Renovation Progress

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Okay! So this whole “design blogging ” thing has me so excited! So let’s get to my official first blog post as The Youthful Home!

Since purchasing our home, we’ve tackled a handful of projects. And assuredly, will continue to do so. The list never seems to end haha. But, I wanted to share with you all the initial updates we made to the house before we moved in!!

For starters, huge thank you to my dad and Billy’s dad, and his brother for all their help! We couldn’t have done it without them.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal

Literally the day after we bought the house, Billy started removing the popcorn ceiling. He simply sprayed the ceiling with water and then scraped away! (Note: Some homes have asbestos in their popcorn ceilings and must be removed by professionals.) I was so impressed he knew how to do that! Removing the popcorn ceiling really brightened the rooms.

Ceiling Texture

We hired someone to texture the ceilings and it turned out so nicely! Really updated the home.

Interior Paint

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Okay, if you’ve ever tried to choose a white paint color, you know how confusing this can be. There are SO MANY WHITES. Like, what?! Each shade has a slightly different hue. My greatest concern was choosing a white that would come off cold. Well, somehow I picked the most beautiful warm, milky white on the first try! It’s called “Whisper White” by Behr. Amazing you guys. We had Sherwin Williams color match it because we have a connection there thanks to a kind friend. ūüôā

For the ceiling, we just did the standard ceiling white and it turned out great! Love the subtle contrast between the ceiling and the walls

Billy and his dad used a paint sprayer to paint everything. This made the process so much faster.

Floors

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Billy ripped up all the nasty, stained carpet. It was in terrible condition. Like, you wouldn’t want to walk on it barefoot. lol. ¬†Which is kind of important in a home.

Then, we hired someone to install our Coretec Luxury Vinyl Planks.  They are 100% waterproof, which is really important for Florida humidity. We chose medium, warm brown with neutral undertones.  I really like how wide the planks are and how much it looks like real wood!

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Now, all the hard labor is complete and we’re moved in and making it home! ¬†We are taking it one project at at time. ¬†I can’t wait to take ya’ll along for the ride.

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Working From Home

About 6 months ago, Billy and I moved about an hour away from our hometown due to his job relocating. It doesn’t sound too far, but it’s far enough to change life up a little bit. It’s crazy how different this area is–we went from hustle and bustle, to cows in our neighborhood. And I honestly love it.

One of the changes that came with moving, was finding a job. A job that I enjoyed and looked forward to. I found a listing online for an online job, and it had my name written all over it.

After a couple weeks of interviews and training, I was hired by a company called Qkids! I am an online ESL teacher to children in China. Basically, I teach English to adorable kids each morning through a computer software program. It’s pretty much the happiest way to start my day!

Interested in possibly working for Qkids? Keep reading…

Why I Love It:

  • I get to choose the amount of hours I want to take on. The flexibility is so nice.
  • I totally work in pajama bottoms. (That’s just our little secret, okay?)
  • It pays well!
  • I make money from within my home. On my sofa. How legit is that?
  • It is such a rewarding experience interacting with children across the globe! They make me laugh and smile. It’s so fun to learn about them and what they like, their hobbies, favorite foods. My heart melts just about every morning.
  • Working from home frees up my time to do what I love: blogging and being a homemaker.

Qualifications:

  • Native fluency of English
  • Live in the U.S. or Canada with strong internet connection. The upload speed should be at least 2mb/s, and the download speed should be at least 10mb/s.
  • Have a degree or are currently enrolled in college
  • Prior teaching experience preferred
  • Outgoing personality
  • Digital literacy
  • Availability to work at least 6 hours a week

What It’s Like:

  • Each class is 30 minutes long.
  • Children are 5-12 years old and you will have 1 to 6 kids per class.
  • You don’t need to speak Chinese. The program uses animation, games, and virtual flash cards to help you guide the students. It’s really quite fun!
  • I work every weekday morning. And then I’m done for the day! My schedule is open for all the cooking, cleaning, reading, and Netflix my little heart desires!

