It’s My Birthday!!

Hello July 30th! So good to see you again! :) Today marks 27 years of life for this lady. And last night we continued the birthday celebrations that began on Saturday with a party at our house with our friends! :)

birthday partyWe had BBQ, coleslaw, baked beans, mac & cheese, and mashed potatoes and it was all deeeelicious! I asked everyone to bring a bag of chips so it was fun to see what random flavors we ended up with. And to finish, we had chocolate cake and cupcakes! :)

birthday party (2)The kiddos went a little wild inside (loving the piano!) so after we finished eating, we headed outdoors for games!

birthday party (9)Run freeeee little ones, run free! ;) Thankfully we live in a really quite cove so the kiddos could run free and roam through our neighbors’ yards (in fact, one of our neighbors came over and joined the party!).

birthday party (5)Playing cornhole! Christopher isn’t in this shot, but he actually was the champion of the night! Here’s to hoping our kiddos get his coordination skills someday. ;)

birthday party (10)Justin showing off his juggling skills with the bocce balls!

birthday party (6)Me trying to convince Blair to bring me the jack (little white ball) so we can throw it to begin our game of Bocce Ball. The kids kept moving our balls as we were playing so we were trying to coach them to put our balls nearer the jack (making us the winner). Teehee! It was fun, though!

birthday party2Hadley and Blair were loving the chocolate cupcakes! :)

the girlsAll the girls! You guys probably recognize most of these ladies from the blog already, but from left to right we have: Mandy, Abigail, Melissa, Me, Whitney, Lyndal, Courtney, Ashley, and Cari Beth. :)

friendsOur Memphis besties (missing a couple of people who had to work late and missed the picture)! :) I am so so so thankful for this group of friends (and all their sweet kiddos)!

We had such a wonderful time celebrating with friends last night! Corn hole, bocce ball, delicious food, and absolutely wonderful friends. It was a great way to ring in my 27th year of life!
Love Rach

We Struck Gold!

My birthday is TOMORROW, but naturally I believe in celebrating a full birthday week so the festivities began last Saturday morning. :)

breakfast of championsBagels from Panera and frappes from Starbucks! My two favorite breakfasts in the same morning! :)

us1Later on Saturday we threw on some cute clothes and drove an hour south to Tunica, Mississippi to eat at an absolutely amazing buffet!

gold strike outsideThe buffet is inside the Gold Strike Casino. Check out those classy people all kinds of excited about their upcoming dining experience! :)

buffet americana collageLook at all of this food! You guys, it was ah-mazing! And all you can eat! All of this food pictured… mine. And I ate it ALL! Steak, crab legs, giant shrimp, garlic mashed potatoes, sirloin mac & cheese, red beans & rice, sushi, pizza, shrimp lo mein, sugar free chocolate cake, and sugar free cheesecake. Oh my yum. The quality of this food is so far beyond “buffet” food… it’s just incredible. I cannot say enough good things about this place. This is our third time to eat at a casino buffet and while they have been good every time, the Buffet Americana at Gold Strike blew away the competition. So delicious!
Buffet Americana on Urbanspoon

casinoGold Strike offers “freeplay” to first timers which means that they give you free money to use on the slot machines. They gave us $30 so we took full advantage of their smoke free second floor and played the penny slots.  :) We won $29.60 overall and had so much fun with it! Which means that if we’d been spending our own money we would’ve actually lost 40 cents over all, haha! But since we didn’t have to spend anything, it was all great winnings! :)

goldstrikeOutside Gold Strike as we were leaving

us2We had so much fun all day Saturday. I love our little adventures together. :)

What’s your favorite out-to-eat breakfast?
Have you ever been to a Casino (to eat or play)?
Love Rach

Hobby Lobby Summer Clearance

Just another little video for you guys! If you want a little laugh, be sure to watch the mini blooper at the end. ;)

Have you ever shopped Hobby Lobby’s clearance section?
Would you ever own a bust?
Love Rach

That’s What I love About Sunday

Last night was Kix 106’s last concert of the summer. They hosted Austin Webb (best known for “Raise ‘Em Up”) and Craig Morgan who has 15 hits in the top 10 and two number 1 hits. But before I get to the music…

It was packed last night. Super packed. Snowden Grove Amphitheater is an outdoor location with 4,000 fixed seats and space for an extra 7,000 on the lawn behind. Last night it seemed like they were at (or above) capacity. We were sitting near the middle of the crowd (on the last row of fixed seats just before the lawn began) so we had people milling around behind us constantly. At one point someone behind us threw their beer and it splashed all over our legs. Not cool. And the crowd was SO loud (just chatting and talking to each other during the concert) that we could hardly hear Craig Morgan as he performed. I get that people want to drink and have a good time, but when the crowd talks so loudly that you can’t hear the performer, that’s just ridiculous. The talking did finally die down as Craig began singing favorites so that was good at least.

Do I sound like a grumpy old lady? Haha! I don’t mean to. I understand that crowds come with the territory of a concert and I normally don’t mind them. But last night was just a bit much. Buuuut… Craig did sing one of my favorite songs by him. So that makes up for it a bit. :)

That’s what I love about Sunday:
Sing along as the choir sways;
Every verse of Amazing Grace,
And then we shake the Preacher’s hand.
Go home, into your blue jeans;
Have some chicken and some baked beans.
Pick a back yard football team,
Not do much of anything:
That’s what I love about Sunday.

Such a sweet song about the wonderfulness that is Sunday. Like Craig, I love Sundays. :) I love our church family and singing and listening to our pastor preach. And I love going out to lunch with our friends every Sunday after church. And then snuggling with Oreo in the afternoon. And spending time with our teens in the late afternoon and spending time with our life group Sunday nights. Sundays are just wonderful days. :)

Have you ever been to an event that was packed and a little too rowdy?
Do you have a favorite day of the week?
Love Rach

Dayenu

While we aren’t Jewish, Christopher and I celebrate Passover every year with our friends from church. A portion of the evening is spent reciting a song called “Dayenu” which essentially means “it would have been enough for us.” The song is full of the pieces of the story of the Exodus when the Jews were freed from slavery in Egypt. And in the song, you are saying that “even if all You had done was ______, it would have been enough for us.” And you fill in the blank with each step of the journey (brought them out of Egypt, split the sea, given us the Torah, etc). Any one of these things would have been “enough for us” and so much more than we deserve. I love this way of thinking because it still applies to life today.

dayenu

Some days I realize that things may not always happen the way I plan or hope that they will. On days like that I am reminded of how much God has already done for me. For the amazing ways He has worked in my life already. Each of those things would have been sufficient already and yet He continues to bless me. So even if everything doesn’t work out the way I hope… He is still good. Always. Because Dayenu – it has been sufficient.

he is still good{source}

Love Rach

Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Fried Steak

(this post contains affiliate links)

Two years ago I got the The Pioneer Woman Cooks Cookbook and I pinned different recipes to remind myself to make them. One of those recipes was her Chicken Fried Steak. In the two years since I pinned it, it has been repinned nearly 1200 times with 90 cute little heart likes. So I figured it was way past time I actually made it myself, ha!

pw chicken fried steak

Dear BakingBySue, you’re welcome for sending so much traffic your way over the past two years. ;) I finally got around to making it last week. And it was amazing. :)

pioneer woman's chicken fried steak

pw chicken fried steakClick recipe card to see it larger. Recipe slightly adapted from Ree Drummond to feed just the two of us versus an army. :)

I considered making a healthy salad or steaming a veggie to go along side this meal, but when you’re frying food in your kitchen… well, mashed potatoes just call your name. ;) So I made my favorite old fashioned mashed potatoes and we devoured this meal. If you like good old fashioned chicken fried steak, you should try this recipe. You’ll love it!

Do you love the Pioneer Woman as much as I do? She has the best home cooking recipes!

Have you had chicken fried steak before? This is the first time I’ve had it in years (since before we got married), but it was SO good!

Love Rach

Favorite Hair Products

Another video for you this fine Monday morning (although I actually filmed this one yesterday afternoon). This one is all about hair products so perhaps not the most intriguing one I’ve ever posted, haha! But it’s a question I get asked frequently so I thought I’d share. :)

Products mentioned in this video:

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum
L’Oreal EverSleek Sulfate-Free Reparative Smoothing Shampoo
L’Oreal EverSleek Sulfate-Free Reparative Smoothing Conditioner
It’s A 10 Leave-In Conditioner Plus Keratin
Nexxus ProMend Split End Binder
VO5 Extreme Style Heat Defense Conditioning Spray
John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer
Ribbon Hair Ties

For the record, none of these companies asked me to promote their products, but L’Oreal really should have considering that I talk so much about liking their products better than more expensive lines, ha! However, to be totally transparent, this post does includes affiliate links. But I really do genuinely want to share my favorite products with you guys! :)

Have you tried any of these products before?
What is your favorite hair care product?
Love Rach