Monday, October 29, 2012

My Favorite Vegan Snack & Giveaway Winner Announced!

I’m sitting here at my computer typing as fast as my fingers will let me – hoping I can get this post finished before we lose power!  You maaaay have heard of a little storm named Hurricane Sandy.  Yup, we’re living it right now!  Connecticut is currently getting tons of wind and rain.  Two of my good friends have already been without power for several hours.  Last year with Hurricane Irene, we lost power for 5 days.  It was no picnic, let me tell you.  I’m praying that God keeps it on for us this time!

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to show you this snack for months – but I keep forgetting to take a picture for you!  It’s the easiest snack ever, and it’s clean, and it’s vegan.  YAY!!! :)  The main ingredient is chickpeas - you might have a mental image of chickpeas in your head from salad bars at restaurants…chalky and icky.  These are nothing like what you’re used to, I promise!

Seriously, I almost considered calling these “crackpeas” as a joke because they are just that addicting.  Once you start, you can’t stop.  {Although take it from me – you’re gonna want to pace yourself with these puppies.  I mean, they’re beans.  Think that one through with me, people.  lol}


Roasted Chickpeas

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Open one can of chickpeas, rinse, and pat dry.  (This really helps them not to smoke in the oven.)  Dump onto a cookie sheet and douse with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Flip around with a spatula (pancake flipper) to incorporate.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown (they’ll crack open a little bit, and that’s normal).  Allow to cool slightly and add more salt and pepper if desired. 

These come out with such a meaty, savory taste.  They make such a yummy topping for salads or can be eaten by the handful plain, as well. 

Seriously, don’t knock them ‘til you try them!  And try not to eat the whole pan.  I dare you. ;)


The winner of the Mimi and Chip giveaway, chosen by Rafflecopter, was Amy of The Blessed Mom!  Congratulations, Amy!!!!!  Send me your mailing info to blessedlifeblog{at}gmail{dot}com and I’ll pass it on to Megan! :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mimi & Chip Giveaway!

I am just SO excited about tonight’s giveaway!  :)

Megan Zellner is a former family and consumer science teacher who started her at-home business, Mimi & Chip, after deciding to stay home with her two kids (I love that – maybe because it’s like me?  lol).  She offers THE MOST ADORABLE products via her Facebook store…have a look at some of my favorites:

Adorable bags (I want one in every color!)…


Ridiculously cute shirts…


Sweet little aprons (for big and little cooks!)


Super cute makeup bags…


And SO much more! 


Megan sent me THE most adorable onesie for little Miss Olivia!  She let me pick out the fabric and the style and it’s my girl’s first personalized piece of clothing!  I am more than a little bit in love with it. :)

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(My camera is terrible but it’s actually a soft baby pink.  Love!)

I can attest that the quality is outstanding and Megan was a pleasure to work with.  She was super friendly and accommodating and my shirt shipped in no time! 


Lucky for you all, she’s giving away an initial shirt to one of YOU! :)

There’s three ways to enter – the first is mandatory and the other two are extra entries.  Since Megan’s Facebook page is how she operates her business, you just need to hop on over and “Like” her page to enter the giveaway!  Extra bonus points for followers of my blog and for anyone who wants to leave a comment telling Megan their favorite product. 

What a GREAT Christmas gift for a kiddo of your own or for a little one you need to get a gift for!  Maybe you can find a little something for yourself while you’re over there! :)

Good luck!

***Important: you must use the white box below to complete your three entries or your entries will NOT count!  Once you have “Liked” Megan’s page and clicked “Do It” (by the checkmark), then the other entries will unlock for you.***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thankful Friday

My heart is just feeling so overwhelmed with thankfulness lately that I thought I’d write a post about it.  So here some things my heart has been blessed by this week…in no particular order.

1.  The view out my back window every morning.  Our backyard faces a farm and the morning view is so beautiful.  I love to open the back door and stand there for a minute and breathe in the fresh, cold air.  My soul is so blessed by such a pretty sight each day!

