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Feb 052015

He Knows My Name - Joyful Thrifty Home

This Week

February came in with a bang and carried a nasty snow storm along with it. I don’t know what the groundhog had to say about that but I am pretty sure it’s a good sign that the snow is sticking around for a while. Though if you live in the Midwest near where I do, you know that there’s still a chance it could be 50 or 60 degrees the day after it snows. Talk about weather that can’t make up it’s mind!

Other than the addition of snow, this week has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I have been struggling with more fatigue and forced to fight with my anxiety a few times. But I am also feeling hope for the path that I am taking with many different areas of my life. It’s a new thing for me to feel a sense of confidence in myself but I like it. I am also rejoicing with some friends and their announcements of little ones but grieving for another who had to say goodbye too soon.

Links & Loves

I have been thinking for a while about doing a weekly post like this where I share links to posts I have been reading or just sharing some things I am loving. After reading some great posts that I knew needed to be shared, I decided that this week was a great time to start! So here’s my favorite links and loves for this week.

It’s Never Too Late to Set Goals…No Matter How Small by Ashley (that’s me!) on Young Wife’s Guide: Check out my newest post over on Young Wife’s Guide! I wrote this post in hopes to offer you encouragement if you are in a season of struggling or if you simply haven’t been good at setting or keeping goals in the new year.

Quit Being So Grateful by Becky Kopitzke: Gratitude is a wonderful thing but sometimes trying to be grateful isn’t always the best answer. This post really hit home for me and I hope it does for you too if this is an area you struggle with.

Put Down Your Sword, Sister by Holley Gerth: I am constantly amazed how Holley’s words have the capacity to speak into my heart when I need it  most. I love her look into how we can often be our own worst enemy.

I am loving my slow cooker! Last weekend I planned out meals for two weeks and made sure to add plenty of slow cooker options as well as simple meals for busy nights. It has been a while since I was in the habit of regularly planning meals but I am determined to keep up with it! This week has been much smoother as far as meals go and purposely using my slow cooker multiple times is a life saver for sure.

I made these three slow cooker meals this week:

I am loving Francesca Battistelli’s newest album, If We’re Honest. I love how it’s a perfect mix of joyful and contemplative but also speaks to my soul. Sometimes, I just let it play on repeat all day. I made the quote image at the top of the post from the song He Knows My Name.

Find a great article or have something you are loving this week?

Share in the comments, I would love to hear from you!

This post may be submitted into a weekly link up. Check out my list of link ups here!


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Jan 302015

Okay, I know February isn’t for a couple of days still, but it is right around the corner and February is a good month! I get to celebrate Valentines Day with my husband and my birthday all in the same month. I say that’s cause for some celebration so I decided to round up some great deals to share with you to start the new month. I also wanted to let you know that you should be on the lookout for some new updates from me soon as I am working like a crazy women behind the scenes on some exciting new updates for Joyful Thrifty Home that you won’t want to miss. For now, let’s get to those great deals…

Flirty Aprons Valentines Day Flash Sale

These aprons are adorable! I have one in the midnight bloom pattern and I love it. They also make great gifts, so go ahead and stock up on some extras.

Get 50% off and FREE shipping with the code LOVE50.

Flirty Aprons

Offer valid now through 2/14/15

30 % off Dayspring Mr and Mrs Collection

My favorite part of the Mr and Mrs collection are the cute mugs. I have been eyeing them ever since I first saw them. There’s lots of other cute things too like love notes, a coupon book or a journal. These would make the perfect Valentine’s Day gifts!

30% off Dayspring’s entire collection of Mr and Mrs gifts with coupon code MRANDMRS.

Mr and Mrs Gift Set

Offer valid from 2/2/15 through 2/5/1

Printable Valentines Day Countdown from the Dating Divas

Remember those cute Advent calendars that are used to countdown to Christmas? Well, I know Christmas has passed but why not do something similar to celebrate the coming of Valentines Day with your spouse! The Dating Divas have tons of cute date ideas and gorgeous printables. I bought a birthday card pack to make a card for my husband and I loved how it turned out.

