Orange & Chocolate Biscotti Bites at Home

biscotti bites




Our whole family has been smitten by these amazing little bites of goodness once again! And for our whole family to like them so much means they are definitely winners~at least for us! Husband has certain criteria for baked goods, I have my dreams of something that tastes great, has good texture, and isn’t too detrimental to the health or waistlines of my clan! At the rate the cookies jar is emptying, I know that all six of us are enjoying them!

1 1/4 cups flour {can use white, almond, einkorn …or a mixture of two or three flours for best results}
1 1/4 cups organic corn meal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon course salt
3/4 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar {raw, turbinado or coconut sugar gets used in my house}
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut {I use unsweetened}
2 Tablespoons finely grated orange zest {from 2 or 3 oranges}
11 ounces bittersweet chocolate, drops or finely chopped
Sanding sugar {optional}

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Whisk together flours, cornmeal, baking power, and salt.

2. Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add sugar, and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until well combined. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Then beat in coconut and orange zest, and 5 ounces of the chocolate until evenly distributed.

3. Drop heaping teaspoons {I use my Pampered Chef Tablespoon scoop}, spaced one inch apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle tops with sanding sugar if desired. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

4. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden, 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheets on wire racks.

5. Melt remaining chocolate, dip bottoms of cooled cookies i melted chocolate ,scrape off excess against rim of bowl, and set on parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate till chocolate is set. About 30 minutes.

*TIPS* When experimenting with flours besides regular white flour, I find that it’s best to err on the side of a little less. You want the biscotti dough to be a little sticky~not too dry~ as it effects the chewy texture in the end! In past years, we have definitely done the chocolate dipping, but this week, we left them plain (just added a little more of the stevia sweetened chocolate chips right into the dough and skipped the dipping). This happened by “accident” because I ran out of chocolate, but husband prefers them like this for dipping with his morning coffee AND it’s less messy for kiddos. But the chocolate dipped are definitely pretty and extra special!! Enjoy!!

Oh, and what do you know. Seems that we really *do* love these. I blogged about them once before HERE ! :) biscotti-bites-225x300


Our Office & School “Work Room”

Welcome to this lovely space we have been completely and thoroughly enjoying
for just one week~my office and the children’s space for lots of book-learning!


It was never supposed to be a “makeover” . . . we’ve only lived here in our new home for three years!!
The plan and the dream was to have a highly functioning and beautiful room for my workspace,
and a place where the children could learn and craft,
and where we could read comfortably together for hours!

But we moved into our house with a few unfinished projects (doesn’t everyone do that!?),
life keeps moving along, other projects come first, money runs low,
and before you know it, nearly three years have passed you by!
So now, it truly feels like a makeover! A huge, amazing “before & after”.



I cannot even tell you the level of frustration I felt from time to time . . .
trying to do our school years without so much as a bookshelf or a cabinet for supplies.
We improvised with many baskets on top of the piano, under the table. . .
But with a toddler in the house getting into everything within reach,
our baskets were more often than not in a state of chaos too!

Shortly after we moved into our home, I did ask Amy Weaver from Amy Weaver Designs
to add a bit of beauty to the three big bare walls in the room.
I have long admired her talents and beautiful home,
and I had also asked her advice on pain colors for several rooms in our house while we were building.
The budget I gave her was *so* small, but the touches she put into the room were lovely
and served to make a more homey space for a little over 2 years.
(You can see all of those before/after pictures HERE)

Amy’s touches to our walls made the room a little more cozy and homey,
but as she mentioned in her blog post, the room was still in need of furniture and storage.

Shortly after Amy’s redo of the room, I moved the black bookshelf to the basement since we needed a shelf down there
and I didn’t really feel it was doing much to help the looks or function of the room.
Earlier this year I added this big canvas cloth that I really like to both beautify
and try to distract from all the clutter on and around my desk. Ha!
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the world’s neatest person, but seriously,!!!
So, yes, I was constantly trying to improve and brainstorm on what could help us out . . .
knowing that “one day soon” we’d do the real deal and if I could just hang in there . . .  :)

So, earlier this year when I saw that a local couple whose home I have long admired
was beginning their own business  “JKS & CO” . . . . creating “indoor and outdoor dream living spaces”,
I filled out an application on their website immediately!

They came out one evening to look at the room and discuss ideas.
They gave us an estimate for the job a little over a week later, and things became official. :)
Jake & Janelle were great to work with! Very sensitive to any wishes and ideas we had in mind,
but also very capable to being able to visualize exactly what would make the room fully functional, and of course beautiful.

I knew things were going to be grand the moment she looked at one corner of the room and said,
“And here I’m seeing a ‘Mother’s corner’ with a chair and reading light”.

She also mentioned a sofa on one side of the room where we could do our reading together.
Yes, yes!! This was exactly the woman I wanted to be “seeing” what could be . . .
For the past three years we would carry our piles of books around to the living room for reading,
and then drag the books and ourselves back to the school table to complete assignments.
It worked. But I *dreamt* of a comfy space to read *in* the school room!

Janelle then created a private Pinterest board where I could see the ideas and items she was gathering for the room.
To be honest, I looked at the board twice before “makeover” day.
I just knew that whatever she was going to put together, I was going to LOVE!
I had been in their home a couple of times and absolutely loved the layers,
and the textures, soft lighting and gallery walls.

So, the first change that happened a few days prior to the complete makeover,
was the changing out of this window for a set of patio doors.
The window had been a bit of a mistake from day one ~ it was too high for kids to see out of.
Plus, after we built the porch in the back, we realized it would be great
to have a door opening to the porch from this room.

Huge improvment!! I’m so excited for this one change alone.
It opens up the space a lot and seems like it will be a great place to “shoo” children out for recess. 😀

And then comes the “Big Reveal” of all the wonderful changes that happened to this room in ONE DAY!!
Jake and Janelle arrived at 8:00 last Saturday morning, and along with their cabinet installers,
electrical work done by Phil, and the counter top guy, they were completely finished with this room by 6:00 that night!

This was my first glimpse . . . and it’s the view I have from my kitchen when I look over towards this room.
It beckons me to come in!

This is also the view from the door. A big comfy couch and gallery wall with light streaming in . . .

The baskets tucked in the corner for Olivia’s books and toys!

There was just *so* much to take in.
If truth be told, I sat around for the first few days just *staring* at the beauty . . .
and the amazing transformation from a frustrating space that wasn’t working for us . . .
to a completely gorgeous space that can handle all our books and “stuff” and hard work!!
My heart is completely amazed and grateful. *So* grateful.

The Mother’s Corner!!
Complete with a basket for my own books that I’m currently reading, a comfy chair and blanket,
a soft reading light, and touches of Paris incorporated as well which is a story in itself!



For the past year or so I have been enjoying reading French Cookbooks and trying my hand at the recipes.
This has led to a few movies, blogs, and more that have delved a little more into French culture and food. Yum!
But literally, on the evening that Jake & Janelle were finishing up this space,
our family headed out the door to attend a little dessert night with friends
and a family who has been living in Paris for the past several years
for the express purpose of spreading the Gospel there.
It was an absolute delight to meet them and hear how God is moving in Paris!
The people groups represented there and the “crossroads” that it has become in our world
makes it an amazing place to reach nations for Christ.

As our new friend so aptly stated,
“Paris is a great place to visit until you start sharing the Gospel . . .
then the fangs come out.”
And that’s probably true in any place of the world.
Our enemy is alive, but knows his days are numbered.
Christ is the Answer to the sin and depravity of man . . .
It’s our honor and privilege to me the message bearers of that Good News!!

Oh, and I love the way they do evangelism there.
He said the people love to eat and party,
so he and his team decided that they wanted to be known in Paris
as the people who throw the best parties!!
People come for the food and the fellowship, but leave with knowledge of Jesus.
So much more I could tell . . . but all of this to say that when I came home . . .
back to my “mother’s corner” and saw that Eiffel Tower,
I knew that this was more than a pretty picture,
more than just a place I want to visit one day,
more than just a symbol of a country whose food I like to (try) to cook,
but a beautiful, constant reminder of a place that needs Jesus.
It’s my reminder to pray and ask the Lord of the Harvest
to send forth laborers into His Paris harvest field.

This is the view as you walk in from the porch through the patio door.

So much excitement over that desk and storage space! A sigh of relief, really!!
And the details are mind-blowing! The printer is hidden away in one of those drawers,
The outlet for the computer with USB plugs included at just the right spot
so that my OCD brain doesn’t have to see cords hanging in terrible places,
and then the undercounter lighting installed by my man,
as well as the beautiful carrara marble he chose for the counters.
It’s absolutely beautiful!


My office chair!

The details Janelle incorporated into the decor were enough to make me teary-eyed!
She printed pictures from my instagram/facebook and framed them.
She framed a quote that I recently mentioned that I had loved.
I mean everything was so personal and lovely! A delicious work space!!
And just in case all of that wasn’t enough, she placed a bouquet of roses, a burning candle,
a mug, lotion, and a note of blessing there on the edge of the desk  . . .
I was speechless, really!



And then there’s the children’s side of the room!
A corner closet, plenty of shelving, a personal desk space complete with cork board and a pull out drawer.
JKS & CO even placed a nameplate at each spot, designed by a young lady
who took several descriptive words I had given Janelle about each of them,
and literally you can *see* the personality or interests of the child through her drawings!!


The children have been diligently working in their workbooks
or just sitting here to doodle and read. They LOVE their space!


In the center of the room is this large farm table and benches . . . a perfect place to craft or do an activity together.

That gallery wall over there on the far wall is one of those things
I feel Janelle was first “famous” for in my mind. :)
I saw how she did them so well in her own home
and have begun to group these “collogues” around my home too.
I really appreciate the fact that she incorporated the things
that I still had in the room from when Amy had been here:
the chalkboard, the magazine rack, the “READ” letters (on the shelf) . . .
and that “N” was a gift from my friend Clarita
just several days earlier for my birthday!
It fits into the room and the wall perfectly!
The empty frames were thoughtfully incorporated
and are waiting to be filled with our next family photos.

OH! And another really neat “coming together” of this room is
that “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm & secure” sign.
It comes from Amy’s sign shop. I *love* her signs and have another one in our home as well.
I think it’s so fitting that the two women who have blessed this room
with their gifts and abilities at separate times,
actually have an agreement to place one of Amy’s signs in every home
where JKS & CO do renovations & decor work!


And that pretty much wraps up this little post!
I know some may wonder where the items come from.
And the great part is, I don’t really know!
JKS & CO had that all under control! 😀

I realize more and more how much I *don’t* enjoy shopping . . .
and one of the wonderful aspects of this room makeover is that I did not shop!!
I didn’t have to look around, spend hours driving or browsing
or debating back and forth over style or price tag, or even carry it home!!

It was all taken care of by a very talented, gifted couple
while I was doing things I do enjoy, like being with my family,
cooking or canning, or working the home business.
That’s a really great tradeoff in my opinion!!

Meanwhile, they were working “behind the scenes” and on a certain day,
last Saturday, they arrived, installed everything, and it was DONE!
What a great feeling! 😀

{{I do know that the built-ins were done by guys they called “Dave & Preston” . . . .
the chandelier and sofa came from Ballard Designs,
the farm table and benches were built by a local Amish man,
the blue carpet from,
and most of the frames, art, clocks, baskets, etc
came from HomeGoods, a few from Pottery Barn,
and others from Target’s Threshold line.}}

Thanks for stopping by for a look!
It’s been a pleasure to share this lovely space with you.
No one is probably more shocked than I that a room could go from
pretty terrible and frustrating to so beautiful and yet fully functional in less than a day!!
I’m so grateful for this space that we will use well in days to come!

shellycFrom this . . . (2012)
shelly1to this (2013)


to this! (2015)


My Not-So-Secret Love for a Little Pink Drink {plus a special offer extended through Monday!!}

It’s coming up to the two year mark since I was first introduced to “Plexus Slim” by my herbalist friend, Shoshanna Easling. The name “Slim” caught my attention since I was a little over half way through my 4th pregnancy and knew that, as with my other pregnancies, I would be needing to “slim down” after the baby was born. But as I continued to read about the product, the ingredients, and the testimonies surrounding this product, I realized that it was something I wanted to try immediately


I was reading in the testimonies about over-all improved health because of balanced blood sugar . . . and it made sense to me as I had also been doing a *lot* of reading about the effects of diet and how the foods we eat effect our blood sugar levels, and therefore our health. Insulin in the master hormone in the body and speaks to all the other hormones, so it only makes sense that blood sugar balance usually begins a healthy snowball effect in the body! I learned that the ingredients in the product with safe and effective and giving great results for people in both health and weight loss!


We were traveling home from attending my brother’s wedding in Canada that weekend and I couldn’t wait to get home to place my first order, so I didn’t. I placed it that night in the hotel somewhere in Southbend, Indiana. :) And then waited impatiently for my first order to arrive.


The first thing that surprised me was the taste!! It tasted so GOOD!! I’ve been around the block a few times with health products and it’s been my experience that most of them taste . . . gross, or green, or worse yet, “chalky”. But this PINK DRINK tasted wonderful to me!! Sometimes I forget that basic fact, but it’s something I love about the Slim because the chances of someone staying consistent with a drink that actually *tastes* good are far better than something they have to choke down.

And secondly, I noticed results. Without going into the whole back story, let’s just say that several close pregnancies, including a miscarriage had left me feeling tired and overwhelmed, terrible hair and nails, lack of energy and motivation for anything! As I mentioned, I was currently in my 4th pregnancy and experiencing pretty severe muscle acches and joint pain, sleeplessness due to discomfort, naps felt like a daily necessity . . . and I thought this was normal!

I couldn’t believev how quickly some of those things changed! Better sleep, decreased brain fog, better energy, and the joint and muscles pain that I thought I would have to endure for another 15 weeks~was gone! I lost just a couple of pounds (I was pregnant, remember), but I lost a LOT of puffiness! I gained energy and was truly amazed (as was my Phil) at how I was able to walk, work, and be active in daily life right up to the last several weeks before delievery~all without pain and “adjusting” my body whenever I got out of bed or a chair.


I began excitedly telling other friends of mine about Plexus Slim. Some were “crunchy” moms . . . some weren’t. Some really needed to hear about Slim . . . and for others, I knew that *they* knew people who should hear about it! And as my sister, a friend, and others across the country reported back on their health improvements, my excitement only grew!

You see, I’m one of those who has “done it all” as far a health goes. I’ve eaten gross stuff, swallowed chalky stuff, slugged down green powdery mixtures and more! Because I knew it was good for me and would do my body good. Some of it did wonders, other things, not so much. But the thing that I loved from DAY ONE and have CONTINUED TO LOVE about all of my Plexus Products, starting with Plexus Slim, is the SIMPLICITY and GREAT TASTE!

Through the years it was hard for me to be faithful with any health regimen for any length of time because it was . . . . well, less than pleasant and oftentimes, complicated. AND furthermore, I knew I’d never be able to convince most other people to take things that were complicated and tasted gross. But with great-tasting Slim (I’m getting thirsty for it just thinking and writing about it), and the easy-to-swallow capusles I feet confident that the pleasant taste and simple routine are something most people with any interest at all in their health can handle! I mean really, my kiddos BEG for it!


So, all of that to say, the products were working and a long-time dream of mine to help people find simple, doable answers were happening before my very eyes! (Since those first days I learned and experienced that most people experience the best results when taking the three products, Slim, ProBio5 and BioCleanse, known as the Tri-Plex as these three together help to control blood sugar, fight yeast, cleanse and detox the body.) And while that was going on, another prayer of mine was also being answered: the desire to be able to make a little extra income from home in order to support a few dreams and desires that I believed God had placed in my heart.

So, from that was birthed my second passion in this business and that was to help other people and moms similar to my situation in life, especially, to be able to learn what I had learned and to see them be profitable in supporting their families and the dreams God has placed in their hearts.

That’s the {short}story up to now! But it keeps growing every day as I talk to people and hear from friends as they express their gratefulness to the Lord for allowing them to have the energy to live life fully engaged with their children and families as a result of a healthier body!

I was talking to my friend Krystal from my hometown on the phone several days ago about the difference “the pink drink” has made in her health, and consequently, her LIFE! She used to tell people that her favorite pastime was sleeping, which doesn’t work out too well when you are a homeschool mom of four! The thought of adding anything new to her life or schedule was completely overwhelming before but she said she feels she can handle things with much more peace now. Her energy is better, brain fog gone, fybro pain gone, monthly cycle pain is gone and emotions are much more steady. This is just *one* of my friends. Just *one* story. But I absolutely love the difference that this tool for good health is making in the lives of people I care about.

Signs you are Suffering from Toxicity

So I’m just curious . . . . WHO do you know who could benefit from trying Plexus? I bless the day someone took the time to tell me . . . and I know many of my friends and family members are grateful to me for telling them as well. So, who do YOU know??


If you’ve been on the fence about trying the products at wholesale or looking for a way to make extra money from home while helping others get healthy, this weekend’s special is for you! And today is the LAST day for this deal! An entire year of getting your products at wholesale for only $17.76.  Go to OUR PLEXUS WEBSITE. Click Join, friends. And give me a call with any questions! There’s no trick!


Each new ambassador that signs up will receive their first year of annual web hosting and wholesale membership for just $17.76.
*Offer good through July 5th*. This AMAZING OFFER has been extended through today!! Contact me or go to Our Plexus WEBSITE.

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