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!

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!

Why Are Women Their Own Prince Charmings?

knight
Nowadays, everywhere I turn I find a woman who is worn and weary, burned out beyond anything they can possibly bear. We are trying to be everything to everybody and it is just IMPOSSIBLE. Many women these days feel as if they are being thrown to the wolves into this treacherous and despicable world.

In many ways that is true, as women are burdened with carrying the load of more than God intended. We weren’t meant to be the breadwinners. We weren’t really ever meant to put in more hours at our career or job than we do at home. In fact, helping financially was supposed to be an afterthought, something we did after we took care of all of our priorities. Priorities were supposed to be spiritual growth and relationship with God, marriage, children, home, church, community in that order.

Unfortunately, society has pushed the roles of men onto women. Women are just as much to blame as men or society, because many have decided to become present-day Eves. They are hungry for power, hungry to be like God, and they have fallen into satan’s trap.

These women aren’t the only ones suffering, though. All women are suffering whether they have this hunger for power or not. Many women desire to fulfill God’s call in their lives, but they are stuck in the vicious aftermath of this disaster society has pushed upon us.

The world has taken away the responsibility of man, his leadership, his power, his strength, his courage, his ingenuity, his initiative. Society has taken the warrior God created and turned him into a more subservient type of being while women have been forced to become something they were never meant to be: the Prince Charming, the hero, the warrior, the rescuer, the knight in shining armor.

Now that’s not to say that God did not mean women to be warriors. He did, but not in the same way that He planned it for man. Husbands and wives were meant to support one another, to complement the other, to be the strength when the other is weak, to lift each other up spiritually and physically. They are equally important in the eyes of God, but He did not create them to be equal in every way. Women have strengths men do not have, and men have strengths women don’t have.

I’m grateful there are still marriages that model God’s plan. Those are rare and beautiful marriages. Unfortunately, I am seeing in many instances that the wife is the spiritual leader, leading the family in Bible study, worship, and prayer. It’s the wife who spends her nights on her knees before The Lord praying for her family, fighting the enemy for their souls. It’s the wife who is making most of the family decisions. It’s the wife that is picking up the slack.

Married and single women are struggling to balance everything on their plate. I don’t even think we can call it a “plate”, can we? Plates fit neatly in our hands and are usually fairly manageable even when we fill them to overflowing at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Many of us are beyond carrying a couple of plates. We are carrying the plates God has equipped us to carry. Then we are struggling to scoop up boulders God never meant us to carry. And in many cases society is encouraging or even forcing us to do so.

I’m willing to bet this is similar to what your todo list looks like:

todolist

Sometimes I get up earlier too. Notice there’s no exercise or “me time” on the list. And of course the sad thing is that is not everything…

I would just love to say thank you so very much to all of those women who have passed down this idea and this burden, who have emasculated our men, and trained them to be passive and give up their leadership roles to women—EXTREME SARCASM. You are the ones who have buried women in an avalanche of stress, pressure, and burden. Forgive us for not expressing our gratitude…

You have taken away heroes, Prince Charmings, and have trained men to give up their God given roles in the home and in society. In this human world, you have thrown yourselves and your gender to the wolves.

There are a few warriors and Prince Charmings left in this world. I pray they do not grow weary in the roles God has given them, and I pray they will be protected from this destruction.

Thankfully, Christian women have someone bigger than Prince Charming, more powerful than any hero.  God is our refuge, our ever present help in this stressful world. He is our King, who leads, guides, protects, directs, comforts, and rescues. He is the one to which we should ultimately turn.

Do not lose heart, ladies. Turn to The Father. Make a relationship with Him a priority. Let Him rescue and free you. It won’t mean you will not have to balance the busyness of life, but you won’t have to do it alone. You will have someone to walk beside you when you feel like you are on your own.

When I feel overwhelmed, I tend to curl up in a shell. For some reason (probably the work of the enemy), I tend to draw away from encouragement. I don’t always share with my prayer warriors. Sometimes I don’t even draw near to The Lord, but this is what the enemy wants. He desires for me to be so bogged down and overwhelmed that I cannot fulfill my God-given calling and role in this life, which has a ripple effect on my family and those who look up to me.

