Thursday, December 31, 2015

Favorite Posts of 2015

Don't forget to make plans to link up your book reviews and/or recommendations on Thursday, January 14!  It's time we create our reading list for 2016!

Yesterday I blogged my 2015 Year in Review (click here), and I had so much fun going back and trying to highlight each month in just a couple of pictures.  I had forgotten that it snowed in February (I thought January), got to look back at the building progress each month on our home, and really see how much we have to celebrate and be thankful for.

Because I'm linking up today for a Favorites 2015 Edition, I wanted to pick out my 5 FAVORITE posts of 2015!  These were not picked because of page views--although each of them did have a lot.  These are my favorite posts that I've written this year.  (Click on each title to read the post.)

Number FIVE


This post was so important to me because I felt that it was so important for people to attend a Secret Church simulcast.  Because I post my blog posts to my personal Facebook page, I knew this post would reach a lot of people from my town.  David Platt was going to be covering topics from his book Counter Culture, and I knew how imperative (and it still is!!) that Christians understand we are called to act on topics like abortion, orphans and widows, sex slavery, poverty--not just the topic of homosexuality that lots seem to only focus on.  I hope my post from February encourages you to attend a 2016 simulcast!


Number FOUR



This post detailed a normal work day for me.  Nothing special but still special at the same time.


Number THREE



You can tell from this post how much my wedding was like Kristen Saban's--except not!  I had fun writing this--I laughed when I proofed it--and I think it made other people laugh as well!  It's a great comparison between a "celebrity" wedding (I use that term loosely based on where you're from) and a normal wedding.


Number TWO




I started a new blog series in August and my friend Kristi let me do her home first!  This series has become my most popular, and I really think that it's because there are lots of people out there like me--people who like looking into other people's homes to get decorating ideas and tips!  I will take a break in January from this series but I will pick back up in February!


Number ONE




The first six months of marriage were a learning curve and now the first year and a half is still a learning curve!  I still need grace and need to learn how to give grace, and I know that's something I'll be learning my whole life.  I'm just thankful I have a great guy to do life with.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015: A Year in Review

2015 was a BIG year for us--we built a house, celebrated one year of marriage, and Dustin started a new position at his work.  It hasn't been an easy year, but regardless, my joy is found in the Lord.
Rejoice in the Lord always.  
Philippians 4:4

January

A picture of me from our wedding day was published in a magazine!

Mom took me to tour the Jack Daniels Distillery--so interesting--and then we ate lunch at the local boarding house restaurant--not my fav.


February

We went to Nashville to attend a Valentine's Day wedding at an Elvis wedding chapel.  A homeless man tried to lecture Dustin on love.

We announced our plans to build a house!  We were so ready for them to begin building...

...and then it snowed multiple days and delayed our house building.  Dustin still had to work, and school was cancelled for me.


March

I started grad school--no pictures here because they would all be of me crying haha!

They laid the footer on our home.  I loved learning about the building process and everything that goes into building a house.  Way more than I ever could have imagined!

First floor framing was completed.  And you can see a little of our neighbor's home being bricked.


April

We nixed the typical Easter outfit and instead wore a shirt where proceeds went to feeding those in third world countries.  It's a campaign called Forget the Frock.

Our bathtub was installed!

We enjoyed fishing on my mom's and stepdad's land.

Our church hosted a Secret Church simulcast for the first time--it was so great that I hope we do it again.  
Fun fact: my friend, Sarah, is pregnant here and we didn't know until early the next morning when she texted me a picture of her positive test during a layover on their trip to NYC!  And now her baby boy is a week old!

May

Mom benefitted from my Lilly Target purchase because it was way too short on me--and a little snug.  I stayed up past midnight and this was the only thing I was able to buy--and it didn't even fit :(  I was not a fan and really disappointed in the quality of Lilly.

Our house started to really look like a house.

It was exciting to get doors!

We came to visit the house every. single. day.  I was over it toward the end since some days no progress was made, but of course, we still had to come...

Shaneyfelt beach trip to Gulf Shores!


June

Finishing touches being made!!!! 

My BFFs and I hung out in Tuscaloosa for a day and reminisced about college.  And then we freaked out at how much Tuscaloosa has changed since we graduated.  And then we felt really old!  We're eating Summer Snow.  It's shaved ice, but not really--it's more like heaven in a cup.

Dustin stripped and re-stained a table and chair set we bought off of Craigslist before we got married.  The dark brown is way better than the cherry finish it was.

WE MOVED!!!!!  I would like to note that Dustin was on nights this whole moving process, and so I put everything away in our house by myself.  (And it went exactly where I wanted it to haha!)


July

Dustin turned the big 3-0 and we celebrated with a surprise party--in our NEW house!

One day after he turned 30, we celebrated one whole year of marriage!


August

Lots of time was spent cheering on the First Baptist Hartselle men's softball team.


September

We enjoyed a beautiful opening day of dove season.  It was my first time to ever do that, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  The weather was perfect, and it was fun seeing everyone get so anxious for the 12 PM start time.  Once noon hit, we heart gunshots all over.

We got a selfie stick.

Dustin dropped me off at church and I left for a few days for a women's conference in Indianapolis.


October

We enjoyed going to home football games together.

October is a big month for birthdays in my family.  My sister's is the 10th and mine is the 25th, so we celebrated all month!

We took Christmas card pictures.


November

Thanksgiving rolled around and we had 4 meals to attend in 2 days!  I hated food by lunch on Thanksgiving day.

Mom and I left to go Black Friday shopping before 5 AM!  We racked up on our purchases.  Actually, mom bought more for herself than anything else haha!  Oh, and my debit card was cut off because of the amount of purchases I did that day.....

Dustin started his new position at work!  We are still so happy about it!


December

We went on our 2nd annual Shaneyfelt Christmas Light Drive By.  But this time I can change the name to Christmas Light Creep By since Shaneyfelt learned how to drive slower when looking at lights.

Dustin had to work on Christmas day so we had Christmas at 3:30 AM.  It was different, but we know how blessed we are that he has a job.  (It also rained so much this day that areas flooded that I didn't even know would flood.)

Christmas night--you can see what my mom has to put up with!


Linking up with Jenn today!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Before I get to today's post, I want to mention a link up in January that you'll want to be part of!  I love to read, but if you're like me, you're always searching for another book to add to your reading list.  I love getting book recommendations from people, and I'm ready to start my reading list for 2016.  Because of this, my blog friend Victoria, who blogs over at Victoria Strader, and I have decided to do a link up in January of great book recs so you can start building your reading list for the next year. 

 Mark your calendar for Thursday, January 14, 2016!  You will need to link up a post highlighting a good book (or books) you've read that you would recommend to other bloggers (this can be an older post, too--or even multiple posts of book reviews).  I can't wait to see all of your recommendations!

I love baking so much, and so it's not unusual for me to whip up something on a whim.  That's how these cupcakes were born.  This past Sunday, my church rescheduled worship for a 10 AM worship service without Sunday school.  I woke up at my usual 7:30 AM and decided to try out a new bundt cake combination.  Right before I greased my bundt pan, I thought, "I wonder how this would turn out as cupcakes?"  I grabbed my muffin pan, threw in the cupcake liners, and voila--they turned out fantastic!  (Actually, these were so good that I had to give them away to keep myself--and Dustin--from eating all of them!)

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes



1 box white cake mix
1 large box cookies-n-cream Oreo pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup water

1.  Preheat oven to 350 and put cupcake liners in your muffin pan.
2. Mix together all ingredients above.
3. Using a small scoop (I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup and only filled it half full....you could use an ice cream scoop), fill cupcake liners about 1/2 to 3/4 full.
4. Bake 19-20 minutes.

Allow these to cool fully before icing.

Icing
1 container of white icing
1/2 package of the large cookies-n-cream Oreo pudding mix.

1. Mix icing and pudding mix together in a bowl.
2. Spoon mixture into a quart size freezer bag and cut the tip off.
3. Pipe icing in a swirl motion across the top of the cupcakes!


These would be really great to make for New Years Eve snacks!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Weekend Recap: Christmas 2015 Edition

 (Warning: This post contains LOTS of pictures!)

Christmas was so much fun this year.  I love the anticipation of Christmas--the build up of excitement, and trying to enjoy as many Christmas-related activities as possible.  This Christmas season was much different though because of the weather.  This has been the warmest Christmas season ever--as in 75 on Christmas day.  Of course, I can't forget the floods on Christmas day, too.  I wish I would have thought to have taken pictures of all of the flooding because this is something I'll want to look back on someday.


Dustin went into work on Christmas Eve for a couple of hours, so I soaked up as much time in front of the Christmas tree as I could.....while watching the Today Show :)


I did a little baking--Peppermint and Chocolate Bars.


Dustin and I started a tradition our second Christmas together (we had only been dating a month our first Christmas) where we exchange a small gift on Christmas Eve.  It has to be under $20.  He's holding our gifts now.  I get so excited about our Christmas Eve gift!


You can't see very well but we got each other CDs!  haha  I got him the newest Eric Church CD and he got me a Led Zeppelin CD--our tastes in music are very different!


I went and got my nails done Christmas Eve and came home to this.  He was tired and needed to rest up for the festivities that night!


We always have a candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve.


Dustin had to work regular hours on Christmas Day (5:30AM-5:30PM), so we had Christmas EARLY that morning!  His alarm went off at 3:00AM to shower and we started opening gifts around 3:15 since he leaves at 4:15 for work.

Yay for new camo!  Matching pants not pictured.


The rainboots were a perfect present since it literally flooded that day.  Unfortunately it was too warm to wear my new North Face.


For my entire life, we've had Christmas Day breakfast with my Gran and Popo at their house, their three kids (my dad being one of them), and their kids.  Now that my Gran has passed away, the setting has changed and new people have been added, but the tradition is still the same!  We always play Dirty Santa, and feelings get hurt when people take gifts you want (like Page taking the gift card I so badly wanted last year)--no mercy here!


My mom and stepdad came to get me after lunch because we had Christmas dinner at their house and I couldn't drive my car with all of the flooding.


Ready to eat!


My sister got Dustin cake icing (white--so important!) for his low blood sugar since she has experienced that now.


Mom got a new tripod for her camera so we played around with self-timer.


Rachel fell off the stool here!



The day after Christmas consisted of me reading the new cookbooks Rachel got me!


And taking down all of the Christmas decorations.  Curtains have been ordered and I'm on a hunt to find decor to decorate the mantle with now that fall and Christmas are over.


I did some baking to blog about later.


And wore my new North Face from my dad to go see Sisters--we laughed a lot during that movie!  (I took this to send to my dad!)

I love Christmas because it means I get to spend so much quality time with family and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Linking up with Biana today!
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