Wednesday, December 30, 2009

He IS With You

"He Is With You" by Mandisa

"We may weep for a time but joy will come in the morning...the morning light" My most favorite part of the song. I love this song and I think it covers so many circumstances to which often makes us wonder if He really is here with us. I saw Mandisa perform at the Women of Faith concert over little over a year ago - incredible! This song is off her new record, Freedom.

Monday, December 28, 2009

2 Years & Counting...

Today, Allen B. and I will celebrate two years of blissful marriage. We had the fairytale wedding, the kind I dreamed of as a little girl but even better. I was finally marrying the man, God created just for me. It was such a happy and special day. God could have not picked a better person for me. Allen is most definitely "the glue" that holds this crazy monkey puzzle together. He always encourages me, supports me, inspires me, and believes in me. While our first year of marriage was amazing (as our sure most are), our second year has not been so easy due to some many things out of our control. We both have faced things we never thought we would face this past year but yet through it all (the good & the bad) we always knew we had each other and I couldn't be more thankful for that. So often this past year, I have heard Allen tell me, "it's okay we just have to stick together and we'll make it through" and he has been so right. I am so very excited about what the future holds and I know this is only the beginning...Allen B. thank you for always being there to pick me up when I needed it most, for loving me even when I'm acting "crazy", and for allowing me to follow my dreams. I love you more than words could ever say! Happy Anniversary my Love!

My feet don't touch the ground!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Behold! We bring You tidings of Great Joy!

And this is why I love this time of year, this season, and Christmas! 2009 has been a difficult year for Allen and I but it also been a "great learning" year. In 2009, we have never held so closely to the only truth we know, our Heavenly Father. We have also clung to each other like never before building an incredibly strong foundation for our marriage. From moving to a new place, living in tight quarters, moving again, experiencing the worst pain imaginable - a miscarriage, not being able to find a job, Allen possibly being laid-off, and all the unknowns of being in a new place - we have never been more thankful for the birth of our sweet Savior! We have spent more time at the foot of the Cross than we ever have and while there were many days we wanted to give-up, Allen and I always reminded each other that while we are struggling we do have each other (and I couldn't be more thankful for the husband God chose for me!) and we have a merciful God that loves us more than we can ever know & has great, wonderful, plans for us. Plans we can't even begin to dream about because of His love for us. If I had to define this year, it would be a sea of tears, a raging storm, but yet a calm in the storm because we have allowed Him to be in the center of our storm. We know there is a time and place for everything and we know God has something so incredibly great for us, in His time.

But this Christmas we are reminded exactly why we are here. To glorify Him and live our life for Him...even through the difficult times. So this Christmas, we bring tidings of GREAT joy because we are so joyful for the birth of our Savior. For because of Him, we have peace in our hearts even when the storm is raging against our hearts. While we still aren't sure what our future holds, we do know the best is yet to come! And until that comes, we will continue to bring Him good tidings of great joy for we know that Christmas is not about all the billions of dollars spent on gifts but about a baby born to save, to save the souls of man. And I can not think of any greater gift on this earth!

So this Christmas, my prayer is that if you haven't received that gift that your heart will be opened to receive it. For He came to save & you! I also pray that 2010 opens doors that Allen & I can't even imagine for we know all things are possible through Him and not man. And as we wait upon Him, we will continue to seek Him just as the Wise Men did and still do.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Jesus the Christ, born in Bethlehem
A baby born to save, to save the souls of man

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Hallelujah, hallelujah
Son of God, Servant King
You're here with us

-Here With Us by Joy Williams

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Baking 101

Look...a Red Velvet cookie!!!!!

I love to bake! But holiday baking is so extra special and warms my heart. And my kitchen.

Yesterday, I tried out two new recipes. Red velvet chocolate chip cookies! Yes, you read that right...insert heavenly music here. And they were incredibly easy to make! Would be great to make with kiddos. The other recipe I tried was more figure-friendly, Cream cheese swirled brownies. I know you are wondering how could that be figure-friendly? Well, I got the recipe for Cooking Light and they are only 130 calories per brownie. Not bad for a brownie swirled with cream cheese!!!

Okay on to the good stuff...the recipes!

