Monthly Archives: January 2014

Not A Fan Part 1 – #2014bloggerchallenge Topic 3

The 3rd topic for the 2014 Blogger Challenge is to review a book. I’m excited to say that I’m going to be doing this post a little differently than a normal book review. For the next 5 days I’m going to post a video as it pertains to the book I read.

The book I am blogging about is Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. Please keep in mind that I read this book a couple of months ago…these are the thoughts I remember getting when I read the book. I reread it for this project and it was just as impacting.

20140201-083611.jpg

Everyday for the next 4 days I will be discussing sections of the book. I will start out with the video and end with my thoughts. Please feel free to get a copy of the book and follow along with me! :).

Things I realized in the first section:

1. I have always been afraid to DTR – I realized this right when I started the book. I had always LIKED Jesus but I liked him without the commitment of living for Him…not good. In other words, I had a convenient relationship with Jesus. I only talked to him when it was convenient for me.

2. I was part of the, “I have a Jesus fish on the back of my car group.” – I don’t know why this one was hard to swallow for me…but it was. It kind of gave me an idea of how the people around me see me. I had the worship song ringtone, I said grace, I knew important scriptures…but was I really protecting my testimony the way I should have been? No.

3. I was not ok with letting my life get turned upside down – I was scared to really trust God with my life. I was scared about what my non Christian friends would think and scared of the sacrifices I was going to have to make. I will say this…any sacrifices I HAVE made seemed huge at the time but don’t even compare to the way Jesus fills my life now.

As you can tell, within the first section of the book my wheels started to turn and I began to really analyze my relationship with Jesus! Tomorrow I will be posting the 2nd video from the Not a Fan series. I hope you get a copy of this life changing book and follow along.

20140201-095904.jpg

God bless y’all- Moni<3

Skincare – Topic 2 for 2014 Blogger Challenge

Happy Monday lovelies!  I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. I was super busy this weekend; however, I did get a chance to do ALL my laundry!

This topic was a hard one for me. Since I don’t have a very intricate skincare routine, I wasn’t sure what I would write about. So instead of this post coming from my experience with different skin care products, I decided to ask my friends is they would like to share their routines. I received great responses!
image

Like I said before, I am not very intricate when it comes to my skincare routine. To me skincare is nothing like makeup. There is something about the instant gratification that I get when I buy or put on new makeup that just fills my little heart.  However, recently I’ve come to realize that I really need to focus on an anti-aging routine…because let’s face it…I’m getting old. I haven’t researched products that might benefit me when I’m older yet….but I will! 🙂

My skincare routine today consists of the Neutrogena Pore Refining Exfoliating Cleanser and Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner.  I didn’t realize how bad my pores were up until a couple of months ago.  I started using this cleanser a couple of weeks ago and it has made my pores a lot less noticeable.   An hour before washing with the cleanser, I remove my makeup with Coconut Oil! I love the toner because it isn’t so harsh on my skin.  (Here is an post about the benefits of a toner.) Since I have very oily skin, I wash my face with the cleanser at night and use the toner in the morning. I’m not sure how I came about doing that but I’ve done that for years. If I wash my face with cleanser twice a day I feel that it makes my face that much more oily. So washing once and toning in the morning seems to work for me.
image

“I had bad skin as a teenager so I have tried almost everything there is to try. I think our skin is always changing…at least mine is. You have to find what works for you. At 24 I’ve found a combo that has been working for the past few years that I just love! I use the Neutrogena Pink
Grapefruit Cleansing Wipes on lazy days. It will remove all of your makeup and still take care of your skin if you are acne prone like I am. On “non-lazy” days I use Philosophy Purity Cleanser. It is amazing! My skin literally feels like a baby’s bottom! The price is a bit scary but it is totally worth it!” – Alisha C. Oklahoma City, OK

image

“I have struggled with acne since I was in the 7th grade and still continue to struggle with it at the age of 24. I have been going to the dermatologist for the past 4 months. I have seen a huge difference by just using Dr. Elaine Cook’s skin care products. Her skin care products I use in order are Perfecting Gel Mask, Clear Skin Wash, Balancing Toner, Clear Skin Serum, and then Oil Free Moisturizer. There are two different sets: The Oily or Dry set. I use the set for oily skin. s a lot to put on your face, but once you get into the routine it goes by fast. This set of products last for a very long time. I have used it every single day for 4 months and I still have not even used half the bottles.

