Bekah Walters

live purposefully, be creative, inspire others

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DIY Felt Succulents

Crafty Tuesday! I’ve been obessingly pinning felt succulents for the past couple weeks. I went to Hobby Lobby last week and picked up the needed supplies (that I didn’t already have). 

Here’s the supply list:

  • Felt – 9×12 cheap felt is what I bought
  • Terra-cotta pots – 2 little sizes
  • Peat moss
  • Hot glue gun + glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • This free template!
  • Pen

I googled images of real succulents while I was picking my felt colors. They can come in so many colors, shapes and sizes. 

Start by printing off the template on thicker paper to trace the shapes onto the felt. Cut out the shapes and use the template to determine how many of each one you’ll need. 

Start tracing the shapes onto your felt sheets. This is the time consuming part. 

Tip: If you’re using a sharpie pen like I am, I suggest outlining and little larger and cutting inside the lines so you don’t end up with black line edges. (Example below)

Hot glue the little shapes together at the folds following the instructions. 

Here’s how I’d rank the 5 templated succulents:

  1. Star 1
  2. Star 2
  3. Round 
  4. Grass
  5. Leafy

These are so cute and absolutely no maintenance! 

How to Recover from a Half Marathon

I ran my second half marathon on Saturday. The Des Moines Dam to Dam Half Marathon was very hot and humid so we were advised to slow our pace and drink lots of water along the route. 

After the race, here’s a few recovery steps I took:

  1. Don’t sit down right after the finish line. Keep walking to let your heart rate slow down and keep blood circulating through your legs. 
  2. Drink a sports drink to replenish your electrolytes
  3. Have a simple carb like a banana
  4. Do keep drinking lots of water for the rest of the day (and the next day and all the days)
  5. If you need to sit for a longer period of time, elevate your legs to keep the blood flowing
  6. Go for a few short walks to keep your muscles from stiffening up
  7. In the days following the races, take it easy on the workouts and foam roll until you no longer feel sore

My friend, Katie, is a runner by nature and helped me learn how to train, fuel during the race and recover afterwards. Thanks, girl! 

Do you have any half marathon recovery tips that I should try/be aware of? Let me know!

Half Marathon Checklist

The Des Moines Dam to Dam half marathon race is tomorrow. I’ve been training for the past nine weeks following a schedule. This will be my second half marathon. 

Click here for 13.1 race day tips to run your first half marathon. 
Race day letter board
As the list-maker that I am, here’s my checklist:

  • Running shoes
  • Race day outfit: shorts, tank top, sports bra, compression socks
  • Running pouch: ID, chapstick, tissues, fruit snacks, phone
  • Sunglasses
  • Visor/hat
  • Headphones 
  • Sunscreen
  • Race bib
  • After race: blender bottle with protein powder
  • Water

What is on your pre-race checklist for the half marathon? 

June Current Reading List

I have quite the to-be-read list that just keeps growing. One of my goals for the year is to read more books – books that I can learn from and books that are entertaining. 

I’m reading a few books at the same time so here’s the list of what’s stacking up on my nightstand:

  1. This Life I Live – Rory Feek
  2. Boundaries
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 1 the Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis
  4. Thrive – Ariana Hugfington
  5. How to make friends and gain influence 

Have you read any of these books? What did you love about it? Which books should I add to my ever growing book list?

Quick & Easy Dinner Ideas Round-Up

Recently, someone asked me for a list of dinner ideas so I’m putting together this list of quick and easy dinners that take less than 30 minutes to prep. Here are some of my go-to favorites, and I thought what better place to put that information than here!

I know some of these will sound silly simple, but they are staple meals at my house.

1. Baked Chicken Breasts + Steamed Veggies

Gimme Some Oven

This how-to recipe from Gimme Some Oven on how to cook juicy chicken breasts turns out perfect every time. I don’t use the recipe-recommended seasonings, instead I just add whatever I want as the baking process is the same (my fave is Lemon Pepper seasoning). High heat for less time is the trick.

