Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

strawberry pieY’all – this recipe is super quick and easy – but so tasty and PERFECT for summer!  This was written on a recipe card about ten years ago, so I don’t know the source…but had a lot of requests for the recipe so I thought I would share!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

Ingredients:
1 refrigerated pie crust (i use the refrigerated, but replace with your favorite pie recipe if you want to!)

For the filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

for the topping:
Strawberries – sliced
Strawberry Glaze – this is found in the produce section of the grocery store – usually next to the strawberries
**For this pie I used about 1/2 the tub of glaze (i don’t like a lot on ours) and about 2 cups of strawberries.  You can’t go wrong – just make it how you prefer!

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 450, and bake pie crust as directed.

Beat the cream until whipped in your mixer.  Empty the whipped cream into a separate bowl, and use the mixer bowl (no need to rinse!) to combine the other ingredients.  Combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until creamy and fluffy.  Fold in the whipped cream.  Place the whipped mixture in the bottom of your pie crust.

Combine the strawberries and glaze together in a bowl and place on top of the whipped cream mixture.  Chill the pie until ready to serve and ENJOY!

Lily & Lauren turn FIVE

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I probably say this every year….but I still remember my pregnancy with the twins and their birth so vividly.  I hope I never forget the details…it was truly special and such a miracle.  They have both been beautiful blessings to our family.
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Lily was born first and older by one minute.  She is competitive and loves sports, but she is sensitive and quiet at the same time.  She loves donuts and superheros.

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Lauren is my little diva.  She loves any thing Elsa (of course!), princess and high heels.  She is actually very athletic as well, but would rather play with dolls and fix her hair.   I love their sweet personalities and how God made each of them completely different, while looking so much alike!  
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I can’t believe they will be in Kindergarten next year…I always think of them as babies! I’m going to have a hard time with that one, but I am so excited for them to learn SO much.  They do have the fights, but they care so much about one another and have the most special bond.  So thankful for five years with these beautiful girls!
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Spring Photos

IMG_3387I love to take photos of the kids.  We just drive right across the street to the field, jump out and have tiny “mini sessions”. I love watching their personalities through the lens, and being able to capture some sweet moments!  Just wanted to share a few of my favorites!  I had a project in mind (collage wall) while taking these, and I love how it turned out!

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a love deeper than the sea…

image via pinterest
image via pinterest

It’s been a while since I have posted.  There isn’t a lot of time to blog these day, but truthfully….another reason I haven’t posted is because things just have been hard.  I’ve struggled so much with loneliness in the last few months….even more than usual.  I’ve struggled with negative thoughts.  I’ve struggled with patience….mostly with my children.  I’ve felt like a complete failure….as a wife….as a mom…as a daughter.  God has brought me through a lot of physical trials over the last few months, and has shown me His amazing love, and yet I’m always wanting more.  I always want to be accepted and loved by others…putting way too much importance and focus in that area of my life.

People ask me often how I do it all….having four kids and managing my own business as well.  From the outside…I’m sure it looks like I have it “all together”….but really…I don’t.  I get stressed….and extremely exhausted when I over commit.  God brought my appendectomy surgery surprise in December…which slowed me down for a few weeks, until I was back up to speed again.  Not to mention the fact that our sweet little Beckham has struggled with ear infections, RSV, and the flu TIMES TWO!  We have both visited the ER and Dr. offices a record breaking amount of times for only 2 months!  Sunday morning, I landed in the ER again….this time having an extremely fast heart rate that began on Friday.  When I say fast heart rate….it averages between 120-130, even while lying down.  This has happened randomly since I was a teenager.  Each time, it only lasts for a few hours…then subsides.  I have never had an EKG during the episodes until Sunday.  Everything life-threatening was ruled out, and after the heart rate was controlled, I was sent home with instructions to see my dr. as soon as possible. After my doctor reviewed the EKG the next day, she suspects I have a condition called SVT.  Nothing serious, but I will visit with a Cardio, and find out different ways to lower my heart rate the next time I have an episode.  I’m sure that all the stress I have put myself under contributed to the length of the episode.

I was in the ER for about 5 hours.  It felt like an eternity…and during that time I began to feel sorry for myself, the loneliness took over, and I felt completely hopeless.  I really just wanted to know why life has been so “hard” for us the last few months.  Self-pity…it’s a horrible struggle.

