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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Adventure Room Part 1

A couple weeks ago my aunt got some photography equipment in her shop Traveling Pants, she posted about it on her Facebook. She happened to be traveling to Nashville the next day so she brought the stuff with her. We set it up in the dining room to play with it- and suddenly realized we needed a studio to keep it all in. So we decided to move our guest rooms around and convert one into a studio. We chose the adventure room because it has its own door outside so when we get up and running people don't have to go through the entire house to get to the studio. But that also meant we had quite a bit of moving to do.

In the new room we are starting with a clean slate so we still have a lot of work to do to make the room look like the one. We still have to paint, move the armoire with the volcano on top up stairs, hang a few pictures, change the light fixture. The new room will have two beds instead of one so we have to get or make bedding for it. 

These are some of the lights we are looking at for the new room (each picture is hooked to an affiliate link that will take you to the actual light for sale. Affiliates links will cost you nothing.) Which one do you think we should choose?

Tracy and I really like the first one but Brianna likes the airplane. What do you think? 
Would love to get this for the bathroom. We want to do a more aviation theme in there. We were thinking about getting prints of WWII pilots and their planes. 


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Life Is Hard

Life can be hard.
Let's be honest, it can be a struggle.

Nasty Neighbors.
False Friends.
Bickering children,
Grumpy Spouse.
Tyrannical Boss.
Church Splits

Shall I go on?
Want to know the truth?

Every Conflict Is Spiritual

That's right, every conflict is spiritual.

It is so easy for us to get caught up in the physical, to put a human face on the fight before us.
Every Challange Is Conquerable. We battle while on our knees while reading the bible, while in prayer. 

Spiritual strength is required to push through the battles in this world. Spiritual armor must be put on as we face our day - every day.

The bible tells us:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.…Ephesians 6:10-13
What is this armor the scripture speaks of?

Let's read on.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The Belt of truth- 

It covered your middle, your internal organs and holds everything up. Literally it holds your pants up and keeps you from being exposed. That is what the Truth does. It holds everything else up. No pants on the ground people! Fasten your belt!

Breastplate of Righteousness 
The knights of old knew the importance of protecting the heart. The breastplate protected the chest because a chest wound was deadly. Spiritually speaking righteousness is only through Christ. It is not something we can obtain of our own merit. When Christ died on the cross His Righteousness was then credited to all who believe in Him through justification and not through our own works.

Shield of Faith 

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Feet Fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace  

Have you ever hurt your foot? It can make a grown man cry and quickly get you off of your feet! The knights of old knew the importance of protecting the feet in battle.
The Shield Of Faith
Notice it says to take up the shield? That means that it can be put down friends. The way we take up our shield is by daily reading the bible. We can fight against the doubts and lies by keeping current with our reading and spending time with God every day.
The Helmet of salvation

The warrior didn't want a head wound, and this piece of metal will protect you head as salvation protects against the onslaught of the attacks on the mind. The lies and the deceit of the evil one and his battle against the truth.
Sword of The Spirit- 
The Word of God, the bible. We must read the bible so that we can recognize the lies. When you work for a bank you are not given counterfeit money to study but the real thing. You know without a doubt what the real thing looks like so you can understand when you see the fake. Same with the word of God. We must immerse ourselves in the truth, so when we are face to face with a lie, we know it.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

No good soldier would go without communicating to his commander. No war can be won by each man just acting on his own and not working together. So too, the warrior of God. We must spend time talking to God. He loves us dearly and wants to hear from us.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Cheese Strips - Huntington Beach Style

We are California Girls and as such we love to hang out at the beach.  Huntington Beach is one of our favorite places to be and when at the beach Dwight's Beach Concession is the place for your munchies. 

Here is our version of their Cheese Strips.  My aunts would make these for my mom when she was little and grandma made them after they all got married and moved away.
This is so easy and tastes so good. For this recipe you will need:


Mexican Cheese Mix
Favorite Salsa
Coconut Oil or your favorite frying oil
Himalayan Pink Salt or salt of your choice


Slice Tortillas into strips, fry in skillet with oil. When crisp remove to a paper towel and lightly salt. Add cheese on top and serve with a bowl of salsa.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

No Pit So Deep Book Review

We are so excited to have the opportunity to review No Pit So Deep - The Cody Musket Story by James Nathaniel Miller II. This is a extremely well written story that had me laughing at points and white knuckling my mouse while turning pages. If you love military or mystery books with a decidedly Christian world view try this one. Its a great story of forgiveness and learning to trust again and walk away changed. How deep is to deep to love someone? How broken is to broken to be saved? 

Prepare for a raw look at life- and how He can reach down wherever we are and pick us up out of the holes we dug because we decided our way was better, heal our broken hearts and teach us to forgive.