Use coupon code VDAY3  to get your Valentine’s Countdown for just $4.97

Offer valid now through 2/1/15

Craftsy Winter Wonder Sale

If you love crafts like sewing, knitting or crochet, you’ll want to check this one out. Plus you can get lots of great classes through Craftsy too and there are even a lot of free classes too!

Up to 65% off all fabric, yarn and kits.


Offer valid now through 2/2/15

70% off Dayspring Calendars

Still looking for a calendar or want to get one for a great deal? Dayspring has some gorgeous choices for you! My husband bought me the Lyrics for Life calendar from our local Christian bookstore for Christmas. It’s a beautiful calendar filled with art made from inspiration song lyrics. You can get it now for just $3.00!!

 70 % off all calendars from Dayspring.

Lyrics for Life

Offer valid now through 2/1/15

40% off Kitchen Stewardship eBook Sale 

Kitchen Stewardship is a great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about whole foods and natural living. Katie, the author, has lots of great ebooks available in her site. She is running a special sale where you can get 40% off your purchase when you add two items to your order. I have a few of her books and I can attest that they are great resources! I especially love her Better Than a Box book.

Use the code EATWELL2015 to get 40% off your entire order when you add at least two items to your cart — including the already discounted packages!
eBooks   Kitchen Stewardship   A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Offer valid now through 1/31/15

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Dec 242014

Apple Oven Pancake with Candied Pecans - Joyful Thrifty Home

Merry Christmas! It’s hard to believe that it is almost here already. It’s a gloomy and rainy day outside but I am diffusing some Joyful Moments essential oil that smells like Christmas to make it feel more cheerful. Today I am doing some cleaning, grocery shopping and heading to church for our Christmas Eve service. Tomorrow my husband and I will spend the morning having breakfast together and opening our gifts to each other before having family over for dinner.

This past Thanksgiving we created a new menu with a lot of dishes we had never tried before. It was fun to try new recipes but it was a lot of work to coordinate so many new and complicated recipes. So for Christmas we are keeping the menu simple with ham and some other simple side dishes. I am also simplifying Christmas breakfast by making this apple oven pancake instead of my usual cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting.

Apple oven pancake is something I have often made for dinner when I need to use up some apples. The last time I made it, I decided to add some cinnamon sugar pecans and it was wonderful! My husband even commented that it tasted like apple pie. That’s when I knew it would make a great dish for Christmas breakfast.

If you are looking for a new idea for Christmas breakfast or just want a simple dish to make for dinner one night, try it out!

Apple Oven Pancake with Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

Yield: 8 servings

Author: Ashley |

Apple Oven Pancake with Cinnamon Sugar Pecans


    Apple Oven Pancake:
  • 4-5 small apples (or about 2 large) - preferably a tart apple like granny smith to balance the sweetness
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • Cinnamon Sugar Pecans:
  • 2 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


    Apple Oven Pancake:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Place butter in a 13x9 inch glass baking dish. Put baking dish into oven while it is heating. Remove from the oven when butter is melted. Brush butter around the pan until it is evenly distributed.
  2. While butter is melting, core and peel all the apples. Then cut apples into thin slices. Place apples in baking dish with melted butter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until apples are coated with the butter and sugar. Spread apples in the pan as evenly as possible. Bake apples for 8-10 minutes or until slightly softened.
  3. Use a medium size mixing bowl to combine flour, salt, eggs, vanilla and milk. Stir until moist but do not over mix. Pour mixture over apples. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.
  4. Serve immediately with cinnamon sugar pecans. Top with maple syrup or powdered sugar if desired.
  5. Cinnamon Sugar Pecans:
  6. Melt butter in a small-medium pan over medium heat on the stove.
  7. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  8. Add pecans and stir to coat. Stir frequently until butter sugar mixture begins to bubble. Continue cooking for a few minutes longer. Sugar may become sticky. Remove from pan and pour onto a plate covered with parchment paper. Allow pecans to sit until cooled and sugar has begun to harden.

What’s your favorite Christmas breakfast?

