YUM| Creole Alfredo

Every once in a while I come up with a recipe I just have to write down and share! This was birthed from a night where I forgot to thaw chicken or beef from the freezer. I had a little smoked sausage in the fridge and threw this together. It was inspired by a similar cajun pasta recipe I make often, but I changed it just enough to have created something new!

It was a hit with the whole family! Even Nora gobbled it up (its only a tiny bit spicy, especially if you’re slurping individual noodles like she did).

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Creole Alfredo

|What You Need|

  • Smoked Sausage
  • Broccoli
  • Peppers (Bell or Sweet Mini)
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 8-ounces pasta
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

*I’ve linked the seasoning I used, but you could buy any kind of creole seasoning or even look up how to make your own! 

 

|What You Do|

One| Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Two| Saute broccoli and peppers in the butter until tender. Add sausage and continue cooking over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.

Three| Add cream and Creole seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer gently for 3-4 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken.

Four| Remove skillet from heat, stir in parmesan cheese. Add pasta to sauce and toss.

 

Enjoy!

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Photo Dump | Instagram

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I know that not everyone has Instagram and I post a ton of photos on there! Many of my family members read my blog daily, but aren’t able to see my Instagram photos. So I wanted to post of the most recent ones! If you have Instagram and don’t already follow Everyday Smith, click here to do so!

I do these posts every once in a while for those who don’t have Instagram. It has been a few months since I have posted one. So here are my most recent Instagram photos! 

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Free Bible Study Resources

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I love to sit down and just read the Bible when I can, there is no better way to learn more about God, However in some seasons I need more guidance than just the pages of His word to feel focused. There are seasons when I cannot just sit and read without my mind thinking of a million other things, or reading but not truly comprehending.

For those times I love to have a study that gives some structure and thought to my time in the Bible. It is still based on God’s word, but gives you questions to consider, stories, examples, or simply explains what you may not understand on your own.

There are so many of these studies out there, and I have shared some of my favorites on here before {Here & Here & Here} most of these things cost money though. Which is fine, I mean someone went to the work to make them, they deserve to be compensated. But I would hate for money to ever be a reason for someone to not dive in God’s word.

Luckily, I think there are many of the creators of these amazing studies who feel the same way. Because of this there are many completely FREE resources to help you study the Bible as well!

I have gathered up some of my favorites that I use or have used in the past to share with you today! These are all online, apps, and even some printables, so you can access them without leaving your house!

I pray this is helpful to someone reading this who isn’t sure where to start. That you will take a chance on one of these resources and fall more in love with Jesus because of it!

*All resources are linked directly below!

| She Reads Truth | I’ve loved She Reads Truth for a long time. I so admire the two women who founded the company and I love their hearts behind it. They want women to have access to be in God’s word every day. They offer many free studies that you can do on your computer or phone. They are short, sweet, but loaded with Biblical truth. Their app is of the same name and you should also follow them on Instagram because they share some great stuff there too!

|Well- Watered Women| This is another company I have loved for many years. I first began using their Give Me Jesus Journal and from there found that they have so many other amazing resources and studies. They have a great Bible study on 1 Peter (just search 1 Peter on their site), and some other great free resources for studying the Bible. Just click the “Resources” tab on their site and they have some great printables and digital downloads they will e-mail right to you! Another great company to follow on Instagram. Gretchen Saffles, the founder, is so encouraging and knows her Bible!

|Risen Motherhood|This is actually a podcast that I have mentioned here many times. They have expanded so much since I began listening to them and they have some great free Bible study resources on their website. They are a motherhood website but their study resources are for anyone wanting to dig into the Bible more. Once again, another good one to follow on Instagram.

|YouVersion Bible App| If you have the Bible App on your phone, you already have hundreds of free studies in your hand! I have used the Bible App plans many times. They are usually short and sweet and always have scripture at the end. A cool feature they have is you and another person can do the same plan. There is a section to write notes back and forth after the daily reading. Collin and I do this at lunch time, it’s a really sweet way to read the word “together.”

|Daily Grace Co.|This company is a new find of mine and I am still learning about them. They have a free Facebook Bible study as well as a free Bible study guide book (just pay for shipping).

|Jen Wilken Studies|Jen Wilken is an author and Bible teacher who I really admire. She is very passionate about fighting Biblical illiteracy in the church and offers some free Bible studies on her website. We are currently doing the Hebrews study in our small group and so far it’s been really good.


