Apple Fritter Quick Bread

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Apple is my new pumpkin….at least for now.  I usually have a major pumpkin obsession, but I guess baby Beckham prefers apples and cereal.  I have at least 1 apple and 3 bowls of cereal a day!  I saw this on Pinterest, and knew I had to make it right away.  It’s scrumptious, easy and you will probably have everything you need to make this bread in your pantry!  Hope y’all have a wonderful weekend!

Apple Fritter Quick Bread
Recipe from Rumbly in my Tumbly

Makes 1 9×5- inch loaf

Ingredients:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 apple, peeled and chopped (i used gala), mixed together with 1 Tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1-3 Tablespoons of milk or cream

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

Beat the white sugar and butter together until creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated.  Add the vanilla.

Mix the flour and baking powder together in a bowl.  Stir into the butter mixture.  Add the milk and mix until smooth.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.  Add half the chopped apples and half the brown sugar mixture.  Pour the remaining batter over those layers, then top with the remaining apples and brown sugar mixture.  With a knife, swirl over the top of the batter.

Bake for 30-45 minutes until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow to cool before drizzling with glaze.  Enjoy!

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Glory to God

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Motherhood.  It’s one of the most amazing gifts God has given me.  It’s also one of the hardest responsibilities that God has ever entrusted me with.  Although there are so many rewarding times, there are some very trying times.   You know that you can’t give up, that you must keep going, and when you are at the end of yourself….you cry to God for help.

Something God has been teaching me in the last few weeks is how little I depend on Him when times are “good”.

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Honestly, I have forgotten what it feels like to feel “normal”.  Sometimes I pray that I can just get out of bed to get the girls ready and to school each morning.  The last six weeks our home has been plagued with sickness – from stomach viruses, bronchitis, respiratory infections and ear infections.  For the last couple months, I have gotten about 4-6 hours a sleep a night of very interrupted sleep.  Sometimes I feel that I can barely stand up, much less take care of the needs of 3 young kids. I started to question God…..I started to feel sorry for myself….I started to get very discouraged.  Then I realized….this is exactly where God wants me to be right now.  I know He has put me in this place so that I will learn to depend and trust in Him.   The most important thing during this trial (or any trial) is how I respond.  How I react to every situation, how I trust Him to take care of us, and how I have JOY through this time.  My children will see and learn.

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As I look back at the last couple months, I realize how many blessings God has given to me.  My husband – Landon and I will be married for six years in November….out of those six years, I have been pregnant and sick for approximately 776 of those days! He has continued to show compassion and love to me.  My beautiful children – They have been such a blessing to me.  I’m still amazed that God has blessed me with three sweet girls, and one sweet little boy on the way.  Our church – We have only been going to our church for about six months, but the relationships that we have already developed have been such an encouragement to me.  I mentioned that our small group has been reading The Red Sea Rules.  This has been the perfect study for me during this time.  I realize that my “red sea” right now isn’t magnificent in comparison to others, but it has been something very hard for me to go through.

I was reminded on Sunday through our study to “be more concerned for God’s glory that my relief”.  wow.

His plan is so perfect for our lives.  If He brings us through suffering, it is so we can see how amazing His love and grace is for us.  It is so that we can ultimately give Him glory.

Here’s a little bit from chapter 2:

“The Lord devises ways of turning difficulties into deliverances and problems into praise.  He gives beauty for ashes and an attitude of worship for the spirit of heaviness.  He will glorify His name in the lives of His children, whatever their afflictions.  He will gain honor for Himself over our adversarial situations.  In the process, He will leave behind such blessings as make the burdens melt away like wax in the sunshine.”

My prayer is no longer for Him to take the suffering away, but that I will hold on to His promises….to glorify Him in this situation….to have joy….and to give thanks.

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Easy S’mores Brownies

Happy Monday!  I just dropped Brooke off at school, went to wal-mart where I also saw a dear friend, and stopped at the bank….all the while wearing two completely different pairs of shoes.  The best part about that is that I didn’t even realize they were different until I got home and spilled a 9×13 pan full of dirty water out of the sink onto my shoes, pants and kitchen floor.  Laughing so hard right now.  I made these brownies last week, but if I had some sitting around, I would most definitely be eating them for breakfast!  Brownies are my weakness, and I really try not to have them around the house.  I probably shouldn’t leave the house again today.  🙂

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I always have a box of this fudge brownie mix in my pantry…it’s Landon’s favorite, and its EASY.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest, and had to try it out.  It’s very quick, easy and tasty.  I love how the graham crackers and marshmallows bake up in the middle!

