August 15, 2016

Peach Fizz and Jaemor Farms

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a commission if you click on one of those links and make a purchase.

Peach Fizz - The perfect summertime drink

The weather here in Georgia is hot, hot, hot! I've been raiding my fridge for yummy summertime drinks that will cool us down. I need something that the boys and I will love, and nothing says Summer in Georgia like peaches. In fact, a couple of weeks ago my mom and I took the boys up to Jaemor Farms in North Georgia to pick some fresh peaches at their Third Annual Georgia Belle Peach Festival. We had a blast in the hot Georgia sunshine. 

Picking peaches at Jaemor Farms, Georgia

We picked fresh fruit and enjoyed the juicy peaches straight off the trees. Everything tasted and smelled delicious. To my surprise, Georgia Belle peaches aren't even peach, they are actually a light green color but they are so sweet we made sure to pick a big basket before checking out the other great produce available at the Jaemor Store.

When we got home we had so many peaches we had to find some creative ways to use them so that they would not go to waste. We decided to make homemade peach sorbet and so with the help of my three-year-old, we measured all the ingredients and within minutes we had a delicious sweet treat. 

Note: The sorbet recipe was adapted from the Vita-Mix cookbook.

3 ripe peaches, halved and pitted 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups ice cubes

Preparation Instructions:
Place all ingredients in your blender (I recommend a Vita-Mix).

Blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze at least 2-3 hours.

Peach Fizz ingredients

After tasting the sorbet I knew immediately it would be the perfect star for a summertime drink. To make the sorbet even more delicious I added a couple scoops to a tall glass with some lemon-lime soda, peaches slices, and a straw and well, there were smiles all-round.

If you're feeling really froggy add some champagne - it's delicious. It would be the perfect drink for a wedding shower or girl's night.

Peach Fizz

Kid drinking peach fizz

Make sure you enjoy some fresh peaches this summer. You can check out some of my other favorite recipes here.

Be Blessed,
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July 22, 2016

What is the What - Book Review

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a commission if you click on one of those links and make a purchase.

March barefoot across a country, dodge enemy tribesmen and Arabs that are hunting and killing your friends and family, avoid hungry animals and the sweltering sun as you make your way to an unknown country. Now imagine doing all of that as a child, without the safety and comfort of your protective parents. Valentino Achak Deng tells his childhood story of perseverance and survival in the novel, What is The What told and fictionalized by Dave Eggers. What is the What tells the story of a young boy who quickly grows into a man as he traverses Sudan seeking safety in the arms of different refugee camps until he finally ends up in America. Valentino's story is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan and like so many others that consider themselves a Lost Boy, the story is tragic.

The book jumps from present day to childhood memories and back again. In the book's present day, Valentino is living in Atlanta, GA facing the trials of an immigrant working hard to understand a culture that is so vastly different from where he was born. Before the war broke out in Sudan, Valentino was being raised in a small village where there were no motorized vehicles and the buildings were made of natural materials and stood only one story tall. During the war, he journeyed through a country torn by cultural differences and greed until he landed in a refugee camp and cultivated a life that was almost unbearable. After the war, he moved to America and was met head-on with criminal ignorance, issues of discrimination, and a lack of education. Valentino managed to escape the war but he was consistently met with a lack of humanity. People so easily turned their heads and ignored his plight and the plight of all those young men and women who had endured unimaginable devastation.

This book is meant to bring the unimaginable to life, to tell the true story of what happened in one man's life, and to hopefully inspire change.

I'll be honest, I was completely ignorant to the poor and desolate living conditions typical of refugee camps. In my mind, they were safe havens for people trying to escape persecution, but the reality is that they are breeding grounds for criminal behavior and isolation. The countries that host refugee camps provide the refugees with the least of what they are able to give - the worst lands, meager food rations, and very few ways of earning an income. The refugees, who have done nothing but seek a better, safer life for themselves and their families, are discriminated against and treated as substandard. These refugees have not chosen this life - it was forced onto them and yet they are treated like second-class citizens. It amazed me to learn this and I was ashamed of my own ignorance, especially in light of the current Syrian refugee crisis.

What is the What confronted many social and cultural issues, like the conditions at refugee camps, throughout its pages. It is not a beach read but it is enlightening. It will motivate you to think differently about the people who truly suffer the consequences of war. It will motivate you to be more humane. It will hopefully motivate you to make a difference. In fact, just by purchasing the book you can start to help others because the proceeds from the sale of the book go to a non-profit foundation started by Valentino and Dave Eggers that aims to increase educational access to South Sudan.

I encourage you to read this one and when you do, please share your thoughts because a couple paragraphs of a review does not do this book justice and I'd love to dig a little deeper with anyone that's read this one.

