great weekend…and naps are awesome

I made it through the big weekend exercise fest! The two-day Les Mills exercise convention was such an amazing experience! I had such a good time!{Unfortunately, my best friend Abbie didn’t get to have quite as much fun as I did! Poor thing!}

Here are some pictures of the weekend:

Here we are before our first class, after getting up at 5 a.m. and driving 2 hours.

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It was crazy! There were over 800 people exercising in one room! People love their Les Mills programs!

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If you wanted a spot up front, here’s how close you had to be to each other:

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Good thing we’re best friends!

We got to do a little weightlifting in BODYPUMP:

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And I got to experience the most amazing group fitness class I’ve ever attended: BODYCOMBAT!

Here are the BODYCOMBAT presenters from New Zealand along with the U.S. trainers.

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I loved.every.single.minute.of.it.

We lined up early to get to the front of the room, and we made it to the 1st and 2nd row! We only had to use a few of our combat moves to get there. ;)

We got to take in a little education session after each class.

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and even got to take a pic with the super-cool directors.

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And here’s one of our gym’s team (minus two people):

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Oh, so much fun! I love my team!

Yesterday, I recovered from the weekend with a two hour nap after we did our homeschooling and grocery shopping. I’ve decided naps will now be mandatory every day of the week. I’ll let you know how that goes. ;)

Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!

granola bars in 15 minutes {food on friday}

Today's {food on friday} feature is homemade granola bars!

I'm really excited about this {fof} because I get to eat quite a few of these bars this weekend! I'm leaving to attend the most amazing fitness event- a Les Mills Super Quarterly bright and early tomorrow! I teach BodyPump and BodyCombat, both of which are Les Mills group fitness classes, and this weekend is the highlight of a LM instructor's year! We get to be taught by the very best- the people who create the choreography for the classes we teach every week. It's an all-out crazy two days of as much exercising as you can do! And it's going to be great! Exercising, a mini-girl's getaway, dinners out, and fellowship with other instructors- so, so exciting!!

Luckily, we do get a few breaks in between the multiple classes, so we have time to recharge before the next class. I'm taking these tasty little treats with me to refuel- my favorite granola bars! I found a recipe in a newsletter a few years ago, changed it up to meet our taste, and I've been using it to make my own granola bars ever since.

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For today's {food on friday} I'm going to show you how to make granola bars at home!
Now they probably don't fall under the healthiest granola bar category, but they definitely taste good.
They don't have preservatives or artificial ingredients, and it's way more frugal to make them at home!
A 10x15 pan of granola bars using real butter and honey will cost me about $3.35 to make- which is far cheaper than one box of eight tiny bars for the same price at the store! Better for you and cheaper too- I'll take it! :)
Here's what you'll need:

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butter, salt, vanilla, brown sugar, oats, honey, and a little ground cinnamon is optional, depending on the flavor you want.

These ingredients will give you a basic granola bar, and you can add your favorite mix-ins if you'd like!
Preheat your oven to 450.

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Melt 3/4 of a cup of butter.

{butter is definitely best, but margarine might work too}

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Then combine all of your ingredients...
add 1 cup of brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of honey {or corn syrup, or pancake syrup- less healthy but they work in a pinch! Hey, we've all been there!}

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and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla

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then 1 teaspoon of salt.

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Add 4 cups of oats. Old-fashioned or quick will work.

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And a dash of cinnamon (if you want to!), and 1/2-1 cup of your favorite add-in.
You can go the healthy way and add some healthy flax seed, or raisins. Personally, I love chocolate chips! ;)

Stir it all up. It should be kind of sticky and wet. All that sugar and honey did the trick.

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Spread it all out in a 10x15 jelly roll pan. Any lipped baking pan will probably work here.

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I pressed a few raisins into half of my batch for the kiddos.

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Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Watch them carefully, because they will burn in no time at all.

In fact, they will catch on fire if you forget about them.
And your oven's alarm will go off and beep like crazy and the display will flash "f11, f11, f11" over and over again. And it won't reset.
Not that I'd know that from personal experience or anything.

If you want them to be crunchier, let them stay in a little longer.

Just don't forget about them, okay? ;)

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Let them sit for a couple of minutes to cool, and then score them with a pizza cutter or knife.