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2.  This past weekend Chris and I finally got to take our 5-year anniversary trip to Boston…a year late.  We have been planning and saving for this trip for a super long time – and it was amazing. We are both in love with that city and can’t wait to go back! 




3.  This week Chris was given a $10 gift card to Moe’s at work and our realtor sent us a $20 Visa gift card as a thank-you for writing a review of him on Zillow.  It might seem like small potatoes to most people, but this is so exciting to people like us on a budget!  I told Chris that I hope I never have so much money that I’m not thankful for small blessings like this.  We rarely get to go out to eat so this is huge for us (although let me here and now swear my undying love and devotion to Chipotle.  I e-mailed them and asked them to come our area but no such luck.  lol)

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4.  This week I’ve been blessed by the generosity of two people on a local free FB group I’m part of.  One woman was giving away baby clothes so I got some cute things for Livi.  Another gave me a bag of old magazines – most of them Taste of Home.  I already found some great recipes that I’m excited to try – including one for my beloved rainbow cookies!  Score!

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5.  Luke had some big milestones this week, too!  He ate raspberries with me earlier this week (HUGE for him – he hasn’t eaten them or really any fruit in months since he gagged last time he ate them).  He also officially counted to 10!  So now we have that and the ABCs down pat – even with a cognitive and speech delay!  So proud of him!  Although sometimes I think if I have to hear the ABC song one more time I will jump out the closest window!!! lol

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{Helping Daddy bring in the trash cans each week -
his first real “chore. ” I think he looks adorable!}


6.  This week I had the chance to talk to two people about adoption – one a blog friend via e-mail, the other friends of ours who came over last night to talk about where to start.  I am SO humbled and honored that even though we are not adopting currently, God is still using us to spread information about it and share what we’ve learned.  It makes me so, so, so happy that even though we have to wait to adopt for a little bit, we can encourage others to do it even in this waiting time.  More kiddos in families…whooo hoo!!


7.  Lastly (and this is pretty ridiculous), I’m thankful for my mom’s homemade carrot cake.  We had a little lunch for my grandmother’s birthday yesterday, and my mom sent me home with some slices.  You guys, it is TO DIE FOR.  Completely homemade AND with homemade cream cheese frosting AND topped with coconut.  It is the one and only dessert I will eat with raisins and nuts in it (otherwise, yuck).  There are about 4 bites left in my fridge and it is taking a serious amount of will-power to not rub my face in it save it for later. 

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Thankful to God this week for all the many little ways He provides for us and shows us glimpses of His love and mercy.  Have a wonderful weekend!

OOOH and I almost forgot – if you have a kiddo of your own or any kids to buy for this Christmas, you will definitely want to come back on Monday for a giveaway!  I have a great one for you!!! :)


Linking up with:

friday favorite things | finding joy

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Own a Small Business? Come on in!

This post is specifically geared toward any of my readers who have any kind of small business that would love a little extra promoting during the upcoming holiday season!  I am going to be doing a series of giveaways coming up over the next few months and would love to highlight YOUR business (family-friendly, of course!) on my blog. 

I currently have 3 awesome small-business owners on deck to do giveaways, and I’d love to add your small business to the list!

How it works:

You send me a sample of your product to review, and I in turn will do a write-up on my blog about your business, which will include a giveaway for my readers.  This draws traffic and interest to your site (or shop) and hopefully increases your business!

This Blessed Life currently has 372 Google followers, approximately 400 e-mail subscribers, and receives an average of over 100,000 hits a month.  Please feel free to e-mail me at blessedlifeblog{at}gmail{dot}com or leave me a comment with your contact information if you’re interested! :) I look forward to working with you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Whole-Wheat Monkey Muffins

I have a delicious breakfast treat for you today that both kids and adults will love!  These muffins (I can’t take credit for the cute name) have peanut butter, bananas, and chocolate chips in them – they’re sooooo good!  The longer they cool, the more the peanut flavor comes out.   They’re perfect as a breakfast or as a mid-afternoon snack – either way, I highly recommend eating them with milk. :)

My son Luke still really struggles with food textures and gagging, but many breakfast foods are one thing he consistently can eat without trouble, so I am always on the lookout for healthy breakfast items for him.  Love that these have the vitamins of bananas and the protein of all-natural peanut butter in them!  (And no, it totally doesn’t stress me out that he’s getting some chocolate chips in there, too – means to an end, baby! lol)

Pssst: As with many quick breads and muffins, these can be made EGG-FREE if you need them to be!  Just sub the 2 eggs for flax eggs (ground flaxseed and water) – the recipe still comes out great!


