Welcome

This blog is about two friends, miles apart, striving to pattern our lives after the Proverbs 31 woman. Here you will find our daily journeys, whether serious, funny, practical, or inventive. Thanks for stopping by and we hope you'll stop by often!

~Lauren & Page

Monday, October 10, 2011

Destructive Pride

This devotion is such a powerful reminder of the dangers of pride in one's life. May we strive to live like Christ, in a spirit of humility and repent of the sin of pride in our lives.

DESTRUCTIVE PRIDE

by Pastor Thomas Smith, St Clair, MO

"Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility."
Proverbs 18:12.

None of us want to see our lives destroyed. We do not want to experience spiritual and moral ruin, or see our dreams and worthy goals disappear. We do not want to see reproach come upon the Name of the Lord and His work due to our spiritual collapse. Is it possible there could be some indication of self-destruction before it occurs? Are there warning signs that might make moral bankruptcy avoidable? According to the Scripture, there is something that often precedes the fall of mighty men: "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty."

One of the most destructive forces in a person's life is pride. Many great leaders have been destroyed through personal pride. People of tremendous spiritual influence have seen their ministries ruined because of pride. It was pride that led to Lucifer's revolt and expulsion from Heaven. Pride is not a problem for a pitied few of God's creation, but rather it is present in every heart. Children begin to exhibit pride in their earliest years. It is a part of the sinful nature we inherited from Adam and remains a dreaded foe throughout our lives.

One reason pride is so dangerous is because it is very deceptive. We can easily be blinded to its presence in our hearts and minds. Because it is such a powerful force, when it has a stronghold in our lives, its very presence resists attempts to rid the heart of its influence. Pride rebels against the acknowledgment and removal of itself. We must be aware of the destructive nature of self-reliance and self-exaltation, and treat pride as an enemy.

Is there any antidote for such a harmful condition? The Bible declares that "before honour is humility." Just as pride can bring destruction, humility can bring blessing and honor. The cure for the poison of pride is having a humble attitude and spirit. As pride wants to exalt self and refuse correction and instruction, humility recognizes how undeserving and incapable we are. While pride is a natural part of man's fallen nature, humility must be chosen and developed in our hearts.

We are told in the Word of God to humble ourselves. We are responsible to keep ourselves humble and to repent of the wicked sin of pride. This is the way of God's blessing: He actively resists the proud, but pours out His grace on the humble.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Crock Pot Apple Crisp

I don't know about you, but I LOVE using my crock pot. Problem is, I don't use it nearly often enough!! One of my goals this Fall and Winter is to use it once a week. I love the convenience of simply tossing ingredients into ONE pot and coming home to the aroma of an already cooked meal. It's like having someone cook dinner for you and only dirty one pot (which is very endearing when you do NOT have a dishwasher).

Anyway, I came across this recipe from the blog "Get Crocked" and am dying to try it!! Partly because I have a gazillion apples to use from my beautiful little apple tree. Also because it tis' the season for APPLES! Do you have a favorite apple recipe?? Leave it in the comments below and perhaps we'll feature your recipe in the coming days!! :-)

Enjoy!
~Lauren



Crock Pot Apple Crisp


Crock Pot Apple Crisp
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 c. butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 c. chopped walnuts


  • 1/3 c. white sugar, or to taste
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 6 c. apples - peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice



1. Mix flour, brown sugar, 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a bowl.

2. Combine butter with the flour mixture using fingers or a fork until coarse crumbs form. Stir in walnuts and set aside.

3. Whisk together 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

4. Place the apples in a crock pot, stir in the cornstarch mixture; toss with lemon juice. Sprinkle the walnut crumb topping on top.

5. Cover. Cook on High for 2 hours or Low for 4 hours, until apples are tender. Partially uncover the crock pot to allow the topping to harden, about 1 hour.

6. Serve with vanilla ice cream or drenched in cream or milk for breakfast.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Where We've Been....

Hello Everyone,

So sorry we've been MIA! We really haven't forgotten about you, in fact we've been saddened by our lack of blogging. However, part of our goal in becoming more like the Proverbs 31 woman is WHY we have not been blogging. As most of you know, Page and I have recently given birth to precious babies as well as keeping up with our homes, families and photography businesses. To say our Summer has been busy would be a HUGE understatement. :-) With Fall/Winter approaching, we're hoping to get back into the swing of things, especially since our photography businesses will be slowing down somewhat.

We have SO much we want to blog about, so stay tuned for upcoming recipes, devotions, quick tips, crafts, things we've learned, and so much more!

Thanks for your patience and continued support!!

~Lauren & Page

Monday, August 1, 2011

Where Is Your Treasure?

Enjoy this wonderful devotion by Pastor Thomas Smith from St Clair, MO. As you begin another week, start by asking yourself where your treasure is. "As we obey the Lord and invest in heavenly things, we will find our hearts will be there also."