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Easy S’mores Brownies
Recipe from Tablespoon

Ingredients:
1 box of fudge brownie mix family size (including the eggs and oil that the recipe calls for)
1 package graham crackers
2 cups mini marshmallows

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

Prepare the brownie mix according to the instructions on the package and pour about half of the batter into the pan.  Top the batter with a single sheet of graham crackers.  Sprinkle marshmallows on top of graham crackers.  Drizzle the remaining batter on top of the marshmallows (it may not cover completely, that will be ok!).

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges are crisp and the center is set.  I shook the pan to make sure there wasn’t any “jiggle” since the toothpick method will not work as the marshmallows will be melted.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool, cut and ENJOY!

Baby Bump Update – 30 Weeks

30 weeks….3/4 of the way there!  63 days left till we kiss those little cheeks.  In two weeks I’ll have my last ultrasound.  I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve seen him, I can’t wait to see him one last time before the big day.  Everything is looking great growth wise for our little man according to measurements and heart rates.  I never really have to do kick counts, because he is ALWAYS moving.  I find that rather comforting, even though that means I have to go to the bathroom every five minutes.  My belly is feeling very “full”.  I rarely look at the camera due to sleep deprivation and major bags under my eyes, but I’m really going to miss feeling him kick and all the little hands that gravitate to my belly throughout the day.  I have to say that this is my easiest pregnancy compared to the others.  As I thought about it more this week, I think it is almost equivalent to the pregnancy with Brooke.  It seems easier probably due to the fact that I have the three littles to keep me going, and I KNOW that there is such a great reward at the end of this pregnancy.

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I still have major cereal cravings.  I have moved on from Kashi, and just eat whatever sugary cereal has the extra box top points on it at the grocery store.  This week I’m munching on Lucky Charms & Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Healthy, I know.  Sometimes I add bananas to my cereal for extra nutrition. Lily cries if her lucky charms has marshmallows in it (?!?), so I get extra in my bowl at breakfast. Around 1 or 2 in the morning, you will find me at the computer desk, half asleep while eating cereal out of a dixie cup and cruising Pinterest.  Sometimes I find little pieces of cereal on the floor the next morning.  I must be so tired I miss my mouth, but never too tired to get a snack.

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Here’s some sweet conversations with the girls…

“What are you going to do when you meet Beckham at the hospital?”
“I’m going to hug him really little.” -Brooke
“I’m going to hold him.” – Lily while she cradles her hands and smiles really big

Lily showing me how she will rock Beckham
Lily showing me how she will rock Beckham

“Why don’t you talk to Beckham…he loves to hear you talk”
“WAKE UP BECKHAM, PLEASE COME OUT NOW” – Lauren, in a monster voice straight into my bellybutton

“Where is Beckham going to sleep when he comes home?”
“In my bed with me and my baby” -Lily, who sleeps on the top bunk

“What do you think Beckham is going to look like?”
“He is going to look like Barney” – Lauren

Well, I sure hope he doesn’t look like Barney, but I can’t wait to see his sweet little face.  I look forward to that moment the girls finally get to meet him too.  I never expected them to be so interested in my pregnancy and be so excited about someone they can’t see.  I’m sure that times will get pretty crazy, but God has just blessed our family with such sweet children.

A session with Lauren Grace & a few photography “tips”

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I’ve had a lot of questions on what camera I use, editing program, etc, so I thought I would post some answers along with these photos I took of Lauren a few nights ago.   These are some of my favorite photos of her…she is a natural beauty!

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Camera // Canon T3
Lens that I use most of the time // 55mm
Editing Program // Lightroom

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My goal in improving my photography is not to become a professional photographer, but to capture our family in photos.  My biggest “tip” in taking photos of the girls is to have fun!  When I first got my camera (last November), I would get stressed out when the girls wouldn’t cooperate.  What’s so nice about having my own camera, is that I can just take photos whenever the opportunity arises.  Our “sessions” are never longer than about ten minutes. I let the girls do their thing, and I Just shoot around them.  It’s so fun to capture their personalities this way!  They LOVE taking photos now, and I think it’s mostly because it is fun for them….and sometimes I have a special piece of candy to reward them with.

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The only photography class I have been able to take is a beginner’s class with my favorite photographer Stephany.  I only had a point and shoot at that time, but it was so helpful to learn the basics.  I still pull my notes out and study them.  I would love to take her advanced class one day!

