 15:13 (the Message)
“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father."


Valentine's Chex Mix

1 box Rice Chex cereal
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup Valentine M&Ms
1/4 cup Valentines sprinkles or red and pink hearts
Place cereal in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, microwave the butter, peanut butter, and white chocolate chips uncovered on high 1 minute (stirring at the 30 second mark). Stir until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the cereal, stirring gently until all cereal is evenly coated.
Place 1/2 of the cereal in a paper lunch sack or gallon-sized ziploc bag. Add the 1/3 cup powdered suar. Seal the bag and shake until the cereal is coated with the sugar. Spread on wax paper or foil-lined cookie sheet to cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir the m&ms and the valentine sprinkles into the remaining cereal mixture. Spread on wax paper or foil-lined cookie sheet for 15 minutes to cool.
In a large bowl, mix both cereals together gently and then store in cute valentine themed bags or a sealed containers. Share with friends.
Makes 11 servings (1/2 cup each)

Toddler Valentine's Snack Mix

Today, I enjoyed making a yummy Valentine Snack Mix for my precious little Bella and her toddler MOPs class. Twice a month, I am blessed to attend Mothers of Preschoolers at our church. While Mommy gets some girl time, craft time, etc.., Bella enjoys playing with her toddler friends in Moppets. This Friday, we were asked to bring a Valentine Snack for the kiddos, so I whipped up this Valentine themed Cereal Mix that seemed age-appropriate for 18 month olds. You can adjust the mix with your favorite cereals or dried fruits. I have posted the recipe and a few pics below.

I am super blessed with a sweet toddler who loves giving kisses and hugs and loves her Mommy. She brings my heart so much JOY daily. She is a constant reminder to me of God's Abundant Love! I pray that each of you knows the depths of your Father's Great Love for you!

Ephesians 3:18

"And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is."

Toddler Valentine Snack Mix

1 box Elmo X&O cereal
1 box Strawberry Shredded Wheat
1 box Welch's Yogurt Covered Strawberry Fruit Snacks
1 cup Craisins
1 cup Valentine M&Ms
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl gently, and then store in bags or an airtight container. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mocha Cappuccino Munch

My dear hubby has been out of town for work all week, and I miss him tremendously. Thankfully, he is coming home tonight so I whipped up this yummy treat as a surprise. He loves mocha cappuccinos and chocolate so this is the perfect combo for him.

Blessings my dear friends! You are deeply loved and prayed for by your Heavenly Father.

Mocha Cappuccino Munch
1 box Rice Chex
1 Tablespoon instant coffee
2 Tablespoons very hot water
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Jif Chocolate Silk Peanut Butter
2 cups powdered confectioners sugar
1 bag chocolate covered espresso beans or mini espresso cups (found at Walmart or the Dollar Tree)

In a microwaveable safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, chocolate silk peanut butter, and butter. Microwave for 1 minute and stir. Stir ground coffee into the two tablespoons hot water until the coffee is dissolved. Add the coffee and the shortening to the chocolate mixture and microwave for 45 seconds more. Stir until smooth. Place the rice Chex in a large bowl. Pour the chocolate mixture over the top and gently stir until all cereal is coated. Place the powdered sugar in a large plastic bag or paper sack.  Spoon the Chex mix into the bag. Shake until everything is coated. Spread onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and let set. Sprinkle the chocolate covered espresso beans over the mix. Spoon into storage containers. Store in a sealed container for 7 days. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

God is My Refuge, my Constant, my Hope!

In the past five years our family has experienced heartache,the loss of a daughter, a new job and subsequent move, many changes, a crazy adoption journey, redirection and financial uncertainty. Each day, I wake up, and my only choice is to surrender to the fact that God sees it all and He is my only CONSTANT and He is Always, Always in Control.

In recent months, there has been one resource that has helped me trust God more completely and run to Him and Him only on the days when I feel so overwhelmed. I have been so blessed to be a part of the review team for a new 12 week Devotional entitled "God is My Refuge" by author, Kathy Howard (

I recently blogged about how much Kathy's chapter on Healing had ministered to me on a day when I was feeling so very weak and burdened. You can read about that here:

If you are struggling with fear, brokenness, worry, illness, weariness (this applies to all us mamas :-)), grief, discontentment, temptation, loneliness, or facing troubles of all kinds, then this devotional will be a huge blessing to your soul. Below I have included an interview with author, Kathy Howard, so you can understand more about the book and her heart for helping women find refuge in God through prayer, time in His Word, and scripture memorization.

