Banana Nut Bread

Source: Google
I love banana nut bread. It’s a wonderful fall breakfast. My friend, Beth, has the best recipe from her family cookbook. Don’t you love those? Anyway, over the weekend I made two loaves and thought it was too yummy not to share. 
Ingredients:
3 c. plain flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp.  cinnamon
1 c. nuts
3 eggs, beaten
1 ½ c. oil
2 c. mashed bananas
8 oz. can crushed pineapple
2 tsp. vanilla
Method:
Mix ingredients well. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Enjoy! 

Thriller Weekend {Beware-Scary Zombie Pic}

This weekend I channeled my inner Michael Jackson and participated in the annual Thriller Parade downtown Lexington. Normally, I am terrified of public appearances but this year, I pushed those emotions aside and signed up to participate.

Over the course of the month, I’ve attended practices and learned the routine. The folks organizing the event made it very easy to learn and reminded us, “once Michael gets out there, no one cares about you!” That helped quell my fears and helped me enjoy the journey more.

In order to get ready for my zombie venture, I also had to figure out my costume. I elected to be a nurse zombie as my friend was a zombie doctor. I had a pair of scrubs donated to me by a friend and purchased a five dollar zombie make-up kit from Target. In order to create the look, I watched this video online to get some tips.

The event took place on Main Street with 1200 zombie participants. My group performed seven times as we were in the back of the parade. We had a blast!

(Source: Kentucky.com)

Although, it seems spooky, the event really is fun! I love community driven activities and this one certainly draws a crowd. I mean everyone loves Michael Jackson, just sayin’. 

{Make Me Productive} The Pomodoro Technique

When I was single, I lived in a one bedroom apartment and when I would clean each week, I would set the oven time and “get stuff done”. I would blast music and speed clean. By using the timer, I felt more focused and remembered there was an end in sight. J often reminds me about the “apartment timer” when I get overwhelmed. 
Lucky for me, I found a new timer a few weeks ago and have been introducing it into my personal and professional life, slowly.

The Pomodoro Technique works because its foundation is simple. You set a timer for twenty-five minutes, focus on a task, receive a five minute break and keep cycling through until your task is complete. Also, after two hours of focused work, you reward yourself with a longer break to avoid burn-out. I’ve completed 24 Pomodoros in the past two weeks and have felt overall more productive. 

When researching the Pomodoro Technique, a few comments stood out to me:
 A geek with a hat says, forcing yourself to stay focused is hard but rewarding yourself for breaks helps you keep your stamina.

Real Talk: Yes, it’s hard to break away when you are in the zone…. but when you push too hard, the burnout will getcha! 
 Life Hack says, with large and varied tasks, you can crank through your work with a focus that allows you from fizzling out and getting frustrated.

Real Talk: When doing homework, I often need a break from becoming completely brain dead. A twitter check in sesh, is often just the boost I need to keep truckin’! 
Wall Street Journal says, it’s simplicity is deceptive.

Real Talk:  I tend to over-complicate life and a simple timer worked for me in the past and it’s proving successful now.

Overall, if you are looking for a way to maximize your productivity without
over-complicating your already chaotic life, Pomodoro is for you! I realize I sound like an infomercial but I really have found this method to be useful. Try it out for yourself, oh yeah and there’s a free iphone app.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies– EASY

Wanna jump on the pumpkin bandwagon and make a yummy dessert that is sure to be a crowd pleaser?!? You should.
Source: Instructables
Ingredients:

15 oz can of pumpkin
1 box of spice cake
1 bag of chocolate chips
Method:

Mix ingredients.
Use a tablespoon and scoop out cookies. 
(Tip: they don’t spread much but large scoops will take larger to bake!)
Bake 350 for 25 minutes.
Seriously, this recipe is scary easy and sinfully delicious! 

Enjoy! 

Fall Photos.

As a couple we stink at taking photos! Even though we are often well intentioned, we forget our camera or our cell phone dies. Because of our neglectful nature, this weekend we decided to have our good friend, Josh, take some shots for us so we can remember this place in our lives. We chose to use nature as our backdrop and spent Saturday morning at our family farm.
I am so pleased with how well these photos turned out and am excited to share a few of my favorites with you….

Fall Decorating on a Dime.

I love fall. It is my favorite season. I love the vibrant colors, the crisp air and the delicious fragrance that radiates throughout the season. Because of my love affair with fall, I often struggle when decorating our home. Mostly because I have the desire to spends loads of money and go over the top. However, I’m learning to restrain myself and embrace the mantra “less is more”.

