Thursday, September 20, 2018

Recipe Review: Homemade Iced Caramel Macchiatoes

Last year, I was talking with a friend about my Write31 series, and she told me, "Write about coffee". And I was kind of like, "I do that all the time. How would I make a whole post out of it?" (Or worse, a whole series, haha.) So I didn't. BUT, I got really excited about this recipe when I found it, and wanted to share it with people... and then I remembered that conversation and laughed and went for it; but never actually got around to editing it, haha.

Today, I realized that I had overlooked posting yesterday before I went to a church event, and that I wouldn't have time to get a full post out before I left the house again today (at least, if I went with my current post ideas, and finding a new idea would take even longer). So I almost decided to skip this week's post, but then I remembered this draft, and thought y'all might enjoy this now as much as later! So, without further ado...

One day this summer, I was struck with an urge for some coffee... but not just a cup of coffee, I wanted a fun coffee. A creamy, cold coffee, but one that was a little different from what I usually make (just milk+sugar+coffee with ice, usually eyeballed, because I'm a toss-and-hope-for-the-best-cook quite often). I have seen some little charts floating around with all the nifty measurements about this drink holds so much steamed milk and milk foam and espresso and this or that syrup, and I kind of wanted to experiment. So of course I went straight to pinterest and looked for a recipe to try ;).

I found this one, and I was impressed by how it had that professional look of being "layered"... I totally spontaneously made the vanilla syrup in the link and some double strength coffee. It wasn't hard at all, and waiting until the syrup cools to add the vanilla syrup was a good call, so that it didn't cook off and lose that vanilla taste!

Then I researched how to do the milk, because I was getting differing opinions on whether I should simply pour it, steam it, or shake it, because I guess the warm and iced ones are different. I decided to shake it in a mason jar to twice it's volume, and whether it changes the taste or not I can't say, but it certainly helps it have that "look" to it. I'm almost obsessed just with the different colors, haha. It was layered and so pretty, and that thrilled me as much as the taste, though it may sound silly. I didn't get a picture of that one, but I just made another one, and although it didn't do quite as well (Abbi was rushing me and I didn't shake the milk as long as I should have, haha), you can kind of see it :). I made one for Tori, and she was like, "Woah... this looks... fancy."

I used some caramel sauce we had on hand the first time, but the next time I made up some more vanilla syrup, I decided to make the caramel as well, while I was already in the kitchen. That wasn't hard, either, though I was worried I was going to burn it. I didn't, and, it fact, next time I will decide not to even worry about it, and just keep melting the sugar until it's completely smooth, because I left a couple small sugar lumps in the finished syrup, and had to strain it out, but it was still yummy :). It bubbled a LOT when I added the water, so it sounded dangerous, haha. But  it was just fine.

It's yummy with whipped cream on it, too ;). Bethi seemed to really enjoy both of the ones I have given her, and Andrew said it was really good, even though he point blank thought coffee was nasty last time I gave him any, haha. I definitely love this recipe, and I drink too much coffee when I have these syrups sitting in the fridge ;)... Also... Noah approves...

Because this onsie is a lie, and who could say no to that face? Neither Mama nor I drank coffee for several weeks at one point, and this child went crazy when he saw Mama's first cup afterwards, haha...

And now, I need to be off to accomplish some things before I get busy... the story of my life ;).

Do you like coffee? What's your favorite coffee drink :)? Are you interested in trying this recipe now?

Rejoicing in Hope,

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

99 Life Lessons from 21 Years

Hello, all my wonderful readers :)!

Today is a little bit special... it's Wednesday, which means a new blog post, but it's also my 21st birthday. Sooooo, I thought I would do a special little post of reflection :). The lessons included in this post are NOT extensive at all, and they range from super serious to rather humorous.... but I didn't want this to get too long either, so I just included some of the best things I thought of first, and it's really not very organized, either... but that's kind of like life, isn't it? Hmmmm, that sounds like another life lesson ;)! So, here are 99 lessons I have compiled as I look back a bit...

1. Resting is, ironically, a verb - it takes effort.
2. You may fail. Don't let it discourage you.
3. You may fail again. But it doesn't define you.
4. People who make a point to go out of their way to make sure that you are really okay are the best people. Cherish them.
5. The instagram app is so much better than using desktop.
6. Hymns and sermons are a great accompaniment to baking and crocheting, but know when enough is enough. Sometimes your brain needs a break from all the words.
7. Love the small things in life and you will never be disappointed.
8. No matter all the good intentions you have or all the care you give, if the soil is not ready for the seed, there will be no harvest (yes, this is a metaphor that goes much deeper than our sad garden of late years).
9. Be the first one to introduce yourself. It's hard, and can be awkward. But you never know what blessings may come from it.
10. Find someone to invest in. It doesn't have to be much; just making sure to say hello to the lonely lady at church each week will brighten up her whole week.
11. Read more - you won't regret it. And it's okay if you are reading fiction or re-reads. Not every book has to be a learning opportunity. Just keep whetting your appetite for books.
12. It is very true that what you sow is often what you reap.
13. My identity is in Christ, and in Christ alone.
14. Homemade cookies in ice cream while laughing and sympathizing with best friends and ignoring the movie you are supposedly watching is one of the most refreshing things.
15. Baby pictures are really. hard. to take - especially when you aren't a photographer. (Okay, but pictures are hard to take when you aren't a photographer ;)...)
16. Practice makes better.
17. Better is okay; nobody becomes a professional overnight.
18. Walks and coffee are still the best ways to connect with others.
19. Don't be afraid to say yes to a spontaneous meeting with friends, even when it's difficult; it will be a blessing.
20. Learning to speak up in the face of confrontation is a good thing, but don't take it further than you should.
21. Know your limits, but never stop dreaming.
22. Being needed is still what gives me purpose, but it's okay to be needed in different ways now.
23. The Lord has placed so much beauty in this world, and it is a wonderful privilege to get to see it.
24. Take the time to notice the way change is effecting the people around you. Sometimes, you have to slow down to move forward.
25. Take the time to notice the way the people around you are changing themselves, too. And don't forget to encourage them when you see growth.
26. Learn to wait like a sane person when you feel like panicking disproportionately.

