Della Devoted!: March 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March in Review

I can't believe today is already the last day of March, can you? Time just flies by way too fast. However, I'm thankful that the Good Lord has blessed me to see another month go by. There have been a few trials this month, but overall it has been a really good month. We are so blessed! I truly enjoyed Easter this year with Raylan. It was so much fun watching him hunt Easter Eggs and participate in all of the Easter festivities.  Let's catch up on some of my favorite blog posts from this month.


























Thanks for stopping by! Have a blessed April!





Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Photography Tips for a Holiday Shoot at Home

I am by no means a Photographer at all, but I do love to take lots and lots of pictures. Most of my photos are of my two year old son Raylan and of nature.  I also like having Raylan's pictures took  by a professional photographer especially during the holidays but I hate the price tag that comes along with it. So I  invested in a decent DSLR camera and started taking his holiday photos at home. I have the Canon Rebel T5 and I absolutely love it. It's the best investment I have ever made. However, If you have a smart phone or a decent bridge camera you can take great photos as well. 



Like I said, I don't like paying the high price for Holiday Mini Session Photos. So I try to be creative and go with a theme and do holiday photos myself. The week leading up to Easter this year was chilly so I did some of Raylan's Easter Photos inside.

The background you see here is a 0.50 cent Easter tablecloth that I purchased at a yard sale. I thought it was too cute and for 0.50 cents I couldn't pass it up. I knew it would look great on my table for my Easter decor, but I also had an Idea. Why not use it for a photo backdrop?


I pinned the tablecloth to one of my walls. I dressed him in his Easter Sunday outfit and placed him in front of the backdrop along with his Easter Basket. The dinosaurs you see here are from his Dinosaur Easter Eggs. He had to tear into them. He is such a dinosaur lover!



I just started snapping and tried to capture every little moment.



This one is my favorite. I absolutely love it. I gave him some Easter grass and he had so much fun with it. It was a mess to clean up but he had so much fun throwing it everywhere. Just look at that smile.


On Easter Sunday it was a bit warmer, so I took the tablecloth outside and placed him by the Easter tree that we had decorated. I love outdoor photos so much better. The lighting and scenery is just so much better and easier to work with.


Easter Eggs everywhere. I just love all of the bright colors. You can definitely tell that this is an Easter themed photo shoot.


This one is also a favorite of mine. I snapped this photo while he was in the moment of finding his eggs. I love the brightness of this photo and I love how I captured the moment of him on his search to find eggs.

*You can't always get a toddler to look at you so most of the time you have to capture them in the moment of doing something. These always make the best photos!

You also don't have to spend a great deal of money to make photos look great. Invest in a Camera or Smart Phone and use a photo editing software. I use Photoshop Elements 13 which is my favorite, but if I'm in a hurry and just need simple edits I use  PicMonkey which is a free online version to edit your photos. For $4.99 a month you can upgrade to the full version of PicMonkey which gives you a few more options to work with, however, the free version offers a lot. If I'm using my smart phone, I like to use the app Camera + to edit my photos and I also use Instagram to edit. For Instagram, I love playing with the highlights and brightness to really make my photos pop.

So If you're like me and on a budget, taking holiday photos at home is your best option. Just be creative. Try to shoot photos outside but if that's  not possible then find a good background and add a few details around your child like the Easter Eggs and basket and start snapping away. There is no reason to pay such a high price when you can make your photos look great at home.

Friday, March 25, 2016

High Five For Friday - Easter Edition


Hello everyone! Welcome to the weekly High Five For Friday linkup hosted by Tif@ Bright On A Budget, Katie @ Cup of Tea and myself. We're glad you're here!

This week's featured blogger is Stephanie from Stephanie-Spring. Stephanie is a newlywed, teacher and blogger. She tries to live each day with an appreciative heart. She loves Jesus and her coffee! She is doing a 30 Day Prayer Challenge that I want to join in doing as well. Please stop by and say hello to Stephanie!


This is the week of Easter and I am so excited for Easter, not because of the Bunny but because of what our Savior did for us. Easter is the most important holiday that should be celebrated more than any other holiday. I am also excited to see Raylan dressed up hunting Easter Eggs as well. For High Five For Friday, I am doing things a little different this week. I want to leave you with 6 Bible Verses to ponder on about Easter and what Jesus did for us.

1) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

2) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:  1 Corinthians 15:3-4

3) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 1 Corinthians 15:20

4) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

5) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

6)  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  John 11:25

Here are some great Easter reads and recipes too that you are sure to enjoy...

Easter Pudding - Garay Treasures 
How I prepare my heart for Easter - Come Home for Comfort
Easter Toddler Edition - Polka Dotty Place 
What Easter Means to Me- Della Devoted (Myself)
Cross Cupcakes - Della Devoted (Myself)

Well that's it for now...Have a blessed Easter Weekend! Remember Jesus is the reason that we celebrate this special day! God Bless You!





Thursday, March 24, 2016

What Easter Means to Me...

Easter is this coming Sunday and I am so excited! I'm excited to dress Raylan up and watch him hunt eggs, but most of all I'm excited to worship the Lord. We all include the Easter Bunny, baskets and eggs in with Easter, but that's not what it's really about. Easter is about the sacrifice that Jesus paid for our sins. This is what Easter means to me...



Easter is the most important day of the year for me! I get so emotional just thinking about how much God truly loves his children. It really is hard to even fathom the love that God has for us.

God knew that our sins were terrible. We are humans and we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23-26). He knew that there was a price that had to be paid for our sins. On what we call Good Friday, he sent his only begotten son to shed his blood and die for our sins. He didn't have to do it, but he did it because he loved us. (John 3:16) If we all got what we deserved, it would have been us dying but Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins. He did it because he loved us and didn't want to see us die in our sins. Jesus was nailed to a cross. While he was on the cross, he was mocked, beaten and had a crown of thorns placed on his head. Jesus died on the cross so that we could have life.  However, he didn't stay dead Praise God! On that third and glorious day he rose! This is the day we call Easter Sunday! (1 Corinthians 15) Jesus rose victorious over death, hell and the grave.  He rose and went to prepare a beautiful mansion in heaven for us, so that we can live life eternally when this life on earth is over (John 14:3) . Oh how wonderful that will be! There will be no more sickness, death, pain, sadness and certainly no more sin. All will be peace and happiness forever more. We will be reunited with our loved ones who have gone on before us.  Isn't it amazing Just how much God loved us? He wanted us to live forever and not die out to our awful sins.

This is what the true meaning of Easter is! Even though it's nice to take your children to see the Easter Bunny and hunt Easter Eggs, don't forget to teach them the true meaning of Easter. Let your children have fun on Easter just as children should, but don't forget to incorporate the real reason we celebrate such a wonderful day into all of the festivities.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

In the Kitchen with Toddlers - Cross Cupcakes

Moms are always busy, but never allow yourself to get too busy to create memories with your little one. For time goes by way too fast! Welcome to the new series of In the Kitchen with Toddlers. This is a series that will show you some easy ideas of things to make with your toddler that will be fun for them and quick for you.


I love to bake especially around the holidays. While baking, I always try to include my son Raylan. We both enjoy being in the kitchen and making many wonderful memories together. Easter is this coming Sunday, the most important holiday of the year! Easter is not about the Easter Bunny and Eggs, but about the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So while in the kitchen this week, Raylan and I decided to make Cross Cupcakes.


I could have chosen any Easter themed dessert to make with Raylan this week, but I wanted to teach him about the true meaning of Easter while baking.

Ingredients you will need...


Pretzel Sticks
Chocolate Cake Mix
Light Brown Sugar
Vanilla Frosting in Can
Milk Chocolate Dipping Chocolate

* Normally I would use my favorite go to homemade Buttercream Frosting, but since I was baking with Raylan I opted for the quick and easy frosting.


My trusty Kitchen Sidekick :)

Directions...

Using wax paper or cookie sheet, form pretzel sticks in shape of cross. Then drizzle melted milk chocolate over crosses. Allow chocolate to harden on pretzels.

Make chocolate cupcakes according to box directions.

Once cupcakes are completely cooled, apply vanilla frosting on top.

Next sprinkle brown sugar on top of vanilla frosting

Then insert crosses on top of cupcakes. Be careful when removing pretzel crosses from wax paper. They sometimes tend to break!

