Rich Fudgy Scratch Brownies

If you’re a decadent chocolate lover, you’re going to love these rich fudgy scratch brownies! Learn how to chocolatey pieces of heavenly goodness in this simple recipe.

Rich fudgy scratch brownies

Hey there, friends! Boy do I have a treat for you. Literally and figuratively! Today I’m sharing my favorite recipe for the fudgiest, richest, most delicious brownie you’ve ever had. I’m gonna show you how to make rich fudgy scratch Brownies.

For years I relied on boxed brownie and cake mixes. That is until I realized how easy it is to bake from scratch. I was shocked to learn this recipe is only about 5 minutes longer than using a boxed mix, but the taste from scratch is unbeatable.

Jump to Recipe

Making Rich Fudgy Scratch Brownies

Tools of the Trade

First, brownies are cooked on a low heat, similar to cake. The difference is that brownies will appear under baked, but will cool to firmness. I recommend moving the oven racks down so that the brownies will be in the dead center of the oven. This recipe makes 9 brownies in an 8 x 8 pan. I recommend using a glass baking dish or light colored pan. If you are using a dark metal pan, you’ll need reduce the cook time. It still isn’t ideal though. That’s because dark metal absorbs more heat than light colored pans. That means that dark metal pans brown cake and pastries too quickly on the sides before it is baked through in the middle. Dark pans are better for baked goods where crispiness (or firmness) is what you want, like pizzas, cornbread, and flatbreads.

Ingredients

Butter

I recommend using unsalted butter. You will melt the butter in a double broiler, with the cocoa powder. A double boiler isn’t anything fancy. Fill up a pot with hot water on this stove. In a smaller pot, add your butter and place that pot in the water of the bigger pot. This allows you to melt the butter without scorching it. Butter will brown when scorched. Once the butter is melted you can add our cocoa powder a little at a time. Then add your vanilla and sugar slowly as you continue stirring. This process is what makes the beautiful crackle top we love on brownies.

Double broiler

Cocoa Powder

Part of making the best brownies is using quality chocolate and cocoa powder. This is where the richness of the chocolate really shines. Will Hershey’s be okay? Sure. If that’s what you have you can use it. However, I recommend using a high quality powder like Ghirardelli or Dutch-process cocoa powder and should be 100% Unsweetened (don’t worry, we’ll sweeten it up plenty!) Using this ensures the deep, decadent chocolate flavor we’re looking for. Once combined, remove from the heat. Continue adding your ingredients including the vanilla extract and salt.

Double broiler

Flour & Eggs

I recommend only using two eggs. Some recipes call for three eggs in brownies, but it’s makes it more cake-like and less fudgy. I also recommend adding your eggs one at a time to make sure it’s fully emulsified into the batter.

Prepping brownie batter

Unlike a cake, you don’t need a mixer for brownies. I recommend stirring/folding about 30 to 40 times to make sure everything is good and mixed. It’s normal for brownie batter to be a little gritty. At this time you can also add walnuts (optional) or chocolate chips. I love adding chocolate chips and I prefer to add semi-sweet, but you can milk chocolate if you prefer.

Spread the batter in a greased pan. The batter will be very thick and you’ll need make sure it is spread evenly by working it away from the middle and towards the sides.

Checking For Doneness

As I mentioned before, brownies are appear under-baked. That is what is contributes to the rich fudginess. But how do you know you aren’t eating raw batter? The edges of the brownie will become firm and pull away slightly from the pan. If you insert a toothpick in the center you should have some wet crumbs, but it shouldn’t be runny. If you need to err on the side of caution, it’s better to be slightly under-baked than over-baked. Over-baking will ruin the entire pan of brownies. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting.

Rich Fudgy Scratch Brownies

These melt-in-your mouth brownies are rich in fudgy goodness. Once you try this easy scratch recipe, you won’t want to use the boxed stuff again!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked goods, brownie, brownies, brownies from scratch, chocolate, chocolate dessert, fudge, fudgy, scratch recipes
Servings: 9 Brownies

Equipment

  • 8×8 baking pan
  • Double Broiler
  • Mixing Bowl

Ingredients

  • 10 Tbsp Sweet Cream Butter, unsalted
  • 7/8 Cup 100% Unsweetened or Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1 ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Cup All purpose Flour
  • 2 Eggs Large
  • Cup Chocolate Chips (Milk or Seemi-Sweet) or Walnuts Optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 8×8 glass or light metal pan.
  • In medium bowl add butter. In double broiler, on medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Slowly add cocoa powder stirring continually.
  • Add vanilla, salt, and sugar one at a time and continue stirring.
  • Remove from heat. Add eggs one at a time. Stir well to make sure it is fully emulsified.
  • Add flour a little at a time and beat in until fully incorporated (about 30-40 strokes).
  • Transfer to greased 8×8 dish. Using a spatula, work batter towards the edges until evenly spread.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Rich fudgy scratch brownies

I hope you love these brownies as much as my family does. Remember it normally takes a few tries to really perfect a recipe so don’t give up on baking from scratch! If you’re a chocolate lover, take a look at my The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe. I promise you’ll love it.