Don’t make this mistake. This is where God does use you as a warrior. Defeat the enemy by leaning on The Lord and seeking His will before taking on new tasks. Pray and study His Word for the roles of yourself and your husband in your family.

We can’t be surprised that our lives are utter chaos when we our gender has completely disregarded His will. We don’t want to pass these burdens on to our children. Life is hectic enough without messing with God’s natural plan for things. Our daughters and sons deserve better. Give our sons back their warrior status, and give our daughters back their Prince Charmings. Let’s turn things around by prioritizing, leaning on God and our sisters in The Lord, praying for our families, and teaching future generations to turn back to God and His plan for our roles in this life.

Pressed for Time?

time

Who wouldn’t love to add more hours to the day? Twenty-four hours is just not enough time to get everything done. Unfortunately, I don’t have a mathematical equation or a scientific formula to solve this age old problem. There are only 24 hours in a day and there is no way to change that. However, I do know a way to get the most benefit from the 24 hours we are given.

Click here to read more of my post over on Raising Homemakers.

Frugal DIY – Screened Porch Makeover

Several years ago, my sweet husband built a screened porch on the back of our home. From this peaceful porch, I enjoy the songs of birds, the laughter of my children, the rippling of our pond and fountain, peace and tranquility.
DSCN2789

Unfortunately, it became a catchall for yard shoes, pool toys, gardening tools, and pet stuff. Turning it into a comfortable outdoor room was on my to-do list for the future when it fit into the budget. In fact, it’s still on my wish list for the future.DSCN2787It just isn’t in my budget to makeover my porch. However, with a little creativity and frugality, I was able to spruce it up a bit recently. Here are some of the simple and frugal things I did:

I found some old throw pillows and added them to a few of our corner chairs to make them more comfortable.Porch makeover 4

We had an area rug we weren’t using, so I utilized it under our patio table and chairs. It’s a little small, but it works.Porch Makeover 3

We save jars so I have a nice collection for crafting. I made some lanterns utilizing the jars and LED tea lights.Porch makeover jar lanterns

I made a cute chalkboard and sconces with more jars.

Porch Makeover Finished Cabinet

The biggest dilemma was was the shoe rack–it was such an eye sore. I knew I needed to get rid of it. I searched our home for a cabinet or a piece of furniture that we could use to store the shoes. We really didn’t have what I wanted–all I could find were a few old bookshelves. A low buffet style cabinet would have been the perfect fit, so I headed out to Goodwill to see if I could find one. There were no treasures for me that day.

Disappointed, I went back home to the pile of shoes and the shoe rack in the backyard. I really dreaded putting them back in the porch. Then I settled for one of the bookshelves.

With help from my sweet husband, the bookshelf was primed, repainted. Porch Makeover Shelf

Doors and hardware were added along with some distressing, and now we have an adorable little cabinet for shoes and outdoor games.porch cabinet makeover

Sprucing up my favorite place, cost just around $30. Sometimes we just don’t have the resources to bring our ideas to fruition completely, but that’s okay. My porch is lovely. It makes me smile and provides a peaceful atmosphere for me and my family. It’s might not look quite like my dreams, but it is a step in the right direction! Now to enjoy my hummingbirds (please excuse the screen in the picture)… 

porch makeover bird

Cream Slush Recipe – THM FP

cream slush

Summer break is here and that means it’s time for lots of fruits and frozen treats! My children have really been craving slushes and ice creams. They have summer fever! We made this strawberry lemonade cream slush, and it was better than the ones I used to purchase at a certain fast food joint! It’s my new favorite dessert!

Cream Slush

6 strawberries

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 doonks stevia

2 tbsp nonfat greek yogurt

10 ice cubes

Add all ingredients into a quality blender (I use this one.) Blend until ice is finely chopped. Enjoy this delicious cream slush on a hot day!