What are you reading? Should I add it to my beach read list? If so, tell me about it in the comments below.

I've been doing a little book review roundup over the last couple of weeks. If you're interested in some of my other book reviews, check out my thoughts on A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza and make sure you follow me on Goodreads.

Be Blessed,
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July 15, 2016

He Fell in Love with My Coffee Cake

I like to think that my husband fell in love with me because of my intellect, my heart, or because I was just so darn funny (which is not really true), but the truth is I think he fell in love with me because of my coffee cake. It was my coffee cake, not my smile that won him over. On Father's Day he didn't ask to go golfing with his buddies, he asked me to make coffee cake. He swears it's the best thing I've ever made so if you're looking to impress someone then you probably should give this recipe a try. 

A Coffee cake recipe that will make him fall in love

Non-stick cooking spray
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cup sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp powdered sugar

A Coffee cake recipe that will make him fall in love

Preparation Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl use a mixer to combine the butter and 2 cups of sugar. Once the mixture is well combined add the eggs, one at a time. Add the sour cream and vanilla and continue mixing until blended.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just blended, then add the remaining dry ingredient mixture until well combined.

In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup of sugar, the brown sugar, and the cinnamon.

Pour half of the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the batter. Use a spoon to pour the remaining batter onto the cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for 60 minutes or until golden brown. Use a toothpick to test doneness. You know that the cake is complete when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the coffee cake cool until warm and remove it from the pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

Serve and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee!

A Coffee cake recipe that will make him fall in love

The secret to this amazing coffee cake is the sour cream. It makes the cake extra moist and delicious and is a great way to add some extra flavor and texture when you bake. Have you ever made something that completely won someone over? If so please share the recipe!

Looking for some other great recipes? Check out my recipe collection here

Be Blessed,
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July 13, 2016

Shopping Made Easy with Groupon Coupons

This post was sponsored by Groupon Coupons but all opinions are my own.

In an average week, I go to Starbucks a couple times, I wander the aisles of Target once or twice, and I most certainly buy something for the kiddos at Babies R' Us or Macy's. This routine helps me to keep things fresh and caffeinated, and it ensures that all my little ones and I are dressed and have brushed our teeth. So I was thrilled when I discovered that I could continue to do all these things I love for so much less. Basically, I could save money doing all the same shopping that I already do. ”How?" you might ask, with Groupon Coupons.

Shopping Made Easy with Groupon Coupons - save at your favorite retailers like Sephora, Bloomingdales, Nordstom, Kohls, Macy's and many more. #ad

Like me, you probably already rely on Groupon for great deals on restaurants, experiences, and events, so you know that Groupon offers great, trustworthy opportunities to save money. And Groupon Coupons is no different. Groupon Coupons allows you to find links to coupons from many of your favorite retailers, and the coupons are verified by other users Groupon Coupon users. You can search for coupons based on the name of a particular store, a location, or an entire category, so you're sure to find what you're looking for. Even better, this amazing service is completely FREE.

So grab your keys (and your coffee of course) and make your way to any one of these amazing retailers with your Groupon Coupons:

Barnes & Noble 
Bed Bath & Beyond
J. Crew Factory
Sak's Fifth Avenue

There are so many other featured stores and retailers so make sure before you spend one more dollar you click your way to Groupon Coupons and check out the great deals and start saving.

What's your favorite Groupon Coupon?

Be Blessed,
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July 7, 2016

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust - Book Review

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a commission if you click on one of those links and make a purchase.

I told you a couple weeks ago that I was going to do a full review of my latest reads because they need to be on your Summer reading list. If you haven't checked out my review of A Man Called Ove then just stop what you're doing now and click here.

Now onto another recent read - and probably my favorite of the bunch; Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza.

Left to Tell Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza

To put it lightly I couldn't put this book down. To be more honest, I put cartoons on for a solid 48 hours because it was so captivating I couldn't have my kids running around and disturbing my reading time. Bad mom moment - I know. I read it in its entirety within a 48-hour period and I didn't want it to end.

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust is a true story rooted in faith and told from the real-life perspective of a Rwandan Holocaust survivor. While it is technically a faith-based book it reads like a non-fiction novel and it certainly doesn't come across churchy or like it's trying to win over new converts, so it's a great read for both the secular and nonsecular reader. It tells a very devastating story of a young woman's personal experience and how she believes her faith in Christ was her sole reason for survival. She believes that her life was spared so that she could share her story, hence this beautiful book.

