Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tasty Tuesday Crockpot Root Beer Pulled Pork & Recipe Link Up

Hi friends and welcome to another Tasty Tuesday!  I'm so glad you're here!

You can always gauge how hectic life is at any point in time by asking me how many crock pot meals we've enjoyed lately.  Seeing as this is the second crock pot recipe on Tasty Tuesday in a row, I think that speaks for itself.  Ya'll the crockpot is just a permanent fixture on the counter at this point.  No need to put it away, it's keeping us fed.  

So a few disclaimers concerning this recipe:
A) If root beer sounds bizarre in a BBQ recipe, please trust me.
B) If you do not like root beer, please trust me.
C) Just try this, please trust me.

I'm fairly certain this recipe is so easy I can make it in my sleep, but it's also so so yummy we eat it up like I've been slaving over the stove for hours.  You cannot taste the root beer in this at all so don't be weirded out like I was the first time I tried this.  Also, you can put this delicious-ness in SO many things.  We eat off of this dish for days, making pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, pulled pork baked potatoes, salads, or we even just scoop it up with potato chips.  Here's what you'll need...

-Boston Butt Roast (here I used a 10lb. piece)
-2 cups of Root Beer
-16-18 oz. BBQ sauce of your choice

Place the meat in the crock pot and pour in the 2 cups of Root Beer.  Cook this for 7 hours on high.  Times will vary depending on how large your roast is.

When it's done it looks something like this.  Drain, shred, and pour in your favorite BBQ sauce.

After adding the sauce pop the lid back on and let it go on low for 1 more hour.  Then serve anyway you please!  

Printable version found here!

Okay on to this week's link party!!  Here were last week's features...

If you've been featured feel free to grab a featured button here:

Or the regular button here:

Linking up with:  Emily, Mandy, Two Cup Tuesday, The Recipe Critic, Titus 2 Tuesday, Hun What's for Dinner, Feeding Big,  Kathe with an E, The Gathering Spot, Lou Lou Girls , Create & Share, Treasurebox Tuesday, Create & Share, Wake Up Wednesday, From Dream to Reality, Wow me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Project Parade, Fluster's Creative Muster Linky Party, Wednesday Whatsits, Your Whims Wednesday, WholeHearted Wednesday, The Homemaking Party, Create it Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Wednesday's Creative Spark, Riverton Housewives, What you Wish Wednesday, Pin it Thursday, Pin Junkie

Monday, September 29, 2014

When we wonder if He's still listening...

One time the Mr. and I decided to get a dog.  It was one of the most random decisions of our marriage thus far, especially since we couldn't even have the dog at our house since she was under a year of age and our landlord wouldn't allow that.  So my parents stepped up and graciously allowed her to live with them for the first year, with the understanding she was still ours and we would take her home with us as soon as she was old enough.  However...soon we realized that we just weren't dog-people.  No offense to those who are, but we just aren't. We are more people-people.  

Funny thing though, my parents were in love with her.  So when they approached us with an offer to buy the dog from us and have her forever we gladly accepted.  

Ya'll...life has never been the same.  They are crazy about that dog.  She's a tad on the spoiled side, seeing as anytime she makes but a peep or a whine they either one or both go running.  It's the funniest thing.  Now that she's been there awhile though, they are slower to respond.  (Gratefully) They no longer speed to her aid and have even started letting her "soothe herself" for a bit.  It's a process, you know.  When they began leaving her be she would whine for what seemed like forever, but now she notices that it's quiet and everyone must be gone so she might as well stop wasting her energy on whining and barking if nobody is there to hear her or going to do anything about it.

And as silly as this sounds, that hit me like a freight train.

There are things we've prayed about for years, and we don't see anything happen, so we stop praying about it.  Maybe He doesn't hear us.  Maybe He just won't do it.  If He isn't going to "come running" for this one, I might as well stop wasting my breath.  They seem to be those kinds of requests that are huge, and in a way life seems to hinge upon them.  Life seems to wait upon them, yet sadly, time does not.  So we enter a "waiting room" of sorts and we pray and we wait and pray and wait and pray and wait until we feel like our prayers must be hitting the ceiling.  We try to find any reason for why God may not be responding to our cry like we expect.  We analyze, obsesses and worry.  We sob uncontrollably.  We remember how much time is passing us by and panic at the thought.  
Maybe it's a healing-physical or emotional.
Maybe it's a new mind.
Maybe it's a do-over.
A relationship needing restoration.
A situation in desperate need of redemption.
And until that "one thing" is done, life seems stuck.  On hold.  As the days, months, even years go by in that holding pattern the "waiting room" feels smaller and smaller.  
God, where are You?  When are you going to do something?  Ever?

I've been in that waiting room for 8 years over something.  That one will make you wrestle with your thoughts, doubts, and even faith.  May I be painfully real for a moment?  In my darkest moments, the longest nights, the days that feel like they will never get better I've struggled over so many thoughts...
If God hears me, why hasn't anything happened?
God is only good, so why am I still stuck?
I believe He can do anything, so why won't He? 
Anyone else??  

