25 Days of Advent Bible Reading

Happy December 1st.  Join with me in reading through the Scriptures as we celebrate the arrival of Christ’s birth and also long for the arrival of his 2nd coming one day.

Below is my 2017 Advent calendar to read through a passage of Scripture each day until Christmas. I included a combination of both the traditional Christmas passages and some passages that reminded me of the God we long for, long to be with, and long to come soon.

 

2017 Advent calendarAdvent Calendar Printable 2017

  1. Friday December 1st Luke 2:1-7
  2. Saturday December 2nd Psalm 84:1-5
  3. Sunday December 3rd Psalm 84:10-12
  4. Monday December 4th Luke 2:8-21
  5. Tuesday December 5th Luke 1:8-17
  6. Wednesday December 6th Luke 1:18-25
  7. Thursday December 7th Luke 1:26-38
  8. Friday December  8th Luke 1:39-45 
  9. Saturday December 9th Luke 1:46-56
  10. Sunday December 10th Luke 1:57-66 
  11. Monday December 11th Luke 1:67-80
  12. Tuesday December 12th Revelation 22:16-17;20-21
  13. Wednesday December 13th Matthew 1:1-17
  14. Thursday December 14th Matthew 1:18-25
  15. Friday December 15th Matthew 2:1-12
  16. Saturday December 16th Matthew 2:13-15
  17. Sunday December 17th Matthew 2:16-23
  18. Monday December 18th Jeremiah 29:11-14
  19. Tuesday December 19th Isaiah 52:6-10
  20. Wednesday December 20th Isaiah 40:1-5
  21. Thursday December 21st Mark 1:1-7
  22. Friday December 22nd John 1:14-18
  23. Saturday December 23rd Jeremiah 33:14-17
  24. Sunday December 24th Philippians 1:3-11
  25. Monday December 25th Isaiah 9:6-7

 

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Date night under $25-Game Night

Looking for a date night under $25?  Try a game night.  Check out my YouTube video below to see our top 5 favorite games under $20.

Game night is such a fun way to spend together.  You can have a double date, or include family and friends as well.  We often will purchase a new game and then use our leftover money for a dessert or cheap movie from the $3-5 bins at Target.

Right now you can get these games on Amazon Prime for a great price with the Black Friday sales going on.  Check out my affiliate links below.

Bang card game
$19.99
Code Names
$14.58 normally 19.95
Monopoly deal
$4.99 normally 8.99-9.89
Quixx
$6.54 normally 11.99
Bicycle cards
$5.59

Have fun, be creative-and don’t stop dating each other!

Got any other games you love?  Comment below and share!

A Word to Encourage

Check out my other blog here, for a devotional from guest, and my hubby, Jordan DeGraaf!

Monday Morning Manna

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Read Ephesians 3:14-21

Good morning and happy Monday!  Today, my hubby, Jordan, is sharing a word from his heart with you about encouragement.  As one of the least negative people I have ever met, I hope you enjoy hearing what he has to share, as much as I do!

Have you ever had someone encourage you? Doesn’t it feel good? Doesn’t encouragement just lift your spirits and give you confidence in who you are? Encouragement can be absolutely life giving when spoken at the right time to someone who may be going through a low point in their life.

I had a friend in college who I looked up to. One day, this friend recognized that I needed a word of encouragement. He said a few inspiring words and then prayed Ephesians 3:14-21 over me out loud. He placed his hands on my shoulders and quoted scripture back to God…

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Taking Matters Out of Our Own Hands

Check out my other blog this morning!

Monday Morning Manna

Taking Matters Ouf of Our Own Hands

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
Proverbs 14:12

“in their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Have you ever felt or rightfully been wronged by someone?  Have you ever acted on that feeling and tried to make things right in your own timing and way?  How did that go?  Did you truly end up resolving anything?  If we’re honest, we’ve all been there in one way or another.  As humans we try to label things quickly as right or wrong, black and white.  We act as judge.  We decide the verdict and try to enact it, but more often than not, when we act out of anger, spite, or out of revenge, we only make things worse.

