Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Best Salsa Around

I have to tell you a secret.

I love salsa. Love it. I put it on everything…chips, tacos, enchiladas, and even on my spoon. Well, I guess that isn't much of a secret. But I could eat salsa all day long!

I have a salsa recipe that is not only super simple…it tastes amazing! I bring it into work every once in awhile, and it has become a favorite. It seems like people can smell it from across the office, and they always come running. 

So here is the recipe. Now I want to give you a heads-up…when I make this, I just kind of guess on how much to use. I don't really have specifics, but I swear you can't mess it up!

What you will need:
  • Can of Corn - drained
  • Can of Black Beans - drained and rinsed (you have to rinse them well…otherwise they have a weird film on them!)
  • One jalapeño - deseeded (unless you like the heat!)
  • Handful of cilantro
  • 6 roma tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • Salt & Pepper
1. Chop up the tomatoes, onions, and jalapeño into bite size pieces. I have found that roma tomatoes work best for this recipe.
2. Roughly chop the cilantro and add to the tomatoes and onions.
3. Add the can of corn and can of black beans. Mix up well.
4. I add a little bit of salt and pepper now, but it really doesn't need much.
5. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but it honestly tastes better with time. I like to leave it overnight!
6. Serve with your favorite chips. I love the tomtits organic white corn chips!!

 Linking up with the following lovely ladies for Tuesday Talks!!
 Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Michelle at Grammie Time | Pinterest | Instagram 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Weekend in Review

Happy Monday!
I hope you all had a great weekend. It was absolutely beautiful here in Montana under the Big Sky!! I think it was in the 60s/70s all weekend which I am totally ok with.

The beautiful weather has made me want to take my exercise outside. I try to walk my dogs at least three times a week, but this weekend we went every day! I found some harnesses on clearance at PetSmart for less than $2 each!! They make going for walks so much better as the leash doesn't pull on their necks. 

Sunday was my Grandma's 77th birthday! We celebrated by taking her to a cute little restaurant in a tiny town about 20 miles away. It is called the Big Bull Bar, and they have the most amazing food. Seriously, the burgers were the size of my head, and they came with a mountain of french fries.

My grandma is seriously the greatest lady in the world. She is full of spice and spunk which makes her a blast to be around. I love that she is still as feisty as ever, and she doesn't take flack from anyone. I am lucky to have her in my life, and I loved that I got to spend the afternoon with her.

While we were at dinner, my little sister mentioned that there were two guys up at the bar who had just ridden up on their horses. They just tied their horses up to the fence post, and then they went into the bar for a drink and some dinner. We came out to see the two horses tied up. 

This is just a typical part of living in Montana, and I love it! I mean where else in the world can you just ride your horse up to the bar?!? I also learned that you can get a DUI if you are drunk while riding a horse…like I said before, only in Montana!

Tell me below…
Did you do anything fun for your birthday?
What is your favorite thing about where you live?

Linking up with Biana.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday Favorites #5

Did you like the Hunger Games? Or were you more of a Divergent Fan?

{And when I ask that, I mean the books not the movies!! Although, I did enjoy the movies for these series, the books are a million times better!}

I'm mixing it up this Friday Favorites post to share with you a few of my favorite book series. Many of these are similar to the popular Hunger Games and Divergent series.

  • The Maze Runner by James Daschner - Now many have probably seen the movies (The Maze Runner & The Scorch Trials), but the books are so great. I read all three books in a matter of days. James Daschner really fits the dystopian society theme, but he does it in such a unique way

  • Selected by Kiara Cass - This might be one of my favorite series of all time. Think of The Bachelor meets the Hunger Games. It tells the story of a society where the prince must find a wife through a sort of reality-tv competition. There is so much more to this story including family secrets, dictatorship, and a struggle with being in the lime light.

  • Matched by Allie Condie - Again, this is more geared towards girls. In the Society, everything is watched very closely and monitored at all times. When you turn 17 you are matched with your future spouse. But when Cassia is matched, an error happens, and someone else's face shows up on her screen.

  • Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - I have heard rumors that this is going to be made into a movie, and if so, I can't wait! The premise of this book is so cool. The author found a series of trick photographs, and he used them as a guide to writing the book. This story follows a group of peculiar children who all have secret talents, and they must fight to keep their people alive. 

  • Seven Deadly Sins by Robin Wasserman - This isn't necessarily like the other books, but it is a fun series to read. There are seven books in all, and each one focuses on one of the deadly sins. The story focuses on a group of high school students with your typical players: the Alpha girl, the athlete, the brooding bad guy, the best friend, and the smart shy girl.

