Day 4- Festive Gluten Free 4th

Today is the last day of our series. :(  I want to give a big shout out to my friend Calie at Broccoli Cupcake for joining me this week.  I am dying to make the Grilled Red Potato Salad she had on her blog yesteday.  It looks so yummy.

I wanted to go out on a sweet note.  I've been eating this dessert since I was a kid.  My mom used to make it all the time.  Not only is it incredibly yummy, but it is so easy to make.  It takes just 5 minutes.

I am going to be showing you how to make a gluten free peach dump cake, which is my hubby's favorite. You can make apple or cherry as well.  Remember, this is gluten free, not sugar free or fat free.  :)

Here's what you need:

1 9X9 glass or non stick pan (I lightly coat the bottom of the pan with some coconut oil or butter)
1 can or jar of peaches (We get ours from Costco, 4 jars to a pack. I like them because they are in extra light syrup and I love reusing these jars.)
1 gluten free vanilla cake mix (Available at Whole Foods.  You will be able to make this recipe 3 times using the one bag.)
1/2 stick of Organic butter
Optional: 3 Tbsp of Organic Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar (Feel free to skip this part if you are trying to watch your sugar intake.  You don't need it.  It just adds an extra crunch to the dish.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take peaches and drain the syrup and give them a light rinse.

Dump the peaches in the bottom of the pan or glass dish and spread them out so they coat the bottom.  Pour 2 cups of the gluten free vanilla cake mix over the peaches.  You want the peaches to be covered with the cake mix.  If after 2 cups of cake mix you still see peaches, you can add a little more.  Optional: Add 2-3 tbsp of the Turbinado Sugar over the top.  Melt a half stick of organic butter and pour over the top of the cake mix.  Here's what it looks like as it's going into the oven.  (I actually melted a whole stick of butter by accident, I'm tired, so I dumped the whole stick over the top.)  Paula Deen, eat your hear out. 

Bake on 350 for 30-40 until golden brown.  Best if served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Here's the finished product.  I made this for my friend Kelly over at Faithful Provisions and her family loved it.  She ended up making it to take to a party she was going to the next week.  I promise it does not disappoint.  The best part is that my sweet Sydney Kate can enjoy some yummy dessert and there is no worries about gluten.

I hope we've inspired you this week.  Have a safe and happy 4th.

Day 3- Festive Gluten Free 4th

I hope y'all are enjoying this series.  Today Calie is showing you healthy side dishes to go along with your yummy main dishes from Monday.  I don't know about you, but I am ready for the 4th of July.  My mouth is watering just thinking about all the good food we're gonna have, and the best part is, I don't have to feel guilty about it.

I can't wait to show y'all a yummy gluten free dessert.  No one will ever be able to tell it's gluten free.  I promise.  Come on back tomorrow for the recipe.

Day 2- Festive Gluten Free 4th

I hope you enjoyed yesterday's post by my friend Calie, over at Broccoli Cupcake.  Today I am going to show you a cute and fun craft you can do with your kids for the 4th of July.  I saw this idea last year on the Better Home and Gardens website and really wanted to do it, but just didn't get around to it.  This year, I decided it was time to try it.                        (photo courtesy of BHG)

The project is pretty easy and inexpensive.  It was under $10 to make.  I went to Joann's and picked up four packets of flag toothpicks at $1.19 each (they were on sale) as well as a 12 in styrofoam wreath.  You don't want to get the wreath too big.  I bought a 16 in wreath first and realized there was no way I would have enough toothpicks to cover the entire things, so I went back and bought a 12 in.  You can also find the wreaths at Michael's and Hobby Lobby.  I bought the rest of the toothpicks that they had at my local Joann's, but I know Party City carries them as well.

Here's what I started with:
The green wreath was 16in so when I exchanged it for the 12 in, it was white.  (Forgot to take the before pic.  Sorry.)  I decided it was best that I spray paint it a Navy blue so that it would look better if I had some blank spaces that I couldn't fill in with the flags.  Highly recommend this step.  If you don't have spray paint on hand, craft paint would do the trick too.
Then it was on to the painstaking task of putting the little toothpicks into the styrofoam.  It actually was kind of fun.  The girls helped me at the beginning.  Then they quickly got bored and decided they'd had enough.  Here's a tip.  You want to put the flags in on an angle and not straight up and down.  I figured it out after about 100 toothpicks in that it didn't look right.  All I saw was the top of the toothpicks.

The final product.  What do you think?  I really like the way it turned out and it was alot of fun to involve the girls.  I may even leave it up all summer long.

Don't forget to check out Broccoli Cupcake tomorrow.  Calie will be showing you healthy and gluten free side dishes for your 4th of July BBQ.