Before you go, don’t forget to pin this recipe for later. Also, make sure to subscribe to my blog to make sure you never miss a post. I post recipes often! Thanks for reading!

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Trusting God In Tough Times

Trusting God in tough times is hard, but I’m here to share some hope on how to keep your focus on the Lord and his blessings that are coming your way.

Trusting God in Tough times
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Trusting God in tough times is one of the hardest things we will have to overcome as Christians. Worry is a symptom from doubting God. If we believe that he will sort out of problems and make good on his promises, there is no reason to worry. If we believe he is omnipotent and has control over all circumstances, we shouldn’t grapple with trust. And yet…we do.

A Hitch While Getting Hitched

When I was getting married, my husband wanted a cookie cake as his groom’s cake. I tried ordering it advance, but the store told me the soonest I could order it would be two days in advance. So, I went down to order it two days before my wedding. I asked for a cookie cake with a Collegiate block ‘O’ written in Scarlett and grey. The man behind the counter just stared blankly at me as I continued describing it. I even drew it out on a piece of paper. He then said, it might not be him that makes it and he had no idea how to leave the drawing for the next person. I left frustrated and in tears.

I called my maid of honor and started crying. With all the things I had to do for the wedding over the next 48 hours, I was totally stressed over the potential of disappointing my new husband over a groom’s cake. I sobbed. She listened. Then she said calmly, “I don’t want you to worry about this anymore. I will take care of it. Even if I have to bake it myself, it will be there. Enjoy your wedding and don’t worry about this anymore.”

Ensuing Peace

I can’t even begin to describe how I felt. The burden had been lifted and I totally believed with all my heart that she would fix it. I trusted her to make it right. And…I stopped worrying about it. Sure enough, on my wedding day, there was a huge cookie cake, decorated with the block O, sitting there right next to my tiered wedding cake.

I realize this could have ended differently. But my point is the peace I felt knowing it was her problem and not mine anymore. This should be the same peace we feel when we shift our problems over for God to deal with.

I get it. Our problems are often bigger than a wedding cake. We suffer life altering things like divorce, death, chronic illnesses, job loss, and financial woes. I get it – but so does God. Scripture calls him compassionate. He knows what you’re facing and he is compassionate towards you.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in every way as we are yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

Why We Can’t Find Peace

We can’t see God face to face and that causes us to wrestle with faith. Even the disciples struggled to believe after witnessing miracles of Christ. Remember Peter on the water? When Jesus called him to walk on water with him he started to sink. Why? He started to doubt.

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

Matthew 14:31

It is in our very nature to doubt. We’ve got serious trust issues! This is why it is so important to recount the times God has come to your rescue. I keep a prayer journal (war binder) with all my answered prayers. It proves to me that God is listening – or more to the point, that he cares an answers prayers.

Trusting God in Tough Times

Set Your Mind on Higher Things

Too often we tend to dwell on what is wrong, rather than what is right. This is why Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8 to purposely reset our minds.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

Philippians 4:8
perfect peace

The Psalmist echoes Paul. He tells us how to trust in one simple sentence – by turning your thoughts often to the Lord. That means when doubt and worry start to creep in, you immediately turn to God for reassurance. His promises in scripture is the reassurance he has left for us. We deliberately need to choose to think of good things instead of our problems. The more you worry, the more your fear will grow.

Gratitude

One thing is certain, after this problem, you will face another. Such is life. There will always be something about which to grumble and complain. Again, focusing on what is good, will make you feel better – and there is always something for which to be grateful. Gratitude grows contentment and joy. Spend time praising God and I promise you’ll feel better. I love reading the Psalms. The Psalmist laments and cries out to God about his troubles, but then immediately praises God for being God. He encourages himself in the Lord, our savior. Magnify God, not your problems.

In every circumstance give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

There won’t always be someone to cheer you up or encourage you. It might be the friend, spouse, or parent, with which you have trouble. You can’t rely on imperfect people to be your “well.” Draw from the well that never runs dry! Learn to encourage yourself in God’s goodness.

Shift Responsibility

You are limited. God is limitless. He is both powerful and mighty. He can take on any mess. Make it his problem to fix. Let him shoulder the burden of working out the kinks. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. When you know every mystery in the universe and control all circumstances, our problems aren’t a surprise. Wreckage and ruble is easy to clean up when you’re the creator of the entire world.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

A yoke is a wooden beam fastened to oxen (one older, one younger), to pull heavy weight in pairs. If the young oxen tires, the older one will bear most of the weight. Jesus invites you to share your heavy burden with him. Fasten yourself to him and let him take on the weight of your troubles. To him it is easy and light to bear. Also, the analogy of the yoke does not promise the burden will disappear, rather we are to walk in step with him and he will carry us through.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety.

