Friday Favorites

It's Friday!! I don't know about you, but my days this week have really been thrown off. That usually happens when Robert gets an extra day off work, but that's ok! I'll take the time with him! :)

I have an exciting weekend ahead because...

{one} Tomorrow is one of my very best friends birthday, Mia from MakeMeUpMia. She is awesome! She's the real deal and I'm so blessed and thankful to call her one of my besties!!!! Stop and wish her an early happy birthday, would ya?! :)
{two} Tball pictures arrived yesterday. I realize I'm a little biased, but honestly, could he be any cuter?!

{three} In case you missed it earlier this week, I had the chance to guest post on Oklahoma Women Bloggers. I shared some thoughts to "Bloom Where You're Planted"

{four} Also this week, I shared my workout routine {that I love} and my thoughts on the importance of caring for yourself.

{five} We finished up Nehemiah and are starting Titus on Monday. I would really love for you to join me in this Titus study! It won't take much of your time and all you need is a Bible{or just an Internet connection to get you to SheReadsTruth}, but I know it'll change your life. Will you consider joining myself and the SheReadsTruth community from June 2-12 and digging into Titus?!

Do you have any weekend plans?
Linking up:


Thankful Thursday Week 22

Happy Thursday!! My goodness the days are flying by! Do you realize this is our last Thursday of May?! June starts Sunday!! Sheesh! My Thankful Thursday posts are great reminders throughout the week to slooooow down and soak up the beauty of everyday. Won't you join my co-hosts and I in gratitude today?! 

{one} How on earth is Emma big enough for a big girl bike?! Well, she is and after seeing this picture, my sweet parents went out that day and bought Emma her first big girl bike! If you follow me on IG, you've seen she's already riding like a pro!

{two} Robert and I were on our way home from church and lunch Sunday afternoon {my parents had taken the kiddos with them after lunch so they could "ride in Papa's truck!"} As we were passing Sams Club, we were stopped by a mini parade by the Budweiser horses! It's a bit difficult to see, but the the horses were beautiful!!

{three} My bestie helped me mark something off my 30 by 30 list {which I'll be sharing with you soon}. I ate sushi!!

{four} Sweet snuggles!! I am constantly overcome with love and gratitude at being these cuties Momma!! Love my babies!!

What about you?! What are you thankful for this week?


Workout love, who me?! {TIU Giveaway!}

I will be the first to admit, I've never been big on working out. Sure, there have been times in my life (especially after having my kiddos) that I've buckled down and exercised to lose weight. I've even trained, well I say trained very loosely, and completed my first 5k. But, I've never truly enjoyed it.

Until now.

At the beginning on this month, I committed to taking care of myself spiritually and physically. I've really come to understand that I'm much better at caring for those I love, when I'm caring for myself. That means being intentional about meeting (and focusing throughout the day) with Jesus and exercising!

Enter the Tone It Up girls. {Thank you, Mia, for introducing me to the them!}

I knew I didn't want to join a gym, but rather, figure out a way to work out at home, around my schedule. So, I decided to join the Bikini Series. I'd been following Katrina and Karena for a while, doing some of their workouts here and there, and I really enjoyed the workouts. So, I decided to take the plunge and join the challenge.

I had no idea when I signed up how much this would change my life. Honestly, I wasn't even sure if I would finish the 8 week program. But, I'm going strong and loving, yes I said loving, working out!! In fact, I look forward to my work outs each day.

I commit about an hour a day to exercising. I do cardio on our elliptical for 30 minutes each day. {I know most people would prefer to run outside when the weather is nice, but I love doing the elliptical.} I turn on an episode of Army Wives and am off, enjoying my workout. Then, I do whatever exercise set the Bikini Series calls for that day. The workouts aren't too long, roughly 20 minutes, but are so good!

I've noticed a huge difference in myself physically and mentally since starting the challenge. When we were in Albuquerque, I wasn't able to work out and I just didn't feel good. I missed working out! Who would have ever thought I'd say that?! Not me!!