Day 1-Festive Gluten Free 4th

I am so excited to announce that I am teaming up this week with one of my good friends, Calie, from Broccoli CupcakeFirst of all, how cute is that name.  I just love it.  Her slogan is
"Where Healthy, Meets Happy."  Here is Calie with her husband and sons.

I've known Calie now for over 7 years.  We were both pregnant at the same time, she with her son and me with Brooklyn.  We also both share a love of organic living and helping other people.

This week we are going to show you how you can have a healthy, gluten free 4th of July.  You might remember me saying that we took Sydney off of gluten to see if it would help her tummy issues.  In doing so, I have had to come up with alternative ways to eat the same foods that she enjoys, minus the gluten.

Calie is going to be showing you how to prepare those main dishes we all love, but do it in a healthy and organic way.  So hop on over to Broccoli Cupcake and check it out.  I hope you enjoy it! 

Make sure you check back with me tomorrow.  I will be showing you a fun American flag craft you can do with your kids.

I'm leaving on a jet plane

I am so excited to be going here........

I have been to almost every state in the US, but this is one I have never visited.  I am meeting my BFF from California and I can't wait to have some girl time, shop and sleep in.  I'm also excited about running through Central Park.  Yes, the yellow shoes are coming with me.  Yipee!

What is one thing I should do while I am there?

VBS overload

Another successful week of VBS.  If you are counting, which you probably aren't, that makes 3.  Three consecutive weeks of VBS.  They have all been wonderful and the girls have really enjoyed them and I've enjoyed my time running errands and cleaning house.  As much as one can enjoy doing those things.

The other day, I found Sydney and Brooklyn in the laundry room.  To my dismay, they weren't doing laundry, nope, instead Sydney was "reading" a Bible story.  Brooklyn was listening from the washing machine.  I couldn't help, but capture it on my iPhone.  (I had my phone vertically instead of horizontally and so that's why the picture looks so skinny.  Still getting used to having a video camera on my new iPhone.)

I love these precious moments and I'm thankful that I was able to capture them.  It's amazing what kids remember from the Bible stories you read them and from what they learn at church.  Today on the way to church, Sydney says, "Mommy, can I pray please"?  I turned off the radio and listened to her prayer.  She prayed for a great day, for me to be happy and to keep she and sissy safe at VBS.  I love, how at the tender age of 4, she listens to the Holy Spirits leading.  I can't wait to see how she uses that gift in the future.

Follow The Yellow Brick Road

Follow The Yellow Brick Road, I mean shoes.  Take a gander at these bad boys.  Nice right?  These are my new pair of running shoe and I love them.  I have to say when I first tried them on I was not loving the yellow, I loved how they fit, but the color not so much.  So I chose comfort over style, but I've come to find out they may be pretty stylish.

People love them.  They want to know where I got them.  I bought them at a local Triathlon shop here in town, but they are K-Swiss, so I am sure you can find them anywhere.  The soles aren't blue, those are my funky orthodics I have to wear.  Lucky me!

Last weeks runs went great.  I logged over 14 miles, plus 3 miles on the bike.  That's the most active week I have had in years and it felt good, sore, but good.  My hubby came up with the idea of starting a running group in my neighborhood and it's been so much fun.  We run 3 miles on Monday and Thursday at 8pm.  Last week we had 6 women on Monday and 6 on Thursday.  I live in a very hilly neighborhood, so it is not an easy run by any means.  Add heat and humidity to the mix and it makes for a thrilling night. :)

I have found running to be a good stress reliever and I am also noticing I can climb a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing.  That's a good thing.  Now if I can only see the scale move, I will be a happy camper.
(Inspiration taken from Pinterest)

Do you like to run?  What are some ways that you relieve stress? 

Dad's Day

The girls helped me make breakfast for daddy this morning. They even helped me make his favorite, Chocolate Croissants. Ok, so I know this looks like something that should be served for Mother's Day, but I felt like my hubby was man enough to be served breakfast in bed. 
The girls felt like joining him.  I'm loving the bedhead. (Sorry the photo stinks.  I used my brand new iPhone.  I don't know what happened.  Ugh!)
The highlight of our day was taking a canoe trip after church.  We went down the Harpeth River and had a ton of fun.  I didn't know how the girls would do since you have to sit pretty still, but they did awesome.  Towards the end, Sydney was getting tired.  She kept asking me when it was going to end.  The problem is I had no clue.  It's not like there are signs or anything to tell you where you are.  
It took us about 2 hours to go 3 1/2 miles.
We stopped about an hour in to let the girls get out of the boat and stretch their legs.  They loved finding some seashells and playing in the rocks.
We had a fantastic day!  I am so thankful that I have such an amazing husband who is such a great dad.  The girls love him so much.  Thanks honey for all you do to provide for our family and for loving Jesus!  I read this quote today that I loved and wanted to share it with you. 