I'll just wait here like a sane peron kronk's new groove gif

27. Make time for the things that matter to you, because time will never make itself.
28. To help with that, don't wait for the perfect time to do something before you do it. Use the moments you have.
29. It's best to say no if you really need to, instead of saying yes when you can't or don't mean it.
30. But try to put others first as often as you can when you have a choice; it's so rewarding.
31. Playing pretend with a whole lot of little boys (and an exuberant little girl) is more fun than you may think for someone with only half an imagination. Don't let your lack of creativity stop you from investing.
32. Social marketing isn't as hard as it feels. (But blogging is still so much better.)
33. Sometimes, you need to put your phone on airplane mode, put up your laptop, and enjoy life, no matter what it takes.
34. The hammered dulcimer is a beautiful sounding instrument. Also, celtic music is gorgeous. Musi .is a gift in itself. Enjoy it!
35. I cannot shield any heart from the consequences of sin, or break any heart over the impact of that sin, but I can pray and confront. Just never forget that with confrontation must always come love.
36. No matter how much it hurts to feel helpless, do your part and then lean on the Lord. He is the only one who can use our words or actions for any good.
37. When your world is falling to pieces, whether in actuality or just in your emotions, cry out a prayer to the Lord. When fear or pain is deep, lean on Him.
38. But don't forget, when you are crying happy tears, to come before Him again. He deserves all our praise - especially because He is so ready to comfort in those hard moments.
39. Do that thing you should do BEFORE it becomes annoying to you that it still needs done. It will be much more pleasant.
40. When your mind is spinning and you feel like you just need a break, go ahead and take one as soon as you can; but take it wisely. Don't sit on the couch and scroll through Pinterest. Go for a walk, spend some extra time in bible study, maybe even take a nap. It seems counter-intuitive to do more "work" at that moment, but the truth is, usually, you need refreshing more than "a break".
41. The memories a handkerchief can invoke are amazingly many. Cherish those you have while you have them.
42. God's plans are not our plans, but we can trust Him. Sometimes, the hardest things we face are for God's glory. (And sometimes, the most unexpected changes in our plans are the best.)
43. Sleeping by yourself is literally one of the loneliest things every after sharing your room with four sisters and a baby. But use every moment to the fullest... it's a great time to eat chocolate to make yourself feel better ;).
44. Sometimes, God gives us situations that are similar to those in the past to bring healing through their differences.
45. Every one should read "Woman of the Word" by Jen Wilkin. And "The Valley of Vision".
46. "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard" is still true.
47. Lessons and reminders can come in literally any shape or form.
48. It's incredibly fun to have an even number of boys vs. girls in your family!
49. If you are ever unsure of what your favorite color is, just compare the items that you and your mom put in the amazon cart (without consulting each other first) for you to consider between. #obviouslyblueforme
50. Simplicity is best, but don't be afraid to make that moment, event, canvas, outfit, plan, just a little more than bare-bones. Let your simplicity carry personality.
51. Keep a running list of gift ideas. It makes the last minute decisions so much easier.
52. Homemade caramel macchiatoes are just as good as Starbucks. Enjoy them. But don't make too much of the syrups, because you will use them until they are gone, no matter how much coffee it takes.
53. Ice cream from the church freezer can create a great spontaneous bonding time.
54. Don't be so busy wondering what people's opinion of your life is, that you forget to continue perusing God's plan for your life.
55. Try not to ever let a chance to celebrate with or thank some one get away from you. You will regret it.
56. Shower kindness on others, and you are bound to find your own rainbow.

Shower kindness on others and you are bound to find your own rainbow

57. Our parents have a huge respectability to teach their family the Word of God, but they can not embrace that Word for us; this is something we must do ourselves.
58. Curly Girlz Font is used e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e, y'all. As someone who works with fonts regularly,  and that font frequently (I created my custom canvas years ago before I realized this last December), I can say that with certainty.
59. Dependence on Christ is joyful freedom.
60. Night vision is apparently a good thing to have, and I 10/10 recommend taking someone who has it with you when you are walking through the woods at 9 o'clock at night. (Or driving...) But seeing the synchronized fireflies in the trees is totally worth the panic that not being able to see your Dad three feet ahead causes.
61. There is nothing like having best friends for your siblings. Don't neglect to foster those relationships, they mean the world when they are developed <3.
62. Pray about it before you talk about it.
63. Calculated shipping is wonderful for someone who has a fear of overcharging shipping and so tends to undercharge. (This will always be my first tip for online sellers.)
64. Nothing is more beautiful than someone who is walking through their own valley reaching out to make sure that others are being taken care of.
65. You do not have to know a person for their life to change your's. God places each person on this earth for a reason, not matter how short (or long ago) their life may be.
66. God has placed us in the context of family, both personal and spiritual, for a reason, and it is such a blessing to be given a helping hand in life's trials.
67. Tears are a blessing in the midst of pain, but your journey can't end there; in the midst of the rain, trace the rainbow, turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His goodness and grace.
68. Friends can be made in the most un-looked for places, and serving the Lord together creates such a strong bond.
69. Consistency in the small things is better than a lot of effort for something big now and then.
70. It is so fun to blog with other bloggers. In the past I have blogged "by myself"... but several of you have joined me here in the past year, and it has been so much more fun!
71. Planning ahead is exponentially more more important each year, I am convinced.
72. Virginia really is beautiful. There is the cutest cul-de-sac in our neighborhood that reminds me of our VA neighborhood, and Bethani is 99% sure I am obsessed since I found it. I miss it more than I realized.
73. Things don't get easier the longer you wait. Trust me on this. Prepare, yes, by all means. But sometimes you just have to do the thing before you feel prepared.
74. Even if it doesn't work out, at least you tried and you won't have to wonder.
75. You never know when you have been given a path to walk so that you can encourage others in the same path down the road.
76. When everyone you trust is telling you the same thing, you just may want to listen, no matter how hard it is.
77. If you want a great bonding experience with your siblings, I honestly suggest watching a meteor shower at a windy lake. But I would suggest bringing more than one blanket.
A lot of my favorite memories take place at night outside, actually.
78. Circumstances can change us to an extent, but God made us who we were meant to be, and we can't deny the gifts and work He has given us - or the weaknesses He has given us so that in Him we may find that His strength is bigger than our own.
79. Never be content to stop learning; pursue the things you always thought of learning "someday", now.
80. Lemon water is great for headaches, and you CAN acquire a taste for it (I literally crave it now, and a couple years ago I wasn't a big fan, so trust me on this).
81. Learn to take notes on anything, but organize them frequently or it doesn't help.
82. Don't keep the clothes that are cute but you know you'll never be comfortable in for one reason or another, or you don't know how to style. It's just useless stress to try to find some way to make them work.
83. Don't hold on to your routines at the expense of people, but they make life so much more comfortable, so try to have some where you can.
84. Learn to take a compliment graciously. Not with entitlement, not flippantly... but realize that you don't have to always explain to people that they don't see it all. It's a trap that is easy for perfectionists to fall into, and there are times you will see that the compliment-er needs to be reminded, for their own sake, that everybody slips at times, but for the most part... learn to say thank you. And let that be enough.
85. Be transparent. Be raw. Be honest. Be encouraging.

