Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Review: The Book Thief

I just finished a book called The Book Thief and wanted to share my thoughts with you about this incredible book.

First of all, you should definitely read it.
I cried like a baby at the end of it, so tissues are necessary.

The book takes place during World War II in Nazi, Germany.
The narrator is surprisingly Death.

He tells of the tale of Liesel Meminger.
One of her best friends is a Jew.
Her papa teaches her how to read and write. 
Rudy helps her with her thievery.
Her world is shaped by the war.


All these played an important role in her life. 

Even with realizing the pain of war, her courage and strength never seemed to cease.

Words are used powerfully in this book and the imagery is amazing. 

The words she wrote saved her life.

I highly recommend it. 
It has become one of my favorite books. 


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pumpkin Bars and Frosting

This is a family recipe that my grandma has made for years.
I wanted to share it with you, because it has always been a request.
I baked this for a baking sale once at school and it was an instant hit.

Houts' Family Pumpkin Bars Recipe

Prep Time:
20-25 minutes
pre-heat oven 325 degrees
Pumpkin Bars
1/2 cup of margarine
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. of vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup of Libby Pumpkin Pie Mix for 9 inch pie
1 cup of flour
1 tsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp. of backing soda
1 tsp. of cinnamon
1/4 tsp. of salt
3/4 stick of butter
Philadelphia Cream Cheese (6 oz.)
1 3/4 cup of 10x Powdered Sugar (Confectioners Sugar)
1 tsp. of vanilla
Add margarine, sugar, light brown sugar, and vanilla in large bowl
Add eggs and pumpkin pie mix.
Add flour, backing powder, backing soda, cinnamon, and salt. 
Grease and flour pan.
Put in 325 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
While backing, make frosting.
Add milk if it seems to0 thick.
Take pumpkin bars out of oven to cool.
Patiently wait for bars to be cooled before icing.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Becoming Graceful


What a lovely word.
Small, yet meaningful.
Gentle, yet provides sanctuary.

A dear friend of mine gave me this book, a book about grace, need and trust in the Lord.


Life is unfortunately full of ungraceful moments. 

We are so focused on getting people to like us and be pleased with us, we don't really know who we are, and nobody else does either
- Emily Freeman 

I am a
  rule follower.
 people pleaser.

I struggle with high expectations.
Not from others, but from myself.

Being good is not a bad thing.
Being good won't bring me to salvation either.

How can I live fully when I long to just be accepted?

I hide behind a mask that is so beautifully made that I often deceive myself.

Who I am?
What defines me?
What completely terrifies me?


I run away from these things by becoming that people pleaser, that perfectionist.  

Life is all about running to Someone.

Instead of feeling like the doloved, begin feeling like the beloved.
(I love how Emily Freeman used this)

I do not need to care so much about being good.
I do need to care about how He can remake me. 
My imperfections and brokenness can become beautiful. 

He knows me.
Simply me. 

Can I trust Him to define me? 

He is good. 
He can transform me into becoming graceful. 

"You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance."
Psalm 32:7

(Graceful and Grace for the Good Girl

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Built with Love

This is my Love shelf.

I found it on Pinterest and instantly fell in love.
We changed up the dimensions a bit, because the one I found was like a five foot shelf and I just wanted one to hang on my wall. 

Isn't it precious?

My dad definitely won the "Best Dad" award on this one.
It was actually super fun and easy building this with him.
We are coming up with some more things to build, so stay tuned! 


(Be careful, power tools are required)


What You Need:
One untreated 8 foot 1x4 piece of wood
(we bought two just in case)
Packet of 1-5/8 inch Coarse Drywall Screws
Power Saw
Tape Ruler
Safe, clean area to work at.

Cut the Following Pieces From Board:
4 pieces of wood 6.75 inches 
1 piece of wood 12 inches 
2 pieces of wood 7.5 inches
2 pieces of wood 7.75 inches at the angle 30 degrees
(this is for the V)
1 piece of wood 9.5 inches
1 piece of wood 3.125 inches
(crazy, I know)

This is how it should look, paint whatever color you desire!

To support on the wall, I used four 3x3/4 inch Corner Braces.
We may go back and add more for support.
Use to support key weight points.

It is pretty sturdy, just keep an eye on it for a few days.
I have some books on it, but also just little things too.