What I finally understand, after hearing people saying it over and over, is that you have to find something you enjoy doing for exercise. I've found what works for me and my lifestyle is changing to include exercise every day(or most days). It might be different for you and that's ok! The point is to take care of your body the best you can so you can be here as long as possible with, and for, those you love.  

What is it for you? What's your motivation to exercise? What's your favorite way to exercise?

Don't forget to enter the giveaway below for your chance at winning an awesome prize package full of Tone It Up goodies!!!
If you are looking to make a slight change towards a healthier lifestyle with yummy recipes, supportive women and workouts you can do from home, this could be your plan! Even if you are skeptical, entering the giveaway won't hurt! You could win a $110 prize package including The Beach Babe workout DVD, Tone It Up apparel and... well the rest is a secret! Who doesn't love a good surprise?

Southern Style :: Jess's Designs :: Erica Jacquline :: Kids and Cabernet ::

The giveaway ends Thursday May 29th at midnight. 
Winning entry will be verified so please be honest.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Bloom Where You're Planted {Guest Post on OWB}

Today you can find me guest posting over on the Oklahoma Women Bloggers page. I'm writing on "Blooming Where You're Planted". I'd love for you to pop on over and check it out and let me know your thoughts. Here's a little teaser for ya...:) 

{Aren't these flowers beautiful?! To me, they are beautiful for more than their physical appearance. They are beautiful because they represent a sweet friendship with one of my neighbors, an elderly woman who has been widowed for more than 20 years. She picked them from her yard & brought them over one day just because...}

You can read the rest of my post HERE!


Poppy Seed Chicken, Soy Sauce Green Beans & Blueberry Bread

Happy Memorial Day!! To all of the soldiers{and families} who have served and are serving now, THANK YOU!!!!
Hopefully you're enjoying this day with family and friends, cooking out, as we unofficially kick off summer. That's what we're doing! Yay!!
Surely you'll need a meal idea later this week, though, and I have just the meal for you....Poppy Seed Chicken, Soy Sauce Green Beans and Blueberry Bread. 

Poppy Seed Chicken
8 cups cooked chicken, chopped
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans cream of celery soup
16 oz sour cream
2-3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 cup crushed crackers
shredded cheese (at your discretion)
Mix ingredients together and put in a 9x13in baking dish.
Put crackers on top and drizzle with butter.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Serve over rice and enjoy!
Soy Sauce Green Beans
2 cans green beans (or 1 pound fresh)
soy sauce
Drain green beans and place in pot.
Drizzle with soy sauce and heat through.
Blueberry Bread
{totally cheated and used a box mix}


Five on Friday-Summer favorites & TIU giveaway

Happy Memorial Day weekend!! Thank you to ALL who are serving, and have served, our country!

With Memorial Day weekend being the unofficial kick off of summer, I thought I'd highlight 5 things I love and I'm looking forward to this season.

{Pool Time} As I mentioned yesterday, we love having our pool right outside our back door. As this week has already indicated, we'll be spending every day we can splashing and playing in the pool!

{Tan Lines} Going along with pool time, I'm looking forward to tan lines. The kiddos are already getting brown and it's only been a week! I know this is silly, but my favorite tan line is my wedding ring tan line. :) #nerdalert

{Late Nights} I love how laid back summer is....you spend all day playing outside in the pool {or ocean, if you're super lucky}, come in for an easy dinner {like BLTs and corn on the cob}, go back out for more play time and, eventually, crash hard in bed, much later than normal, from a fun day outside. Ah, bliss!

{Ice Cream} Honestly, need I say more?! Ok, I will. I feel that, especially in the summer time, ice cream is necessary every.single.day. Just my opinion. :)

{Beach Time} We may live land locked in Oklahoma, but we always get to look forward to a week at the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It's become our home away from home and I love it!


What are some things you're looking forward to this summer season?