Be Encouraging quote

86. Give grace. And more grace.
87. But help others grow, too. Don't give lazy grace that shields them from learning.
88. When you don't feel like enough, remember this: you aren't. That's why you need (and have) a wonderful Savior who is.
89. You become what you brush shoulders with; in social media, conversations, relationships, books, whatever, seek out what is true and pure and noble and convicts you to become what you should be.
90. Being present is important, but don't be afraid to document, too. A goal of mine is to take more pictures and videos - especially videos - of the little things that my siblings do that I love. They will be cherished to look back on when they pass these phases they are going through.
91. Take the time to organize often enough that it saves you time in the long run.
92. Work for your dreams, but don't miss what is going on right now.
93. Close friends don't have to talk all the time, but make sure you talk SOME time.
94. "When you're tired of fighting and chained by your control, there is freedom in surrender - lay it down, and let it go."
95. What you thought at first were weeds may turn out to be flowers, but learn to tell the difference. You can't let all the weeds grow just to test them. Learn each plant, and tear out all that might hinder growth of the right plants.
96. Stretch yourself. Not to the point of being miserable, but enough that you don't get stuck in a rut.
97. Notice the people around you that make you feel cared for. Thank them, and learn from them; take those things they do for you, and try to share it with someone else.
98. Keep an extra bible study or edifying book on your book shelf for those times when, despite your daily time in the word, you feel starving for more.
99. Rest in Christ - lean on Him. Trust, surrender, obey and praise. He is worthy of it all, and gracious enough to accept our humble offerings.

What is one of the most important lessons you have learned? What do you have planned for the week :)?

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Sunshine Blogger Award

I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Maddy from Little Bit of Sunshine :)! 

Forget Not His Benefits was given the Sunshine Blogger Award!

I love this award/tag. (Also, those sunflowers.) I mean, even just it's name sounds so cheerful and kind, and I see it as an encouragement that, "your blog brightens my life when I read it, thank you"; so it's special fun that I have received it! What an honor, thank you so much, Maddy!

When y'all read this, I will be taking a little internet break, so I thought this would be the perfect none time-specific post to schedule for that time ;). I'll moderate and reply to all the comments when I come back on, don't worry! 

Now, to fill out the tag that came with this award :D!


  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their blog. (Thank you again, Maddy!) 
  • Answer the questions the blogger who nominated you provided.
  • Nominate new bloggers and make up 11 questions for them to answer.
  • List the rules and have the Sunshine Blogger logo present in your post.

1. Do you play a musical instrument? 
I have mentioned this a few times on my blog, and at least one of you has rolled your eyes at me for the answer. *cough, cough* BUT, the answer is sadly, not really. But I do on occasion play the piano with lead sheets. I would truly love to play an instrument, but what I would really love to learn is violin, and we don't really have one... also, I don't really need another hobby/learning experience right now. What I need is better time management for the ones I have, haha...

2. Fiction or nonfiction books?
Hm. This is tough. See, I LOVE true stories + thought provoking writing, and I want to say nonfiction. But the truth is, I love vibrant and beautiful stories and writing, and I feel like it's easier to find a personality in fiction books, haha. There are a few books that I love the writing/story of that are nonfiction... a couple that come to mind are "The Family Nobody Wanted", and "The Princess Adelina". But when I want to relax with a book, I will frequently reach for fiction. (I think another reason for this isn't always the writing styles; I think another part of that is that when I read fiction, I just read, while when I read theology, biographies, or other nonfiction, I usually feel compelled to take notes/store things away to look into later, and it's more study time than relaxing time. Also, I have several bible study books that I love the personality and writing style that comes through, but I don't really consider that "just reading" either, because I will dissect those things so much and stop to take so many notes, lol!)

3. Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate or vanilla what? In some things we must be very specific. 
Vanilla ice cream.
Chocolate everything else ;).

4. Cars or trucks?
Cars. I can almost assure you I will never own a truck. Nothing against them, I just am not a truck person at all, haha. 

5. What's your middle name?
Kirstin Lavon. Each of us children all have two middle names :). Lavon is a family name that has been passed down several generations :)!

6. Top three favorite blogs?
Ughhhhhh. This is really, really hard, because I like more than three blogs and don't like to play favorites :P.
-The Book Wyrm (except she never posts anymore, hmph.), The Introverted Extrovert, Here is Love... can I get by with cheating anymore?

7. Why did you start your blog?
Because my mom started one. Haha! Seriously. I remember that November afternoon (which got dark very early that day) when Mama and I sat down together and set "Home Life" up while we passed new butterball baby Andrew back and forth between us. I was 9, and it was almost 12 years ago. My first post was hilariously jumbled, and I was so proud the first time my Mama linked to my blog on her blog. I will say I have come a long way, but I am also glad I started when I did, because it's just fun to look back on :).
As to why I started *this* blog... suffice it to say that a stalker situation and a desire for a new title were enough to make me move, haha. So Forget Not His Benefits is "only" 5 years old. But I do pray that the Lord can use my little ramblings to bless others, encourage them, and maybe put a smile on their face :).