Tell me…

What are some of your favorite books?
Do you like reading young adult literature?
Would you rather read a single novel or a series?

Linking up with Tiff and Erika,

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Confessional Thursday {#1}

There is something cathartic about just spilling your random thoughts. So today I am linking up with Jessica from The Newly for Confessional Thursday.

I Confess...

I had to look up the word cathartic...at first I typed lethargic, and I knew that wasn't the word I was looking for. Don't mind that I have an English degree.

I have decided that I am a people pleaser/peace maker. I have also decided that it is both my best and worst quality. I think an entire blog post will be coming about that.

I am finally biting the bullet and buying some quinoa tonight to try. I think I will try this recipe. Best part is that it is 21 day fix approved.

I love playing Monopoly at Safeway. I have gone out of my way to shop there recently because I want to get more of the game pieces.

I have been watching Lifetime's Mother/Daughter Experiment. It is outrageous and ridiculous, and I can't help but watch it.

I love rereading series. I have a couple of recommendations that I will be posting in the next few days.

I just don't understand these pom pom shoes that are becoming popular. They remind me of a little kids art project.

I love to try foundations. I can't seem to go into a sephora or ultra without finding a new foundation to try. But for the first time ever, I have purchased the same foundation twice in a row. The Maybelline Fit Me! Dewy + Smooth Foundation is only $5.99, and it is turning out to be my favorite.

I got my niece-to-be (due in just 1 month!!!) this swimsuit from target. So cute. She is going to Hawaii in August for a wedding, and she will look adorable in it, I'm sure!

Well, that's all I got. See you tomorrow, folks :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Taking Back My Health

Today I am linking up with Jessi from Jessi's Design for "What's Hap-pinning Wednesdays." I kind of sat for a few minutes trying to think what was new and worthwhile to share, and I realized that I am excited to start my 2nd round of 21 Day Fix by Beachbody on Thursday!!

I did the 21 day fix back in January, and while I didn't follow the program perfectly, I still saw some great results! I know I lost weight and inches; I just wish I would have measured so I know my progress. This time around I am doing all my measurements so I can see my success.

The basics of the program are this:

  • 30 minute workouts that can be done at home with minimal equipment (hand weights and a yoga mat)
  • Food containers that help you figure out what to eat and how much of it
  • A serving of Shakeology each day!
  • An easy to follow meal plan with tons of recipes
  • Accountability and support through an online Facebook group

I love how easy it is to do without keeping track of calories or macros. The workouts are fun, and they only last 30 minutes!! No excuses not to get them done!

However, the main reason I am posting about this and taking on this 21 day journey is to create a new lifestyle for myself. I realized as I sit down tonight that my eating today consisted of a bag of cheetos, probably over a liter of dr. pepper, a small container of chow mien, and a hersheys bar. Seriously. I can't keep living this way, and I know my body does not run the way it should!

I am looking to create a lifestyle change and not just a quick diet. I want to find a way to not only lose weight but also feel comfortable in my own skin. It's time for me to take back my health!

If you are interested in joining me, feel free to send me an email at whit.mclaughlin@gmail.com. I would love to discuss what Beachbody program might work best for you!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

You know you are from Montana when...

1. You have experienced wearing both shorts and having it snow on the same day.
   this has happened on more than one occasion. i don't know how many times a day i have to switch from the a/c to heat in my car. they say if you don't like the weather wait ten minutes.

2. You know the mascots and colors of all the other teams in your division.
    there are only about 10 or so teams per division in high schools. you tend to know all the players on the other teams. even being out of high school for five plus years i can still name all the other teams and their colors.

3. You schedule your trips based on the college events happening.
   most of the main towns in Montana have one college, and it isn't crazy to plan your trips based on what events are going on. i would never go to Missoula during Cat/Griz games or Butte when Mulletfest is going on (yes, Mulletfest is a real thing!). too many college kids getting crazy!

4. You have been to a high school sports event even though you don't know anyone who is playing personally.
   my dad and i like to go watch basketball games in the winter when there isn't much else to do. most of the time i don't even know any of the kids, but it is still a fun event to attend. this isn't an uncommon occurrence.

5. You have an "account" at one of the local stores.
   we had a little convenience store up the street from my parents house when I was growing up. we had an account there where we would buy things throughout the month and then my parents would just pay it at the end of the month. this was nice because my parents could send us to grab a thing or two without having to give us their debit cards. lots of little stores in montana do this.

6. You or someone you know has hit wildlife while driving. This isn't limited to just deer…wolves, coyotes, big-horn sheep, and even a cow.
   my dad and his brothers hit a cow one time driving home late at night. the cow got out of the field, and it was dark outside. they didn't see the cow until it was too late. you don't hear that happening just anywhere.

