prepare {bible verses that bring peace during the Christmas season}


Christmas is finally here! usually the week after Christmas i start to wonder how i’m ever going to survive a whole year of waiting. but it always rolls around so fast, and then i worry that i won’t have time to get done what i need to or have time to just relax and focus on what this time is really about.

how do you fix that? preparing for Christmas is challenging because there seems to be so much to do. buying gifts, decorating, finishing up school, and so much more, always ending up stressed and not in control of your emotions and ability to just relax in Him.

how does God ask us to prepare? how can we be looking forward to His coming and not get too caught up in the rush of the few weeks before? here are some verses to help you when you start to feel uneasy and not centered in Him.


Psalm 119:165

“Great peace have those that love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”

God’s word tells us that when we have peace, nothing can cause us to stumble. be still in him!


Isaiah 26:3

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

when we trust in him, we will have peace! when you start to get caught up in the rush of preparing for Christmas, instead, prepare your heart to celebrate Jesus’ coming. remember He’s the one we’re get our peace from; run to him.


Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

“I will give you rest.” He says. To me, nothing is more comforting. it draws me right to Him and quiets me.


one of my favorites during this Christmas season especially, is Romans 8:5.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”

it can be especially easy to slip into living according to the flesh, ignoring the purpose we are here. set your heart to do your work in the mindset of furthering His Kindgdom, no matter what.


finally, Psalm 62:8

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge”.

God asks us to pour out our hearts to Him and to trust Him.

ornaments dec 2014 02 WEB


do you have any favorite bible verses that give you peace and help you to focus? I’d love to hear them!

~a-girl with a camera

settling in {a big move}

whew! it’s been so long since i’ve written and because of that, some of you might not know that in that time, i’ve moved all the way from Florida to New Jersey! And although we still live just a few steps from the beach (actually we’re even closer than before!), you wouldn’t believe what a dramatic change it’s been for my family and i. and that’s part of the reason i haven’t written, the other part being that i’m stubborn and really just not in the mood to write!

But with much persuasion from mom, here i am, and hopefully i will get myself back at it again! : )

so, NEW JERSEY! no humidity, always a breeze, cautious but friendly people (for the most part ;) ), beautiful parks, fall leaves (oh the fall leaves!!)…these are just a few of the wonderful things about New Jersey. But as i expected, moving to New Jersey, and moving in general, comes with some hardships and difficulties. many difficulties, actually.

i tried very hard to prepare myself for moving. i think it’s impossible to do. actually, I thought it was possible for the first few months… but now it’s hitting me. how in the world am i going to do this? i mean pretty much, ‘my life was ripped from my hands’, right? no… that’s what i’d like to think. i’m still alive! actually, i have the ultimate gift eternal life!

you know how i said that i haven’t been writing because of this tough move? Well i thought i wasn’t writing. but i just found one (of many i should say) of my journals. and it proves much differently. the reason i’ve been ok for the past three months is because i have been writing! i’ve been talking to the Lord and working through this move in my bible and journal up until now!

now I don’t think journaling and reading my bible is going to take away all my ‘problems’… but i know that it will help me through them and comfort me when i’m missing my friends, missing my home, missing sports or simply wanting things back that were familiar to me. by knowing that where i am has to be better for me or i wouldn’t be here, i have the confidence to keep moving, and the trust that whatever i go through, Jesus is right with me holding me up when i need it.

in my journal a couple months ago i was reading in Romans and wrote down Romans 8:37-39. “No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus!


it’s so important to journal. do you have an experience like this when you were able to work through it by running to Jesus? please share, I’d love to hear it  : ).

change and contentment


The words ‘change’ and ‘contentment’ rarely go together when you’re talking about me. I just do not. like. change.

And I don’t exactly intend to change that anytime soon… even if I could. It’s part of me and that’s okay. Because it’s challenging me to become closer to the Lord.

As much as I’ve tried to push it away, it always seems to chase me. I have to put up with the heavy weight of the truth that it’s about to come down on me real hard and with no mercy.

Who can I tell? I could tell complain to a lot of people, but no one’s going to fix it for me- they have their own problems. How can I stop the change? I could give my opinion complain about how I think it’s not a great idea. How can I fix it? I could… I can’t.

