Ham and Spinach Breakfast Casserole – THM S

Quick, easy, one-dish meals are such a blessing! Wednesdays are pretty busy for our family. They usually consist of school, archery club, piano lessons and visit from my awesome uncle, and church. There is only a small window of time to cook dinner, so I’m always looking for meals that take very little prep and cook time and clean up. Because they are easy, scrambled eggs and bacon are a regular on Wednesday nights for us. Although my family could eat bacon every single day of the week, scrambled eggs can get old quickly.

This week, I had some delicious leftover ham, and I got the bright idea to make a breakfast casserole. My sweet husband, children, and I devoured the whole thing.

ham and spinach breakfast casserole watermarked

Ham and Spinach Breakfast Casserole

Serves 6-8 THM S

12 eggs

½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

2 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

1 tsp Onion powder

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

¼ cup feta cheese

1 cup chopped spinach

1lb diced ham

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, yogurt, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Add cheeses, chopped spinach, and ham. Stir until mixed well. Pour into a greased 11×9 casserole dish. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. For the Trim Healthy Mama plan, serve with ½ cup of berries and/or sautéed veggies.

It only dirties a dish or two, and the prep time is quick as well. On a busy evening, you can just shove it in the oven and let it cook while you get ready for church, or take care of some other mom duties. You can serve it up on paper plates to make the cleanup even easier. That’s my kind of meal!

ham and spinach breakfast casserole.2 watermarked

Peanut Butter Cookies – Low Carb, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, THM S

A sweet aroma is in the air… Well, love is in the air too since it is Valentine’s Week. Today, I’m sharing a new cookie recipe I’ve been making for my sweet valentines lately. It’s a delicious peanut butter cookie recipe that is healthy, sugar free, gluten free, and low carb. For Trim Healthy Mamas, these cookies are a satisfying S that shows how much you love yourself and your family.

pb cookies 1

Peanut Butter Cookies, low carb, sugar free, THM S

½ cup butter

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup Gentle Sweet and 1-2 tsp for garnish

1-2 doonks pure stevia extract

1½ cups Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend

½ tsp mineral salt

¾ cup sugar free peanut butter

2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

*optional ½ cup Lily’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chips

Using mixer, cream butter, gentle sweet, and stevia. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Mix in peanut butter. Add baking blend, baking powder and salt. Stir in optional chocolate chips. Scoop tablespoon-sized amounts of dough and roll into a ball and place on prepared cookie sheet or stoneware. Gently smash down with fork and sprinkle each one with gentle sweet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

Enjoy!

Encouragement for “One of Those Days”

One of Those DaysEver have “one of those days”? Lately, I’ve been having them often. Attempting to balance homeschooling, taking care of my family, and now a business, is taking its toll on me some days. Running a business is a full time job in and of itself, but it’s not my primary calling. Some days I feel like a stretched out piece of elastic that has lost it’s elasticity. I can’t bounce back enough to benefit anyone.

How do you possibly do everything on your list when you have more tasks than there are hours in a day? Other than starting your day with The Lord, giving Him control of your day, and prioritizing, I really don’t have the answer. That’s okay…sometimes there isn’t an immediate and tangible answer. Sometimes we just need hope and encouragement to help us persevere.Keep your quiet moment appointments with The Lord. Read and pray on the scriptures below, and rest in their wisdom and promises. Remember God always keeps His promises.

  • I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
  • The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
  • God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  • Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
  • I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
  • So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Hebrews 13:6
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
  • Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
  • In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5
  • For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear.  I will help you.” Isaiah 41:14
  • He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Hang in there, my friends! Remember, God is faithful!

You Are Valued

sparrow

Overwhelmed, underappreciated, worn out, and lonely–that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. My list of daily responsibilities has grown to an all-time high, and I’ve been feeling buried in the avalanche. Through prayer, The Lord has told me to let go of several responsibilities. The smaller ones have been easy to drop, but I have a few that are rather large obligations that can’t be let go of overnight. I need to find someone to step into the role, and I’ve been having a hard time finding the right person or remedy for the jobs.

I know God’s timing is everything, so I am trying to wait patiently. However, there are days when the responsibilities get the best of me and the tears flow like a fountain. The Father has been gently nudging me and reminding me that He is walking with me through this season.

Stop by Raising Homemakers to read more: here.

Transitioning from Christmas Decor to Winter

I am probably the only person who will say this, but I miss my farmhouse Christmas decorations that I shared with you here. As January rolls around and we wind down from Christmas and New Years, our home looks so bare after we pack away the Christmas decor. This year I decided I wanted to keep some semblance of winter and the outdoors.