8. Dogs or cats?
Do I still have a reader here that is confused about this one? Cats, always and forever. Call them (or me) a snob all you want, I won't believe it and I love them. But I wouldn't mind a golden retriever someday, either. (I'm really just an animal person in general, if I'm honest.)

9. Indoors or outdoors? 
This also requires some "if/then"s. I would never want to LIVE outside. But I require sunshine to function (it can be coming through a window if need be), fresh air to stay motivated, and plants to admire. I'm definitely an outdoors sort of person, despite not spending much time outdoors. (South Carolina heat is brutal, but fall is not too far away!)

10. Favorite summer activity?
This is hard, because things like going to the zoo and going for walks and eating ice cream, and normal people's "summer activities", we literally do all year around (again, South Carolina, haha). So, I guess blueberry picking? That is, by necessity, a time-specific thing ;). 

11. Favorite food?
Brownie sundaes. 
Yes, I know, that's not real food. Just pretend. You didn't ask for a certain group on the food pyramid ;). Caramel, almonds, brownies, ice cream.... mmmmm. You can't go wrong.

Now I would like to tag...
1. Tori (so you'll have a post idea, since having none is your excuse for not writing.)
2. Alyssa
3. Abbie
5. Ashley
6. Molly
7. Bethi (how old are you again?)
8. Elanor
11. And you, if you'd like to snag it!

Here are the questions I have for y'all!
1. What is your earliest memory of your favorite hobby?
2. What is your earliest memory of someone sharing the gospel with you?
3. What 5 songs would be included in your "life sound track"?
4. What do you put on your brownie sundaes?
5. What pet would you most like to have?
6. What is something the Lord has laid on your heart to do?
7. Are you a night owl of a morning bird? What is your favorite thing to do during your "peak time"?
8. What is one thought you have always wanted to share with your readers, but you've never really found a way to make a blog post out of it?
9. Why do you think that people write?
10. What is one book you have read this year that you would recommend to us?
11. What do you think of when you hear the word sunshine?

And for the rest of you, let me know in the comments; do you like fiction or nonfiction books better? What are you most looking forward to about fall? (Because I will pretend it is here on September 22nd, even though it won't feel like it, haha ;)...)

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Saturday, September 1, 2018

August in Review ✽ Monthly Recap

(Two months on time in a row. Wow, I am on the ball. I'm not sure why... hahaha!)


Little Cutie <3.

Playing a joke on us, licking ice cream that has eyeballs ;).

They attached allll the markers together until they could touch the ceiling with them, haha.

Josiah = Very happy... Noah = Very tired ;).


We had a wonderful August... most notably, little Isaac joined our family! He's continuing to do well, and has hit 10 lbs at just three weeks! He's already smiling, and he's such a happy baby. We all love him <3!

We also celebrated three other birthdays this month - Mama's and Daddy's on the 26th (they are exactly 3 years apart!), and Abbi's big #10 birthday on the 29th! Thanks to Isaac we have 4 birthdays in less than 3 weeks... that's a third of our family's birthdays, hahaha!

Other than baby excitement and birthdays and visits from family so they could meet Issac... actually, that's enough, right? Haha! We've not done too much else out of the ordinary, just life. And all trying to get a turn for baby snuggles ;).

One day both Bethi and I stepped outside and decided it felt like fall, and we were so ready to go for a walk... but it took us a few days to work one out, and by the time we did it was sooooo nasty hot out, haha. Oh well. We enjoyed ourselves anyway... we found the cutest cul-de-sac in the neighborhood (it reminds me of our Virgina neighborhood), and then we came home and ate cookie dough and watched a Family Affair episode (which, if you like cute old TV shows, is currently free on Amazon Prime, as Mama kindly pointed out. You're welcome ;).) Our cucumber plants gave us a few more cucumbers, but now they are dying off. One tomato got eaten and the other fell off the vine while it was still green... so I don't imagine we shall get any of those. Our bell peppers are doing way better than I thought they would, though! And our basil came back, even though it's growing season is over, go figure. We can grow that overtime, but not the stuff we are actually working for... haha! That's fine, though, because basil is "my" seasoning. I love. the smell of fresh basil! Mmmmm.

I've been making an effort to read a bit more (again) this month... I would say that on the whole (sadly) this is working... of course, I will also say that I am pretty sure 65% of my reading has involved reading "Should I Share My Ice Cream?" to the little boys, which Noah has at least 50% memorized, and it's adorable to hear him "reading it" to Josiah... they are so cute! I have been reading "Woman of the Word" by Jen Wilkin along with my usual bible reading, and it has so much truth in it, I am loving it (and Mama suggested a conference session dealing with Psalm 139 by her that was great, if you want to check it out on youtube!). I continue to read through the bible at a pace that allows me to stop and "dig in" whenever I need to... I just read Hosea, and there were passages I hadn't noticed before that were just beautiful pictures of how loving our Lord is even in His discipline of sin... we could truly never earn the amount of love that God has shown to us, and yet He bestows it upon us anyway, in a display of His glory. How wonderful He is!

And now that it's September... I'm beginning to think about the Write31 blogger event! I can't quite decide on a theme to spend the month on... I have lots of ideas, but I don't want to bore y'all, either. Sooooo, does anyone have a suggestion of something you would like to see a series on here at Forget Not His Benefits?


"Tori, Katie sent you a hug."
Tori: "Where?..."
Me, sarcastically: "In the mail."
Tori: "Okay. I feel hugged." Haha!

"We have no ice cream. This is a public crime."

Bethi: "It's like cleaning out your drawers - you think it will take 5 years, and it takes 5 minutes."
*blinks* "How clean are your drawers??? Just 5 minutes?!??!!?!"

(Jokingly): "Wow, Noah, you are work!"
Noah, looking straight into my face: "I forgive you." *hugs me* LOL!

Abbi, talking about our church's mission team: "But how do they choose who to help?! *I* can't choose *ice cream*!!!"

Tori: "How smart are you, Noah?"
Noah (who only ever answers 3 for any number question): "Three."
"How cute are you?"
Annnnnnd, he knows it...