Basically I could complain, or give up, curl into a ball and break-down. Neither of which would fix the problem. Only One Person can, but really there isn’t even a problem. I have to learn to run after Jesus; to seek Him and Him and ask Him to fill my heart completely so there is no empty space, no room for the devil to enter.

And when i do fill my heart most completely with Him, that is when i will be able to give up my selfish desires and serve others. Others will be able to tell when our heart has opens spaces by how much we seek attention from others. It’s our job to show that we are completely satisfied in Christ alone.


~a-girl with a camera

stamped spoon tutorial

i am almost always looking for a fun, diy project or craft to do. while doing some blogging the other day, mom and i came across a fun quirky site called Darby Smart! they have so many crafts to pick from and it’s very, very easy to get stuck on their website ; ) .

all it takes is some time picking out what craft you’d like to do and they send you your perfect little kit with everything you need to start crafting!

stamped silver spoons craft 1

and that is exactly what we did. mom and i picked stamped spoons!

your package comes with a cute little sheet that has a ‘password’ to look up your directions for how to do the project online. we used our iPad so we could have it sitting right next to us while we stamped!

stamped silver spoons craft 2

stamped silver spoons craft 4

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this was definitely a super fun project and turned out beautiful!

stamped silver spoons craft 6

we’ve also picked out a few more things around the house that we stamped for gifts to give and more!

i found a small round metal container in our craft bin and wanted to stamp initials on it for a friend to keep her jewelry in. i’m sure there’s so much more you could do with them that would look so pretty!

now go visit Darby Smart and pick out your next cute craft! and just for you, Darby Smart has graciously agreed to gift you with $10 off your first purchase of $19 or more! Hurry because it ends next Tuesday at midnight. During check-out use the special code: DARBYCRAFT10 and enjoy!

~a-girl with a camera

brown butter & vanilla bean cupcakes

that’s right. and they’re about as fattening as they sound. and definitely as delicious as they sound. but when it comes down to it, the only part that really matters is the delicious part, of course : ) .

brown butter vanilla bean cupcakes 01

coming soon is a recipe for the best homemade popsicles I’ve ever made- brown butter popsicles! as expected we needed to make lots of browned butter so we could have the little crunchies at the bottom for our popsicles… and boy did we have a lot of browned butter left over!

it made perfect use in my brown butter vanilla frosting recipe that topped these vanilla bean cupcakes.

brown butter vanilla bean cupcakes 04

so as much as one really does NOT need two brown butter desserts in one week, it just had to happen. and i don’t regret it!

brown butter vanilla bean cupcakes 02

print out the recipe and give it a try!

brown butter & vanilla bean cupcakes


    for the cupcakes
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, soft
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. Madagascar pure vanilla bean paste
  • for the frosting
  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter, soft
  • 2-4 tablespoons brown butter, soft
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream


    for the cupcakes
  1. preheat oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners (I also used silicon ones too and they worked well).
  2. In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and milk. Keep close by.
  4. Using a stand mixer or hand beater, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste for 3 minutes on medium speed until very light in consistency.
  5. Add 1/3 of the flour miture, and keep beating. Add 1/2 of the milk/egg mixture and 1/2 the remaining dry mixture. Keep beating until well combined.
  6. Add the rest of the milk mixture and mix until the batter is very smooth, then finally add the last amount of dry ingredients.
  7. Once the batter is fully mixed, continue to beat for 1-2 minutes to make sure it is completely blended and well aerated.
  8. Scoop batter evenly into 18 muffin cups, making sure each one is 2/3 full.
  9. Bake for 18-24 minutes; check by inserting a toothpick into the center, making sure it comes out clean.
  10. for the frosting:
  11. whip butter, brown butter and vanilla bean paste in a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  12. Continue beating and start adding in powdered sugar, about a 1/4 cup at a time until well blended.
  13. Finally add about 3-4 tablespoons of heavy cream and whip on high until you've reached the desired consistency.
  14. After cupcakes have cooled, generously frost each one.
  15. now try not to eat them all!

thanks to my baking addiction for the yummy cupcake recipe!

and thank you to my sweet friend Jordyn for your encouragement to get movin’ on this delicious recipe and gifting me with super cute cupcake liners, a new teaspoon set, and my (yes, first ever!!)  own jar of Pure Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste!


do you have some brown butter waiting to be used in a recipe? try this one- i’m sure (and i bet my family could tell you also) you will love it!

