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31 Days // A Beautiful Life


Last year I joined The Nester in a blog challenge
to write every day for 31 days
I only wrote ten posts last year,
so this year I am prepared and ready 
to share with y'all every day this month.

With four kiddos and school to compete with,
I knew that this year I needed an easy topic.
Welcome to...

"31 Days of BEAUTIFUL life!"

I will share one picture every (week) day
that, to me, is a good example of life's simple beauty.
I am looking forward to joining hundreds of other bloggers
in this "31 days" challenge.

Reach High
Be Creative
Solitude
Hiding
Feet, Poufs, and Books
Soak It Up
Baby in a Basket
Sharing Space
Watering & Watching
Blowing Through
Routine
Coos & Kicks
Keep "Em Together
Quiet

Recipe // Pizza Crust


I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to share this simple recipe with y'all.
I have searched for a long time (we're talking years) for a great,
no fail PIZZA CRUST recipe.

I found it.
I could tell it was going to be good the moment 
I touched the dough after it had been kneaded.
It bounced right back and wasn't sticky at all,
yet it wasn't dry from too much flour.

This crust was easy to manipulate into a pizza shape (umm... a circle).
I melted some butter and mixed in a little garlic powder.
I dipped my fingers in the butter mixture as I patted my dough in the pizza shape
so it had a nice, subtle garlic butter flavor.

We aren't fancy pizza eaters.
I love a good veggie or supreme,
but we usually do cheese (NOT pre-shredded, please
and hamburger at home.

The trick is to let the oven and baking stone get
piping hot in the oven before sliding the parchment paper and pizza in the oven.
The bottom will be crispy, but the top will be chewy- perfection!

I hope you love this pizza crust as much as I do.
Make sure you comment if you try it!
I would love to know what you thought of it.




Pizza Crust: 
Yields 2 12-inch pizza crusts
 I snatched this amazing recipe from Lauren's Latest.
Click HERE for a printable version

Ingredients:

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey {or sugar}
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 cups bread flour {make sure you use BREAD flour}

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl (I use my mixer), stir yeast and honey into warm water.
Let it sit for 5-10 minutes or until you see that the yeast is doing its job.
Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix.
Once that flour is incorporated, start adding flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it it doesn't stick to your hands.
Once you reach this stage, knead for 6 minutes.
Lauren says 6 minutes is the magic number,
and I don't argue with her expertise... so 6 minutes exactly!!!
The dough should be smooth and easy to work with.
And the bowl should be clean! 
 Lightly grease the bowl & the dough so it doesn't dry out, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1-2 hours.

After you have let it rise, divide the dough into two equal pieces,
 lay parchment paper on your counter and create your pizza on the paper.
In a 425 degree oven (preheated with a HOT baking stone inside),
slide your pizza (still on the parchment paper) onto the HOT stone.
Bake 12-15 minutes, or until it is done how you like.
Repeat with second pizza.

-Freezing Pizza Dough-
**You can freeze this dough if you'd like.  I usually make two batches so I can bake two pizzas for now and freeze the other ball of dough for two pizzas later.  I simply place the dough into a labeled freezer bag after it has been mixed, but before it has risen.  When I need to use it, I let it rise on the counter for 6-8 hours and it's ready to go!**

This might seem like a lot, but it is soooo easy.  I promise!
Bon Appetite!

Boho-Crown Braid // Tutorial


I posted a picture on Instagram a few weeks ago with my hair in a Boho-Crown braid.
So many people messaged me on Instagram and through email about my hair
wanting a tutorial. 
Since there was so much interest, 
I decided to do a vlog for this post.

I love this hair-do for so many reasons.
First off, I can do this with super messy hair,
so it saves me having to wash and dry my hair when I am in a hurry.
Secondly, it is quick and I can throw it up in no time.
Lastly, it looks nice and stays out of my way when I am tending to my flock.

Check out the video below.
I had some trouble getting it to upload correctly,
so offer me lots of grace when watching.
When I recorded it, it was super sharp and 
then I uploaded it and it is now a little fuzzy.
If you have any Vlog tips-
send them to me!!!


 

This post was shared at HomeStories.

Motherhood Monday // Creating Relationships


We are just like every other family.
We have kids who don't always get along.
It is a bummer to witness your little people bickering,
but it is a matter of life.
They are individuals and don't always see eye-to-eye.