I pray you each consider using this resource in your daily quiet time. I wanted to share one of my favorite worship songs that helps me remember that God alone is my REFUGE and NOT FOR A MOMENT WILL HE FORSAKE ME. Blessings dear friends!
"Not For A Moment" by Meredith Andrews:

God Is My Refuge: 12 Weeks of Devotions and Scripture Memory for Troubled Times

Interview with the author, Kathy Howard

1. How can this devotional book help and encourage Christian women?
Christian women are not immune to trials and difficulties. In fact, Jesus clearly warned His followers that we will have trouble. We live in a fallen world and the effects touch everyone. However, believers have a safe place to go in the midst of trouble. Our God invites us to take refuge in Him. He is our “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.”
Most Christians believe God can help, but many don’t know where to go in the Bible to find the comfort, peace, and guidance He longs to give. God Is My Refuge provided the direction Christian women need to discover, understand, and apply the “ever-present help” only God can give.
2. What makes God Is My Refuge different from most other devotionals?
God Is My Refuge is more of a purposeful quite time guide. The overall intent for the book is to help women discover the help God offers in times of difficulty. Each day’s devotion includes the following components:
• Scripture reading of 5 to 8 verses
• Brief illustration and commentary on the verses
• Three questions for personal reflection and application
• Prayer prompt
• Memory Minute
Each of the 12 weeks focuses on a specific area of trouble like financial need, illness, broken relationships, grief, or fear. Each week highlights a verse that the reader is encouraged to memorize to internalize God’s truth. The daily “Memory Minute” gives quick, practical steps to facilitate memorization.
3. Tell us about how God used this book in your life while you were writing it.
Not long after I began working on this devotional our family entered a time of crisis. God used every moment I spent searching His Word and studying His promises to minister to me in my time of trouble. I needed what I was preparing for others. He comforted me with His Words of love. He filled me with the peace that can only come from Him. He strengthened me with the presence of His Spirit. God has truly been my refuge and ever-present help.
4. This devotional includes a Scripture memory component. Why is this important?
Memorizing God’s Word solidly entrenches it in your heart and mind. When you internalize His truth like this, God can use it to minister to you in powerful and personal ways:
• Provide you with comfort, encouragement, peace, and strength (Col 3:15-16; Ps 1:1-3)
• Give you guidance and wisdom (Ps 37:31; Ps 119:24, 98, 105)
• Foster your spiritual growth (2 Tim 3:16-17; Heb 4:12; 1 Pet 2:2)
• Prepare you to share your faith with others (1 Pet 3:15; Acts 18:28)
• Fill you with joy and pour out His blessings (Ps 119:24, 47, 103; James 1:21-25)
5. Memorizing Scripture overwhelms many Christians. How does God Is My Refuge help readers overcome this?
Memorizing Scripture is often overwhelming because we are looking at the “big chunk.” We see the end – having a verse or section memorized – and think “there’s no way I can do that!” You’ve heard the old saying about how to eat an elephant? The answer is “one bite at a time!” The same is true with memorizing Scripture. This devotional gives readers small, daily, doable steps to help them succeed. One bite at a time, until the verse is memorized! We also review all the verses throughout the course of the devotional to help them stick.
6. What is main takeaway of God Is My Refuge?
Christians will have trouble in this world, but God is there is help us in the midst of it. He will not leave us to stumble around on our own. He has the desire and power to help us. We just have to turn to Him. This devotional helps us do just that!
For more information about God Is My Refuge, and to download a free day’s devotional, visit Kathy’s website:
To purchase a copy of God Is My Refuge on Amazon:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Goodwill Boutique! What a Discovery! Oh the Joy of Thrift Store Shopping!!

