May 30, 2013

Alphabet Dating "J"

Today I am linking up with Kaitlyn and Sharlee for Alphabet Dating. I picked the letter J without knowing what I was going to plan for our hot date. Thankfully, it came together and we did a fun stay at home date night. 

Our date night included:
Ninja Turtle Juice (shaved ice)
Jenga (game)
Jumanji (movie)

We had a wonderful dinner at home then ran out to Sno Biz for a shaved ice. We got Ninja Turlte Juice and it was fantastic. We used to get shaved ice all the time when dating, so it brought back some fun memories. 

We then came home and played a game of Jenga. We love games and its a great way to get a little competition going and have a fun time chatting. 

Finally, we ended our date night with Jumaji. I had not seen this movie in ages and it was a movie we had never seen before together. 

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May 29, 2013

Clean Living | Farmer's Market and not breaking the bank

Hellooooooo! I have to admit, Wednesday is my favorite day now because I get to talk about Clean Living with you all. It makes my heart happy to share it with you. 

Last week, I talked about cleaning out the pantry/frig and restocking it with some "necessary" items for clean eating. 

This week, I want to share with you where we normally get all of our other groceries during the week. In Birmingham (where we live), every Saturday is Alabama's largest farmers market - Pepper Place. Stephen and I get up early every Saturday, grab our bag and head to the market. There are over 50 booth of local artisans and farmers selling their produce. 

The farmer's market is a wonderful place to get local, healthy food. I love talking to the farmers I buy from each week. I highly recommend going to your local farmer's market and asking your grower how he/she grows, what they fertilize with, what types of pesticides do they use and so forth. They are very willing to chat with you about their product. Its become a family tradition to go get our foods from Pepper Place each week. Come November, I will actually setting up a booth to sell my Dad's satsumas and lemons. I can't wait to be more involved with our market!

We also discovered some farmers who aren't just fruit and vegetable growers.  We have met several pig, cow and chicken farmers. We actually just bought our first cow last week from a farmer about an hour away from our home. We talked with the supplier about the cows diet, process of slaughter and packaging and were very excited about ordering our own. We ended up splitting the meat with Stephen's parents because it was pretty pricey and we didn't need all the meat.


I know what you're thinking, farmers markets and buying a whole cow is expensive. Yes, it truly is. BUT, we don't buy and junk food or extras and are have a budget in place to keep up on track. We have found that you can eat within your budget with clean eating. I received an email the other day from a girl wanting to know how to not overspend with eating clean. You do have to get creative at times, but it is well worth it. 

For instance, I only take $40 a week to the farmers market. I check out each booth for their prices and always take a list of items we need. I am careful not to get sucked in to overbuying, because it all looks fantastic. If I took more money, I guarantee I would spend it all. I also check out recipes beforehand that can use the same ingredients each week in different meals. I bought a bag of kale for $3.00 and have used it for two weeks now in smoothies, on salads, in soups and made kale chips. It lasts a long time, is in season and there are tons of ways to use it. 

With meats, you really don't want to skimp on quality. Normal meats loaded with extra hormones and GMO's, that you need to be careful. These hormones have fattened the cow up quickly and not allowed for  healthy meat. Did you know that normal meat you purchase at the grocery store has even been colored so that it appears better longer? SICK! You really want to be eating that?

 We bought our cow from a farmer who is USDA certified grass fed beef. We have actually met and spoken with him about his process and know what he does every step of the way. What grocery store do you have a relationship with or knows the answers to your questions?

The meat is expensive (around $7.44lb), so we only eat our meats at dinnertime. During breakfast and lunch, we get our protein in from eggs and almonds. We stay full and feel better about what we place in our bodies. 

Food Babe (a blogger I adore) did a post not long ago on 75 ways to eat organic on a budget. I had already been doing some of these, but there were new ones that have helped out a great deal. Don't let the cost of eating organic and clean freak you out - it really is doable and smarter for you in the long run. Check it out when you get the chance.

Also, if you are interested in writing a post about your experience with clean eating or products you love, send me an email at

Walking in the Light

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May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Recap

I hope everyone enjoyed their day off yesterday. I am so very thankful for all the service men and women who have fought and died for our freedom.  Both my grandfather's both served in WWII and my baby cousin (who just graduated from West Point) will soon be on duty. I am thankful all who served and are serving, for their strength and courage (John 15:13). 



Stephen had the day off from work yesterday - and we literally stayed in bed until about 11am watching episodes of FRIENDS. My hubs is a fanatic and honestly, I haven't seen majority of the episodes, so we borrowed the DVD's from his parents and have been making our way through the seasons. It was a great morning just hanging out and doing absolutely nothing.

Finally, we got up and cleaned a bit and started to get ready for our bible study cookout at our home. We normally have our bible study on Monday nights, so we decided to have our lesson and extend it for dinner too. 

We had a blast - everyone brought a dish, we grilled out and had a wonderful time together.