Also, I find that tenderizing the meat helps it to cook faster and more evenly.

I add a side of steam-fresh vegetables and we are done with this meal in about 30 minutes. Instead of veggies, you could grab a frozen bag of creamy penne and have that with your chicken.

2. TACOS

Seriously, we have tacos about once a week. We love tacos. Brown the hamburger, add a packet of taco seasoning, warm up those tortillas and get ready to dress it up with toppings.

Here’s a list of toppings to consider:

  • Sour cream (substitute plain Greek yogurt)
  • Cheese
  • Salsa
  • Lettuce
  • Jalapeños
  • Tomatos
  • Black olives

Mix up this classic dinner by adding Doritos for a walking taco. Or adding tortilla chips and more lettuce for a taco salad.

We usually whip up some fresh guacamole to go with this dinner. You can see exactly how I do that at the bottom of this post.

3. Chicken Broccoli Rice Skillet

Chicken Skillet Dinner

This recipe is a Pinterest find and it is delicious. You can do it in more than one pan to speed up the process a bit, but I guess if you don’t want to wash more than one pan that is appealing.

4. Baked Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti Dinner

Growing up, I learned to make this meal during those busy weeks full of high school extracurricular activities. My mom would have my sister and I help with dinner after school and before games. This is perfect for leftover cooked chicken (although you can easily pan sear or boil raw chicken). Boil noodles and I mix everything together right in the casserole dish (who needs to wash another bowl?).

Pair this with garlic bread!

This recipe is a version of regular spaghetti — brown hamburger, add sauce to warm with the hamburger and put over top of spaghetti noodles. Tip: add a bit of sauce to the noodles to prevent them from sticking together.

5. Pork loin + Potatoes & Carrots

We like to buy pre-marinated pork loins from Hy-Vee and plop it in a casserole dish with red potatoes and baby carrots. First, spray the dish. Then, place the pork loin in the center and surround it with diced potatoes and baby carrots. Top the vegetables with butter slices and seasoning (salt, pepper, and/or garlic powder). Bake for as long as long as the package says to or until the meat reaches about 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Crockpot Taco Soup

I know. I know. But this is a different form of tacos. It is so simple to dump all the ingredients in the crockpot and let it cook. The house smells delicious and warms you up especially on a cold day. I usually substitute chicken breasts in this recipe by putting them in raw and shredding the chicken half an hour before dinnertime (aka Chicken Taco Soup). Try both and I know you won’t be disappointed!

7. Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice

It looks like we only each Mexican and American food, but this recipe is wonderful. My sister-in-law introduced me to it, and I’m pretty sure I ate it for breakfast (here’s a breakfast fried rice recipe and I have yet to try it).

This recipe has a 20 minute prep time and 20 minute cook time so only a total time of 40 minutes from start to dinner table.

8. Stuffed Shells

Stuffed Shells Dinner

I usually make this without meat, but I love the way this recipe incorporates ground beef for flavor and texture. This seems like a fancier pasta dish but it is such a simple dinner to put together. You can eat this alone or pair with a salad (probably a good idea to get those greens in too).

9. Breakfast for Dinner

I love breakfast food — eggs, waffles, omelettes, pancakes, french toast — you name it! BUT those are usually too filling to make for real breakfast in the mornings so how about enjoying them in the evening. Most breakfast items are fairly quick to make or whip up a breakfast casserole to put in the oven.

What are a few of your quick and easy dinner ideas? I love to try new recipes! Let me know in the comments below.

9 Things to Do on an Airplane

We’ve all been there – stuck on an airplane for a couple of hours without an internet connection. I recently flew to Arizona for a couple days with Adam. In preparation, I drummed up 9 things to do on an airplane. Then, I packed my carry on. 


1. Learn a new skill

Take this time to learn a new language with a language app or podcast. Or download a few how-to tutorials. Bring a textbook on HTML coding. The possibilities are endless especially with a few uninterrupted hours to learn.