Another product I want to share with you all is the Differin (Adapalene) cream. This is a topical medicine used to treat acne. This cream is crazy awesome! I use this cream every night, but you can use it every other night. I only put it on my acne areas. It is a small tube, but it goes along ways.  You only have to put a small amount on your face. This was prescribed to me by my dermatologist but her assistant said that there is a generic version of it. If someone finds outs please let me know. This product is pricey but very well worth it.” –Sandy R. Amarillo, TX 

image

“I use Yes to Grapefruit Correct & Repair Cream. It’s a facial scrub. It’s awesome because my face dries out so fast! So it kind of leaves an oil to it, if you know what I mean. I can’t use Neutrogena. It makes me break out horribly; However, I do think it cleanses just as well!” – Keili L. Amarillo, Texas

image

“I am currently on a hunt for a good skin care product.  I do not struggle with blemishes but do care very much so for my aging face.  With that said, I have tried a few which include Arbonne, Mary Kay and the currently popular Rodan & Fields.  As a girl who is not afraid of entering the direct sales work force, I have taken on the opportunity to represent Mary Kay and Rodan & Fields.  I believe in representing products that work for me.  Unfortunately, those didn’t. So I am out of both businesses and I have returned to my faithful Ivory soap.  I have noticed my skin breaks out with just about anything.  Clean & Clear, Neutrogena..you name it.  As I am nearing 30 I would love to find a complete age defying skin care line that works for me.” – Suzie R. Friona, Texas

image

“The little blue scrubber pops out… its the best!” – Ylaria V. Amarillo, TX image

“My daily routine includes me washing my face in the morning when I wake up with my Timewise 3 in 1 cleanser, then I apply my Timewise day solution, and finally I apply my Timewise age-fighting moisturizer. I then apply make makeup. Every night before I go to bed I wash my face with my cleanser again and then I apply my Timewise night solution. This is my daily routine with my Timewise Mary Kay products.” – Yvonne F. Amarillo, TX

image

“I use Dove when I don’t use Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser. I use my equate eye makeup remover and it works awesome. I love both products; however, the Neutrogena burns my eyes sometimes. I really don’t know many facial cleansing products but would like to know more about affordable products. Being a mother of 5 children, it’s a little hard on the budget to get expensive products.” – Candie R. Amarillo, TX

image

“I wash my face with the morning burst face wash in the mornings then apply a moisturizer that helps with dry skin and works as a primer for my foundation. I get pimples around certain times of the month and when I am completely stresses out so I use the Mary Kay “zit zapper” cream to keep them from turning into mountains.” – Katelynn P. Amarillo, TX image

When I found out skincare was the topic for this weeks Blogger Challenge I was kind of disappointed; however, I loved writing this post. I love hearing what other people are using and what works for them. I hope you all enjoyed this post! A big thank you to everyone who contributed to this weeks challenge and please know that I will definitely be doing more posts with friend involvement! 😉

I hope you all have a fantastic week! – Moni<3

 

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

image

About a year ago I came across this heavenly recipe. I wish I could accredit the correct source but unfortunately I don’t remember what blog I stole this recipe from; however, I will be honest and say that I found this somewhere on Pinterest.

I’ve never, ever been a cookie fan. They are way to much work for me. I like simple quick cake recipes instead! 🙂 These cookies, however, are so amazing that I usually don’t mind doing the work. (Which really isn’t that much work….and that’s probably why I love them so much!)  If you THINK you have the best cookie recipe in the world, you are sadly mistaken.

These cookies have the texture of a cookie but the goodness of a cheesecake!  This recipe made me about 5 dozen cookies; tis the reason I don’t make them often…I tend to eat them all!

Here is what you need:

image

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 1/2 sticks butter (20 tablespoons), softened, 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, graham cracker, pecan bits and a can of cherry pie filling.