 

I hope these resources give you some options to start digging into the Bible. I would love to hear if you try any of these out and what you think! Also let me know if you have any other great options to add to this list!

Five on Friday | Five Finds

|One| Favorite New Recipe Find

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We decorated our house for Christmas a few nights ago (post coming soon), and I always try to make a nice dinner for that. Soup sounded great since it was freezing out! I tried this new Creamy Gnocchi and Spinach Soup and it was a hit! I replaced the chicken with hot Italian sausage which really put it over the edge. It was so easy it literally took 20 minutes start to finish.

 

|Two| Favorite Beauty Find

While this may make you laugh, shake your head and say to yourself, “oh bless her heart” I am still going to share this. I recently heard a blogger say that she has always used the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser since her dermatologist suggested it for her skin in college. She has beautiful skin so I trucked on over to Target and bought myself some. This was a last ditch affordable effort before shelling out fat cash on a fancy skincare line.

I kid you not it is working miracles on my skin. I know it’s a drugstore product and like the least glamorous one out there for that matter, but it is legit. I have combination skin (oily t-zone, dry patches, occasional hormonal breakouts), but my skin had been extra dry and extra broken out since having Ivy. I’ve been using it daily for just over a month and my skin has not looked this good in a long time! I am seeing brighter skin, smaller pores, and less breakouts. I’m sold!

 

|Three| Favorite Fashion Find

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Okay so I am not a fashion blogger. Never will be. It really just isn’t my thing (plus I’m SUPER cheap), but I do have a great find to share with you today. I have not bought jeans (other than maternity) in about 5 years. I have literally been wearing the same jeans since college. While they still technically fit, they were not a comfortable fit by any means. Plus they were five years old so the styles have changed a bit. I do a little work for my dad’s company and when I got my last paycheck I went shopping by myself (cue hallelujah chorus) for some jeans. I went to Kohls (see not a fashion blogger) and struck gold!

The very first display of jeans were LC by Lauren Conrad. Right off the bat they looked cute and had lots of style options. I was nervous about how they would fit though. I took roughly 8,327 pairs in to the fitting room and left buying three of the most perfect pairs of jeans for UNDER $100! They were on major sale for $34.99 each and I had a 20% off coupon! I’ve been wearing them for about a month and I love them so much!

 

|Four| Favorite Quote

I heard this quite a while ago on a podcast, but I really have had it on my mind a whole ton lately.

“God cannot bring to mind scripture you have not read.”

-Brittany Price Brooker

The woman being interviewed suddenly lost her husband at 25 and was left widowed with 3 young kids. She spoke about how she never knew she would need certain verses in the Bible until she walked through something unexpected. That really struck me and has been on my heart as I spend time in God’s word. To listen to the podcast click here.

 

|Five| Favorite View

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I snapped this picture the other day specifically to share on the blog. I got that adorable rug on sale at Target for $7 (it replaces my old crusty kitchen rug I have had for about 4 years). That amazing cookie is one of my favorite recipes and yes they are green! They are Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookies. Yum! I saved some of the dough in the freezer to treat our small group to on Sunday. That is if the dough makes it that long…

 

 

 

Recent Reads

 

|One| Even Now by Karen Kingsbury

Really good quick read about a woman who decides to search for her birth mother–a woman separated by lies and long years from a man she has never forgotten. Good story of redemption and some good twists and turns.

|Two| If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey

This is not my typical type of book because it is a memoir written by a podcaster I love. I did really enjoy the book though. Jamie has a really powerful story that I know will help so many people.

|Three| The Memory of You by Catherine West

I loved this book! It was such a pleasant surprise. It’s about a girl who is still dealing with the tragic death of her twin sister.  She travels back to the family winery that holds the terrible memory of that day. She learns to heal and finds love too! Just a sweet, feel-good love story that was easy to read and left me smiling!

|Four| Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

In my opinion Francine Rivers can do no wrong. She is the author of many of my favorite books and her newest did not disappoint! It now makes my list of favorites as well! A successful LA artist, appears to have everything he could possibly want–money, women, fame. Only his new and reluctant, personal assistant, finds out the truth. Great love story with God woven throughout!