Does this sound like something that would suit your lifestyle? If you’re interested, please contact me via the contact page, comment below, or DM me on my Instagram! I’d be happy to give you more information and to referyou!

This is honestly the best job I’ve ever had. It has been such a blessing to work from home, have a flexible schedule, and have a home cooked meal on the table when Billy gets home! Very much so an answer to prayer. I’d love to help you if this job sounds like a good fit for you!

Three Years

View More: http://sgamblephoto.pass.us/billyandjulia

:: Written for Bill-Bill ::

I remember our wedding day so vividly. Weeks. No, months in advance I was so worried it would rain. (Our wedding was completely outdoors.) I literally looked up the weather probably two months in advance, and kept doing so til our day arrived. lol. God blessed us with the most beautiful spring day I’d ever seen. The sun sparkled over the bay, there was a gorgeous breeze, and I had never felt to peaceful and excited my entire life.

I remember excitedly peeking out of the window of my dressing room, watching the staff decorate the tables. I remember walking down the aisle to the theme from Anne of Green Gables.  I remember his face, filled with tears, as I walked towards him. I remember our friends and family laying hands on us.

I remember the happiest moment we both realized–we’re married.

The dance floor was full the entire night, and it was on our wedding day Billy realized his mad dance skills. lol.

It’s been three years since that day. ¬†The crazy thing is– I love him even more now. I’m so thankful to the Lord. The best part is– I know I’ll only keep loving him more.

Here is our beautiful wedding video.  Pull up a chair and welcome to our wedding day.

I love you, Bill-Bill. Thank you for the three best years of my life. Here’s to forever more.

Love,

Jules

View More: http://sgamblephoto.pass.us/billyandjulia

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How You Know You Met “The One”

Perched on my couch, I write to you with tea in hand and a smile upon my face. This post is written in honor of Billy and I’s upcoming 3 year wedding anniversary. Mmmm God is so good. He’s blessed me so beyond what I deserve. I will forever thank the Lord for the man that He has given me.


Talking about love and marriage always inspires me to share the wisdom I have gained through the years.  Finding the one looks different for everyone.  Everyone traverses a different path. A different distance. A unique journey. But God is near and He wants you to trust Him.

I believe we all desire love. ¬†Many people desire a forever love. A spouse. I believe God put that desire in us. It’s a good desire. ¬†It is from Him. Trust Him, follow Him, serve Him, and KNOW that He will provide.

Finding the one seems like a mystery. Until you meet the one. haha. I know it’s cliche, but the saying is true–When ya know, ya know. But, hindsight is 20/20. So here’s my insight on how you know you met the one.

  1. You can be yourself.

I remember when I first met Billy. One of the things I kept saying to myself was, “Wow, I can be my complete self around him.” It was astounding. Like nothing I had ever experienced before. I didn’t have to tame my silly side. He liked me. For me. My goofy, happy, loud-laughed, music-loving self. We were able to really embrace who we were. ¬†There were no fronts. No performances. Just us. And that is SO important.

2. You have the same values.

I remember when Billy first told me he liked me, we were sitting on the beach at John’s Pass. ¬†We realized our time together was headed towards relationship. ¬†Billy asked, “Can I pray for us?” That’s when I knew, this was different. ¬†This was something beautiful.

I can’t stress this one enough. You can have different hobbies. You can have the same hobbies. That really doesn’t matter, as long as you support each other. ¬†What matters is that your values and beliefs, are the same. ¬†Billy and I are both Christians. ¬†We believe that we are sinners (duh, we’ve all done crap), that the payment for sin is death, that Jesus paid that price for us on the cross, and conquered death 3 days later so we can go to heaven when we die. Billy and I have a relationship with each other, but first we have a relationship with GOD. If your values are not the same, the relationship is not worth pursuing.

3. There is so much peace.

I am a firm believer that God reveals His will for us through His peace.  I had never experienced such peace in my entire life.  There was no turmoil.  No constant battle.  Just peace.  It felt right.  It felt good.

4. Everything is simple.

Now, life isn’t always simple, but we humans tend to overcomplicate things. ¬†A right relationship shouldn’t feel like constant tug of war. ¬†This goes back to there being peace.

When Billy and I were dating, we typically drank tea and watched movies when he would come over. One day he told me the moment he knew we were going to get married. “We were drinking tea, and it was the happiest, yet simplest moment of my life. I knew I wanted to drink tea with you forever.”

Being with the one isn’t about some over-planned, highly orchestrated moment. It’s about simple, real, life moments.


I hope you enjoyed my little nuggets of wisdom.  Most importantly, remember the One who loves you more than any human ever could. So much so, that He died for you.

Psalm 143:8: ‚ÄúLet the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”

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5 Ingredient Granola Recipe

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There is something so gratifying about making homemade granola.  It makes you feel like some sort of amazing cook, but in all honesty, this is so simple to make.  Not to mention, the aroma that will fill your kitchen! Think:: toasted oats coated in cinnamon and honey. So. Good.

I recently started enjoying greek yogurt as a daily snack. ¬†(My personal favorite is Fage.) I can’t get enough of its creamy, thick texture. Topped with fresh strawberries, granola, chocolate chunks, and honey–it’s the perfect healthy breakfast. Or dessert.

Yet, store-bought granola can be so pricey. And some contain questionable ingredients. ¬†So began my quest to make simple, clean granola. ¬†After a few tries, I finally settled on the perfect recipe. ¬†And I’m sharing it with all of you!

The best part is–this granola only requires 5 ingredients. ¬†Chances are, they are in your pantry right now! I love saving money wherever I can, and this recipe is the perfect solution to my granola addiction.

Here are ways to enjoy your homemade granola:

  • Topped on plain greek yogurt with fruit and honey
  • As a quick snack to munch on (Billy loves to grab the jar of granola from our pantry after work.)
  • On top of vanilla ice-cream
  • With a splash of milk (kind of like cereal)

5 Ingredient Granola Recipe

  • Servings: 1 1/2 Cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of old fashioned oats

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Add the oats to the mixture and thoroughly combine.
  3. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Spread oats in an even layer across the cookie sheet. Pack down slightly if you want more granola clusters.
  5. Bake at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Stir at 15 minutes to prevent the granola from burning.
  6. During the last half of the cook time, check often. Granola can burn easily. ¬†If you’re not sure if it’s done but it looks done, it probably is! Granola will continue to cook a little when you take it out of the oven and will continue to harden and crisp up.
  7. Enjoy! You can add dried fruit once it is out of the oven.

Note:

If you want more granola clusters, don’t stir immediately after taking out of the oven. ¬†This will allow the clusters to form and bind.

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I hope you enjoy this highly requested recipe! It is a new weekly obsession of mine. If you make it, comment below! I’d love to hear all about it.

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2 Things We’ve Learned in 2 Years of Marriage


I am very excited about this blog post for a couple of reasons. For starters, this post is in honor of my two year anniversary with my husband! That’s right! As of March 15, we’ve been husband and wife for two years! I love that. I can finally say¬†years.¬†haha. Secondly, throughout this post I am sharing a selection of our anniversary photoshoot pictures! They were taken by our lovely wedding photographer, Stephanie Gamble. She has become a dear friend of ours, and is truly a remarkable person. So much love for her. Lastly, my husband Billy will be a guest writer in this post, as we both share 2 things we’ve learned in 2 years of marriage! This is sure to be a treat!


~2 Things¬†I’ve¬†Learned~

Obviously, in marriage every day offers some sort of lesson to be learned. I’ve learned¬†many¬†things in the past couple of years. However, I decided to narrow it down to two.

1. Be joy to each other.

I say this time and time again. Life is too stinkin’ hard to be another source of pain to your spouse. Stuff happens in life. Hard stuff. Stress. Jobs. Finances. Kids. Sickness. Grief. Depression. You name it. The last thing we all need is to top off all that stress with being bitter, rude, mean, insensitive, or even just absent in your spouse’s life. No one’s perfect, but honestly if you try to make this a goal in your marriage, it will have a beautiful effect.

Throughout the day, Billy and I send each other sweet, encouraging texts. Sometimes it’s something simple like, “You’re so fun! You make me smile.” Or sometimes we will send each other a typed out prayer. ¬†We always try to uplift each other throughout the day. In our actions and our speech.

We also love just being goofy together. Disney songs are belted out quite frequently in our home. Dance parties can break out at any moment. Laughter is such a gift, and we indulge in it often.

People grow as they go through life. We are choosing to grow together and in the Lord. Sometimes we ask each other silly questions like, “What’s your favorite song right now?” Because sometimes you just need to stop, and get to know your spouse some more that day.

Don’t be a nag. Don’t be snippy. BE JOY.

2.  Communication is ALWAYS the right decision.

I always say, “When in doubt, talk it out.” Don’t hold anything in. Don’t bottle things up or tuck it away. ¬†If something is bothering you, communicate that. Right then and there. Communication will¬†never¬†be the wrong choice. This is something that couples can always work on, but something we’ve gotten a lot better about, especially in our second year of marriage.

Communication isn’t always about conflict. Sometimes we think something positive, but don’t bother expressing it out loud. Your spouse did the dishes. Thank them. You liked how they stood up for you. Tell them. They look nice in that new outfit. Compliment them.

Communicate if you’re stressed about something, even if it has nothing to do with your spouse. Because, honestly, if you’re stressed, and your spouse doesn’t know you are, they won’t be able to help you, encourage you, and pray for you/with you.

Most importantly, communication is most effective when done with love and respect. Kindness and patience. Openness and good intent.


~ 2 Things Billy’s Learned~

Hey guys, Billy here!¬†So this is what it feels like to write for a blog, ay? I have to be honest, I’m experiencing a little bit of stage fright, being this is my first time writing on here. Is that a thing?-“Writer’s stage fright”? Because, you know, I’m not exactly standing on a stage. I’m probably just getting worked up for nothing…

Is it hot in here?

Anyways, Julia¬†asked if I would contribute some thoughts to this post. And after a few “Yeah, maybe tomorrow” replies, and a couple “But, babe, I don’t know how to write” excuses, here I am.

1. Be the ultimate team.

Julia and I do virtually everything together.

*Deep inhale.*

We shop together. Do chores together. Brush our teeth together. Go to appointments together. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. Read together. Travel together. Sit silently together. Dream together. And when Julia needs some more makeup, you better believe we’re walking through Sephora together.

Julia and I have been living this way since the beginning of our marriage. I’m not trying to brag about it, but we somehow kept it up for so long¬†that¬†it became habitual. I’ve found that, instead of tiring us out from each other, this has really helped draw us closer to each other. Investing this time in my wife has brought about so many fun moments and conversations that would not have occurred¬†otherwise.

I’m not implying that couples need to spend every waking hour with each other for everything they do. But couples should certainly invest plenty of time in each other.

Be a team.

Tackle the daily chores together. Budget your monthly expenses together. Pray together. Work together. Enjoy accomplishing as many things in life together as you can.

No earthly relationship you have in this world will ever be as strong, driven, intimate, and meaningful as the relationship you have with your spouse. You are literally one living body.

Gen. 2:24; “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

How can you find a better teammate than that?

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2. Be the ultimate teammate.

As our spouse’s teammate we should be doing everything we can to encourage, support, inspire, and uplift our spouse in everything they do.

Sometimes that’s easier said than done. Especially when you don’t agree with what your spouse is doing. Those situations will require prayer and seeking God’s direction. But for the day-to-day things, there’s no reason why we cannot lend our support.

For me, I love bringing joy to my wife. And I love seeing her happy.

When Julia first had the idea to really tackle this blogging thing, I stood right beside her and cheered her on. I still do. I want to see her pursue a meaningful hobby that brings joy to her and others, and brings glory to God. Honestly, it was hard not to support her.

Of course, I have my shortcomings. I’m not perfect. But I’ve learned to seek out these opportunities where I can encourage,¬†support, inspire, and uplift my wife.

This has had a big impact in how I approach my role as the spiritual leader of our household. That sounds so epic doesn’t it?

“I am the spiritual leader of my household!”

But if you’re a husband, that’s exactly who you are. God calls us to lead our wife and family by the instruction of The Word.

I would recommend giving Ephesians 5:21-33 a quick read for reference.

By seeking opportunities to support and encourage my wife, I am in turn seeking opportunities to lead her along God’s will for the dreams and pursuits that come her way.

……………….

It’s Julia again! Thank you for reading what’s been on our hearts. We’ve prayed over this blog post for quite some time. If even just one person benefits from our marriage lessons these past two years, our prayers have been answered.

 

Chicken Bryan (easy) Recipe

Well let me just start by saying…this week has been…crazy. There aren’t really words, guys. But I’m sure most of you can relate, so there’s really no need for elaboration. Thank goodness the weekend is upon us.

Okay. So now that I’ve vented, I’d like to share a quick and easy recipe, that you can make on a crazy weeknight.

If you’ve ever ordered Chicken Bryan from Carrabbas, and love it, this one’s for you! I crave it so much, so I decided to start making it at home. I found a few recipes on Pinterest, but I decided to simplify it even more. Let me tell you–it’s delicious. Billy literally can’t stop telling me how good it is.

So here’s a great, filling meal to add to your weeknight meal plans!

Easy Chicken Bryan Recipe

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Tyson frozen pre-grilled chicken
  • Montreal chicken seasoning
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 TBS of white wine
  • A handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • A handful of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Goat cheese

Directions:

Start by placing the pre-grilled chicken on a baking sheet and sprinkle with Montreal chicken seasoning. Put in the oven, following the heating instructions on the bag. While that is cooking, melt the butter and garlic in a small skillet. Next, add the lemon juice and wine. Keep heat low so the butter doesn’t brown or separate. ¬†When the chicken is almost ready, take it out of the oven and add a slice of goat cheese on top of each piece. Put back in the oven for one more minute to melt and warm the cheese. Then add the basil and sun dried tomatoes to the lemon butter sauce. When the chicken is ready, pour the sauce over the chicken. Enjoy!

And there you have it! The creamy goat cheese tastes delicious with the bite of the sun dried tomatoes. This’ll be a favorite in our house for a long time! The pre-grilled chicken is my new favorite thing! Quick homemade meal on a weeknight? I’m all about that life.

 

Fitness Challenge: Week 2


Summer! It is officially summer at my workplace. I hope you all had a fantastic week! My week consisted of a lot of realizations, lessons, and hope. (But that’s a blog post for another time ūüėČ)

So last week, I posted my first fitness challenge! If you haven’t checked it out already, you can do so¬†here.

My challenge to myself was to workout once. Just once.

And I did it!

Because of my back injuries, I have to be careful. Therefore, I just did some light yoga and a whole lot of stretching. It felt amazing to just be doing something for my body, even if it wasn’t anything hardcore. I did have some back pain the next day, so in future workouts I will probably try to take it even slower.

Remember, it’s all about creating small goals to achieve big goals!

First small goal: achieved!

Week 2

This week, my challenge will be to work out (you guessed it) twice. Still very doable!

If you don’t even know where to begin or what to do, YouTube has a wealth of fitness videos you can use for free! My television has a YouTube app, so I can pull up fitness videos on a large screen. If you have this option, I highly recommend!

Pinterest also has a ton of easy workouts you can try. You just have to get up and give them a go.

I find that once you start¬†working out, it becomes easier to motivate yourself to workout again. It becomes, in a sense, addicting. (I’m not quite there yet, but it’s getting easier.)

This workout challenge is for myself and anyone who wants to join! If you’re with me, post a comment below or send me a message! I’d love to help keep each other motivated!

I’ll let you know how Week 2 goes! Remember, I’m keeping it totally real. We can do this. Let’s make this summer, a fit summer. ūüĆīūüĆļ

#DateYourSpouse


My husband literally came out of nowhere.

One day I didn’t know him, the next day we were set up on a blind date. The rest is history. (There’s more to our story, but that’s the sweet and simple version. We’ll save that for another time ūüėČ)

God literally gave me him. He knew exactly what I needed in a husband. Billy is a testiment of God’s love for me personally.

Everything is so amazing when you’re dating the one. Birds are chirping, the sun is shining, butterflies fly by, the skies are blue; etc. Why is that? It’s new and exciting. You’re going places, romancing each other, going out of your way to make them happy.

Then, the M word happens. Marriage. And that’s where people lose all their zest for their spouse. Laundry. Dishes. Work. Money. Stress. Kids. Life.

Now I’m not claiming to know it all. Yes, I’m young and don’t have years of marriage under my belt. However, I do believe God has gifted me a lot of wisdom at a young age. For this I am grateful.

I don’t want a mediocre marriage. I want a beautiful, Jesus-filled, joyful marriage. There are so many factors that come into play in sustaining a healthy marriage (God being number 1.). However, today I’d like to discuss “dating your spouse.”

If you know Billy and I on a close level, you know that we have a very special love. Our relationship has always been founded on simplicity. We keep things light and simple, and enjoy simple moments. Like drinking green tea together. We don’t take a moment for granted.


I think a key ingredient to a healthy marriage is to never stop dating. I don’t think I could explain it better than Billy himself. Awhile back, this is what he wrote as a caption on an Instagram photo:

“The most common misconception among married couples is that dating ends when you get married. Giving up on the wooing, courtship, and pursuit of your spouse is a sure way to an exhausted marriage. I’m thankful to God for the shared values within my marriage with Julia. Dating my wife has been a blast, and I can’t believe that this is how I get to spend the rest of my life! I have the biggest crush on this pretty lady, and I fall for her even more every day.”

Marriage is fun. Spending every day with my best friend is a precious gift. Our motto has always been, “Beauty in simplicity.” Let that ring true in every aspect of your marriage. Don’t sweat the little things. Each day is a gift. Enjoy it. Enjoy the coffee run. Enjoy the Netflix binge. Enjoy holding hands in church. Enjoy the walk in the park. Enjoy the weekend brunch. Enjoy your spouse.

So let’s promote healthy, loving marriage! Next pic you post of you and your spouse, use the hashtag #dateyourspouse

The Ultimate Love Triangle


(Moment above captured by¬†Stephanie Gamble¬†ūüíó)

You gotta love the love triangle. I’m not talking about a girl trying to choose between two guys that we see on all the television dramas. I’m talking about the ultimate love triangle.

God

 Him                  Her

This is the answer to every failing relationship, to every broken heart, to every argument, to every sleepless night. If God is first, if He is the ruler of your life and your relationship, everything will fall into place.

In order for a couple to grow closer to each other, they must seek God first. He is the glue to keep you together; He is the author of your love.

Sadly, this is where so many relationships go wrong: God isn’t part of the equation. Or even in God-centered relationships, the moment we take God off the top of the triangle, things begin to crumble. It is in those moments where things are weak, that we need to pray. When it’s hard to pray, that’s usually when you need to pray most.

Let me tell you something powerful: Amidst a fight, stop and pray together. It may be the last thing you feel like doing in that moment, but there is power in prayer, my friends. Bring it back to the Lord and He will do the healing.

We’re broken people. We don’t have to fix ourselves or a messy situation. Give it to God; bring it to His feet. That’s what He wants to do: He wants to carry the load. Because He loves us. So much.

God is for US.

Make praying together a habit. Not just before meals, not just before bed, but when it’s hard to pray. Keep God at the top of the love triangle.