Thankfully God has been so faithful, and has brought so many instances, verses, songs into my life this week that have brought me back to reality.  Monday morning, I had to take Beckham to the ENT…I was so exhausted and didn’t know how I could do it all.  I saw my sweet OBGYN outside as I left the medical building…he greeted me with a hug and a kiss on the forehead.  He was an amazing Dr. during some very difficult pregnancies of mine…and a wonderful man of God!  I can’t tell you how much I needed that hug, and how perfect the timing was that I saw Him out there.  When I visited my Dr. monday afternoon, she said to me after listening to the events of the last couple months….”It seems like God gives us too much…more than than we can handle.  But He never leaves us alone…He walks with us through the trials.”  Amazing.  God brought two people into my life that very day to show me His love…and wrap His loving arms around me through His people.

I want to share some of the verses that have been such an encouragement to me this week.  I’m praying they will be an encouragement to you!

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” -Duet 31:6

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.” Jeremiah 17:7

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Rom 8:28

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” Ephesians 1:7

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” -Matthew 10:29-31

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:6-7

THIS SONG, Sovereign, by Chris Tomlin has been playing on repeat. It’s amazing. All my life…held in His hands.  All my dreams…held in His hands.

I am so thankful for the amazing truth that He is enough…and that His love for me is unconditional and SO VAST.  Nothing I can do will separate me from that love.  His plans, everything He brings into my life, everything He takes away….it’s for my good.  It’s for HIS glory.

My 24-day Advocare Challenge Results & Review

24 day resultsI gave an update a couple weeks ago on how my 24-day Advocare Challenge was going.  I was so proud to finish it over the weekend.  I’ll be honest, there were some tears shed, and there were a few days where things got ugly and I almost threw in the towel.  I wasn’t seeing any weight drop off, and I became very discouraged.  I struggle with the scale anyways….I wanted to see results….and many do see those results very quickly with the challenge (average weight loss on the Advocare 24-Day Challenge is 12lbs and 10 inches), so I was struggling with comparing my results to others as well!  I’m so glad I took the before and after photos, because you can most definitely tell a difference!

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I lost 2 pounds, and 7.5 inches.  The hips don’t lie…I lost almost 3 inches in that area alone!  Those chocolate chips were going straight to that area!  You can tell that my tummy looks less bloated as well as my face.  A bigger difference is in how I FEEL.  Before the challenge I was struggling with my mood, insomnia, energy throughout the day and struggling a LOT with emotional eating.  I could tell a difference within a few days….I had so much more energy, I didn’t feel tired throughout the day, and I was able to sleep through the night.  This is huge for me, as a busy mom of four trying to keep up!  I didn’t struggle giving up the diet coke and coffee as I have in the past, because the spark really got me through the day! I was able to get up when my alarm went off, which has also been a HUGE struggle for me in the last few months.

I ENJOY eating healthy again – fruit tastes amazing, and I am having so much fun finding recipes that my family likes that I can also eat as well!  Landon uses the Spark as well, and has eliminated all other drinks from his diet as well.  I love that he enjoys eating clean with me!

I wanted to answer a few questions that I had during the process:

Why did you have to purchase the challenge?  Couldn’t you have just done this on your own?
I have done a clean eating diet in the past, and it was wonderful for me, but I really needed a push.  I needed to spend the money and make the commitment so I would stick with it.  I don’t regret it one bit, and I will continue using Advocare products in my daily life (spark, catalyst, omegaplex).  I may even do another challenge again in the future!

What is the Advocare 24-day challenge and what does it consist of?
Advocare is a nutritional company, and the challenge consists of supplements and a nutrition program that helps give your body the jumpstart it needs to be healthy, and reach your goals.  It’s for weight management, energy, and overall wellness.  I chose it, because I needed the extra energy, nutrition, and I needed the commitment to cut the bad habits I had with diet coke and sugar.  You get to eat amazing, healthy and clean foods, and I never felt hungry because I was fueling my body correctly.

Did you cheat?
I had two decaf lattes made without milk during the process.  I also had three M&M’s on the last day of the challenge while I was in the hospital with Beckham.  That was it…and I didn’t even feel bad about those, because 95% of the time I was on track!

So here’s what the challenge contains:
Challenge
You can see the details here.  The first ten days of the challenge is the cleanse phase – which rids your body of so many toxins.  The second phase is the Max Phase – which gives you energy and revs up your metabolism.  It’s a lot of info, so go HERE to watch the challenge overview!