As a mommy,
it is important for me to help them resolve their issues.
That is so hard for me sometimes.
Not only am I a sinner who doesn't always see things in the right light,
but in many instances,
I didn't witness the situation 
so I don't always know what the right answer should be.

Bottom line,
I want my kids to enjoy each other.
I want them to play together and share memories.
During those "messy" times,
I try to bring in God's Word and
encourage forgiveness.

Even if someone doesn't feel validated in the situation,
forgiveness and grace is more important than validation.

Stealing Little Moments of Quiet

 

And, because fifteen minutes of quiet after a full day is worth the mess afterwards...
I leave you with this picture and hope you have a lovely weekend.

We have a full weekend ahead of us and are looking forward to enjoying
time with friends, a yummy meal with our church family on Sunday,
and spending time investing in the youth in our area on Sunday night.

We will all sleep very good Sunday evening.

Homemaking // Cheese, Please!

 

 This post might seem silly, but it is a habit for this home.
I don't buy pre-shredded cheeses.
Not because it contains tons of icky ingredients,
but because it is cheaper to buy blocks of cheese
and because cheese that is NOT pre-shredded tastes so much better.

 
My days are busy and filled with lots of goodness,
so I don't want to spend oodles of time shredding my blocks of cheese 
every time I need it for a meal.
So, I pre-shred my cheese all at once.

With this method,
I get pretty, tasty, and meltable cheese without the added ingredients.
By the way, have you noticed how badly
pre-shredded cheese melts?
Who wants that?!?


This is how it goes down in my house...
I buy all the cheese I need,
grab my shredder (or, food processor), cutting board, 
and a knife (so I can cut the block into smaller, more manageable chunks) 
and start shredding.
In no time, I have lovely cheese stored in a container and ready to use!


cutting board c/o Board & Hungry

Motherhood Monday // Early Riser


I touched on getting my morning routine going in this post.
Ever since having Julia, I have been so lazy in the mornings.
We started school two weeks ago,
so I needed to have some incentive for getting my tired fanny out of bed.

  
  • Special Treat:  One of the biggest things for me is to have something to look forward to when I get up.  For me, that is coffee.  I love drinking coffee in the mornings and just the thought of it helps to motivate me (I know... sad, huh?).
  • Quiet Time:  I desperately need this time to get my heart and mind ready.  Satan often helps me make excuses as to why this time isn't important.  I have to audibly pray for strength and focus so this time isn't done in vain.  I don't want to simply read words or babble to God, I want it to be impactful- that takes focus.  When I have priorities in order, my days flow so much better.   
  • Time Incentive:  Another incentive is after my quiet time, I get to enjoy a few minutes on my blog, instagram, or Pinterest.  I limit heavily my morning time on the computer/phone while the kids are awake.  And, during school, it is off limits unless Mark calls or texts.  Getting up earlier means I get more time doing those things I enjoy prior to the kids waking. 
  • Less Stress:  When I am laying in bed at 5:45 talking myself into and out of getting up, I remind myself how much nicer mornings are when I am up and smiling at the kids when they come into the kitchen, rather than shooing them away as I lay in bed.  I love having the table set and everything prepared when the kids come for breakfast.  I like to have my clothes on, bed made, and coffee brewed before they scamper up to eat.  Many times, this is enough push to get me to get up!
I would love to know some motivators that help you rise and shine!

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Weekend Links


I love easy, quick latte recipes.
I am not a sweet coffee drinker.
I prefer black coffee or a mildly flavored coffee.
I love that I can create my own concoction,
and it doesn't require expensive machines!


Sometimes, it's nice to hear what other people are doing with their homeschooling.
This post has some great info as well as some links to other great resources.


This is the type of quilting I can handle-
simple, no-fuss, and lovely.
Tiffany is such a creative spirit and I love seeing her DIYs.


I use to be really into makeup- once upon a time.
I still like to experiment every once in awhile.
This tutorial on contouring and shading with makeup is really good.

Have a great weekend and make sure to check out the Healthy Living Bundle!!!

https://us154.isrefer.com/go/bundle/a1924/

Britax BOB B-Safe Infant Seat


When we were thinking about bringing Julia home, we knew we wanted a safe car seat.
I researched and found that Britax has some of the best safety ratings for infant seats.
They were happy to partner with The Quick Journey blog
and I am excited to tell you all what I truly think about this seat.