The Healthy Breakfast Book by Kitchen Stewardship

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Oct 162014

I Am A Writer - Joyful Thrifty Home

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending Breathe Christian Writers Conference held at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary on the campus of Cornerstone University (where I attended college!). It was seemingly by chance that I heard about the conference only a couple of weeks before it was set to happen. It took me almost a day to muster up the courage to even ask my husband about it but once I did, he was completely supportive. With only a few days to spare before registration closed, I took the plunge and signed up.

Here is my story of how I decided to attend a writing conference and why I am glad I did….

Unable to Write

Before attending Breathe, I had lost the motivation to write because I found myself trapped in a fog. It’s like I no longer knew how to allow myself to write as I tried to sort through some bumps on the road of life. Over time, writing had become more of a chore than an outlet.  Many days, my only victory has been simply getting out of bed in the morning so trying to add in one more responsibility is often too overwhelming.

As a result,  I struggled with the ability to sit down and let my pen or keyboard put meaningful words to the page. Day in and day out, I beat myself up over why I was having such a hard time. It’s not like I have a catastrophic life event to explain away my struggles. It’s just one little thing after another, amounting to heightened stress, anxiety, depression and a lingering question about why I feel so physically awful. Add in the doubt  that anyone would understand and I was in quite the predicament with myself.

I wanted to write but I didn’t feel like a writer.  After all, I was no longer writing. However, that would soon change.

Learning to Love Writing Again

About a month ago, I began seeing a counselor who encouraged me to start a new journal. It was through the experience of finding and writing in this journal that I have been inspired to pick up my pen and learn to love writing once more. Recently, I posted a photo of the journal on Facebook and Instagram with a caption of how it has reminded me of why I like to write. I hope to go into more detail about my journal and the story of how it came be but I will leave that for another day.


It was only a few days after making my journal when I heard about Breathe. I couldn’t shake the feeling that finding out about the conference at the same time I started to love writing again was not a coincidence. I felt inadequate and unsure of myself but I knew that God was orchestrating something and I needed to listen.

Before I knew it, conference day was here and I was on my way to Grand Rapids. Upon arriving, I saw people milling about, people who in some way identified themselves as writers.  I pushed back the voices telling me I didn’t belong and headed to get signed in. I also tried to remind myself that I was here for a reason so I spent the next two days soaking in all I could.

What I Learned at Breathe 2014

Over the course of two days, I gained invaluable insight into the world of writing. I learned about writing strategies, book publishing, author support groups, blogging and building a platform. I  was encouraged to follow my heart and be who I am. I even learned a thing or two about myself.

Maybe the fact that I am an introvert who longs for intimate relationships isn’t so weird after all. Maybe my tendency to over analyze and spend hours doing random research is just a part of who I am. Maybe it is okay to see the world through a different lens. I often feel misunderstood and alone but being surrounded by people united in the fact that they feel a call to write made me feel a sense of belonging like I have never felt.

Maybe I am a writer.

You would think since I was at a writers conference that I already identified myself as a writer but truthfully I wasn’t so sure. I had no doubt that I liked to write but until now I lacked the confidence to call myself a writer because I didn’t think I was good enough.

I am finally beginning to understand that writing is a skill that could always use improvement. I don’t consider myself to be the best writer but I do know this: I don’t have to have a published book, a well known blog or be getting paid to write as a profession to call myself a writer.

All it takes to be a writer is to feel the call to write and then do it. If there is one thing I want to take away from Breathe, it is that I AM A WRITER! I can’t say that I gained exponential amounts of confidence over night but a spark of hope was lit in my soul and I may never be the same.

Stir Up The Gift of God - Joyful Thrifty Home

IBG Unplugged

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Jun 042014

 My Summer Bucket List - Joyful Thrifty Home

Wow, it’s hard to believe that June has already started! It seems like just yesterday I was looking out at the piles of snow wondering if it would ever go away. It was a long hard winter around my neck of the woods and I am ever so grateful for the sunshine and breeze blowing through my window this afternoon.

I don’t know about you but the weather wasn’t the only harsh thing about this past winter. It just seemed like a long depressing season for a lot of people, myself included. In December I witnessed a scary and devastating fire in my condominium complex which shook me in many ways. After that, some anxiety issues began to surface along with a continuing season of stress from not being able to sleep well. It seemed like a vicious cycle of stress, anxiety and lack of rest. I am definitely ready to put this winter behind me and keep moving forward!

