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Monday, April 30, 2012

almost another year older...

This week I will be turning a year older, so I have been reflecting a little bit. Don't get me wrong, I am excited about my birthday, but sometimes getting older is hard... I honestly can't even believe that I am about to turn 29!!! My life has just flown by & honestly it's been a blessing from God in every way, even the difficult things! BUT I have found that as time passes, I often judge my self-worth by my lack of accomplishments in life. Sometimes I get caught up in the feeling that I am just getting older & not getting anywhere... Of course, every time I think like that it brings me down so quickly! And it is really sad, because it also discredits what God has done & will do with me. Instead of getting caught up in the worldly views of success, my primary goal should be to please God in all things! So, I am going to be excited about growing older & I am going to thank God for all that He has done & for all that He will do, because He is faithful always! As we all go about our lives, we should always try to remember that self-worth can not be found in this world, because all things of this world will fade away... It is only in Christ that we can truly feel loved & worthy!!  (I read this beautiful blog post today & it encouraged me!)

Anyway, it was a great weekend, filled with a little bit of early birthday celebration with family & a few other fun things! So, here are some snapshots from my weekend...
My favorite breakfast lately... a mini bagel with strawberry cream cheese & chocolate milk!

On Saturday, my church had a ladies tea & the theme was "dolls"... we made & decorated doll cakes for the table center pieces (& for dessert)! They were really fun to make! 

Playing euchre on Sunday afternoon with my mom & grandma! (My sister & I won!!)
We will be going to a Rockies game this week (for my birthday)!! So excited!

& a couple more "golden hour" snapshots! Prettiest time of the day! 

{week eighteen} memory verse...

see my verses from weeks...
one & two  ||  three  ||  four  || five  || six || seven  ||  eight  || nine || ten  || eleven || twelve || thirteen 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

snapshots from my week...

Lately, I have been enjoying my orchid blooms... They are so pretty & I love how long they last!

I just started reading this, again!

Sitting outside, with my hot tea, doing Bible study... it was a perfect morning!

This week, I completed my study on the book of James! I learned so many new things & I was challenged in so many ways. It was a powerful study & I plan to write a special post about it soon...

Here is my cute doggie relaxing after after a typical evening walk... She looks pretty happy!!
Walks are her favorite! Every time she sees tennis shoes going on, she loses it!

The weather has been so much like summer lately! One day this week the high was 91 degrees!!! 
In April??? So crazy! I have definitely been keeping the windows open lately.

This week... I painted my nails with a bold shade of coral & I love it!
I have a feeling I am going to be wearing this color a lot this spring & summer!

Just me... This week I wore shorts & sandals a lot!!

Clearly, I have been enjoying Instagram lately... It's so much fun!!!
My username is sarah_brightside if you'd like to follow along!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

{photography} butterfly on lilacs...


I guess this pretty little butterfly has been enjoying the lilacs too! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

my favorite semi-homemade pizza...

I love homemade pizza & this recipe is a great way to make it easy & fast. Plus it is so good!
 I have tried different toppings, but here is my favorite, so far....

Cast-Iron Skillet Pizza 
with pesto, tomatoes, & feta

You will need...
Pizza Dough (I use store-bought)
Pesto Sauce (I use store-bought)
(Of course, you can make homemade dough & pesto sauce if you'd like!)
Olive Oil
Cloves of Garlic
Roma Tomatoes
Mozzarella Cheese
Feta Cheese
(Also, I would typically put Spinach on it too, but I didn't have any this time...)

To make the pizza...
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. While your oven is heating up, it's important to prepare all of your ingredients. Have your pesto sauce ready. Have your mozzarella & feta ready. Mince a couple of cloves of garlic. Slice 1-2 roma tomatoes. Have any of your desired toppings ready to put on the pizza & sitting right beside the stove. 

Put your cast-iron skillet on the burner & brush it well with olive oil. 
Press the dough flat in the skillet, spreading it to the edges. 

Turn your burner to medium-high heat. The crust will only need to cook on the stove for 3 minutes, so set a timer to help you keep track of time. Once your burner is on, start putting on your toppings, remember you only have 3 minutes, so that is why everything must be ready ahead of time. Start by spreading the pesto sauce evenly. Then scatter the minced garlic & some shredded mozzarella cheese. Place the tomato slices evenly all around the pizza. (Add spinach if you'd like.) Then sprinkle the feta cheese on top. 

Once your topping are on & the 3 minutes are up, carefully put the whole cast-iron skillet into your oven. Allow it to bake for 15-20 minutes. Once the pizza is done, carefully remove the skillet from the oven & let it cool for a few minutes. The skillet will be extremely hot, so be very careful. After a few minutes, you can move the pizza to a cutting board to slice it. Enjoy!

Of course, you can try this same idea with any sauce or toppings that you'd like. What a fun way to experiment with different flavors, it might even be fun to try a dessert pizza this way... Yumm!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

lilacs in bloom, part one...


I feel so blessed to have two beautiful lilac bushes in my yard!
They are so full of flowers right now & I can't get enough of their beauty & scent!
Definitely expect to see even more photos of them soon...

Monday, April 23, 2012

a gluten-free recipe + weekend snapshots...

