Friday, July 13, 2018

5 on Friday

We made it to Friday! Each day seemed to go by quickly but yet the week felt long. Anyone else feel that way? I'm linking up with Christina to bring you my 5 things from this week. 


I'm on the hunt for a good Mexican Street Corn recipe and came across this one from Little Spice Jar. If you've made this type of corn before and have an easy and delicious recipe let me know!


The boys had Vacation Bible School this week and I'm happy to report that they both loved it. It was Jack's first time and honestly, I was expecting a few tears. He ended up doing great even though he told me he was "a little nervous."


Everything about this screams disaster. And I took the picture while we were barely moving so don't worry. 


I started a 21 Day Arm Challenge and although it looks relatively easy, Day 5 was rough. I may post before and after pics depending on how it goes :)


My best friend's father passed away suddenly this week. He was pretty young and left behind a wife, 3 daughters, and lots of little grand babies. The family is clinging to their strength in the Lord but could use a lot of prayers as they begin to navigate this new life without him.

In case you missed it, there's a few new posts this week including my June Goals Update and our 4th of July Recap

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

2018 Goals Update: June

This month's update is really a two in one since I didn't post a May recap. With our trip to San Diego at the end of May I just didn't get it done in time, but I'm back and with a few more goals added at the halfway mark of 2018. I'm chugging along on my current goals but felt like I needed to add some new ones to keep me on track.  

//Write down ten things that I am grateful for at the end of every single day//
I'm reflecting on the previous day as part of my morning routine instead of at the end of the day. In addition to listing the things I'm grateful for, I also want to jot down some ways I can show kindness towards others. 

//Complete at least 3 devotionals or bible studies//
Still reading Awaken by Priscilla Shirer. I'm more than ready to move on to something else but really want to finish this one first. Did anyone else struggle to get through this book?

//Workout at least 4 times per week for at least 30 minutes//
I've been super inconsistent with this one but I made it a point to get back on track this week and I'm doing great. I also started a 21 day arm challenge.

//Lose 20 pounds//
I’ve lost 13.4 pounds since January and while that's a good number, I've lost like 1 pound the last two months. I know most of it has to do with what I'm eating and I've been horrible about tracking my food in My Fitness Pal. 

//Give up soda for at least 30 days//
I completed this one at the end of January and am doing really well with limiting how many I drink to 1-2 per month. 

//Wake up an hour earlier on weekdays in order to have the best start to my day//
Most days I'm waking up at 5:30am but I've been staying up way too late which makes those early mornings rough. 

//Drink half my body weight in ounces of water each day//

//Read 12 books throughout the year//
I've read 13 books so far so I've officially met this goal! I've set a new reading goal of 24 books which I should hit if I stay at the same reading pace. If you're looking for some new books to read I recently posted my 5 Summertime Must Read Thrillers.  

//Declare our house a yelling free zone and create a plan on how we'll do this//
I still find that having "me" time in the morning really helps start my day off right. We also had a "no complaining day" recently and anyone who complained (adults included) had to do 10 push ups each time. It ended up being fun but also super successul and I think we'll have to do it again in the near future :) 

//Have bi-weekly date nights with my husband. Whether we go out or do something at home, a time carved out for just the two of us to strengthen our marriage//
We celebrated our anniversary in early May and then J got to tag along to a conference in San Diego over Memorial Day. It was the first time in a long time we went on a trip just the two of us. We had so much fun and we'll definitely be doing it again soon. 

//Continue to create a budget each month and update the budget at least weekly//
Still creating a monthly budget, tracking our spending, and trying to set money aside for trips and upcoming house projects we want to do. 

//Create a house where stuff does not cause chaos. Each room will only have things we love and all of those things will have a place//
I've gotten into a routine where I go through and purge the house once a month getting rid of anything we've accumulated since the previous month that we don't want or need (I'm looking at you Happy Meal toys). I've also been working with the boys on picking up their room and the playroom before bed so it doesn't get out of control.

//Carve out a time each week to devote to all things Cortney & Co including publishing posts 4 times per week// 
New goal!

May Feelings: Excited, happy, refreshed

June Feelings: Busy, unmotivated, thankful
Monday, July 9, 2018

4th of July Weekend Recap

This year was one of my favorite 4th of Julys. I took off work Thursday and Friday so we had an extra long weekend. We got to spend lots of time with friends and family and it was really nice to be together without anything we had to do. 

To kick off the holiday I made a Tripple Berry Pie complete with hand cut stars which is why they look a little wonky. 

On the morning of the 4th we met my friend Melissa and her boys at our pool. 

After a quick lunch back at home, we headed over to my sister's pool for swim #2. 

Despite already swimming for 6 hours, the boys were excited to head to J's aunt's house for dinner, fireworks, and even more pool time.

On Thursday everyone pitched in and we did a little bit of cleaning before spending a few hours at the library playing. Our library has a pretty cool rock activity where you check out a special book with a rock attached and then hide the rock in the community. You then post a clue with a picture of the rock on Instagram and other kids try to find it. The boys have really gotten into it and while Jack was in the bathtub Thursday night someone posted a clue. They were so excited to find the rock that Jack jumped out of the bathtub and didn't even want to get dressed...we compromised on pjs :)

Friday night we surprised the boys with Go Karts and Mini Golf. The place where we went completely revamped their space and added the Go Karts this Summer. Ben was tall enough to drive his own car so he was in heaven. And despite Jack needing a par of 23 on most of the holes, it was a really great night as a family. The boys still talk about how much fun they had. 

Saturday night the boys stayed with my MIL and J and I did an escape room with some of our friends. We made it out with a minute to spare so basically I'm a detective now. 

For dinner last night I made this one skillet meal which turned out pretty good considering how easy it was to make. 

And now Monday is here. Have a great week! 

Linking up with Biana for Weekending. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Triple the Berries Berry Pie

Happy 4th of July! In case you need a last minute dessert I've got the perfect recipe for you. There's nothing more American than a homemade pie especially one with red, blue, and stars. 

Now I know what you may be thinking...I can't make a pie from scratch! Don't be intimated. This was the first pie I've ever made and I don't know why I waited so long. The most time consuming part was the crust but you could easily use a store bought one to make this even easier. I adapted this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction and if you're not following her blog you should be!

What You Need:

-2 pie crusts, one for the bottom & one for the top. I used this recipe but you could also use store bought
-3 cups blueberries
-2 cups strawberries
-1 cup blackberries 
-2/3 cup sugar
-1/4 cup cornstarch 
-1/4 tsp cinnamon 
-1 tbsp lemon juice 
-1 egg + 1 tbsp milk (for brushing)

What To Do:

1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees 
2. Prepare your crust or place one store bought crust in the bottom of a glass pie dish
3. For the top of the pie, cut out star shapes and set aside (I didn't have a star cookie cutter so I made mine by hand)
4. In a large bowl, combine berries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice
5. Pour the fruit mixture into the pie dish and top with star cut outs
6. Whisk egg and milk together then lightly brush on top of stars
7. Bake for 20 min then turn the oven temperature down to 350F degrees. DO NOT take the pie out of the oven. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. *If you notice your crust getting too brown, cover with foil or a pie crust shield 
8. Once the pie is cooked, remove from the oven and let sit for 2-3 hours before serving 

The pie filling can be made ahead of time, just make sure to drain off the excess liquid from the berries before filling the crust

Want to make this pie even when it's not 4th of July? Just change the top crust to whatever shape you like or do a traditional lattice top!
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

5 Summertime Must Read Thrillers

Winter forces us to stay inside and cozy up with a good book, but Summer gives us the perfect excuse to relax by the pool with all the books we never seem to get to. While I enjoy a light-hearted Summer read, there's nothing I love better than a good psychological thriller. These 5 books will draw you in and leave you unable to put them down.

The Killing Lessons by Saul Black

"When the two strangers turn up at Rowena Cooper's isolated Colorado farmhouse, she knows instantly that it's the end of everything. For the two haunted and driven men, on the other hand, it's just another stop on a long and bloody journey. But the murders at the Cooper farmhouse didn't quite go according to plan. There was a survivor, Rowena's ten-year-old daughter Nell, who now holds the key to the killings. Injured, half-frozen, terrified, Nell has only one place to go. And that place could be even more dangerous than what she's running from."
Random crimes are extra terrifying to me so this book really touched on my fears. I can't imagine what I would do in this situation or if I would have the strength Nell had. 

Shadows by John Saul

"They call it the Academy. A secluded, cliff-top mansion overlooking the rugged Pacific coast. A school for children gifted -- or cursed -- with extraordinary minds. Children soon to come under the influence of an intelligence even more brilliant than their own -- and unspeakably evil. For within this mind a dark plan is taking form. A plan so horrifying, no one will believe it. No one but the children. And for them it is already too late. Too late, unless one young student can resist the seductive invitation that will lead... into the "Shadows." 
To be honest, I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. The book was published in 1993 and is completely different than most of the books I've read. Although the story line is unusual, the story itself is brilliant, and the characters are very well developed. 

The Ghost Writer by Alessandra Torre

"Four years ago, I lied. I stood in front of the police, my friends and family, and made up a story, my best one yet. And all of them believed me. I wasn't surprised. Telling stories is what made me famous. Fifteen bestsellers. Millions of fans. Fame and fortune. Now, I have one last story to write. It'll be my best one yet, with a jaw-dropping twist that will leave them stunned and gasping for breath. They say that sticks and stones will break your bones, but this story? It will be the one that kills me."
The Ghost Writer is unique in that there is a book being written within the book. I wasn't sure how I would feel about this, but I ended up loving the way the story wove together. Throughout the book I found myself waffling between hating the main character and sympathizing with her, which I don't usually find myself doing. 

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

"On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the stunning and mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing very intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage that’s going stale and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. Ted and his wife were a mismatch from the start—he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché. But their game turns a little darker when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.” After all, some people are the kind worth killing, like a lying, stinking, cheating spouse. . . ."
This book came highly recommended by several friends so I knew I had to add it to my list. Besides being a page turner, I was surprised at how well the characters justified murder, almost convincing the reader it isn't really that bad. The ending was also jaw dropping and I found myself wanting more. 

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter 

"Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind. Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father, Pikeville's notorious defense attorney, devastated. Twenty-eight years later violence comes to Pikeville again and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized. Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case that unleashes the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried forever."
This was my favorite book of the bunch. It's not a quick read at 528 pages, but it is definitely worth it. The Good Daughter is everything you want in a thriller and will leave you trying to figure things out until the very end.