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Homemade Refried Beans

Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Appetizers and Sides, Homemade, Recipes | 2 comments

A couple weeks back I share with you all my homemade list of things I’m excited to try this year! Over the weekend we hosted a little taco bar for our friends and I decided to try making homemade refried beans.

It was such an easy recipe. I cooked up the beans a few days prior this way. On Sunday afternoon I whipped up a batch. I think next time I might smooth them out just a bit using the food processor and add a little bit more milk but other then that I thought they had great flavor. I’ll definitely make them again, now that I know how.

Saute Onions

In a large pan saute onion and garlic.

Homemade Refried Beans

Add beans, seasons and milk and bring to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Homemade Refried Beans

Then mash, add extra milk if needed and serve warm topped with cheese!

I followed the recipe from Money Saving Mom and you can view the complete recipe here.

Have you made homemade refried beans before? 



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My 2013 Book List and Tips to Making Your Own List

Posted by on Jan 2, 2013 in Book List, Organization, Series | 4 comments

Good Morning Friends! How are you all doing? Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing my goals, book list, project list, and home management tools with you all as we enter this great year of 2013! I will also have a few new recipes for you too! Lets get started! Today I’ll be sharing my book list and ways you can make your own list. :)

Making your book list and fitting reading into your every day. 

#1. Priorities and Create a List

Sit down for 5 minutes today and write down your 5 most important priorities. Over the next week find books that fit your priorities. I’ve listed mine below and may be a source of ideas for your list. For more reading ideas go herehere and here.

#2. Write down a realistic number of books to read. 

For me, reading has been a developing habit over the past year and half, my goal last year was to read 12 books. I read 15 and they were mainly hard copy books and e-books. This year I’ve increased my number to what I think is realistic for me – 24.  I’ve also added many audio books to accomplish my goal. How many books could you read in one year? Now break that number down into months. Maybe 1 book every 2 months is a perfect option for your season of life!

#3. Make it a goal to read and evaluate weekly. 

Like I mentioned above,  I’ve had to develop a habit for reading. That involved setting time goals for developing my habit. My goal last year was 30 minutes a day. Sometimes it worked out to read for 10 minutes three times a day or sit down and read for 30 minutes after little buddy goes to sleep. Either way be practical about when you can sit down and enjoy your book! Each week evaluate how you did and what you can do the next week to keep reading. :) For audio books, when could you listen to them: on your way to work, while you exercise or during dinner preparations? Either way make it a goal to read daily for what works best for you!

#4. Keep a book with at all times and use your devices. 

Keep one book in your car, purse or backpack, that way if you are ever out and about a bit longer then planned, you have a book to read. Another great way to keep a book on you at all times is by having an app on your phone, using your iPad or Kindle. When you are waiting at the doctors office – read. While you are waiting to pick up your kids from school – read. While your husband runs into the grocery store, while you wait in the car – read. Get creative, you have more time then you think. :) You’ll reach your goal no matter where you are when you have your book with you.

Alright, it is time to make your reading list for 2013! If you need some ideas, below I have my list for 2013! Enjoy and have a wonderful day!

2013 Book List

Most of my books are on my Kindle or iPhone. I love technology!

Marriage and Parenting

Faith and Personal Growth


Home Management



What books do you want to read this year? 

{Note: Some of the links in this post are my affiliate links.}

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We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Posted by on Dec 24, 2012 in Bible Stories, Our Life, Preparing for the Holidays, Series | 2 comments

Merry Christmas 2012

Today we are getting ready to celebrate baby Jesus’ birthday. I’m excited to share today with my little family and friends. Our activities will involve celebrating with food and a birthday cake for Jesus. I made a pumpkin spice trifle and after dinner we will let the kids dress up and act out the story of Jesus’ birth. I’m really looking forward to a Christmas full of the reason for the seaon: Jesus!

Before I close this post, I want to share with you a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones. This is one of my favorite children’s bible and I have enjoyed reading the bible stories to Little Buddy durning this Advent season. Sally does a beautiful job at setting the scene for kids (and adults) of the beautiful story of Jesus’ birth! Enjoy and friends, have a very Merry Christmas!

