Thank you for your input on Intastories about continuing these outfits of the week posts. I’m glad they’re helpful to you!
I also asked about some content you’d like to see coming up, and I got several responses pertaining to recipes, meal planning, and grocery lists. As a result, I’m going to begin adding a weekly menu to these Saturday posts, too.
First up is what I wore this week. I’ve provided links when possible and found dupes for pieces that are old or out of stock.
Other than date night, I cook supper most nights. Lately I’ve been trying to cook dishes that will have leftovers to take for lunch the next day. This week, I tried a new recipe, along with some of our tried-and-true favorites.
Main Courses + Sides
Tex-Mex Cauliflower Rice – This is a new recipe and turned out pretty good! It also made enough to have leftovers for lunch and supper the next day.
Spaghetti, salad, crescent rolls – This is nothing fancy. I just brown ground beef and add it to Prego sauce, then dump it over noodles.
Sausage pizza, salad – This is the dough recipe I use. Pizza is always a great meal option because it can be customized to fit all taste buds in the household.
We’re big dessert people at my house! I usually try to do at least one on the weekends.
Chocolate oatmeal cookies – These are quick and easy and pair perfectly with a glass of milk! I usually half the recipe for us because, although we would definitely eat the whole batch, that’s probably not the best option!
I did another blog post a few weeks ago with some more family-friendly meal ideas. Check it out here.
Mine and Daniel’s 5th anniversary was Saturday, and one thing we’ve learned is how important it is to make time for each other (more about that in this post). As a result, we decided to do a little getaway to one of our favorite places: Gatlinburg, TN.
In the mountains vs. beach debate, we definitely prefer the former, and have ventured to Gatlinburg every year since we’ve been married. There’s just something about a little mountain town that seems so cozy.
Due to COVID, we decided to rent a cabin and do our own cooking, to avoid the crowds that were sure to be in downtown. Honestly, it was so nice to cook together, verses me cooking and Daniel entertaining Isaac, like we do at home.
We arrived late Thursday night and ate supper on the road. On Friday, we planned on making breakfast casserole (recipe linked in this post), but we discovered that our cabin didn’t have a baking dish. Instead, we made a sausage, egg, and cheese scramble with a side of crescent rolls and had enough leftovers that Saturday’s breakfast was taken care of, too.
For lunch, we made chili (recipe link is here) and grilled cheese sandwiches and ate on the upper balcony. It was actually pretty warm (in the 70s), so we finished lunch on the lower balcony that was a little more shaded.
Since we had plenty leftover, we had chili for supper, too. I tried to make the Nutella s’mores bars I mentioned in my birthday post, but the oven was really old, so they came out more like burnt crisps, ha ha! Unfortunately, most of the dessert found its way to the garbage.
Additionally, while we did some work, we are graduate students and working parents after all, we also had lots of time to relax, which was the whole purpose of the trip.
Daniel brought his guitar and wrote a few songs, and I got to exercise outside with the mountains in the distance. We also each brought a book and read for fun. It was wonderful.
While we were only gone a couple of nights, it was honestly so refreshing to get away and celebrate our anniversary.
Here’s a link to the cabin where we stayed. While it did have some slightly creepy baby clothes hanging on the walls, it had excellent cleanliness ratings, ha ha. In all seriousness though, it was the perfect size for us, and the views can’t be beat.
What’s your favorite place to vacation with your spouse?
Today is a very special day: it’s mine and Daniel’s 5th anniversary! With that being said, I have a guest contributor for today’s blog post: Daniel, himself. I talked to him about this post a few months ago and told him I wanted it to be about five things we’ve learned during the past five years. He wrote his list, and I wrote mine, and it was interesting to see how similar our responses were.
I’ve specified who wrote each lesson.
1. Swallow your pride, and say you’re sorry first.
During our first year of marriage, we had “disagreements” with some regularity. We were both at fault at various times, and one of the toughest things we learned to say was, “I’m sorry.” However, over the past five years, we’ve discovered that by getting the apology out, the healing process of that moment can begin sooner.
2. Know your spouse’s love language and speak it.
If you haven’t read The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, we highly recommend it! The premise behind it is that we all have a “love language” (words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch), and when it is “spoken” to us, our “love tank” becomes full.
This book really speaks some great truth. My love language is words of encouragement. As a pastor, I can shake hands with everyone in the church and receive encouragement, but the most important encouragement that I receive comes from my wife. Sarah has grown into a great encourager, and I would rather have encouraging words from her than a million dollars!