WHERE IS YOUR TREASURE?

Devotion for August 01, 2011

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Luke 12:34.

Jesus teaches us to train our hearts and minds to think more in terms of eternal things than earthly things. We are either laying up treasures on this earth, or we are laying up treasures in Heaven. This is not the natural way for men to live, but it is a part of the transformation that is taking place in the sincere child of God. It only makes sense that we be thus minded. This life is brief, and the older we get, the more real this becomes. However, we are going to live eternally in the place that God is preparing for us. Treasures that we lay up on this earth will remain here after we are gone and will one day perish. Treasures that we lay up in Heaven will last forever.

This important question, "Where is your treasure?" should help guide us in our decisions and priorities. Just prior to this verse, Jesus told a parable about a man that was rich, whose farm was prospering abundantly. He had no room to store the harvest of his land, so his only solution was to build bigger barns. Jesus said this man's reasoning was foolish, because he was going to die and leave it all behind. He then instructed His disciples to live more for the world to come than for this present world. This does not mean that we are not to earn money or provide for our families, or even leave an inheritance to our descendants. These things are not wrong; they are indeed our responsibilities. However, this world is not our priority. Jesus told these followers that if all we do is live for material things, we are no different from the world.

How is it then, that we lay up treasure in Heaven? Jesus instructed the listeners that by giving rather than hoarding, they would be laying up treasures in Heaven. The more we invest our resources in eternal things, the more treasure we will have in Heaven. What things are eternal? The first things we think of are the eternal souls of men, women, boys and girls. As we give to the work of God, as we pray for souls to be saved, as we teach and train others to serve the Lord, and support the work of missions and our local church, we are investing in eternity. And the more of our treasure we have in Heaven, the more our hearts will be there. The reason our hearts are so fixed on this world and on temporal things is because that is where our treasures are. As we obey the Lord and invest in heavenly things, we will find our hearts will be there also.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Oh, Pinterest -How We Love Thee!






No, as much as we love Pinterest -it isn't the cause of our lack of blogging. It would be a huge understatement to say that Page & I have been busy. We're both prego mamas with photography businesses and homes to take care of. Summer just happens to be peak season for us, so we've not had much time at all to blog. We miss all of you and are looking forward to getting back into the swing of things soon! Thanks for your patience!

In any case, we have discovered a wonderful addiction...ahem...website that truly appeals to us and those of you who love all things creative. In actuality it appeals to anyone who loves good recipes, crafty ideas, fashion sense, brilliant concepts....need I go on? We can't stress enough how neat this site is, we've gleaned so many great ideas!! We wanted to share it with all of our readers so you too can become addicted....I mean, INSPIRED! ;-D

Many people wonder what it is exactly. By it's own definition:

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. To get started, request an invite.

Simply put, it's a great place to gain inspiration and organize your ideas accordingly so that when you're "ready" to try that idea, you can easily find it by locating your "pinboard" (place to neatly compile your ideas).


Here are a few "pins" that we've found that we thought we'd share with you on this Crafty Creations Friday....


Avocado Chicken Salad

Creative Cookie Tins - (we're thinkin' Christmas!)

Newspaper Nails!

No Heat Curls

DIY Roman Shades

Ruffled Tshirt

Porch Swing - made from a door!

These are just a FEW of the many neat ideas you can find on Pinterest. Simply link it to your Facebook account and follow friends and their pinboards too if you wish. *Just like any public site, there are bound to be inappropriate pictures/pins - thankfully we've not come across many ourselves, but just be aware when searching.*


We hope this inspires YOU to get creative this weekend!


~Lauren & Page




Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mmmm....COFFEE!!!




How many of you LOVE coffee?!?! I DO, I do, I do!!! I even drink decaf for the sake of my little guy and still love it!

Well, did you know that you can actually use it as an odor neutralizer?? Have a stinky fridge? Place some grounds (please use cheapo coffee for this and not your good stuff!) on a shallow tray and place inside your fridge. You'll soon notice that those darling coffee grounds have absorbed all of those icky odors!

For more intensive smells - such as a room that has just been painted (aka my nursery), recently stained furniture, etc. You can simply take an
open container of fresh coffee grounds to absorb the odor. BUY a cheap brand for that purpose, but then make sure you throw it out afterwards. ;-) It really works!!

See, I bet you didn't realize that coffee had more than one delicious purpose?!


Have a Quick Tip to share? Please leave it in the comments below and we'll feature it on our blog!!


~Lauren & Page

Monday, June 27, 2011

GOD IS PERSONAL

This is such a wonderful devotion, I pray that you all take the time to read it!! What a privilege to know the Lord and to be able to call Him my friend! He wants to have a personal relationship with YOU too!


GOD IS PERSONAL


Written by Pastor Thomas Smith, St Clair MO

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
John 17:3.