During the Rwandan Holocaust the author, Immaculee, spent weeks confined to a small bathroom with seven other women. Afraid for their lives and cut off from the world, they lived in fear that at any moment they too would fall victim to the senseless, hateful crimes and murders that happened to Tutsi across Rwanda in 1996. The Holocaust was caused due to decades of ethnic unrest between the Tutsi and the Hutu climaxing in a bloody war that left families and a country torn apart. Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were killed, among them was Immaculee's family.

Could you forgive the people who brutally murdered and killed your family, those who ridiculed them and taunted them in their last moments? Immaculee finds forgiveness in her heart and her story is so powerful it will make you question any unrest in your own. It will make you examine your soul and find new ways to let the light of forgiveness start to radiate.

This is one of the best books I've EVER read and I highly recommend that you take the time to read it and appreciate the story that Immaculee has shared. If you've read it before I'd love to know your thoughts. What's on your Summer reading list this year? I'm currently reading The Good Soldiers by David Finkel. If you love to read as much as I do, let's be friends on Goodreads - follow me here.

Amy from Prayer Wine Chocolate recommended this book to me. Make sure you check out her blog. She's an amazing woman and I'm sure you'll be inspired by her story to adopt her second child.

Be Blessed,
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July 5, 2016

An Encouraging Giveaway

Today I have teamed up with some awesome ladies to bring you a giveaway meant to be encouraging. Need a little pick me up? This giveaway is for you! There are 3 prizes and 3 winners! This giveaway will end July 7 in the evening and winners will be contacted on the 8th. You then have 24 hours to respond and claim your prize or another winner will be picked. This is U.S. only.

The prizes:

$25 eGift Card to

TEE from [ you choose ]

11oz mug from [ you choose ]

Here are the ladies I have teamed up with to bring y'all this giveaway! Just want to say thanks to all of them for being apart of this! 

Whitney - Southern Hope Blog / LeAnn - Love Unconditionally / Sonya - The Paper Mouse ShopStacy - Better Than Newlyweds / Brittany - Everyday Thoughts / Brittany - Grace Love Life / Terryn - Just A Simple Home

a Rafflecopter giveaway

June 30, 2016

Wine and Rosary

It's not often that I open up my home for a party or gathering and when I do it normally comes with a tremendously level of anxiety. The napkins, the menu, the entertainment and what in the world am I going to do with the kids? Don't get me wrong, I love it - all the details and the planning and creating something special for all those that attend. I spend a lot of time trying to make sure everything comes together perfectly.

Just last week I threw a little get-together and it went wonderfully and I had a little less anxiety than normal. That might be due to some divine intervention (insert winky face here). I hosted a Wine and Rosary night for my church group.

I wanted to bring a group of faithful women together to share their intentions, a glass (or two) of wine, and some munchies. We had a wonderful time socializing and snacking before we sat together and prayed the Rosary. It was a lovely evening full of prayer and fellowship.

I paid special attention to many of the details and gave away the contents from the latest Happy Catholic Box. I provided a couple prayer cards to help kindle a prayerful atmosphere. And I put several Rosaries in a bowl in case someone forgot theirs.

When we prayed we listened to the Rosary so that the women could get up and down as they needed. The actual prayer portion of the evening lasted about 20 minutes but we shared intentions and faith struggles for about an hour beforehand.

To enhance the atmosphere and play off the Wine and Rosary theme I decided to provide light hors d'oeuvres that were meant to compliment the wine. I served:

  • Homemade french bread with chive butter and apricot preserves
  • Assorted cheeses - including a goat cheese with cranberry and port 
  • Assorted meats such as prosciutto and salami 
  • Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Mimosa infused chocolate covered strawberries 
  • Wine - four different varieties (two whites and two reds)
  • Sparkling grape juice 
  • Strawberry and basil infused water
My secret to throwing a successful party is not to overextend myself. In this case, I planned ahead, prepared what I could in advance and keep the food simple. I used a local vendor to help really put a stamp on it and make it extra beautiful.

The ladies favorites were the chocolate covered pretzels and the gorgeous mimosa infused white chocolate covered strawberries that I ordered from Our Creations Sweets. Our Creations Sweets is an Atlanta-based small business that specializes in glam, infused, and candy-coated strawberries and cupcakes. I was thrilled with my experience working with Dominique, the owner. She was responsive, intuitive and extremely professional. The truest testament to her work was that nothing was left over and the women raved about how delicious it all was. These delicious creations would be the perfect addition for your next party, a wedding, shower or just a special way to say "thank you" or "I love you."

Overall the event went off without a hitch and I was honored to host such a lovely group of women in my home.

What are some of your tips for planning a successful party in your home?

I was provided some product from Our Creations Sweets in exchange for an honest review and feature on Everyday Thoughts. 

Be Blessed,
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