Read Judges 18-21

The book of Judges is full of incidents just like these…

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The Battle is the Lord’s

Monday Morning Manna

sword“…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Isreal and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear.  For the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.” 1 Samuel 17:46b-47

Read 1 Samuel 17

The story of David and Goliath-ahh, such a well known children’s story.  Most people, regardless of religious background, know the general setting and characters of this story. David, a young boy, kills a giant with a sling shot-pretty epic!  But there’s so much more to this story that makes it rich and amazing. Let’s take a look.

To begin, the Philistines have been bullying Israel for a while, and here they are again. Israel is now faced with yet another threat, a challenge for a throw down between two men.

Israelite man verses giant.

The stakes are high.

Winner takes…

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Fall Date Idea Under $25 -Apple Picking

Happy fall y’all!

apples

My hubby and I wanted to take advantage of a gorgeous fall afternoon.  Our morning plans had not turned out exactly as we had wished, but we wanted to make the most of a day off together. We’ve been married now for just over 4 years, and we believe that continued dating in marriage is so important!  We budget $25 each week for dating, and this challenge has fostered so much creativity as we believe we can have fun without breaking the bank!  And we believe you can too!  This particular afternoon, we regrouped from our crazy morning, talked about what we might want to do, sent out a text to a couple of friends, headed out to lunch, and then the it was off to the apple orchard.

Planning ahead

We looked up local orchards in our area already, but called a second time to verify prices and options of activities available.  Different orchards or pumpkin patches have a variety of activities for the whole family.  There’s apple picking, cider donuts, wineries, cider, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hay rides, and kid friendly festivities or versions of the aforementioned activities.  We had two orchards fairly close to our house, but one orchard charged quite a bit, as it was for a package of activities we were not interested in doing all of them.  We asked if they could adjust prices for only certain activities, but they weren’t able to and that was ok, but it never hurts to ask.  They did have cheeper prices on week days, but the hours and timing of those had been difficult to align with our schedule. So weekend and the higher weekend prices were what we had to work with so we did.

Budget Tip: Different activities and companies often have days, happy hours, specials etc, in which prices are lower, when possible, try to plan ahead and take advantage of those times-this is usually what we do, but as mentioned, it doesn’t always work out and that’s ok.  I almost got discouraged and decided to wait, but we didn’t and I’m so happy I just sucked it up.

Off to the Orchard

In the end we wound up going with the other apple orchard, where we could pay per activity and only purchase the ones we wanted.  For us, we had a goal-apple picking. I had never gone apple picking before, and that was on my fall goal’s list. So that’s what we went in determined to do.  For a link to the orchard we went to see below.

Planning things with other friends is something we really enjoy.  It keeps things fun and helps us each to be more open to ideas when we go out.  Our friends met us there, and they of course wanted some cider donuts.  We stood in the line with them, which was pretty insane-people in the midwest are pretty serious about their cider donuts.  And in the end, the hubs wanted some too so we added those to the budget adding up to about $2 or so!

Apple picking

Next up was apple picking.  To pick a bag full of apples cost a mere $15!  We split the cost with the couple we went with so it only ended up being $7.50 for each couple.  That sounded pricey until we saw how many apples we still each took home!  Then when we tasted the apples later, I was reassured that store apples and prices didn’t compare-well worth the money!  They were delicious.  (Check online before you go for the dates that apple picking is open in your area, for this orchard they posted online that October was their last week this year.)

apple picking 2017

Last Stop…

Last stop was a corn maze.  Another good ole’ fashioned fun fall activity.  Once again, if you’re in the midwest, or have a corn maze available in your area we love taking advantage.  We’ve moved a lot and when we lived in Florida and Colorado this was not maybe as readily available. That’s ok, celebrate the place you live, or if you’re planning a trip look ahead at what local things you can explore.  There are different types of corn mazes, but no we didn’t do a haunted corn maze where people chase you around at night, we did the regular one and it was still fun.  They even have a cute little design that they use as the layout, this year was Curious George-well that’s what it looked like to me anyways-see for yourself!

corn maze 2017

We went in the October, the regular fall season; for two adults this cost us $14 total.  But if you go now in November they have a discounted price of only $5 per person!