This is one of the most wonderful and frequently misunderstood attributes of our eternal God. He is personal. He wants us to know Him. As a matter of fact, this is the primary purpose of man: to know God. He knows us individually and completely. He wants us to fellowship with Him. We see this characteristic in action in the Garden of Eden. God is seen walking with the first man, Adam, and talking with Adam. This is the nature of God. When Adam sinned, that fellowship with God was broken, but our personal God came into the garden calling for Adam. Because sin separated man from his Creator, God made provision for man's sin in the sacrifice of His Son. God's love for the human race is so strong that no price would be too high to pay to redeem sinners to Himself. God wants all mankind to be saved, and God saves us that we might fellowship with Him. Our Scripture says, ""that they might know thee the only true God."

How is it that we can know God? How might we have a personal relationship with the Lord? God has designed that we know Him by faith. We have not seen God, and we have not heard His audible voice. However, because He loves us so much, He has given us the record and revelation of Himself in the Bible. We can know about God through the pages of the Scriptures. We know how God is because of what the Bible, God's Word, teaches us. However, it is not enough to know about God. He wants to know us personally. The only way we can be brought into a personal relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. It is through faith in Jesus Christ that our sins are forgiven, and the enmity between our Holy God and us is removed. When we repent of our sins and receive Christ as Savior, we are born into God's family. Immediately we have the capacity to know Him personally. We can talk to God and know that He hears us. God can communicate with us through His Spirit and His Word. We can walk with God by faith.

It is our great privilege to know God. Abraham was called the friend of God. Just prior to His death on the cross, Jesus told His disciples that He would no longer call them servants; instead, He would call them His friends. What a joy it is to know that God is personal and can be our Friend!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Baby Nursery {Part III- My Artsy Changing Table Redo}

As I was planning my nursery, I shopped around for various pieces for my nursery that fit my taste AND my budget. That's tough to do because I have expensive taste yet I'm super frugal.
I was SO excited to find this changing table on my local online yard sale site for a steal of a deal- $20!!! Most of you probably would've liked it just the way it was, as it really wasn't
too bad. However, I wanted something unique, with character that was fun, artsy and colorful. I bought a $15 quart of Sherwin William's paint (on sale) and for a total cost of $35 (plus my brother's time) -I now have a changing table that was totally what I envisioned! My bro did such a great job, he made the ordinary into extraordinary!! I LOVE how this piece turned out!!

Now, I'm gonna blame it on the prego brain, but I failed to take a good "Before" picture. :-P Forgive me!! Please use your imagination and pretend like the drawers are still in place.




My brother removed all the drawers and hardware and did some light sanding to it, but because of the awesome primer we used (see pic below), it really required no sanding (my favorite kind of project!)



The key to good priming is to have a lot of fun.... oh and to cover all areas that you'll be painting. :-)


Once primed, we let it dry and then began to apply the 1st coat of paint - in my accent color, Sherwin William's Refresh - once that dried, we (meaning my brother) applied a 2nd coat.



As you can see, it's looking good but doesn't have any real dimension to it yet. Some people MIGHT be ok with this as it is, but not me! ;-)



My brother then proceeded with the "fun" part. He used several tools to distress it. When doing this - try to think of places that would naturally be distressed. Don't forget the drawers! It's the details that really gives a piece that extra "wow factor".




Afterwards, we went down to the basement and found some dark wood stain in my collection of paints. Using a rag, he dipped part of it into the stain rubbed it in the cracks and edges of the piece, wiping off the excess. This is where your creative, artistic side comes into play. You can apply however much you'd like, but the goal is for it to look natural and not overdone. Rubbing the stain into the grain of the wood and cracks really gives it that distressed look. Be careful not to apply too much! You must wipe the excess off!


Once we were satisfied with how much "distressing" had been done, he put the hardware back on and drawers back into place. Thankfully I liked the original hardware and didn't have to do a thing to it!


Here is Baby Shaffer's super artsy and one of a kind changing table, refinished with love by his Uncle Caleb.





I hope this inspires you to look past the outward appearance of a piece of furniture, and envision creating it into something you love. Don't be afraid to take a piece and transform it to your liking, it really isn't that hard (especially when your brother does it for you! haha) With a little bit of effort, you can transform "junk" into something AMAZING!

~Lauren

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Crazy Weather Blues!


Mark 4:36-45

36And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.

37And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

38And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

39And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

40And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?


Let me just tell you... The weather around here has been crazy! In the last month or so, we have had massive hail damage (think ping pong ball to baseball size hail) to all of our vehicles, lost 3 windows in our house, and our metal roof and exterior log walls looks like a giant toddler took a hammer to them.




One of these storms, we were actually in our car. It was one of the most incredible, yet scary things I have ever seen...

It would be really easy for me to be discouraged by all of these things--but... I'm not. I know God has a plan, a great plan, for all that He has allowed to happen.