Monica, me and Kristina

My friend Polly's clean eating banana pudding

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May 27, 2013

MistoBox {Review and Giveaway}

Happy Memorial Day to you. Hopefully, you are enjoying the day off and spending some much needed time I'm sure with family and friends.

This past month I came across a pretty sweet subscription box. Now, you know I already do Birchbox and won 3 free months of Concious Box, so you know I went nuts over this newest box I found!



Misto Box is a monthly subscription box of coffee delivered right to your door from coffee artisans from around the country.

You get four coffees in your box featuring fresh-roasted coffees with unique single origin coffees, so you will never get the same coffee twice.

Each bag is a 1.75 or 3.5 ounces sampling (depending on subscription size) of the coffees. All bags have a description of the artisan roaster, where it came from and the unique qualities the beans have.

Stephen and I have loved tasting all the coffees. Each of ours had rich flavor and we would recommend this subscription to everyone! My favorite this month was the Toarco Station coffee with spices and its floral aroma.

The other coffees included in the May box were Water Avenue Finca Buena Vista, Case Ethiopia Agaro Jimma, and Elemental Colombia San Agustin. I've added links to each so you can get to know each coffee and see if you would want your own (trust me, you're going to want each one!)

Misto Box has generously offered to give one month box to you! Make sure to enter all the entries below to try and win the box.

The winner will be chosen Friday, May 31st. Good luck and thanks again Misto Box for sharing your amazingly delicious coffees.

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May 23, 2013

Sitting still?

The past two weeks have been great, but not.  Confusing? Let me clarify. 

As you know, I have been babysitting for several months now and absolutely LOVE it. I love not having to go to my corporate job everyday, driving an hour each way and dealing with some not so fun issues. I love spending my day with kids outside playing, singing, dancing and having a ball. 

This week and last however have been a little dull. I haven't had a babysitting job everyday (just based on  parents needs) and I have been super duper BORED. I am not one to sit around and do nothing. On the days I have been off, I have cleaned out and  cleaned up but here is only so much TV I can watch before I get a headache from it and only so much laundry two people can make. I have read every book in the house and fiddled with everything in my home. And sadly, the grass only needs to be cut once a week. 

Hot enough for water playing. 

I mentioned my dilemma to the hubs last night and his response helped so much! He pointed out that I get re-energized and am happiest when I am busy and with friends - so he suggested I pick up a hobby or someone part time outside of babysitting and make plans more often with friends. Simple yet genius. I have been craving other adult companionship during the day and needing a reason to get out of the house. I guess I just needed someone else to tell me its okay to get out and do stuff.

Austen and his water stick. 

Each day my schedule is different and I love it. I love my sweet families and kids I watch after and wouldn't trade it - I just need to find some other activities to keep me busy on my off days - and maybe exercise more!

Thomas taking his lunch break outside and eager to get back playing. 

May 22, 2013

Prayers for Oklahoma

My heart aches for the people of Oklahoma this week. I know what it is like to go through. I can never forget what happened the morning on April 27th two years ago when I got a phone call that woke me and my roommates up in time to run to our basement. Or that night as I watched Tuscaloosa be leveled and names and faces of those who died. 

My heart and prayers go out to all dear people in Oklahoma City who lost someone or their life in this tornado. 

Please be praying for those mommy's and daddy's who lost their babies, for the families who lost a son, daughter, sister, brother, or friend. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and know we still serve a sovereign God. 

1 Timothy 2:1 "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people"

Here is a link to NBC News on ways to help the victims in this terrible time. 

We love you Oklahoma and our prayers and helping hands are with you. 

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Clean Living | What's in the pantry

Welcome back to my Clean Living series. This is the third week of my new series about my husband and my transformation from eating processed foods to eating as healthy and unprocessed foods as we can. 

 Once we decided to start clean living a couple months back, I thought it was high time to clean out the pantry and refrigerator.  I knew that  I would be tempted to grab a bag of chips or snack on something unhealthy if I left it in my frig or on the shelf. It was time to purge and man o man did I need to clear out the mess.  I has two bags - a bag for the garbage can and a bag for donations that were unopened and not expired.

About half of our food was expired (!!!!) - I hadn't realized how much money I had been wasting on foods that would go bad before we ever got to it. This seriously made me a little POed. It felt like I had just thrown money right into the trash. This for me was a real eye opener on how wasteful I had been and how careful and smart I planned to be from here on out. Once I was done with the pantry, I had freed up 3 of our 4 shelves. Luckily, I had already gotten a few good items, so it wasn't completely bare, but pretty close to it. 