~a-girl with a camera

kid friendly sangria

it’s finally summer! the perfect time to be out in the sun with friends and family doing fun things… the one thing everyone dislikes however is how thirsty and hot it gets!

this red fruity ‘sangria’ is the perfect refreshing drink on any hot day. and everyone loves it!

Red Fruity Sangria c

beach picnic lemon custard cups c

and thanks to the delicious recipe from emeals, it’s so easy to make!

Red Fruity Sangria a


kid friendly red fruity sangria


  • 3 cups grape juice
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced with peel
  • 1/2 lime, thinly sliced with peel
  • 1 orange, thnly sliced wit peel
  • handful grapes, frozen
  • 5 strawberries, sliced
  • 2-3 cups club soda, chilled


  1. Pour all the juices into a big pitcher(s).
  2. Add fruits and stir to combine.
  3. Refrigerate at least 3 hrs before or see note below.
  4. Right before serving, add chilled club soda and stir.
  5. Enjoy!


Keep in mind: you're going to want to freeze the grapes ahead of time as well as chill the club soda (and any of the juices if possible). This makes for a colder drink and you won't have to add ice or refrigerate ahead of time.


let me know what you think by writing below, and be sure to visit emeals for lots more tips, recipes, and meal plans!

~a-girl with a camera

smoked mullet deviled eggs

around my house, deviled eggs are a favorite. dad is the king of making deviled eggs, so I don’t exactly know how mom and I managed to make these with out him sneaking into the kitchen!

I am very proud to say, however, that he loved them! and so did lots of people at our family beach picnic! I was up against tough competitors though… ;) mom made amazing sriracha avocado ones. and, our friend Lauren made her classic style deviled eggs!

they all turned out so good.

Smoked Fish Deviled Eggs a

here’s the recipe!

Smoked Mullet Deviled Eggs

Smoked Mullet Deviled Eggs


  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard (or to desired flavor)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp smoked coarse ground salt (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp ancho chile powder
  • ground black pepper
  • Smoked Mullet, for garnish


  1. Prepare eggs ( hard boil , cool and peel) and slice in half lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in medium bowl. Place whites on a large serving platter.
  2. In bowl with yolks, add mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and chile powder. Mash together well until desired consistency.
  3. Depending on how you like your filling, you may want to add more of either seasonings or mayonnaise/ mustard.
  4. Pipe the filling into the egg whites and sprinkle with smoked salt. Top with a good sized piece of Smoked Mullet and serve!

i actually think this a new favorite of mine.

Smoked Fish Deviled Eggs d


what’s your favorite deviled egg recipe?  leave a coment below so i can try it!

~a-girl with a camera

summery chicken salad wraps

mom and i love cooking in the kitchen together. except for one thing that really bothers me: she never follows the recipe. ever. love you mom ;)


but guess what? this time she sucked me in. we experimented! i do like to experiment but i’m also a big fan of stickin’ to the recipe :)


we made (really she made and shared the recipe with me ) a chicken salad that is perfect for summer! my favorite things about it are that mom’s chicken is homemade and so juicy, and the mango in it adds such a yummy bright flavor! i also love the avocado dressing that i made to go on top. it’s tangy but still light and really makes the wraps come together.

Chicken Salad Wraps b

i served them on fresh butter crunch lettuce as little wraps. momma did hers on little gluten-free bread puffs.

Chicken Salad Wraps a

beach picnic fort de soto b


summery chicken salad wraps


    For the Chicken Salad
  • 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • 1 fresh mango, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1/4 cup organic mayonnaise
  • 1 heaping tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • For the Dressing
  • 2 whole avocados, peeled and mashed
  • 1 orange, squeezed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp orange or cider vinegar
  • 2 tomatillos, quartered
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


    For Salad:
  1. Place chicken and mango in a mixing bowl.
  2. Fold until just combined.
  3. Add in rest of ingredients and stir until mayonnaise is fully incorporated.
  4. For dressing:
  5. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds.
  6. Drizzle dressing over chicken and lightly toss to combine.
  7. Then spoon chicken salad into individual lettuce 'cups'.
  8. optional
  9. Top each one with remaining dressing and coarse ground salt.
  10. Serve and Enjoy!

they are so good both ways. you’ll have to try both and tell me which you like better!