He’s Here – Luke 1-2



Everything was ready. The moment God had been waiting for was here at last! God was coming to help his people, just as he promised in the beginning.

But how would he come? What would he be like? What would he do?

Mountains would have bowed down. Seas would have roared. Trees would have clapped their hands. but the earth held its breath. As silent as snow falling, he came in. And when no one was looking, in the darkness, he came.

There was a young girl who was engaged to a man named Joseph. (Joseph was the great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of King David.)

One morning, this girl was minding her own business when, suddenly, a great warrior of light appeared right there, in her bedroom. He was Gabriel and he was an angel, a special messenger from heaven.

When she saw the tall shining man standing there, Mary was frightened.

“You don’t need to be scared,” Gabriel said. “God is very happy with you!”

Mary looked around to see if perhaps he was talking to someone else.

“Mary,” Gabriel said, he laughed with such gladness that Mary’s eyes filled with sudden tears.

“Mary, you’re going to have a baby. A little boy. You will call him Jesus. He is God’s own son. He’s the One! He’s the Rescuer!

The God who flung planets into space and kept them whirling around, the God who made the universe with just a word, the one who could do anything at all – was making himself small. And coming down…as a baby.

Wait. God was sending a baby to rescue the world?

“But it’s too wonderful!” Mary said and felt her heart beating hard. “How can it be true?”

“Is there anything too wonderful for God?” Gabriel asked.

So Mary trusted God more then what her eyes could see. As she believed. “I am God’s servant,” she said. “Whatever God says, I will do.”

Sure enough it was just as the angels had said. Nine months later. Mary was almost ready to have her baby. Now Mary and Joseph had to take a trip to Bethlehem the town King DAvid was from. But when they reached the little town, they found every room was full. Every bed was taken.

“Go away!” the innkeepers told them. “There isn’t any place for you.”

Where would they stay? Soon Mary’s baby would come. They couldn’t find anywhere except an old, tumble down stable. So they stayed where the cows and the donkeys and the horses stayed.

And there in a stable, amongs the chickens and the donkeys and the  cows, in the quiet of the night, God gave the world his wonderful gift. The baby that would change the world was born. His baby son.

Mary and Joseph wrapped him up to keep him warm. They made a soft bed of straw and used the animals feeding trough as his cradle. And the gazed in wonder at God’s Great Gift, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.

Mary and Josheph named him Jesus, “Emmanuel” which means “God has come to live with us.” Because of course he had.

Excerpt from The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Merry Christmas!

What family and friend traditions and activities are you doing today? 


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Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 in DIY, Hospitality, Preparing for the Holidays | Comments Off on Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Happy Thursday to you all!

Wow, I can’t believe how fast this month has flown by. I finally got all our Christmas shopping done, now I need to wrap it all up. :) Today I just wanted to share an assortment of gift ideas from my blog this year. If you are in need of any last minute homemade gift ideas, today I have some frugal and creative ones for you. Enjoy!

Good Morning Breakfast Basket

Gift Basket

I love making a gift baskets for friends, especially breakfast baskets. Since breakfast is my favorite time meal of the day, it’s probably my favorite meal to give. Make this a Christmas theme by adding a Christmas towel and an small ornament as an embellishment.

Homemade Gift Bag with Treats

Newspaper Gift Bag

Make your own gift bag and fill it with your Christmas treats, cookies, candies or even a ornament. Add a punch of color by using red ribbon and maybe a flower embellishment. If you want a gift bag idea for kids, check out this one! 

Peppermint Bark Gift Set

peppermint bark gift set .png

I shared this idea with you all last week, but it is one of my favorites. I think it is a great idea for families to spend time together and learn about the history of the candy cane. 

Baker’s Gift Set

4th of July HospitalityIf you have a family or friend who loves making bread, this is a simple inexpensive gift idea. To make it a Christmas theme again use a Christmas towel. Embellish with a spatula, measuring spoons or wooden spoon and tie with Christmas ribbon.