“The greatest thing a FATHER can do for his children, is to love their mother."
 -Anjaneth Garcia Untalan

I can't sign off without wishing a Happy Father's Day to my wonderful dad.  I am so blessed to have a father that has shown unconditional love to me and my sisters.  He was there at every soccer and softball game I ever played, every choir performance I sang in, and now we are doing races together.  At 71 years old, he is my hero.  I love you more than words can say.  I will always be your little girl.


What if your blessings come through raindrops
What if your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near
What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise

I heard these lyrics come over my car radio last week and I began to cry.  It had been a rough few weeks and I was exhausted.  I was alone in the car and the Lord knew that at that precise moment I needed to let it all go.  Don't you love when He does that?  That's one reason I listen to Christian music.  It has a way of speaking to your heart and encouraging you like no other genre of music can.  I knew there had to be a story behind this song so I found the artist's website and read about the inspiration behind the song.  You can read about it here.

If you are hurting tonight and need hope, please watch this video.  I pray it will nourish your soul.  Know that He loves you and He cares for you and He alone knows the Blessings that are to come.

Name Dropping

Saturday was a historic day in the Lord household.  My hubby went cycling with Lance Armstrong.  Yes, the one and only, Lance Armstrong. 

I guess I should mention that there were 1498 other cyclists among them, but whose counting.  The event was called Harpeth River Ride.  Cyclists from all over middle Tennessee came to ride.  You had your choice of 20 miles, 42 miles, 62 miles and 100 miles.  Brian chose to ride 62 miles.  Lance rode 100 miles.  Fun fact: this was Lance's longest ride since he competeted in the Tour de France last summer.  Brian was right behind Lance at the finish line.  If you look closely in the photo you can see Brian back in the red.  Way to go Brian.  So proud of you!

This is not the first time Brian has been in the presence of the greatest cyclist ever.  A couple of years ago, Brian booked Lance for an event in Salt Lake City.  He got to get his picture taken with him.  
Speaking of the one of the greatest ever, I told you that Brian got to meet Peyton Manning a few weeks back.  He had booked Peyton to speak at an event in Indianapolis and had the pleasure of hanging with Peyton for a few hours.  Brian said he's incredibly nice and very down to earth.  This had to be a dream come true for Brian since he was born and raised in Indiana and the Colts are his favorite football team.

Well, that's enough name dropping for one evening.  I am super proud of my hubby as you can see. 

Come Into My Heart

This week is Vacation Bible School at our church.  I love VBS.  I always have ever since I was a little girl.  I loved summer.  School was out for starters, but secondly, I knew VBS was right around the corner.  I loved craft time, music and the stories they would show us on the flannel boards.  Do y'all remember the flannel boards?  I wonder if they still exist.

I have been leading 3 & 4 year old crafts, so I get to see Sydney around 11:00 every morning.  She loves it and I love getting to see her interact with other the other children in the class.  She's not old enough to go to VBS at our church yet, but she gets to have the little kid version of it.  She does music, crafts, story time, and playtime.  She's having a blast and she's so exhausted by the time we get home, she's actually been taking naps this week.

I went to pick up Brooklyn in the sanctuary and her teacher, whose a friend of mine, told me that when the kids were asked if they wanted to ask Jesus into their hearts, Brooklyn circled yes on her paper.  Of course I was thrilled.  Miss K told me that she gave her a booklet about what it meant to become a Christian and that she wanted us to be the ones to lead her in a prayer.  I was so thankful she gave us the opportunity to lead our daughter to the Lord.  There is no greater moment for a parent.  I remember I led Sydney in a prayer to receive Christ last October (you can read about it here) and I will never forget it as long as I live.  It was amazing.

This time around I wanted to let Brian be the one to lead her in a prayer so I called him at work to tell him what had happened so he could be thinking about it.  When he got home, he went into her room and read her the book she was given.  He wanted to make sure she really understood what it meant to become a follower of Christ.  He asked her if she understood and if she wanted to become a Christian.  She said yes, but she told him she wanted to do it in the car.  Oh that is such a classic Brooklyn thing to do.  It was perfect.  We were headed to the mall, so we all jumped in the car and again, he went over what it meant to be a sinner, that Jesus died for our sins, and that one day we will live with him forever.  He asked her questions and she got it.  Then he led her in a prayer to ask Jesus into her heart.  It was sweet music to my ears to hear her pray.  If you've been blessed to have that moment with your child, you know what an unforgettable moment it is.

Dearest Brooklyn. Today was one of the happiest days of my life.  I loved hearing you accept Jesus into your heart.  It is the best and most important decision you will ever make in your life.  Jesus lives in your heart now baby girl and He will always be with you.  He will never, ever, leave you.  I know it's hard to hear Him because He doesn't speak where you can hear Him with your ears, but if you listen with your heart, you can hear Him.  My prayer for you B is that you will read your Bible and pray.  The Bible gives you tools and a road map, I know how you love maps, on where to go and what to do.  Pray all the time.  He will always listen.  No prayer is ever stupid.  He's your daddy and He wants you to come to Him with anything.  Jesus loves you so much baby.  Heaven is having a party tonight all because one little girl accepted the free gift of salvation.  I love you Brooklyn!  Mommy

I Need The Shackles Off My Feet So I Can...