Grand Total

All in all it was a great day, we got to pick some apples, sample some yummy made in house donuts, and navigate a corn maze all for a whopping total of $23.50!  You don’t have to do all of these activities at once.  You could break up a few different parts of this to do over a couple weekends throughout the fall, or spend a good part of your afternoon there like we did and hit them all-it’s really up to you.  We believe that dating is so important and should be fun, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Hope you can have a fun apple picking or festive fall date soon!  Comment below if you’ve ever been to Robinette’s apple orchard.  What are some of your favorite things to do?  Tried out this idea? Post a pic of you and your family or date below to share, and don’t forget to tag me on instagram at Kenzieclaire47.

Favorite Pins Week 4

Well first things first…I know it has been quite some time once again since the repining session I had around Thanksgiving but I will try to make up for it.  Due to our recent move from Florida to Colorado, I have been busy making many Pinterest creations myself.  Trying some out to help you know whether these are worth trying or not.  Well let me tell you here are some good ones.

This week for food we have been super busy trying lots of smoothies along with homemade ice-cream and edible cookie dough!

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 9.02.13 PM   So of course if I tell you I made edible cookie dough it would be mean not to start with that one.  The recipe above is from the Simplistic Baker and the whole recipe is for not just the cookie dough, but the icecream too and what if I told you they were bot vegan!!  We still made our dough with a little butter but it was great, my husband can’t get enough!

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 3.26.14 PM Now to keep the ice cream and lactose free train going we also made some mint chip ice-cream with dairy free chocolate chips from Whole Foods and we used Almond milk for the base.  I was a little skeptical that this would make ice-cream not having a very “fatty” base like cream or coconut milk, but it turned out great, just popped in the ice-cream maker for a little while!  Yummy-Preferance I think I added a little more peppermint and I would even add a little more in mine next time.

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 8.40.28 PM    Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 8.40.29 PM Here we have two great smoothies from Averie Cooks blog and boy were they yummy.  My husband Jordan had the peanut butter chocolate and I made the Skinny Pinnacolata.  If you want a drink that is pretty healthy (only frozen fruit and coconut extract) then you have to try this!  Tasted just like a pinnacolata.  I added a couple frozen strawberries to mine and unless you want it super thick it took quite a bit of milk.

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Last, but certainly not least was this smoothie. Now I had pinned this a while ago, but wasn’t brave enough to try it for some time due to the fact that it’s green color truly does come from…avacado!  But, if you are a mint fan (mint chip ice-cream, or mint shakes) this is awesome!  The vanilla extract takes away pretty much all avocado flavor, this to be honest, would be a drink you could make for your guests and then ask them to guess the secret ingredient-it’s that good! My dad loves the Shamrock shake and I can’t wait to make it for him.  So much healthier!

Now if you like avocado here was another thing I experimented with this week….Avacado hair repair.

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Moving up here to Denver-which is actually technically a desert- my hair and body were feeling a little, well dry, so I decided to give this a go. I made the green avocado goop-it really is gross and goopy, and smashed it up and slathered it on.  A couple of tips when doing this

1. I recommend doing this right before showering when you can lock yourself in the bathroom and paint your toenails for the 15 mins you let it sit, because you will want to strip down and you won’t really want to get it on your clothes.

2.  Really use a blender or food processor to mix (I mixed by hand with a spoon), unless you want junks of avocado in your hair and drain…oops!

3. If you really don’t like the smell of avocado this one might not be for you.  The smell gets pretty strong.

4.  If applying this yourself, which I did, it helped to lean my head over the bathroom sink and kind of work it in from back-underneath part of my hair to the top and then secure it up on my head with a hair tie for the 15 mins.

All in all my hair has felt soft and shiny and I got compliments on my hair two days in a row by complete strangers!

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After all that.. here are some cute braids I tried. The crown braids below were fun.

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 4.21.55 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-17 at 4.21.49 PM

Now I mentioned we moved so I took on Pinterest for some inspiration.  The shot on the left is my creation and the right is the Pin that inspired them.