Here are a few helpful websites I have referred to:

Kevin & Amanda // I love their blog for recipes and photography.  They have a great article on understanding your DSLR.  You can also click on any of their pictures and see the camera/settings they used for each one.  Super helpful!

Censational Girl // She has a lot of great blog posts on photography tips, shooting in manual, and much more!

Pinterest and YouTube are also great sources!

before and after in lightroom
before and after in lightroom

For Editing I use Lightroom (click on the link to download a free trial!).  It’s very user friendly and easy to use.  I really only know how to do the basic fixes right now, but hope to have time to learn more in the future.  It’s a great tool!  I have only purchased a few presets, but I have downloaded several free presets that I use often.  It’s amazing how a few quick fixes can transform a photo!

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I hope that answers a few questions!  My goal is always to improve, and I really need to work on taking my camera out and snapping more photos.  Our T3 is a great basic camera, and I am SO thankful for the beautiful photos I’ve been able to take with it so far!

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies

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Salted Caramel is one of my favorite flavors of fall.  When I saw these cookies on Kevin & Amanda’s blog I knew I had to make them!  Because I Have little patience, I didn’t wait for my browned butter to cool before mixing the cookie dough.  My chocolate chips melted and made more of melded brown cookie, but the flavors were still excellent!  I added a few chocolate chips to the top, but next time I’ll wait for the butter to cool.  I’m all about chocolate chunks in my cookies.  🙂  Hope y’all are having a wonderful week!!!

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Brown Butter Salted Caramel Mocha Cookies
Recipe from Kevin & Amanda

Ingredients:
2 sticks of salted butter
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
2 Tablespoons of instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup caramel bits
1 cup chocolate chunks or chips
Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Once the butter starts to foam, begin whisking constantly.  When the butter turns brown, fragrant, and you see little brown bits, remove from the heat and transfer to the mixing bowl.  Allow the butter to cool.

Whisk the flour, coffee, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In your mixer beat the butter and sugars until the are well combined, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg, yolk and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined.  Stir in the caramel and chocolate chunks.

Use a medium (1.5 TBSP) cookie scoop to place dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown.  Sprinkle the cookies with sea salt immediately and cook on a wire rack.

ENJOY!!!

Lessons through Brooke

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The last couple months have been a struggle for me as a mom.  I can’t blame it on my pregnancy hormones, being sick, no sleep, etc.  It’s really a product of my own sin.  My biggest area of struggle is with my oldest daughter.  She is such a sweet, sensitive, thoughtful and caring little girl.  The areas where she struggles the most is where she is most like ME.  For some reason, that has just made me very angry.  I didn’t really realize the connection until I sat down and thought about it.  I am hard on Brooke.  I feel like I am constantly disciplining, correcting and getting upset with her….and she isn’t listening.  Last week I made a conscious effort to spend time with her, work on patience, disciplining in love, etc.  Her statement over the weekend to someone was “mommy is always mad at me”.  When I heard this, I unravelled.  I may have cried for two hours straight, just thinking I was the most terrible mother ever.  Who am I becoming to her?  Have I ruined my daughter?  Does she not know I love her?

She is becoming who she sees in me.  I have failed in areas, but you know what the greatest comfort is to me right now?  God’s grace and forgiveness.  It’s free, its abundant and it covers all our sins.  Brooke needs to see forgiveness, grace and love from me like I have received so many countless times from my Father.  I can’t change the last couple months, but I can change right NOW.

God has been so gracious to our family this last six months.  We started going to a new church, and we have been SO blessed through our church family.  One way that God has been growing us is through our new small group.  We are studying The Red Sea Rules  together, a book on ten God-given strategies for difficult times.  Each couple in our group has been through various trials, and it’s amazing to see where God has led them and what He has taught them through those trials.  Last night in our meeting we studied Rule 1 : “Remember that God, in His overruling providence, has allowed you to be where you are at this moment”.  It was so encouraging for me to know that God has forgiven me, that He has given me grace, and that He has never left me alone – even in my darkest moments!   This trail with my daughter has taught me a lot about who I am, and areas that I need to change.  I want my children to see Christ in me, and there are some areas that I really need to work on.  I want them to love them, discipline them in love, forgive them, and give them grace.

“The Steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
FOr the LORD upholds him.”
Psalm 37:23-24

As much as I love to share recipes, DIY projects, and photos…I really love to share what God is teaching me with y’all.  It’s hard sometimes to be transparent, but we are all growing and learning.  I love to look back at past posts and see what God was doing in our lives at the time.  My hope is that these posts are an encouragement to you!

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