This time I also used blueberry filling. They were not as tasty as the cherry filling but the point is….use whatever your little heart desires. 🙂

image

I started by combining the flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and set it aside.

image

I then turned to my ginormous mixing bowl (because that’s all I have) and combined the softened cream cheese, butter and sugar.

image

I then mixed with my trusty $5 mixer that I bought at Dillard’s ages ago for about 3 minutes…or until you see it all mixed pretty well.

image

When that is all mixed up I then added the eggs and vanilla extract and continued to mix for about a minute.

image

I slowly started to add the flour mixture to the wet mixture….very slowly…because sometimes I end up with a huge mess of flour!

image

As you add all of your flour, your mixture should begin to thicken up and look like this. ^
image

I then covered my ginormous mixing bowl and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes….or 10 because I’m impatient. The dough is a lot easier to work with if you let it firm up a bit….so you should really leave it for at least 30 minutes. 🙂
image

While my dough was firming up some, I got out my handy little Ninja chopper and crushed my graham crackers….yes I still have my Christmas tree up. 😉
image

…then I added a large spoonful of pecans to my crackers. 🙂

image

Once all that jazz what prepared, I got my workplace ready. I got my fillings and the crackers out and I lined two cookie sheets with PARCHMENT paper….umm…did you guys know that wax paper is not the same as parchment paper???  (Wax paper doesn’t like the oven…FYI!)
image

I then got my dough out of the fridge and made little two-inch balls and rolled them in my graham cracker pecan mixture.

image

I rolled out as many as I could put on my cookie sheets which were about 30.
image

To make room for the filling I used a round teaspoon and pressed each cookie. It’s perfect for these little cookies!

image

I then went on and put a cherry or a couple of blueberries in each cookie. Make sure and put some of the actual filling in there too….that’s the best part!

image

I popped them in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 13 minutes. Be careful because these cookies are kind of easy to burn…trust me…I should know. 😉  As long as the bottom of the cookie is a toasty brown you are still good!

image

When the cookies are done take them out and let them cool for a bit…which I personally think is the hardest part of the recipe. Hehe! Then get to baking your second batch! 🙂

This is my favorite cookie ever! Make sure and share with your neighbors! Be blessed!  – Moni ❤

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 whole graham cracker rectangles
  • pecan bits
  • 1 can cherry pie filling

Instructions: In a  bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside. In another bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and sugar for about 3 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.  Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add flour mixture.  Cover the dough and refrigerate until firm. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 2 inch balls, then coat completely in graham cracker crumbs.  Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  Using a rounded spoon, create an indentation in the center of each cookie and place a cherry in the center. Bake until cookies are toasted, about 13 minutes. Let them cool for about 10 minutes or so.

Stephanie’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

So I have this friend; she is beautiful,  smart and a great mommy. Everything that comes out of Stephanie’s kitchen is ridiculously delicious. I’ve been lucky enough to have tried many of her dishes!

image

For one of our Bluprint Marriages night she made this amazing tortilla soup. I finally asked her for the recipe and tried it this weekend. It was so easy to whip it together! With her permission I decided to share this quick and simple recipe. I think this is something you can add to your winter menu that the whole family would enjoy.

image

I had never had tortilla soup before BP marriages night. It just never sounded that great to me. I grew up in a very Mexican household and we never made tortilla soup.  It always sounded really Americanized to me…and it kind of is. Either way…it doesn’t matter because it is really delicious!

Here is the main cast of characters:
image

1 rotisserie chicken, 8 cups of chicken broth, 1 large can of rotel tomatoes,  2 cans of black beans (rinsed and drained), 2 cans of corn, 2 cans of diced green chilies, 1 stick of butter and white rice (this is optional).

You will also need salt, pepper, garlic powder and  2 heaping tablespoons of flour. For the toppings, I used tortilla chips, avocado, cheese and yummy green onions. (Not shown in photo)

image

The first step in Stephanie’s directions is to melt a stick of butter in a stockpot. Once it is melted add the two spoonfuls of flour and whisk. This will give the soup a little thickness.  Once that is mixed well then add about a teaspoon of salt, garlic and pepper. You can add more later if you wish.

image

Once all of that is combined, you can add the 8 cups of chicken broth.

image

Once the flour mixture and chicken broth is thoroughly combined add the cans of drained black beans, cans of corn, rotel and green chilies. Mix and bring it to a boil.