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Monkey Muffins

{Adapted from Taste of Home Fall Freezer Meals; Fall 2011}

1/2 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
2 eggs (or 2 “flax eggs”)
1 C mashed ripe bananas (give or take about 2 large bananas)
2/3 C 100% all-natural peanut butter
1 T milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 C white whole wheat flour (white whole wheat is lighter for baking)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 C chocolate chips (mini or regular size)


In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the bananas, peanut butter, milk and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture just until moistened.  Fold in the chips. 

Fill greased (or paper-lined) mini muffin cups 3/4 full.*  Bake at 350 degrees for about 14-16 minutes (only 13 minutes in my oven) or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.  Serve warm. 

To freeze, wrap muffins in foil and freeze for up to 3 months.  When ready to eat, thaw at room temperature and warm if desired. 

*I like my mini-muffins a little bigger, so if you fill them all the way up you’ll probably need to cook for about an extra two minutes.   

Makes about 4 dozen mini-muffins (if you fill them up all the way like I do).


Enjoy them!

Linked to:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Around My House {2012}

Sorry to anyone (my sister!) who was waiting on a fall post this past week like I promised on Sunday.  In my defense, it was super cloudy all week here and my camera really stinks so I was waiting on a nice day to take photos for all of you so at least I’d have good lighting.  And then when it was finally sunny, Chris was off work and I totally got distracted.  Sorry!! 

Anyway, for fall this year I decided to scale back (as in scale back *for me* lol).  Basically, in the past for holidays I’ve removed whole displays from bookshelves and tables and completely replaced them with holidayscapes (I think I just invented a new word?!).  But that is waay too stressful for me anymore.  So now I just use my hutch/dresser in the living room as a blank slate/faux mantel, and add touches of the season everywhere else.  It’s a lot less stressful.  Does that make sense?  lol 

Like usual, pretty much all of my decorations are from yard sales or thrifted.  Tell you what – if it’s NOT from one of those two places, I’ll actually tell you in the caption so you can possibly go buy it.  Sound good? ;)

So here’s my hutch/dresser/where-I-decorate-because-I-don’t-have-a-fireplace-mantel.  Everything’s thrifted except the mini pods, which I have gotten a million compliments on.  They’re from Michaels! :) Oh and the print is from Pinterest!  (Actually I bought the yellow runner and the yellow leaf plate on clearance when I was a senior in college but that was a long time ago so they don’t have it in stores anymore.)

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You saw this acorn frame a few posts back from Christmas Tree Shop – I put a picture of Luke from last fall in it.  He loves looking at himself chasing the rooster.  :) I made that candle wrap three years ago and I still love it!

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A simple fall candle in a pretty yard-sale plate with Goodwill garland.  I love the green on brown here.  It makes my heart happy!

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The woven pumpkin is from Cracker Barrel years ago when I used to work there.  I loved combining my discount with their sales – they have some of the cutest seasonal items!

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An orange plate given to me by a friend a long time ago makes an awesome coaster holder for fall!  Love that color!

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Berries from Michael’s this year…

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I am obsessed with making these little paper pennant banners this year!  (You can see them here, here and here.)  Soooo super easy to change out the scrapbook paper for the seasons! 