I tried to repurpose things for the sake of my budget, but I did add something new to our winter decor. Neutrals accessories are a great way to celebrate winter. Personalized pillows are great because you can use them year round. I decided to make this personalized pillow to celebrate my sweet marriage. We will be married exactly 23 1/2 years on Valentine’s Day! You can make one easily with materials for a pillow, a vinyl cutter like a Silhouette Cameo. You can also order one like this or request a custom design here.

pillow couple date watermarked

There’s nothing wrong with repurposing, so that’s what i did with my garlands, pinecones, and snowflakes from my Christmas decor.

Moving snowflakes from the tree to our china cabinet was easy. I simply tied them from some twine. I used a couple of the grapevine wreaths but removed the holly, berries and ribbon.

winter china cabinet decor

Making a snowflake garland took me less than ten minutes by simply stringing plastic snowflakes and crocheted snowflakes onto some jute twine.

winter snowflake garland mantle

Filling boxes and vases with the doorway and archway garlands was just as simple as moving them from one spot to the next. I added pinecones or dead branches to the centerpieces.

winter tablescape

winter entry foyer decor 2

winter centerpiece

I reluctantly put away my porch Christmas trees and filled our galvanized buckets with pinecones and kindling from the yard. I added some cute personalized decals. I decided I wanted to welcome my guests as well as honor our family with each of the decals.

winter buckets and decals

Investing in a grapevine wreath is one way to make decorating easier on you. I have a neutral bow at the top with a wooden initial hanging on mine. I add different seasonal items to it by winding them through the vine or attaching with floral wire, and then I change them out with the seasons. For winter, I added some dried boxwood and snowflake ornaments.

winter porch decor

I utilized the other side of the “Our Savior’s Birth” sign and created a “Let it Snow” design. I made this with my vinyl cutter as well. I’ve really enjoyed having my Silhouette Cameo, but more importantly I have been truly blessed by the way God is using our family’s small business. He has allowed me to help people gift so many custom and personalized gifts to their loved ones for all sorts of reasons and occasions. Their stories are so touching! He’s also developed our talents and gifts in ways that enable us to take clients’ ideas and create all sorts of custom treasures for them and their loved ones! This sign is definitely one of my favorites, but I sure would like to see some of God’s real snowflakes, too!

winter let it snow sign

It may not be snowing here, but we do get our share of cold weather. Curling up on the couch with my blanket and a cup of coffee or cocoa is one of my favorite winter pastimes. I didn’t have to think twice about leaving our cocoa and coffee bar out. It’s been a huge hit for our family and our guests this year.

winter cocoa bar decor

I added little touches of snowflake ornaments and confetti on our bar accessories, too.

winter utensil holder

I actually left the lighted garland on our screened back porch and also left the tabletop Christmas tree, but removed the bow and ornaments leaving it looking more like a simple plant on our table.

I know Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but I think I’ll leave my snowflake and nature decor out and simply add some hearts and love scriptures throughout our home. These snowflake decorations may be the only snowflakes we see this year in SC. I think I’ll keep them up until spring!

What I Have Learned from Gideon…

gideonEarlier this week, I awoke early to have my time with The Lord. I sleepily reached for my devotion guide and began looking for that day’s scripture reference. After I finished reading Judges 6, I felt energized, connected, and wise. Then realized I read the correct chapter from the WRONG book!

I was a little aggravated with myself, thinking I should have been more alert and focused. Then The Lord spoke to my heart asking me why I was so aggravated. He reminded me that I had given Him direction over my day, and this was what He wanted to share with me. Then, He led me to share this lesson with you:

What I Have Learned from Gideon
  • I need God. At times, Gideon neglected to seek and consult God. I’ve seen first hand even in my own life that I can’t live any part of my day without God. I am nothing without Him. Any strength or wisdom I have is from Him, not my education, not my mind, but HIM. When I try to live life on my own, I begin to slide down a slippery slope. Just as the scripture says, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of The Lord so will I fall into that trap. I have to turn to God in every aspect of my life. I can’t wait until I encounter a trial and hit rock bottom before turning Him. He isn’t a genie in a bottle just waiting for me to ask Him to rescue me from my predicaments whether they be self-inflicted or otherwise. I should call on Him in every situation, big or small. I should consult Him and include Him in my daily life.
  • I must take responsibility. Judges 6 begins by mentioning that the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They endured many hardships because of the choices they made; they brought their trouble upon themselves. I need to seek God and His Word, and look to see how I have contributed to my problems. I need to repent (which means to ask forgiveness and turn away from my sin). I need to learn from my mistake and change instead of wallowing in it and blaming God or others.
  • God will equip me. It’s so true. God will equip us for what He calls us to do. I have experienced that in so many areas of my life. When He calls me, I need to seek His wisdom not a way of escape. I don’t need to waste time making excuses for why I cannot do something. I need to get off of my lazy back side and live in faithful obedience and trust The Lord.
  • I will be criticized. People will criticize me for the decisions I make when I allow God to guide me, and when I use a Biblical perspective. I REALLY DON’T CARE! It’s like that saying: I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God. It’s a no brainer. If I want God’s love, blessings, grace, mercy and presence in my life, I need to stand with Him, not apart from Him. Think about it–it’s like marriage. How can you show you love your spouse if you never spend time with them, support them, or even come home each day and put effort into your marriage–you can’t, and you don’t…
  • Don’t make a habit of testing God. I know The Lord tells us in His Word at times to test Him, but I don’t think He means with every situation. He gave us His Word as our guide. When Gideon tested God with the dew on the fleece, he knew he might be pushing the limits because He even asked God not to be angry with him for questioning God. We gain God’s wisdom through studying His Word and through prayer, and He sends the Holy Spirit to speak to and guide us. If we have all of that at our fingertips, why do we need to then test God? If we really think about it, deep inside we know what we should do. Many times our testing is a way of hoping we can justify not living in obedience or buying time. God knows our hearts.
  • Leap into the arms of The Father. I am not a risk taker. I am not spontaneous, but am a planner, very logically thinking things through and evaluating everything. I think way too much–I’m a worrywart with too many “what if” scenarios. I need to take more risks, thinking with the spiritual mindset of Matthew 6:33 – “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I know The Lord. I have seen what He can do, and I know I can trust Him to keep His promises.

I’m glad I read the wrong passage this week, although I don’t really believe it was “wrong”. I believe The Lord had a lesson to teach me. Now if I could just continue to grow to be more flexible so that He can continue to work like this. I’m thankful He has charge over my day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Blessings to you, today and always!

Are You Embracing the New Year?

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I cannot believe another year has passed. It seems like I was just celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2015 with my family. I don’t know where the time has gone. I don’t usually embrace aging or my children growing older, but I have a fresh outlook this year. Read about it in my post over at Raising Homemakers. Happy 2017 everyone! Love and blessings to you in the New Year!

Names of Jesus Ornaments with Christmas Devotions

christmas-ornaments-watermarkedIn years past we’ve used a Jesse Tree and devotions during the Christmas season.  A few years ago I was pinning some of my favorite Christmas crafts I came across a picture of some beautifully crafted glass ornaments with the names of Jesus on them.  I repinned the post and read later (like most of us do when we are short on time).  I really liked this idea, because I ADORE anything that reminds me of all of the names of my precious Jesus.  I also liked the idea that each of my children could make their own set of ornaments to celebrate the advent season.  Not only could they use them to decorate their own trees in their rooms, but they could also keep them over the years and share them with their children.

I began researching and found an awesome Names of Jesus unit study here from the Easy Fun School website.  It teaches 24 names of Jesus, scripture, handwriting pages, word searches, and activities for each subject which are tied to the lesson.  The study actually includes a list of all of the names of Jesus so you can study even more. We did this study and made these ornaments years ago, but my children still use these today and they plan to use their ornaments in their own home some day.

To create our Names of Jesus ornaments and Bible study, I went to my craft closet and gathered all of my supply bins.  I purchased sets of fillable glass ornaments for each child (and one for myself).  I would get extra in case some break.  You can also purchase acrylic ornaments, but they are more costly.

You could utilize paint pens in black, gold and silver to write the names of Jesus and the scripture reference on the outside of the ornaments or you could purchase vinyl decals here.

There are lots of options for decorating the ornaments:

  1. You could pour a small amount of paint into the inside of the ornament, cover the whole and shake. You can also swirl a few colors into the ornaments to give them a marbelized effect. Then be sure to turn the ornament upside down and put it into a bathroom sized paper or plastic cup to drain for a day or two.
  2. I love the look of glittered ornaments, but glitter on the outside is extremely messy. Polycrylic is a clean and beautiful way to glitter ornaments. Simply pour a little polycrylic into the ornament and immediately turn the ornament upside down into a cup to drain out the excess. Then sprinkle a little of your favorite color glitter into the ornament and slowly turn the ornament around in your hands to coat the entire inside with glitter. Add more if needed. Then turn the ornament upside down into another cup to allow the excess glitter to sprinkle out. Then you can immediately put your top back into your ornament. You can pour your excess glitter and polycrylic from your cups back into their respective containers. e of the ornaments, squirt small amounts of paint inside and shake.  You can swirl more than one color inside as well.
  3. Fill ornaments with trinkets that pertain to the scripture reference. For example, for “Bright and Morning Star” we filled our ornament with star confetti. We didn’t completely fill our ornaments with trinkets as sometimes that makes the label on the outside difficult to read. You can also see the trinkets better as well.

