Wednesday, April 25, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

Hey, friends!  How about a little What's Up Wednesday fun?!

What We're Eating This Week ...

Macaroni and Cheese + Bacon & Peas // Four strips of cooked and crumbled bacon and one cup of steamed peas added to a prepared box of Kraft macaroni and cheese.  Easy, peasy, and cheesy!

Breakfast for Dinner // Oven Scrambled Eggs & Loaded Potato Casserole

Instant Pot Chipotle-Honey Chicken Tenders (using chicken breasts that Jason smoked and we froze for future dinners) 
+ Leftover Loaded Potato Casserole

BBQ Chicken Tostadas (using IP chipotle-honey chicken // originally smoked it pairs perfectly with BBQ)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ritz No-Bake Cookies
Over five years ago I clicked through a link to this recipe in a blogging link party.  I told the blogger how my husband's grandma made these each Christmas and they were a family favorite.  Her post and that simple comment was the beginning of a beautiful friendship!  

The day Chrissy and I met in person, taken from the post:

On her birthday I made these "cookies" to celebrate her from afar.  They were so enjoyed my family that the treat was on repeat this week.  Have you made these?  If not check out Chrissy's recipe here.  

What's I'm Reminiscing About ...
Our Disney vacations!  My husband, Jason, has been working on editing video from our most recent trip for our YouTube channel, Eat, Sleep, Dis, Repeat!  We're both anticipating sharing the magic in upcoming Trip Report Tuesday blog posts and in vids on ESDR!  Seventeen days of fresh Disney magic coming your way soon!

What I'm Loving ...
I am loving the sunshine, lovely breeze, and sweet birds' songs entering our home through wide open windows!  Spring is such a glorious season!  This gorgeous weather was absolutely worth the wait!

What We've Been Up To ...
We are working hard on a strong finish to our homeschooling year.  Summer break is quickly approaching and we can hardly wait for oodles of family fun in the sun!

What I'm Dreading ...
I can't think of a single thing, and that my friends, is a beautiful thing!

What I'm Working On ...

As previously mentioned, I'm currently at work on a new installment of my Trip Report Tuesday blogging series.  I can hardly wait to share recaps of our recent 17-day vacation at Walt Disney World!  We stayed at some new (dream) resorts including 5 nights at Disney's Polynesian Village resort and 6 evenings in Disney Vacation Club's newest addition, the Villas at Wilderness Lodge!  There are so many new restaurants to review and memories to preserve!  

What I'm Excited About ...
All the spring and summer goodness to come!  Family walk and talks, picnics, bike rides, swimming and lounging poolside, zoo trips, and so much more await us and I couldn't be more excited about all of it!

What I'm Watching/Reading ...  

Television // Bringing Up Bates

Watching this precious family living life, honoring God with the gifts He's blessed them with, and loving each other does my heart good!  This show regularly makes me laugh and cry happy tears.  We rarely finish an episode that doesn't conclude with me commenting, "That was so good!"  This airs on the UP Faith and Family network.  Their website says the channel is available through Cox, Dish, Directv, and more.  We watch it through a $5/month channel addition to our Amazon Prime Video account.  If this channel is available to you and you're looking for a television show with good, clean family fun to enjoy with your own family, I highly recommend Bringing Up Bates!  

YouTube  //  Wretched
This video was so encouraging to me.  If you're a Christian obeying the great commission in sharing the Gospel and you've found yourself ever discouraged by not seeing the results of your efforts, please listen to this.  

Now, out of sincere care for YOU, precious reader, let me ask you that same eternally important question that that man faithfully asked passersby there on George Street.:  

If you were to die today, where would you spend eternity?  The Bible says it will either be Heaven or Hell.  Would you think about that, please?  Thank you.

Can I follow that up with this:

What is your answer to this question based upon?
If your mind heads straight to your own good deeds, how often you attend church, or your accolades in this life, that's an indication that your hope is resting on your own shoulders.  What a impossibly heavy burden to needlessly (and worthlessly) bare!  The good news is Jesus said, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)  There is a way to ensure your salvation.  Your own personal strivings with the unreachable goal of earning your own way to Heaven can cease today when you take that misplaced hope in yourself and instead place it in the victorious Savior.  Note:  Our hope cannot be in ourselves and in Jesus Christ.  We are not made worthy by our own actions as Isaiah 64:4 says, "For all of us have become like one who is unclean,  And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away."   When we turn to Him in repentance (asking for forgiveness for the ways we have sinned against Him throughout our life) and place our trust in Him alone we can find true rest, lasting hope, meaningful peace - all of which the world attempts to offer in fleeting ways, but that our Creator can and delights in giving freely to His own.

Approximately 150,000 people die each day.  Many of those people begin that day as any other, with to do lists and dinner plans, unsuspecting that the day will be their last.  Just the thought of that causes me to ask, with great sincerity and love, that you ponder this today.  This life, whether brief or long lived, is but a vapor in comparison to all of eternity.  Nothing could be more important than making certain where you will spend it.