The chocolate cake and brown sugar represent the dirt and sand that was on Mount Calvary's hill. The cross represents the sacrifice that Jesus paid for our sins. The white frosting represents how Jesus washed away our sins and made them white as snow.

The death, burial and resurrection is the greatest love story of all! You can read more about that story here!


This was a great fun way to teach Raylan about the true meaning of Easter. The cupcakes were also delicious and definitely Toddler approved!

What desserts are you making for Easter?

If you would like to share a post about you and your toddler in the kitchen , please email me at delladevoted@yahoo.com 
I would love to feature you! You don't have to have a blog to participate!

Friday, March 18, 2016

High Five For Friday

Hello everyone! Welcome to the weekly High Five For Friday linkup hosted by Tif@ Bright On A Budget, Katie @ Cup of Tea, Caitlin  @ Coffee With Caitlin and myself. We're glad you're here!

*Caitlin is taking a break from blogging right now to get some much needed rest. Please continue to pray for her and visit her blog. 


This week's featured blogger is Katie from Preppy Empty Nester. Katie is a wife to a former professional chef and a mom of two daughters. Her and her husband also have two adorable dogs. She is a trophy wife who enjoys playing tennis, reading and watching lots of Bravo. Katie has even been on the Meredith Vieira Show. She has a really neat blog that I know you will enjoy as much as I do. Please stop by and say hello to Katie!


Friday! I am so glad that you are here. Let's just hope that you go more smoothly than last Friday. Last Friday, my dad was put in the hospital over his diabetic wound and they did surgery on it Saturday. He is home now recovering but is in a lot of pain. Please keep him in your prayers. I had an eye infection and Raylan had shots this week, so needless to say it has been one rough week. Anyway, let's rewind to some of my favorites from this week...

1) I started a new series on the blog called In the Kitchen with Toddlers. It is a series that will show you some easy ideas of things to make with your toddler that will be fun for them and quick for you. I would love to have some of you guest post for me sometimes. This week we made this Shamrock Shake in honor of St. Patrick's Day. It was delicious! You can find the recipe here.

2) And since it has been the week of St. Patrick's Day, I have tried to make Raylan green food all week. Here are my favorites...

Cake Pops


I didn't have ham, but we had green eggs and toast

Leprechaun made out of pancakes and fruit

Raylan loved all of these especially the leprechaun. I really enjoyed making these creative foods for him too!

3) Here is my very own leprechaun. This was the best photo I could get of him considering he was cranky from his shots. I love celebrating the holidays and making them fun for him.


4) I finally jumped on the ThredUp bandwagon. I can't believe I waited this long to join. I'm loving these cute little Tom's that I found for Raylan. They will look adorable with his Easter Outfit.


5) This is by far my favorite photo from this week. After my dad got home from the hospital, he couldn't wait any longer to give Raylan his Easter Basket from him. This photo is just so precious of the two of them.

Also don't forget to enter the Kate Spade Handbag and Target Giftcard Giveaway that I am helping to host along with some other wonderful ladies in honor of Tif from Bright on a Budget's 2 year blogiversary. You can enter here. Good Luck!



Don't forget to link-up below. Thanks for stopping by! Have a blessed weekend!



Thursday, March 17, 2016

Kate Spade Handbag and Target Giveaway

I want to my congratulate my sweet friend Tif @ Bright on A Budget on her two year blogging anniversary today. I seriously can't believe that she has been blogging for two years. Happy Blogging Anniversary Tif! Tif and I have been friends for a very long time. We are from the same hometown and we graduated high school together. Tif inspired me to start blogging and I am so glad that she did. I have met so many wonderful friends and have had some great opportunities because of her. So please join in with me to help celebrate her blogging anniversary.

 To help celebrate the anniversary of Bright on a Budget, I have teamed up with Tif and several other wonderful ladies to give you a chance to win a Kate Spade handbag and a $25 Target Gift Card. I can't think of a better way to celebrate, can you?



