Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tink's 2nd Birthday

My little niece is 2 years old!  Seems like just yesterday this picture was taken.  I just can't believe how fast time flies.  It makes me sad.  I'm going to be somethin' else when I have kids of my own.

Her birthday party was Sunday.  My SIL and Bro threw a Cookie Monster themed party and it was SO CUTE!  Amber did such an awesome job.  Look at how precious it all turned out.

Her cupcakes were awesome too.

Such a cute idea!

It was a fun, fun day.  Tink (that's her nickname) got so many wonderful presents.  She is so loved :)

She finally got some pink BOOOOOOOOTs (that's how she says boots) that she's been wanting.  So funny - her mom asked her what she wanted for her birthday and she replied, "pink boots and a bicycle!"

But then she wasn't so sure that she liked wearing them so she decided to hang them on her new bicycle handlebars instead.  Great idea right?!  Haha! She used to be TERRIFIED of I had to take mine off when I'd come see her or she'd point at them and say NO NO BOOOOTs!

This kid is hilarious.  I love her so much.  She wasn't in the mood for pictures, but I did manage to get one with her!

And then last night, we went over to my parents' for dinner and she just had to go ride "Pawpaw's boat" aka my parents' jetski.  We had fun :)

Happy Birthday, little one!  You are SUCH a blessing to our family and we all love you very, very much!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Today I'm linking up with Jamie for What I'm Loving Wednesday.

This is my 1st time linking up with this party and I couldn't resist being that pinterest has not let me down this week!  So, here's what I'm loving...

This adorable do-it yourself canvas.  Possibly doing it this weekend.

A good hair day....don't we all.

The fact that football season is right around the corner

These cute boots.  I'm ready for fall!

This super cute nursery.  Don't get any ideas, I can look.


And of course my hubs and dog-ter (who looks terrified, but I assure you she is not)

What are you loving?  Be blessed! XOXO

My Blog Name

When coming up with a blog name, I had ever heard the quote, "God's grace is like grits. You don't order it -- it just arrives as part of the feast."  As a matter of fact, I just stumbled across that today so I did some investigating.  Apparently, this quote arose from a Waffle House order wherein a man did not order grits with his meal, but received them on his plate.  When he told the waitress he did not order grits, the waitress replied, “you don’t order grits, it just comes!” 

One thing led to another and this little statement got theologians thinking that grits are like God's grace in that you don't ask for it, it comes to you when you receive Him.  I thought that was pretty neat.  You should google it and read more about or click this link.

Who knew!  Ha!  And I just named this blog 'God, Grace, Grits' because those are three elements that define my life - I love my Lord and Savior, I'm so thankful for His grace & I'm a southern girl through and through born and raised on some good ole grits.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Meal Plan

We had a pretty eventful weekend full of the beach with friends 

and our niece's Cookie Monster themed 2nd birthday party (stayed tuned, I'll post more about that later this week) 

It was a lot of fun!  I'm so blessed to have such wonderful family members & friends - near and far!

Here's this week's Meal Plan -
Monday: Rotisserie Lemon Pepper Chicken with steamed broccoli (I'm making life easier for myself - I didn't get to grocery shop yesterday)
Tuesday: Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Eggplant Cups *recipe adapted from here
Wednesday: Blackened Swai with steamed veggies
Thursday: Eat Clean Turkey Tacos w/refried beans
Friday: Grilled pork steaks with sauteed squash and tomatoes
Saturday: Chicken Spaghetti with a salad and Apple Galette for dessert
Sunday: My day to rest :)

What do y'all think about sharing your meal plans on my blog?  I know a lot of you do this as well and it'd be helpful to exchange ideas and recipes.  Comment or email me and let me know what you think.

I'm hoping to make this divine grilled cheese sandwich this weekend.  

Publix has mozzarella on sale so it looks like it's in the cards for me.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Hope y'all have had a great start to your week.  The weekends pass too quickly!

Friday, July 22, 2011

SUYL - Marriage Advice

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner for Show Us Your Life - Marriage Advice.  Now, I am no expert.  We've been married a little over 10 months, but if the 1st year is supposed to be the hardest...this is awesome.  I believe marriages always take work, but anything worth having does.  Believe me, not every day is rainbows and butterflies, but I am blessed beyond measure.