Psalm 4:8

In Conclusion

If you are struggling with trust, faith, or anxiety or worry, I encourage you to read my other posts:

Thank you for taking the time to read Trusting God in Tough Times, with me. If you are going through a hard time and are burdened with worry I’d like to pray over you.

Lord, thank you for inviting us to share our burden with you. Please help my friend, who is struggling with believing that things will get better. Bless them with the gift of faith and trust. Assuage their anxiety and worry and help them cast their care onto you and you alone. Thank you for always showing us compassion and mercy. Even though we don’t understand why this happening, we give thanks to you and know you are working it out for our good. Amen.

Before you leave, please subscribe to my blog for more inspirational posts.

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Easy Cheap Date Nights At Home

Date nights can be hard to come by, especially when you have kids and are on a budget. Here are easy cheap date nights at home!

Hey there, girl! I know how tough it is to get date nights! When I was first married it was so easy to have a date night. But once kids got here, finding time for a date night was super hard. I mean just getting the kids in bed and sleeping at the same time requires all the stars and planets to align. I get it!

My hubby and I don’t have a babysitter or family that babysit regularly. Therefore, we gotta get pretty creative when it comes to date nights. Date nights at home are totally doable when you have kids. I’ve found it’s much better than doing nothing at all! We’ve actually had some pretty fun nights at home. I thought I would share some easy cheap date nights at home that have helped us keep the embers burning, stay connected and have fun together!

Puzzle Night

I know what you’re thinking. This is boring, but my husband and I actually end up loving this. Its low-key and is actually a nice way to relax together. We talk and connect while we do it. Maybe it’s because puzzles require to you to work together towards a goal. You can always put on some music and pour a few drinks. During the winter, I make a steaming pot of hot chocolate and we do it fireside. There are lots of ways to make this special. Puzzles are relatively cheap and you can do them again and again.

Dessert Flight

Okay, who doesn’t love desserts? This is a simple date night and you don’t actually have to do any cooking. Go to a bakery or visit the bakery at your local grocery store. Ours has some really nice single cheesecake, cupcake and cake servings. Pick up a few pieces and once the kids are in bed, light some candles, put a pretty tablecloth on the table and set out a dessert tasting. You can make a special pot of amaretto or Irish creme coffee and you can always use decaf coffee if you are worried about it keeping you up at night!

Courtesy of Unsplash

The Not So Newly Wed Game

For this game, come up with 20 or 30 questions that can be posed to both of you. Get creative! The best questions are ones you don’t really know the answer to or have never discussed before. Then take some time and answer the questions as you think your spouse would answer them. Your spouse does the same for you. Then go back through the answers and see how right you were.

Themed Date Night

After my first son was born, I did a themed at home date night once a month. So instead of just plopping in front of the TV, I tried to make it special by having a recurring theme. For one year, we “visited a country around the world. Example: One month was Ireland. I fixed Irish coddle and soda bread for dinner and we watched Michael Collins. Next was Egypt. I found some Egyptian recipes on Pinterest and we watched The Mummy. Another month, I made some homemade pasta and The Godfather. You get the idea. We found that by creating a theme night, it made made the run-of-the-mill tv night much more fun.

Board Game Night

I know you’ve heard this one before. But game nights can be so much fun. These days, there are lots of two person board games. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Hive
  • Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
  • Claustrophobia
  • Pandemic
  • Ticket To Ride
  • Scrabble
  • Monopoly
  • Carcassonne
  • Code Names Duet

Or you can go the retro kid night and do a fun game like Operation, Jenga, Chess, Checkers, Guess Who or another games.

Fondue Night

This is one of our favorite things to do, but we love fondue night. We tend to do this more during the winter time. Fondue is easy to do. It’s just Swiss cheese, white wine, garlic, and lemon juice. Obviously you need a fondue pot, but you can find cheap ones on Amazon. We cut up dippers like shrimp, apples, salami, bread, tomatoes, and veggies. Then, yes….we do a chocolate fondue. In fact, you can always just do that once the kids are in bed. We do Chocolate and peanut butter, s’mores or sea salt caramel. There are lots of fun combinations.

Courtesy of Unsplash

Floor Picnic

This is kind of a spin off of the fondue night. But another fun way to change up dinner is to do a floor picnic. Comfy pillows, warm throw blankets, candles, and lots of yummy goodies. Did I mention wine? Wine is also good. You can do a full dinner or just keep dinner light with cheese, fresh fruit and simple pairings.

Mixology Lab

If you and your partner like cocktails, try trying your hand at mixing a few cocktails at home. Pinterest is full of all kinds of great recipes. If the weather is nice, go sip them on the patio and stargaze. Another take on this would be to create your own wine or beer flights. But this can get pricey. I recommend planning around what you already have in your cupboards to save cash.