First off, it feels incredibly sturdy and snaps into the base like a breeze.
The 5-point harness is really easy to fit around Julia and snaps easily and quickly.  
We have already had to move her harness up a few notches and it took less than one minute to do so.

One of my favorite features is the deep sun canopy. 
In our previous infant seat, the canopy seldom kept the sun out of our babies' faces.
The Britax canopy seldom lets sun touch my baby's face!
It is awesome!

Another great feature is the easy to clean fabric.
Julia has had more than one mishap while buckled in,
and it has wiped clean with no problem.
I love that because I don't always have time to strip the car seat down and wash it.
Now I don't have to... I just wipe it down!

This seat fits nicely into most shopping carts,
which our first infant seat failed to do.
It is a must when you have three other kids 
and need the extra space in the cart basket for food!

Needless to say,
we are loving this seat and are so grateful for the opportunity to review the 


All opinions are 100% mine.


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Healthy Living Bundle

Remember when I mentioned the Healthy Living eBook Bundle that was coming?
Well, it's HERE!!!
I am so excited to be a part of this campaign.
There are tons of great resources in this bundle, 
I can't even begin to tell you what a great deal this is!

If this wasn't something I believed in and that I purchased myself,
I wouldn't waste your time in mentioning it here on the blog.
This is well worth the money!
Not only are there terrific resources, but there are tons of freebies, too!!

Click the banner below to see all of the eBooks, eCourses, and Extra FREEbies included:


 photo healthylivingbundle_zps815c7beb.jpg 
You can only purchase the bundle from TODAY thru SEPTEMBER 15th!
Make sure you grab it now before it's gone!
Like I said, I have purchased these bundles in the past and they are such a great value.
I can't wait to use all of the awesome information included in this bundle.

If you would like to learn more, or to buy your own bundle... click on this banner.

 

I wanted to share with you a few of the books I am most excited about.
Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert
I cannot tell you how many emails I get from readers asking about cloth diapering.
Here is just about the BEST resource you can own for cloth diapering.

Meals ePlannerMaking Organic Food Affordable
Both of these books have a wealth of knowledge.
The ePlanner charts what meals you eat most often, deals with your grocery list, and more.
I cannot wait to read the tips for making organics more affordable!

42 Days to Fit 
After having a baby, I could certainly use this book.

 Essentials of Essential Oils
And, last but not least, essential oils.
These are all the rage these days and I have been so overwhelmed trying to figure them out.
I am looking forward to delving into this book.
***
Y'all, there are so many great books, not to mention the free products.
It is well worth your time to click the link and check out which options will serve you and your family!

Motherhood Mondays // Good Mornings

 
As I sit here and type this blog post, 
I have two kiddos squished behind me in the computer chair.
It seems crazy that my entire day,
aside from when they're asleep,
is spent with little helpers following me around.
I have six little hands that I have the job of making busy.

Now that school has begun,
our time for play is cut short from day to day.
We have "mind work" to do every morning
and that takes up a lot of time.

I am setting goals for myself.
With my mornings spent in school work
I have limited time for housework.
And, with little hands always wanting to help,
it makes the housework go a little bit slower.

My goals, besides my personal prayer goal I talked about earlier, are simple.
I desire to get up earlier.
I have been squeezing in as much sleep in the mornings as possible.
With nursing at all hours of the night,
it makes it easy for me to convince myself that staying in bed
until 7:30 is all right.

My mornings are a precious time.
I love mornings and I always feel very productive in the mornings.
It is quiet and still and is a great time to get my mind set on the right things.
That time needs to be filled with the Lord, getting breakfast prepared, 
readying myself for the day ahead.
In order to do that,
I need to get up way earlier than 7:30!

Before Julia,
I was rising around six to start my day,
but that has been long gone.
It is time that I start setting goals for my mornings and making them happen.

I would love to know how you spend your mornings.
Do you rise early, or are you most productive in the evenings?

Homeschool // Our First Day



Yesterday we started our 2014-2015 school year.
We had been dipping our toes into our curriculum the entire month of August, 
but hadn't "officially" started until yesterday.
We have a first grader, preschooler, "schoolroom destroyer," and newborn
enrolled in the Quick Family School.