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When they cool, remove from the pan and enjoy!

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here's the full recipe for you:
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and you can print it here:
I hope you enjoy them! I know I will this weekend! ;)

laundry devotion {on priorities}

This week's devotion is about examining our priorities, and defining the motive behind each of them. I think we all have trouble with assigning priorities in our busy lives today, and it's something I've been working through for the past few weeks (months? years?) as well. Oh, I'm so thankful God can give our hearts the right priorities. If it were up to me, I'd never succeed in changing my own life! What a merciful God He is.

I would love to hear your thoughts! I feel like the Bible has so much to say about this, and we can read it and know it, yet it's still such a struggle for us to give our daily lives to the Lord. What do you think?

Press play for audio here:
Or, download this audio devotion by right clicking and saving target as (or download link for Macs) on this link: laundry devotion {on priorities}


About Laundry Devotions:
I tend to think of my laundry room as my prayer closet. I spend a lot of time in there where I get away from everything else while folding clothes (laundry for six keeps a girl busy ;). It's awesome because my hands are busy doing what I'm called to do and I get to spend time with God at the same time. I realized maybe that concept would work for others who are in a super busy stage of life like me. Maybe you are in the car, or at the kitchen sink, or prepping dinner. Whatever you might be doing, I hope this short audio format helps you give you a chance to focus on God even in an unlikely setting, like the laundry room! :)

Grab the Laundry Devotions button!
Just copy and paste the code below into your blog sidebar or post's html!

time-saving tip for baking

I love to bake- but the cleanup and ingredient gathering has always made it a little less fun for me...at least until I came up with this easy kitchen trick. 

In our current house we are blessed to have kitchen drawers, and in my deepest drawer I keep my all of my baking ingredients in a plastic cleaning carrier!

Instead of digging out all the ingredients from their separate spots, I just pull this little baby out and use my ingredients right from it, putting each one back in the carrier after it's added. When I'm done, I just stick the whole kit back in the drawer and kitchen cleanup is that much easier!

It's definitely a time and sanity saver for me!

You can check out more kitchen tips over at Tammy's Recipes!

weekend getaway and real life

I was so, so amazingly blessed to have a little getaway last weekend. My husband had to work out of town, and God allowed it to work out where I could go with him. My mom kept the kids for two whole days and I got a little free time! A huge thanks to her for making it possible- she's the best!

Can I tell you how amazing it is to have a couple of days completely free?

While my sweet husband was working so hard {thank you baby!!},

I was taking long walks by the lake...

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strolling through the harbor...

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enjoying the beautiful hotel...

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sleeping in and taking naps in this cozy bed...

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soaking in the sun...

{you have to get to the pool at 10 in the morning not to fry in Texas!}

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and enjoying a few hours of shopping and even a pedicure. Not to mention eating the best Mexican food and the best filet and brownie cheesecake I've ever tasted. Oh, that and consuming an entire box of Crunch N' Munch in the hotel room. I exercised just an hour in three days and I think I gained about three lbs. this weekend alone! I'll take it for all of that though! Definitely worth every calorie! :)

It.was.dreamy. I've never had completely free time like that before. Usually we do things as a couple, and it's always fun. But being alone and doing whatever I wanted to was just amazing. It was like serious recharging time! And it was such a great blessing after hard weeks of tiring work at home.

We ended the weekend by meeting my mom and the kids for a little early birthday celebration.

My little girl is turning four this week. I just love her.

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This was her very first time to be sung to by strangers...

she looked a little like a deer in headlights :), but she didn't skip a beat when they told her to stand up so they could sing. She was so excited!

And I love this pic of Ava and my mom.

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Here's Noah, drinking it all in...

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and Ava after a little birthday cupcake...

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And then the fun {and very bumpy} ride home in the gigantic company truck!

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here's the pic taken when Rob told me my almost 8-year-old is nearly as big as me! {*tear*}

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and then Monday morning brings me fully back to reality... :)

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Sometimes it seems hard to go away and come back again to more work and kids out of a routine, but I'd still choose the weekend getaway any day! God was so generous to bless me with it just when I needed it the most.