Spa Night & Couples Massage

Everybody needs a little TLC. So why not, include your partner? Turn on some candles, put on some relaxing music (yeah, that’s right – slow jams) and give each other a spa treatment. Take a shower together and take turns giving each other a tantalizing massage. Touch is a powerful way to promote intimacy. Use essential oils to add some aromatherapy into the mix.

Well, I hope I’ve given you some ideas for some easy cheap date nights at home. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to wait for a babysitter. Sometime the best date nights are the ones that are at home and low key. Spending quality time together is all that really matters.

Mermaid Vibes Plan With Me

This vertical layout, is great to start those summer vibes. Please join me for the first in the series, Mermaid Vibes Plan With Me.

mermaid vibes plan with me

Happy Planner News

Hey there, friend. Welcome to all new series on My Beautiful Mess! I was very excited when, in May, my blog post, How Happy Planner Changed My Life, was recognized at the Go Wild planner conference in Las Vegas by the Happy Planner. Yay!

The post was first seen by Hannah and Stephanie in February and they reached out to me. I had no idea how they planned to use it, but I was very honored that they chose to share it with others.

It was such an honor and even though I didn’t make the planner squad (boo hoo), I’m still excited to be ambassador on my own. So today, I’m starting a Plan With Me series. Here I’ll show you how to decorate your Happy Planner. Hopefully, I’ll give you some ideas – but your planner should always reflect who you are!

mermaid vibes plan with me

Mermaid Vibes Plan With Me

When I think of mermaids, I think of hues of blues, greens, and purple. These colors remind me of the sea. Thankfully, in the second color story book, there are actually mermaid theme stickers.

I have found that the second colorful boxes sticker value pack have boxes that match perfectly with the color story sea stickers. This is my very first Plan With Me video, y’all so be kind! I promise I’ll get better at this.

Materials

  • Vertical planner
  • Color Story 2 Sticker book
  • Colorful boxes 2 book

Before You Go

Make sure to check out some of my other Happy Planner posts.

Also, Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more Happy Planner posts, printables and videos.

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Why We Homeschool

Today, I’m sharing why we homeschool. I hope this is helpful, if you are considering homeschooling as an alternative to public school.

why we homeschool
Courtesy of Unsplash

As a second generation homeschooler, I often get asked why we homeschool our kids. So I’m going to share a few reasons why homeschool works for us. There are always pros and cons with homeschooling and public school. Ultimately, you’ll decide what is best for you and your child.

Children Learn At Their Own Pace

The beauty of homeschooling, is that you can go as fast or as slow as your child needs. If your child struggles in math, you can take as much time as you need. You go over the same material until your child fully grasps the concepts.

In fact, some homeschoolers, avoid grades altogether. They do away with the idea that you need to learn this by grade one or that by grade 5. They allow the child to move as quickly or as slowly as they need through each subject. If you child does great at Math and Science, they can zip through that and slow English down until they master it.

To Teach Self Motivation

Homeschooling highly encourages your child to participate in their own education and progress. In fact, some curriculum is designed to be student led as opposed to teacher led. You choose the level of responsibility for your child at every age.

Homeschooling also allows you to incorporate life skills as part of the curriculum. For example, my oldest son will learn gardening, soap making and basic cooking this next school year. By the time I was in high school, I was almost completely student led (the exception was math). This prepares students for college as well as learning as an adult. Homeschooling largely focuses on teaching children how to learn, not what to learn.

To Avoid Indoctrination

This is a touchy subject, but many homeschoolers like myself, refuse to allow the government to indoctrinate children. Public schooling is based on the industrial Prussian education model. This antiquated concept standardizes education (like those stressful standardized state tests) into a sort of a factory-like method of teaching with little room for personalization.

Thankfully, homeschooling is an option for parents wanting to customize education. Some states like Texas have incredible flexibility with little government interference. Homeschoolers need to continue to protect those freedoms. In fact, in Germany and many other European countries, homeschooling is illegal. Public education is often the transportation method to indoctrinate children into liberal and socialistic propaganda. Furthermore, they demand compliance. Public schools have gradually taken over many of parental responsibilities.

Telramen op de bank in de klas / Counting-frames in classroom

Over the years, public schools have become more brazen when it comes to conditioning children. Drag queen story time for first graders. Kindergarten sex education. There is a time and a place to teach children about such things. As a homeschooler, you will decide what and when your child learns these things. This is one of the primary reasons why we homeschool.

Safety

According to many recent studies, teacher-child sexual relationships are on the rise. That does not include the 4.5 million children who are exposed to pornography at school. Schooling a child at home gives you a lot of peace of mind about their safety. With homeschooling, you don’t need to worry about mass shootings and bomb threats at your child’s school. You don’t fear sexual predators grabbing your child at a bus stop. Obviously, you can’t ever totally protect your children, but there is great peace of mind when they are with you.

Socialization

“What about socialization?” I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked that question. Recent statistics show that one in four children are bullied at school. Young girls are body shamed. There are campus sexual assaults. Sixty eight percent of 12th graders have tried alcohol while 35% have tried Marijuana. Nearly 25% use illicit drugs.