|Five| Remember God by Annie F. Downs

Another podcaster’s memoir. I absolutely loved this one, and I rarely say that about anything but fiction. I got the audio book and it is read by Annie herself. She has a great voice and hearing her tell her own story sort of wrecked me! It was full of so much wisdom and God’s truth. Really good. Highly recommend.

|Six| Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

Another Francine book and it was great! I will say I felt like the big issues of the book were resolved a little too early and I had trouble reading the last few chapters since everything was resolved. Leading up to that point though it was a major page-turner! A  girl with a painful past decides to leave her safe Haven for a smooth talking young man and the glamour of 1950’s Hollywood. Things spiral out of control from there and God has to bring her out of the terrible life she thought she would love.


Up next is Reason to Breathe by Deborah Raney. My mom’s latest book (yep, my momma is an author!) that I just got when she was here a few weeks ago! Can’t wait to start it!

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Forming New Habits

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This whole blog “relaunch” (as I’ve been calling it) was spurred on by a large amount of inspiration being thrust right into my face one beautiful fall week. I love fall and I’m not ashamed of how basic that is! The gorgeous weather, the smells, and the colors just make me a better person somehow.

I know it sounds crazy, but I always set goals and become more creative and productive in the fall season. What happens to some people in the new year happens to me in the fall. However, just like with new years resolutions I tend to lose my steam after about a month. I was determined to change that this fall though!

Research shows that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. So if you want to begin regularly doing something new in your day, just stick to it for 21 days and you will have made it a habit. I have also heard that you are only suppose to pick one new habit at a time. Adding too many new things or anything that is too “complicated” will take longer than the 21 days to become habits.

So I decided in this season of being my best self there were a few things I wanted to become habits in my daily life. I chose three things I wanted to focus on and introduced one a month. So each day of that month I focused on doing one new thing. Then the next month I kept doing the first thing and introduced one more.

|One| September

Drink 30oz of water each day.

I’m not great at drinking water, and while I know I should be drinking 64 ounces daily. Thirty is really a big improvement for me. I’m proud to say I did really well with this! I noticed that I am so much more conscious about how much water I am drinking each day.

 

|Two| October

Take vitamins daily

I never take vitamins except my prenatals when I am pregnant. I have been hearing a lot about the benefits of daily vitamins over time. So I wanted to find some to take each day for specific purposes. I found Olly vitamins that taste like fruit snacks and also made this a daily habit! I take them after breakfast each morning. It’s almost like a little treat!

|Three| November

Take care of my skin.

My skin took a real hit after Ivy was born and I started to see that I needed to do a better job taking care of it. I shower daily and wash my face then, but I don’t have a nighttime skin care routine. Still in the early phases of this and I will share more later!

 

This method of introducing one new routine a month seriously made all the difference. Since I am a visual person I made a chart for each month and would check off the item or items as I accomplished them! I am still working on my current habit, but am confident I will be able to share a good report on it too!

Do you set goals or have any great tips for building new habits? Please share!

 

No TV Update

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So in April of 2017 we made the decision to take the tv out of out house. After we made the decision I wrote about it here.

At the time I wrote the post linked above we had been without a tv in our home for two months and had already loved the change. We were reading more, playing more games, getting more done around the house, and we really didn’t even miss it.

Well it has now been a whole year and a half since we have removed the tv from our lives and I am happy to report we may never bring it back! We do not miss it one bit! I love that it isn’t an ugly monstrosity in my living room. I love how we are forced to do other things instead of watch tv all the time. It makes my heart happy that it is no longer the focal point of our living room, more meaningful family time happens because it is gone.

Full disclaimer, we still have the tv and have gotten it back out three times. Once to watch the Super Bowl, for the first month with Ivy, and a random Saturday where a bunch of good football games we on. We may continue to pull it out from time to time for special reasons, but we truly love what not having it has done for our family.

I don’t share this to say. “look at us we are so brave and noble with our tv-free home.” I simply like to share things that have bettered our lives, maybe you will try it too and find some freedom like we have. Maybe you’ll just read this and think we’re crazy. Either way, we’re happy with no tv and plan to keep it that way!

These Heavenly Days

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I took the above picture the other morning and immediately loved it when looking at it on my camera display. I love both of the the girl’s faces. I mean they were both looking at the camera, neither of them are blurry, and they were even half smiling. That’s a win around these parts!