A New Season

All that said, I have so much to be thankful for! One huge praise for my family is that after a full year of working through a temp agency, my husband was finally offered a regular position!! We are beyond blessed but also learning not to take it for granted. I don’t want to forget about how God always provides even when it seems impossible. I have a photo with the words from the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness above my desk. The words remind me that no matter what my situation is, God is faithful.

I want to take on this next season with renewed sense of hope and joy. God has been showing me a lot over the past few months and I really feel like it’s time to get back to writing more. I also have realized how much I thoroughly enjoy nature so I am planning to be more intentional about soaking it in this summer.  As a way to do that I came up with a bucket list of sorts with my goals for the summer.

My Summer Bucket List

  • Get outside for at least 15-30 minutes a day: I’ve been getting stir crazy being stuck inside for so long, so even a few minutes a day sitting on the deck to soak in some fresh air is rejuvenating for me. I don’t do this as often as I should though so that’s why it’s on my list.
  • Go to the beach at least three times: My husband and I live less than an hour from Lake Michigan which if you didn’t know is one of the most gorgeous fresh water lakes there is. As a born and raised Michigan girl, I may be a bit biased, but that’s besides the point. Anyway…We finally made a couple of trips there last summer and I can’t wait to venture back and enjoy the beach town, the sun and the waves. Watching the summer sun set on the lake is one of my favorite things.

Lake Michigan - Joyful Thrifty Home

  • Go berry picking: I haven’t been berry picking since I was a kid but I’ve been wanting to go again. I’ve been dreaming of all the recipes I could make with my fresh picked blueberries and strawberries!
  • Go hiking: I like going on walks around our neighborhood with my husband but we haven’t done much actual hiking. I know there are some good trails we could use so I am hoping to make use of them this summer.
  • Go bike riding more than once: Another activity my husband and I don’t do often enough is bike riding. I think we’ve gone out on our bikes once or twice a year at most. This year, I am hoping to break that sad record and get out on our bikes more than a few times. We also both need to get in better shape which is why I am putting lots of activity goals like this on my list.
  • Go camping: Growing up, my family went camping just about every summer but it’s been years since I’ve gone. My husband and I even have a tent and other supplies that we got for wedding gifts that we have never used. It’s been almost four years since we got married, so I think it’s about time we make use of them and actually go on a camping trip this summer!
  • Go on a vacation: My husband and I haven’t taken an actual vacation in almost three years. Now that he finally has some vacation time again, we are planning to make good use of it. I could definitely use some time away from home to refresh and spend good quality time with my husband. We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast for our first anniversary so I am hoping to go back there again.

bed and breakfast - Joyful Thrifty Home

  • Go to a baseball game: I am not much of a sports fan. I honestly don’t understand football. Basketball isn’t that interesting to me. Golf is just plain boring. However, one sport I can get into is baseball. My husband and I don’t get any sport channels but we’ve started listening to the games on the radio more often. We’ve been talking about catching a game for years now so hopefully this summer we can get it into our schedule. Go Tigers!
  • Read at least four books: I am terrible at actually finishing a book for some reason so I am making a goal of reading at least four books this summer. Here’s my list: You Were Made For a God Sized Dream by Holley Gerth, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine, Getting Things Done by David Allen and The Help by Katherine Stockett.
  • Journal through at least one psalm: I did this as a bible study with an English professor when I was in college and I loved it so I am not sure why I never tried it again. I could definitely use some good quality quiet time this summer and I know this practice will be a great way to do that. I can see myself using my outside time to dig in and write my heart out into my journal. I hope that it’s as therapeutic as I imagine it to be.

I am looking forward to what this summer will bring! I’m going to do my best to be more intentional about how I use my time and make sure I enjoy being outside and spending quality time with my husband. I also hope to be able to update more consistently and get back into a better routine with writing as well.

What are your summer goals or bucket list activities?

How do you plan to be intentional this summer?

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