Just like most seasons, when I start decorating our home, I break out a plastic tub from the attic and sort through the “oldies but goodies.” My favorite piece from last year is this Autumn Wreath. Not only did I make it but the colors scream harvest to me.  

Another “oldie but goodie” is our hocus pocus garden flag. I found this cool guy at a boutique several years ago in the spring on a clearance rack. (Never underestimate the power of shopping off season.) It’s been a fall favorite for many years!

Once I’ve scattered pumpkins and other various items from our tub, I make a quick list of items for purchase. This year, I knew we needed some mums and pumpkins on the front porch. When I picked them up from Kroger and arranged the cuties on the porch, they felt plain. I added burlap to the black mum pots for a more harvest feel. Burlap is normally a cheap way to spruce up your décor so I was thrilled to find it on sale at JoAnn’s Fabric for $3 a yard. 

Of course when you go into JoAnn’s you can’t just grab one item and leave so I also purchased a bag of mini pumpkins and gourds to scatter along the mantle. This also was relatively inexpensive at a low price for $3.  I was pleased with the outcome because it added a bit more dimension to the mantle. 

Overall, I spent around $30 and was able to achieve the perfect fall look for our home. Decorating your home doesn’t have to break the bank. What inexpensive ways have you been decorating your home for fall? I’d love to hear your ideas. 

Lords Legacy Life Ministries: Celebration Baptism

This weekend, I had the absolute pleasure of watching several of my dearest friends and sister get baptized.
My family ministry, Lord’s Legacy Life Ministries, hosted a Celebration Baptism event in order to provide individuals with mental and physical disabilities with the opportunity to be baptized. You see, many individuals with special needs are never offered water baptism because local churches do not have adaptive equipment and cannot submerge them safely.

(For more information about the event and extra tugs on your heart strings, please watch both of the videos!)

Several months prior to the event, the Lord set a burning desire into my mother’s heart. She believes every individual that chooses to serve Jesus has the right to a water baptism and wanted to help them outwardly express his or her commitment to our almighty God. Therefore, she purchased a lift to allow wheelchair bound individuals to safely be baptized in a traditional baptismal.  With the support of the ministries staff, client families and local church, the event went off without a hitch.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqobIxe-CmA?fs=1]

We started with a brief introduction from my mom and sister, Dawn. Pastor Mark Keene gave a quick devotional and the administrative staff of Lord’s Legacy led praise and worship (they had NEVER practiced before yesterday. They are crazy talented!). Following worship, mom and Pastor Mark climbed in the baptismal and got down to business. I am 100% sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Dawn, my sister, was the first of be baptized. After all, the whole vision of our ministry came from our lives crossing paths and the Lord showing us his unfailing love and patience through her. 
Then dear Georgie, he brought his most prized possessions, Bert and Ernie to watch him be baptized. After he was baptized, he yelled, “I DID IT!” Everyone cheered. 


Next up was Mr. Bobby. He’s always the life of the party and really a cool dude. He walked into the baptismal with ease and came out with a fist pump! 

Following Dawn’s baptism, this was the most precious. This young lady (she’s 53 with the innocence of a five year old), Sabrina, who is also Dawn’s roommate and the keeper of my heart, was all smiles yesterday. She cried tears of joy for most of the day and then told me this morning it was the “best day of her life”. 
Miss Ashley used Saturday as an opportunity to rededicate her life and finally be water baptized. She squealed with delight after her baptism and praised God all afternoon.
The last gal to be baptized was Belinda. She came to the event via word of mouth. Her sister and case manager brought her from a town an hour away, to worship with people she had never met, all because she had the desire to be baptized. It was a true honor to get to serve her in such a beautiful way!
After all the baptisms, we hosted a beautiful reception and of course had cake…
Balloons were released in the honor of the participants and their families. 
Words cannot describe the joy I felt by simply having the chance to be a part of something so HUGE. The barriers of adversity were broken down and everyone worshipped in such a beautiful way; it was simply breathtaking. 
I am so proud of my mama and her obedient heart. I am amazed by her staff and the families of the individuals in which we serve. I am utterly astonished by the uninhibited and precious way these individuals serve our Lord. I pray that I never forget the way I felt and the beauty that I saw as Saturday will go down in history as one of the greatest days of my life.