image

While that is boiling start shredding your chicken. I’m about to say something crazy. Up until recently I always cooked my own chicken for recipes like this…I don’t know why I never thought about using a rotisserie chicken from Sams. One day my friend called me out on it and I was so ashamed that I didn’t already do this!

image

Add your perfect chicken to the pot and leave it to boil some. I left mine for about an hour but I think 30 minutes will do. Right before I turned off the stove, I added two tablespoons of sour cream and let it melt in.

image

Then fill a bowl with soup grab your toppings and VIOLA! Stephanie’s original recipe didn’t call for white rice; however, I decided to add some. It would be great with or without it. I cooked it in a separate pot and added it as I served it. I hate soggy rice. Lol.

image

The best thing about this soup is that it taste so much better the next day. The flavors just melt into each other and create some sort of tortilla soup goodness!

I hope y’all give this recipe a try. I promise you will love it! Have a blessed week! – Moni ❤

Stephanie’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • 1 Stick of Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 8 Cups of Chicken Broth
  • 1 Large can of Rotel
  • 2 Cans of Black Beans
  • 2 Cans of Corn
  • 2 Cans of Diced Green Chiles
  • Sour Cream

Toppings

  • Tortilla Chips
  • Chopped Green Onions
  • Mexican Blend Cheese
  • Avocados
  • Lime
  • White Rice

Instructions: Melt a stick of butter in a stockpot. Once it is melted add the two spoonful’s of flour and whisk. This will give the soup a little thickness.  Once that is mixed well then add about a teaspoon of salt, garlic and pepper. You can add more later if you wish. Once all of that is combined, you can add the 8 cups of chicken broth. Once the flour mixture and chicken broth is thoroughly combined add the cans of drained black beans, cans of corn, rotel and green chilies. Mix and bring it to a boil. While that is boiling start shredding your chicken.  Add chicken to the pot and leave it to boil some. I left mine for about an hour but I think 30 minutes will do. Right before I turned off the stove, I added two tablespoons of sour cream and let it melt in.

Then make your rice in a separate pot and fill a bowl with soup, grab your toppings and enjoy your soup!

Inspiration for 2014 – Topic 1 of Blogger Challenge

05c14d7718d4371b98a270348326556f

I can’t believe it is already 2014. My life changed so much in 2013. I gave my life to Christ, I started an amazing new job, I started singing again, I started a BLOG!!!!  There is just so much to be thankful for praise God!  God has really planted so many new seeds in my heart. I felt that 2013 was a year of preparation for me. I felt the whole year that God was telling me, “In order to do this….you have to do that..”  It was a year of really feeling God’s direction in my life.

When the subject for the first 2014 Blogger Challenge went live, I knew exactly the verse that would serve as my inspiration for 2014.

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 

John 15:16

I declare that 2014 will be a year of implementing everything that God has showed me in 2013. That every struggle, trial, and triumph I went through be used to bear fruit in His name and to bring others to fruition.  That I might be a person of light for someone who is in darkness. I hope that I can be a person like the people I had encouraging me in 2013. I want to help people break chains. I  want to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that when people are around me they feel it too and are completely consumed. It’s my desire to help people know Jesus the way I came to know Him, to trust Him the way I came to trust Him, and to fall in love with Jesus the way I fell in love with Him.

I have always been indecisive when it comes to my life goals….I want to be a teacher, I want to do makeup, I want to move up in my office, I want to go back to school and then some days I just want to be a stay at home mom.  (See….INDECISIVE!) There is just so much that I want to do in my life. I used to feel like I never had enough time. It used to make me crazy. However, God really showed me last year that he has something so much better for me. Something that I don’t even realize I can do. Something that will not only fill me but fill others.  He has a Bluprint for my life.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

Jeremiah 29:11

I started reading Undaunted by Christine Caine and it really has been speaking to me. For once in my life I feel like I truly have a purpose.

2013 became the year of preparation and 2014 will be the year I live UNDAUNTED! 

Join me and live radically for Jesus!  He is the only one who can fill us up. He is the only one who will love even our imperfections. He is the one in which we find our salvation. He is where we find rest. He is the one…the only one!

This is my first post for the 2014 Blogger Challenge. I hope you were not disappointed! Let yourself be blessed this year! 😉 Love ya’ll and God bless! – Moni<3

here am i