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box RedVelvet cake mix

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Confectioners (powdered) sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you have an electric stand mixer, use the paddle attachment, if not that's okay too! In mixing bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, vanilla, and vegetable. Mix until dough forms (it will be rather thick). Fold in chocolate chips. Roll into balls then roll into powdered sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Don't these just look Christmas-y?! I also dusted some in that yummy, white powdered sugar (again) after coming out of the oven. Santa would looove to have these with milk while delivering presents. Red & white are after all his favorite colors! Enjoy!

Okay so before I move on to the brownie recipe...I will tell you a few things about them so you aren't surprised/disappointed when you bake them. They are definitely more like cake brownies than fudge brownies. Not that is bad, just everyone has their own kind of brownie they like. Also, remember they are considered figure-friendly so while I think they are a great substitute to the full, all out fat brownie - they are not loaded down with butter, oil, or sugar. Hence why they are not an overly sweet brownie - which makes Allen B. love them even more since he is not a big fan of sweets or all the fat/calories that goes with sweets. Ha, which is what I live for - as my waist line gladly shows. But WE did think these brownies were delicious but you on the other hand, may want to tweak the recipe according to your liking. Now don't get me wrong...Paula Deen & her massive amount of yummy butter goodness makes my heart pitter-patter. She and Pioneer Woman are my heroes, after my mom of course!

Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies
*recipe from Cooking Light


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg white


Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 1 3/4 cups sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 45 seconds or until melted, stirring once. Combine milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and eggs, stirring well with a whisk. Add chocolate mixture and milk mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. Spoon batter evenly into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.

Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, cheese, and egg white in a medium bowl; beat at medium speed until well blended using clean, dry beaters. Drizzle cheese mixture evenly over chocolate mixture; swirl batters together using the tip of a knife. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until batter begins to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 131 (30% from fat)
Fat: 4.3g (sat 2.6g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.2g)
Protein: 2.5g
Carbohydrate: 21.5g
Fiber: 0.8g
Cholesterol: 23mg
Iron: 1.3mg
Sodium: 69mg
Calcium: 23mg
And finally remembering the real reason why I bake this time of year...for unto us a Savior is born...

"That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jesus, Light of the World

Show Us Your Life - Christmas Trees

This week over at Kelly's Korner: Show Us Your Life - it's all about Christmas Trees!

”Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner”

If I could only have ONE Christmas decoration it would have to be my Christmas tree. Since I was a kid, I loved helping mom decorate the Christmas tree. Mom always made sure our Christmas tree looked beautiful, as well as meaningful. As a child our tree was decorated with ornaments that mom specially picked out for each of us kids. Mom has been giving us 4 kids an ornament each year for Christmas that reflects us as a person for as long as I can remember. It is so neat to go home and see all of the ornaments from our childhood and what they each represent. She always write our name on them with the year so we never forget. Now that we are all have a home & tree of our own she gives us the ornaments to take home to put on our own tree. It's such a neat tradition and one I plan to carry on with my family.

One day I hope to have several Christmas tree (when we live in a bigger house). I love decorating the Christmas tree and I love how it glows in our home. I don't have a "theme" for our Christmas tree....I just decorate it in all things I like! One day I'll have a themed tree but for now, here she is...

I love snowmen!

This year I added the big red, glittery picks.

Our Christmas tree 2008
I added feather picks (which I love) and lots of B's for our my new last name.

My ornament for this year. Mom knows I love to bake & I love cupcakes! Especially her homemade carrot cake ones, yum!

One of my mom's Christmas tree - it's a theme of Jesus! Stars, angels, the wise-men, animals, all things from the birth of Jesus, trimmed in sliver & gold. It's beautiful!

Everything I learned about decorating a tree I learned from my momma...and we believe you can never have too much on a Christmas! The more, the better!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Under the Weather

We had a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving. I have so much I've been wanting to blog about but time has not been on my side lately. My week got off to a great start! I decided I would start getting up with Allen in the mornings to go work-out (yeah at 5am) and I felt great Monday & Tuesday. I am determined to lose weight this holiday season instead of gaining and Joyce Meyer's Everyday Living comes on Lifetime at 6am so I run/walk a 5K while watching Joyce. For the 2 days that I went, it was such a nice, refreshing way to start my day but then...I woke up early Wednesday morning feeling horrible. And today I have spent all day in bed with a sore throat, cough, and achy (is that a word?) body. My sister is also sick with the same thing so I'm hoping AB does not get it. I remember as a kid thinking I wish I was sick so I missed school and now I'm like how silly was that...because being sick is the pitts!