Noah: *chokes on water*
*reaches for  milk* Because it's totally different and won't make him choke, right?

Bethi: "You're phone has a sensitive notification. Be careful with it, you might hurt it's feelings."

*about 10 hours after Isaac was born* "Isaac said hello earlier."

"Good job, Isaac! You'll be a pro at picture taking by tomorrow!"
*Isaac cries at the thought*

Mama: "I should video tape this sometime. Then you could go get a job as a photographer's assistant."
Haha! The first baby photo shoot I remember helping with was Emmi's six months photo shoot. I've been involved with every one since then, and I do love it. But Isaac was an awesome little subject, too - so alert and content, he made the rest of it easy!

Abbi, in awe at the boxes of 3 dozen donuts given us by a friend after Isaac arrived: "Is THAT a box of donuts? It's so... big!!!!"

Josiah: "Croutons are spicy."
Tori: "Wow, he's more sensitive than I am."

Cooking whole wheat noodles for the first time in years (we usually use rice): I (think???) they might be done???? *drains them and hopes for the best* Then I remember... this used to come naturally? Lol!

Aunt Tessa, explaining the water play game she's come up with: "Whichever team's bucket is empty first, wins!"
Daddy: "...You may not pick up and tip the bucket over just to win."
To Aunt Tessa: "I know how they think. They think like me."
*Aunt Tessa stares a bit confusedly at all this unexpectedness*

Noah has stuck stickers to his sippy cups:
Cup #1, milk:" "Hang in there!"
Cup #2, chocolate milk: "NICE!"

Tori points to a hippo: "What is that?"
Noah: "A squeaky pig!"

Noah's hands are two birds: One says "caw, caw", and one says "tweet, tweet", and they talk to each other all the time. This has been going on for a while now.

Josiah: "I hope we are having gonemade pizza!"

Noah's head pops up from his play pen when he wakes up: "I should go to Bri's bed!"
You totally should, buddy <3.

Bethi to Andrew: "Hello shrimp."
A.K.A, Andrew is taller than everyone but Daddy at this point.

Noah pulled my covers down for me at night before getting in bed and asking me to cover him up xD.

Tori: This person is 100 years old on Mama and Daddy's birthday.
Me: Who?
Tori: You know, the main lady from that movie.
Tori: Not the actress, the lady she played, Bri...

"Did you just pick-pocket him?!"
"No! Hey Andrew, can I have a hug?"
*sneaks Andrew's watch out of his pocket*


I have been super busy creating this month, although I haven't added too much to the shop lately. Here are a few new makes, all special requests....

The winning canvas design from Under The Tapestry's 3rd anniversary contest! I had fun with the design of this one, I love the font and the vine! I used to do these vines on handmade cards all the time, but I hadn't thought of adding it to a canvas before!

A little fake goldfish for those "perfect pet" aquariums that people are making inspired by Pinterest. (Funny side note... we made some of these for craft time during the summer camp I helped at this summer, except with the plastic fish, instead of crocheted, and there was actual water in the jar... which translated to some careful propping of the fish on the underwater plants, so they wouldn't be floating belly up, oops. Haha!

Some of you said yes to adding the hearts around the ice cream cone, and so here is the updated new chalkboard! I love this one!

Little dinosaurs! These were a custom order, so they are already sold, but I would be happy to make some more - or some of their friends!

Also made this month: two birthday gifts (which I shall share sometime soon) and a tiny hedgehog toy, along with finishing Isaac's baby blanket (which necessitated texting my aunt for an hour as we worked on the placing of the appliques, because I didn't want Mama to see it until it was done and I wanted advise, haha!).

Under The Tapestry turned 3 years old, and we celebrated with a sale and a discount... and my shop was also featured over on Alyssa's blog. That was such fun, and proved again that the music chalkboard (which was originally inspired by and designed for Alyssa herself!) is the most popular item in my shop ;). NOW, Etsy is having a Labor Day Sale through the 3rd, and everything in Under The Tapestry is 20% off :D! Including custom orders, so let me know if you want something that isn't currently listed ;).

And here are the posts that I shared on Forget Not His Benefits this month, if you haven't had a chance to read them :)...

On My Bookshelf

Grateful Hearts

Baby Name Challenge Tag

And there should have been another post, but I decided not to even try to post on Abbi's birthday, haha. And then I was only two days away from this post, so I decided to wait ;).


So, that's a glimpse of all that has been going on in the last month for me! I would love to hear about your month - what were the three best parts of it? What do you think I should blog about every day in October? If you are joining Write31 too, let me know, because I would love to follow along!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Baby Name Challenge Tag

baby name challenge tag

It looks like there is a new tag going around! (I feel like a writer created this one as she was researching, but didn't name it the "Writer's Name Challenge" so that there would be more people filling it out ;).) As I was reading through the first one I saw, I was thinking, this looks hard (because, the wonderful thing about Bri is that she's completely indecisive. I'm probably going to make my future husband write the names we chose on the birth certificate, too, that way if the child hates it, *I'm* not the one who committed. I am so mean. And indecisive.). I got tagged twice, and I could have turned it down once, but not twice, that's just too rude, haha, so I am attempting to pretend I am decisive (you can let me know how good I am at that in a few minutes, hahaha). And also, with a new little brother in the house, we have been talking about names a lot over here, and so I thought it would be a fun time to fill it out if I am going to ;).

I was tagged by both Maddy from Little Bit of Sunshine and Dominika from Walking in the Sonshine (yep, two rays of sunshine <3!), and no matter how hard this one is for me, I am honored that you both thought of me girls, truly!

Actually, I kind of feel like the three of us have an unspoken understanding that we're "safe" bloggers to tag because we know that the other two are "okay" with tags, haha, and that's kind of a friendly thing to have in the blogeshere, right?!

Sooooooo, here it goes!

R U L E S:

Answer the questions
Tag three friends

1.What are your favorite boy and girl name from the top 100 of the year?