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I made the little newspaper-print apple using wrapping paper from Target’s Dollar Spot.  I have to be honest – I totally saw the idea from Jones Design Company and her monthly paper collection!  I am pretty much obsessed with anything Emily does – I think she is fabulous and I only wish I had the extra money to sign up for her gorgeous monthly creations!  I hope she is in the “copying is the sincerest form of flattery” camp!  lol  {So if you were going to pin this apple idea, please click over to her blog and click directly from her picture. Thanks!}

I should probably change it to a pumpkin now that’s it’s October, but I love it so it’s staying for now.  :)


I got the idea to do a faux-leaf garland from Shannon at Bless Our Nest.  I think I’ll be doing this every year from now on!  So easy! :) I just used mini clothespins from Michael’s instead of tape like she did.

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Kitchen island (that candy jar was filled at one point – SCARY! haha) – the orange beaded plate was on clearance at Target a few weeks ago. 

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Corner of the kitchen – I won these mini roses at our monthly Moms meeting last week.  I rarely get flowers and I am just loving them and I’m so thankful to have them!  Plus they smell really nice. :) I just hope I don’t kill them – I am NOT good with houseplants!  The metal pail was from Target’s dollar section this year and has a mini chalkboard circle on the other side you can write on. 

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Little corner in the bathroom (remember, our bathroom has no natural light so pictures come out funky in here!).  Print is from Pinterest and it says, “Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”  I love that reminder! You can see my beloved Vanilla Chai hand soap in the corner (from Target). 

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Hallway with faux leaves (I’ll admit it’s slightly on the tacky side but I like how they hang down!)…

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Last but not least, our front door!  I bought this grapevine wreath for $5 at JoAnn’s and then found a big bag of faux leaf garlands at Goodwill for $1.99 (the leaves you’ve seen around my house).  I just trimmed and stuck them in – so for $7 I have a wreath that I love and can use year after year!  I used a piece of burlap to hold it up and just had Chris nail it to the top of the door.  I love seeing fall when I leave my house and when I come home. :)

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Wow, that was a long one! :) You guys still with me?!  Happy fall!!! :)


P.S. Last year I did a 2-part series on how to inexpensively decorate for the fall, if you’re interested!  (You can also see how my decorating style changed in 12 months!  lol)  Part one and part two


Linked to:

One Project at a Time @ A Bowl Full of Lemons

DIY Fall Festival @ DIY Showoff

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Heavy Heart

This week two people left earth and it has really rocked me. 

The first was the son of our next-door neighbors from PA.  We lived next to them for two years and they are a wonderful family and the best neighbors you could possibly ask for.  They were a pastor’s family with 4 kids – 2 older boys and then a big gap and 2 sweet little girls.  Their teenage son Justin was in a motorcycle accident a few months ago and basically went into a coma and never woke up.  He died Thursday morning. 

Then just this afternoon I read a post on Kelly’s Korner that Julee Turner’s husband had died in a car accident yesterday.  I’m not sure if any else reads Julee’s blog but her and her husband had struggled with infertility for years and finally just had a super cute baby girl last December.  To think about a young dad passing away and leaving his wife and baby girl is just heartbreaking.  I know it seems so silly to cry over someone that you’ve never met but I’ve been reading her blog for years and I just can’t imagine the horrible loss she is experiencing.  And then to think about being pregnant with a little girl myself and thinking about Livi never remembering Chris later on in life…it’s just unthinkable. 

On Thursday night after we heard about Justin we were sitting with Luke in his bedroom doing the normal routine.  We pray with him and tuck him in and then one of us reads him a story (we alternate nights).  This night he wanted to sing “Jesus Loves Me” so the three of us sang it together in his room.  I looked at him in his little jammies and his sweet little 3-year-old voice singing his heart out even with his little speech delay and my heart just wanted to break thinking about my sweet neighbor singing with Justin when he would have been a little boy.  How her heart must be breaking right now. 

I am just struck with how fleeting life is and how much it really is a gift.  I am so, so thankful for the hope of heaven and Jesus. 

This week, let me just encourage you to be intentional about your time and making a conscious effort to tell those close to you how much you love them.  Hug your husband.  Get on the floor and play blocks with your kids for the 11 millionth time.  Call your grandparents and tell them you love them.  You just never know when there might come a point when you long for a “mundane” day with your loved ones more than anything else in the whole world!