RUN.........  You were thinking dance, weren't ya?  Believe me, dancing sounds way more fun than running right about now, especially when it's 95 degrees outside.

I've been focused on trying to eat a clean diet and taking my supplements that have been prescribed to me,  that I haven't really focused much on the other half of being healthy- exercise.  I'm not one of those people who needs to be at the gym 5 times a week or they go crazy.  I wish I was.  I don't stay motivated to do workouts, which is odd coming from someone who was an athlete her whole life.  I need accountability to do this right and make the change for my health and for my family. 

I've done a few 5K's this year, but I wasn't real great at training for them.  So, Brian suggested I get a running coach.  We talked to a woman at a local TRI store who lost 60 pounds after she started with a running coach!  I'll take just half of those lbs right about now.  The biggest thing for me isn't having a desire to get into better shape and better health, its just knowing what to do, and having some accountability.  That's where I need the expertise of someone who has been running his whole life, and is good at it.  I know that I am going to have to make some changes and sacrifices if I'm going to turn things around, but I guess that's why most of the good things in life are so hard. 

Part of the plan is to commit to telling you what I'm going through over the next three months- the good stuff, the bad stuff, and most importantly what I'm doing or not doing.  It's easy to talk your way out of stuff with family, but it's a lot harder to do if you put it out in black and white for all the world to see.

So, I'm praying that whatever plan the running coach sends me tomorrow, it won't be too crazy, but more importantly, something I can stick with and one that I can have fun doing.   

Have you ever had something you were scared to do, but knew you had to do it?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Shackles-Part 1

shack·le (shkl)
1. A metal fastening, usually one of a pair, for encircling and confining the ankle or wrist of a prisoner or captive; a fetter or manacle.
2. A restraint or check to action or progress.

This defines how I feel.  I am a prisoner to my own hopelessness and I need to break free from the chains.  It's no coincidence that as I was driving to Panera to spend sometime by myself and to blog (thanks honey for watching the girls) that the song "Shackles" (Praise You) by Mary Mary came on the radio.  The tears came flooding down my cheeks and I couldn't help but raise my hands in worship.  Now, if you've heard this song you know it's not a weepy song, but a get off your toosh kinda song and get to dancin'.  That's usually how I feel when I hear this song, but not tonight.  Somehow I connected to that song from the deepest part of my being.  In case you've never heard Shackles before, I wanted to post some of the lyrics.  The second verse is what hit home with me tonight.  You can watch the video by Mary Mary here. 

Everything that could go wrong
All went wrong at one time
So much pressure fell on me
I thought I was gonna lose my mind
But I know you wanna see
If I will hold on through these trials
But I need you to lift this load
Cause I can't take it anymore

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise you
I'm gonna praise you

Been through the fire and the rain
Bound in every kind of way
But God has broken every chain
So let me go right now

I think I say on a daily basis to God, "I just can't take it anymore."  Something has to change.  I'm gonna be transparent here and say that I am tired of feeling depressed, anxious and downright awful.  Now I know there are things that have happened to me/us in the last year (losing my father-in-law, my son, my grandma and my health declining) that would warrant all of these feelings, but the truth is I no longer want to stay "there".  God doesn't want me staying there either.  He wants me living the life that He intended me to live.  I'm reminded of a verse that sits by my kitchen sink (Thanks Jen Pen) that says, "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.  Psalm 27:13-14

My hope is that I will soon see the goodness He has in store for me.  Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 -The list of things that have become my shackles.

Birds, Butterflies and Cicadas, Oh My!

Yes, I am still alive.  I am so sorry I haven't blogged in over a week.  Last week was a rough one for me.  I want to thank you for your prayers for my dear friend and her husband.  Their sweet baby went to be with Jesus on Saturday.  I can't tell you the pain and heartache I feel for them.  I am just so deeply sad.  I know they have a long road ahead of them for healing.  Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

It is hot here in Nashville.  It's been in the 90's so the girls and I have been spending alot of time at the pool.  Today we went to our gym pool for swim team practice in the morning and then we went to our neighborhood pool this afternoon.  The girls are wiped out.  Sydney was in bed by 7:45.  We have a play date at the pool in the morning, so we'll be back at it bright and early.  It's nice because the girls both know how to swim, so it's much easier and alot more fun for me this year.

In other news, we are in Cicada h**l around here.  In case you've never lived in the south or on the east coast, this is what a Cicada looks like.

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