My best marriage advice is to have a solid foundation in Christ.  Jesus speaks of a foundation in God in Matthew 7:24-27:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
-Matthew 7:24-27
This holds so true for me -  not only in marriage but in all other aspects of life.  Build your marriage in Christ and it will be a solid foundation.  Everything else is sand, in that it can be washed away quickly and suddenly.  I credit my relationship to this principle - it was the first thing Jared and I talked about when we started dating.  From day 1 it was the most important element to build love that would last a lifetime.

Now my hubs had another excellent piece of advice.  He said to always put your relationship first.  In every decision you make, every thought you process, have your relationship as your number one priority.  He's a good one, that guy. ;)

Speaking of marriage advice, tomorrow is my parents' 30th anniversary.  HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Mom & Dad!  I love y'all SO much!!  Thanks for being a great example in my life. 

Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend! XOXO

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Homemade Oreos

Well, it appears that I'm on a homemade sweets kick this week.  Last night I made homemade Oreos.  Smitten Kitchen has been one of my favorite recipe websites for a long time.  Deb is just awesome.  I came across this particular recipe awhile back then saw it again on pinterest yesterday and knew I just had to try it.

Here is the link to her full blog post.  I did a few things differently, just to make life easier for myself.

Ingredients for Cookies:
-1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa  
  *I just used regular Hershey's unsweetened cocoa, but this made my cookies rise a little more due to the acidity of regular cocoa
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar  
  *1 cup of sugar is plenty in my opinion.  You don't want the cookies to be too sweet
-1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
  *I used salted butter because that's all I had.
-1 large egg

Ingredients for Filling:
-1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
  *again, my butter was salted
-1/4 cup vegetable shortening
-2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions for Cookies:
1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.

2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
*If you have a KitchenAid mixer, use it for this step. 

3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool for approximately 15 minutes.

Directions for Filling:

1. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

2. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.
*I started out with the filling in a pastry bag, but honestly, it makes life easier if you just spoon a dollop of filling onto each cookie and press the two together. 

These are really easy and really good.  But Tony Horton would be SO MAD at me if he knew I made these after my workout.  They're definitely not the healthiest choice, ha!  It's okay to indulge every now and then.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Homemade Butterfingers

I'm not big on candy.  But if I had to choose, I'd pick butterfingers or twix.  I stumbled across this recipe on pinterest (best website EVER) and thought I'd share.  It'd be perfect for a holiday treat to make for others, or maybe keep a few for yourself.  I know it's only July, but I'm getting ancy thinking about football season, fall, and all the food that comes along with it.  This makes me want to go home, put on my adorable new leopard apron from my SIL Julie and BIL Brian (thanks y'all!  I LOVE IT), and make this for Anya's birthday this weekend.  I just might!

You only need 3 ingredients:
1. 1 lb. candy corn
2. 16oz jar peanut butter (I used Peter Pan Honey Roasted peanut butter)
3. 16oz pkg. chocolate candy coating

Melt candy corn in microwave on high 1 minute. Stir and continue cooking in 15-second intervals til melted, stirring after each interval. Stir in peanut butter. Spread mixture in an 8x8 pan lined with parchment. Cool completely. Cut into squares. Dip in melted chocolate candy coating. Lay on waxed paper to set.

Easy Peasy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

MPM and My Change

We had a guest speaker at church on Sunday.  His name was Jay Lowder.  Some of you may have heard of him and his Harvest Ministries.  He was phenomenal - so full of energy and passion.  In the first service and our service combined, there were hundreds of people saved and others that rededicated their lives to the Lord.  It was incredible, in a word.  I was moved to tears.  And it brought back a flood of memories for me when I rededicated my life to the Lord - the change that was brought about in me.  I could hear God whispering to my heart that I needed to leave my old ways and walk in His way...which is not always easy but the reward is far greater than anything we can imagine.  It was just such a great day and my heart was so happy to see so many people, young and old, aligning themselves with God.  And I could not have been more thankful to have my husband sitting next to me.