Boy: Ethan (#17). Actually, several on this list are cute and I might mention them later, but I'll just go with that one, because I remember it being the first boy's name I really liked (although, for reasons since then, I am not sure I will ever use it, which is sad).
Girl: I'll go with Autumn (#75). There are too many cute ones to choose from, but I have always loved Autumn as a name. Autumn is such a pretty word anyway! But the use of it would be limited, because you would have to have a girl baby in the six weeks of true fall to use it. Like the name Noelle. I feel like you can only use that name if your daughter is born December 1-25.

2.What are your least favorite boy and girl name from the top 100 of the year?

Boy: Sebastian (#22). Not because the name itself is terrible, but I have to ask, has any baby ever LOOKED like a Sebastian? Maybe if you could find a cute nickname until he "grew into it"... but nicknames are my thing and I am having a hard time finding one, so I have my doubts that this could be a baby name ;).
Girl: Either Kennedy (#58) or Quinn (#76). I have nothing against the names per say, but they don't sound as feminine as I would lean for, and so I wouldn't pick them.

3. If you have twins, what would you name them?

Well... I could go with bible names that are associated with each other.
Boy + Boy: David + Jonathan (actually, I would totally do that one).
Boy + Girl: Moses + Miriam.
Girl + Girl: Mary + Martha.

4. If you could change your name to anything, what would you change it to?

I like my name and the reasoning behind it, so I wouldn't want to change it. But I did ask to be called Ella when I was little, because I felt like Ella made a sensible nickname for Ambrielle, and I loved the book "All-of-a-Kind Family". Tori called me Ella for a day, and then that was it, because my Dad heard and asked if I didn't like the nickname Bri any more and I thought I hurt his feelings, which was not my intent... haha.

5. If you had four children, boys or girls, all with the same letter, what would their names be?

I am never going with the same letter theme, haha. Buuuuuuut...
1. Ida
2. Isaiah
3. Isabelle
4. Iris
Sure. I just picked 3 names to go with Ida, hahaha ;). Iris and Isabelle are beautiful, but probably wouldn't fit with other names I would use, so this is purely for fun ;). .

6. What is your favorite animal inspired name?

Boy: Wolf.
Girl: Wren.
But I would never use animal names, haha. They are fun in books, but I feel like they are dangerous in real life (I feel like these children would be the most likely to with they had gotten boring normal names).

7. What is your favorite colored inspired name?

Boy: Ash.
Girl: Hazel.

8.  What are your top three favorite boy names?*

1. Caleb.
2. William (not nicknamed Bill. Because why?).
3. Jeremiah.

9. What are your top three favorite girl names?*

1. Adelina.
2. Hosanna.
3. Elizabeth.
*Top favorites meaning "first 3 favorites that come to mind", obviously, right ;)?

10. What is your favorite month inspired name?

Boy: August
Girl: May

11. Choose a name from a movie.

I am drawing a complete blank on movies that even hold normal (read: not obviously movie-inspired) but cute names... hahahaha.
Boy: Eh, Albert from "The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry". I don't particularly love this name, but I do love this character because he's hilarious (and I love the fact that he wasn't even supposed to be a big part of the movie), so, sure... haha.
Girl: Arwen is not normal, but it is beautiful. I will not bother to spend the time explaining where it came from, as it's so obviously movie-inspired I expect you to know ;).

12. Choose a name that is already in your family.

Boy: Probably Daniel. Tori has claimed Robert, so that's out ;).
Girl: LaVon. It's a traditional requirement I refuse to break. Tradition!

13. Choose a name from a book.

Boy: Theo, "The Bishop's Shadow". Unfortunately I am not as partial to the name Theodore, so I don't know how that would work out, haha.
Girl: Leslie, "Anne's House of Dreams". I would never wish Leslie's life on anyone, but I think the name is beautiful!

And I shall tag a few writing bloggers I know, because they can chalk filling this tag up to doing research for future stories, right ;)?!
-Micaiah from Notebooks and Novels. (She just got one of her stories published, how neat is that?!)
-Jane from Jane Maree. (So much enthusiasm on this blog!)
-Danielle from Life is Like a Book. (I literally just found her blog through a comment she left me, so hi, Danielle!)

Had you heard of this tag yet? What was your favorite name from my answers? What are some names you would have chosen to use instead?

Rejoicing in Hope,

P.S... who wants to see another picture of Isaac, because he's adorable <3?

Baby Isaac Pictures

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Grateful Hearts ✽ Joyful Laughter

Issac Charles Lee
August 10th, 2018
9 lbs. 6 oz.
22.75 inches long
Precious gift from God <3

Our little Issac arrived mid-morning last Friday <3. Mama and Baby are doing well, and we are all so thrilled for this new little brother! He is such a content little guy... and he snuggles so well! Mama says he has a very definite pattern; over the past couple months, she has noticed that he is always most active in the morning and in the first little bit after we children go to bed; and that hasn't changed a bit since he's been born!

 He is such an alert little guy. Look at those eyes <3. I love him so much. He just looks all around with those big eyes whenever he is awake - he is sleeping or observing, there seems to be no in between. If ever a baby were intentionally taking the world in, it's this little (big) guy!

And yes, Baby Bear stuck <3. Noah was so confused the first time Baby was called Issac... then he must have just assumed that Issac was a totally different baby, because then the next time we called him Baby Bear, THAT confused Noah... oops, haha. Noah has been so gentle and protective and accepting of him, it has been adorable!

We think Issac looks the most like Josiah, but he has such dark, dark blue eyes that look like Peter's when he was a baby, that we won't be surprised if his eyes end up brown. Mama also says she's seen Andrew in him at times, but for the most part, he looks like Siah... in fact, Mama called Josiah Winnie-the-Pooh SO often when he was a baby, because she felt like he looked like him... she had forgotten about this when I heard her tell Issac last night, "You look like Winnie-the-Pooh right now." Too funny.

We are so grateful for the Lord's protection over Mama and Issac, for the prayers of all our dear friends, and for the joy little Issac has given us. Issac has already met most of our extended family, and had two photo shoots, so lots more pictures will be shared in the future ;). But for now, I just wanted to share our little gift with all of you, and our family rejoices in the kindness of the Lord <3.