But I hesitated to post it anywhere because my house is messy, they both have terrible bedhead, I don’t love the jammies Ivy is wearing, the colors clash, and Nora is wearing her Halloween costume.

It just isn’t quite picture perfect.

The “scene” wasn’t quite right.

I kept taking pictures anyway cause I had my camera out, Ivy was intrigued, and therefore giving me some cute smiles.

I put the pictures on my computer a little later on in the day and again loved them but didn’t think I would ever share them since they just weren’t “Instagram worthy.”

Why do I do this? Why do I want each image to be picture perfect, coordinated, edited just right, fabricated? These pictures may mess with the color scheme on my Instagram feed but they perfectly depict what my days are like.

A little messy, a bit blurry, unposed, raw, and cute as all get out. These are the moments I want to truly remember because this is what life really looks like right now. Nora spent three whole days in in that Belle dress. Ivy has stringy hair in the mornings, there are little messes all around, they never both look at the camera and smile.

But this is real life.

This is my life, and I want to remember it for every little messy detail.

These are the days. These are heavenly days, and I never want to forget them.

Help a Momma Out!

Okay mommas, I need your help for today’s post!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ve read my “Momma Confessions” posts. Basically I confess the things I’m not necessarily proud of that I have done as a mom. This can relate to my girls or just me.

The great thing about these confession posts is that I often get messages of other moms saying they can totally relate! We all do crazy, or embarrassing things in this crazy role called motherhood! It just makes us feel better when we know we aren’t the only ones doing these things! Plus it makes for a great laugh!

So momma’s of my little circle! I wanna hear YOUR confessions! Not only do I want to hear them, but I want to share them with my readers!

So, below you will find a form to anonymously (I won’t even know who submits) fill out! Spill your momma confessions below! What is something crazy or hilarious you have done relating to motherhood? Of course keep it kind and appropriate!

I will  compile them into a post to share later. I may change the wording a bit, but I will keep it original to your confession!

If you need some inspiration, below are the links to my past “Momma Confessions” posts.

Can’t wait to share!

Momma Confessions I Momma Confession II  Momma Confessions III  Momma Confessions IV  |  Momma Confessions V  Momma Confessions VI  |  Momma Confessions VII  |

 

Homemade Baby Food

I started both my girls on baby purees around four months of age. I know baby led weaning is all the rage right now, but I just don’t want to do that for many reasons. I really like feeding my gals their first foods. I think it’s fun to see what they like!

I skipped the rice cereal with both of them and went straight to fruits and vegetables. It is just what worked for us, and my doctor saw no reason not to.

With both Nora and Ivy I do a combination of homemade baby food and store bought. I had grand plans of making everything on my own, but after going through the experience with Nora I found a system that worked perfect for me. Some foods are so easy to make we already have them on hand, while others seem to be more trouble than they are worth putting the time into.

I do like knowing exactly what is in the food and I feel like the flavors are more authentic to what they will eat later since nothing else is added to them except water. I think many moms think that making your own baby food is complicated, and while it does take a little time it is really so simple.

The foods I make are: peas, sweet potato, carrot, avocado, apples, pears, mango, banana.

Anything else, I buy. I have found that some of the other foods take more time and steps to make. They are just easier to buy.

The ones I make on my own are easier than one, two, three! All you need is the food and some water. As baby grows you can make combinations or add in rice cereal or oatmeal to the foods! I don’t use any measurements, I just eyeball it until it looks right. This is nice because you can adjust as your child can eat thicker foods. You have complete control!

You don’t need a special tool or machine. I use our Ninja Blender, the same one we use to grind coffee, make smoothies, salsa, and milkshakes.


Homemade Baby Food

 

|What You Need|

Fruit or Vegetable of you choice

Water

 

|What You Do|

Remove all stems, peels etc. Then steam or cook your fruit or vegetable until it is very soft. The softer you cook the food, the easier it is to blend and get the right consistency.

Let it cool down just a bit, but I have found it works so much better if it is still warm when you mix it.

After is has cooled 5-10 minutes, place the food into a blender with a little bit of water. Blend it up until smooth. I am always conservative with water to start and add more as I need to.

Place in storage containers, or ice cube trays and refrigerate or freeze.

 

*Keep in refrigerator for 2-3 days and freezer for 3-6 months.