I recently had an old friend pass away suddenly from a brain aneurysm (that's what they suspected last I heard).  He was 24 years old & had two small children.  I had lost touch with him in the last 10 years or so, but we grew up together and spent every day playing outside in our neighborhood.  It broke my heart, but also made me think how limited our time is here on Earth and how tomorrow is not promised to any of us.  I hope people use that as motivation to get right with the Lord.  This weekend's service was just so empowering and encouraging to me.  I wish everyone could have been there.

My sister-in-law and brother got me the prettiest bracelet for my birthday.  I love all jewelry and this was right up my alley.

The one they got me is the Christian bracelet.  My mom and dad bought me the Pandora bracelet for my birthday last year.  I love 'em!

Here is this week's Meal Plan for MPM (MPM = Meal Plan Monday)
Monday: Leftover ribs, butter beans & potato salad
Tuesday: Eat Clean Summer Salmon with steamed asparagus
Wednesday: Lemon garlic crockpot chicken with steamed broccoli.  Recipe from here.  Love their website!
Thursday: Pork Chops, baked sweet potatoes & steamed broccoli
Friday: Eat Clean Chicken Stacks.  Recipe previously posted here.

Hope y'all have a blessed week!

Friday, July 15, 2011

An Encouraging Word

So if you've read this blog for any length of time, you may have become aware that I really struggle with patience (yup, I'll admit it) and that in turn relates to my waiting for God's will to be done in my life.  I don't really know why I do this because when I give up and allow His will to be done, its always so wonderful for me.  I guess that's the human in me and sometimes life just gets so frustrating.  You just don't understand why things are the way they just doesn't seem "fair".  I'm not trying to throw a pity party by any means, just being real about frustrations we all deal with from time to time. 

I happened to stumble across this today and it was so fitting.  I'm pretty sure God put it right where I'd see it as a nice reminder.  I love when He speaks to me. 

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. – Psalm 27:14 

Waiting is a way for God to hone our hearts. We need to remember that we serve the God who sees the beginning from the end, and when our timetable clashes with His timetable, the delay is due to His goodness and love. Like the Psalmist, remind yourself that God sees what needs to happen and when it needs to happen. When we wait upon the Lord our heart strengthens and our perspectives enlarge.
Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor,

Hope His word encouraged you like it did me today. XOXO

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Birthday

Thank you for all of the birthday love!  WOW!  I felt so humbled.  It was the best birthday.  All the phone calls, texts, facebook posts and cards were so so so thoughtful and I hope you all know how much it meant to me.

My quarter of a century picture

My husband is one wonderful man.  He didn't let me lift a finger (which was hard for me), but it was so thoughtful and I appreciate it more than he knows.  He made me a delish dinner, is taking me out Saturday night, we had cupcakes to celebrate and he added to my wardrobe & jewelry collection - you can never go wrong with any of that in my book!  

My parents were so thoughtful as well - they contributed to the Dyson fund, took me out for birthday lunch and surprised me with chocolate covered strawberries delivered to my work.  Mom's making her famous ribs for dinner Sunday night along with dad's homemade banana pudding.  Seriously, how blessed am I...

One of my co-workers made me Dirt Cake at work and it was soooo good.  I love anything chocolate! :) I just can't get over the thoughtfulness.  I almost feel like my wedding day emotions again with being completely overwhelmed with love and kindness.  I felt like I couldn't show enough how much it all meant to me.  So again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now, you can stop reading if you want.  The rest of this post will just be pictures and it could get boring, but of course I had to document my day (after we got home from work).

Me and my dog-ter

The hubs and I

Birthday cupcake!  Please excuse the attire & messy hair - I had just gotten done working out and eating.  
This is real life, folks.  
We're not always put together 24/7.  At least I'm not.

I hope you have a blessed day and feel so loved - if not, I send some your way! XOXO

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reasons Coffee is Good for You + Pizza Recipe

I subscribe to Quickie Chick's Blog - funny name, but awesome tips and recipes.  Thanks, Erin for introducing me! Yesterday's post was about "5 Reasons Coffee is Good for You" and I thought I'd share...since I love my cup o'joe.