If God has any flaw, it is that He loves us way too much, and I am so grateful!  

(Please note this book did have some language in it and does have gun play and violence, if you are not sure please proof read before allowing your kids to read it. )

We received this book free for our honest opinion. This post contains an affiliate link.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Making Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta is a super easy cheese to make.  It is used in lasagne, manicotti, stuffed shells, ravioli and lots of other pasta dishes.

You make ricotta with the leftover whey from making other cheeses.  When we make a cheddar, or jack you are using several gallons of milk.  This is a way to use again the left over and get the best bang for your buck.



Pillow Case or clean flour sack towel


After you are finished making whatever cheese you are doing and have it in the press you take the whey in your large stock pot and reheat it to the point of simmering and almost to a boil.  I stir all the time because I don't want my ricotta to settle and stick to the bottom of my pan.  When you get to almost the boiling stage you will start to see what looks sort of like cottage cheese floating in the liquid.  This is your ricotta.  Continue until you see it is not making any more cheese.   Strain the cheese in a colander lined with a clean white pillowcase or a clean flour sack towel.  Remove from fabric and place into a container.  Add some fine ground pink Himalayan salt and stir and store until you are ready to use.

Check out making Jack Cheese!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What We Pack On A Road Trip

We. Love. To. Travel. Seriously! We love it!! So we put together a list of the things we take on our adventures.

  • Camera - We like to bring our Cannon Rebel and our Fuji waterproof camera
  • Selfie Stick - I know, I know. I used to laugh at these- yes they that use them look like giraffes trying to get reception on their phones. But they are great for taking family photos!
  • Cell Phone - The reasons for bringing a phone are kind of obvious other than for calling people we also like using the camera so we can update Instagram while we are on the road.
  • Note Book - I like to work on blog posts when my face isn't glued to the car window.
  • Good Book or Audio Book  - You never know when you will get stuck in traffic.
  • Snacks - We try to make them as healthy as possible- this will save us money in the long run and keep us from eating as much junk food.
  • Map and Garmin - When one fails the other saves us... or we end up traveling from one end of the state to the other in one night following 18 wheelers.
  • Spare Outfit - Especially for younger children- or if you happen to be really messy with the ice cream cones...
  • Extra Pair Of Shoes - I can't tell you how many times I have not brought extra shoes and had the ones I'm wearing break or hurt my feet- unfortunately it is frowned upon to walk around barefoot. Or you step in a puddle or something- ah well you get it. Anyway its always nice to have a second pair ready to change into.
  • Ice Chest With Water - Again this will save you money and time, and you will have cold water at your fingertips. If we are traveling with small children we pack juice as well.
  • Sunscreen - again kind of obvious, just place it somewhere you will be able to find it again. Trust me, it's slightly embarrassing to have to unpack the entire car to find it.
  • Sunglasses - They are nice to have.
  • Chapstick or lipstick - Well this one is really obvious- just make sure you pass the chapstick to the guy in the car and not the other one.
  • Games - Cards or some other game made for the car. This helps to keep the back seat drivers quiet. We like things like Brain Quest or other games that are made for the car (we have a travel version of Sorry)
  • The first-aid Kit - Do I need to explain this?

Depending on where we are going - Towels, Swimsuits, Extra batteries & Memory Sticks for the camera, Overnight gear, computer.

What do you pack for road trips?


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Slow Fade - When You Have Lost The Ones You Love

You grab the phone, nervousness settles in your stomach but you punch the buttons anyway. The phone rings and you are sure it will go to the machine. It is a new number that they won't recognize it. "Hello"? The voice asks. For a moment, your voice catches and then you just rush in. You are not sure what to say but it pours out in a torrent of words. It is awkward. There is mostly uncomfortable silence on the other end of the phone and you know things will never be the same. The only thing to talk about is the weather and even that feels odd.
You make cards but never hear "Thank You". It is like they just disappear in the mailbox and head into a black hole of nothingness. Your Children's birthdays come and the mailbox stays empty. No phone calls, no greetings. Your children look up at you with teary eyes and ask why.
"Momma, why do we make all dees (these) cards for everyone and no one sends us a card?"
What do you do when the people who are supposed to love you, don't?
The bible says that-
  • If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone Romans 12:18
  • Let us, therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 14:19
  • Colossians 3:13 -15 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.…
  • Ephesians 5:2 ...and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
  • 1 John 3:10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God's child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
  • John 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
  • Romans 12:10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
This is hard for me - I hate conflict. I am a peacemaker. I look down at the teary eyes and cup my hands on their cheeks. 

I kiss their foreheads and say... because we Love them. 

I leave it at that- leave the rest to God...

They throw their little arms around me and squeeze. "I Love you, Momma!" Oh, I love them too -so very much!