I woke an hour and a half before the kids rose so I could get ready, 
spend some time praying over our morning, and pray for other teachers
 (homeschooling moms and those who teach in the school system)
before it was time to welcome the kiddos to breakfast.

I had made cinnamon rolls ( I used Pioneer Woman's recipe with maple frosting- yum!)
and they got the special treat of having orange juice for breakfast. 
All they could talk about was the juice for the entire breakfast.
We started school and had a great morning.

We have some work to do as far as being patient and waiting our turn goes.
Liam had his first real taste of "you must sit down and finish your work" this year. 
Last year, I would give him school work and he tinkered with it,
but wasn't forced to finish it all.
This year is different.  He has to complete his tasks, though there aren't too many.

Last year, Ella had my full attention and was used to me jumping the moment she had a question.
This year, she has to learn to wait when I am working with Liam.
Not only that, but Guinnyth is a full-time fixture in our schoolroom.
Last year, she would hang with us for about 15 minutes, 
and then I would put her in her crib with some toys for the rest of the school time
 (school was much shorter last year).
This year, she is hanging with us and hopping from school chair to school chair "helping" 
Liam and Ella with their work.

I will give periodic updates as the year progresses.
Our first day was as smooth as I could have hoped for.
The reality of longer school days is here and we are all learning to adjust to them.
It is going to be an exciting year!

Homemaking // Sorting, Purging, and Moving On

 


I finally did it.
I can check it off of my list of things to do before school starts (ummm... today!),
and move forward.

I went through my kids' toys.
It was not a fun process since I had to make a huge mess before 
it began to look tidy again.
I was overwhelmed by the disaster it created and almost wanted to wave the white flag in surrender,
but I stayed the course and finished.

Wow, our kids are spoiled.
We don't even buy them much,
but little by little it all accumulates until it is one big "mountain of selfishness."
Our kids, they don't need all this stuff to clutter their lives.
They don't need that many choices when they are thinking about what to do with their time.
 It is so good for them to learn to do with less.

The crazy thing is, they don't even ask for those toys that I purged (aside from Ella asking for her video camera which was broken and I wasn't going to fix).
They barely even noticed the toys were gone.
I guess the "mountain of selfishness" that came in the form of loads of toys was 
even so overwhelming for them that they failed to notice when the mountain 
became a mole hill.  

We are all breathing better.
I can walk into their rooms without holding my breath and squinting my eyes
in hopes that it will make the mess appear smaller.
They are playing better with what they have and not fighting over a zhu-zhu pet that is pink when we have about five more in the closet.
Ahhh... I can breath.

Motherhood Monday // Prayer, My Heart Needs It



Sometimes, I don't think I realize that He is more than I can imagine.
That the creator of the heavens and the Earth is so much more than I can fathom.
It is such a magnificent thought, yet it scares me a bit, too.

Mark and I attend a small group Bible study at our church,
and we love meeting and studying God's Word.
As we study, I realize how much Paul talks about prayer.
He prays non-stop- in. every. thing!

I love reading my Bible.
Three years ago (in June) I made a pact with myself to at least pick up the Bible every single day.
I only missed a few days of being in the Word that year,
and my walk with God changed completely by doing so.
Now, three years later, I crave being in God's Word. 
I don't have to force myself to open it,
and I find that the more I read, the more I gain wisdom from it.

Then, there is the prayer part of the relationship.
I pray.  
If I tell you I will/am praying for you... you bet'cha I am going to do it!
My problem is quieting my mind and my heart long enough to really feel the Lord's presence.
He is so much more than we can imagine.
There is no way I can experience him when my prayer life doesn't consist of time on my knees,
marveling at Him and who He is.

My goal this next year (I know it is almost September, but I am starting now anyway) 
is to quiet myself every single day and spend time talking with God.
I have seen what being in the Word has done for my understanding of the Bible 
and how it has equipped me to do God's work,
but I am ready to couple that with deep, thoughtful, open prayer- every day.

I will still stop throughout my day and pray for those things/people who fall on my heart,
but I am going to set aside time (when I'm not dead tired and about to fall asleep),
when I can be fully present at the feet of Him.