At the same time, I am to be Sarah’s biggest encourager. Someone said, “The smartest thing a husband can do is really turn their wife loose to be all God wants her to be.” It’s a beautiful thing to see a person blossom under the encouragement of their spouse. Friend, if you’re not encouraging your spouse, you’re missing a chance to bless them.
My love language is acts of service. When Daniel does things around the house, such as picks up toys, makes the bed, does laundry, vacuums, cooks, or gives Isaac a bath, it fills my heart with so much love, not to mention, it takes a load off of me!
When we first got married, I’d get really frustrated because I felt like I did “everything” (In hindsight, I realize that this totally wasn’t the case.) The problem was, Daniel didn’t know that I needed help because I never asked. Make sure that if something is bothering you, you talk to your spouse about it! Staying silent builds resentment, and resentment kills marriages.
3.Trust one another.
Proverbs 31:11 says, “The heart of her husband safely trusts her, so he will have no lack of gain.” I have known couples who didn’t have any trust whatsoever for their spouse, but I trust Sarah more than I do myself. I know she has Jesus as her Savior, the Holy Spirit as her guide in her soul, and she is in the Word of God daily. I trust her.
However, before someone can trust their spouse, they must know their spouse and really understand them. 1 Peter 3:7 says, “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” 5 years into marriage, I know my wife better than ever. Study your wife, know what makes her tick, learn what she loves, what she can’t stand, what her gifts are, and what her dreams are. I am to understand her. I am to honor her. She is aco-heir of grace with me in Christ.
4. Bad moments don’t make bad marriages.
When two people get married, there will be tough times, no matter how “prepared” you thought you were. The important thing is to work through those issues and difficult moments. Just because there are times you argue, doesn’t mean you chose the wrong person to marry. Dwell on all of the good times rather than the few bad ones.
In music, it takes multiple notes to make a chord. Played apart, these notes sound okay, but when the right notes are played together in harmony, you’ll have a good sounding chord. I believe early in marriage, we found out that we were very different in several ways. When we focused on these differences, it made us mad and sad.
By the Lord’s grace, He showed us to focus on each other’s strengths and not the differences. I am very laid back and can procrastinate most anything. I say, “I work well under pressure,” but that’s just a cover for being a procrastinator. Sarah is very task-oriented, very time-conscious, and has most everything in order. As a result, she has “made me” (in a good way) become more on time and just all around more in order in life. I think I have helped her to relax a little more in some situations and encourage her that everything’s going to be okay. Instead of playing different musical notes separately, we are learning how to play a beautiful chord in marriage.
5. Keep Christ at the center.
This is by far the most important thing we’ve learned over the past five years. When we neglect our individual relationships with God, our marriage shows it. Satan worms his way between us, and tension arises over silly things.
However, by reading the Bible and praying, and by founding our marriage on these concepts, we’ve grown immensely over the last 5 years. We’ve gone from, “Did I make a mistake in marrying this person?” to, “How can I live life without him/her?”
Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
If you’ve made it this far, you’re a champion and we thank you for reading today’s post!
If you’re married, what’s an important concept you’ve learned?
Mine and Daniel’s 5th anniversary is on Saturday (November 7), so I thought it’d be fun to tell how we met. I asked Daniel to contribute to the story, so you could get his perspective, too.
This is our very first picture together.
Here’s my version of what lead to our meeting:
I didn’t date much in high school and always imagined that college would be where I met “Mr. Right.” However, while my friends were all in serious relationships while we were at the University of Tennessee at Martin, I remained painfully single. After a long time of me trying to force relationships to happen, the Lord brought me to a low, lonely place and told me that if I kept trying to create relationships, then who would get the credit? I finally got to the point where I gave everything to God and told Him that He’d have to be the one to bring a man into my life, so He’d get the glory. That was around March or April of 2014.
Fast forward to May when I came home from college. My family and I were in search of a church, and at that time, the church Daniel was pastoring was a few miles from my parents’ house, so one Sunday, Dad and I went, and as we pulled into the parking lot, a black truck whipped in behind us, almost hitting us.
You probably know where this is going, but low and behold, Daniel was the one in the truck, ha ha!
Dad introduced us, we exchanged a few pleasantries, then it was time for church.
That afternoon, Daniel sent me a friend request on Facebook and messaged me saying how nice it was to have Dad and me at church.
I found the original message on Facebook Messenger:
Daniel’s version of what was going on behind the scenes:
When I was younger, my momma taught me the principle that if something is worth worrying about, then, it’s worth praying about for 30 days. In the spring of 2014, I began a 30 day prayer for a wife. I believe it was on day 14 of this prayer that I met Sarah.
The story goes something like this. I was running late for church that morning (which was not unusual at that time in my life), and when I whipped in the parking lot, I about ran over this car backing into a parking space. I thought, “That’s Steve Killingsworth…and his daughter.” I have known Steven and some of his family through playing music for years, but I had never met his daughter.
I had recently invited Steven to come to church with me sometime, but I wasn’t expecting to see them as I pulled in that morning. I was introduced to Sarah, and we all talked for a few minutes before going in for worship.
When I stood to preach that morning, I looked out and Sarah began taking notes during the sermon. I was impressed! I still remember going home that day after church and saying, “Steve Killingsworth and his daughter came to church today, and she took notes as I preached.”
I wanted to ask Sarah out, but I wanted to be faithful to fulfill the 30 day prayer that I had committed to, so once I finished the 30 day prayer, I asked her out, and she said, “Yes.”
Remember friends, if something is worth worrying about, it’s worth praying about. I’m sure thankful that the Lord sent Sarah as an answer to my prayers.
These are our first Facebook profile pictures as a couple. If you’re an OG Facebooker, you know changed profile pictures made a couple “Facebook Official.”
I can’t get over how young we look!
I hope you enjoyed today’s “behind the scenes” take on the beginning of mine and Daniel’s relationship.
Today is my 28th birthday, and since there are so many new faces around here, I thought it’d be interesting to tell you 28 things that you might not know about me.
1. I’m a Christian. I’ve been going to church, since I was in the womb and gave my life to Christ when I was in high school.
2. I’ve been married for [almost] 5 years. Mine and Daniel’s anniversary is next week, November 7.
3. I’m a pastor’s wife. Daniel is a full time pastor, and we’ve been at our current church for two years.
4. We have a toddler, named Isaac. Isaac was Sarah’s son in the Bible, so that’s where Daniel and I got inspiration for his name.
5. I had a c-section. When Isaac’s due date came and went, and he showed no signs of wanting to make his grand debut, I was induced. Unfortunately, that didn’t work, and I had to have an emergency c-section. It went smoothly, but the recovery was no joke. C-section mommas, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
6. My middle name is Joyce. This is a family name. Joyce is the middle name of my mom and her mom.
7. I’m in my 6th year of teaching. I’ve taught at the same school all six years.
8. I teach high school English. I primarily teach freshmen but have a sophomore class each spring semester.
9. We have a German shepherd. After Daniel and I got married, we went to the local pound to find a dog. Low and behold, we found Curtis laying there. He’s a full-blooded German shepherd and the best dog, and we’re so thankful to have him.
10. I was born and raised in Tennessee. I love the South and believe that TN is a wonderful place to live.
11. I know [some] sign language. When I was a teenager, I, along with some other girls in my church’s youth group, would translate Christian songs into sign language and perform them in front of the church. More often than not, I was the one who translated the songs and taught the others, so over time, some of it stuck.
12. I’ve held an alligator. My family and I took a swamp tour in New Orleans once, and the business raised alligators. They passed a baby one around the boat for everyone to hold.
13. I won an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. when I was in high school. The electric cooperatives in Tennessee have an essay writing contest for high school juniors each year. My essay won first place in my district, so I got to go to our nation’s capitol.
14. I had retainers, then braces, then retainers again. I got retainers in the 1st grade, but didn’t wear them like I was supposed to. As a result, I had to get braces in the 7th grade and wore them for two years. I now have a permanent retainer behind my bottom, front teeth.
15. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin. I majored in Secondary Education, English 7-12 and finished my degree in 3 1/2 years.
16. I enjoy audiobooks, particularly psychological thrillers. As Isaac’s gotten older, opportunities for me to read a tangible book are few and far between. I’ve really gotten into audiobooks because I can listen and be engaged, while doing other things. These are my favorite Bluetooth headphones .
17. I’ve consistently worked out [at least] 5 days a week for 29 weeks. That’s over half a year! Here’s a blog post explaining how I got into a regular exercise routine.
18. I’ve been in 4 states at one time. If you’ve ever been out West, there’s a place called “Four Corners” where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. There’s an area marked, about the size of a plate, where you can stand and be in all four states at once.
19. I have a “Type A” personality. I don’t do the “enneagram” thing, but I am super organized and like to be in charge of things.
20. I only wash my hair one day a week. This blog post is about how I trained my hair to go longer between washes.
21. My all-time favorite dessert is Nutella s’mores bars. Here’s the recipe.
22. I prefer dresses over pants. Why wear tight pants when you could wear a flowy dress?
23. I was selected as my school’s Teacher of the Year for the 2019-2020 school year. This award is faculty selected, and I was honored to receive it. Additionally,one of the “rewards” of being my school’s Teacher of the Year, was the “opportunity” to read the names at graduation for the class of 2020. Fortunately, the names were relatively easy to pronounce, and it ended up not being as bad as I thought it would be.
24. I’m an early bird. Honestly, it’s hard for me to stay up late, and there usually comes a certain point in the evenings where, if I lay down on the couch, I’m out. I can get up at the crack of dawn, and often wake up early, even without an alarm.
25. Fall is my favorite season. Give me all the cozy layers, warm drinks, cool temps, changing leaves, and pumpkin spice.
26. I haven’t had a soft drink in over 8 years. However, I do drink a cup of coffee each morning, so I get caffeine that way.
27. I’m working on my Master’s degree. I’m in a year long program through Tennessee State University to get my Master’s in Instructional Leadership. While I enjoy being in the classroom now, I also want more options as I get older and hope to one day be in an administrative position.
28. I’m glad you’re here. I started my blog two months ago, and have continued to be overwhelmed by your support and encouragement. Thank you for being here!
I hope you had a good weekend. Mine consisted of family time and resting, all of which were much needed.
A few weeks ago, we decided to take some family photos. While we could’ve hired a photographer, we decided to try it ourselves, and I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.
Here are a few things we did to make our pictures successful:
The first step to any type of family photo iscoordinating outfits. I’m not one for matchy-matchy attire, and prefer similar colors to make clothes mesh.
When planning what we’d wear, I started with a dress that I really liked. I went with a navy, floral maxi dress that would provide “movement” in photos. My dress is from Old Navy, and though it’s sold out online, here are a few similar styles (1, 2, 3).
You don’t want too many patterns to have to coordinate, so I kept Daniel and Isaac’s outfits solid. The colors of their items are all in my dress.
The next item you need for your DIY photos is a camera or phone. We bought a Nikon D3400 camera a few years ago with good intentions but haven’t used it as much as we thought we would. We did use it for these pictures, though. However, phone cameras have really improved over the last few years, and you can achieve quality pictures with them, too.
A few more handy items are a tripod and remote, both of which came with our camera. Obviously you don’t want your pictures to be from the ground level, and it might be tricky to set a self-timer and run back and forth. A tripod allows photos to be taken at a flattering angle, and there are a wide variety to choose from, including ones for your phone.
Our camera came with a Bluetooth remote, and that made it much easier to take photos, so I recommend looking for something like that.
The last essential item, especially if you have young children, is snacks, ha ha! Can you spot the Goldfish?
What do you think? Do you have any other tips for family “photoshoots”?
If you’re new around here, you may not know this, but I teach 9th and 10th grade English. I’m currently in my 6th year of teaching, and have learned a great deal “over the years.” I’ve recently been thinking about concepts I wish I knew during my first year and thought it would be fun/helpful to share them with you, too.
During a typical year, I spend the first 1-2 weeks going over procedures, discussing “housekeeping” issues, creating a class culture, and building relationships. I’ve discovered that if you build positive relationships with your students, they’ll be more willing to participate in your lessons. Getting to know your students also helps reduce the amount of discipline you’ll have in your room.
Speaking of discipline, when it occurs, discuss the issue with the student individually and discretely. This might involve speaking to them after class or in the hallway, or it might mean going to where they’re sitting and quietly discussing the issue.
When students are called out in front of everyone, they tend to react poorly, as we all would. By taking care of issues in a considerate way, they’ll be more likely to respond in an agreeable fashion.
Any educator will tell you that the first year of teaching is about survival. During my first semester of teaching, I just tried to stay a day or two ahead of where my students were. However, over time, you’ll get into a groove.
Additionally, our culture is ever-changing, and as a result so are our students. The examples and activities that you used five years ago may no longer be applicable to your current students. Moreover, new resources get created each year, so do some looking and use what someone else put out there. Teachers Pay Teachers is my favorite site to find interesting, engaging lessons.
* If you teach elementary school, my college roommate, Kelli, has an awesome TPT site.
Gone are the days of tangible planbooks (Well, they’re not completely gone.). There’s a plethora of digital ones that make it easy to keep track of your lesson plans from year to year. This is the website I use.
One of the best practices I incorporate is to leave notes in my planbook about parts of the lessons that worked well and parts that were a total flop. By doing this, the next time you teach that lesson, you can make adjustments or create something new.
Regardless of students’ ages, they love a good competition. Even if the concept of the lesson is potentially boring, when you make a game out of it, the kids get more involved, and you “trick” them into learning.
Kahoot is my favorite way to add competitiveness into my classroom. Although it takes a while to type in questions and answers, you’ll have it for the next time around. I also allow my students to use their cell phones as “clickers,” which instantly draws them in.
Honestly, I could go on about more things I wish I knew during my first year of teaching. Regardless of what stage of educator you are, I encourage you to keep the kids first, show yourself grace, and to remember that even educators can learn new things.
I thought it would be fun to end today’s post by hearing from some other educators about things they wish they’d known. I set up a question box on Instastories, and here are the answers I received:
Classroom management is KEY! Be consistent.
You will make mistakes. Learn and grow. Experience is the best teacher and letting students see you mess up makes you more relatable. Also, allow students to make mistakes and correct them with positive language, so they won’t give up.
Set a budget for personal money you can spend each month, or you’ll go overboard!
You may feel like you’re drowning, but it gets better, and everyone’s first year feels impossible.
People might say, “Stay out of the teachers’ lounge,” but don’t listen to them. You NEED others!
Make sure you set boundaries between work time and personal time.
Not every student will be the type of student you were, nor will they have the same upbringing.
It’s okay to say no. You have to be careful to not get spread too thin.
Organization is very important.
Thank you to all of my fellow teachers who contributed to today’s post!
Hey, y’all! I hope you’ve had a good weekend. Mine was spent with family, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
When COVID started at the beginning of the year, and people were encouraged to stay home, I started cooking more than I ever have before. With that being said, I’ve discovered some yummy, yet simple meals that I’d like to share with you today.
This one is pretty straight forward and not necessarily one I have a recipe for.
I simply grill the chicken in a skillet using some olive oil and spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, paprika). Add cooked chicken into a tortilla with cheese, lettuce, and any other toppings you desire.
Here’s a quick recipe on baked sweet potato fries. My favorite spices to use with them are salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Today I thought it’d be interesting to share my morning routine with you. This is what I do on weekdays during the school year.
4:45 a.m. My alarm goes off.
I will say, I typically lay in bed a few more minutes once I turn off my alarm; however, lately I’ve been waking up even earlier on my own. You might be wondering why I get upso early. I’m a morning person by nature and like to take my time doing my morning routine.
5:00 a.m. I put on my workout clothes and do my daily workout.
Between the time I wake up and actually get out of bed, I decide what type of workout I want to do. I usually have a few days a week that are focused on my upper body and a few days focused on the lower body. I also always lay my workout clothes out the night before, so it’s easy to get dressed.
I talk about how I consistently started working out 5 days a week in this post.
5:40 a.m. I unload the dishwasher, turn on my coffee pot, and publish my blog post (if it’s posting day).
In the past, I would get my coffee ready the night before. However, my coffee pot fell over the weekend and shattered into a million pieces (Well, not really a million, but you know what I mean.). Fortunately, my coffee maker has a built-in Keurig section, so that’s how I’ve been brewing my coffee.
5:45 a.m. I take a shower.
This step doesn’t take long because I only wash my hair one day a week. This post is about how I trained my hair to go longer between washes.
6:00 a.m. I have my quiet time.
As a Christian, I believe in the importance of having an active prayer life and reading my Bible. I like to do this in the mornings because I can focus better and am typically the only one up. I go through stages where I’ll only read my Bible, and then other times, I’ll work through a study or devotional book. I’m currently alternating between this book and this one.
6:30 a.m. I put on my makeup, fix my hair, and get dressed.
This step has become more complicated as of late because Isaac is usually up by then. He likes to cuddle with me while he drinks his milk, but I must say that I enjoy it, too!
This post is about the products I have in my makeup bag. I also have an everyday makeup tutorial saved to my Highlights on Instagram.
7:00 a.m. I get my lunch and breakfast together. I try to cook bigger suppers, so Daniel and I can have leftovers for lunch. Also, breakfast is always eaten on the road these days.
7:20 a.m. I leave for school.
When I look at my departure time, I have to laugh to myself. Before Isaac was born, I used to arrive at school between 6:45 a.m.-7:00 a.m. each day. Oh, how times have changed, ha ha! Also, I live about 15 minutes from the school I teach at, and my contract arrival time is 7:45 a.m.
I will say that these aren’t the exact times I do these things each day, BUT this is the order I typically do them in.