You can easily fill ornaments with sweet trinkets. However, I found that it could be quite pricey to fill them completely so I only fill ours half way to be thrify. It also makes it easier to see the trinkets when there is still room inside the ornament. Be creative with your trinkets. If you need some inspiration, here are some ideas:

1. Alpha & Omega–fill with cutouts of the Alpha & Omega symbol.
2. Wonderful Counselor–fill with paint or glitter or beads or filler.
3. Mighty God–fill with cutouts of barbels or gold ball filler or beads.
4. Everlasting Father–fill with artificial pine needles or paint green for evergreens.
5. Prince of Peace–fill with dove confetti or cutouts of doves or crowns or artificial snow filler.
6. The Firstborn of Every Creature– Fill ornament with birthday candles or birthday confetti.
7. The Unspeakable Gift–we made cutouts of gifts using small construction paper or gift-shaped confetti or little bows.
8. Lamb of God–fill with cotton or fiberfill.
9. The Good Shepherd-fill with cutouts of shepherd staffs or mini candy canes.
10. Bright & Morning Star-fill with star-shaped sequins.
11. Messiah–glitter or paint.
12. Immanuel–another filled with paint, glitter, sequins, or beads.
13. Holy–glitter or paint.
14. Light of the World–mini light ornaments or mini light bulbs (just be sure they will fit in the hole of the ornament).

15. Dayspring–glitter or gold, pink, orange paint to represent the colors of a sunrise.
16. The Word–In small font, I printed John 1:1 on paper, cut out multiple, curl, and put inside ornament or Bible confetti.
17. Servant–I printed a small picture of Jesus washing the disciples feet and put inside ornament or paint/glitter.
18. King–Fill with gems or crowns.
19. Rose of Sharon–Fill with real or silk rose petals.
20. Lily of the Valley–Fill with silk lily petals, paint or glitter.
21. Friend–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.
22. Savior–Fill with cutout crosses or cross shaped beads
23. Shiloh–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.
24. Ancient of Days–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.

When your ornaments are all dry you can store them in their box or put them in a bowl, etc.  You can begin utilizing them in whatever fashion works for your family.  We started on December 1st and will follow the study daily for 24 days as a family during our night time devotions, but this is a unit study so you could actually use it during your homeschool day.  During our devotions, we study the name and verse.  We have chosen activities from each day to do together as a family.  Then we close in prayer and each of us puts our ornament of the day on the tree.  Sometimes we put them on the tree. Other years we put them in a crystal bowl or wooden box on our table so we can reflect on the names each time we pass through or sit down to eat in the heart of our home.

If you need simplicity this Christmas season, you can purchase a set of 12 Names of Jesus ornaments here. They come with printed scripture reference and prayer focus. I pray your family is able to utilize this and other ways to enjoy celebrating Jesus throughout the Christmas season.

It’s a Farmhouse Christmas

christmas-collage-blog-watermarkedRustic, practical, functional, natural, peaceful, relaxing–a farmhouse is a lovely setting during the Christmas season. No, I haven’t moved, but it is my dream to own a farmhouse one day. I long to live out in the tranquil country surrounded by God’s creation. One day I will, but for now our family resides in a home for which we are very grateful.
This year I decided I didn’t want to wait to enjoy a farmhouse atmosphere, especially during the busy Christmas season. I am determined to slow down this year and enjoy the true meaning of the season. We start the season saying this every year, but we get wrapped up in the decorations, shopping, programs, parties, all of the hustle and bustle. Before we know it, it’s New Year’s Day and our whole season has wrapped up in a whirlwind that leaves our heads spinning.

In keeping with typical farmhouse style, I decided to streamline and simplify our decor this year. This serves a practical purpose as well as a spiritual one. Not only does it mean less decorating, but we don’t have as much to clean around every day. Functional but beautiful, simple but profound–that is farmhouse style. This year for our home and our spirits, it’s a farmhouse Christmas.
christmas-collage-blog-3-watermarkedRead more about our simple farmhouse Christmas in my guest post on Raising Homemakers here.