~a-girl with a camera

little lemon custard cups

i love lemon. especially in desserts! when we did our family dinner night on the beach, i knew it would be perfect to make something lemon-y and refreshing… so i picked lemon custard!

beach picnic lemon custard cups d

  i think it was a favorite of everyones!

beach picnic fort de soto i

it was so fun and easy to make!

beach picnic lemon custard cups a

beach picnic lemon custard cups e

the fresh whipped cream which you fold in makes it light and almost airy.

besides eating it of course, my favorite part was making it! so, here’s the recipe. :)

Lemon Custard Cups
Serves: about 8½ cup servings
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup pure honey or maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter, cold
  • 2 cups fresh whipped cream
  • lemon wedges for garnish
  1. First, make the lemon curd. (If desired, you can do this part up to a day in advance. Keep in mind it will need to chill for about 2-3 hours before serving)
  2. Whisk together in a double boiler: egg yolks, honey (Or maple syrup if you like), lemon juice and zest, water and vanilla extract until it is well blended.
  3. While whisking, slowly start to add the butter, about two pieces at a time. Keep adding as they melt into your mixture.
  4. When the butter is melted and combined, continue to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will thicken and start to look like pudding.
  5. Once this happens, put the custard into the fridge to chill and set.
  6. Once the lemon curd has chilled for about 2-3 hours, gentle fold in fresh whipped cream. If you want, save a quarter cup of whipped cream for garnishing at the end.
  7. Depending on the amount of people you are serving, dollop into your favorite dish and top with a little lemon or even lime wedge! Note: because of our big families and other yummy desserts to try, I served mine in mini ramekins with little spoons which made the perfect serving size for each person!

try it out and tell me how you like it below!

family sunset beach dinner


i love spending time with family and friends. i love spending time on the beach. And i love food. put them together and i’m practically in heaven! ;)

my mom and i have done several styled photo shoots with wedding vendors, but for a while we’ve wanted to do one that shows off our love for cooking good food, spending time with the family, and working together to make things happen!

beach picnic fort de soto c

we searched and put together a bunch of yummy recipes we’d been wanting to make for a while, invited some friends, and started cookin’! we also invited a gluten-free chef, Lauren Marie, whom we met at a charity event. her food is amazing too, so we made a great combination! :)


This is a  delicious fresh watermelon salad that Lauren made. it was so refreshing!

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and her yummy chicken salad sandwiches on Udi’s gluten-free bread…


beach picnic fort de soto d

we had three different kinds of deviled eggs. i made Smoked Mullet Deviled eggs which had amazing flakes of smoked mullet from Ted Peters’ on top of each one. yum. to see mom’s recipe, Avocado Sriracha deviled eggs, visit here. also check out Gluten Free Chef Lauren Marie’s Classic  Deviled eggs here!

Smoked Fish Deviled Eggs c 

for this shoot we were so excited that we were provided with Jamberry Nails to compliment our night! they looked so great that day!

Smoked Fish Deviled Eggs b

we also had yummy chicken salad “sandwiches” on lettuce wraps, as well as my mom’s version on gluten-free paleo quick bread.


Chicken Salad Wraps b

beach picnic fort de soto b

to drink, we had a yummy Red Fruity ‘Sangria’ that i made. recipe soon to come! of course the adults had a special drink for them too which you can find on my moms blog by clicking here ;)

beach picnic lemon custard cups c

for dessert, i made delicious little lemon custard cups… i think everyone loved them!

beach picnic fort de soto h

beach picnic lemon custard cups d

i have to be real here, it’s a lot of work behind-the-scenes to make this happen ;) , but i’m so thankful for all the teamwork that went into that day! we had such a good time together as families and all the amazing delicious food made for some well filled stomachs!

beach picnic fort de soto f

beach picnic fort de soto

beach picnic fort de soto e

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the night ended with  a beautiful sunset and happy people!

be sure to check back over the next few weeks- i’ll be posting a bunch of amazing recipes from our night!

~a-girl with a camera