YouTube // Alex Chacon

Alex Chacon is a former medical student who sold everything he had back in 2012 to travel the world.  My husband and I have been watching his adventures via YouTube for about five years now.  We're currently watching his recent motorcycle trip through Bolivia.  I appreciate his content so much as it's a means of traveling to far away places I'll never physically visit.  If you enjoy travel vlogs, incredible scenery, and a peek into how other people live across the world, his channel is well worth checking out!

What I'm Listening To ...

I've been loving the {free} Grace to You Sermon app!  I typically press play, tuck my iPhone in my pocket, and do dishes, tidy the house, etc..  It makes housework such a pleasant time (which is definitely a win)!  This week I finished the Anxiety-Free Living series and began listening to The Fulfilled Family series.

What I'm Wearing ...

I spotted this hat in a Kohl's ad and knew I needed it.  It's so feminine.  I absolutely adore it!  I need a new pair of sunglasses, so this cute piece has done the trick in covering my eyes in the sunshine when out on our evening family walk and talks!

What I'm Doing This Weekend ...
My parents invited the girls to come stay with them on Friday night which means DATE NIGHT for my hubby and I!  Can't wait!!!  We have no plans between then and church on Sunday morning which is such a great thing in my book!  Looking forward to a wonderfully refreshing weekend ahead!

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month ...

Celebrating my sister & her daughter's birthdays

Mother's Day

Last Mother's Day weekends was one of my all-time favorites!  The sweet deets were captured in this post.

Memorial Day

My favorite way to spend Memorial Day weekend is grilling and then chilling at a free outdoor symphony performance followed by fireworks!

What Else is New ...
That pretty much sums up life at the moment!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  It is such a treat to have you here!  Hope you'll take a moment to say "Hello!" in the comment section below!

Join me in the adventures to come!

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Girl Chat: {Not So} Guilty Pleasures

Happy Friday, friends!  I planned on sharing a post for the Girl Chat link up with some blogging friends yesterday, but the fun of the week kept me away from my keyboard and I am a-okay with that!  Our week included one on one parent/daughter dinner dates, celebrating Little One's half birthday, a date with my husband, and more.  It's been a marvelously memorable one!  All that being said, I had so much fun beginning this Girl Chat post earlier that I've decided to finish it up and share it in place of my typical Five Loves on Friday post.  Hope it makes for a fun read!

This month's Girl Chat topic is:  Share some guilty pleasures.  I'll start with saying that I don't actually feel "guilty" about any of these.  Ha!  However, this fun list is filled with things that I'm (borderline embarrassingly) giddy and a little (or in some cases, a lot) obsessive about!  Some of these will come as no surprise, while others may make you laugh!  Let's dive in, shall we?

Happy Mail

There are a few kinds of happy mail that make my heart skip a beat.  First, there's mailable sweetness from friends and relatives which never fails to be a highlight of my week when received!  Then there is the kind I've shipped to myself after hunting down a bargain.  My favorite of this variety are those boxes that when opened make any day feel like a holiday!  Oh, how I love pretty packaging!

I can never get enough of Draper James boxes!  I also love the special tissue paper and sticker touches from Disney Store, Kate Spade, and some Etsy shops that do a little extra to make receiving your order feel like such a treat!

Using my "Happy Mail Supplies"

This may sound funny but any day that I have a reason to open up my "Happy Mail Supplies" box and put together some love for a friend or family member it makes my heart so happy!  I adore my collection of sweet stationary, lovely cards for a variety of occasions, beautiful stamps, and having a reason to pull out my super cute Kate Spade address book to look up a dear one's info and send off some love in an envelope!  I was so tempted to lay out all my mailing goodies to share a snapshot with all of you, but I'm resisting that urge as to avoid spoilers for any friends and family who may find one such card or letter on that stationary in their own mailbox. 


I cannot begin to say how much I enjoy travel!  Disney Parks are our happy place!  Disney is where my family escapes the trappings of every day life.  Together away from it all, carefree as can be, we create memories we cherish forever after!  We are Disney Vacation Club members and WDW Annual Passholders (both dreams come true)!  Visiting our pixie dusted "home" is something I look forward to between each and every trip!  

We also love visiting National Parks, oceans, and taking in the beauty of God's awe-inspiring creation! 

You can check out full posts from Trip Report Tuesday Series here.

Walt Disney World - Our Happy Place!

Disney Purses

Hello, my name is Brenda and I'm a Disney purse addict.  I find the appeal of magical prints nearly irresistible!  Sometimes though, I do restrain myself.  On one such occasion recently my incredible husband completely surprised me (shocked would be more accurate actually) with my dream bag!  See my instagram share below for more details on that...

The leaf on the red Vera Bradley bag in the bottom center fell from Walt's Dreaming Tree in Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline, MO.

The story behind my sweetest gift Christmas 2017...

Celebrating with Scrumptiousness

Holidays provide the perfect excuse to savor the flavor of celebratory favorites!

Also, I puffy heart LOVE food in general!