Monday, February 15, 2016

Easy Stromboli Recipe

Stromboli is a delicious type of turnover that is filled with cheeses and other pizza toppings and rolled up jelly roll style and baked. It is a fun way to change things up a bit for dinner.  Here is how we made our Stromboli.


Organic Ham (Lunch meat)
Cheese Of Your Choice


Roll out the dough into a rectangle, spread with sauce, sprinkle cheese over the top and add salami ham and pepperoni. 

Roll up loosely like a jelly roll and gently slice the top. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

Try another of our recipes by clicking below
Check out our Garlic Knots Recipe!

This post contains affiliate links.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

It is that time of year again! The time of love and flowers and chocolate, LOTS of chocolate! Have you checked out the Valentine aisle lately?  Crazy amounts of sweets!  

Well, here at the cottage we decided to do something a bit different.  Spend time with your loved one with a wonderful chocolate fondue pot of chocolate and some amazing strawberries!

If you don't like strawberries, no problem! You can use your favorite fruit.  We chose some great organic dark chocolate but it is really up to you and your own tastes.  We loved the idea of strawberries because they look like hearts.

We fired up the fondue pot (Don't have one? Click here and pick one up). Grab a bar of your favorite chocolate and lets sit and talk awhile.

We always do organic and we liked the dark chocolate because of the health benefits.  


Chocolate Bar
Sprinkles or chopped nuts (if desired)


 Place the pot on top and put in your chocolate chunks.  Place the fuel pot under the pot and use your lighter (we like this one ) to light it. When the chocolate is melted, skewer the berries with the provided skewers and dip into the warm chocolate.  Place on waxed paper to cool or enjoy warm. 
They are so good and it is a fun way to spend the evening with the ones that you love. You can also drizzle them with white chocolate, add sprinkles, etc!  You could even put them in a pretty box to give to your loved one for Valentine's Day or their birthday.  

I hope you try this out and if you do, please let us know! We would love to see pictures of your edible work of art! You can post them to our Facebook page


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Heart Shaped Cookies

These cookies ended up thicker than we expected but they are sure good.  They are crumbly like a sugar cookie but with the great chocolate dip, they are over the top yummy!

 Here is the recipe we used for the cookie. 

We try to use healthy and organic as much as possible.  Please, use what you normally use or what you have.  I will put links in case you would like to use what we use.


1/3 c. Coconut Oil
3/4 cup organic Raw Sugar
1 Pastured Egg
1 Tbsp Raw Milk
1 Tsp Pure Vanilla
Organic Chocolate of your choice


Beat your butter, sugar, coconut oil and eggs. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet until they are all combined in your bowl.  Cover and put in your refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.  Cut dough in half and leave the other half in the fridge.  Roll dough out to 1/8 (like I said before, we went thicker for some reason this time).  Cut and bake the cookies for 8 min or until done at 375 degrees F. 
Set aside and let cool. 

In a double boiler or if you don't have one a bowl sitting above a pan full of water.  Be careful not to burn yourself!  Warm the chocolate stirring well. When it is melted dip your cookies in the chocolate and set aside on waxed paper until cool.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Cooking In Fern Valley Book Review

We are so excited about the opportunity to review Cooking in Fern Valley!

Cooking in Fern Valley by Aileen Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this children's book! This is the perfect book for that little one in your life. It is well written and the characters are adorable. Your child will fall in love with this book- and have so much fun making the recipes! *Received this book free for my honest review*

View all my reviews

This post contains Affiliate Links


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Long Hunter State Park

Welcome to Long Hunter State Park, one of the many beautiful parks in Tennessee. It offers hiking, fishing, boat ramps, camping and many more attractions on 2,600 acres. It became a park in 1974.
It is open from 7 AM to sunset year round and there are no fees to use the park.

Related Post: Fall Creek Falls State Park

The park is divided into four parts, Couchville, Baker's Grove, Bryant Grove and Sellar's Farm. Sellar's Farm is a state archaeological area, its a family friendly place great for history lovers.
Whether you live in this state or you love to travel and want to learn more about the state you should check it out. Sellar's Farm boasts one of the few Indian mounds in the state.

Isn't it beautiful? There are 30 miles of shoreline at Longhunter along the Percy Priest Lake.
The park also has a two mile loop of trails around Couchville Lake.

There is a 4 mile mountain bike trail also available for use to hikers as well. Just watch for the bikers as you hike.

Related Post: Cummins Falls State Park

Many water fowl can be seen along the shores and white tailed deer can be seen regularly.
There are spots for picnicing, camping, backpacking, fishing, boating, nature photography, hiking, and places to enjoy a good swim.

There are two trails for biking a two and four mile loop.

Related Post: Burgess Falls State Park

Related Post: Bledsoe State Park

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