I have seen some of His Greatness and Mercy unfolding already, and I am really looking forward to how He will take care of the rest!

So, this is my quick Thankful Thursday. God is great!

A side note... Here is a verse that has meant a lot to me the last few days...

Proverbs 21:30 "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD."

So, tell me, what are you thankful for today? : )

~Page

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cleaning Shoes!



This Quick Tip Wednesday might seem a little strange, but it really works!
We women know that a woman's work is never really done, there's always SO much to do around the house. Why not try cleaning in some supportive, tennis shoes?? They will motivate you to get moving and will support your back in the process. My friend, Ashley, mentioned this great tip and I agree - I definitely notice a difference when I have my "special shoes" on. :-) I'm much less likely to just feel like sitting down on the job.


Do YOU have a quick tip to share? Comment below and we'll gladly feature it in our Quick Tip Wednesday posts!


~Lauren & Page

Monday, June 20, 2011

God Is Just

GOD IS JUST

by Pastor Smith in St Clair, MO

"He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."
Deuteronomy 32:4.

In a world overtaken with corruption and compromise, there is a source of truth and justice; it is found in the living God, "just and right is he." Words that help explain the meaning of just are right, lawful, and equal. God is morally right and righteous in all that He does. Friendships, fears, flatteries, or false information may influence men and thus pervert justice. However, God - because of His holy character and perfect nature - will always act justly. The Lord God is a righteous Judge. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25).

Because God is just, He establishes and imposes just laws and then executes them righteously. He will give to everyone what is due. Because He is just, He is impartial in His judgment. God cannot be deceived, and it would be futile to attempt to bribe Him. "God is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34). We may not always understand or fully agree with God's judgments, but we can have complete confidence that what He does is always right.

God is just in the penalties He exacts for transgression. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Because He is just, He requires that proper payment be made for sin. Also, He allows a substitute to pay for the sin of another. Thus, His Son made the just payment for our sins through His death on the cross and completely satisfied the just judgment of our sin. The penalty has been paid in full and God can and will forgive the sins of those who accept His payment. He is at one time "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).

One of the common cries of the Old Testament prophets was the lack of justice among the corrupt leaders of Israel. The moral character and weakness of men today have resulted in a dearth of justice. In our current political climate, many government leaders are for sale and will champion any cause that wins them favor. Even in the arena of professing Christians, truth has fallen in the streets. There is a great need for men and women of justice and integrity who look to the Rock for wisdom. Thank God, there is a day coming when Jesus Christ will return to this earth and will judge the world in righteousness.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Baby Nursery {Part II- the Transformation & Book Page Wall}

No, I haven't forgotten about my Baby Nursery blogging - however, I have been super busy finishing up this darling room for our little boy. Now that I just have the finishing touches left to do, I feel much more comfortable in taking the time to catch everyone up on the progress made so far. :-)

In case you missed my first post, you can go here to view "my inspiration" for the color palette and overall feel of the space.

I chose these three paint colors based on my inspiration fabric seen in my first post. I used Sherwin Williams Embellished Blue for the walls, Refresh as the accent color used to transform my changing table (stay tuned!) and Alabaster for the trim and doors.

Here is the Nursery - BEFORE we even began the transformation. Notice the light pink walls (eek!).
And here it is getting it's beautiful coat of Embellished Blue by my beautiful decorating crew!


We live in a charming 1920's home, I really do love it - however, the walls are a bit different in our upstairs bedrooms (as you can see from the above pic)- making it kinda difficult for any type of creative paint job, mural, etc. That's ok though, because I was feeling lazy and totally unmotivated to do anything too extreme. :-P

Instead, I decided to do an infamous "Book Page Wall". Many of you have probably seen this idea on countless blogs, and I'm telling you - it is SO fun and SO easy!

Sean & I both loved to read as kids (still do!) and hope our little guy will enjoy it just as much. Yes, we were those naughty kids that stayed up reading with a flashlight underneath our covers well after our parents told us lights out (because the book was THAT good). So....that's part of what led me to create this "Book Page Wall". I knew it would be artsy, fun, totally unique, and reflect our love of reading.

I used these classic storybooks to give it a vintage vibe. I purchased them for 50 cents each at a thrift store and since the binding wasn't in the greatest shape, I didn't feel so bad tearing out all the pages.


Once torn out, I simply had my lovely crew apply a *strong* spray adhesive to the back of the pages and randomly place them on the wall. We learned the hard way that it must NOT be a flexible hold, but a strong hold (best purchased at a craft store vs a hardware store). That's why this is considered** Decoupage (or d├ęcoupage) is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts onto it in combination with special paint effects, gold leaf and so on.**

With true decoupage you apply a sealer on top, but I didn't want to make my pages THAT permanent. As it is, these pages are perfectly adhered to the wall and if one or two pages should try to escape, I still have my spray adhesive and can easily reattach - so far so good! Definitely make sure you use a strong adhesive spray, found at most craft stores - my fav being, Hobby Lobby. :-)

As you can see, these randomly placed book pages create a lovely accent wall that is truly artistic, unique, vintage inspired and an incredible point of interest, as seen here in my nursery. It turned out soooo perfectly!



