Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

posted on: Thursday, April 23, 2015

Muffins are a staple in our house.  And not just for breakfast, I love serving them for snacks!  This Peanut Butter Banana Muffin recipe is one that I tend to make more for snacks than for breakfast.  They're super delicious topped with boysenberry jelly and a smidge of peanut butter.  Enjoy!


2 Cups flour
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the peanut butter, oil, eggs, milk and bananas.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until moistened.
  5. Spoon the batter into 12 well greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.


posted on: Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Sunday this year looked a bit differently than it normally does.  I am filling in as church pianist in our previous town which is almost an hour and a half away.  Which meant that Easter morning I left before everyone was up.  It was a gray and rainy Sunday and we didn't get to meet up as a family until after church was over.  Lunch was mexican food and dinner was delivery pizza because I was too tired to cook a full Easter meal.  
But you know even though it wasn't the most idyllic day… it was a beautiful Easter.  The words from our pastor's message keep resonating with me… "I need Easter every day."  And boy do I.  I want the celebration and the beauty of what Easter means to be something that is on my tongue every day.  The gratitude and that overwhelming feeling of what Christ did for me on the cross… I want to remember that daily and to celebrate it daily.  

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe
My sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

He washed away all my sins
All my sins

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete
"Jesus died my soul to save"
My lips shall still repeat

Yes, He did

Oh, praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead

//pictures from Saturday's Easter Egg Hunt at their Nan and Pop's house

Guest Post: Ruthie from Live, Laugh, Love

  I'm excited to introduce Ruthie to y'all today! She blogs over at Live, Laugh, Love! We just wrapped up her time doing my Blog Mentorship Program… it was so great getting to know her!  I think you'll enjoy her post today :) Enjoy!


 Hey there!  I'm Ruthie from Live, Laugh, Love, and I'm delighted to spend time with you, courtesy of the very gracious (and gorgeous) Ashley!

     My life is a mixture of many things, but above all, I am The Mom.  I have been The Mom for 26 years now - whoa, that seems long.  I always wanted to be The Mom - more than anything else, and four kids and a nearly empty nest later, I've been struggling to figure out what it is I do with my life now. 

     Turns out, I blog. 

     I blog about my husband Jim and I as we learn to go on with life, and continue on with our funny, slightly offbeat, crazy relationship.

 About the struggle to let go of my college kids, and my new grandson, Sawyer - the funniest, most creative, intellectual 18 month old to grace the planet.

  The care of my elderly parents, Paula Deen's Orange Glazed Breakfast rolls (part of my blog is called Ruthie's Kozi Kitchen), and advice on child rearing from The Mom.

     I also write about my walk with the Lord, and am currently doing a series called, "52 Weeks" entailing journaled thoughts and findings on a verse or passage a week from the Bible. Click to read a recent entry about a scary episode with one of my children, and how God can bring peace amidst any circumstance.

      My theme verse for the year is Proverbs 31:25, "Strength and honor are her clothing, she shall rejoice in time to come." (NKJV)  If you've ever studied the Proverbs 31 woman, you know she is a pretty remarkable lady.  I find it quite daunting to live up to her standards - after all, I hate getting up in the morning, and I don't sew all my kid's clothes.  She sets the bar high, but her character is at the heart of the matter, and that is essentially what we need - a wise heart that follows after God.

     "She laughs at the time to come" the ESV describes her. 

     Laughing at the future?  Try worrying about the future.  That's more my thing.

     Maybe you're in the throes of raising kids and you JUST NEED SOME AIR.  You feel as if the time will never come when you can just sit down and read a book for pleasure.  Or perhaps you are worried about things unknown to come.  Maybe you have a terminally ill loved one.  The world is looking more and more scary with each passing day, and we worry about what the future holds for our kids.  We all have things looming on the horizon that we don't want to face.

     The Hebrew word for "rejoice" in this passage is "sachaq" and means "to laugh (in pleasure or detraction), to make merry, mock, play, (laugh to) scorn, be in sport".


     To make fun of the future?

     You see, in truth, the last part of the verse has to do with the first part.  She is rejoicing in time to come because strength and honor are her clothing.  She has saturated herself with living righteously.  It is her way of life, and in that she can rest and have peace.  She knows disappointments will come.  But she has wisely armed herself for those battles ahead of time. 