I absolutely love it, and I know you will too!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Challenge Accepted: Part 2

Since January 1st,  I have lost six pounds.

I am pretty happy with my results so far.
I still have 8-10 more pounds to go, but it really is getting a lot easier.

This post isn't to brag about what I have accomplished, it is to encourage you to keep going.

It is a 
s l o w 

It is kind of ridiculous, but oh my goodness it is so worth it.

I feel so much healthier already.

Last weekend I was able to run six miles with my dad.
This weekend we are running about seven.
My body just feels more energized and ready to get in shape.

I am really excited to see what type of results are in store! 

Keep up the good work!

I promise, staying healthy and getting in shape is a goal we should all strive for. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fitness Gear

What nice, crazy weather we are having.
One day its about 8 degrees outside and then today, it's about well 60 degrees.
All in the span of one week.
Welcome to Alabama, y'all.

With this crazy weather, it is extremely important that you are well-suited to complete your fitness needs. 
I am going to share a few of my favorite items with you that help me prepare for that half-marathon coming up!
(That sticker is calling my name)

Honestly, you could probably buy all these items at Walmart.
(I did)
It is a ton cheaper, but I still put the links for the fancy gear.
I forgot to mention socks too.
Socks are so important. I never knew that, but once I was running a long distance and my foot actually fell asleep cause my socks and shoes were too tight.

You almost want to buy a little bit of a size larger because your feet do swell.

I hope this helps you out with your workout routine!

Stay warm and keep moving!!

Thursday, January 09, 2014


Around New Years everyone is talking about their resolutions, their big dreams for this coming year. 
I do the same. I am working out, eating healthier, sleeping more, reading more--I have those goals also. 

But how many of those goals, those beautiful dreams slowly disappear?

If you haven't noticed by now I love dreaming big.
(Probably comes from my love of Disney movies)

Some of my dreams are too big for this world, but the God I serve is bigger than this world.

Trouble? I think not.

So many of our dreams we casually push aside.
We simply believe we can't do it.
That's just the thing, we. me. you. I. 

I am not God. 

It's okay to dream big and to have goals, but they will disappear if we rely on only ourselves.

Some dreams are not meant to come true, but just think, if a God could create such a beautiful world--what could He do with your life? 

Pray. Read. Live. 

In 2014, don't just have resolutions or dreams that will drift away.
Grab a hold of those dreams and pray to God that those dreams will become even bigger than you ever could imagine. Use those dreams you have to help further God's kingdom.

Not by your own doing, but by the Creator who is the giver of all dreams. 

"Never allow the wonder of things God does through you to upstage the miracle God has done in you."

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Challenge Accepted: Part 1

Wasn't Christmas just marvelous? 
Full of love and thanksgiving.
Precious memories spent with families and friends.
But with those special memories, food is always involved.
I don't know about you, but I had my fair share of sweets and Grandma's good cooking.
So, it's time to get to work.

Wonder where that is?

My dad and I are having a little friendly competition. 
I have 3 months to lose 14 pounds and my dad is losing about 25. 

Losing weight is super tricky and takes a lot of dedication. 
It's more than just eating better, exercise plays a major role.

My diet started this past Sunday. 
I eat under 1,500 calories (which really isn't bad) and with the help of this app it really helps me calculate everything I consume. 

Check it out!

The reason my dad and I are losing so much weight is because at the end of March we will be running our first half marathon (I really want that sticker)!! 

To help with running (besides music of course) is this really great app my friend showed me. It calculates how much I have ran, the speed, where I went and a lot more!

Probably the greatest ever.

The first couple of days were rough, I have to give it that.
But seriously, after the third day my body had adjusted and I wasn't as hungry anymore.
The key is to eat healthy and that is different for everyone.
Eat whole foods, no carbonated drinks or sweets, and lots of protein. 

I love feeling sore. It's a strange obsession I have. 
But, like I said earlier, eating habits are different for everyone and that's the same with working out.
There is a huge difference between being sore and hurting yourself.

I have developed my own workout plan, and so do you.
There are so many websites available that will help you figure out what's best for you. 

I can definitely later on post what I have been doing, and the results I have been getting!

Don't give up. 
That's the key.
It will be so worth it in the long run.