Monday, November 18, 2013

Fall '13 Cara Box Reveal

This fall I participated in the Cara Box exchange for the first time. During the Cara Box exchange I was able to get to know 2 new friends Codi and Talicia. It was so much fun to get to know these sweet ladies and was super encouraging to e-mail back an forth throughout the past few months. I loved packing a box for Talicia so be sure to check her blog to see what she got.

Codi packed the sweetest box for me! The theme was fall and I was so excited to finally open my package (it arrived while I was on vacation so it was waiting for me the whole time!)

One of the requirements is to include a note of encouragement, and being a person who loves handwritten notes this had to be one of my favorite parts of the box!

Isn't this bracelet so cute! I love how is wraps around multiple times.

Gloves are so necessary in Indiana during the fall and these are perfect! They are even smart phone friendly :)

One of our conversations based around coffee and tea, which I love both! I told Codi I especially loved drinking tea at night in the fall and winter and I was so excited to have my first cup of this tea, it's fantastic!

And here is an adorable mug to drink it with! I also love the verse, it's the perfect reminder all year long.

Finally, I love cooking and was SO excited to get a new cookbook. I have loved looking through this one and it was so sweet of Codi to include some of her favorite recipes for me to try!

I loved participating in the Cara Box Exchange for the first time and will definitely do it again. If you want to try it (which I highly encourage you to do) the next sign up is December 2nd and Kaitlin from is the host!

Cara Box

PS- I added new items to my Etsy store this weekend! Remember, 50% of the proceeds are donated to orphanages around the world!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weekly Finds

I love reading blogs. Every week I read so many good articles and find so many good recipes that I thought I should feature some of them in case you missed them. This may be a weekly thing, or knowing me it will be more bi-weekly, but either way I'm excited to share these with you!

The Read Truth about 'Boring" Men- and the Women who Live with Them: Redefining Boring-When I read this I wanted to scream YES! Don't get me wrong, I have always said I want a more exciting proposal story than my parents (whose I would call boring, but it worked for them!), but what I really want is a daily life full of those boring moments spent together and serving each other.

True Belgium Waffles- When I saw this on pinterest I was excited but hesitant. Once I read the recipe and saw it was based on Bruges Waffles in Salt Lake City (which I still dream about 3 years later) I knew I had to try them!

You Need a Tribe- I am loving all of Jon Acuff's new blog posts, but this one really hit home. When I first thought of Even Better I had to tell people or it never would have happened, I needed (and still need!) my tribe.

Even Better Designs- Speaking of Even Better, did you see my Etsy store opened last week! New designs are being added and remember 50% of the proceeds will always go directly to orphanages around the world!

Pumpkin Alfredo Tortellini- I am dying to make this recipe. Pumpkin, alfredo sauce, and tortellini, all things I've been craving lately!

18 Things Everyone Should Start Making Time for Again- Take time for the things that have been wrongly termed dated or boring.

And finally, a quote to leave you with

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Etsy Shop Open!!!

I am SO SO SO excited to be able to announce that my Etsy store is now officially opened.

I would be honored if you check it out. I will be adding more designs in the next few days and am always taking suggestions for new designs as well.

Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and prayers!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday 11.7.13

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your name O Most High; to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night                                                                         -Psalm 92:1-2

69. Subbing in the community I grew up in is such a blessing. I love that I know all the secretaries and they always ask me if I am getting enough jobs.

70. Making chocolate chip cookies and my dad asking if I made half a batch because he didn't know I already had a pan in the oven.

71. Sunday afternoon hikes with my dad as the leaves are turning their beautiful shades that are a sure sign of fall

72. Babysitting 2 of my favorite boys and rediscovering how fun Candy Land can be with a 3 year old

73. Beth Barron, a dear friend who has done so much to encourage me

74. Guys, she designed this amazing logo for me!

75. Taking the huge step of announcing Even Better Designs to the world and the amazing support I have received

76. The Olympics are now less that 100 days away!

77. Carving the pumpkin with the thickest skin I have ever seen, but not caring because it is the first pumpkin I carved in 4 years

78. Passing out candy to adorable trick or treaters, hearing their sweet little voices, and their beyond excitement when they saw they got popcorn