He's so, so very good to me. :) I think I'm even more blessed to have a home and children to come home to- to be able to live life with them every day of the week. Before I know it, this season will be gone, and my house will be perfectly clean all of the time. In the meantime, I like to think of the laundry and the constant messes as results of a live and happy home. It helps give me a little perspective when I feel like crying! ;)

So what do you think? How do you add the spontaneous and keep the routine in balance? Is it really possible?


video tutorial- how to make artisan bread {food on friday}

the finished product!
Fresh, four-ingredient homemade bread in five minutes a day? Sounds too good to be true, right? I thought so too. When I saw the article on the web about a new recipe claiming to revolutionize baking, I knew I had to try it out for myself.

I followed the super simple directions, made the dough- just flour, salt, yeast, and water {no kneading required!}, and three hours later had the best homemade bread I’d ever tasted!

I’m so in love with this recipe that I couldn’t wait to share it with you all! I try to avoid eating bread on a regular basis, but when I make this, it’s extremely hard to resist! I think you’ll love it as much as I do. Just make sure you have lots of hungry bread lovers around to share it with you!

Here's BH's very first vlog! I hope you enjoy the video format! I had fun making it. :)

(if you have any trouble with the video loading, 
you can click above to reduce the size to 240p to stream a little faster) 

And as promised, here’s the basic dough recipe! Let me know how it works for you!

elizabeth sash + $10 gift card winner

 

The names were compiled into a numbered list and the winning entry was chosen by random.org, and the winner of the BH giveaway is:

(drumroll, please….)

rachieannie!

Congratulations! (I’m emailing you with the details!)

And for those of you who entered and would like to purchase an elizabeth sash- for the next week, you can receive 15% off any item in my shop! Just use the code GIVEAWAY11 on the checkout page!

Thank you all so much for participating! That was fun! I think we’ll definitely have to do it again before the end of the year!

later today: how to make artisan bread + a video! {food on friday}

laundry devotion {on hearts and words}


This week we are talking about the connection between our hearts and our mouths- how our words reflect the state of our hearts, and the only way our hearts and words can change to glorify God.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to speak words that you will later regret? Isn't it so comforting to know there is a solution?

Press play for audio here:
About Laundry Devotions:
I tend to think of my laundry room as my prayer closet. I spend a lot of time in there where I get away from everything else while folding clothes (laundry for six keeps a girl busy ;). It's awesome because my hands are busy doing what I'm called to do and I get to spend time with God at the same time. I realized maybe that concept would work for others who are in a super busy stage of life like me. Maybe you are in the car, or at the kitchen sink, or prepping dinner. Either way, I hope this short audio format helps you give you a chance to focus on God even in an unlikely setting, like the laundry room! :)

Grab the Laundry Devotions button!
Just copy and paste the code below into your blog sidebar or post's html!

bh's big giveaway! {the elizabeth belt and a $10 gift card!}

It's giveaway time! And I'm super excited about this one!! Can you tell? :) 

On Friday, one lucky person will win two prizes!

the first:

My newest creation- the "Elizabeth" sash belt! {I just love her name, it's so sophisticated, so pretty, like she is!} I'm adding her to my Etsy shop! {which means you don't have to win to get one! :)}






the second:

A gift card so you have a reason to take your lovely sash belt out on the town-
$10 to Starbucks to buy coffee for you and a friend!!


Two of my favorite things- flower accessories and coffee! And you can win them both!

You have three chances to enter:

for one entry- 
like the {BH} facebook page and leave me a quick comment telling me you did there!
and if you are already a fb fan, just leave me a comment there! :)

for a second entry- 
subscribe to our feed and leave me a comment below telling me you did!
and if you are already subscribed, you can leave me a comment here saying so!
Be sure to include your email address on this one so I can contact you if you win.


for a third entry- 
blog about this giveaway and leave me a comment with the link to your post below! 
don't forget to include your email address on this one too.
{oh, and if you don't have a blog, you can get the 3rd entry by posting 
this link on your facebook page and leaving a comment telling me you did}


So exciting! Entries close on Thursday, August 18, at midnight {cst}, 
and the winner will be announced Friday morning!
 I'll gather all the entries, assign them numbers, then use random.org to find a winner! 

{due to shipping restrictions, this giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only}

So much fun! I hope you win! :)