**A special thanks to my sister, Heidi, friend, Morgan, brother, Caleb, and last but not least - my hubby, Sean for all the hard work you put into this wonderful nursery!! I couldn't have done it without you!!

Stay tuned for the final stages of the nursery transformation and the Grand Reveal coming SOON!!

~Lauren

Thursday, June 16, 2011

True Friends

Proverbs 18:24 "A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."

This "Thankful Thursday" I'm thinking about how grateful I am for good friends. Most of us have quite a few acquaintances, but good friends are few and far between. This past week I was reminded of how blessed I am. My sweet friend, Missy, helped me SO much by helping me finally get my garden in (it was long overdue and next to impossible for this prego girl). Missy is always willing to lend a helping hand, always there for me, and never fails to let me know that she's someone I can count on. I know the Lord has placed her in my life and I'm so thankful for her! By God's grace I want to be the right kind of friend for her as well.

What about you? Do you have special friends in your life that you can depend on? Why not take a moment to let them know how thankful you are for them? While you're at it, thank the Lord for placing these dear ones in your life and ask Him to help you to be the right kind of friend for them.

Have a Thankful Thursday, everyone!


~Lauren

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hobby Lobby, How I LOVE Thee!!





This week's "quick tip" might be pretty exciting for those of you addicted to Hobby Lobby (like me). I frequently fail to print out a HL coupon and find it frustrating to realize it AFTER I am in the store and filling my cart with wonderful goodies.

Did you know that you can pull up a Hobby Lobby coupon on the internet via your cell phone and show it to the cashier at checkout? They simply need the coupon code from the online coupon. I was SUPER excited about this fact and have already done it twice (thank you Page, for informing me about this!).

Have a quick tip to share with us? Comment below and we might just feature your quick tip in next Wednesday's post!!

~Lauren

Friday, May 27, 2011

Baby Nursery {Part I- The Inspiration}



Baby Nursery Part I :- The Inspiration


Ahh yes, I'm going on 32 weeks pregnant and have been brainstorming about our baby boy's nursery since day 1! I'm SUPER excited that my "painting crew" aka friends and family will be beginning the nursery transformation the 1st wknd of June! Yay! I will be sure to take pictures and share with all of you.

As I began thinking about what kind of nursery I wanted for our little guy, several adjectives came to mind - artsy, eclectic, vintage, unique, light and airy, fresh, and still baby appropriate. I have very expensive taste, but just like many of you - I had no intention of spending tons of $$ on this decorating excursion. In fact, I find GREAT satisfaction in finding exactly what I want for a steal of a deal or making it myself. I guess that's the treasure hunter in me, maybe I'm part pirate? Argghhh, matey. Ok, lame....anyway....I am thrilled to report that I've found exactly what I envisioned at the exact cost I envisioned. I'll be blogging about these various stages of the nursery decorating and hope you enjoy the transformation.

This is a "Crafty Creations" post because my inspiration fabric just happens to be a tablecloth! Yes, you heard right! How cool is that? It's just the right material, fits precisely with my color scheme, and exactly what I could NOT find in the fabric stores. This tablecloth is the inspiration fabric that the rest of the nursery will be designed around. Enjoy this sneak peek and stay tuned for "Crafty Creation" posts of the work in progress. I guarantee there will be lots of creativity going into this space. Turning a tablecloth into crib bedding is just ONE of the many ideas.


Be inspired by what you see around you and don't hesitate to turn the ordinary into extraordinary!

Stay tuned for more Baby Nursery posts in the coming weeks!!

~Lauren

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Puttin' on the Ritz"




It's time for another "Quick Tip Wednesday".

Don't you just love how you discover something by accident, or just be truly needing to be creative? I have discovered that I prefer crackers - Ritz crackers to be exact, in the place of bread crumbs. I realized this some time ago, when I discovered I was out of Italian bread crumbs while trying to make some delicious Eggplant Parmesan (Mmmm!). I simply crushed the Ritz crackers, added my favorite Italian seasoning and voila' -my husband LOVED it!! Now I can't even imagine making Eggplant Parm without using my Ritz crackers!

Have a recipe that calls for bread crumbs? Try substituting crackers instead (especially the buttery kind aka Ritz). I use them to top my homemade Mac n' cheese, to bread chicken, eggplant, etc. Next time you make dinner, consider "Puttin' on the Ritz" - I think you'll find it very satisfying!


Have a "Quick Tip"? Comment below and we might just feature your tip in next week's "Quick Tip Wednesday"!