     So let's take hold of this joy.  Obviously it's possible - the Proverbs 31 woman did it.  Remember what the angel said to Mary, right after he told her she would conceive the Son of God by the Holy Spirit?  He had just informed her that her barren, elderly cousin, Elizabeth was pregnant and in her 6th month!  "For nothing will be impossible with God."  (Luke 1:37).  God used these two women to further His plan of redemption and salvation for us.  It is God's will for us to walk in this strength and honor, and when He asks us to do something - He will make a way for us to do it. 

     Focusing on thankfulness in the daily small details of life brings joy.

     I made a "Thankful Jar" for answered prayers for 2015.  My whole family, and friends who pass through our home, are welcome to partake.  At the end of the year, during advent season, we will read a few of these precious answers each night.  It will be a time of thankfulness and joy.  I challenge you to try it!

     Let's lay hold of that joy today.  What will you do to remember to rejoice in the future?

     "Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come." Proverbs 31:25




posted on: Saturday, April 4, 2015

I was talking with a friend the other afternoon about styles of parenting.   How some parents love to be out and about constantly… lots of play dates and outings.  And there are others who love to just be home with family.  I've found the more kids we have the more I lean towards just staying home and enjoying each others company. I mean heck…there are enough of us for a party at all times :)  Maybe it has to do with how you're raised?! I don't know… but either way.. I love just being home and together with my people.  

The past few nights Travis has lit the fire pit in the back and we've been making s'mores.  I love everything about it.  The twinkle lights hanging from the trees, smell of the fire burning, sitting by my best friend with the kids running around, lots of laughing, lessons about why we don't fling flaming marshmallows, dirty clothes, sticky faces and fingers… we're in such a sweet spot in life with these little ones.  I love that these are memories in the making.

I hope you have been enjoying Easter weekend…. He is alive my friends!!!!!

Taking Stock

posted on: Thursday, April 2, 2015

Making : A batch of banana bread for breakfast tomorrow morning.  I always forget how long it takes bread to bakehence the late night blog post :)
Cooking : Nothing… just baking this evening!  And dinner was take out fajitas.  Easy peasy!
Drinking : Water and lots of it.  I feel like I'm constantly parched and in a desert! 
Reading : Absolutely nothing.  I would love some great book recommendations! I'm wanting to have a summer reading list to work through before baby boy makes his arrival.
Wanting : A prenatal massage.  :)
Looking: forward to Easter weekend. My favorite holiday of the year!
Playing: Piano and lots of it.  I was asked to be our old church's sub-pianist for a few months.  It has been such a blessing to be doing it!

Wasting: well… I honestly can't think of a thing that I'm wasting. I suppose that's a good thing?!
Wishing: that Travis didn't have to work tomorrow so I could sleep in until noon.  As wishful thinking as it gets :)
Enjoying: the past few evenings we've spent outside together as a family.  Travis put up a little fire pit and hung outdoor lights and I planted some flowers last week.  Our backyard feels like another room to our house.  We've been out there until past dark the past few nights just enjoying each others company.  I love that!
Waiting: for the timer to go off. Come onnnn banana bread!
Liking: the tiny kicks I'm feeling in my belly.  Sweet boy is so active!
Wondering: what to prepare for Easter dessert.  We'll be picnicking after church… I'm leaning towards Strawberry Shortcakes in little mason jars (thanks for the idea mom!). Any other fantastic ideas?!
Loving: the ages of my kids right now.  I feel like we're in a really sweet spot with all of them.  I'm so excited to add baby number five this summer. He will for sure be spoiled and adored by his big brothers and sisters!

Hoping: to find an Easter dress tomorrow
Marveling: at how quickly this pregnancy has flown by.
Needing: a makeover on our bedroom.  Why is it that the adult bedroom always gets put together last?!
Smelling: Banana bread in the oven and a mix of laundry detergent and bleach coming from the laundry room.
Wearing: black leggings and an old football t-shirt of Trav's.  
Noticing: the dust bunnies under the chair across from me.  I can not for the life of me keep our floors clean. I'll sweep and then there will instantly be more dust and dust bunnies.  I would love any tips you might have to keep floors dust free!
Knowing: that Eloise will wake up like clockwork bright and early tomorrow, she'll ask for a glass of water and then a banana.  We laugh because a banana first thing to her is like a cup of coffee to me.  I love that about her :)
Thinking: about tomorrow and what needs to be done.
Bookmarking: maternity swimsuits
Opening: getting ready to open the oven and pull out the banana bread that is taking a million years to bake.
Feeling: so thankful for this Easter weekend.  Thankful for Good Friday… that Christ died for me.  For you.  Thankful for Easter Sunday…when He rose from the dead and conquered death.  The magnitude of this weekend and what it means always overwhelms me.  In a beautiful way.  And I'm especially thankful for the hope that this weekend represents because it also is the due date weekend of the baby that we miscarried last summer.  I am so thankful that's not the end.  We have such hope!  If you don't have hope or know where you're going when you die I'd love to talk to you more about what Jesus has done for you.  Please do not hesitate to send me an email.  thevanillatulip (At) yahoo (dot) com.  I would love to share with you what Jesus has done for you and me!