This Saturday, I was blessed with some free time after my hair cut appointment. Because every mama knows that you cannot shop for clothes for yourself when accompanied by your mischevious 18 month old :-). My husband was watching our precious kiddos, and I stopped by our new local GW Boutique. It is a new store that Goodwill is trying out in select markets. They only sell new with tags or like-new Women's clothes, shoes, purses, and jewlery from upscale stores like Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, Talbots, Hollister, Banana Republic, the Gap, etc..

Oh my! Let me just say that the GW Boutique is AMAZING and will be my go-to place to shop for clothes. I have visited several local thrift stores in the area with the hopes of finding cute clothes for myself without spending too much money. Finances are tight when you are a stay-at-home mama with two kiddos, two house payments, and an upcoming adoption (but that doesn't mean that I have to sacrifice looking cute :-)). I have visited Plato's Closet and the Clothes Mentor, but, honestly, I was disappointed in both. Their clothes were not in great condition, and they seemed overpriced. I can often get a better deal at the retail stores with my coupon codes. But, then I discovered the GW!

The GW Boutique sells high end new (with the retail tags still attached) and like-new women's clothes super cheap (nothing over $8.99). I got 7 items (all brand new with tags) from Anthropologie, Gap, Calvin Klein, Hollister, Aeropostale, Chicco, and Ann Taylor for less than $50.00 total! I just wanted to share my finds in case there are other blessed mamas' out there who could use a wardrobe update but don't have a lot of money to spend. Don't be afraid to check out the thrift stores in your area. You may even have a local Goodwill Boutique. You can find your local stores by searching here: Just remember that there are regular Goodwill stores and then there are these new speciality boutiques. Here are my awesome finds:

New with Tags ANN TAYLOR Jacket
(this has the CUTEST bubble sleeves and FUN buttons)

GORGEOUS New with Tags Velvet Swing Coat from ANTHROPOLOGIE (brand FREE PEOPLE)

Close-Up pic of the BEAUTIFUL Buttons on the Anthropologie Coat

CUTE New with Tags Ivory Sweater/Cardigan from Hollister

New With Tags Blue CALVIN KLEIN Super Soft Long-Sleeve Shirt

CUTE New with Tags Navy Swing-Sleeved Cardigan from CHICOS

 Basic Long-Sleeved New with Tags T-Shirt from the GAP

ADORABLE New with tags long, super soft cardigan from AEROPOSTALE
Thrift stores rock and totally help this mama wear cool clothes on a tight budget :-). Do any of my awesome readers have any thrift store tips or experiences to share for this newbie?  I love a good bargain!

Have a BLESSED day my beautiful friends!

Colossians 3:12-14 (The Message)

"So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it."


Thursday, January 31, 2013

100 Day of School Creativity

My son's Kindergarten class is celebrating the 100th day of school this Friday. We turned to Pinterest and found some super cute ideas. My son wanted a red shirt with 100 Googly eyes so we found a shirt and the eyes at Michaels for less than $5 total. We had fun drawing the shape of a silly monster with teeth onto the shirt. We just used a black sharpie marker, and it worked great. My son attends a private Christian school, and each week they memorize a different verse so we added the verse from 1 Corinthians 2:9 “No EYE has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” Next, we just hot-glued the 100 Googly eyes randomly inside the monster shape. The shirt turned out super cute, and my six year old is so excited to be a Googly-Eyed Monster on Friday :-).

We decided to make a fun and yummy treat for his classmates as well. I took snack-sized ziploc bags and put Keebler fudge sticks as the number 1 and two Keebler fudge stripe cookies as the two zeros. We put labels on the bags that said, "I am blessed 100 times to have you as my friend". He can't wait to share them with his friends on Friday. 
I love that his class is celebrating little and big holidays. I love celebrations because it brings smiles to my children, helps them feel special and loved, and teaches them to show love to others.
Have a BLESSED day, my Friends. You are prayed for and loved dearly by your Heavenly Father!!
Rest in this Amazing Promise today:

1 Corinthians 2:9

“No EYE has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Create-Your-Own Crock Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal

Create-Your-Own Crock Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal
Serves: 4

3 cups milk of your choice (vanilla almond milk tastes yummy)
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
Custom ingredients of your choice (see below)

Combine all ingredients in your crockpot or slow cooker, put the lid on and cook on low for three hours. Do not stir. Use a 3 qt crock pot for the four serving size. If you double the recipe, cook for 5-6 hours and use a 5 qt or larger crock pot.