This awesome giveaway is brought to you by:

HOSTS


Giveaway starts at 12:00 am Thursday, 03/17 and runs through 11:59 p.m. EST  on Wednesday, 03/23. A link to the Terms & Conditions can be found on every entry, but the contest is open to residents 18 years or older of the 48 contiguous states (excludes Hawaii and Alaska)

Thank you for entering! Good Luck and God Bless You!







a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 14, 2016

In the Kitchen with Toddlers - Shamrock Shake

My Son Raylan is getting to the age where I can start including him more in my favorite place, the kitchen. It just so happens that he likes being in the kitchen just as much as I do. We have so much fun and make so many memories while creating some tasty food and drinks. It's a great learning experience for him as well as for me too. Moms are always busy, but never allow yourself to get too busy to create memories with your little one. For time goes by way too fast! I'm starting a new series that will show you some easy ideas of things to make with your toddler that will be fun for them and quick for you.


I love celebrating every holiday with my two year old son Raylan. So for every holiday, I like to create a festive food or drink for him to enjoy. Since it's the week of St. Patrick's Day, I opted for letting him help make his very own Shamrock Shake.


Ingredients you will need are the following:


2 cups of Vanilla Ice Cream ( I had Neapolitan but used only the vanilla)
1/3 cup of Milk
1/4 tsp of peppermint or mint extract
8 drops of green food coloring ( I still could have used more)

Whipped Topping (Preferably in can. It makes it so much easier)
Green Sugar Crystals

Blend or Mix with Mixer 1st 4 ingredients. I have misplaced my blender, so Raylan and I had to use the KitchenAid. It still turned out well though.


He loves to watch the mixer spin around. I do believe baking is one of his favorite things to do!

Once you are finished blending up your shake, top with whipped topping and green sprinkles. It makes for a splendid treat that any toddler will enjoy. It definitely caught Raylan's attention and made his taste buds happy.


The Proof is in these photos...




Raylan was pleased with this delicious Shamrock Shake. We had so much fun making it and even more fun drinking it. It's a great way to help your child celebrate St. Patrick's Day!


If you would like to share a post about you and your toddler in the kitchen , please email me at delladevoted@yahoo.com 
I would love to feature you! You don't have to have a blog to participate!

Friday, March 11, 2016

High Five For Friday


Hello everyone! Welcome to the weekly High Five For Friday linkup hosted by Tif@ Bright On A Budget, Katie @ Cup of Tea, Caitlin  @ Coffee With Caitlin and myself. We're glad you're here!

*Caitlin is taking a break from blogging right now to get some much needed rest. Please continue to pray for her and visit her blog. 

This week's featured blogger is Justine from Full Hands Full Heart. Justine is a wife and a mom of 5. She blogs a little about everything from Parenthood, recipes and beauty. I love her weekly Walmart Finds. You can read the most recent one of Easter Basket Finds here. I love Justine's blog and I know you will too. Please stop by and say hello to her!


Hey Friday! You're here again. I wish you wasn't forecasting rain for all weekend long, especially after the beautiful week we have had. I must say this has been a great sunshiny week and for that I am so thankful. Spring is so close and I can't wait. Speaking of Spring, I have also been on Spring Break from College this week. So it's been a relaxing week. Let's rewind to my favorites from this week.

1) Last Friday, Tif from Bright on a Budget and I had our hair done and it was much needed. Tif had been telling me forever that I needed to try her stylist and I'm so glad that I finally listened. I had a much needed trim with some darker color and lowlights. I love the colors! It was so nice to catch up on some girl time and get pampered. We took Raylan and Kane with us and let them play while we got pampered. It was a good day!



2) Since Spring and Easter is upon us, I have been in the mood for decorating. I'm loving this printable that I found on Pinterest. I thought the eggs were a good added touch to my mantle as well.


 and I just love these tulips. I think they make a beautiful table display.


more decor to come next week!

3) Raylan and I have made the most of this beautiful weather. We have been outside everyday and he has worn me out. He would stay outside all day if I would let him. He just loves this lawn mower that blows bubbles that my dad got him for his birthday party.

4) Did you catch this Bright Spring Look that I posted this week? I love this color combo! This is my new hairstyle. You can really see the colors in the light. I love it! Don't forget to checkout Tif's Weekend Style For Spring.


5) Yesterday, I made one of my favorite Crockpot Meals. I made Crockpot Chicken and Dressing. It was so delicious. I love Crockpot Meals. They make life so much more simple. You can find the recipe here. It is oh so good!


Well that's it for me. Have a joyful and blessed weekend. Please continue to pray for the healing of my dad. With God all things are possible!