Rejoicing in Hope,

P.S.... go check out this post :D!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

On My Book Shelf ✽ Girl Defined + Little Life Moments

Good afternoon everyone! I hope your day has been wonderful and that your week has been blessed! It's hard for me to believe it's already Wednesday for some reason. But I am here to talk about lots of little things of varying importance, for anybody who would like to discuss them with me ;)!

Girl Defined Bible Study

You may have heard of this book before... it was actually really big in the circle of blogs I read for several months, but I was late to the trend, as usual ;). (My tbr list is so long... Mama bought this book like a year ago and I just finished it, hahaha...) It has a gorgeous cover (and interior, actually - the design is so pretty!) When I finally got around to reading it, I had heard enough people mention it that I knew that it was either really, really good, or I was going to be disappointed to find that it was way under the standard I had been told it hit ;). But having finished it, I can say: it was really, really good.

Bible study with Journaling Bible and Journal

Within 24 hours, I had gone through the first 4 chapters (considering I wasn't skipping the study section and bible studies always seem to take me a while to go through, this is definitely saying something for this book!) Reading through the first chapter I kind of felt like it was going to fall short... until I was hit with a bombshell that I hadn't expected, and then I instantly became excited to go through the rest! I had heard a lot about this book in the context of biblical self image and modesty, and really didn't expect much more from it through most of the first chapter, but then there was just one little sentence that jumped out at me (I think it might have even been in the study questions, not the actual chapter!) about finding our identity in Christ or in... well, literally anything other than Christ, and I got a glimpse of just how deep this book was going to delve, and it truly made me stop and think, and then I couldn't wait to get into the rest of it! This book covered so much... loving the Lord with your whole heart, using your time wisely, finding your identity not in what other's think of you but it who God has called you to be, living bravely for Christ, the jobs a girl could take on (do you think they were able to give an answer that would work for everyone without knowing their circumstances? It was the best way to answer that question I have seen!), how we have been placed here "for such a time as this", and yes, modesty and self-image... directly and indirectly, it dealt with SO much, and I loved it.

Girl Defined Review

Kristen and Bethany write like they are right there, with plenty of stories of their own shortcomings to encourage you that they've been here and they know; but they have also been blessed to see the truth, and they want to share it with all the other woman out there. I truly loved going through this book... it was such an encouraging read, but more than that, it was refreshing. I am going to say that 95% of everything in this book is something that I have thought through in the past. But looked at from a new perspective, it wasn't redundant at all. And it's sisterly advice "spurs on to good works"; whether this is new to you or you are well versed in these matters, whether you are working steadily or are feeling discouraged. It was easy to read, but deep to think through, and I honestly look forward to reading it again! It's definitely going to be one of the top books I recommend after this :)!

(For those of you who wanted to know when I shared the Undivided study, yes, this book (as Undivided did) uses more bible translations than the KJV when sharing verses. I read the ESV and HCSB along with the KJV habitually, so this wasn't a problem for me, but for those of you who's conscience would be hurt by this, I didn't want to accidentally deceive you by not bringing it up. When a translation that I don't feel is the best is shared in a book, I know I can always look it up in my own bible to "rightly divide the word" for myself; if you think that you can do that, I still wholeheartedly recommend this book, because it is such a blessing!)

In other little news from today...
Noah this afternoon woke up from his nap and yelled for me. I came to lay down with him, and he gave me the tightest squeeze, gave a sleepy smile, and told me, "Oh, so comfortable. It's not 4 o'clocks yet." And went back to sleep <3.
For the curious, "4 o'clocks" means nap time is over. He may get up at 4 o'clock... sometimes he tried to test us by telling us it is 4 o'clocks ahead of time ;). Unfortunately, unlike him, we can read a clock ;). But this is the first time he has voluntarily said it was NOT 4 o'clock just to get to stay at nap time, I found it adorable.

What doesn't kill you makes you want ice cream

I'm working on a new "thing" for the shop today :D! Daddy suggested this one, and I have to say, I love it. As soon as he suggested it I knew 1. It needed artwork. 2. I wanted it to be a chalkboard (although, now that I have finished the design, I also really want to make a happy, colorful canvas one, so, we'll have to see about that!). So last night, I sat down and freehanded a sketch of an ice cream cone, and today I dug out a chalkboard! I had some issues with my photoshop which was frustrating, but once it cooperated, I loved how the design turned out :D! This was actually my first time using the graphite transfer method on a chalkboard, and it IS possible, soooooo... lots more ideas just opened up where chalkboards are concerned. *wheels turning* And what does everyone else think? Should I add hearts around the ice cream cone, or not? Here's the original sketch...

And I am ridiculously pleased with how that fast draft turned out. I am no artist, y'all, so forgive me my excitement. But I pulled up a pinterest sheet of ice cream doodles and combined about three to make that ^. Peter was sitting beside me, pointing out all the mistakes I was making ("THAT ice cream cone doesn't have a cherry!!!" - he told me I must not know what I was doing, hahaha), but when I finished my pencil sketch and started tracing over it with a permanent marker so it would show up well in photoshop, he goes, "Woahhhhhh, you are a good tracer though!!!" We all have our skills ;).

Speaking of the shop... Under The Tapestry is celebrating 3 years on Friday, and I am holding a contest on my FB page and running sales all week long to celebrate :)! So you'll want to check those out here and here.

How is your week going? Have you read "Girl Defined"? If so, what was your favorite thing about this book? Would you add hearts around the ice cream cone? And are you going to join in Under The Tapestry's contest :D?!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Looking Back at July ✽ Little Moments

Happy August, everyone! I hope your July was wonderful and that this new month will hold lots of blessings for each of you! Life was busy and full in July, and now we are all just wondering when Baby Bear will choose to grace us with his presence ;). Here's a little look at our month...

One night while Mama and Daddy went on a date, I had the little ones make personalized pizzas for supper. It made quite the impression on them. Abbi especially talks about it constantly, and I would say it was definitely a memory maker for them, haha!

Abbi made her pizza shaped like a stocking on accident, lol!

I wuv him <3. He woke up early and came to snuggle me in bed while I did my bible reading, but by the time I was ready to get up he was fast asleep again :).

We were gifted these chairs by a kind couple at church who are moving, so sweet!