1.  Improves your focus and concentration at work.
2.  Fights heart disease.
3.  Ups your athletic ability so you burn fat faster
4.  Reduces post-exercise muscle pain
5.  It's only 2 calories per cup (before my Cinnabon creamer of course)

So drink up!  If you want to read the full article to get an explanation, click here.

On to the 'Eat Clean" Pizza Recipe

*1 whole wheat pizza crust
*1 can crushed tomatoes
*1/4 cup organic marina sauce (or make your own)
*1 bag spinach, cooked
*1/4 lb cooked chicken or turkey sausage
*any other veggies you'd like to add
*1 cup low fat mozzarella cheese (I used low fat mozzarella & cheddar on my last one)
*fresh oregano, basil & parsley if you wish

***NOTE - I tend to just throw things together so if measurements aren't exact, it won't hurt.  I just 'eye' it.***

1. Preheat over to 425 degrees.
2. Cook down spinach in 1 tbsp of olive oil and pepper to taste.
3. Brown sausage in a pan (optional).  I like mine crispy.
4. Once spinach is cooked down, set aside to cool.
5. Spread marinara and crushed tomatoes over crust
6. Top with spinach & other veggies
7. Sprinkle cheese over top & arrange sausage
8. Top with any remaining herbs and bake for 10-15 mins.  Let cool for 5 mins before cutting.
9. Enjoy!

It's SO easy.  And like I said, feel free to add/take away anything.  I've been growing oregano and basil so I topped mine with that and it was delish.

Be blessed!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blues Weekend, Skin Care & Meal Plan

Wow, what a weekend!  It's weekends like this past one where I am so incredibly thankful that we live here.  It's been my way of life my whole life and I often wonder what people all over the rest of the country are doing during our Blues weekend.

I don't know if the oil spill from last year contributed to this, but the crowd was larger than ever this year.  We're bouncing back!  We went for the first time by boat and had the best time.  It was like the redneck yacht club out there...everyone tied together, bbq'ing from the back of their boats, tents set up in the water.  It was SO MUCH FUN.  Here's a picture I found online today of Sabine Bay (where we were).  Is that not the coolest picture?  You can see all of the boats anchored around the sandbar.  It was a good time.

It was an all day event - left our house at 7:45 Saturday morning and did not get home until 8:15 that night.  We were wore out.  Here we are when we first anchored.  That big floppy hat saved my face from burning.

And we caught a gorgeous sunset on the way back home.

Good weekend enjoying God's gorgeous creations.

Speaking of that floppy hat saving my face from burning, I am happy to announce that I did not get burned at all.  I honestly couldn't believe it, but I kept reapplying sunscreen all day and it worked!  As I'm getting older, I'm starting to freak out about my skin.  I don't want to look wrinkly by the time I'm 30.  I wear spf 30 on my face everyday and 30 on my whole body if I'm out in the sun for an extended period of time.  Call me paranoid but I don't want to look older due to sun damage, plus skin cancer runs in my family.  I've made a pledge to never fake bake anymore, thanks to A Blonde Ambition.  You can too right here at Sun Savvy Bloggers.  In the meantime, I have found some of the best self tanner around and it smells soooo good.  I ordered mine from Sephora.

And I use Clarins self-tanner for my face.  I have the most sensitive skin in the world and this stuff works great.

I may not be as dark as I used to be, but I try to take good care of my skin.  It has to last me the rest of my life.  Plus, we all look good with some color so it doesn't hurt to try self tanners in place of tanning beds and sun.

Anyways, those are just my ramblings - take it with a grain of salt if you wish!  How about a meal plan:

Monday: Oven roasted chicken with steamed brocolli
Tuesday: Cooked spinach topped with blackened Swai
Wednesday: It's my birthday!  Jared's cooking me dinner :) Grilled steaks & sweet potatoes
Thursday: Grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes & steamed brocolli
Friday: Attending a bridal shower after work
Saturday: Out for my birthday dinner!
Sunday: Dinner at my parents' house :)

Stay tuned - I'll post my recipe for Eat Clean Pizza.  I've had a few requests and would love to share.  Hope everyone had a great start to their week.  Be blessed!