My best kept secret for saving money on gifts is by buying brand name items at the dollar store. Oh, no I let my secret out! 😉 All the items in the above picture were found there.  You might not find brand name items every time you visit the dollar store but with repeat visits and stocking up on them as you find them, help making gifts budget friendly.

Gift Wrapped Bread

Gift Wrapped Bread

Next to the peppermint bark gift set, this is one of my favorite gifts as well. It was very fun to make and it can easily be changed into a Christmas theme.  Wrap your homemade or store bought loaf of bread using a red, green or white tea towels. Add festive embellishments with this fabulous flower idea. Lastly, adorn the center of the flowers with  jewels, brads or buttons. Here is another example of flowers adorned with jewels.

I hope these gift idea’s inspire you to make a homemade gift this Christmas season. Have a fantastic day friends!

Sharing today at Chic and Crafty and Frugal Friday.


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On The Menu and Finding Joy in Meal Planning for Christmas

Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 in Menu Planning, Our Menu, Preparing for the Holidays, Series, Tips | Comments Off on On The Menu and Finding Joy in Meal Planning for Christmas

We are just one week away from Christmas! It has certainly come up quite quickly.

Christmas Menu


Photo Credit

Menu planning for the Christmas season can be quite fun. There are lots of new recipes to try or traditions to carry on. Today I want to share three ways to enjoy meal planning this Christmas.

#1. Family Traditions

Growing up, we celebrated Christmas Eve at my grandparents. From as long as I can remember, our menu consisted of: deli sandwiches on croissants, shrimp with shrimp cocktail, veggies platters, deviled eggs and spinach dip. For dessert each year we enjoyed chocolate cherry and vanilla raspberry trifle. When thinking about your family traditions, what have you done in the past? What you like to serve this holiday? How can you make it memorable for your family?

#2. Ask your family

I know this is a recurrent theme, but I believe asking your family is essential to baking and cooking for them. If you are going to spend time preparing meal for them, ask their input. I’m pretty sure they love being asked what they like. If you have multiple children that have their individual favorites, make one item they would love to have over the Christmas season. Better yet make their favorite side dish or meal idea with them. And of course take pictures of your time together.

#3. Be creative with displaying your menu. 

Display your menu similar to what you’d find at a nice restaurant or wedding reception. Using this idea, bring it home by writing out your menu in a fun and memorable way. Write it on a chalk board or using a fancy font on pretty paper or have your children write it out on a paper plate.  Either way get creative and make it fun. After Christmas is over you may want to include this menu in a scrapbook with all the pictures you take from this Christmas season. A memory in the making for future years to look back on. I found a few ideas for you here, here and here.

Cherish this year’s Christmas season friends! It’s a beautiful one to remember.

Here is our menu for this week.



  • Left overs x 3
  • Tuna Melt and veggies
  • Grilled Cheese and Soup
  • Sandwich and fruit
  • Quesadilla and veggies


What is your favorite food to enjoy during the Christmas season?

Sharing today at Menu Plan Monday. 

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Peppermint Bark Gift Set

Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 in DIY, Hospitality, Preparing for the Holidays, Projects, Series | Comments Off on Peppermint Bark Gift Set

After starting our advent devotional, one of the activities was to make peppermint bark. It was fun letting my little guy crush the candy canes with a plastic toy hammer. It also was a great time to learn about the candy cane and some of the history behind it. I loved doing with my family so much that I thought it would be a great gift idea for others to do with their family. So today I wanted to share with you my peppermint bark gift set with you all! Enjoy!



  1. Print the history of the candy cane. 
  2. Print the recipe for peppermint bark.
  3. Place 3/4 cup of white chocolate into a sandwich bag or celephane bag and tie with ribbon. Repeat with milk chocolate chips.
  4. Arrange all the items inside the tin or box in a fashion that you’d like.
  5. Add ribbon and any embleshments to the outside of the tin.
In ten minutes or less you’ll have a fabulous gift idea to give to family or friends.

I’d love for you to share, what are your favorite food gifts you’ve received for the Christmas season?  

Sharing today at Frugal Friday, The Frugal Girls and The Better Mom.

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