I have such a difficult time finding dresses in cooler months. Everything seems to be short sleeve, short hemmed, or super thin. If that’s the position you’re in, I have a solution for you: this adorable polka dot dress from Downtown Allie.
Polka dots are one print that will never go out of style, so this is a timeless piece to add to your closet.
Additionally, the drop waist and buttons are fun detail that make this dress a little more eye-catching.
This is something that would be perfect for church, date night, errands, or even school.
This is one of those dresses that doesn’t require a lot of accessories, so it’s easy to throw on and go. While I do like the length for professional purposes, adding a tall boot is going to make your legs look shorter, so I prefer booties to elongate my legs.
Question: Are you a present wrapper or gift bag kind of person? I have to say, I’m definitely in the former group, especially since I’ve learned how to make bows to add to presents. I’ve learned that even if your wrapping looks bad, adding a handmade bow makes people think you’re a professional gift wrapper, ha ha!
The great thing about this method is that it works for year-round presents, and I bet you already have all of the material you need.
1. Cut a strip of wired ribbon the circumference of your gift and tie it in a knot. If you wish, do the same thing and tie another ribbon perpendicular to the previous strand. This creates the appearance that the ribbon/bow has been wrapped around the gift.
2. Take the wired ribbon (still on the spool) and fold it over. The size of the gift will determine how long the fold has to be. For explanation purposes, let’s say you fold it over about 5 inches. Continue to fold the ribbon over and over, maintaing that 5 in. length (or however long yours is). The more folds you have, the more voluminous your bow will be.
3. Cut the ribbon from the spool.
4. Keeping everything together, cut slits in the center on both sides of the folded ribbon. Be careful not to cut all the way through!
5. Take a small piece of thin ribbon, and slide it into the slits, tying a knot on the back side.
6. Using the small ribbon, tie your folded ribbon onto the gift, covering the knots created earlier.
7. Take one fold at a time and twist 360 degrees. Continue to do this until your bow is formed.
There you have it! Your present wrapping will turn heads at your next party.
Today, I want to share something very personal with you: how I became a Christian.
I’m one of those people who was going to church before I was born. My parents are both Christians and are still married after 31 years. When I was growing up, I was at church every time the doors were open, and grew up knowing all of the “right” answers.
When I was in the 6th grade, my Sunday School class started reading the Left Behind series for kids. To be honest, those books terrified me. I knew that I had never asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life, and if the rapture (when Jesus is coming back to get those who are saved) happened, I would be “left behind.” For a while, I lived in constant fear. If my family was quiet, while we were at home, I’d find them just to make sure they were still there.
This continued for a while, and then one week, my church had a revival. One of the preacher’s sermons was about Jesus “knocking on your hear’s door.” I felt like He was pounding on mine. I went up during the invitation, prayed a prayer, and was later baptized, but nothing in my life really changed.
I was never involved in anything “bad,” and was considered a “good person,” but at that point in my life, I didn’t really understand that you have to build a relationship with Jesus and continually work on it.
As the years passed, I’d have doubts from time to time but would push them aside because I thought, “I’ve already been in front of the church and said I was saved, and I’ve already been baptized. It’d be too embarrassing to walk down the aisle again.”
When I was about 15, the doubts of my salvation increased, and I asked my mom if we could talk to our pastor about everything. We got to church early one night, talked things over, and in my pastor’s office, I truly asked Jesus to be my Savior.
I’m not saying that my walk with the Lord has been perfect since then because that isn’t possible. However, I strive to live a life that honors Him, which I hope comes across in my interactions. I understand the importance of keeping an active prayer life and not just reading the Bible but digging into it.
I pray that if you’ve never asked Jesus to be your Savior, that you’d do so today. Words can’t describe the peace and assurance that comes with salvation!
One pan chicken and veggie bake – We keep frozen diced chicken on hand, so I just mixed it and veggies with olive oil, salt, garlic, pepper, and paprika and baked it in the oven. It was so easy!
Turkey burgers – I didn’t have any buns, but I toasted some loaf bread, and these turned out pretty good! I made enough for two nights, and we had sweet potato fries on the first night and these zucchini fries on night two.
Grilled chicken salad
Garlic honey chicken and fried rice – I just did my own variation of the fried rice, but wanted to include a recipe, in case you’ve never made it before.
It’s been a few weeks, since I’ve done a post about lessons from women in the Bible, so I’m excited to get back into it today!
Mary was a virgin and betrothed to a man named Joseph, but before their marriage, an angel appeared to her, explaining that the Spirit of the Lord would come on her and allow her to conceive (although she was a virgin). Her son would be named Jesus, and He would be the Savior of the world.
While that’s the very short version of her story, there are several things we can learn from her experiences.
There are some religions that believe that Mary was sinless and can bestow blessings on others. In the Bible, she states that she needs a Savior. The only people that need saving are those who are lost.
The Bible teaches that we’re all sinners, and we’re born that way. If you’ve ever been around young children, you know that nobody has to teach them to do wrong; they just naturally act that way. Daniel and I learned that pretty quick with Isaac! However, the only way to be saved is to admit that you’re a sinner, believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, and ask Him to be your Savior.
During Bible times, women got betrothed around 13 years old, meaning that was probably about how old Mary was when she got pregnant. Remember, she was a virgin. What do you think the world thought when her pregnancy began to show? Even Joseph contemplated ending their relationship because he thought she’d been unfaithful, until an angel appeared to him and explained what was happening. If word got out about her, she could’ve been stoned. However, Mary knew that she was carrying God’s child and faced everything with resolve.
When we act as Christians and do the Lord’s will, the world will criticize us for it. Remember, the world hates God, and therefore, they hate us. They will mock us and throw our shortcomings in our face. However, it always pays to follow the Lord, even if we don’t receive a reward on this side of eternity.
Think about it: Mary was Jesus’ mother. Even before He was born, she knew what He would be destined for. As He grew and began His public ministry, there are several accounts of Mary being around. She was even there at the foot of the cross when He died.
As a teacher, I see the impact that no support at home has on my students. Many of them come from broken homes, and their parents could care less about what they do (if their parents are even around). As a result, they make poor choices due to a lack of guidance, and as they grow older, the cycle continues with their own kids.
If you have children, I urge you to love them, pray for them, attend their ballgames, help them with their homework. Obviously, don’t condone poor behavior, but raise them to know right from wrong. Don’t try to be your child’s best friend; they have plenty of those. Rather, guide them to live a wholesome, productive life.
I hope you’re encouraged today!
Previous “Life Lessons from Women in the Bible” posts:
As Christians, it’s essential that we stay in the Word (aka read our Bible). However, sometimes it’s hard to know where to read, so it’s helpful to have a devotional/guide for assistance. Furthermore, it’s important to have accountability because, let’s face it, it’s hard to live for the Lord in a world that’s forgotten Him.
With all that being said, I’ve decided to start a “Bible study book club.”
This is something that’s been on my heart for a while, and I’ve finally decided to get the ball rolling on it! Additionally, after asking on Instagram, it seemed like something y’all want, too.
The book we’ll be going through is The Armor of Godby Priscilla Shirer. It’s one I’ve wanted to do for a while, and I think it’ll be great to use for our study. I’ve also heard from some friends that have completed it, and they had nothing but good things to say about the study.
I will say that this “Bible study book club” will require work on your part. The Armor of Godby Priscilla Shirer is in a workbook format and has you read various Scriptures from the Bible, answer questions, and make connections to your own life.
What I like about this is that it makes you read your Bible and dig into what it says. To grow as a Christian, reading a couple of verses a day won’t cut it. You have to be in the Word to build on your relationship with God, and that’s what this Bible study will do.
The whole study will take 6 weeks, and each week is broken into 5 days worth of material. Unlike a devotional for every day of the year, if you get a bit behind, you still have some time during the week to complete the material.
We’ll be starting this study on January 3 because I feel like everyone is always more motivated at the beginning of the year. After doing a poll on Instagram, it seems like more people are interested in having our “discussion” via Instagram Live. Right now, my plan is to do an Instagram Live at 8:00 CT on Sunday nights. The first one will occur on January 10, but I’ll keep you updated.
I’m so excited for this endeavor and can’t wait to grow in the Word with you! Don’t forget to order your book!
I know quite a few of you have had your Christmas tree up for a while, but I’m in the camp that waits until after Thanksgiving, and by after, I mean as soon as our families left our house after Thanksgiving lunch, I asked Daniel to get my Christmas decorations down from the attic, ha ha!
Growing up, one of the most “challenging” parts of decorating the Christmas tree was deciding how many ornaments to use. You know what I’m talking about…too few and the tree looks bare…too many and it looks cluttered.
If that’s you, I have a great alternative to tell you about: ribbon.
Last year, I started incorporating ribbon as part of my Christmas tree decor, and it totally changed the look of the tree. I know some people like to do different themes each year, and ribbon is an easy way to change that up.
You really want wired ribbon because it’ll be easier to get it into the shape you want. While some people have one stream of ribbon going all the way down the tree, I’ve discovered it’s easier to cut it into strips that are 7-8 inches long.
Once you get your strips cut, simply twist the ends around the branches. It doesn’t have to look perfect because once you add ornaments, the twisted part will be covered up.
Do this all around the tree. I usually have two different types of ribbon, but this would also work if you wanted to use the same kind.
Once the ribbon is how you want it, start adding ornaments and accessories. I’ve learned that the ribbon is a good “filler,” and you don’t have to use as many ornaments, as a result.
Isaac and I always get a picture in front of the tree. This year it was pretty hard because asking a toddler to stay still and smile for a picture doesn’t exactly work, ha ha!
This is what last year’s tree looked like. I don’t buy new ornaments every year, but by changing the ribbon, the over-all look of the tree is totally different.
Also, I can’t get over how much smaller Isaac was!
Since Thanksgiving was this week, I didn’t cook as much “regular” food as I usually do. What I mean is, there were several evenings when we had family gatherings to attend, where I fixed a traditional Thanksgiving dish, and several nights we ate leftovers. I figure most of you were in the same situation.
Main Dishes + Sides
Pizza – I’ve shared this dough recipe multiple times, but this is a quick and easy recipe to use.
Chicken quesadillas and Mexican rice – This is one of our favorite dishes! I just cook diced chicken in a skillet and sprinkle it with taco seasoning, then add peppers and onions and let it all finish cooking together. I add chicken and shredded cheese into tortillas and let them cook on each side.
Happy Friday! I don’t know what your work schedule has been like this week, but being off of school and spending time with family has done my heart so much good!
When you have multiple functions to attend during the holidays, sometimes it can be overwhelming. I’m going to break down how we handled Thanksgiving this year.
Saturday, November 21
My mom’s side of the family always does Thanksgiving and Christmas the Saturday before the holiday, and this year was no exception. Even in the midst of COVID, it was decided that we’d still get together.
Isaac had a blast! He basically ran around for the whole time and thoroughly enjoyed playing with his cousins. The only thing he ate were rolls (He kept swiping them from the food table.) and dessert. I know, I know, you’re thinking that is not a suitable meal for a toddler. However, if you’re the parent of a toddler, you know that sometimes you have to pick your battles!
Thursday, November 26
We always host our immediate families on Thanksgiving day. In 2015, a few weeks after we got married, we decided to have our families over and do all the cooking. We stayed up until midnight the night before prepping everything. Let me just say, after that, we developed a greater appreciation for our parents/grandparents for doing all the cooking for so many years, and now we ask our families to bring food, too!
I’ve learned how important it is to involve Isaac in things, including cooking and preparing for company. I had some brown wrapping paper and cut it into a long strip. Then I drew leaves, pumpkins, etc. and let Isaac color it. It was a fun way to get him involved with Thanksgiving prep.
I was just a little proud of how my apple pie turned out. It’s hard to tell, but part of the crust is braided. The recipe is linked in this post.
As usual, Isaac provided quite the entertainment. Dad said it’s like going to a dinner-theater but for free.
Saturday, November 27
Daniel’s mom loves to cook, so we went to her house for lunch. She had a garden over the summer and sometimes still finds veggies in it. She had a green bell pepper for Isaac, which he ate better than the other food. As previously mentioned, we’ve learned when to pick our battles on making him eat.
Unfortunately, my dad’s side of the family decided not to have a big get-together this year because my grandfather just turned 95! We missed them but are thankful do the family we did get to see.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your Thanksgiving, regardless of what it looked like this year!