Guest Post: Simply Being Abby

posted on: Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I'm excited to introduce sweet Abby from Simply Being Abby to you guys!  She just went through my blog mentorship program and I've loved getting to know her!  She put together the cutest Bunny Chalk tutorial for you guys!  You can find Abby at the following places:


Hi! I'm Abby -- a wife, mama and lover of organization and simple DIY projects! You can keep up with me over at Simply Being Abby! Easter is right around the corner, (as in this weekend!), and I saw the cutest idea on Pinterest that I had to try - DIY bunny chalk! As a mama of two little kiddos, I love the simplicity of this idea and I also love that it is another non-candy item to put into the Easter baskets this year (not that I have anything against candy, because, if you get to know me at all you will learn that my love for candy extends pretty seriously far!). Along with enjoying creativity, I really like to try and keep things simple, and this craft is perfect on both fronts. You don't need many supplies and it is a quick DIY that won't take you all day.


Supplies Needed: Plaster of Paris Bunny Mold (silicone) Tempera Paint (primary colors) Water Measuring Cup Disposable Spoons for Mixing Disposable Cups for Mixing

Instructions: 1) Mix the Plaster of Paris with equal parts water. I used about 1/3 cup of water, to 1/3 of the Plaster of Paris (which is a powdery substance). This made somewhere between three to four bunnies in the particular mold that I used, per color. 2) Add drops of paint and stir. I used blue, red and yellow paints and mixed them all in different combinations and amounts to come up with different colors. You can be really creative with this and make whatever colors you want! Obviously the more paint that you put into the cups, the darker the colors will become. The mixture will become paste-like the longer it sits, so you don't want to wait to long as you mix them. I recommend mixing one color at a time so that it doesn't start hardening on you, before you get the chance to pour it out.


3) Pour the mixture into the silicone mold.

 4) Let the bunnies sit in the mold for at least four hours before removing them. Wait at least 24 hours before using them. I let mine dry for more like 48 hours after I removed them. The bunnies will easily come out of the silicone mold -- I was worried about this and it was crazy easy.


 That's it! These turned out so cute and I can't wait to see how much my daughter enjoys them on Easter morning!


 And how fun would these be to make for other occasions, too? I love projects that can be easily re-done for other holidays, etc! Wouldn't these be fun to make in a heart shape for Valentine's Day?! Hope to "meet" you all over at Simply Being Abby, soon! xo, Abby

Right here

posted on: Monday, March 30, 2015

The past month we've been going and doing… which I love.  But not as much as I love being home. I never would have pegged myself for a homebody. Until I started having kids…and lots of them.  The slow and steady pace of our routine is something that I have come to love.  I was gone over the weekend for a women's conference and returning home felt so great.  Something about being away for that short period of time was a sweet reminder that I LOVE this stage of life I'm in.  I love the craziness of so many little ones, the messes, the temper tantrums, the constant highs and lows.

The weather here has taken a turn towards spring/summer.  It's been gloriously warm the past week.  The kids have been playing outside from morning until evening with a nap sandwiched in between.  I don't know why it surprises me, but the mess in my house has taken a major turn for the better.  Less toys and "stuff" to pick up in exchange for a bit more sweeping after dirt and leaves have been tracked in.  A pleasant swap!

Hope you all have been well… it's been awhile since I've been in my normal blogging routine.  It's felt refreshing.  And I think because of that little hiatus my mind is now full of ideas, recipes, tutorials, etc. that I'm wanting to share with y'all!  Funny how that works when you take a step away from something for awhile.  :) Happy Monday my friends!