I’ll admit that when it comes to Christmas or Easter, it is hard for me to be still and get in the mindset for truly celebrating each.

The kids woke up at 6:45 this morning while I was still in a sleep coma. Shortly after stumbling into the kitchen, I was standing at the sink wondering what to make for breakfast and if I would have enough time, worried about getting the kids dressed and presentable for church on time, and I honestly had no clue what dress I was going to wear or be able to fit in from last year. I was standing there at the kitchen window, wondering if I had enough time to do it all. And then I looked up.

There, at the top of the pine tree, was my gift of grace from my Savior.

A display of crosses in the first light of morning.

As I looked at the reminder of the cross, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “I did it for you.” And what was one of the first points our preacher talked about this morning? Jesus did not die on the cross for himself. He did it for me. And for you. And only by faith in Him and His love for us, can we be saved.

Thank you precious Lord for that reminder. All I needed to do was look up towards you.

I did end up cooking breakfast. Biscuits made from scratch, sausage gravy, and fresh scrambled eggs.
These eggs were given to us by a friend, and how appropriate to have a reminder of the new life we have in Jesus!

And despite taking the time to make breakfast (which I hardly do anymore), we were able to get to church dressed and on time!

After church we went to the in-laws’ house for lunch. While walking around their backyard with my camera in hand, I was able to snap this picture of blue bird eggs. Waiting to hatch. Waiting for their new life.

Thank you Jesus for the reminders you sent my way today about the new life that we have in you, through your love for us and sacrifice on the cross!

It’s Easter week, and I wanted to make something with the kids to signify the real meaning of Easter. I didn’t want to glue cotton balls onto paper rabbits or dye eggs, but to make something to signify the greatest event in human history.

Lil’ bit made an Easter garden at Sunday School a couple of Sundays ago, and I thought it would be great to have one of our own!

You start off with a shallow planting pot, some potting soil, and a smaller pot for your tomb.
You’ll put the soil around the top and sides of the smaller pot.

Since she had made one at church already, she was showing me how to do it.


Then you can add some small plants around the sides. I chose succulents because they were small and funky.


We chose to cover our soil with moss, but I’ve seen other Easter gardens where you plant fast growing grass seed and watch the grass grow over Easter week.


Next you need to make your crosses. The kids found small twigs in the yard, and I bound them together using rope twine.


Next we added stones leading out from the tomb.


Our finished garden!
My favorite thing about it is the shadow that falls across the empty tomb.


“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” Matthew 28:6

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17


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Let me start off by saying you have to try this recipe. It is simple, easy and will make you think, “Did I just make this?!”

My husband is not much of a fan for baked chicken, but this recipe is a keeper.
And I think to date, this is the only baked chicken recipe he has given two thumbs up for!

I love that it looks fancy, but really is a cinch to put together.


You’ll marinade strips of chicken and place the stuffing ingredients in the center. Then you’ll roll the chicken up, wrap a piece of bacon around and secure with a toothpick.


Place the chicken rolls in a baking dish and pour the remaining marinade over the rolls.


Bake for 20 minutes and that’s it!


I served mine with rosemary roasted red potatoes and sauteed thin beans.


Rosemary & Date Stuffed Chicken
Such an easy recipe that is bursting with flavor.
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  1. 1lb chicken breast, cut into strips
  2. 6 slices of bacon
  3. toothpicks
  4. salt & pepper, to taste
  5. 2 Tbs olive oil
  1. 1/2 C coconut aminos (in organic section of store - similar to soy sauce)
  2. 2 Tbl balsamic vinegar
  3. 2 Tbl honey
  4. 2 Tbl dijon mustard
  1. 4-6 jumbo dates
  2. 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  3. 1 pkg cream cheese
  4. few sprigs of rosemary
  1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a large zip-lock bag
  2. Cut the chicken into 2 inch wide strips, then pound out until they are about 3/4" thick
  3. Add the chicken to the zip lock bag and let marinade for at least an hour in the fridge
  4. While chicken is marinading, prepare the stuffing ingredients
  5. Cut the dates in half length-wise
  6. Spoon 1 tsp of cream cheese onto each slice of date
  7. Cut the bell pepper into slices, and sauté in in olive oil until tender
  8. Cut bacon strips in half
  9. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  10. Once all stuffing ingredients are prepared, take out the chicken and lay flat **KEEP THE MARINADE**
  11. Place stuffing ingredients in the center of a strip of chicken then roll up and wrap a piece of bacon around the outside of the chicken. Secure with a toothpick at the top
  12. Place the chicken roll-ups on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  13. Spoon the remainder of your marinade over the wraps.
  14. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  15. Turn on the broiler for the last few minutes to get bacon crispy.
  16. After removing the wraps from the oven, spoon the drippings from the bottom of your pan over each wrap.
  17. Enjoy!
the Sparrow's Nest
  • Stacie Yount - That sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Brook burnham - This recipe is DELISH :). Sooo good!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa McCarty - I am definitely going to try this recipe. And soon! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

I’ve recently made butter pecan cupcakes and cake with salted caramel icing for my bunko group and a church fundraiser. I’m now known in my church as, “Hey, aren’t you the one that made that caramel cake?”

We’re going to start off with the recipe for the salted caramel icing by making a caramel sauce.

Put 1 Cup of sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisking as it starts to melt. Sometimes my sugar will melt smoothly, sometimes it will form clumps. (I have an electric stovetop from 1989 that is completely unpredictable. Don’t be jealous.)
If it forms clumps, it’s OK. They will melt back down.


Once the sugar melts, it will turn a pretty amber color. Now, don’t let it turn brown. Because by then it will be burnt. 
Once it reaches a light amber color (think the color of a camel or wooden spoon), stir in the butter. It will sizzle and bubble up, but just keep stirring!


Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream.


Stir until the caramel sauce is smooth and whisk in the kosher salt.

You’ll now need to let it cool…. and you will undoubtedly stick your finger in it to taste. Several times.
I don’t judge.


Now, you’re going to use 1/2 C of this sauce for the icing. But, you’ll have a little leftover also. You can use this sauce to drizzle over ice cream, to make caramel ice cream (my fave), dip apples in, or just your fingers!

I don’t judge.

So while our sauce is cooling, we’ll start on the cake.


Yes. Yes, I know. It’s from a box. (Hanging my head in shame). But, it’s really good and is always moist, OK? When I first made these cupcakes, I was short on time, and grabbed the mix from the store. Thumbs up for Betty Crocker!
(One day I may try to make a butter pecan cake from scratch, but not today.)

To keep the cake from sticking to your pans, you’ll want to line the bottom of them with wax paper. I measure out a circle from the pan to cut out and place in the bottom. You’ll spray the pan with PAM and then place your circle of wax paper on the bottom, and then spray it again.

IMG_8817_blog IMG_8824_blog

Follow the directions on the box to mix the batter and stick the pans in the oven.

While the cakes are baking, start on the caramel icing.

In a stand mixer, put in 1 C of butter and 8oz of cream cheese, both at room temperature and beat until smooth (about 4-5 minutes).
Then you’ll add in 1/2 C of the caramel sauce and beat until creamy.


Turn the mixer down to the lowest setting and mix in 4 C of powdered sugar, a little at a time, until fully incorporated.
I made the mistake once of putting in the powdered sugar at too high a speed, and instead of turning the mixer down, I turned it up.
Sugar. Went. Everywhere.
Every. Where.

Taste the icing. If it’s a tad too sweet, add 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and mix well. (I usually always do this.)

Once your cakes are done, let them completely cool on a wire rack.


Once your cakes have cooled, run a knife around the edge and then turn the cakes over to release them from the pan. The wax paper should peel right off.


Now it’s time to ice this cake! Spread some icing over the bottom layer and then drizzle on some of the extra caramel sauce before placing the other cake layer on top.


I didn’t use a piping bag for this cake. Just slathered on the icing, drizzled some of the extra caramel on top (place a little caramel in a ziploc bag and snip the corner of the bag to drizzle) and topped with toasted pecans.

Elegant, yet so easy.


These also make great cupcakes!


Recipe is below. Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Icing
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Salted Caramel Sauce
  1. 1 C sugar
  2. 6 Tbl unsalted butter, room temp.
  3. 1/2 C heavy cream
  4. 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  1. 1/2 C salted caramel sauce
  2. 1 C unsalted butter, room temp.
  3. 8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
  4. 4 C powdered sugar
  5. 1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the Caramel Sauce
  1. Put the sugar in an even layer in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisking as it starts to melt. If your sugar starts to clumb, it's OK. The clumps will eventually melt back down.
  2. Once it reaches a light amber color (think the color of a camel or wooden spoon), stir in the butter until fully incorporated.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream.
  4. Stir until the caramel sauce is smooth and whisk in the kosher salt.
  5. Transfer to a glass jar and let cool.
For the Icing
  1. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. (About 3-4 minutes)
  2. Pour in the salted caramel sauce and beat until creamy.
  3. Turn the mixer down to the lowest setting and mix in 4 C of powdered sugar, a little at a time, until fully incorporated.
  4. Sprinkle in a pinch of kosher salt and mix for at least another 30 seconds.
  5. Enjoy!
the Sparrow's Nest

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