I’m still feeling GREAT and trying my best to eat clean, and stay away from sugar.  I did eat a “cheat” meal saturday night.  I got grilled chicken and sweet potato fries.  Innocent right?  We were eating with friends and in the middle started having some extreme stomach pains!  I seriously thought there was something wrong, I was so sick all night!  Lesson learned.

I am so excited about how amazing I feel, and I of course love to share anything that I find helpful with others!  I had a wonderful support system during my challenge, and a great facebook challenge group where everyone shared recipes, ideas, and encouragement! I would love to help you if you have any questions about the products or challenge.  I am a distributor, so I would love to help you if you are interested in purchasing the challenge!

Here are some of my favorite bloggers for inspiration and recipes!  You will be inspired by their transformations!
http://heylaurenrene.com/heathandfitness/
http://jennycollier.com/advocare-24-day-challenge/

Good Eats – Advocare 24-day Challenge

I’m currently on day 17 of my Advocare 24 Day Challenge.   Let me start with why I decided to join in the challenge….

Last June, I decided it was time to start taking control of my health.  I started running and Crossfit.  I went from working out occasionally, to working out 5-6 times a week.  I ran a half marathon in November, and I was proud to reach certain goals…but seeing NO change in my body AND I was feeling awful.  I became discouraged and really tried to clean up my diet.  My cupcake business started really picking up, and I found myself up late at night and very stressed out.  I would just eat whatever I could easilly access.  Usually sandwiches, crusts of PB&J, animal cracker and goldfish.  Oh, and diet coke by the 2-liter daily. I also picked up a coffee addiction…and decided I NEEDED a specialty blended coffee (sugar free of course) 4-5 times a week.  We really didn’t have the money to feed that addiction, so I would sell something on ebay or sell extra cupcakes to pay for my coffee in cash.  I was feeling sluggish, struggled with headaches and moodiness.  I was exhausted, and only getting a couple hours of sleep a night due to insomnia.  I saw my doctor, and she prescribed me with sleeping pills, which ended up causing some extreme anxiety for me.  I was a hot mess.

I needed an intervention…and I got one.  Christmas night, I got really sick and ended up having an appendectomy the next day.  I was discouraged – I knew that I would have to take it easy for a while.  I had talked to my friend Julia (and HUGE inspiration) a year ago about Advocare, and decided I finally needed a life change of my own.  I used my Christmas money to purchase my challenge, and I was EXCITED!

The challenge has been so great for me.  Eliminating the diet coke/coffee from my daily life has been so easy with the Spark drink.  It gives me a boost and I have energy for the entire day!  I haven’t had any withdrawals or cravings for diet coke, which is a MIRACLE.  Spark is my new best friend.  I also have no trouble falling asleep, staying asleep for the entire night, and am finally able to wake up to my alarm.  My stomach problems are cleared up and I feel AMAZING.  I haven’t had crazy results…2 pounds and 3 1/2 inches lost, but I have gained so much on top of that….better health!  My energy level is back and I feel so refreshed getting better sleep at night.

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I enjoy making healthy food as well and finding new recipes!  I wanted to share some links to some of my favorites!
Advocare Eats
Pesto Chicken Spaghetti Squash Bake – This was SO good – I love anything with pesto!
Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake – This really satisfied the craving for dessert.  I replaced the honey with a little stevia and left out the chocolate chips!
Banana Protein Pancake – This is my favorite go-to breakfast!
Quest Bars – I bake a lot of cupcakes.  So when the craving hits for chocolate, I eat half of one of these protein bars…they are even better microwaved for about 10 seconds!  SO GOOD!
Salad – I love my chicken salad with fresh berries, almonds and specialty vinaigrette!
Paleo Coconut Chicken – best ever….especially because the kids loved them too!
Ice Cream – Takes five minutes, no ice cream maker necessary! I don’t have the muscle gain, but I used a regular chocolate protein powder.  It was SO good and surprisingly filling!
Hummus-Crusted Chicken – I have made this about four times.  I could eat it for every meal!
“Baked” Apples – Apples, pecans, cinnamon, a sprinkle of stevia and oats.  Microwaved for about 3 minutes.  Clean comfort food.

I did become an Advocare distributor.  I would love to help you on a journey to better health!  Please just contact me with any questions, or if you would like more information!  I’ll post an update when my 24 day challenge is complete!