~Lauren

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Frosty Toffee Bits Pie


I came across this delicious recipe in one of my Taste of Home magazines and just HAD to share with all of you. This pie is light, easy, delicious and the perfect cold treat to accompany your next Summer cookout. In fact, Memorial Day is coming up....not a bad time to give this wonderful pie a try.
Frosty Toffee Bits Pie Recipe
  • 6-8 Servings
  • Prep: 10 min. + freezing
10 fF 10 F

~Frosty Toffee Bits Pie~

Ingredients

  • 1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 package (8 ounces) milk chocolate English toffee bits, divided
  • 1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)

Directions

  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in cream until blended. Fold in whipped topping and 1 cup toffee bits.
  • Spoon into crust; sprinkle with remaining toffee bits. Cover and freeze overnight. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 6-8 servings.


Enjoy!!!

~Lauren

Monday, May 23, 2011

Such Were Some Of You....

What a great reminder for us as Christians! We must never forget the pit from which we were dug, and the sins that were forgiven us! Only because of God's grace, we are where we are today. Thank you, Lord!!


SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU


"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
I Corinthians 6:9-11.

The Bible teaches the absolute necessity of the new birth. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" God is holy, and none of us are righteous within ourselves. Every person is in need of salvation. In our unregenerate and natural state, none will qualify for Heaven.

People are deceived about the seriousness of sin, the nature of salvation, and the requirement of rebirth and imputed righteousness. False teachers assure their listeners that good works or moral reform will gain an entrance into God's holy Heaven. This is not true. That is why the text says, "Be not deceived."

Thank God for salvation that brings forgiveness of sin and the new man of righteousness. God's gift of eternal life produces transformed lives in those who are redeemed. Only God can create a new person through the miracle of the new birth. We can identify with Paul's statement, "And such were some of you." We may not be all that we should be, but thank God we are not what we once were. God can change anyone. When we are born again, we become new creatures in Christ. Our past is exactly that; it is our past.

Sometimes new believers have a hard time putting their past behind them because of guilt over past sins. It is important that we take God at His Word concerning our former lives. Our sins are under the blood; we have been justified by His grace; and we have peace with God.

Because we remember what we once were, it should help us have compassion on the unsaved and a desire to reach them with the Gospel. Nothing could have changed us like the power of salvation. We should never look, with a critical, judgmental eye, at others still bound in sin. But for the grace of God, we would still be there. The next time we get irritated or frustrated with the behavior of lost sinners, remember this: "And such were some of you."


This devotion was written by Pastor Thomas Smith, St. Clair MO

Pastor Smith's daily devotions may also be read by visiting www.straightpaths.mzbc.com.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quick Tip Wednesday: Try it!


So, this "quick tip" is not anything uber amazing-but just some thoughts and ideas to help save in the calorie department! Who can't use a little help in these areas? : )


Try It: Without Butter


Hold on--I think Paula Deen just fell off her chair and half the south wept at the thought! : )

In all seriousness, I have learned to love so many things without butter--that I once thought couldn't come without it!

Some of the biggest culprits? Corn on the cob and restaurant bread/rolls. I rarely have butter on these items any more. Honestly, (to me) they just don't need it. Just give it a try (or two)--you'll learn to love these items for what they are--which is wonderful--without all the added calories.


Try It: With a little less or no salt.


Is Paula Deen crying now? (Ha ha! No worries, Paula! I still love your cooking shows!)

I don't think most realize just how much salt they eat in a day! (Or how much comes in the food they order!) It can be just out right ridiculous!

All I'm saying is--just give your foods a try with less (or without)! Some things may take some adapting--some just may not be edible with out some salt. But, just try it! You may surprise yourself at what really doesn't need much, if any, salt on your plate!


Try It: Veggies you've always hated--or ones you've been afraid to try!


My tastes have changed so much since I was younger. I used to cringe and gag at the thought of greens or pinto beans--but now, they are things that I love or maybe even crave! (No--this is not just a prego thing! : )

Just try a little--here and there. You may still hate these items--or you may surprise yourself with a new item to love!


Do you have any other "Try It" tips? Let us know!! Every little bit helps! : )

~Page


Monday, May 16, 2011

His Compassions Fail NOt

I'm thankful for the Lord's mercies and love. Praying this devotion will help you start the week off right and be a blessing to your heart!Mt. Zion Baptist Church
HIS COMPASSIONS FAIL NOT
By Pastor Thomas Smith, in St Clair, MO

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22, 23.

How much does God care for His children? This is a question that defies a complete and suitable answer. We are not able to fully comprehend His love and concern for us. Considering any of God's attributes can stretch our imaginations, but some are harder than others for us to grasp. I can more easily understand His wrath because I know how much we have violated His commands. His jealousy is comprehendible because He deserves our complete love and devotion. But, His compassion is somewhat harder for some of us to wrap our minds around. Why would God so care for us?