We have family members who are teachers in Ohio. In their small town school district, six children committed suicide in one year. It’s suspected the suicides clustered after the original child was memorialized and recognized. Public schoolers can have their “socialization.” Homeschoolers desire something better for their kids.

There are so many social resources for homeschoolers. Band, art classes, debate, science labs, orchestra, sports, and other activities are available for homeschoolers. The difference it is done with parents (and under your direct supervision) instead of strangers. Through homeschooling, you can be highly selective with whom your kids socialize. Also, this isn’t the same as sheltering your kids. It’s about grounding them before they’re let fully free into the world.

Time Flexibility

With homeschooling, you select the days you have school. If you have to take a day off mid-week, it can easily be made up on the weekend. Sick? No problem. Just move the curriculum over by a day.

In Texas, there isn’t even a minimum number of school days! You can even vacation any time you want. No need to wait for the unbearable summer heat to travel. (Disney in the off season? Yes, please.) This is especially easy if you homeschool year round. Homeschooling year round allows you to take more time off during the school year when you or your child need a break. It also stops children from “forgetting things” or getting “rusty” over the summer.

Courtesy of Pexels

One thing I loved about being homeschooled was that I could start and finish my day at any time. In high school, for example, I used to start my school day early (like 5 a.m.) and then be done around lunch time. This allowed me time for other things – like graduating a year early.

Choose Your Own Curriculum

I’ve heard numerous teachers in my family and friend circle, complain about curriculum. In public school, you have no control over what or how your child is taught.

Also, one size does not fit all. Some children, often boys, are tactile learners and benefit from more hands-on learning. Early in my homeschooling journey I discovered my eldest son hated flash cards and worksheets, so I introduced some hands-on activities instead. By homeschooling you can alter the curriculum to best fit your student instead of forcing your child to conform to that particular style of teaching.

A veteran homeschooling mom of twelve (yes, twelve) once said to me, “if you and your child are both frustrated and burnt out, it’s almost always the curriculum.” Having control of your child’s curriculum, means that if you or your child are struggling it can easily be changed, even mid-year. I felt unchallenged in school, but once I was homeschooled and was able to move my own pace, my own way I found my groove.

Freedom of Religion

In 1960, atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, filed a law suit against the Baltimore public school system. This suit ultimately led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against compulsory prayer in public school. Since then, religious rights have slowly eroded away in public schools. Students can no longer fully practice or live out their Christian faith without risking persecution or penalty. Homeschooling permits the full teaching and exercise of your faith, even if it isn’t Christianity.


Next week, I’ll be debunking common myths around homeschooling. Be sure to follow my blog so you don’t miss any homeschooling posts. I’ll also have teaching resources very soon!

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Scripture Reading – Faith

Cataclysmic events can shake our faith. But don’t stay in doubt too long. Pray this month long scripture reading – Faith and watch your faith grow.

Scripture Reading - Faith
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Hello, friend. I’m glad you’re here. Before we begin, let me pray over you. I pray that the Holy Spirit blesses you with the spiritual gift of wisdom – that what you’re about to read increases your faith and trust in the Lord. If you are struggling with faith today, I pray that he breaks the spiritual stronghold of doubt. Amen.

This has been a huge area of testing recently in my life. It’s easy to feel full of faith until something knocks the wind out of you. So since I’m also being stretched in this area, I thought I’d share with you how God is guiding my heart.

What is Faith

What exactly is faith? Paul explains in his letter to the Hebrews, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for – the conviction of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)” THE ASSURANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR.

Hope is the happy anticipation of good. Therefore, faith is the assurance of good, but in particular – when it is not seen. It is the conviction, the belief, that regardless of the current appearance or evidence, good is coming. To me, faith is built upon two pillars – hope and trust. You can’t have one without the other. The combination equates to faith.

Faith After Disappointment

“But what if I’ve been disappointed? I had faith and was disappointed!” Maybe you had a prayer you didn’t feel was answered or a situation that didn’t change. I know the feeling. In fact, over the last few months, I’ve struggled with this. In fact, today I experienced another very big disappointment…again! It’s very hard to get back to trusting God. But this is where you have to dig deep in TRUTH instead of fickle emotions.

If you feel stuck in disappointment, I encourage you to read my post How to Handle Disappointment in God.

How Do We Strengthen Our Faith

Abide in Christ

I had often heard pastors and priests talk about “abiding in Christ.” For years, I thought it meant to surround myself in the warm, basking love of our savior. Almost like a warm blanket, I was to wrap myself up in him and his presence. But that isn’t what the word abide means.

The word abide actually means to “obey – to follow, to heed, conform to, consent to, acquiesce, pay attention to, agree to.” This takes on an entirely different meaning. To abide is a command of obedience. More directly, it means yielding our will to His.

Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?

Luke 6:46

Don’t misunderstand this as legalism, which is putting law above the gospel and reducing it down to rigid moral codes. Rather, our obedience is an act of love (John 14:15) and allows us to be malleable to God’s great plan for us. We shouldn’t expect full blessing in exchange for partial obedience.

Ask

If there is one valuable lesson I’ve learned as an adult Christian, it’s that I am incapable of anything in my own flesh. Trying to do things on our own – including following Christ, is all but impossible in our own humanness. Even with our best intentions, we are riddled with imperfections and shortcomings. That’s why it’s important that we ask God for help – including help with trust and the gift of faith.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you have received it, and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

Ask God to increase your faith. You have not, because you ask not. Ask! And be bold!

Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you: for everyone that asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

Start Small

While I would love for you to take a grandiose, blind, leap of faith, I know how hard it is to be afraid of doing so. After all, if you could do that, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. So if you have to, start small. Just take the first step in faith – believe He hears you! Then believe He cares about you. Next, believe that he is good. Keep taking those baby steps towards believing! Over time, with prayer and scripture, your faith will mature.

scripture reading faith

Remember God’s Promises

God has given us the greatest spiritual food for faith – His word. His word is full of promises for when we are struggling with faith. Clutch to them like a life raft! Hold on to them and don’t let them go. Write them on sticky notes and put them on your fridge if you have to, but keep God’s promises in front of you! Remind yourself daily, that God’s ultimate plan won’t disappoint. He has something better for you.

Pray scripture aloud. I found this to be a powerful tool to increase faith and ward off the enemy. As Paul writes to the Romans, “so faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Hearing the living word of God increases faith.

Hebrews 11:6

Remember There is a Battle Going On

It’s easy to forget that there is a real life battle going on for your soul. We have an adversary. Scripture calls him “the accuser,” “a deceiver,” and a “murderer.” The very introduction of Satan as the serpent has him causing Adam and Eve to doubt God and his command. Jesus himself called Satan the “father of lies” (John 8:44).

When he lies, he speaks according to his nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44

Renounce doubt! Doubt is a tool of the enemy. More to the point, doubt is the enemy of faith. Satan will tempt you by planting seeds of doubt, but you decide if you water it, root it, nurture it, and tend to it. Doubt must be dealt with like a weed. As soon as you see it popping up, yank it out by the root. Don’t allow it to grow in you.

Satan immediately comes and takes away the word which was sown in them.

Romans 10:17

Simply put, Satan hates faith, which is produced by the word of God. The good news is this – Satan will not win.

Scripture Reading – Faith

  1. Mark 11:22-24
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:5
  3. Matthew 21:22
  4. Luke 1:37
  5. 1 Corinthians 16:13
  6. Romans 5:1-2
  7. Psalm 119:30
  8. Romans 1:17
  9. James 1:5-6
  10. Hebrews 11:1
  11. Psalm 46:10
  12. John 8:24
  13. John 7:38
  14. Romans 10:17
  15. Mark 5:36
  16. 1 John 5:5
  17. Romans 10:9
  18. 2 Corinthians 5:7
  19. Hebrews 11:6
  20. Psalm 29:11
  21. Psalm 16:8
  22. Galatians 2:16
  23. Romans 8:24
  24. Hebrews 10:39
  25. 2 Corinthians 4:18
  26. Hebrews 3:6
  27. Ephesians 2:8-9
  28. Hebrews 11:7
  29. Hebrews 11:27
  30. Ephesians 3:16-17

In closing

Thank you for joining me today. If you’ve missed previous scripture readings, I encourage you to read them here:

Don’t forget to pin this post for a rough day. Also, before you leave, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for future devotionals.

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Happy Planner Password Log

Don’t forget passwords anymore! I’m sharing a FREE beautiful black, white, and blush, classic sized Happy Planner password log.

Happy Planner password log

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through a link I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps me offset the costs incurred with this blog. See my full disclosure policy.

Hey there, friend! I’ve got something super cute for you today! A Happy Planner password log.

Password Keeping

Girl, I’m getting old. I can’t remember anything if I don’t write it down. Passwords are no exceptions. And these days…passwords are getting harder to remember. I mean first we just needed a capital letter. Then a capital letter and a number. Now they want special characters! What next?

Over the last couple of years, I’ve just scribbled them into a sheet in my Happy Planner ®, but as it grew, I had the need for more organization. I’m shocked that Happy Planner hasn’t come out with a password log yet, especially in the household extension pack.

So I decided to make one…at least for you and me to use that will fit inside your classic Happy Planner. Best of all, I’m offering it FREE to you here on the blog!

happy planner password log

Directions for your Happy Planner Password Log

  1. Download the PDF file at the end of this post.
  2. Print out on regular 8.5 x 11″ paper
  3. Trim down to size by following the grey trim guide lines.
  4. Punch with your classic Happy Planner punch.
  5. Enjoy and use! Subscribe to my blog for more goodies like this!
Guide lines

That’s it! Thank you for downloading my Happy Planner password log. I love making helpful things like this for my readers. In the comments below, I’d love to hear what other printables you’d love to see!

Before you leave, check out some of my other Happy Planner related posts:

Lastly, please take a moment and subscribe to my blog. I send out regular FREEBIES like this (yay! Happy Planner stuff) all the time to members only. Never miss a free download! Also, be a first in line for subscriber only Happy Planner giveaways!

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How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner

Take control of your emotional, mental, and physical health. Today, I’m going to show you how to use the Wellness Happy Planner.

how to use the wellness happy planner

Hey there, friend! Do you struggle to look after yourself? I know I did. As a mama of two, I was always on the back burner. But then I found the Wellness Happy Planner! I was already an avid Happy Planner, but finding this helped me schedule and prioritize, much needed “me time.” Today I’m going to show you how to use a Wellness Happy Planner ® to practice self-care.

To learn more about wellness and how to care for yourself, I encourage you to read my prior post 30 Day Wellness Challenge. In that post, I provide a FREE printable to help you get ideas for emotional, mental and physical wellness.

Also, in lieu of reading this post, you can watch a video on How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner.

What is a Wellness Planner

The question I get asked a lot is, “what is the difference between a fitness and a wellness Happy Planner?” The fitness Happy Planner is designed to track diet and exercise. The wellness planner can certainly track diet and fitness if desired, but it really offers a deeper health check of body, mind, and soul.

Available Sizes

The Wellness Happy Planner is available as an 18-month planner.

Layout

Right now the Wellness Happy Planner is a vertical format. Like the typical vertical layout, it has three boxes. However, the last box has a journal prompt with a a square grid space. You certainly don’t have to use this space for journaling. It is very easy to cover up with stickers.

how to use a wellness happy planner

The planner has monthly tabs as well as monthly spreads. The weekly side bar includes a exercise habit tracker, a small prompt and a “currently.” section. See my video below for a flip through of the new 2019-2020 Big Wellness Happy Planner.

How To Use the Wellness Happy Planner

There are endless ways to use the wellness Happy Planner. Personally, I use it as part journal, part planner and part memory planner. I use it to express thoughts and work through emotions like a journal. I also use it to actually plan and make time for self-care. Lastly, I use it retroactively to record good things that happen to me as well as gratitude. I think of it as my own authored book of inspiration. If you are struggling with what to record or plan in your planner, here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Body

  • More water
  • Exercise routine
  • Taking walks
  • Food journaling
  • Accountability / Accountability partner
  • Sleep goals
  • Weight loss journey
  • Rest / relaxation goals
  • Spa time / Long baths
  • Skin care routines

Mind

  • Reading
  • Puzzles
  • Unplugging from electronics
  • Being mindful
  • Play an instrument
  • Writing
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Taking a class
  • Decluttering
  • Play an instrument

Soul

  • Prayer / Meditation
  • Take a break from social media
  • Journaling
  • A date with your spouse of friends
  • Feed yourself positive thoughts
  • Listen to music
  • Quality time with friends or family
  • Bible study
  • A date with yourself
  • Work through forgiveness or grief
  • Be creative

I hope I’ve given you ideas on how to use your wellness planner!


Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for more Happy Planner ideas!

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Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy green chili chicken enchiladas? Yes, please. Learn how to make this simple weeknight recipe in all it’s cheesy, creamy goodness.

I’m Hispanic. I don’t care what’s inside an enchilada – it’s the best and it’s hard to get it wrong! I love chicken enchiladas. Bu these creamy green chili chicken enchiladas are my favorite. Over the years, I’ve used this recipe to make different variations of my favorites. That’s what makes this recipe great. You can swap out the chilies for seasonal ones.

For example, one of my favorite things about the late summer here in Texas, is that Hatch Chilies are in season! They’re hot, but oh my goodness, they are wonderful roasted! Our local HEB grocery store, even fire roasts them for you in August.

I also love using poblano peppers at times. Poblano peppers are kind of a wild card though. Every now and then, you get some real hot ones!

Making Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

I love this recipe because it can be a great use for left over baked or rotisserie chicken. My local grocery store actually sells shredded rotisserie chicken that is already shredded for you. They even separate white from dark meat if you want it. Come on, it can’t get easier than that. HEB has totally spoiled me.

I make this recipe for weeknight dinners. It’s about 20-30 mins of prep time, with a 30 min cook time. But I’ll tell you a secret, if you are in a pinch with time you can create an enchilada casserole instead. You’ll need the same ingredients, but instead of rolling the enchiladas, you later them. A layer of tortillas, followed by chicken and cheese, then sauce, then continue layering. Top with cheese. The cook time is the same. It’s just as good but you can cut the prep time to about 10 mins or less.

shredded c

Serving

I love to pair this dish with other Mexican staples like charro beans and Spanish Rice. In a prior post, I provide my family’s recipe for Perfect Spanish rice. I also love to top this dish with pico de gallo.

If you’re worried about it being too hot with the pico, simply leave out the jalapeños and just make it with tomato, onion, and cilantro.

Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy green chili chicken enchiladas? Yes, please. Learn how to make this simple weeknight recipe in all it's cheesy, creamy goodness.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chicken enchiladas, creamy enchiladas, enchiladas, green chili, poblano enchiladas, weeknight dinner
Servings: 20 Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Sour cream
  • 1 Lb Shredded chicken
  • 20 Corn tortillas
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 10oz Can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 3.5 Cups Bag of Mexican shredded cheese perferably Kraft
  • 1 4oz Can of diced green chilies
  • 1 15 oz Can of Verde (green) enchilada sauce
  • 1 Cup Pico de gallo optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Lower the racks down so that the dish will be in the center.
  • In a large bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, verde enchilada sauce, and sour cream . Whisk well until fully blended.
  • Spray a large baking dish (9×13) with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  • In a large bowl, add shredded chicken. Drain green chilies and add to chicken. Blend well and set aside.
  • Separate 2 cups of shredded cheese. Set the rest aside.
  • On a work surface, lay a tortilla flat. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese lengthwise. Then add the chicken mixture. Carefully roll the tortilla and place it seam side down. The cheese will help hold the enchilada together as it cooks.
  • Continue with all the tortillas until finished. If you're using a smaller dish, you can add a second row on top.
  • Pour the cream enchilada sauce mixture all over the enchiladas. Top with the remainder of the cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and thoroughly cooked.
  • Serve with charro beans and spanish rice. Garnish with pico de gallo, if you wish
creamy green chili chicken enchiladas

Storing & Reheating

You can prepare the enchiladas for advance. This is particularly great for dinner parties. Roll the enchiladas, but store in the fridge without the sauce. When you’re ready to heat, pour the sauce and pop in the oven.

These enchiladas store fairly well. You can even freeze them in a good, air tight container suitable for freezer storage. I recommend keeping the enchiladas for no longer than three days in the fridge. They warm up better in the oven than in the microwave though.


I hope you enjoy this recipe! It’s one of my favorites. Don’t forget to e-mail subscribe for more recipes and freebies!

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The Ultimate Summer Bucket List

Summertime is here. Here is the ultimate summer bucket list full of fun activities to do with your family.

The Ultimate summer bucket list
Photos courtesy of Unsplash

This post, the Ultimate Summer Bucket List, May contain affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

Summertime! It’s the season of pool parties, fireworks, and grilling out. Days are longer with sunlight and the evenings are balmy and sultry. Kids are out of school and us parents are scrambling to find things for them to do.

So today, I’m compiling a list of some of my family’s favorite Summer activities – The Ultimate Summer Bucket List.

Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Things To Do

We almost always take a small staycation. It’s fun to play tourist in your home town and explore where you live. We also do a summer road trip. This can be to a neighboring city on a weekend or a full trip across the country. Summers are a great time to satisfy your wanderlust.

Here in Texas, we survive summers by living in water as much as possible. This can be in your own backyard, water parks or resorts. But water activities automatically make me enjoy the scorching hot days of summer.

I always consider summer the season of simple pleasures. Sipping tea on a porch in the afternoon, catching fireflies at dusk, watching the fireworks on July 4th. It’s a great time to enjoy the little things in life.

The Ultimate Summer Bucket List

  • Go fishing
  • Watch fireworks
  • Eat watermelon
  • Visit a splash pad
  • Plant summer vegetables
  • Go camping
  • BBQ / Grill out
  • Make dye shirts
  • Have a staycation
  • Make popsicles
  • Visit a museum
  • Play softball
  • Sip tea on a porch
  • Ride a rollercoaster
  • Watch a sunset
  • Visit the Zoo
  • Build a sandcastle
  • have a water balloon fight
  • Go hiking
  • Watch a Major League Baseball game.
  • Go for a family bike ride
  • Play with sparklers
  • Collect sea shells
  • Visit a theme park
  • Stargaze
  • Make s’mores
  • Plant a palm tree
  • Sit by a campfire
  • Eat fresh pineapple and coconut
  • Go on a vacation
  • Eat ice cream cones
  • Make & Drink Lemonade
  • Play mini golf
  • Go swimming
  • Visit the beach
  • Catch fireflies
  • Go on a weekend road trip
  • Visit a water park
  • Eat snow cones
  • Play in a sprinkler
  • Go to a picnic
  • Play beach volleyball
  • Watch a summer movie outside
  • Visit an aquarium

Don’t Forget to Pin for Later

The Ultimate Summer Bucket List

I hope you guys have an awesome summer with your spouse and kids. Remember, you only get 18 summers with your kids under your roof. Make each one count.

18 summers

I’d love to hear what you love doing in the Summertime! Also, take a look at my other seasonal bucket lists:

The Ultimate Christmas Bucket List

The Ultimate Spring Bucket List

The Ultimate Fall Bucket List