On a different note, I have a major Christmas show next weekend (3 days) in Boerne and with being sick I have no idea how I am going to get it all done. But I will not allow myself to stress over things I can not control. I am very excited about the show but feel very unprepared at the moment. I still have many many hours of sewing to do! Hence, the time is not on my side right now. The show is in the past has exceeded 5000 Christmas shoppers. WOW! I hope I have enough merchandise, as well I am praying God shows us His love in my bank account. It's been almost a month since I've subbed and I'll be lucky if I got called this close to the holidays. But again, it's not in my control - God has never not taken care of us and I know He is not going to stop now. We also have family coming in town this weekend but looks like I'll be skipping out on all the fun in hopes that no-one else catches what I have, especially the babies.
But while I'm under the weather - they are predicting snow here tomorrow! Snow makes me happy!! Probably because we see it once a year, if we're lucky. Last year it snowed in College Station - oh it was a beautiful sight!!

Hope you enjoy the Christmas music & new Christmas background...may your days be merry & bright!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Free Food & Music

Whataburger is giving away FREE food & spreading holiday cheer by having the 12 Days of Whataburger!

Sign up for free food HERE! They will send you an email every other day with a coupon for something free. I signed up yesterday and today received a coupon for a free medium fry for tomorrow.

I recently started working out (okay really started yesterday) but I am doing a 25 day challenge before Christmas in hopes of becoming healthier before the new year starts, instead of waiting until the new year. I have never kept a New Years resolution and I don't see this New Years being any different. We are also trying not to eat out and save money. And while, I was very excited to get my free medium free coupon and thought oh a free fry (which I don't need nor do I need to spend money on the remaining part of the meal...I mean more will-power to you if you can eat ONLY a "free" medium fry at Whataburger, I know I can not) but as I got dressed to run errands I decided I would use the free coupon and I would spend the extra few dollars on a meal. But on a meal for someone who is less fortunate. I never realized or never really paid attention to how many homeless people there are until we moved to San Antonio. You just don't see "beggars" next to the overpass in College Station. While I do not know their story or why they are there holding a sign, seeking help - I do know that God loves them just the same as He loves me! And maybe by me giving them a free medium french fry coupon and $5 to complete their meal - they too will feel the love that God has for them.

Just when I want to give something of myself and when I think our bank account won't allow...God makes a way! Thank you Whataburger for free food & allowing me to spread holiday cheer "God's Love" to someone I probably otherwise would have over-looked.

And Shaun Groves is also giving away FREE music! Okay, it's only one song but it's a very powerful song & it's free to download. Only one song...well, how could this not be anymore perfect with my idea with my free Whataburger food/coupons. I ran across this free song, downloaded it, listened to the song, liked the song, then I decided to look more into the song. is what Shaun says about the song:

"The kingdom is good news for me because it means the days I have let on earth don’t
have to be spent waiting to die and get to heaven, but instead they can be lived in such a
way that heaven comes through me and gets to earth. Every day, every talent, minute,
dollar, relationship - it’s all purposed. It’s all a gift to be spent bringing the kingdom,
doing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus said the kingdom is also good news for the poor (Luke 4:18,19). "The bible is full
of exclamations of God’s concern for the poor, his desire for them to be treated justly
(Proverbs 19:7) and mercifully (Proverbs 18:23), for His people to give them equality
(2 Corinthians 8:3-14).

To the rich lacking purpose and the poor lacking hope, this is good news.

Shaun also says "The song is free, but it could cost you everything. I hope its words inspire you to live more simply so that others can simply live."

Gosh, He NEVER ceases to amaze me with His mercies, His blessings, His grace, and His love! Free has a whole new meaning to me...

Let your kingdom come
‘Til the rich ones give
And the poor ones live
‘Til the weak are strong
Let your kingdom come...

Mercy come, justice come
Healing come, peace, Lord, come
Mercy come, justice come
Your will be done through us on earth
-Kingdom Coming lyrics

Hope you enjoy the 12 Days of Whataburger, free food, and the free song! May your days be as bright as His love for you is!