His compassions never fail and they are new every morning. As hard as this is to imagine, that God persistently and consistently cares for us, it is nonetheless true. Not only is it true, but also it holds the key to much in the Christian life. We are challenged, first of all, to come to the awareness of God's great love, but we also need to learn to accept that love for our lives personally. The Scripture testifies to the great care God has for us. We must personalize the fact that this abounding love from the Eternal God is directed specifically toward us. He not only cares immeasurably for others, He cares equally for us. His compassions never fail. His kindness knows no end. He meets us every morning with new and tender mercies. This is the nature of our God. These words describe His care for His children.

By faith, we learn to see Him as the compassionate God that He is. No matter how much we come to receive His loving kindness, we know that we will never explore the depth of His care. This truth has the power to minister to every heart in a profound way. We can come to God when we fail because we know that He cares so deeply for us. We can ask Him for the things we need because we know He loves us and wants what is best for us.

When we begin to doubt His care or when the devil brings destructive accusations, we can know that God's mercies are real for us. When we think we are alone and no one is there for us, we are reminded that there is Someone who will never leave us nor forsake us. His faithfulness is great, and never changes. He will never cease to care. No one will ever care for us like Jesus.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quick Tip Wednesday!

This "Quick Tip" comes from one of our readers , Ashley, who has a great little cooking blog. You can check it out here.


She tells us that you can FREEZE RICE!! Neat, huh? You can make your own little steamer bags and just pull them out when you need them.

"On a day with spare time pull out your rice maker, or whatever you use to make rice, and make a batch of rice. I like to do a large batch, 6 cup water 3 cup rice. Once it is done cooking I fluff it up, and fill up a Qt size freezer bag and seal it removing all the air. Be sure to label it "Rice Heat 4-5 min, High" then when you are ready to use it. just pull it out and plop it right into the microwave frozen and sealed.. the ice crystals will help it steam right up just like the store bought ones, When it is done place in a bowl and fluff it with a fork and there you go 5 min rice ! I hope you find it as useful as I do! "


Thanks for this great tip, Ashley!!
:-D

Do you have a "Quick Tip" to share with everyone?? List it below in the comments with your name, and perhaps we'll blog about it in your honor!! ;-D

~Lauren & Page

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Gospel At Work



Enjoy this "Monday Meditation" about the importance of maintaining a Christ-like testimony in the work place. We CAN be a witness to those around us!

Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Devotions from Pastor Thomas Smith
Mt. Zion Baptist Church
ADORNING THE GOSPEL AT WORK


"Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own master, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity: that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things."
Titus 2:9, 10.

How can we influence those we work with for Christ? One of the greatest mission fields many will ever see could be their place of employment. The majority of workplace associates are probably unsaved or unchurched. For many, the environment is very worldly, the philosophies humanistic, and the language deplorable. What can we do to help them see their need for the Gospel? What can we do that they might see the difference Jesus has made in our lives? The Bible speaks clearly about the relationship of the servant to his master. These principles are easily and accurately applied to our place of employment and our relationship to the boss or supervisor. Our testimony before those we work with and work for will be influenced by our obedience.

Paul told Titus to exhort servants to "be obedient unto their own master." If we want to make a good impression on the boss and on those we work with, let's begin by doing what we are told. We are to follow instructions and obey commands. Be on time and give an honest day's work for a day's pay. Too many in our day are always looking for a way to get out of work or doing the least amount of work possible. Find out what is expected of you, and do everything that you are told, if not more than you are told. We are to "please them well in all things." This should be our goal, not to please ourselves, but to please the one we are working for.

Paul further mentions, "not answering again." Christians should speak respectfully on the job, not arguing or talking back. Our work associates should know that we are honest and trustworthy. Purloining means "to hold back or embezzle." Literally this could mean taking things home that belong to the company, or even taking a salary when you have not done the work. We are not to take from our employer what is not rightfully ours. We are admonished to "adorn the doctrine of God" on the job. Witnessing and sharing gospel tracts when possible are important; these are ways we can direct others toward the Lord. However, along with those things, our work ethic will speak loudly of our faith in Christ.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sick Days...



My poor hubby and I have been battling the flu and it is NO fun! We hate having to miss church, but alas - we know that nobody wants our sick germs. The wonderful thing about technology these days is that we know of several Biblically sound churches that stream their services via the internet!!

Now, this should in no way be a replacement for going to church, as the Bible tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. However, on those sick days, or when your kids are sick, etc - this is a great thing!

It never occurred to me to BLOG about these wonderful churches, but I have several I'd like to share with you - in different time zones no less! Simply click on the link and you'll quickly find a link to their "live services" on each website.

