the best icing ever – this recipe will change your life

i love cupcakes. the icing to cake ratio is much better with a cupcake than with a regular cake. you need to know that i could care less about the cake part. all i want is the icing. and yes, it is icing, not frosting. i am southern.
last year we discovered the best homemade icing recipe ever. if you like good things in your life, make this now and ice some cupcakes to share with friends. they will feel very loved. unless they are diabetic, like my father-in-law. i just tried to get him to eat one and he thought i was trying to kill him. oops. it was still a great easter.
here is the recipe:
8 oz cream cheese (the real stuff)
4 oz butter (also the real stuff)
3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar – sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

cream the butter, cheese, and salt in a stand mixer (you can use a hand mixer) until light and fluffy. gradually add the sugar until incorporated. then add the vanilla. and done. ice those cupcakes or brownies or that cake. in this instance i used strawberry cupcakes, but it is great with chocolate or anything, really. try not to lick your fingers. you won’t be able to stop yourself. enjoy.

now that you’re done, lick that bowl clean. you deserve it. you worked hard. well, your mixer worked hard, but still.

frugal friday – cash money honey

i am now starting my 4th month as a blogger, and i’m trying to find a focus for this thing. i added a tagline to the top – living free in Christ and free of debt. i’m starting this weekend with a frugal friday post about the 2nd part of that tagline. what does it mean to live debt free, to me? freedom.

i am terrible with money. terrible. my financial past is dark and scary. i fought this whole budget thing pretty hard, until i listened to the dave ramsey show one time. i was hooked. i am a free spirit and thought that a budget would make me feel trapped and fenced in. in fact, now that we are on a budget i feel more free than ever.

we operate on a cash system now. i carry a “financial peace university” wallet that came with cash envelopes for just this purpose. it was really difficult at first to get used to cash again. i mean, has anyone used it since they first got a credit or debit card? no, ma’am. here’s the crazy thing – when you use cash, you spend less. it is science, people. your pain receptors (in your brain) are triggered when you spend cash, but don’t feel a thing when you use a credit or debit card.

with the cash system we are using, we do our budget at the beginning of each month. we then go to the bank and pull out the cash. it goes into our envelopes, and makes sticking to the budget so easy. if all the dining out money is gone, we eat at home. if all the grocery money is spent, we make due with what we have already purchased. if my “mad money” has dwindled, i’ll have to delay the purchase of that cute new dress. self control is a good thing.

you would be amazed by the looks i get when i pull out cash. people are annoyed because it takes 30 seconds longer, cashiers think i’m crazy. that’s ok. we are taking control of our financial future, and it is ok if others think we are weird. we are weird. normal people are swimming in credit card debt, and we don’t want to be normal.

what are you doing to be frugal? what system does your house use? i’m so interested in finding out what other people are doing. share your wisdom, friends.

here is a link to some of dave ramsey’s budgeting software:

picket fences – one man’s trash…

last week i was driving to a young life women’s lunch and noticed a pile of picket fence that someone was throwing away. on the way out i stopped and asked the homeowner if i could take a chunk of his old fence. he looked at me like i was a crazy person and said, “sure, whatever.” i loaded up this piece of fence into my car and hauled it home. thankfully i have an understanding husband who was only too willing to help make something cool out of the old is what we started with:

i figured out that i wanted to make a piece for the wall in our bedroom, and showed jed where to cut. you can see the line he drew across the fence.

he cut across the board while i held the base of the fence.

here is the leftover fence piece.
i’m brainstorming project ideas for the leftover boards.

in the midst of the action, jackson tried to wander off. as usual.

i got distracted by a little eye candy. i cannot resist my man working hard in a pair of carhartts. seriously, look at that bootie.

here is the finished product.
i cleaned it up and it was ready to hang it on the wall.

here it is on the wall. i’m not sure i’m done with it yet.
i may add a cute clothesline with pictures pinned to it.
i’ll let you know.

i’m linking to :
The Shabby Chic Cottage

the biggest loser

this past weekend we went to little rock to celebrate several birthdays (marci, dad, and joyce) with folks we love. my brother chris and his wife emily were in town as well, with our precious niece in tow. caroline is the prettiest baby ever, though i will admit i’m biased. the best part of the weekend was the quality time with some of my favorite people. the second best thing was seeing the change in my dad. right after christmas he joined a gym and started working out almost every day. he and my mom changed their eating habits to concentrate on making healthy choices. my daddy has lost 36 pounds since the beginning of january! he has struggled with his weight my entire life, as well as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a host of other weight caused issues. he went to the doctor and all of his levels were already back into the healthy range! amazing! we had to buy him new clothes for his birthday because the old ones were falling off. i am so incredibly proud of him and my mom for changing their lifestyle. they are such an inspiration to me. now if i can just get moving myself…

the proud grandparents – dede and papa john

aunt becca and baby caroline

a little frugal spring redecorating…

spring is finally, officially, here. it was time for a little redecorating in my living room to bring in some spring time flair. my local grocery store had beautiful bunches of flowers on sale for $4.99. they had my favorites- stargazer lilies, and i couldn’t pass them up. for a vase i used one of my meme’s old mason jars. tie a piece of raffia around the neck and it becomes a vase. i used a fun effect on the pics on – called ortonish. i love how it makes them all soft and glowy. if only i could get this effect on my face in real life…

here is another mason jar vase, a smaller version. we use them as drinking glasses at our house. this $2 bouquet of faux daffodils and a little ribbon leftover from our wedding make it festive. you can’t go wrong by adding a few cheap plastic easter eggs. i played around with 2 other effects from picnik, special focus and reala400.


jed and i are on the road to financial freedom, and we have a few people to thank. thank you dave ramsey, sam and michelle (jed’s brother and his wife who told us about dave). after a year of hearing about sam and michelle paying off their debts, we finally listened to dave’s radio show. all it took was one hour before we drank the kool-aid.
in just four months of attacking our debt, we paid off $11,000 and became debt free. now we have over 2 months of expenses saved in an emergency fund and it feels amazing. i have never been good with money, and it feels fantastic to have no debt and a huge safety net. doing the total money makeover has been the best decision we’ve made since our wedding day.
dave’s total money makeover has 7 baby steps, and we are on step 3. this saturday we are going to see dave live at the potter’s house. our hope is that it will keep us inspired to finish the baby steps and reach true financial freedom.
you can check out dave’s full plan here:


“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
1 Timothy 1:15-17