Customizable Ingredients:
*Cinnamom Raisin: add raisins before cooking. Stir in ground cinnamon and sweetener of choice (sugar, brown sugar, or honey) after cooking.
*Apple Pie: peel 2 small apples, chop in small pieces, and add them to the uncooked ingredients along with 1 teaspoon apple pie spice. After cooking, add 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar to the hot oats and stir.
*Mounds Bar: Add shredded coconut, sweetener of choice, and 1/4 cup chocolate chips after cooking. Use coconut milk as your milk of choice and top with slivered almonds before serving.
*Pumpkin Pie: add 2 Tablespoons pumpkin pie spice before cooking. After cooking, stir in 1/2 cup pumpkin.
*Mocha chocolate Chip: add 1 tablespoon espresso powder or instant coffee before cooking. Sprinkle with 1/4 chocolate chips before serving.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

God is My Refuge when I am Weak and there Seems to be No Hope; He is Still God and He is Able

God is My Refuge when I am Weak and there Seems to be No Hope;

He is Still God and He is Able

I have been so blessed to be a part of the review team for Kathy Howard's new devotional entitled "God is my Refuge-12 weeks of Devotions and Scripture Memory for Troubled Times".
I never imagined how much God would speak to my heart as I journeyed through the devotional. He has healed hurts, strengthened my heart, given me a new hope, and helped me to forgive and give grace to others.

For those of you who do not know our story, we lost a daughter in 2008, and we are currently in the midst of a very emotional adoption journey (we were one of the family's who were adopting from Russia :-().

Our daughter who lives in Heaven was named Savannah Grace, and her story can be found here:
We have named the daughter we are adopting, Emma Charity, and our journey to her can be found here:

This morning, I found myself on week four of Kathy Howard's devotional which deals with "Healing". Day 3 is called "When I am Weak" and the scripture reference is 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. The main focus of today's lesson was verse 9. We named our daughter Savannah Grace because it means "abundant grace" and we clung to that scripture and the promise that "His Grace is sufficient for us because His power was made perfect in our weakness." During the rough pregnancy as I dealt with the reality of Savannah's fatal diagnosis, I desperately needed God's grace and His power in my weakness. God did not heal our daughter on earth, but He healed her by taking her to be with Him. Would that have been my choice? No :-(. But, do I trust Him? Yes.

So, four years after her death, God reminded me through today's message that He remembers, He knows my grief, and His love for me is unending. I miss my baby girl daily, with some days being harder than others. The ache and longing are ever-present, but God's grace and love are even greater and they give me strength to keep going. My sweet Savannah gets to spend her days dancing with Jesus - how I long for the day when I get to join them.

Today's devotion was a sweet reminder to my heart that "In any situation, God may choose to physically heal or to respond with 'My grace is sufficient for you'. Either way, He is seeking to work His purposes in your life. Either way, you can experience His power and His love. Either way, God is still God, and He is still able." This last statement especially resonates with me right now as we trust and wait on God to bring our adoptive daughter home. He is still God; and He is still able; and He will bring our Emma home to our hearts. In His perfect timing, in His perfect way.

One of the Reflection questions in today's lesson was "Can you think of any ways God has used this situation in your life or the lives of others to carry outHis greater purposes."
This question reminded me of all the "good" He has brought out of Savannah's life. Because of my loss, I have a greater compassion and I have been able to pray for, listen to, and encourage other women who have lost children. As I have encouraged others, my heart has also received blessing and has been strengthened and healed even further. God used Savannah to teach me the depths of His love and the intimacy found in complete surrender to His Will. God is using our crooked and long journey to Emma to reveal His purpose, His plan, and the comfort we find in abiding in His peace.

My friends, His Grace is ALWAYS SUFFICIENT! I encourage you today to cling to Him-He is your Refuge in the storm, in the sickness, in the hurts, in the sorrows and the tears. He will not forsake you.

I love the song by the Maranatha Praise Band, "You are My Refuge."