Coffee Bars

Inspiration (left)  Ours (right)

  Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 8.42.28 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 8.43.20 PM

 

Bedroom in White

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 8.43.02 PM  Inspiration (left)

Ours (right)

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Hope you get as much inspiration as we did.  Remember your creations don’t have to be exact replicas of things on pinterest, be creative and happy pinning!

Thanksgiving Week Pins!

Thanksgiving was a busy week for me.  Lots of pinning ahead of time saved me time packing and cooking while my husband and I went to Chicago to visit my parents for Thanksgiving.  I went a little overboard this week trying new things and recipes and it was sure fun.

First off the food!

Thanksgiving day happened to also be my best friend’s bday so what better way to start off the day then by surprising her with a birthday cake at 9:30 in the morning!!  I made this Oreo Pudding Poke cake for her, and it was yummy!  Instead of Oreos on top I crushed her favorite candy, Heath, and sprinkled this on instead-I think it was a win win.

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Next we made an old favorite dish of many yet new to my family, good ole’ Sweet Potatoe Casserole.  Topped ours with marshmallows and pecans.  Even for the picky eaters it was a success at our table.     Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 6.15.55 PM

And last food pin I have to share this week is this sugar cookie recipe idea.  We did ours in Red and white like a candy cane, and sprinkled them after slicing.  Very cool look, but a little tricky to cut and to keep the roll together, we used our own sugar cookie recipe though so that may have had an impact.  Still very fun.                                  Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 6.16.07 PM

Now on to the clothes!

To make packing easy-because I hate packing and planning what to wear, I just went to my Pinterest board and picked out 7 cute outfits that could be a mix and match of things I already owned.  So I did!  Since I needed to pack light I picked outfits where I could wear the same jeans twice, the same button down denim twice under different sweaters, little tricks like that to cut down on packing space.

Both of the outfits below had jeans, and you can wear the sweater on the right with the blazer outfit below.

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Both of these outfits had a button down denim underneath.

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This outfit was a cute stand alone that I wore boots with from the first outfit.  Also allowed me to pack leggings to mix and match.

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The final two both have a dark jean.

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Had a blast creating things and cooking this week.  Hope you stay bundled up and stay creative this winter! Happy pinning!

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Freshly Pinned-Week 2

So I am a little behind on my weekly pins, so I thought I would share a couple extra this week.  Now remember, I’m posting these because I have tried these pins out myself and I think they are awesome, and they gave me inspiration to actually try something new.  So now I challenge you, be creative, do something new this week!

First things first, we have mini corn dogs.  These were a lunchtime favorite for my husband and I.  So warm and crunchy, and golden.  They made you feel like you were right at the fair.  Plus a great fun lunch for kids.  Who doesn’t want to make their own mini corn dogs?

corn dog

Next we have a fishtail braid.  Now I did my fishtail to the side of my head recently, but I think this pic is beautiful too.  Can’t say this exact pin was my inspiration, but it’s a beautiful braid and I have loved wearing it lately.

hair 2

Next we have a flapper girl, “Bob,” style hair do.  This past week we went to a 1920s murder mystery party.  I tried this hair style out and you can see for yourself, it turned out really great on my long hair.

hair      me

And lastly, but certainly not least, one of the best chili recipes I’ve ever eaten!!  We followed this recipe very close, simply substituting ground turkey for ground beef and used kidney beans and chili beans.  We topped it with a little cheese and sour cream (not too much we try to eat little dairy) and scooped up mouthfuls of yummy, hearty, meaty chili with corn chips!  A must try for a “chilly” fall or winter day.

chili

Click on these pins and follow me on Pinterest!  Hope you try something new this week!  Happy Pinning.

Weekly pins!

As promised here are my fave pins from last week!

sweet potato fries  This pin was a great find!  Sweet potatoes seemed very hard to cut, but the fries were so tender, sweet and great with our meal!

bbq wraps This was also a great idea!  These Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken Bites, go great as a main course or an appetizer.  They needed no dipping sauce, loved them as is.

haireLastly, I had to try something new!  This cute hairstyle has a lot of flair!  If you have long hair like me this is a great style for lifting your hair off your neck and it’s light weight, no hair bouncing around, no weight of a bun.  The hair is nicely pin over the whole head.

Check these out on my pinterest page under my Fave Weekly Pins board!