Next, I  headed to the frig - and this disgusted me even more. My frig was packed with processed foods that were years old AND still looked great. What do I mean by great?  I looked at a bag of opened KRAFT cheese I had that was 9 months old and it smelled and tasted the exact same as a new bag of KRAFT cheese I opened that week. Nothing like chemically processed foods to get your tummy churning. Cheese shouldn't last that long unless it is genetically altered and it made me a little frustrated that we are sold such warped foods. My mind went immediately to that McDonald's hamburger and fries that someone kept for 6 years that hadn't changed a bit - no mold, etc. My cheese hadn't turned and that was a terrible sign to me. I got rid of dressings, BBQ, cheeses, flour wraps, packaged lunch meats, and basically ever condiment we owned. I felt very liberated and excited to get rid of the crap and replace it with some "clean items".

My new favorite cookbook, The Fresh 20 by Melissa Lanz suggested some basic nonperishable items to keep in your pantry, so I stocked up on these - and truly, she suggested some fabulous items. I have used every one of these since clean eating and love them (list below)! They are wonderful not only because they can be used in meals, but some actually have double functions in the clean living lifestyle, like vinegar being used in foods, homemade shampoo and helpful in  removeinb bacteria in laundry.

If you are looking to start clean eating, raid your pantry and see what you can get rid of. Look at labels and see what is in them - if you don't recognize the ingredients on the label, more than likely its time to say bye bye to them. 

My suggestion on restocking your pantry with clean items - keep it simple. Have items that you know you will use and don't be like me when I used to buy so much that eventually majority of it goes to waste.

Here are some kitchen essentials to stock in your pantry. Some of these items can be bought in bulk off Amazon - I highly suggest doing this because some oils and spices can be very expensive from your local grocer.

Olive Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Chicken or Vegetable Broth (Low sodium and GMO free)
Herbs de Provence
100% Pure Maple Syrup
Soy Sauce (Low Sodium)
Dried Oregano
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper (avoid ground pepper)
Ground Cumin
Cayenne Pepper
Whole Wheat Pasta
Brown Rice
Whole Wheat Flour
Dijon Mustard
Tomato Paste (with no added salt and organic)

Good luck cleaning out your pantry!

Oh yea, 
Whats the craziest thing you got rid of in your pantry? 

Walking in the Light

May 21, 2013

Conscious Box

So this past month, I won 3 FREE months of Conscious Box off lovely Ashley's Wannabe Green blog. I am so stocked because it goes along with my Clean Living series and I totally had a cow when I won! I seriously ran screaming to our office where my hubs was - I'm sure it was a funny sight for him.

So what is Conscious Box?

Its a monthly subscription full of natural products - the healthiest and best there is out! Any they are serious when they say its packed full - it felt like it weighted 5 pounds. There were a number of products (like the Earthpaste) Ive been itching to try. 

The subscription is $20.00 a month (more than a Birchbox subscription), but honestly I think its way better and are interested in changing over to a healthier living. 

They send everything from bath and beauty, to food and household living. Defiantly go check them out! 

Below are some pictures of the awesomeness I received this month!

What subscription boxes do you do each month?

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May 20, 2013

A man and his farm

Ive mentioned before on the blog, but my Dad owns some property he inherited from his parents. On this property, Dad has built a small farm. He has grown lots of vegetables and fruits over the years, but what grows there now is mainly has citrus. Dad has well over a 300 blueberry bushes, satsumas trees (satsumas are like a mix between an orange and clementine) and lemon trees. It's really a remarkable place. 

My Dad loves his farm. We called it his hobby for years now, but it truly is his passion.  He loves practicing law, but one day his days as an attorney will end, he couldn't be more excited about retiring to the farm. 
He takes great pride in working the land, cultivating it and watching it grow. Anytime Stephen and I go to visit, we bring "farm" clothes, because at some point during our stay, we will be working there. 

There is a great story behind the farm too. My grandfather bought the land, some 80 acres, over 40+ years ago to hopefully sell to a subdivision. Well, that never happened and the land sat untouched for years. When my Dad picked up farming years ago, he took over the backyard. Eventually, my Mom said no more in her yard and my Poppy allowed Dad to expand to the farm. Over the course of 6 years, I've watched as trees were cut down, land cleared, a gazebo added, trees planted, equipment bought, fences built, a well added and plants planted. 

 My Mom and Dad spend every Saturday at the farm unless its raining at the farm.  My Dad and I were actually on the way to the farm a couple of weeks ago they day he got the call about my grandfather death.  My parents love being there and of course we kids and grand kids do too. I have the joy of  watching my nephews and nieces work alongside my Dad and I pray one day I will have my own to work alongside my Dad. I've learned to drive John Deere tractors, till land, plant trees and put out a lot of fertilizer these past few years. This farm, Chickamauga Farms as we call it, will eventually hold my parents home (they are going to build), my brothers house and hopefully a house for us other kids. Its were I want my kids to grow up.

Its more than a piece of land, its a place where memories have been made and future stories to be told. Its a place where I will remember my Poppy picking blueberries, where my Mom enjoys her daily walks, where my Dad taught us to weave tomatoes, where we enjoy family picnics. To Dad and us, its a little piece of heaven. 

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