Don't miss the TONE IT UP giveaway I'm co-hosting with some awesome ladies!! It's no secret I'm LOVING the Bikini Series and think Katrina and Karena are great!! Enter below, visit the other great bloggers participating in the giveaway and then come back Wednesday for a recap of my time thus far with the Bikini Series and Tone It Up workouts!
Southern Style :: Jess's Designs :: Erica Jacquline :: Kids and Cabernet ::

The giveaway ends Thursday May 29th at midnight. 
Winning entry will be verified so please be honest.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Linking up with:


Thankful Thursday Week 21

Happy Thursday! Thank you so much for your sweet comments on last week's Thankful Thursday post. My blog friends are wonderful!! Let's get to it again this week with KatieElizabeth, MiaMeUpMia and CarlyBlogsHere. I hope you'll join us!

Is there anything as nice as coming home to your own bed?! Whether you've been away for one night or ten, it's so good to sleep in your own bed!

Despite the reason for our recent visit to Albuquerque, I have always loved that area. This time, however, I was struck with the realization that I love looking out my windows and seeing green everywhere!

When we were house hunting, a pool was not on our wish list. Since my parents have a pool, it just wasn't necessary. However, I have come to love having our own pool! God, in His infinite wisdom, knew my parents would be moving {they're staying in our town, just downsizing}and we'd be losing that pool. And here we are, not losing a pool at all!

I am loving my workout routines with the ToneItUp girls and the BikiniSeries I'm doing right now. {Come back Wednesday for a more detailed post about this!} And, you know how much I love you for coming here and connecting with me, so what better way to say "thank you" than a giveaway?! I'm so excited and thankful to be a part of this giveaway with The Modern Tulip and 7 awesome bloggers!! I wish I could enter myself. :)

Southern Style :: Jess's Designs :: Erica Jacquline :: Kids and Cabernet ::

The giveaway ends Thursday May 29th at midnight. 
Winning entry will be verified so please be honest.
a Rafflecopter giveaway



OOTD Spring Style Challenge Review/Summer Style Challenge

Happy Wednesday y'all!! If you stopped by yesterday and tried to read my post "Bloom Where You're Planted" on the Oklahoma Women Blogger's site, thank you! I have no idea why it didn't post as scheduled yesterday, but I've emailed them and hope to have it published soon. I can't wait for y'all to read it. Enough about that, though!

Today I wanted to talk about how much I enjoyed the Spring Style Challenge! It was so much fun to have somebody else put together outfits daily, send them to my inbox each night so they were ready for me the next morning and effortlessly feel put together and cute! The shopping list that Alison put together was very simple and I loved that so many items on the list were either already in my closest OR found at places like Target or Old Navy {or where ever YOU prefer to shop!}. Here are just three of the outfits put together over the 21 days the challenge took place.

Well, guess what?! There's going to be a Summer Style Challenge! I'm so excited for it! Registration opens on Monday, May 26 and the cost is $20. {I feel this is a very reasonable price to have 21 outfits put together for you, with a shopping list assembled for you to shop where your budget allows.} Registration will stay open until midnight on June 5, then the shopping list will be released on June 6! Outfits will be delivered to your inbox each night at 7:00pm (CST) beginning June 15 and continuing through July 5.

There was such a neat community that formed on Facebook and IG with the Style Challenge participants, too! Y'all were so encouraging, too, as I posted my weekly outfits! Well, I would LOVE for you to join me this round!! It would be so fun to do outfits together, shop "together" and see how you style the pieces! Will you join me?! Think about and it let me know!!


Homemade Sloppy Joes with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Happy Monday! I hope you enjoyed a good weekend with those you love, doing what you love!

I've been brainstorming over my blog, wanting to bring the best content possible to y'all, which has lead me to change my Moday recipes to a Monday meal. I'll share with you simple weeknight meals my family enjoys and hope y'all will enjoy them, too! {Also, I'd love to hear what you enjoy reading most from me, so please send me your thoughts!}

This one of my all time favorite dinners! Seriously, once you enjoy homemade sloppy joes, you'll never make Manwhich again! It's super easy, makes a ton {even when I half the recipe} and tastes just as good the second and third time you reheat it!

Sloppy Joes
5 lbs hamburger
5 green peppers, chopped
5 onions, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large Ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup mustard
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
Brown hamburger with onions. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least an hour or until consistency wanted.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
3-4 sweet potatoes, chopped
olive oil
cinnamon & sugar, to taste
honey, to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Coat sweet potatoes in olive oil, then sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar
Roast in oven for 30 min.
Drizzle with honey & serve.
*The roasted sweet potatoes were adapted from Mia's recipe.
I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we do! The sloppy joes are so easy and very customizable, so just adjust the ingredients as needed to accomodate your needs!


Thankful Thursdsay Week 20

Happy Thursday to you! I hope you'll join Katie, Mia, Carly and I as we focus on gratitude this week, big and small. Just link up below or share your thoughts in the comment section.

Today is a bit different than my usual Thankful Thursday posts. You see, yesterday we made an unexpected trip from Tulsa to Albuquerque to attend the memorial service of a childhood friend of Robert's today. Earlier this week he died unexpectedly in his sleep. Heartbreaking!
Is it just me or is it ridiculously easy to lose focus of how wonderful it is to wake up eachseem easier, and more appealing, to slink under the warm covers and snooze for '5 more minutes'.
But, through the events of this week, I'm reminded how grateful I am to wake up each morning. Even when it's early, even when the kids are calling and the demands of the day are waiting for my first step out of bed. I'm alive! Let's not forget to be grateful for something as simple, and miraculous, as the very breath we are breathing.

I'll be back Monday with a scrumptous homemade Sloppy Joe recipe that you won't want to miss. Until then, take time to really enjoy the beauty of everyday!


Mother's Day Fun!

I feel blessed to say that my Mom is one of my best friends! And with each passing year, I appreciate her more and more...the love and sacrifice she made as she raised my brother and I {she is why I always aspired to be a stay-at-home-mommy} and the love and wisdom she offers today as I walk this journey of motherhood. She's everything to me.


This year I wanted to do something a little different than I have in years past and take her out on a surprise Mother/Daughter date. My amazing Dad (thanks Dad!) offered to watch the kiddos so I could take my momma out on Friday. I didn't tell her anything other than to be ready at 9:45am.

Our first stop, of course, was manicures at our favorite nail salon {TLC Nails}. Next, was lunch and dessert at Memory Lane Tea Room. I was excited to take her there because I was pretty sure she had never been before. I was correct and she was thrilled to try it out. {The baked fudge is out.of.this.world! Seriously!!}

We enjoyed the best conversation and company together! It had been far too long since we had one on one time. Usually the kiddos are with us, which is fine and we enjoy that immensely, but sometimes just mother/daughter time is necessary!

Overall, I had a great time and I know she had a great time because she told me over and over how much she enjoyed it. Love you, Mom!!

Linking up for Tuesday Tea:


Comparison vs Joy

Today I'm guest posting over on Carrington's {Momma Fussell} blog on comparison and the struggle I have with it sometimes. Maybe you do too? Head on over and share your thoughts with us!

Thank you, Carrington, for your friendship and allowing me to take over your blog today! :)


Five on Friday

Yay Friday and the weekend are upon us!! This weekend we're planning on tackling our landscaping {or lack thereof} out front and prettying things up a bit. Certainly looking forward to that. And of course, Sunday will be dedicated to...

{one} Mother's Day! I'm looking forward to taking my Momma out on a little Mother/Daughter date today! Then Sunday we'll all celebrate together!

{two} My best friend {of 16 years!} and her hubby are trying to win an all expenses paid trip to NYC. He's an awesome theater teacher and huge Broadway fan. If you have a second, follow this link, look for his pictures and vote for them please! They would be so grateful!

{three} My dear friend Kim is getting married next month and is needing to make room for her hubby-to-be. :) As a result, she had an adorable twin bed, with bedding, they didn't need, so we were able to buy it from her for Emma. A couple nights ago was Emma's first time sleeping in it and she was so excited! How is she growing up so fast?!?!
{four} Have y'all checked out SheReadsTruth yet?! It's no secret that I adore those ladies and the way they encourage us to get in the Word and provide wonderful daily devotionals. Well, Monday kicks off a new series on Nehemiah. I'm excited to dig into Nehemiah. You should join in, too! {It's free, so why not?!}

{five} If you're stopping by from the link up, I encourage you to read a couple fun posts from this week. My Q&A with my hubby and my Birthday recap/30 by 30 list. I'd love your suggestions on ideas for my bucket list!
I hope you have a great weekend and are able to love on your momma {or somebody who is like your momma}! And if you are a Mommy, Happy Mother's Day!!


Thankful Thursday Week 19

Welcome back from another installment of Thankful Thursday. I hope you'll join Mia, Katie, Carly and I as we focus on gratitude this week. Link up with us below or share your thoughts in the comments.

{one} I'm sure by now you've heard about little Ryan and that he tragically went home to be with Jesus this past Friday night. {You can read more about it here.} That combined with Mother's Day this Sunday has me extra grateful for the sweet babies that call me Mommy. It is truly a privilege that I dreamed of hearing my entire life. I was asked the other night, if I could have any job in the world, what would my dream job be?? My honest answer: to be a wife and mother. I'm living out my dream and couldn't be more grateful!
{two} I'm so thankful to be married to my best friend! He may not get as many mentions on here as the kiddos, although if you haven't already, check out his Q&A, but I could not imagine spending my life with anybody other than him.

{three} God has blessed me with some amazing friends, near and far, some I've not even met in person (hello blog world!). They (y'all, too!) made me feel extra loved and special with sweet gifts, cards, emails, texts, etc. I try my best not to ever take their friendship for granted!

{four} I've talked before about how grateful we are for our neighbors. They did it again this week with fresh cut flowers and fresh eggs from two different neighbors. Amazing!

{five} Not pictured are my parents and grandparents. I wouldn't be who I am  today without their influence in my life. So very grateful for them!!

There's a peek into my week. I'd love to see into yours and what you're thankful for, too!


Birthday Fun and a 30 by 30 bucket list

My 29th birthday was this past Sunday and I had a wonderful day! Actually, I was celebrating the next day, too! Thank you for all the birthday love y'all sent my way!! The emails, tweets, texts, IG comments were so appreciated!!

Sunday morning brought a fun trip to a local bakery, Queenies, with my sweet little family of 4. We enjoyed walking around Utica Square, followed by a delicious breakfast. After breakfast, we made our way to Woodward Park to take in the beautiful colors of Spring.

Later that evening, we celebrated with some of our best friends, Mia and Dustin. {Missed you Ang and Andrew!} I was so excited to go to Cheddars and enjoy a Cookie Monster! Have y'all had one before? You need to, they're amazing! I wasn't able to get a picture because the kids and I {though mostly the kids} inhaled it! Mmm, so good!

The next day, my mom made a delicious Cinco de Mayo dinner and we celebrated with my family. {Thanks, Mom!} I don't know what I was thinking because I completely forgot to take pictures. {I guess I was subconsciously going Hands Free :)}.

I was completely spoiled and received nearly everything on my wishlist and then some! These babies are mine and I am so grateful! I'm excited to put my Mamarazzi skills to use with my new lens! :)

So, the idea of turning 30 hasn't bothered me too much and I haven't really given a '30 by 30 bucket list' any thought. Until now... I think it might be fun to put together a list of big and little things I'd like to accomplish before I turn 30. However, I'm hoping y'all might have some fun suggestions. 30 things is a lot!

I've come up with a few ideas, but I'm wondering, what do you think I should add to my 30 by 30 list?!


Q & A with Mr. Strong

Several of my blogger friends {Mia, Maegan, Katie and others} have done the Q&A post with their hubby's and it is hilarious! I enjoyed them so much I decided to jump on board. So, while we were traveling to Chicago, I interviewed Robert. Let me just apologize in advance for some of his answers. He likes to be a stinker...:)

K:What does OOTD stand for?
R: I've never heard of that, I don't know. Hold on. {What he said next, I cannot even share. Embarrassing!}

K: What is the name of my blog?
R: kristalstrong.blogspot

K: What do I typically write about?
R: Silence. Then, the Strong family.

K:What do you know about Pinterest?
R: Pinterest? It's a waste of time.

K: What's a Hunter wellie?
R: Repeat
K: What's a Hunter wellie?
R: What?! Can you put that in a sentence?

K: What is our favorite thing to do?
R: {While giving me googly eyes} "Need I say"

K: What is my favorite TV show?
R: Guiliana & Bill or Parenthood

K: What is one thing nobody knows about me?
R: That's a stupid question. If I knew it, then I would know & therefore doesn't answer the question.

K: What would I order at Starbucks?
R: Half mocha latte frappachino (he was just making up "coffee" words)

K: What do I do when I'm home alone?
R: Vacuum

K: What do you do when you're home alone?
R: Watch tv and surf the internet

So there you have it. A little interview with the hubby. He keeps me laughing, that's for sure!


May Monthly Focus

I so enjoyed having a monthly focus last month, so I decided to do it again this month. I thought and thought over what I wanted to focus on and, in comparison to last month, I almost feel selfish for what I've decided to focus on this month. However, my monthly focus will enable me to fulfill last month's monthly focus. Ok, that was a lot of mumbo jumbo...if you're still reading, I'm sure you're thinking "Get to the point, Lady!". Well, here we go...

This month I'm focusing on taking care of myself. Specifically, spiritually and physically.
I love taking care of my family. Making sure all of their needs are met. But, many times that means I put my own needs on the back burner. And sometimes that's ok. But, my two areas of focus for this month require that I do not put them on the back burner. If I'm caring for myself spiritually and physically, I will be able to better care for my family.

Being a busy wife and mother, I've had to get creative with how I put myself first spiritually and physically. I recently implemented a new routine for myself that involves waking at 5:30 to ensure I can spend some quiet time with the Lord and work in a little cardio before the kiddos wake up. Then later in the day, I'm able to do the rest of my workout. It's not always easy to get up early like that, but when I do, my day feels much better. Specifically, when I get up and spend the first part of my day with Him, my days feels much better.

So, this month I plan to be intentional with putting myself first, spiritually and physically. Y'all will have to keep me accountable on this, too. It's awfully easy to hit the snooze button. :)

Thanks, Maegan, for hosting such a good monthly link up!

Also, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, check out my favorite Mexican dip...that can also be a full meal. Mexi Dip!


Five on Friday

Happy Friday, y'all!! I'm just going to dig right into my 5 things I want to highlight this week. :)

{one} I'm currently obsessed with this Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee coffee from Target. So.Good. Get some immediately!

{two} Monday kicked off the Bikini Series with the Tone It Up girls and I am loving it!! I'm not typically one to get excited about working out, but this series is actually making me excited to work out!

{three} My blogger friend Cassie @ True Agape {whom I've had the pleasure of meeting in person} just launched her first product. She has a great marriage blog and is passionate about helping couples connect and grow deeper in their relationship. This product she's released will accomplish just that and I'm so excited for her!

{four} Going along with my working out, I've started watching Army Wives while on the elliptical. I'm only two episodes in, but I think I'm hooked. Do you watch {or watched} Army Wives?

{five} Sunday is my birthday! I'm looking forward to lots of good time with family and friends. They are so good at making me feel special and loved everyday, but when my birthday comes around each year, I always feel extra special and loved. :)

Do you have any weekend plans?

I'm linking up with Darci, Lauren, Amanda & Jennie. Check them out! :)


Thankful Thursday Week 18

It's time to link up for Thankful Thursday with myself and my beautiful co-hosts Mia{MakeMeUpMia}, Katie{Katie Elizabeth} and Carly{Carly Blogs Here}. We hope you'll join us as we focus each week on big and small things we're thankful for. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to link up and if you don't have a blog, just share what you're thankful for in the comments!

{one} I was able to participate in The Color Run with two of my besties, Mia and Angela. This was my first 5k, and, although I didn't run the entire time, I'm proud of myself for completing it and having fun while doing it. Surprisingly, I could definintely see myself doing another 5k.

{two} Sunday afternoon brought a short visit from Neighbor and Megan. We've been friends for 10 years already!! Goodness, I feel old!

{three} Thanks to a reminder from sweet Carrington, I was a "yes mom" one night when the kids asked if they could sleep together in Collin's bed. I'm so glad I said yes. This is what I walked in to when I checked on them before I went to bed. Melt.My.Heart.

What about you? What are you thankful for this week?