79. Receiving my Cara box! 

80. Mustard pants that are perfect for big announcements

81. Captions 3 year olds come up with to describe pictures they drew, "my dad with a smiley face in Hawaii"

82. The leaves are seriously beautiful this year!

83. While drinking tea out of my big McConn mug it never ceases to remind me pray for a dear friend

84. Hearing news that brings me to my knees and knowing that God is there to catch me every time

85. Reading 5 books at a time, but learning SO much from each of them

86. Pumpkin Spice creamer for my morning coffee

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Orphan Sunday: Part 2, a HUGE announcement

About a month ago I attended the Influence Conference. The Conference was all about how everyone can use the influence they have to further the kingdom. As I was listening to the speakers and writing down truth after truth an idea was becoming clearer and clearer to me. As this happened, I became more and more unsure.  But I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt this idea was from God and was a way He was revealing to me of how I can use my influence and talents to further His kingdom.

So, without further ado I am SO excited to introduce you to Even Better Designs!

The whole idea behind this business is orphans and how I can help them in creative ways. Since my nephew was born I have made him appliqued shirts which has expanded to making them for friends when their babies are born. Now that is expanding to making them for you! But here is the big deal, the thing that makes me really excited, you get an awesome one of a kind shirt, and 50% of the proceeds will be donated directly to an orphanage! (yes that number scared me at first, but I believe God absolutely has a reason!)

For the past month I have been researching like crazy, making designs, and preparing everything for the ambitious opening date in November. I want you to be the first to see what I've come up with. I'll be opening an Etsy store in the next week or so and am so excited to see how God grows this business.

Scrappy Christmas Tree (with or without bow)

Polka Dot Elephant

Cheery Giraffe
I'm 1! iron on
(just a sampling of designs. I have a few more Christmas ones in the works and am absolutely open to ideas!)

For the months of November and December 50% of the proceeds will go to New Day Foster Home. This is amazing foster home just outside of Beijing that cares for special needs orphans. Check out their website to learn more.

If you want to know more or want to partner with me in any way leave a comment or send an e-mail to 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Orphan Sunday: Part 1

We've learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.   -David Platt
I know their names

I've seen their faces

I've held them in my arms

and everything has changed 

my life will never be the same

my prayers are filled with their faces

my arms yearn to rock them to sleep

I have to do something

part 2 and a HUGE announcement coming next!

Ni Hao Yall

Friday, October 25, 2013

Simple Pesto

In the spring I planted 3 basil plants in my families garden. I loved having them all summer and added basil to so many of my recipes. There is nothing quite like fresh basil! 

Well, now October is upon us and the cold has hit, which means sadly the garden is done. When I got back from my Seattle vacation my first mission was to save my basil from the impending doom that was quickly approaching. This left me with a mountain of basil on my counter and what better to make than pesto. 
So much basil!
I love pesto and love how versatile it is. You can adjust the ingredients however you want, adding and subtracting until you are happy with it. I love garlic so I always add more, but almost always use a little less lemon juice because I hate when that overpowers the flavors. So play around with this and make this your recipe, that's the best thing about cooking anyways!

2 cups basil
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup toasted walnuts (or pine nuts)
squeeze of lemon juice
1/3-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper

Place basil leaves, garlic, walnuts in food processor and pulse until chopped
Drizzle in olive oil until you reach you desired consistency
Add parmesan cheese and mixed until smooth, adding more olive oil if necessary
Salt and pepper to taste

Because I had a mountain of basil I made about 4 batches so I could freeze it to use all winter. Normally I freeze my pesto in 1T portions in ice cube trays. Well, I couldn't find the ice cube trays so mini muffin trays came to the rescue! Once they are frozen pop them out and place in a freezer bag to enjoy all winter long! 
Ready to freeze

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thankful Thursday 10.24.13

49. checking things off my fall bucket list. I really am SO excited to be home for fall and experience all of the things I've missed

50. Going to the Covered Bridge Festival on a perfect day with my parents and eating my very favorite pumpkin ice cream

51. Teaching Sunday School using a childrens Bible that I had when I was little

52. A short but very sweet reunion lunch with my roommate while she and her fam were driving through town. Seeing her, her husband, and her two littles made my heart SO happy (Why didn't I take a picture!)