Those of you in Central time zone, click here for Fargo Baptist Church with Pastor Tony Scheving

For those of you on EST click here for Temple Baptist Church with Pastor Clarence Sexton

or here for Lehigh Valley Baptist Church with Pastor Ron Hammet

or if you're PST click here for Lancaster Baptist Church with Pastor Paul Chappell


I pray this is a blessing to you, for the next time you're home on a "sick day" or are simply able to tune in to one of these live services. Sadly, I can't recommend just ANY church, but am thankful that I can safely recommend each of the above to you. They are Scripturally sound and base their teaching on GOD'S WORD alone! What a blessing!


~Lauren

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quick Tip Wednesday!

This Quick Tip comes from one of our Readers - thanks, Katrina!



For those of us who use Stainless Steel pans, this is an invaluable tip!!

"I use lemon juice to clean my stainless pans - it works even better than soap! You just squirt a little bit in the pan while the pan is still HOT and the mess cleans right up (but you MUST do it while the pan is HOT). I learned this handy little tip at a Japanese Steakhouse, where they cook right in front of you...works like a charm :) "


Do YOU have a quick tip worth sharing? Comment below and your tip might just be featured on our blog. :-)

Have a Happy Wednesday, everyone!


~Lauren & Page

Monday, May 2, 2011

Make Your Momma Happy!

Do you realize that Mother's Day is just a scant week away (actually less than that -yikes!!)?? The official count-down has begun, so my question is - do you have that perfect gift for Mom taken care of yet??

Sometimes I really struggle with finding that "perfect gift". Perhaps I over-think, or just over-complicate things, but I really like to give a gift that's meaningful, practical and something the person will really love.
Here's a wonderful gift idea for the Mom that loves jewelry (what girl doesn't?)- a custom Jewelry Organizer! Now, I made my sister one of these for Christmas and my Mom one for her birthday and I have to tell you that they were a HUGE hit! My Mom LOVES having a beautiful place to neatly store all of her "bling". She enjoys being able to display it in such a way that she doesn't have to dig through a jewelry box, only to realize that she can't find that other earring. I'm sure you've seen several tutorials done on various blogs about the infamous framed jewelry organizer, but this is one I especially love because it has ample space for earrings!!



Jewelry Organizer Tutorial


What you will need:
-Frame of your choice - spray painted to your liking (optional)
-Crafter's board to attach to the back of frame (and fasten fabric to)
-Fabric of choice, enough to cover the size of your board
-Glue gun
-Heavy Duty Staple Gun
-Hooks for top of organizer (optional)
-Chicken wire - 1/2" mesh
-Hanging bracket hardware


Now I will tell you that I did not exactly plan too well for this craft. This was completely a "fly by the seat of your pants" craft, and my husband was the one to save the day. However, despite my lack of planning, the results were wonderful. These organizers turned out exactly how I envisioned. Yes, sometimes I'm a better visionary than I am a crafter. :-P

This craft can really be as inexpensive or expensive as you'd like it to be, it really depends on what kind of frame and fabric you choose to use. I purchased two oak frames at a garage sale for $.25 cents each and opted to spray paint them a beautiful glossy black. I used fabric that I already had for one, and purchased the other piece of remnant fabric at Hobby Lobby. This really helped to keep the cost down!

I purchased my chicken wire at my local home improvement store, be sure to wear gloves and have some kind of metal snips to cut the wire - it will hurt you otherwise!! I think the chicken wire was the most frustrating to work with, but if you're careful it definitely adds a special touch and a place to organize countless pairs of earrings! (totally worth it in my book)

To Assemble:


Take an ugly frame and spray paint it! (optional)



Cut your board to fit snugly inside your frame, you will need enough room to fit the board with fabric AND chicken wire and still fit it inside your frame. It takes a bit of measuring, eye-balling, and tweaking to get it right. This is the part that my hunky hubby really came in handy. ;-) I could never have safely cut this board on my rug without totally destroying it. Ha!

Take your fabric and cut enough to overlap around the board, securing with hot glue.
(sorry, no pic - should be pretty self-explanatory)

Cut the chicken wire large enough to fold over the edges of the board. WEAR GLOVES and use wire snips that stuff is sharp.


Take your fabric covered board and carefully wrap with chicken wire (remember to wear gloves!!). Now firmly fit your fabric and wired board into the frame. Staple edges to frame to secure. This chicken wire is a PAIN to work with, but is SO worth it to provide place for all those earrings! It's so convenient.



Screw hooks for necklaces and bracelets along the top. If needed, spray paint them to match your frame, or purchase in the color of your choice.

*Attach a hanging bracket to the back of the frame to hang it on the wall.

The end result will be unique, functional, and beautiful! Take it a step further and buy your Mom some new jewelry to display on her new organizer!




Head over to my Etsy shop for beautiful handcrafted jewelry and take advantage of the Mother's Day special going on now. FREE SHIPPING and 10% off when you enter the promo code MOTHERSDAY2011. You have until Sunday, May 8th to take advantage of this special offer!




Let's celebrate Mom and let her know how important she truly is!

~Lauren