This was my first attempt at baking gluten free cookies! I think they turned out really good for not having flour in them at all. I was really impressed with the consistency & flavor. Plus, the recipe is super easy!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
{recipe adapted from aspire}
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
Approx. 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the peanut butter and sugar thoroughly in a bowl. Add the egg, baking powder, and vanilla, and mix well. Add in the mini chocolate chips. Roll dough into one inch round balls then lightly coat with sugar. Crisscross them with a fork and bake for thirteen minutes. Allow cookies to cool for a few minutes before moving them from the cookie sheet. 

Snapshots from my weekend...

1. peachy nails: essie "a crewed interest"
2. perfect snack: pistachios & dark chocolate raisinets
3. my brother practicing on his new motorcycle
4. cloud watching
5 + 6. downtown charm
7. playing tennis after church on sunday
8. the weather has been so great lately
9 + 10. sunday dinner & dessert: grilled steak & asparagus & strawberry shortcake

It was a beautiful weekend! :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

{week seventeen} memory verse...

see my verses from weeks...
one & two  ||  three  ||  four  || five  || six || seven  ||  eight  || nine || ten  || eleven || twelve || thirteen 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

life in snapshots, lately...

So, earlier this week I got a new phone! (kind of an early birthday present...) Yay! So, thanks to the new app for androids... I am officially on Instagram!! So exciting!! It is so fun to take & share snapshots this way! My user name on Instagram is sarah_brightside... Of course, I would love to follow you if you are on Instagram! Also, I downloaded the Retro Camera app & I have been having fun with that too! :)
So, here are a few of my snapshots from the last couple days...

This morning I sat outside & worked on Bible study! The amazing scent of lilacs filled the air! There was a breeze, but the sun was warm! I looked up at the bright blue sky, as clouds came in... & I felt so full of hope! I really felt like it all was a gift from God!! There are so many things to be thankful for, even in the midst of a few struggles... My grandpa is currently in the hospital & my aunt is getting ready to start very intense chemo treatments... It's hard sometimes. But I am praying for them a lot & I can feel God's love, hope, peace, & joy ALWAYS!


Monday, April 16, 2012

spring rain & lilacs...

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit."
James 5:18
I love the beauty of a spring rain! There is just something about it that feels magical...
 I love the way rain drops rest on leaves & how it makes everything feel so refreshed. 
 It doesn't usually rain much where I live, but it has rained a few times in the past week.
The land has been so dry & already the rain has helped... that has been such a blessing!
Also, the lilacs are blooming & they are my favorite, so I am especially happy!! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

{week sixteen} memory verse...

see my verses from weeks...
one & two  ||  three  ||  four  || five  || six || seven  ||  eight  || nine || ten  || eleven || twelve || thirteen 

Friday, April 13, 2012

DIY dip-dyed t-shirt + a few snapshots...

I am so excited to share about this new dip-dyed t-shirt that I recently made! My favorite thing to wear is jeans & a t-shirt... So, I figured that this "DIY" would be a great way to make a plain t-shirt really fun & cute! I really enjoyed doing this project & I love the way my new shirt turned out! 
I am already excited to do it again, with other colors! :)
How I did it...
So, I bought a plain white t-shirt (cotton/ployester blend) & a bottle of Rit dye in "sunshine orange". I used a big, deep stainless steel lid to mix the dye & it was the perfect size. You can use a plastic storage tub or whatever you can find that will be big enough for the the shirt to be dipped into. To mix the dye, I followed the directions on the bottle. Directions may vary depending on the brand of dye you use. 

Once the dye was ready, I wet down my shirt with warm water. I put the shirt on a hanger to help keep it straight as I dipped it into the dye. The first dip went up to the highest place that I wanted the color to go & then I pulled it out of the dye right away, because this is the lightest shade. The next dip was halfway up & I left it in the dye for 3-4 minutes. The final dip for the bottom was the darkest shade of the shirt, so I left it in for 5-6 minutes. I wanted my color gradation to be subtle & well blended, so that's how I did it! You can play around with it depending on what you want your shirt to look like. If you want it darker you just need to leave it in the dye for longer. 

After I finished dying it, I hung it outside on a clothes line to let it dry & let the color soak in. You can lay it flat if you'd like. Once my shirt was dry, I washed it in warm water, with a little bit of detergent. If you use a washing machine, it is important that you wash it alone or with dark colors, because the dye will bleed on to other light clothes. 

(For more specific instructions refer to the tutorial on Wit & Whistle...)

Also, while I was at it, I dip-dyed a couple of canvas tote bags too!
They turned out great! So, I put one in my shop!!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
& Here are a few snapshots from lately...
Yesterday, I went to lunch with my mom & sister to our favorite pizza place, Bambinos! They have a lunch buffet, with several different kinds of pizza, pasta & dessert pizza. It is all so amazing!! It's a good thing I don't go their very often... ha!

We also went shopping at Super Target, which I always love! My sister got me that Essie polish for an early birthday present... Yay! We also had to get some of their Peach Pear Italian Soda, love it!!

That mountain view is of Pikes Peak & it's actually from the restaurant window. So beautiful!

& The last picture is what I have written from the book of James, for Beth Moore's study Mercy Triumphs!
I am writing out chapter 5 right now, so I am almost finished! I have never written out a whole book of the Bible before, but I have really enjoyed doing it. Of course, I used multi-colored pens!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

{photography} spring tulips...

Nothing says spring like pretty pink tulips!