7. You have never experienced a snow day even though there are days where you get upwards of two feet of snow.
    i have never had a snow day. i was always so jealous of hearing about others getting snow days. there have been days when we have gotten close to three feet of snow. but nope, no snow day for montana.

8. You have left your car running with the doors unlocked to run into the store.
   i did this this morning. it just kind of cracks me up because i realize there are many big cities where you would never do this. i do it all the time.

9. The Dairy Queen is closed from November to March.
   i always hear jeff foxworthy joke about this, and i'm sure people think this is a joke. but this is completely true where i live. i think it is true for a lot of montana towns. they just don't get enough business in the winter to keep the place open.

10. You have honestly seen some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
    i really think that i live in the most beautiful state in the country. between glacier national park and yellowstone national park and everywhere in between, montana has picture perfect scenery. the lakes, the woods, the wildlife, and even the small towns are worth driving around to see.

I have always said that God used His greatest imagination for Montana. It really truly is the last best place!

linking up with Michelle

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Prayer Works

My aunt had emergency surgery a week ago, on Monday. She had a staph infection in her hip, and the doctor had to go in and remove her hip replacement in order to remove the infection.

The doctor who performed the surgery is actually a member of our church. He is a great Christian man who is known to be extremely meticulous in his work. My aunt went into surgery, and she had been in there for a few hours when my mom got a call from our youth pastor.

He was just calling to check in with my mom about an upcoming ski trip, and he was shocked to hear she was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital. He immediately jumped up and drove up to the hospital to wait with her in the waiting room. When he got there, it was my mom, my great-aunt, and my grandma.

They chatted for a few minutes, and then Gezer, my youth pastor, asked if he could pray for the surgery. He said he felt led to pray, and he was hoping the others would join him. They of course said yes, and he prayed.

Now, my great-aunt and my grandma are not religious people. My grandma goes to church every so often, but my great-aunt rarely goes. They bowed their heads to pray with him out of respect, and they thanked him when he was done.

Just an hour or so later, the doctor finally came back with news of the surgery. He said that because her hip replacement had been done 14 years ago, the technology had greatly changed. He really struggled to get the hip ball replacement to come out. He said he used all his tools, and he thought he was going to have to stitch her back up and try again the next day with different tools.

He then looked up and asked "did you all pray for me while I was in there?" My great-aunt and grandma sort of looked up in surprise, and Gezer said "Yeah, we did pray for you."

The doctor then looks at all of them and said "I knew you did. I could feel it." You see he was just about to give up, when he felt God leading him to try one more time. He attempted to remove the hip ball one more time, and at that point, it just popped out; no problem.

I don't care where you are in your walk with God or what your views on prayer are. I know it works. I know that prayer is powerful. It's our one direct line to the God of the whole universe. I know I don't utilize it the way I should, but after this powerful reminder, I know that I will never take my prayers for granted.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Monday Blues

Do you ever get the Monday Blues? Or is that just me?!?! I often feel like the weekend just flies by, and come Monday I am never quite ready to go back to work. I have compiled a list of things I do to make my Mondays better and more enjoyable.

1) Take some time on Sunday to prepare for the upcoming week. For me, this means meal planning and prepping, putting everything into my planner for the week, getting any laundry done, and doing a quick sweep-clean of my house.

Doing those few things on Sunday make Monday go so much smoother. I feel like I can wake up Monday morning, and I don't stress about all the little things because they are already taken care of.

I also try and take the last few minutes on Friday afternoon to make sure I have everything wrapped up for Monday. Believe me, there is nothing worse than heading into the office knowing you have a project looming over your head. Your weekend and your Monday will go much better if you just get it done on Friday.

2) Spend a few minutes in the morning doing something for you. For many, enjoying a cup of coffee is the best way to start Monday. However, I am not a coffee drinker. I like to take a few minutes in the morning to watch a fun youtube video (makeup and hair tutorials are my favorites) or spend a few minutes playing with my dogs.

I think that spending a little quality time on yourself makes Mondays more bearable.

3) Listen to positive, uplifting music in the morning. I don't typically listen to music while I am getting ready, but I do listen to it on the commute to work. My favorite station is K-Love Christian Radio. I always feel more refreshed, clam, and relaxed when I start my morning with positive music versus listening to the local hits station. Find a radio station or Pandora station that works best for you!

4) Get a workout in!! Exercise is the best antidepressant there is. Take some time on Monday to get a good sweat session in. I love doing the Beachbody workouts, but find what works best for you. Maybe you enjoy a hot yoga session, or perhaps you love a good spin cycle. Whatever it is, do it! Never miss a Monday.

5) Treat yourself. You made it through a Monday. Give yourself some credit because sometimes Mondays are just plain hard.

Tell me Ladies,

What are some of your tips to make it through Mondays?
What kind of workouts do you enjoy best?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

30 Day Challenge

I feel like I have been a broken record over the last few weeks, but I just can't help it! I have been listening to Christian Radio exclusively since the beginning of the year, and I can't even begin to tell you the impact it has had on my life.

I have found some amazing Christian songs, and I get overjoyed every time I hear a new song. I swear that they only play songs that relate to my life and what is going on that day. It is amazing how God uses something like music to have such an impact.

Like I have said in past posts, I listen to K-Love Radio. It has contemporary music plus a mix of news, verses, and even short little sermons. They have a challenge where they encourage you to listen to only Christian radio for 30 days, and then look back to see if had a positive impact on your life.

Well I can attest to this challenge being worth it! I know it sounds so silly, but it really has changed me. Here are my top five reasons for listening to Christian music:

1) It starts your day with encouragement, positivity, and peace.

I am a firm believer that music impacts your mood. If you constantly listen to sad, depressing or angry music, you will start to have those same feelings. The same goes for if you listen to positive, encouraging music. It just helps to lighten your mood and start your day on the right track.

2) It is filled with words of wisdom and Biblical truths that relate to your everyday life.

I have found so many songs that seem to speak directly to me. I constantly find myself writing down phrases or lyrics that I find to impact my heart. Not only do they relate to me, but they give me peace and often times a new perspective on situations in my own life.

3) Christian music gives you the chance to worship God.

As you sing along to these songs, or even just listen to them, you are worshipping God. We are to spend our days on earth praising God and sharing His truth. I think of the fifteen minutes it takes me to get work as a fifteen minute praise and prayer session. By listening to Christian music, I am able to spend a few minutes praising God for who He is and what He has done for me.

"Sing unto Him, sing psalms to Him, talk of all his wondrous works." I Chronicles 16:9

4) God requires us to keep our minds and spirits pure.

In 2 Corinthians 7:1 it says, " Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."

God demands us to stay away from anything that will contaminate our body and spirit. I think that applies to music as well. God doesn't want us to pour anything into our minds and lives that don't bring us closer to Him. I hate to say it, but there are not many secular songs that wouldn't be considered contamination to us.

5) It sets us a part from the rest of the world.

"Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." - Romans 12:2
I was thinking about this topic today. In a random conversation, I was saying how typically Mormons' are known as being good people who are trustworthy, kind, and full of love. I think it is their religion that plays such a huge role. However, I don't think that most Christians have this reputation, which breaks my heart.

God calls us to be a light in this world, and in order to do so, we have to stand out from the crowd. I am starting to see my role in the world as someone who's every move points back to Jesus and His truth. In doing so, I am living out my life for His will rather than my own.

That being said, I think I have to listen to Christian music as a sort of testimony of my faith.

Tell me below…

Do you listen to Christian music?

What are some of your favorite songs?

Linking up with Amanda

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Oh How Pin-teresting!

I am a lover of Pinterest! I have been using the website for a year or so now, and I love being able to find recipes, ideas, and inspiration so quickly. I have found myself utilizing it more and more over the last few months…possibly because of the move!

I thought I would share with you a few of my pins from the last week or so. You will notice a trend. I pin a lot of food and a lot of decorating items.

Are you like me and pin a million things but then never actually utilize them?!?! I have made it a goal to make at least one recipe a month from Pinterest. Might as well get some use out of the website considering how many hours I waste looking through it each night!!

So here are a few of my favorite pins!

Don't these green beans look to die for? I think that green beans might be my favorite veggie of all time and when you add in garlic and bread crumbs, it is a 10 in my book

Yum! I can't wait to try this one. I think it sounds so refreshing and good for you!

I have been looking for some snacks that are healthy and tasty to take to work. I find that at about 10am and 3pm I start to get a little sluggish. I need a little pick-me-up, and I think these energy bites will do the trick.

I love crockpot meals. Throw all the ingredients in and by the time you get off work you have a meal!

I have taken a break from teacher mode the last year as I have worked up at the district admin office. I am planning on applying for teaching jobs for the 2016-17 school year, and this scavenger hunt looks just like something I would use in my classroom!

I mentioned yesterday that I would like to start bullet journalling. I think it is a great way to stay organized and keep everything in one place. I love that pinterest helps me find websites and blogs to try out new things!

Tell me below…
What are some of your favorite types of pins?
Do you have any pins that have turned out to be huge successes?

Linking up with Jessie.