My favorites include:

CHEESE  and  Whole Foods' Curried Chicken Salad

DONUTS!  Chocolate glazed or extra pretty with cheery sprinkles are my typical picks.

Chicken Pad Thai

 Thai Pie (mixing the best of both worlds, Thai + pizza!)


Limited Edition Oreos
I have had some sweet blogging friends mention in the past that I'm their go-to for knowing when a new Oreo is released, because I can't resist buying, trying, and sharing any new flavor that comes out!  Are you an Oreo fan?  I'd love to hear your favorite Limited Edition flavor below if so!

And of course, all things CHOCOLATE!  Thus, the name of this blog!  I named my nook in the blogosphere Chatting Over Chocolate in hopes that each post would feel as though I was gathering with a friend and chatting over a scrumptious sweet treat!

Frozen Fruity Drinks

Cheers to sweet sips on vacation!

Loungy Lake Time

Unlike my husband who I sometimes call my "water boy" as he has always loved all things water sports related, I enjoy the water even more while dry.  I absolutely adore being near or on the water (dry on a boat).  I can sit happily near a lake for hours.  We have a favorite in our city that we regularly picnic at and a larger one in our state we enjoy annual weekend getaways to.  I love the ocean far more yet, but living in the Midwest that's a rarer delight!

That photo collage leads to another...

I am Tervis obsessed.

 "Oh Happy Day" - the set that began my obsession!

These are a few of my favorites, but if you open my cupboard you'll find many more.  Confession:  I actually have an entire self in my cupboard devoted to Tervis tumblers.  I see them as a good investment.  They are dishwasher safe, good on the go, keep drinks nice and cold, and have a lifetime warranty.  Plus, using cute cups (& plates) make me happy.  It's the little things!

Hallmark Movies

If you've been here for a bit, this is no surprise.  Love me some sweet Hallmark sappiness!  

Three of my (many) favorites:
October Kiss, A Very Merry Mix-Up, and The Lost Valentine

My favorite Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series:
Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, Garage Sale Mysteries, and Signed, Sealed, Delivered


Sleep, oh how I love you!  My husband is such a morning person.  He sets an alarm every day of the week, but on some glorious Saturday mornings he'll wake before the alarm, shut it off and quietly sneak out of the room.  Those days when I can get a little extra sleep and all is so well in the world.  Also, I'm not against a nap the day allows for it.

Lounge Pants

On a cooler day if I'm not leaving the house I will most likely be found wearing my favorite lounge pants.  Oh so comfy!

A Slow Solo Stroll for Snapshots

I love taking pictures!  I really enjoy taking my time, taking in the beauty of creation or Disney magic when on vacation.  I take a lot of them.  This can sometimes get old for those I'm with, understandably so honestly!  So, one of my favorite things is going it alone for a few hours, taking it slow, and getting as many photos as I'd like.  On our most recent trip I spent solo time in each of the four WDW Parks and some of the deluxe resorts we stayed in to allow for an abundance of snapping shots to my heart's content!  It was wonderful!  (Side note, we were there for a 17-day trip which allowed ample free time to do so.  If we had a briefer trip I would absolutely forgo this "pleasure" to soak up every magical moment at my family's side.)  I'll be sharing all those shots, soon!

Walmart Grocery Pickup
Walmart Grocery Pickup has been life changing, friends!  Using their free service not only saves me a good hour or more each week, it also saves me so much money!  You can see exactly what you're spending and intentionally choose exactly what you want.  Since I don't typically walk through the store with a calculator and have been known to toss a thing or two that would never be on my shopping list into my cart when shopping in-store, this has been helpful in both time management and keeping under budget!  Love it!


Spending countless hours over the past five years on a hobby that has allowed me to preserve memories and connect with others I would have otherwise never had the joy of meeting absolutely belongs on this list!  I'm so incredibly thankful to have this little bloggy space of my own and am tickled pink to welcome each one of you who take time out of your day to visit!  To some it may seem like a frivolous way to spend time, but it means the world to me!  

For more on this see my 5th Blogiversary Post:

Folding Laundry in My Personal "Oasis"

Lastly, the one some may find silly.  I love folding laundry!  Ever since my sweet husband bought me a tv for our bedroom for Christmas a few years back, I have thoroughly enjoyed folding laundry on my bed while catching up on some of my favorite YouTubers' vids or a tv series I watch alone.  While "doing laundry" isn't my favorite thing, I find folding it in neat little piles and keeping our drawers well organized so satisfying!  Sometimes if the drawers get a bit messy from grabbing clothing in a rush, I'll actually dump the entire drawer of clothing into a laundry basket and refold it all to put it back perfectly.  Seriously satisfying (to my OCD mind).  If we don't have any other plans I'll actually chose a show and save two or three loads to fold while watching it on a late Friday night in.  Now, this one may fall more into an "embarrassing" pleasure than a guilty one, but it's true and I'm owning it here today!

Thanks so much for popping by this post!  This was such a fun one to put together!  Can you relate to any of these pleasures?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Join me in the adventures to come!
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