Variations:

Berry Lemonade – Substitute 1/2 cup of blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries for strawberries and this will still be a FP cream slush.

Blue Coconut – Substitute blueberries for strawberries and add a splash of coconut extract.

Fruit Cream Slush – Substitute any frozen fruit for the strawberries and this will make an E slush.

Enjoy!

DIY Boxwood Wreath

God’s creation is so beautiful, and what better way to decorate your home than His masterpieces? I enjoy using fresh flowers and greenery from my yard to decorate, not only because they are beautiful but also because it is inexpensive.

For a long time, I contemplated making my own boxwood wreath but I was a little intimidated. I decided to give it a try this weekend, and I’m so very glad I did. It was one of the easiest and cheapest wreaths I’ve every made, but looks expensive and classic.

To make your own DIY Boxwood wreath, you’ll need:

1 grapevine wreath

boxwood branches

ribbon

wooden letter for monogram

pruning shears

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of wreaths hanging up in my garage. So, I removed the silk flowers from one of the grapevine wreaths I already had. I pruned several branches from the shrubs. Then I decided what direction I wanted all of the branches to lay on the wreath. You want all of the branches to look like they are growing in the same direction. The next step is super simple. I inserted the bottom of the branches into the grapevine wreath working my way all the way around the outer edge of the wreath, then working my way all the way around again until the entire grapevine wreath is covered with boxwood.

Next, I made a bow and attached it to the top center of the wreath. The wooden letter was painted black, but I felt it needed a lighter color to make it stand out. So I painted the wooden letter ivory. Then I used a sanding block to distress the edges of the letter.  Next I attached the letter to the wreath with the streamers from the bow at the top of the wreath.

DIY boxwood wreath www.ruckusandrubies.com

That’s all there is to it! I couldn’t believe how it turned out. It’s a lovely and welcoming addition to our front door.

DIY #boxwood wreath www.ruckus

You may want to use your shears to trim branches on the wreath and make them look more even, but I prefer mine to look more natural so I did not trim it much. To keep the branches fresh, simply spritz them with a little water every couple of days. I hope you enjoy creating the easiest wreath you’ll ever make–this DIY Boxwood wreath!

10 Tips for Making Your Home a Sanctuary

10 Tips for Making Your Home a Sanctuary #homemaking #sanctuary #faith www.ruckusandrubies.com #raisinghomemakers

Sanctuary…

The simple utterance of that very word makes your eyes close, your head lift, and your lungs take in a deep breath of air. A sense of tranquility and peace washes over you.

Today I’m sharing 10 tips for making your home a sanctuary over on the Raising Homemakers blog. Take a minute and stop by for a visit: 10 tips for Making Your Home a Sanctuary – Raising Homemakers.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes – THM S

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes THM S
Spring is on its way! I usually enjoy winter, but it seems the older I get the earlier I look forward to spring. Of course, I have everything is connected to food. The fresh fruits and vegetables of spring and summer simply delight my taste buds–the colors, the flavors, the variety!
Even though it’s not strawberry season, I’m already experimenting with recipes for spring and summer!  I always look forward to strawberry shortcake. It’s more of a summer dessert, but I’ve really been craving those bright, plump, juicy strawberries.
In anticipation of spring and summer, here’s a delicious strawberry shortcake cupcake recipe that is gluten free, low carb, and sugar free.
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes THM S

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake – THM S

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, or 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 splash of almond extract
  • 1/2 cup Gentle Sweet Blend
  • 1 cup Baking Blend
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Fresh Hulled Strawberries

Whisk the wet ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat with a hand mixer until combined.  Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and then place hulled strawberry down into center of each batter filled cupcake liner in pan.  Bake on 350 for approximately 20 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean. There will be a little more moisture around strawberry.

Topping

You can serve with a dollop of homemade whipped cream sweetened to taste or you can make a thicker topping with 4 oz softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tbsp Gentle Sweet Blend or add more to taste. (I like subtle sweetness in my whipped topping.)  Pipe onto top of cupcake. Enjoy!

 Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes THM S