53. Cleaning my room. It has been a packing and unpacking zone for so long it's nice to have some of the floor back

54. Leaves, pumpkins, and mums are everywhere

55. Trick-or-treat loot ready by our front door

56. Using frequent flyer miles for an amazing vacation 

57. Spending time with Isaac and Emily and finally seeing the island that Isaac talks so much about

58. Sunsets and ferry rides

59. Making kale chips; after hearing so many good things about them for so long, now I know why!

60. A Saturday filled with football, walks, and cooking with a friend who I hadn't see for far too long

61. Making maple twist with Kyle, or rather making him do all the work because I knew he could (recipe coming!)

62. A sweet time spent eating lunch with Kyle's family, a family that is so close to my heart and encourages me so much 

63. A day spent drinking tea, having quiet time, and reading a whole book (My Father, Maker of the Trees)

64. Pumpkin milkshakes before heading to the airport

65. Even Better becoming closer to reality

66. The first snow of the season. I don't care that it is October, snow always makes me super happy

67. Picking the basil from the garden before it snowed and was ruined

68. The perfect weather for cuddling with a blanket, cup of tea or coffee and my new book I was blessed with, A Million Little Ways

more posts coming...I promise, including a recipe tomorrow!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday 10.10.2013

You guys, God is good. I have been so blessed by so many people these past 2 weeks. So many unexpected get togethers and conversations. A lot of super super exciting things are coming up and I am SO excited to share them with you. Be thankful that He is always so so good.

31. sibling weekend with the best brothers ever
32. apple picking, drinking apple cider and eating donuts

33. reading books to my nephew
34. being an aunt
35. soaking in all the the truth that was spoken at the Influence Conference
36. cold mornings curled up with a blanket
37. easy subbing jobs and subbing jobs that leave me feeling fulfilled at the end of he day
38. talks with friends who just get you
39. sharing God given dreams with people who believe in you no questions asked
40. wearing Chacos in the fall

41. the hot sign at Krispy Kreme
42. opening my Bible to a page filled with notes
43. sitting in coffee shops surrounded by women studying Gods word
44. reuniting with I Squad friends

45. late night prayers 
46. non stop encouragement when things get a little scary
47. Discovering this blog
48. 10 day forecasts finally covering my upcoming vacation!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Apple Pie Filling

Growing up we had an apple tree in our backyard. I have fond memories of climbing in all summer long and inspecting the apples as they grew. Once they started falling on the ground and rotting stepping on all the drunk bees was one of my favorite things to do (yes, I may have been a weird child). Now that our old apple tree is long gone, and our new one isn't producing enough fruit yet I was happy with the bag full of apples my mom brought home from the farmers market.

First things first, using one of my favorite kitchen tools, the apple peeler, corer, slicer

Today I decided to make apple pie filling. I love making filling to freeze so it is ready to use all winter long. I also love using recipes from family friends.

Apple Pie Filling
6 cups apples
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
3 T flour
1/2 or 3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 t nutmeg
dash salt

Mix all ingredients. Spoon into quart sized freezer bags. When ready to use thaw and place in 9 inch pie dish. Dot with butter if you use a double crust. Also makes great apple crisp!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Truths From Influence Conference

This past weekend I was blessed to attend the Influence Conference. It was such a sweet time of fellowship with Jesus loving women and so much truth was spoken. I am still processing a lot of what God taught me throughout the weekend, but I can't let another day pass without sharing some of the the truths that were spoken into me.

