Carrie Crista Inspiration Life My Life

Finding Joy in Anxiety

I’ve mentioned this is a post or two previously, but I’ve struggled with anxiety for a good bit of my life. Recently, it’s gotten worse and has started to make an impact on more than just my own mental health. I’ll rewind a little bit for context…

I was first diagnosed with anxiety my freshman year of highschool. At that time, my anxiety was internal and really only reared its head in overwhelming situations. I would have panic attacks but they would go away and things would go back to normal. Once I went to college, my anxiety decreased and it’s only been within the past couple of years, I would say, that I’ve started struggling again. This time, however, I don’t muscle through the panic attacks. Instead, I avoid the perceived causes of my anxieties altogether. This may sound like a good thing- someone avoiding things that make them uncomfortable- but it isn’t. It’s come down to me avoiding any situation I haven’t been in before. If I don’t know where I’m going to park for an event, I won’t go. If I don’t know what traffic will be like to get somewhere I don’t usually go, I won’t go. Essentially, if I don’t have a baseline to let me know how something may go, I don’t do it. This has snowballed into crippling social anxiety and, quite frankly, it sucks. It sucks for me and it sucks for my friends and my family because I can be a big a fun-sucker.

This year, I want to focus on trying more. I don’t want to say I’ll do something because that risks something going wrong which, for me, is a big thing. I don’t like when things go wrong. I’m the type of person who makes a plan and sticks to it because I know it’s effective and efficient. Trying things, however, implies that something going wrong isn’t a big deal. If you try something and don’t do well or don’t like it then it’s no problem. I want to come at my anxiety with the approach of trying. If Mike wants to get a sitter for Maddie and take us downtown, instead of me saying no (because I’m terrified of traffic and parking and logistics in general), I’ll say yes with the thought that we’re just trying something.

There’s another piece to coping with my anxiety that I need to work on and that is joy. In Philippians, Paul was in prison waiting for execution. I’m sure he was pretty dang anxious. In the midst of that, though, his words to those who are worried were to rejoice. When I was young, the pastor of our church did a sermon on being joyful. I don’t remember the whole thing because I was like 12, but I remember him saying that we should say “rejoice” often because your mouth always ends the word in the shape of a smile. We should rejoice in times of struggle because God is sovereign. We should rejoice because we should know that His plan is best. What better way to cope with anxiety and fear than to remember that I don’t HAVE to be in control because God is? I know some of my readers may not be religious or spiritual, but you don’t have to practice a religion or believe in God in order to trade anxiety for joy and thankfulness. 

I don’t think this is going to be easy, by any means. When you are a control freak who gets anxious about anything unknown, it’s hard to let go of that. I am hoping, however, that I can consciously work on not letting my anxieties get the best of me this year.

 

Questions for you:

  1. What are some ways you cope with your fear and anxiousness?
  2. How can you work on your fears more this year?

 

Carrie Crista Currently Life

Currently | January

Welcome back to another Currently post! I’ve done Currently before  but it’s been a few months so, if you haven’t read my previous Currently, here’s what it is! Each month or so, I go through a few of the things I’m currently doing. Sometimes I’ll let you know what I’m watching or reading or listening to, it varies from post to post! Today I’m going to let you know what I’m currently watching, reading, and looking forward to!

currently watching

I have been OBSESSED with Black Mirror lately. I watched the first three seasons back in November before I found out that season 4 was being released in December. When I found that out, I was stoked! If you don’t know, Black Mirror is a show that started in the UK and was taken over by Netflix. Season’s 1 and 2 are the original seasons and only have 3 and 4 episodes in them, respectively. Netflix took it over for season 3 and both seasons 3 and 4 have 6 episodes. Each episode is a different story with different characters but they all take place in a society that has great technological advances in a very similar time as the present. Each episode is totally mind blowing. I will say, it is not for the faint of heart, however. While not particularly scary or gory, many episodes have troubling content. That content, however, is generally very important to the plot and the message of the episode itself. I finished season 4 in a couple of days and I’m already ready for the next season!

I also saw The Greatest Showman and really liked it! The music is amazing and it’s just a great, feel good film.

*POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW- NOTHING SPECIFIC BUT YOU MAY NOT WANT TO READ THE NEXT PART IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT AND DON’T WANT THE VIBE OF THE MOVIE TO BE SPOILED**

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I don’t like movies with a lot of conflict unless it’s an action or suspense movie of some sort. If I watch a happy movie, I don’t like the bad parts. I know it sounds weird, but my career is literally rooted in conflict so, when  I watch a happy movie I want it to stay happy. The Greatest Showman was perfect for that. Without giving anything away, I appreciated the overall positive vibe of the the movie. There was conflict as there is with any movie, but it wasn’t anything devastating and I was happy about that.

 

currently reading

One of the things I want to do more of this year is read. So far, I’ve already finished TWO books! One of them was called 50 Mice by Daniel Pyne. It’s a thriller and I really enjoyed it. Essentially, a man is put into witness protection and doesn’t know why. The story was really good and it was an easy read. The only thing I didn’t like was the ending. It felt rushed and was so out of nowhere that it left me thinking “wait, what?” And not in a “woah my mind is blown” type of way. Overall, I would recommend it because I was entertained, but you’ll see what I mean about the end.

I also read a poetry book called Becoming by Renaada Williams. I won’t lie. I wasn’t impressed. Poetry has seemed to move into a phase of profound(ish) statements. I know flash poetry has been a thing forever, but authors like Rupi Kaur have really propelled it into the limelight. While some of these flash pieces are thought provoking, others fall flat. This was one of those. A few of the pieces were enlightening, but most of them left me wondering “so what?” Most of them were about break ups which may identify with some people, but not with me. Even if I had been dealing with a break up, I’m not sure I would have felt differently about the content.

The book I am CURRENTLY reading is called Black Widow by Wendy Corsi Staub.  I am really enjoying it so far! It’s a mystery thriller that’s been engaging and entertaining. I’m about 2/3 of the way through and I’m starting to get to the major conflict of the book which is exciting. I haven’t finished it yet so I can’t give a full review but, so far, I would definitely recommend it if you like easy, mystery fiction.

It’s been interesting because we don’t have a ton of things coming up! The past 4-5 months have been a total whirlwind with one event after the next, but the new year brought a season of rest and I’m thankful! There are a couple of things I’m looking forward to, however. First, I am ready for potty training to be over. It’s a total mom problem, but potty training is time consuming and takes patience- something I do not have. Maddie has been doing really well, but I’m ready to be done with it!

Second, I am excited for my birthday! It’s not until May, but we are going on a trip- we’re thinking Toronto- just Mike and I and I’m excited for that! I’ve never been to Toronto and I’ve heard there are lots of cool museums, parks, and breweries there! We’re still finalizing things, but I’m thinking Toronto is the place.

 

There we have it! My January Currently! I’m hoping to do this once a month or every other month since I like being able to share some of the less profound but kind of interesting things I’m doing!

Questions for you:

What are you currently watching, reading, or looking forward to?
Where is a place you would like to visit this year?
What other Currently topics would you like to see on the blog?

Health Inspiration Life

21 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

practice self care

Self care is so important. Regardless of where you are in life, if you don’t take time to take care of yourself,  it’s so easy to burn yourself out. This year, I really am focusing on self-care. Between working a full time job, being a mom, being a wife, serving at church, and all the other things I do, it’s really easy to forget to take some time to myself that isn’t going to the bathroom or going to the store.

In order to make it simple for me (and, hopefully, you), I came up with a list of 22 ways to practice self-care.

  1. Do your hair/makeup
    I always feel great when I’m able to take some time to just put myself together. Be mindful as you get ready. Don’t rush, enjoy this time to yourself!
  2. Take a bath
    Bubbles, bath bombs, wine, maybe some candles, and a book. That’s all you need for a spa-like retreat at home. Shut off your phone and just relax!
  3. Breathe deeply for one minute
    This is something I started doing when I got my Apple Watch but it’s been immensely helpful for when I start to feel anxious.
  4. Call a friend
    Sometimes you just need to talk to a friend to feel a little bit better!
  5. Get a massage
    In a perfect world, I would get massages every week. In this world, however, that’s not the case and I haven’t had one in years. Massages are a great way to unwind and de-stress. They also take extra planning which means you can be sure you’re disconnected from things and focused on yourself.
  6. Get your nails done
    Another way to put yourself together!
  7. Go somewhere you love
    Maybe spend some time at a bookstore or your favorite coffee shop.
  8. Exercise
    Getting activity in is a great way to take care of yourself in general, not just when you’re stressed or anxious. You don’t have to run a marathon or powerlift to exercise. Walking, yoga, biking, or any sport you like to do counts as exercise!
  9. Nourish your body
    Eating good foods to nourish your body is another way to take care of yourself in the long term. Treats are perfectly ok but moderation is key. Focus on fueling your body with good, whole foods that make your body feel and function well!
  10. Go outside
    Being outside is one of my favorite ways to unwind. It’s great to be able to be in the fresh air and focus on the creation around me.
  11. Write
    Journaling is a great way to decompress!
  12. Create
    Paint, draw, crochet- whatever it is you like to do, do that!
  13. Enjoy a drink
    Wine, coffee, tea, whatever- leave your phone elsewhere, sit down, and enjoy a drink.
  14. Cry
    Sometimes letting yourself cry is incredibly therapeutic.
  15. Bake or cook
    Baking and cooking is therapeutic for me! The process of measuring and mixing is a great way to focus on something other than the things you have going on around you.
  16. Pray or meditate
    Take time to pray or reflect.
  17. Color
    We’ve all seen those adult coloring books. Grab one and go for it!
  18. Buy yourself flowers
    Fresh flowers are a great way to bring life to a space and what better way to tell yourself you are cared for than buying yourself your favorite bouquet?
  19. Declutter a space you spend time in
    It’s no secret that a clean space is a happy space. Take some time to organize your favorite spot in your home. If you don’t have a spot, try to find a way to create one. Let it be your safe place.
  20. Diffuse an essential oil
    I’ve got a whole post on my favorite oils. I don’t sell them and I never will, but I love diffusing oils. It’s a great way to take care of the space around you.
  21. Create a vision board or list
    Putting affirmations on paper is such an easy way to practice self care. You can refer to those affirmations on days you’re struggling or read them in the morning to start your day.

 

Some of these are things you can do at any time and some of them may take a bit more planning, but I hope you can use some of these things to take care of yourself this year!

 

Questions for you:

  1. What is one of your favorite ways to practice self care?
Carrie Crista Food Recipes

Turkey Gyros with Yogurt Sauce

turkey gyro

Some of you may not know this, but I got my start in the blogging world with a food blog that focused on making unhealthy things healthy. After expanding my blogging scope to more than just recipes, that particular blog didn’t fit with my goals anymore so I moved on. I looked back at some of those recipes the other day and wonder how I even came up with half of them. They weren’t bad recipes by any means, but they definitely weren’t amazing. I’m not an amazing chef, but even current Carrie knows that 21 year old Carrie maybe didn’t have a good idea of how to really put a recipe together. Anyways…

Despite most of the recipes being basic and blah, there are a couple of recipes that I still make pretty consistently. This is one of them! I call these gyros because it’s what they resemble the most. I am not Greek and a good gyro is hard to beat, but these delicious little wraps will definitely curb the craving in a pinch. While the fresh tomatoes and red onion push this towards a summer time meal, it’s appropriate year round. The rich yogurt sauce adds a certain comfort food element for the colder months and it’s a meal I make probably once a month! The best part about these is that they only take about 25 minutes to make from start to finish and the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to find. So many wins!

Turkey Gyros with Yogurt Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 c finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 container plain Greek yogurt (I used Oikos)
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning
  • ~1/2 cup 2% milk
  • Pita bread or flatbread of your choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, mix together turkey, onion, panko, garlic powder, and salt.
  3. Form into small balls and place on a greased (I used PAM) cookie sheet.
  4. Flatten each meat ball a little bit and place in the oven
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. While the meatballs cook, mix yogurt, milk, and ranch seasoning together until smooth.
  7. When the meatballs are done, plate on top of the lettuce and tomatoes, or put all inside a pita and top with the yogurt sauce.
  8. Stuff your face.
http://carriecrista.com/turkey-gyros-with-yogurt-sauce/

How easy is that? SUPER easy. If you have leftover meatballs, they’re delicious just dipped by themselves in any leftover sauce you may have. When I take leftovers for lunch, I generally skip out on the pita and just have the meat and sauce and it’s delicious every time.

Questions for you:
Do you like Greek food?
What’s your favorite genre of food?

Bullet Journaling Carrie Crista How To

My TOP THREE FAVORITE Notebooks for Bullet Journaling

As many of you know, bullet journaling is my preferred method of organization. If you don’t know what bullet journaling is, essentially it’s a hyper-customizable planner. You can use it for normal planner type things or you can create different trackers to keep track of things like self care, fitness, bills, books you read- basically anything! For more details, check out this post or this video. 

A lot of people want to get more organized for the new year and many people decide to try bullet journaling. It can be so overwhelming to sift through information that it’s hard to know where to start! A big starting point is picking a notebook. There are SO MANY notebooks out there that people use for bullet journaling and I’ve tried a lot of them. Not all of them since you can literally use any notebook ever, but I’ve tried pretty much all of the popular ones. Some were good, some were bad, some were great, and I wanted to share my top three favorite notebooks for bullet journaling!

3. Leuchtturm 1917- A5 Dotted

bullet journal leuchtturm notebook

I know, I know. This is the OG bullet journal notebook and it’s #3 of 3 on my list. It’s almost like a bullet journal sin, but there’s a reason! On the plus side, it is one of my favorites. The size is great, the paper is great quality, and it lays flat which makes writing a breeze. I have SO many of these notebooks that have been use because I love them so much. The reason it’s number 3 on my list is because of the price. It’s not outrageous- about $20 on Amazon. It’s not, however, as inexpensive as my next favorite…

2. Artist’s Loft Dot Grid Journal

bullet journal notebook

If you’re not in a place that has a Michael’s and you want a notebook like the Leuchtturm, you’re best off getting the Leuchtturm. If you DO have a Michael’s craft store nearby or you live in the US and can have it shipped for a reasonable price, forget the Leuchtturm and get this journal instead. Artist’s Loft is a brand found at Michael’s and these journals are nearly identical in size and quality to the Leuchtturms. So why is it my second favorite notebook? Because it’s $5. FIVE dollars. The design and quality of the Leuchtturm for 1/4 the price.  If you want a full side by side comparison, check out this video:

 

Overall, this baby slides easily into my number 2 spot!
Which brings us to…

 

Number 1: Customized Spiral Dot Grid Journal – MintPrintcess 

This is a personal preference, but this notebook is what my dreams are made of for real. I love spiral bound notebooks but haven’t found one that was dot grid or the right size. Until now. MintPrintcess is an Etsy shop that creates customizable, spiral bound notebooks. The size is comparable to an Erin Condren Life Planner. I like it because it’s a little bulkier than the Leuchtturm, but not HUGE. The cost, however, is MUCH less than Erin Condren, the paper quality is better, and you can customize your planner in multiple ways! You can pick from different paper colors, choose a cover design, and put your name on it! So awesome. Here’s a video of a full review:

 

SO there they are! My top 3 favorite notebooks for bullet journaling! If you’re just starting your bullet journal journey and feel overwhelmed, hang in there! Remember: it’s YOUR notebook. Not every page has to be tumblr worthy. It’s supposed to be functional and personal to you!

 

Questions for you:
Which one of these would you want to try out?

Carrie Crista Life My Life

First Floor Makeover

One of the fun parts of homeownership is being able to make something your own. It’s also one of the most stressful. I could watch Fixer Upper all day long but, when it comes to designing for myself? I panic. I literally texted my husband and said that I had to stop looking at Pinterest because it was starting to overwhelm me. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything you see on TV and online! After a bit, I was able to ground myself a little and come up with a vision for our living room.

I should mention that our home is a new construction. It’s as clean of a slate as they come. I showed you our cabinet overhaul which completely changed the look of our kitchen but, aside from that, we haven’t done much to make it “ours.” After a busy season of travel, we decided to take the house on one room and weekend at a time. First up? The downstairs.

Yes, the downstairs is more than one room, but it was also the area we made the most progress in so we were able to knock it out in a weekend. The biggest projects:

  1. Livening up Maddie’s playroom
  2. Adding some personality to the downstairs powder room
  3. Putting shelves in the living room.

 

Maddie’s playroom was probably the easiest of the three projects and we used the vision we had for it to influence the direction we went for the living room.

Maddie’s play area is the carpeted open space.

The playroom is the first room when you enter the house from the front door, so we wanted it to immediately give off the vibe we were going for. I love farmhouse elements but didn’t want to go full Joanna Gaines, so we opted for a more organic industrial vibe. We got some galvanized metal letters to spell out the word “PLAY” for the wall and found a large, canvas fabric map at Hobby Lobby. After hanging those, we decided the wall with the map needed a bit more to it, so we added a homemade shelf and the word “adventure.” You’ll see this later, but the shelf in the playroom is the same shelving we have in the living room and there is paper flower in a wood frame is part of a set that is also in the living room (you can’t see it in these images, but it’s there).

On the farthest left visible wall in the before photo.

On the wall on the other side of the stairs in the before image.

The second project was the downstairs powder room. We were pretty set on no paint for the downstairs (for right now) so we added some decor on the wall behind the toilet. We found the blue pallet with mason jars at Hobby Lobby and decided to tie the galvanized metal look into the bathroom by finding smaller letters that matched the letters of “PLAY” to spell out “WASH” above the mason jars. We added some inexpensive faux florals to give the bathroom a bit more fresh of a feel.

The last, and most time consuming, project was the living room.

The living room when we moved in. Bare walls and all!

My husband has become quite the handyman over the past few months and he wanted to build the shelves for the living room. Keeping with the organic industrial theme, we decided to make shelves out of metal piping and wood. There are tons of tutorials for this on Pinterest, but here’s what he did.

First, we mapped out where we wanted the shelves to go. Our TV isn’t hung directly in the middle of the wall because the stud was a bit off centered. Because of this, we had to find a way to keep the shelves even in a different way. The corner where the Christmas tree is generally has a different lamp in it, so the TV serves as the center of the room when you look at it, so we decided to measure based on the TV. Painters tape is your best friend here. After placing and replacing tape, we finally decided on placement and shelving size. From there, it was time to go to Home Depot.

We decided on 4, 36″ shelves, 2 on each side. Mike went to Home Depot and got wood, stain, and the hardware needed. Now, I won’t lie to you, the rest of this happened while Maddie and I were napping. What I CAN tell you is that Mike was a magician and put all 10 pipes up in about an hour. 8 of them were used in the living room, 2 of them were used above the map in Maddie’s playroom. The whole process involved wall anchor, screws, and other things that he has more patience for than I do.

While the wood stain dried, I went to Walmart and Target to find some decorations for the shelves. I wanted it to stick with the feel we had but also add in some white elements since our kitchen and living room open up to each other.

Our plugs are in an unfortunate spot, so we have more cords showing than one would like, but you can’t win them all. Anyways, back to the little decor items. Adding a couple of white elements would help the two rooms blend together seamlessly, so into this weird world of industrial, organic, white farmhouse I went. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t buy ONE thing from Chip and Joanna’s Hearth and Hand collection at Target. I actually found most of the little things in the kids’ and the art sections. I found the bronze elephant at Walmart and had to have it. Elephants are my thing and this one fit perfectly with the living room idea. I found most everything else at Target and we already had the lanterns. Mike found the gold elephant at Dollar General! I still have a few things to pick up but I couldn’t find what I was looking for when I was out so I decided to hold off.

I loved these porcelain florals! I ended up getting two of them from Target.


Once Christmas decorations come down, I’ll be moving the lantern and the geometric pot to the middle of the shelf.


We got three of those paper forals in the wooden frames. The third is in Maddie’s playroom!

Over time, I’ll add a few more things to the shelves here and there, but I think it turned out great! When it’s not Christmas, we have a lamp that will go where the Christmas tree is.

I’m excited to move on to other areas of the house! Our big projects are really the master bedroom and the guest room. I have some ideas for both, but making those ideas real life may be a bit more challenging. Patience is a necessity with these types of things (I have no patience so I’m in for a treat).

Questions for you:

What’s your favorite space in your house?

What is your home decor style?

Inspiration Life

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to jump on here and wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed your holidays and enjoyed time with friends and family. 2017 is in the past. Let’s make 2018 our best year yet!

Carrie Crista Life My Life

December Recap

And just like that, the end of the year is here. I feel like 2017 really flew by and that there is no way it’s December again, but here we are! This time last year, we were neck deep in moving and selling our house. This December has been much more relaxed and, for that, I am so thankful!

December was a great month for my family to unwind a bit. We traveled nearly every weekend of October and November, and we traveled about every other weekend through the summer. Each trip was a great time, but some time at home was much needed for me. We spent the weekends as a family and we were truly able to enjoy the Christmas season. We set up our Christmas decorations shortly before Thanksgiving and we added little things here and there throughout the month. Surprisingly, Maddie only tried to get into one gift and she wasn’t successful. She also stopped trying to take ornaments off the tree shortly after it was put up so I call our first Christmas with a toddler a success!

In addition to family time on the weekends, we decided to give the first floor of our home a bit of a makeover. I will be blogging in detail about our first floor makeover soon so I won’t get into details here, but we ended up adding some art to Maddie’s playroom, some art to the downstairs powder room, and some shelves to the living room. I love the way it turned out! Pictures will come in my detailed blog post, I promise!

Also in the month of December, my parents came to visit! It was the first time they saw our new house so I was very excited for them to come. While they were here, we ate at a restaurant called first watch that had an AMAZING avocado toast! We also went to a nearby city to see a Christmas light display. We spent THREE HOURS in the car waiting, but it was awesome and Maddie loved it.

avocado toast

My father in law and sister in law came up from Miami for Christmas and it was good to see them. They arrived the day before Christmas Eve so they went to church with us on Christmas Eve and then they spent the next few days with us. We went into Nashville and showed them around the Centennial Park and Broadway so they could see some of the touristy things. We also had a Star Wars marathon!

Christmas Day was amazing. It’s so cool to see Maddie really start to understand Christmas. I don’t think she will remember it for next year, but she really got into it this year so I’m hoping she will start to look forward to it like we do in the next few years.

Mike and I were both off work the week of Christmas and Maddie’s daycare was open so we took advantage of those childless days and spent some time together. One of those days was spent visiting the Jack Daniel’s Distillery! It’s not far from where we live so we went ahead and booked a tour and tasting. It was really cool! I’m not a huge whiskey person, myself, but I really enjoyed learning about the history of the company and about their distilling process.

December is coming to a close and I’m really excited for next year. My parents are actually coming up for New Years and we are going to go to a Tennessee Titans game on New Years Eve! My dad has never been to an NFL game and NFL football is a long-standing tradition on my side of the family so I’m excited to experience a game with him!

Carrie Crista Food Life My Life Recipes

Christmas Recap + The Yummiest Hot Chocolate Recipe!

This Christmas has definitely been one to remember. This is Maddie’s third Christmas, but her first two she was 2 months old and 14 months old so she had no concept of what Christmas means. This year was a little bit different! We taught her the Christmas story and were able to start explaining Santa to her. All of these new traditions are beginning and it’s really exciting as a parent!

The traditions started Christmas eve. It’s been a tradition of Mike and mine to make chili on Christmas Eve, so that’s what we did! I used the chili recipe from this post. It was amazing, as usual, and really hit the spot.

Maddie and I have been baking a lot lately, so we decided to make sugar cookies from scratch. They came out perfectly! This particular recipe required cold dough before cutting them out and baking them, but it was worth it because these cookies didn’t spread at all in the oven. Each shape was perfect! After the cookies cooled, we decorated them!

On Christmas morning, I woke up and got breakfast and hot chocolate ready. Hot chocolate on Christmas is a tradition for my little family. Every Christmas morning, I make homemade hot chocolate. I love hot chocolate. I love it so much that I am very picky about it. I need it to be creamy, rich, chocolatey, not too sweet, and topped with marshmallows. A lot of store bought or coffee shop hot chocolates just don’t cut it for me, so I’ve worked to create my own recipe. I finally perfected the recipe and the process, so I wanted to share it with you!

This hot chocolate is rich and creamy. It’s a perfect comfort drink.  A little Baileys or Kahlua wouldn’t hurt it either but, for the sake of the post, we’ll keep this recipe kid friendly. The key to this recipe is the process. You’ll make almost a sort of ganache-roux hybrid with the ingredients at one point to make sure the dry ingredients are mixed well enough with the liquid.

Another thing I love about this recipe is the simplicity of the measurements. You can easily cut this in half or double it without needing odd measurements. It’s definitely a win!

The Yummiest Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk*
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Marshmallows or whipped cream - optional
  • *I have only tested this with 2% and whole milk.

Instructions

  1. In a pot, heat the milk and half and half over medium heat on the stove- make sure not to boil.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
  3. When the liquid is very warm, add a small amount of liquid to the dry mixture and stir.
  4. Continue to add warm liquid until it becomes the consistency of a sauce- you will NOT use much of the liquid at all in this process- maybe 1/3 cup.
  5. Once the chocolate/sugar/milk mixture is done, add it to the pot with the remaining milk/half and half.
  6. Stir together until it is mixed together completely.
  7. Add vanilla extract and stir.
  8. Once the hot chocolate is very warm- making sure not to boil it- remove it from the heat.
  9. Serve into mugs, top with marshmallows or whipped cream.
  10. Enjoy!
http://carriecrista.com/christmas-recap-the-yummiest-hot-chocolate-recipe/

How simple! This takes maybe 10 minutes to make and it is so yummy! Mike put it in some coffee and it was great as well. Definitely try it out and let me know what you think!

After breakfast was in the oven, we opened stockings from Santa and gifts from each other. Maddie put cookies and milk out on Christmas Eve and she really seemed to understand that Santa came and ate the cookies, so that was fun! I got a bunch of new baking utensils which I am STOKED about because the ones I have are old and well used. Mike got me a bunch of wooden and metal utensils and I can’t wait to use them!

We spent the rest of the day watching movies with Mike’s dad and sister who came to visit from Miami. I started dinner in the early afternoon and we sat down for a nice, Christmas dinner that evening!

Overall, this Christmas was amazing. It was so cool to see her get excited about the things she got from us. I’m excited to see her love for Christmas grow as she gets older. I’m also excited for her to continue to learn about Jesus’ birth and why it’s important enough to be celebrated.

Merry Christmas!

Questions for you:
What is your favorite holiday drink?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Carrie Crista Inspiration Life My Life

Looking Forward to 2018 | New Year’s Series Part Two

In the first part of the New Year’s Series, I talked all about the things I learned in 2017 and how I fared when it came to meeting the goals I set for myself in 2017. If you haven’t read that post, you may want to check it out since I may refer back to some of those topics in this post. If you’ve already read it then you know that this post is all about looking forward to 2018! I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what my goals are for 2018 and I’m excited to get it all written out so I can look back over the course of the year.

2017 was definitely a year of learning. 2018 is going to be a year of thriving and building on what I’ve learned. Here are the things I want to do in 2018.

Remember my priorities.

I really want to make sure I continue to put my family and those close to me first. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the internet, especially when social media contributes to part of your income. The money I make is a very small part of my income, honestly, but when social media is there it’s easy to forget that you see what people want you to see. I don’t want to be that way. I don’t want to forget to enjoy the people and things around me for the sake of a great picture. In order to put this into practice, I’m going to commit to doing more fun things with my family that take place outside of the house. I have a weird social anxiety that kicks in whenever Mike mentions going somewhere to do something that I haven’t fully researched. I wonder about traffic, parking, getting in, wondering if Maddie will like it, wondering if it’s worth the time, money, or crowds, and the list goes on. It has definitely kept me from doing things I know would be fun and that’s not ok. I also want to make date night a priority. Before Maddie was a toddler, we still sort of had date night because she would just sit in her chair and have her bottle. Now, she is a participant in dinner completely so we don’t get to go out to eat in peace much. I would like to make it a priority to get a sitter and go out to dinner with my husband more often.

Self care, not self love.

I talked about this in part one of this series, but I really want to focus on self care over self love. This means taking care of myself physically and mentally. I need to take my medicine correctly, I need to continue to be active, and I need to continue to work on maintaining balance in my life. This also includes nurturing the relationships I have with the people that matter. Part of this goal is eliminating the negative influences in my life and finding positive ones. I will be honest, there are some people I follow on social media that I really just shouldn’t. I either don’t like the content or I find it to be fake and weightless. I want to fill my life with positive, Godly influences that will impact me in a positive way. Yes, it’s my responsibility to react appropriately and I choose whether or not something impacts me negatively or positively, but if I know something isn’t bringing me joy I need to get rid of it. I also want to make sure fitness stays a positive aspect of my life. Exercise is physically beneficial, but I want to make sure to continue to associate it with making my body healthy in all ways, not just aesthetically. It’s very easy for me to use food and exercise as a way to control my weight and how I feel about myself. If I weigh a certain amount or notice certain things with the clothes I’m wearing, I tend to immediately obsess over how I can adjust my food and exercise to fix it instead of just continuing with an overall healthy lifestyle and letting my body balance itself out. I know I’ve made progress this year, mentally, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Be Authentic.

This is the biggest goal I have for 2018, so much so that I chose the word “authentic” as my word for 2018. I spent 2017 being someone I thought I wanted to be because of different influences, but I realized that, even though I thought I was being who I truly was, I wasn’t happy and it wasn’t me at all. I want to be the most authentic version of myself, regardless of what success that may bring me. Part of that is making sure I’m doing things because I truly want to do them. Obviously, there are things I have to do that I might not always enjoy (laundry, dishes, you get it), but this really stems from things I do in my spare time. I love writing. I want to blog more. To be honest, I stopped because I wasn’t getting the traffic I wanted- how ridiculous is that! Instead, I put energy into content elsewhere that just stressed me out and made me feel horrible about myself. Not happening in 2018. I will do things I enjoy, regardless of how successful they are. I want to do things because they are important to me, not because they are expected of me. I won’t be held to expectations I think society or other people have for me. Instead, I will hold myself to the expectations I have for myself as a mother, wife, colleague, and influencer- in whatever sense of the word.

Tangible goals.

All of those goals are pretty lofty and they are things that will take consistent work to achieve in my life, but I also have some tangible goals I want to meet.

I want to cook more new things. Maddie and I have been baking lately and it has been a lot of fun. I want to try new recipes with her and incorporate some fancier meals into our meal plans. I’m not talking fancy food every week, but maybe something fun and fancy once a month. If they’re successful, I’ll share them here! If not, well, pizza delivery is a thing that exists so it’s all good.

I also want to read more. I said this last year, but I mean it this time.

 

Thanks for reading my short New Year’s series! I hope it inspired you to make some goals for yourself and I hope you have an amazing 2018!

 

Question for you:
What are your goals for 2018?