Lately though, He has been dealing with me on that issue alone.  Not the thing I've been in the waiting room for, but the doubts, wrestling, and thoughts that haver resulted from it.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us....(Ephesians 3:20)

When God first started leading me to this verse I found myself saying-yes, yes!  I will take some immeasurably more in my life!  But then He began to reveal to me the bigger picture...what if in certain situations, specifically the ones that put us right smack dab in the middle of that dreaded waiting room, we find that He is desiring something much much more.  The stuff I've been praying about, the way I've been seeking the solution, what if His immeasurable more is way way beyond that.  The answer I've been seeking is something that I've obviously already asked or imagined...and He's calling me to MORE.  More than I've been able to ever dream up or ask for, that's the offer on the table.  

He has opened my eyes to the possibility of immeasurably more.  Yes, He can absolutely do what I've requested of Him-but He could do so much more than that.  He is doing so much more than that.  I believe He has not left me in that waiting room in vain, He has held me, carried me, dried my tears in that waiting room.  Psalm 56:8 in the New Living Translation says, 
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your 

The waiting room is tiny, you see, and there's mostly only room for 2.  So it's just Him and I, waiting on Him to do the immeasurably more.  On the way to that, even through the darkness and wrestling, I have learned more of His character, taken a deeper look at His love-His perfect, infallible love, breathed in His promises to keep me going.  The waiting room has nothing easy about it, but it does have a beauty beyond compare, and I'm starting to truly believe....He will do exactly what I've requested in His perfect timing, or something better.  

Linking up with:  Mommy  Moments, Making My Home Sing, Modest Monday, Titus 2 Tuesday, WholeHearted Wednesday, The Homemaking Party, Riverton Housewives, What you Wish Wednesday

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Scripture Sunday

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Top 10 Fall Decorating Ideas

As I mentioned yesterday, Fall is a favorite of mine.  I'm obsessed with all things that look pretty, feel cozy, and smell homey.  This time of year I'm all for anything that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  It is so difficult for me to pick only 10 as my favorite, if I could do anything this post would be titled "Top 100 Fall Decorating Ideas", but I'll spare you from that and only choose my very favorite 10.  Let's jump in...










Wednesday, September 24, 2014

DIY Tomato Cage Fall Tree

A few months after the Mr. and I were married, Fall came around-and I adore Fall.  I was obsessed with making our little home cozy and warm, an inviting safe haven for my sweet new husband.  I had dreams of a sweet, simple, but beautifully decorated home for Fall for this sweet new season of marriage.  
Then reality hit the fan.
I had zero Fall decorations.
And we had zero money for Fall decorations.
Heartsick ya'll.  Eventually I got determined and went to the garage and tried to scrounge up anything I could and found the following items:

A tomato cage
2-3 zip ties (though at the time I just knew them as "my new cute husband's plastic, really strong twist ties)
1 strand of Christmas lights
And some plastic leaf garland/small sprigs of leaves

I began by trimming off a bit of height off the bottom because I didn't like it so tall.  Then gathered the top to make it look like a tree and secured them with the zip ties.  Next I simply wrapped the tree in the lights, making sure the lights were plugged in for this step to make it easy to see where I needed more lights.  Then taking the leaf garland just started wrapping the tomato cage over the lights, ending by simply taking the small pieces/sprigs of leaves and poking it in the more sparse areas to make it look more full.  That's it! 

These days I do have a few other beautiful Fall pieces-but this one is still my favorite.  It looks beautiful on the front porch or inside the house, which I prefer because I love being able to have it on in the evenings, making the house feel so warm and cozy as the nights turn cooler and we stay in a bit more.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tasty Tuesday Crockpot Chicken & Dressing & Link Up

Hi friends!  Welcome to another Tasty Tuesday, I'm so glad you're here!
(Also a little side note- I know I'm behind on pinning recipes from last week's party and I apologize   I'm sorry they are late and promise they will still get pinned, I will get caught up!  Thanks for the patience friends!!)
I cannot tell you how many Thanksgivings have closed with me begging my mother to make her homemade, incredible dressing every single day.  While some people wait all year for turkey or pies, for me it's always been the dressing.  It's always around this time of year that the anticipation is almost too much for my dressing-loving-soul and 2 more months is an awful long time to hold out.
Enter: this delicious crockpot meal.
This is the perfect solution for my "I need dressing now" state of mind and it's pure comfort food.  Bonus-the Mr. adores it and makes me promise to not tell either one of our mother's that this dressing is his absolute favorite.  Though it does take some prep work it is 100% worth it and much easier/faster than the dressing your mom makes on Thanksgiving.  Let's get started...

-9x13 dish of cornbread, cooled & crumbled (this would be 2 of the packets, just don't use corn muffin mix)
-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and torn into bite size pieces (take the easy way and get a rotisserie)
-2 slices of bread, toasted and torn into small pieces
-2 eggs, hardboiled and chopped
-1 small onion, chopped
-2 stalks of celery, chopped
-1/2 teaspoon sage
-salt and pepper to taste
-2 10.75 oz. cans cream of chicken soup
-1 stick melted butter
-2 cups chicken broth

In a large bowl combine everything except 1 can cream of chicken soup and the chicken.

Spray the crockpot with cooking spray and and spread half of the remaining can of cream of chicken soup on the bottom.

Next add 1/3 of the dressing mixture.

Add half of the chicken.

Repeat the dressing and chicken layers.  Finally top with the remaining half of cream of chicken soup.

Cook this on high for 1 hour, then turn it down to low for 2-3 more hours.  (Side note-my husband really like a bit of a "bite" in his food, so this is perfect for him, but if you like your onions and celery softer just saut√© it a bit until they are crisp-tender before adding it to the crockpot.

Printable version found here!

Now on to the party!  This week's features were...

If you've been featured feel free to grab a featured button here:

Or the regular button here:

The Squeaky Step

Out of 16 stairs it was number 12 that always, without fail, squeaked like a dying chicken the second you as much touched it.  It was like that the day my parents built the house when I was just 5 years old, unfortunately it was still like that years later as a teenager when I had stayed out a little too late and was trying to get into my bedroom as quietly as humanly possible.  With only 4 measly steps to success it never seemed to fail, no matter what I did that darn twelfth step did me in every single time.  I tried to skip over it for a time, but I've never been a graceful person and taking steps 2 at a time for a klutz like me is never a good idea.  The ker-plonk on the squeaky stair and the one above and below it was somehow louder than the actual squeaky stair.  
This never worked well for me.

You have to understand, I was never a really bad kid.  I never partied, drank, smoke, or even cussed.  I remember saying that one word that starts with d and describes a small body of water to my mother once in an argument and wanting to just melt into the carpet.  The look of terror on my face was completely self-induced as my mother did not say a word to me, I was horrified enough for the both of us that it has slipped out from somewhere.  

I did however like to hang out with my friends a lot.  We would go out to eat, to the movies, to youth group events, to each other's houses and before I knew it it was slightly beyond curfew and hey-if you're already late...what's the point of leaving right then anyways right?  I would justify it a lot when I compared myself to other kids I went to school with that did things I would never even consider.  My parents should be grateful being a little late was about as big as it got with me! 

I feel dumb even typing that.  But my 17 year old self was convinced this was truth.  Period.  

Looking back today I realize those were my parents rules, and obeying all of them except that one was still disobedience.  Then I realize that's true in my walk with God, if I follow Him in 99/100 areas but a certain area I just do my own thing that's still disobedience.  I can try to justify it by simply pointing at the 99 things I am obeying Him on, but that doesn't change that area I've kept for myself.  
I make a bad god.  I mess it up.  I think I know best, and I keep it to myself to decide, and it leads me to brokenness and realization that this world is utter hopelessness without Him.  

After all, we're never father away from God than when we are close to Him and say no.

So I look to Him to direct all my paths (Proverbs 3:6), and I surrender all to Him-not holding anything back, and  I pray for a "squeaky step" in my own mind that would alert me when I'm starting to stray from His plan and on to my own.

Side note-the 12th stair is still squeaky to this day. 

Linking up with:  The Life of Faith, Mom's the Word, A Proverbs 31 Wife, Inspire Me Monday, TItus 2 Tuesday

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tasty Tuesday Carmel Shortbread Squares & Link Up

Hi friends!  Welcome to another Tasty Tuesday, thanks so much for joining up!!

Sometimes you just need something more than a cookie.  Something with texture.  Depth.  Chewy and gooey-ness.  That is when you need this recipe.  It is a snap to make and will be devoured in less than a day if you're anything like my house.  Here's what you'll need...
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips

In a medium bowl mix together 2/3 cup butter, white sugar, and flour until crumbly.  

Press into a 8 inch square baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

In a saucepan combine 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  

Let this boil for 5 minutes then remove from heat and stir vigorously with wooden spoon for 3 minutes, then pour onto the crust while it is still warm or cooled completely.
Side note-if you're like me and tend to get easily distracted and let the carmel sit so long that it's almost impossible to spread, simple "plop" it out onto the crust, and pop it into the microwave for a a few seconds until it is easier to spread.  Easy solution!  

Allow this to harden (this doesn't take long at all and can even be sped up even more by sticking it in the refrigerator). Then melt 1 cup milk chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 1 minute intervals stirring each time. Simply spread over carmel and refrigerate the whole thing to allow it to firm up.

Cut into squares and enjoy!  
Printable version found here!

Now on to the party!  Last week's features were...

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Or the regular party button here: