Friday Favorites: DONE WITH GRAD SCHOOL FOREVER Edition!!!

Friday, April 29, 2016

As you can tell from today's title, I'm a little a million times excited about finishing grad school!!  Last night, I took my last final ever!  The term technically isn't over until May 5th, but I'm done with everything I have to do!  Oh yeah!  It feels so good!  

It's so crazy to think that I started graduate school for my master's in Library Media Specialist on March 17, 2015.  And now I'm finished on April 29, 2016.  Y'all, I finished a two year degree in THIRTEEN months!  That was no easy feat--lots of tears, major stress, and having to sacrifice exercise and spending time with friends in order to do homework or study.  I'm SO glad to have my life back!  Graduation is May 7th, and I'll receive my degree in the mail shortly after!!!

This is my #1 FAVORITE today!
This is right after I took my final last night!  We have to use a computer with a camera on it because they film us the whole time to make sure we aren't looking at notes or no one is helping us.  I took my final with zero make up and wet hair because...#dontcare    ;)

Tuesday, I shared a recipe for Birthday Cake Bars.  I'm making them again today to take to a Secret Church simulcast at my church tonight.  They are so good and a FAVORITE dessert right now that I can't allow myself to eat haha!  I had them at school Wednesday for the club I sponsor and then my friend, Hailey, texted me a picture that night after she had baked a batch.  They. Are. So. Good.

Since I have a life now and so much extra free time, I'm getting back into shape.  Before I started grad school, my usual workout after school would be an easy 3 mile run.  Notice I said easy because right now, 2 miles is all I can handle--especially since I'm not used to running in the heat.  I knew I needed to swap out a day of running with a day of cross-training.  This workout designed by Jenna Wolfe from The Today Show is one I used to do before grad school started (notice a pattern?).  It's a FAVORITE because it's tough and requires zero equipment.  And it doesn't feel like you're working out very long.  I had to modify two of the exercises on Wednesday night because I couldn't do that many reps of them.  But I know I'll build up to it in no time.

I am so in love with this chambray dress I picked up last week that it's my FAVORITE dress for school right now.  I wore it to school Monday and was so comfortable the whole day.  This is going to be such a great dress to slip on this summer when I'm running errands and it's too hot for anything else because the fabric on this is so thin!

My church is broadcasting a Secret Church simulcast tonight and I AM SO EXCITED!!  Why the name Secret Church?  Christians in other countries who are openly persecuted because of their faith are sometimes required to hold "secret" churches.  Since the government cannot know about this, sometimes their church "services" they last for hours at a time because meeting time is so irregular.  Tonight's broadcast is 6 hours and David Platt will be preaching on world religions and how we, as Christians, can know exactly how to share the Gospel with someone of a different religion because we will know exactly what they believe.  I know 6 hours seems like a long time, but last year it went by so fast that I couldn't believe it was over!  He's an amazing pastor who gives out so much information that there's barely any time to digest it before moving on to the next point.

Linking up with Andrea

April Reads!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I can't believe we're at the end of April!  It almost flew right by me and I would have forgotten to review the books I read this month.

I was able to read THREE books this month!  After I mailed off my portfolio on April 16, I felt like I gained back so much of my life--that even though I still am in one last class required for my degree, I had so much free time that I could devote to reading since I only had one assignment due each week.

Last month I read Joshilyn Jackson's latest book The Opposite of Everyone and enjoyed it--although Someone Else's Love Story is my favorite of hers.  (Side note: My book club Skyped with her at our meeting this month and she shed so much light on characters to where I was a little upset with the ending after she revealed how she intended it to be.)  Since this month felt like it was about her, I read two more of her books.

"Nonny Frett understands the meaning of the phrase "in
between a rock and a hard place" better than any woman
alive. She's got two mothers, "one deaf-blind and the
other four baby steps from flat crazy." She's got two
men: a husband who's easing out the back door; and a
best friend, who's laying siege to her heart in her front
yard. And she has two families: the Fretts, who stole her
and raised her right; and the Crabtrees, who won't forget
how they were done wrong. Now, in Between,
Georgia, a feud that began the night Nonny was born
is escalating and threatening to expose family secrets.
Ironically, it might be just what the town needs...if only
Nonny weren't stuck in between."

This book took me a while to get into it, but I enjoyed it enough to read another Jackson book!

For some reason, I didn't read this when my book club did.  Since lots of the ladies loved this book the most, I got it from the local public library and began reading.

"For 10 years Arlene has kept her promises, and God has kept His end of the bargain. Until now. When an old schoolmate from Possett turns up at Arlene's door in Chicago asking questions about Jim Beverly, former quarterback and god of Possett High, Arlene's break with her former hometown is forced to an end. At the same time, Burr, her long-time boyfriend, has raised an ultimatum: introduce him to her family or consider him gone. Arlene loves him dearly but knows her lily white (not to mention deeply racist)Southern Baptist family will not understand her relationship with an African American boyfriend. Reluctantly, Arlene bows to the pressure, and she and Burr embark on the long-avoided road trip back home. As Arlene digs through guilt and deception, her patched-together alibi begins to unravel, and she discovers how far she will go for love and a chance at redemption."

This was not my favorite Jackson book although I did enjoy it.  If you are looking to read a book of hers, I will always recommend for people to start with Someone Else's Love Story!

I'm late to this bandwagon, but after I saw the beginning of the movie preview for this (I quickly turned it off so it didn't spoil the book for me), I had to get this book to read it.

If you enjoyed reading Gone Girl, you will LOVE reading The Girl on the Train!  I read it in three days, and I would have read it probably in two days, but I had to stop to do homework for grad school.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

I could not get enough of this book!  In fact, one night I stayed up way past my bedtime to read until my eyes couldn't read any longer!  It was so good, and the ending totally threw me off--just like in Gone Girl.  If I had to recommend one book for you to read from my picks this month, I would definitely start with The Girl on the Train!

Birthday Cake Bars

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

There are two types of sweets that I love: chocolate chip cookies and cake.  One day I was scrolling through Mix and Match Mama's 100 Bars and came across her recipe for Cake Batter Blondies.  Who doesn't love cake batter?  It looked simple enough, so I tried it.  

Oh. My. Goodness.

I had to send them with Dustin to take to his work to get them out of the house because they were so good!  The club I sponsor at school meets tomorrow for our last meeting so I'll be whipping up a batch of these for the kids, and Secret Church is Friday night and I'll be making these again.  It's my new favorite dessert right now.

I added Funfetti icing to my bars and called them Birthday Cake Bars.

Birthday Cake Bars

1 box Funfetti cake mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk (I used skim)
1 egg
1 good handful of white chocolate chips
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles 
1 jar Funfetti icing

1. Preheat your oven to 350 and grease your 9x13 baking dish.
2. Mix all of the ingredients together except the icing.
3. Evenly spread your batter in your dish and bake for 17-20 minutes.  Check it with a toothpick in the center to make sure it comes out clean.
4. Let cool before icing and cut into bars!

This dessert is easy to whip up and isn't messy when you eat it--which is a win-win for me!  Don't forget about the print button I added at the bottom of this post.  It makes printing out these recipes so much easier AND don't forget to check my Recipes page out!

Linking up with Stang&Co

Weekend Recap: Weather Day Edition

Monday, April 25, 2016

Two things about this past weekend:
1. All weekends should be 3 day weekends
2. I was horrible at remembering to take pictures this weekend (I did take a few)

I believe 3 day weekends should be the new norm.  Dustin was off Friday-Sunday and so was I and it was wonderful.  The weather was perfect, and I felt like this weekend was a snapshot of this summer!

I am working on getting back into running shape.  For me, that's being able to run 3 miles comfortably, so Friday I got out and ran 2 miles.  Then I enjoyed a post-run snack of Greek yogurt and protein granola while reading the latest Southern Living--my favorite!

Then Mom and I ran a few errands together, I took a nap, and Dustin and I hung out the rest of the night.

The weather on Saturday was even better than Sunday!  I took my dad grocery shopping with me early Saturday morning since he needed to get a few healthier food items.  On my way home, I called my sister to see if she wanted to meet me at the park to walk, and she asked me if we wanted to go out on the boat with them.  Of course!  Dustin and I got ready really quick and headed out on the river with Rachel and Nick.
 We're excited to be backing out of the boat slip!  The first ride on the river is always the best.

 Rachel's dog, Ralph, was so excited to be going out on the river, too!

 We tied up next to my cousin's boat and floated for a few hours!
Bathing suit is from Victoria's Secret--sold in stores only

After a few hours on the river, we ran home to shower and realized that we still had to go up to Mom and Bill's to feed cattle while my step-dad was out of town.  I had just gotten out of the shower, so I pulled my hair up into a top knot and showed Dustin what I used to do out on the farm!
 Dustin snapped these of me without me even knowing it.  He said, "I took these of you for you to put on your blog."  Love him!

I wasted zero time getting those feed buckets filled for us Dustin to carry into the different pens/pastures.  I did what I used to do--open gates.

Then we rushed back to the house for me to dry my hair, straighten it, and put on make up for us to go out to eat with his friends.

After church, we came home to eat and get ready to go to Lowe's to get a few more things for Dustin's latest project:

And we had to pick up fresh strawberries from our local peach farm.

I ran again and Dustin finished his cooler!
 See the level?  He's showing me how perfectly level it is haha!

We grilled and enjoyed supper out on the back porch while listening to oldies--Sunday night couldn't have been any more perfect!

How was your weekend?

Linking up with Biana

Friday Favorites!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Today is an unused weather day in my school system so we are out of school and I am going to thoroughly enjoy my long weekend!

When we were building our house last spring, I opted not to get a backsplash for the kitchen for a few reasons.  One--I am not a fan of the typical just doesn't fit my style. And Two--white subway tile wouldn't work with the cream cabinets I picked out.
Thanks to Pinterest, I found this brick backsplash and now I'm obsessed.  So as of right now, this is what I want for our kitchen.

I've raved so many times before about how I love the She Reads Truth app on my phone.  I just recently started a study on Hosea, a book in the Old Testament, and this graphic was on either day 2 or 3.  I saved it to remind myself how unfaithful I am to the Lord every day--I idolize material things, my marriage and husband, my body image and many things.  I highly recommend the study on the book of Hosea.  It's ugly and uncomfortable and that's because our sin is ugly and uncomfortable.

I'm obsessed with this picture!  SO PRECIOUS!
.....and since Dustin is reading this, I do finish grad school next Thursday.. ;)

I hope y'all have a fantastic Friday and that the weather is beautiful where you are!

Oven Baked Refried Bean Tacos

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I shared this Mexican Pita recipe last week and admitted my love affair with Mexican food.  Well, I'm here to share another recipe with you today, and's Mexican food.  I told you I have an obsession!

I had some stand and stuff taco shells in the pantry and decided to put my taco salad filling in them to bake to see if they would be good--and they were!  Your family will love these, and you'll feel good about feeding them something filling and healthy.

Oven Baked Refried Bean Tacos
1 lb deer meat, browned (or turkey, beef, chicken)
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can of fat free refried beans
1/2 cup salsa
1 8oz can tomato sauce
shredded cheese
stand and stuff shells

1. Spray a little Pam in your 9x13 pan and preheat your oven to 400.
2. After browning your meat, turn stovetop to low, drain, and add in taco seasoning, refried beans, salsa, and tomato sauce.  Mix together.
3. Fill meat mixture in your taco shells and sprinkle a little cheese on top.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until your cheese is melted.  

*Mine makes 8 taco shells and ended up being 272 calories each!

Don't forget to check out my Recipes tab!

Linking up with Jenn today

A Day in the Life (4.18.16)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I'm finally linking up with Andrea for one of her Show and Tell Tuesday posts!  Today we're all sharing a Day in the Life, and these are my very favorite posts to read!  I love learning about the daily lives of others--you never know what you'll find you have in common with another blogger!

I'm sharing my Day in the Life from yesterday :)

My alarm goes off at 5 AM during the week day and you can see I stayed in bed a little bit longer.  I got into the habit during grad school that if I wanted to read and comment on any blogs, I had to do it first thing in the morning because afternoons and evenings were devoted to school work, Dustin, or the million other things I'm involved with.  I'm sure I'll stick with getting up that early after grad school because I love having that time to myself in the morning.

Drinking Spark and reading blogs!  (And charging my Fitbit)

We finished up watching The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe in my English classes today.  This was the first year that I showed a movie during testing week because I really spent so much time reviewing for our state standardized testing--as in, my students wrote 5 different essays preparing for the writing section on the test.  They loved watching this movie, and we completed a worksheet during and spent lots of time talking about all of the biblical allusions in the movie (book).

Then I got home and ran.  It feels good to know that I'm working my way back into shape.

We (I) enjoyed cooling off on the front porch before supper.

Supper was a crockpot meal--SO good!  Chicken, corn, salsa, adobo chilis, brown rice....amazing.

I took a shower and then remembered I had to wash towels.  White towels are perfect except when you live with a man and can't keep them white :(

While the towels were washing, I decided to relax a bit and watch last week's episode of Real Housewives of Dallas.  Thoughts so far: Leeanne is mean.  I'll have to catch up on last night's episode later.

This is a day in the life, right?  Here's what I look like post-shower with still damp hair--it got bigger after it dried completely.  #thankgoodnessforstraighteners

Then someone wanted me to sit with him while he wrote out a few checks.
(Also, does anyone else still use check registers?  Or are we just old souls in young bodies?)

I started reading a new book, did my quiet time, and ended up going to bed around 10 PM.

Weekend Recap: Party Edition!

Monday, April 18, 2016

This weekend was full of lots of partying and wonderful weather!  It started Friday night with a paint party at my church benefitting two of our college members who are doing long-term summer missions this year.

We had a packed room!

I made a new best friend Friday night.  We bonded over our mutual love of American Girl dolls and now have plans to visit the Nashville store with our dolls :)

One of my best friend's taught the party!  We've been best friends since she moved to Hartselle in the 3rd grade.  Thankful our teacher sat us beside each other on her first day!

My mom has way better handwriting than I do!

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early determined to get all loose ends tied up on my internship portfolio and get it mailed off.  It's due to my professor no later than Friday, but I wanted it gone.  I had to scan a few more documents in and then triple check all paper work.  

I asked the post office lady to take my picture before she put my package in the mail!  That envelope represents months of stress and crying, 300 hours of an internship, and a portfolio demonstrating that I met 47 objectives.  I was so relieved to finally send it off!  My last final is April 28th and then that's it!

I left Saturday afternoon to drive down to Birmingham.  Janie's husband had arranged a surprise birthday party and I brought the cookie cake since it's a tradition of ours.  I had them write Judy because that's a nickname I gave Janie back in college one day when she gave me attitude--hence, Judy Attitudy was born :)

Sometimes we still wished we lived together--life was so much easier then and we got each other.  Now we live with men we have to take care of haha!

Sunday brought 80 degree weather and sunshine so I wore my romper to church!

I hope y'all had a great weekend, too!

Linking up with Biana

Friday Favorites!!

Friday, April 15, 2016

It's the end of the work week and this is me today:

That will partly be because tomorrow I'll be mailing off my portfolio to my professor as part of my internship requirement for my master's degree.  It took me MONTHS to complete that portfolio and all I want is for it to be mailed off and out of my hands!!  That is my number one FAVORITE for this week!!

Another FAVORITE fact:  I have two more homework assignments and one final and I am done with grad school for the rest of my life!!!!!  (Hopefully ha)

Tonight, the women's ministry that I am involved with at my church is hosting a paint party.  The money raised will go toward the mission expenses of two girls from my church who are doing long-term summer missions this year.
This is the cute picture we're painting and is a FAVORITE because I'm going to put it in my classroom!  And my bestie is leading the class so I can't wait to get to hang out with a bunch of great ladies!

I had a student give me this yesterday morning for me to put up in my classroom--isn't is great?!  My FAVORITE is the quote right under the pop-up book!

I also had a student give me a painting of a deer that she had made--I'm framing that and putting it up in my house :)  

And my last FAVORITE for today....
Dustin went to his diabetes doctor yesterday.  Sometimes I'm able to take off work to go with him, but I didn't this time.  I told him to be responsible and this is the Snapchat that I get in response...
Yes, this is who I'm married to haha!

(And the Mrs. Felt part, since I've been married, multiple people have assumed my last name is Felt???  No, it's Shaneyfelt and it's one whole word--so strange!  So it's now an inside joke for us.)

Confessional Thursday (4.14.16)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Happy Thursday, y'all!  We've made it and are almost to the end of the week--which means I'll have survived week one of state testing!  Oh yeah!

I'm linking up again with The Newly for Confessional Thursday!

I confess....

I'm so behind on all of my TV shows that looking at my DVR gives me an anxiety attack.  I keep telling myself I'll have my life back at the end of this month, but I can only imagine the amount of shows on my DVR then!

I want to start buying some dresses for dinner nights on the cruise we're taking in June, but I've been so indecisive lately when it comes to buying clothes.  I'm not feeling comfortable in anything I've been trying on so I know that has a lot to do with it.  I went to Anthro Saturday with the intent to buy a dress and walked out with nothing--not like me at all!

I hate this weather.  It's not warm enough to dress cute, but it's mid-April so it looks weird wearing winter clothes???  I don't know how to dress!!!

I keep daydreaming about how I want to furnish my dining room and now I think I want a round table.  Thanks, Southern Living, for showing me all of your dining rooms with round tables.  #nowimobsessed

I also need to hang our bedroom curtains that I bought in February....

I need a good rainy Saturday where I can lay in bed all day watching TV and where I don't have to cook, clean, or do laundry!

WIWW: State Testing Edition

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It's that time of the school year--state standardized testing time.  For those of you unfamiliar with this time, it's also known as the most boring time of the school year.

My seventh graders are being tested in five different areas: writing, reading, English (grammar), science, and math.  My school has it set up where teachers alternate administering the test.  English teachers started administering tests on Monday with the writing test to all of their classes, and then yesterday and today we are giving the reading test.  

Here's an example of how Tuesday went (which is when I wore this outfit):
-classes on a block schedule so only seeing odd classes today
-class comes into my classroom and I quickly take attendance and remind students of a few things for the test (mainly, take your time!)
-make sure students leave everything in the classroom and lock it up
-walk to computer lab toting a box with all testing supplies
-students sit at assigned computer
-begin reading test directions out of the booklet and pass out papers
-students begin taking the 65 minute test
-repeat these steps all day long....
*While students take the test, administrators aren't allowed to do anything: read, look at a computer, grade papers, etc.  We're pretty much only allowed to breathe and count the tiles on the floor.

This brings me to my outfit yesterday.....
For state testing, a teacher wants to dress comfortable.  Since yoga pants are against dress code, I wore the second best thing: a dress and tennies
Dress: bought this winter at Anthropologie
Shoes: Converse
Ring: Pandora

Linking up with Jenn today and The Pleated Poppy

Mexican Pitas

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I love Mexican food.  I literally could eat it weekly.  But it's so unhealthy that Dustin and I hardly ever go out for Mexican--I prefer to cook it myself so I can lighten up the meals.  

This meal is so good that I've actually made it again since I cooked it the first time.  Dustin loves it.  I didn't realize until after I had made this graphic that you can't see any of the pita filling--sorry!  But trust me, it's so good!!

1 lb meat (I used deer meat, but I would also use ground turkey)
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup salsa
1 can of Rotel, not drained
pita bread (I used multigrain)
shredded cheese

1. Brown your meat.  When halfway done, add in garlic.
2. After your meat is completely brown, add in chili powder and cumin and mix well.
3. Add in salsa, Rotel, and drained spinach--mix all together and turn your heat down and allow your mixture to simmer until everything is heated all the way through.
4. Cut your pita bread in half and heat up in the microwave to soften.  Fill each pita half with mixture and sprinkle a little shredded cheese on top!  You could even add a little Greek yogurt on top to take the place of sour cream.

Serves 6 pita halves

Y'all, this meal is super healthy, flavorful, and very filling!!  Try it and your family will love it!

Happy (Belated) National Sibling Day!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Today is a MAJOR picture overload, so feel free to skip today's post!  Yesterday was National Sibling Day and I didn't spend any of it with my little sister :(  She was busy traveling back form out of town.  I went through a few of my pictures to find some of us and realized I probably should post a few more recent pictures.

I'm so lucky I have such a great little sister that I'm close to.  She drove me crazy when we were little--the 4 year age gap will do that to you!  But once I moved away for college (and especially the later years in college), we started becoming friends.  When I graduated from Alabama and had to move back home since I didn't have a teaching job, Rachel had just graduated from high school and was going to live at home and go to a local college.  We had the best time living across the hall from one another!  It was a sad day when I moved out and got married haha!  Now we both live in town and see each other all the time!

 Helping me with cheer tryouts one year

 I loved picking her up haha

 Working on the farm--I have a feeling we were cutting down thistles....ugh

 Riding around checking on cows

 Easter 2013

 Rachel's graduation from nursing school!!

 She trusted me enough to color her hair :)

 The day I got engaged!!  June 16, 2013

 And Rachel got engaged 2 weeks later!!!  Loved being engaged at the same time!

 My #1 fan at my first Anthro fashion show

 High class at the movies

 Teaching Rachel how to bake at an early age

 We were always together!

 Easter 2014

 Rachel + Nick's engagement party--I think this was about 2 weeks before my wedding

 My maid of honor!!!

 Rachel's wedding--we also got married 3 months apart from one another.  My mom was so calm hahahaha

 5 AM workouts at the gym together

 Doing random errands together

Thanks, Sister, for always being on my side!!  I love you!
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