Peter drew the kissy-face emoji from memory after seeing it once as I scrolled through instagram. Too cute!

Mama and I have been crafting half the month; she took up fabric stamping (so awesome!), and I have been working on a baby blanket for 3 weeks... hopefully just two more days worth of work to do there! I kind of had a goal to finish in less than 40 days, which is, I think, my current record for how diligent I was on getting one from start to finish. I'm not a very competitive person except against myself, then I am ruthless, haha! But I'm not going to share any pictures, we'll get some with baby eventually ;).

Our garden... haha. Well, the bell peppers and tomato plants started flowering. But it's so late now, I doubt that it really does much good. But, as Bethi says, we did better than last year! We've got three cucumbers that are quite big, and we harvested a whole basil plant (which is currently drying in the dehydrator, and it smells delicious, but it's taking so loooonnnnnng, haha!). Last year we got three basil leaves. And Bethi lost them. This year is, sadly, an improvement. We had such a great garden before we moved to VA, it's sad!


Josiah: "I am hiding the dice from Noah. He can't see it way up there!"
Yeah, well neither can you, buddy... haha!

Noah, sitting in the van, about to go into church...
"Get pizza!"
After church:
"Get pizza now!"
*babbles about pizza*
Mama: "What if we don't get pizza?"
Noah, little lips quivering: "Because [translated "but"]. It be tasty."
*pizza for lunch*

Noah, with a caution cone on his head: "I'm a birthday!"
*Mama gives him a real birthday hat for fun*
Noah: "Where's a mirror? I sooooooo cute!"

Abbi: "Noah! It's raining!!!"
Noah: "More whipped cream!"
He typically loves rain, but apparently :whipped cream > rain:.

Also, obviously Noah is the family comedian of the year. You can't beat two year olds. (Sorry, Tori.)

Can we all just agree that if you clean the play kitchen set at church and there AREN'T toy cars in the oven, the question begs to be asked, did they even use the nursery last week?

Tori: "Noah calls cardinal birds, caramel birds."
Peter: "...Cardinal birds?...
"...I think I know why...
"...I call them caramel birds, too."

*Me, talking to myself, obviously*
I thought that that habit had died down for some reason, but nope, it's totally still buried in there, and it's resurfacing full force. Honestly it annoys me too when I notice, but it's just so involuntary, lol.

Also, does anyone else find themselves making a conscientious decision to Stop. Singing. In. Their. Head. and breath a sigh of relief when everything is quiet for two minutes before you start again...accidentally? Or no? Is that just me?

Noah, pointing to a cucumber; "Cucomoe!"

Abbi: "We've loved each other all our lives."
"Except you were MISSING for eleven years of my life, and it was sad."
Abbi: "But we have always loved each other in our hearts, even when we didn't know it..."

Abbi and Emmi, pretending to be indian princesses, walk past our organization station:
Emmi: "Ooo! You have a morning schedule! Not many tribes have those."

Josiah, when Tori asked if he liked salsa chicken: "No, but I just keep on eatin' it. And when it spices me, I have to take a big drink."

Andrew: "I didn't want to take my belt to bed with me! I might swallow it while I slept." (???)
Tori: "And then every time you would open your mouth to sing, you would start... BELTING."

Josiah explaining "Duck, duck goose": "You sit, and we'll goose you."

Bethi: "You don't get points for doing nothing."
I mean, she was being sarcastic, but that's a great life lesson right there. Thanks, Bethi.

While mourning the fact that the first baby cucumber I found was eaten by bugs, two much bigger cucumbers were growing and I never even knew it, I was so surprised when I found them, haha.

Noah is only too young for coffee when he wears this shirt....

...If he is wearing literally any other shirt, he says he is big enough. It's hilarious. I will tell him, "You're too young for coffee!!!" and he looks down at his shirt to see whether he is too young today, or not.

I'm turning on the dehydrator for basil...
"It won't turn on."
*checks plug*
"Ohhhhhh, good."
*plugs it in* *turns it on*
"It still won't start. Where is the manual? Maybe I forgot something.... nope. Oh dear. Wait a minute... I bet..."
"Yep. Y'all, I plugged in the coffee pot."

I take a video of Noah telling me what his "Dino-mite Dude" shirt says, because it's cute, and he asks to see it.
After it's over, he tells me, giggling, "That was Noah. Noah talking like a baby." Like he doesn't talk all day long like a baby for obvious reasons... like, um, being a baby ;).

Abbi and Emmi celebrated Christmas in July... with an umbrella tree, a precious moments figurine, and air cocoa with candy canes in a Christmas cup, hahaha!

Tori, while I edit this post... ""Are you laughing at your own blog?"
Me: "Cardinal Birds?... I think I know why..."


Under the Tapestry Knit Dishcloths

These knitted washcloths are available in Under the Tapestry :)! I was asked to sell these by a knit-washcloth-fan, and I have several sets available! And Under the Tapestry celebrates it's 3 year opening anniversary on August 10th! How would y'all like to see that celebrated :)? I have some ideas, but I am still finalizing things, so I am open to suggestions!

Murphett the Crocheted Mouse by Under the Tapestry Handcrafts

I also impulse free-handed this little mouse for Noah one night. He had been carrying around a baby's first laptop just to play with the little "computer mouse" on it. So I thought, I bet he'd like one without the laptop attached, and that evening I crocheted it up on the fly in a little over an hour. I finished it after he went to sleep, which made me sad, because I had told him I was making something for him... but then he woke up being carried to bed, and I was like, "Hey Noah..."... and when he saw it, he gasped and grinned from ear to ear, and it was just precious! I told Bethi, "That was worth it!!!", to which Noah replied, "Yeah, Merphett," and shoved the mouse in her face, so now this little guy is called Merphett the Mouse, and the pattern for him is going to be up on Under The Tapestry Handcrafts soon!

And here are the posts I shared on Forget Not His Benefits this month, in case you missed them :).

Life Lately

Undivided: A Study in 1st Samuel 

Whereas it was in Your Heart


How was your month :)?! Any ideas for Under The Tapestry's 3rd "birthday"? What are you looking forward to in August :)? Many blessings to each of you in our precious Lord and Savior!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri :)