Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Big 2015 Wrap-Up // Giveaway

No matter how hard I try, I still can not believe it is the last day of 2015. I remember a year ago today, I was eating junk food and laughing and jumping in my friends' living room, wondering what the year would hold. It seemed like so long until we would reach the end. I couldn't even guess how different this year would be compared to all the others.

 If I had to name this year, it would be called the year of growth. I have grown so much, and learned so much about others and myself. I started reading my bible this year, started my blog, and have grown about two feet. *smile* I grew my reading skills, learned the definitions of new words, and made new friends. I've learned what's important and what's not, and what it means to be a good friend. My love of music has grown; now I listen to music while I get dressed, clean my room, and make my bed. I jump up at the chance of going anywhere just because I know I will get to listen to great music in the car! The size of the books I read has grown, and the hours I spend writing has grown. The size of my camera has grown, and the amount of space the computer holds has grown smaller. I have discovered that I love to babysit.

I feel that I have grown so much that I can grow no more, and no growing can possibly happen in 2016. It is weird knowing I'm wrong. Lots of growing, learning, discovering, laughing, crying, and trusting will be packed into 2016. I don't know why, but I have a feeling 2016 will be a year of trust. We'll have to wait and see.

I bet that on December 31, 2016, I'll be reading this post, reflecting on all the amazing things that has happened in 2016.

H I G H L I G H T S  O F  2 0 1 5
 
Starting my blog
Being homeschooled
Discovering my love for photography
Turning 12
Getting Invisalign
Making new friends
Joining youth group
Starting to babysit
Frequent trips to New York
 
H I G H L I G H T S  O F  2 0 1 6
 
When Calls the Heart season 3
Vacation to Outer Banks with my family
Becoming a teenager
 
N E W  Y E A R' S  R E S O L U T I O N S
 
Read my Bible every day
Read 50 books
Blog at least 2 times a week
Get a new blog design
Plan a fun outing with my friends/family
 Try 5 new recipes

 In honor of the New Year, I'm having a giveaway!


Y O U  C O U L D  W I N...
 
an autographed copy of "Rustlers and the Texas Trail" by Lauren K. Lotter. (Read my review here),

a journal to pen down your favorite memories in 2016,

a "love & toast" lip butter,

and a pack of 3 fruit scented pens
 
 

 
(yes, you can change the initial on the front of the journal)



R U L E S: 
 
I can only ship to the U.S.
Only one winner will be chosen.
Winner will be chosen at random.
Giveaway starts December 31, 2015, and ends on January 7, 2016.
 
H O W  T O  E N T E R:
 
Comment on this post with your first name, the first initial of your last name, and your email address. If you don't feel comfortable sharing this publicly, e-mail me at: girlsofstrongfaith.gmail.com. Then, answer the question, "What would you like to see more/less/the same of on my blog in the new year?"
 
F O R  A N  E X T R A  E N T R Y:
 
"Like" my Facebook page!
 
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
 
 
*An autographed copy of the book, "Rustlers and the Texas Trail," was sent to me by Lauren K. Lotter to give away on the Author of my Hope blog. The rest of the prizes were purchased by me.*
 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas 2015











 On the evening of Christmas Eve, we stood outside waiting for santa to come by in his fire truck. Then, we went to the Christmas Eve service at church, and it was incredible. Every year I always fear I will drop the candle I'm holding, or light my hair on fire. ;) We went on a Christmas lights drive, looking at all the houses that went "all out." We came home and Roby and I each opened one present- cozy snowflake pajama pants!

I always have a really hard time falling asleep on Christmas. It didn't help that it was really hot and I was sweating under the pile of blankets. During the time I couldn't sleep, I really thought. What was it like for Mary, a young teenager? I feel that this year is the first year I could really relate to Mary, because she was only a few years older when she had Jesus, then I am now.

I woke up early Christmas morning and woke everyone else up. We opened all our presents, and I was really surprised with what I got! A book I've been wanting, "Kisses from Katie", a cute, new comforter, a GoPro, and an adorable skirt I've been wanting were my favorites. Everyone loved their gifts! I also got this cute tree wall sticker with leaves, birds and a watering can. After I put my new things in my room, I got inspired to do a "mini room makeover," mostly because I love my new comforter so much! Lexi loves my new comforter too!


I can't wait to make underwater videos with my new GoPro. Now, I am really looking forward to the summer, when I can take it to the pool! <3 Well, I'm off to read The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Fall Bucket List Recap

                                                                  1. Smell a fall candle

2. Go on a hayride
 
3. Carve a pumpkin
 
4. Track all the books I read
 
5. Go apple picking
 
6. Read 20 books
 
7. Drink hot chocolate
 
8. Drink apple cider
 
9. Wear sweaters/jackets
 
10. Eat a caramel apple
 
11. Go camping
 
12. Take a nature walk
 
13. Catch a falling leaf in my hand
 
14. Read Little Women and write a review on it
 
15. Cuddle with my dog
 
16. Read a book in bed, under the covers
 
17. Take a deep breath of fall air
 
18. Decorate my room for fall
 
19. Pick a pumpkin
 
20. Carve/decorate a pumpkin
 
21. Eat a slice of apple pie
 
22. Munch on some candy corn
 
23. Try a fall themed oreo
 
24. Ride my bike
 
25. Read the books of Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua in my bible
 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Rustlers and the Texas Trail Book Review

Picture
Synopsis:
Fifteen-year-old Amy S. Kentworthy is in for the adventure of a lifetime when she and her friends find a herd of stolen cattle on a mountain near her family’s ranch in Durango, Wyoming—and narrowly escape an encounter with the
cattle thieves themselves!
In an effort to return the swindled cattle to their rightful owner, Rocking H Ranch, Amy and her father Clint Kentworthy embark on a dusty cattle drive to Texas. Little does she know the many dangers they will face along the way. Dust storms, wolves, and bank robbers each threaten to halt the journey, and the return of the perilous cattle
thieves changes everything.
Can they bring help in time to stop the rustlers and save the cattle? Will Amy’s faith provide her with the courage she needs to face the very same thieves who dared to steal hundreds of cattle? Join Amy in this exciting western adventure as she learns valuable lessons on life, family, and the faith it takes to make it in a ranchin’ world.
332 pages


I have recently read "Rustlers and the Texas Trail" by Lauren K. Lotter.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

This book is perfect for the adventure-lover, mystery-lover, and Christian fiction lover!
I loved this book so much. It has the perfect mixture of fun, mystery, hilariousness (!!! Seriously, this book is sooo funny!), adventure, and faith. Amy is an amazing role model. One thing I particularly like about this book is the way Amy treats people with such kindness and respect, even to those who are not-so-nice. She is brave, and trusts God with every detail with her life. This book would be great to read to young children, while an adult would enjoy this book as well. There is no questionable content at all. This is a must-read for cold winter days! Just pair it with hot cocoa and mini marshmallows... *sigh*


Website

Blog

Amazon

Goodreads

Check back on the blog for a.... drum roll please... GIVEAWAY!


*I received two copies of this book from Lauren in exchange for an honest review on my blog and to giveaway*

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

(Countdown to Christmas #2) Gingerbread House Fails & other humorous tales




We had the grand ol' idea of making a couple gingerbread houses. Roby and I set everything up, and got to work. After some time, Roby's gingerbread walls and roof slid off, and he gave up. Mom was set to the task of fixing his poor fractured house. Everything was looking good, until my back wall tried to give in. "Nooooo!" My mom was putting cute swirls of frosting on her house, until she accidentally popped a big hole in her icing bag, and a lot more icing came out then which she intended to. Her house was very delicious. :)

WE'RE GOING ON A TRIP! We are planning a trip to the beach for the very beginning of summer, and it will be amazing. :) We have been having a ton of fun with advent. We are doing a construction paper ring, where you take off a strip of paper every day, and two chocolate advents. I am so crazy excited for Christmas! Just click this link and you'll know what I mean. I sent my cousin, Allie, some Christmas presents, and she sent me something back!! She sent me this cool, very detailed coloring book of nature and things like that. I just finished one picture today, and it took me a really long time!

A couple years ago, my mom got this cute new nativity scene. They are all (as in Mary, Joseph, an angel, and animals) stuffed animals with beans on the bottoms so they stand upright. We had it under the Christmas tree last year, and apparently our dog, Lexi, really liked baby Jesus. One day my mom came downstairs to find that Lexi had taken baby Jesus out and was walking around with him in her mouth! :D Now, we don't put it underneath the tree!

Our tree is SO FULL of presents! Yesterday, I got something in the mail that I ordered for my mom for Christmas. It is so awesome and I can't wait for her to open it! I am completely done with my Christmas present shopping/making, and that makes me feel really good. I can't wait to open one present on Christmas Eve! My mom already has the one that we will open then. There is nothing like that satisfying feeling of being able to rip off that wrapping paper after wondering what it was for so long! <3

ALSO, the Author of my Hope blog is on Facebook now! Click here and go ahead and give it a like!

Are you excited for Christmas? (I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this one!)
What are some of your family's Christmas traditions?
Are you a good gingerbread house decorator?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Interview with Lydia -- Through the Wardrobe

Through the Wardrobe
What is your favorite thing/s to do in the fall?
 
Well, I love to pick apples! I went with a friend of mine once, and once we were finished there was hot apple cider in the lodge at the place where they had the apple orchard. I would love to do it again!
 
What is the story behind your blog name?
 
Through the Wardrobe is a reference to the Narnia books and movies. Lucy Pevensie, one of the main characters in the first few books, first finds Narnia by stepping through a wardrobe. So, there you have it, Through the Wardrobe! Plus I just thought the name sounded pretty. ;)
 
Would you rather go sledding on snowy mountains in the winter or pick flowers in fields of daisies? (very random, I know! lol!)
 
 I love to go sledding - so, I guess the first one. 
 
Do you like writing?
 
Yes! I am writing a book, several short-stories, and there is always an idea for a new story in my head. 
 
What are some of your hobbies?
 
Blogging, reading, writing, photography, and blog designing. I also collect tons of stuff (dolls, old sewing patterns, old books, buttons) if that counts. xP 
 
Favorite book?
 
I have three favorites, although there are many other books I like too; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, and Katy by Mary Evelyn Notgrass. 
 
What is your tip for newbie bloggers?
 
Get a good blog design! Even though your content may be awesome and professional, a good blog design makes you look more experienced. 
 
Favorite holiday?
 
Either Easter or National Lydia Day (aka my birthday xD) 
 
When did you start your blog?
 
 I've been blogging since 2013 on my doll blog, but then I wanted to blog about other things, too, so I opened up a different blog. I closed that one down eventually and moved over to my current blog. I did so in April 2014.
 
 
Thanks for doing this great interview, Lydia!
 
 
 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Interview with Allie -- Spreading My Joy

Spreading My Joy


Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging to share the good news of Jesus Christ!

How did you come up with your blog name?
I have always been a light in my family and I've been a joy. My name means Joy. So that's how Spreading My Joy came about!

What are some of your favorite activities?
I like blogging (obviously), writing, photography, and I play the piano.

Who is your inspiration?
People from my church inspire me.

What would you prefer-camping or staying in a hotel?
Camping!

Skirts or dresses?
Skirts

What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I am a twin.

Favorite book?
The Confessions of April Grace.

How do you see yourself in 20 years?
A mom and a blogger. That's all.

Describe your bedroom.
Lime green walls, polka dot bedspreads, pictures on all of the walls, quotes on the walls, and creativity space.

What is your favorite thing to do in summertime?
Playing in the pool, grilling, and sleeping in!
 
 
 
Wonderful answers, Allie! It is so cool that you have a twin!
 
 

Interview with Nabila -- Hot Town Cool Girl

Hot Town Cool Girl
 
Why did you start blogging?


My mom, dad, and friend both had a blog and I wanted to start one to. At first I used it more of a diary and I still do but now I love writing about a lot of stuff.

How did you come up with your blog name?


Well it was kind of random. When I was thinking of a name I was sitting outside. It is so hot where I live in the summer that I thought I was going to melt so I thought Hot Town.  Then I wanted something to contrast with it so Cool. Then of course I am a girl and I think of myself pretty cool so it was born Hot Town Cool girl.

What are your favorite activities?

Reading (books, magazines, and card greetings). I also of course love blogging. Some of the more physical activities I like to do are talking with my friends, and taking photos.


Who is your inspiration?

Well besides jesus I would have to say the people around me. Like my friends and family even random people I see. Blogger wise I would say Amelia GraceNoorlexie and of course you.

What would you prefer--camping or staying in a hotel?


Definitely hotel; I have tried camping and I could not get to sleep
 
Skirts or dresses?

 Skirt because then I can but legging underneath with in my opinion looks really cute.

What is one thing most people don't know about you?

Well um let me think. I am half Egyptian {Abi note: that is so cool!}. I also have a really weird habit of sucing on things. 

Favorite book?

Well I don't really have a favorite books but here are my favorite series. Percy Jackson, The heros of Olympus, and The kane Chronicles.

How do you see yourself in 20 years?


Hm et me think. Well I have never really thought of where I would be. I don't usually think of the future that much.

Describe your bedroom.

Well, the walls are white with a queen size bed that I got from my parents. That takes of more than half of the room. There are two bedside tables were I keep my clothes on the side of the bed. I have a pin board and some paintings on my wall then a closet and that is pretty much all. 

What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime?


Probably taking pictures. I just love how the sunset and how good the light is in summer to take pictures.
 
 


Thank you, Nabila, for doing this great interview!
 
 
// P.S.  More interviews comin' soon! \\



Friday, December 4, 2015

(Countdown to Christmas #1) Gag gifts & Christmas trees





I have started an awesome new blog series to celebrate Christmas. "Countdown to Christmas- a celebration of out savior's birth." Throughout the days leading up to Christmas, I will post on ways that we celebrate and commemorate this special birth. Things including advent, Christmas trees, nativity scene-mishaps, gift-giving, and something very...special happening the day after Christmas. Let the celebration begin! :)

On the first of this month, we got out our lovely (fake) Christmas tree from the shed, including our boxes of ornaments and decorations. Lights are very...difficult. :) Our poor tree is jam-packed with ornaments. We were never that family that had matching ornaments, and our tree is far from perfect, but beautiful.

I got to baby-sit some kids this week, and we made a gingerbread house together. It didn't look half bad. :) When I got home, Roby had a gift sitting on the counter, addressed to me. Both my parents could not remember when he got it or what it was for the life of them. Finally, Roby told my mom. Mom told me to open it, and inside was a cereal box! I noticed the top was taped up, and when I took the tape off, there was a pair of my socks (I was looking for those!) and a book from upstairs. Good job, Roby. :D

~~~~

Reading:

"The World Within" by Jane Eagland

Bible Reading:

The book of Judges

Loving:

Candy Cane Joe-Joes from Trader Joe's & the Cinderella movie

~~~~

This is my very first time blogging during Christmas time, so this is very exciting for me. I am trying to improve my Christmas photos every day, and is hoping for snow to photograph (!!!). Also, thank you so much for the wonderful comments on my last post! They are super encouraging, so thank you!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Thanksgiving Road Trip

 For the week of Thanksgiving, my family went on a trip to New York to see our family. Our week was jam-packed, and I can't believe so many things could have been packed into one week! On Saturday, we were so busy getting ready for our trip. Packing, planning, and wrapping presents for family members. 37 PRESENTS. It was crazy, but I really loved it. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and felt really accomplished.

SUNDAY:

We got up bright and early and headed out! I spent most of the ride looking out the window, talking, eating, and reading.

At a rest stop somewhere

 Mom and I
 Road trip activities
 Lexi layed on my lap almost the entire way.

 Then, we were greeted with a wonderfully crazy surprise: SNOW!!! It was so beautiful, and we only had it for a few minutes. Believe it or not, that was the very first time I ever took pictures of snow.
 We had dinner and visited with our family members.
 MONDAY:

I leaped out of bed and stuck my head by the window. The world was covered with a blanket of snow! We got out our snow stuff and went outside.


 My mom, dad, and I took a walk to my uncle's house while Roby stayed behind to fish.

 Then, slowly the snow began to melt away.
 Shortly after we came home, Roby showed us his 21 inch fish he caught while we were away!

 We went over to my aunt, uncle, and cousins' house for dinner! We played for hours and had a great time.

 TUESDAY:

We went over to my nana and grandpa's house for breakfast and had fun!
 After, we went to my aunt and uncle's house where most of my family was. We ate pizza, drank soda, played games, and ran around for 5 hours.
 WEDNESDAY:

Roby caught another fish!
 Roby's "funny face." We were in the car and acting really goofy! :)
 We met up with my awesome family to hike around a lake!

 The cousins
 A reeeaallly funny thing happened:

Roby: *climbs side of mountain*
Ashton, Josie and I: *follow*
Roby: *heads back down*
Ashton: *follows*
Me: *follows with great difficulty (lol!)*
Josie: *struggles to get back down*
Uncle Josh: *goes up to help Josie, struggles to get back down*
Ashton: *goes up to help*
*the 3 struggle to get down*
Aunt Jessie: *starts videotaping event*
Ashton: *gets down*
Josie: *runs down*
Uncle Josh: *falls on butt*
Everyone: *laughing*
Uncle Josh: "Well that took like 20 minutes"
 My aunt and I stayed behind to make a youtube video for their channel.




 THURSDAY/THANKSGIVING:

We went over to my grandma's house for Thanksgiving!
 It was awesome, and we were all laughing so hard.


 Then, we went over to my aunt's house for another Thanksgiving. I had SO much fun! We ran around for hours and played games, and dinner was great. Then, we went over to my grandpa's house and I ran around with my cousins some more.

FRIDAY/BLACK FRIDAY:

We went with my aunt, uncle, and cousins to the mall to go see the Peanuts Movie. The mall was crazy. Going to the movie theatre was great, and I loved the popcorn! The movie was really cute. We went to bass pro and I got a Christmas present for Roby, and Roby picked out lots of stuff with his gift cards. Then, we went to their house and ran around for hours and watched "Inside Out."

SATURDAY:

We made the trip back home and I was SO TIRED!

Our trip was lots of fun and we made lots of wonderful memories! <3

THE VIDEO MY AUNT AND I MADE:

 
FUN VIDEO CLIPS FROM THE TRIP:
 
video
 
video

video
video