The Tiny Twig

  • work=gifts+resources, that's all, we go astray when we want to add something other than Jesus to the equation
  • the Lord has good things for me and they are different from the good things He has for other people
  • God doesn't give me passions without a way to use them 
  • Follow your dreams Him!
  • Follow me is not just a command, it's an action
  • the goal is not happiness, the goal is His glory
  • Do something, the right thing, one step at a time
  • Hold yourself to a standard of grace, not perfection
  • we are born to make manifest the glory of God that is in us
  • He is working something in you bigger than you
  • progress...not perfection
  • you can't being everyone to Jesus, but you can bring everyone Jesus
  • sometimes it takes a couple of false starts to get there
  • don't do their thing well, do your thing
  • love the good life God has given you
  • you don't have to wait for a lightning bolt to write-live so you always have inspiration around you
  • the world needs you!
  • God doesn't want to heal you to use you, He wants to heal you because He loves you
  • Sarah sinned big, she was a mess-God still used her in huge ways
  • the entire trinity is on my side-and will always be
  • the building is done, God isn't waiting for you to be finished, it is finished
  • when the Lord is working in you there is something to say, even if it is a mess
  • the building is done, influential women, not it is our joy to walk forward with our eyes on Christ alone 
  • Proverbs 18:21 the tongue has the power of life and death
  • words are more powerful now than ever before because of the internet
  • we are called to speak kindness and love to everyone
  • you never know who will read what you write, how people will find you, and who will stay around
  • He will never speak anything but love to us so we will never speak anything but love to others
Like Annie said, I may never know who will read this site, I may never know how these words will impact you, but I pray they do. I pray that these truths will work their way deep into your heart and above all you will know you are loved. You are loved by the creator who created you for even better than you could ever imagine.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thankful Thursday 9.26.13

You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
-Psalm 30:11-12

15. my baby brother came to visit for the weekend
16. rained!
17. fall leaf Sunday School crafts hanging in my window
18. bringing honeycrisp apples home from church 
19. an invitation to pick apples at a church members house
20. driving past the mum and pumpkin stand
21. evenings spent making muffins with a candle burning in the background
22. Colts win
23. fall season premiers started this week
24. coffee
25. cold evenings meant for drinking tea
26. allergy medicine
27. staying within my (strict) budget
28. unexpected sources of income
29. walking to the middle school to sub and seeing students gathered praying for see you at the poll
30. tomorrow=Influence Conference! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Bucket List

The past 4 falls I've spent out of the country. Three were in China, where they do have fall, but it fails in comparison to fall in Indiana. Last year I was in South Africa and Swaziland where, instead of fall, they were enjoying spring. Needless to say, I am planning on taking full advantage of fall this year, my first one at home in 5 years!

  • pumpkin carving 
  • a trip to an orchard and/or a pumpkin patch
  • drink lots of pumpkin spice lattes!
  • invite friends over for an afternoon of watching football, eating chili, and drinking cider
  • go hiking
  • take pictures of the changing leaves
  • jeans, sweaters, scarves, and boots
  • curl up with a good book
  • invite friends over for a bonfire complete with ooey gooey smores
  • make recipes I've pinned on pinterest
  • rake leaves and maybe even jump in them
  • hand out candy on halloween
  • go to Seattle
  • bake with pumpkin and or apples as often as possible
  • surprise people with baked goods
  • cook and host Thanksgiving dinner
  • enjoy coffee dates with friends
  • take time every day to be thankful for Gods creation
  • decorate leaf shaped sugar cookies
  • read at least 5 books
  • hammock curled us with a blanket
  • light candles whenever I can
  • go to the covered bridge festival
Here's to a great fall!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

So I'm Going to the Influence Conference

You know the times when God puts something on your heart and won't let you let go. Even when you try to forget about it. Even when you convince yourself there is no way you can afford it. Even when you say this is way out of your league. Yeah, that was the Influence Conference for me. But, like most things God puts on your heart He makes a way for them to happen, so I am super excited to be going to the Influence Conference this year! It's all last minute but it's amazing for me to see how everything has come together in the last day. So, I am linking up to get to know some of the attendees I have the privilege to meet next week!


2 things I'll be sure to have packed in my bag
  • Like so many others I'll be sure to bring a cute notebook and good pens. I am super ocd about pens so it is extra important for me to have a few extras in case I lose them or they run out of ink!
  • Can I say an open mind (I guess I can say anything, it's my blog, right!) But really, this is kinda a huge step for me so that will be a great thing to ave. (Oh, I'll have coffee, snacks, and will have my nalgene on me at all times!)
2 things I am looking forward to
  • Community!!!! Since moving back home one thing I am desperately missing is community and the idea of 2 1/2 days packed with it is super exciting, even if part of me it terrified because I don't know anyone!
  • Learning, or at least beginning to learn, why God wanted me to attend
So, that's it. I'l so excited to meet new people, make new friends, worship, and learn more about what my influence means for the kingdom of God!