2. Read

I download a few books to my iPad mini instead of lugging around 5 physical books, now I have a variety in one compact area. Grab a magazine to browse through or tote along your Bible (or Bible app) to read. 

3. Listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks

I recommend downloading a few of your favorites so you don’t go into airplane mode and realize you can’t access them at all. (I’ve done this before!)

4. Color

I throw my adult coloring booking in my carry on for something to do with my hands. Also, I can do this while I listen to music or podcasts or “read” an audiobook. 

5. Write

I bring along a little notebook to write blog ideas or business ideas or any ideas – quotes from books, song lyrics or potential hand lettering phrases. I’ll also use this notebook to sketch out ideas or patterns. You could use this time to write letters to friends and family. Maybe you could strategize your next big idea. Or free write. Learning to write is like build muscle. You have to exercise it so it comes more easily and naturally. 

6. People watch

This works better while you’re waiting at the terminal, but in flight could offer some interesting interactions or conversations. We had a medical emergency on our flight to Mesa.

A middle-age man passed out in the aisle as he was walking towards the back restroom. The whole incident took place right by our row. We witnessed medical professions leap into action. The man turned out to be fine. Thank goodness!

7. Watch a movie or tv series

Netflix allows you to download some shows and watch them offline for a predetermined amount of time. Have a series you’d like to start or catch up on? Don’t forget to download it prior to takeoff. It will make the flight feel so short. 

8. Play a card game

This works well if you’re traveling with someone or I suppose you could make friends with the person beside you and play a couple card games. Or attempt a solo game of solitaire on the small tray table. 

9. Sleep

Finally, if all else fails, take a nap. Not everyone can fall asleep on a plane. Those of us that can, most likely cannot find a way to do so without looking ridiculous. I can’t help it that my mouth hangs open.

What are some of the best ways you spend your time on an airplane? Comment below so I can add to my list!

Anywhere in the World

colorful-housesPhoto source.

I love traveling – seeing new sites, experiencing different cultures, tasting unfamiliar foods, meeting new people. I find enjoyment in figuring out how to get from point A to point B and see it all in between because traveling is more than just the destination, but the journey to get there.

There are so many places in the U.S. and internationally I would like to visit. But if I had to pick only one place anywhere in the world, I would go to Italy. The deep history there intrigues me and the ancient ruins amaze me. I would love to see this country in it’s entirety.

After looking through tons of beautiful photos of Italy to create this collage. I would really like to visit someday in the future. I would like bike through the city of Rome or go wine tasting in Tuscany or imagine Pompeii during its glory days.

The Lonely Planet website highlights any country you would care to visit, and I found all the photos breathtaking so it’s worth a look if you have the travel bug!

My New House Tour

I am participating in Love Bailey Jean’s Blogtember challenge where I follow a daily writing prompt. Today’s topic is to give a house tour which is fitting as Adam and I moved into our new house about one month ago.

House Tour Begins Now

My favorite part of the living room is the stone fireplace. I love the variations of gray stone and the large, square stone. When we first saw it completed, I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it.

My favorite piece of furniture is by far the accent chair – you may have seen it make an appearance on Instagram. I love to sit in it during morning devotions with a hot cup of coffee or tea.
housetour10

housetour1

The kitchen is a dream! I love the large, flat island to prep food on and have my guests sit at while I work. The backsplash compliments the stone fireplace nicely.

housetour11

housetour12

Speaking of coffee, here is my Keurig nook. This small countertop is perfect for my Keurig and k-cup carousel. I keep mugs and travel mugs in the cabinet above.
housetour13

Down the hallway is our master bedroom. Adam and I are in love with the tray ceiling. Also, the room is much larger than I anticipated, but I love every inch of it.
housetour6

I have high hopes for a photo collage on the wall! The builder suggested waiting 90 days before hanging anything to allow the walls to cure.
housetour7

Across from our room is the guest room. We’ve had a few people stay with us and this is where we welcome them.
housetour5

Our office space is absolutely amazing. Adam works from home when he isn’t traveling to meet with clients. He has his hand-built corner desk set up by the window, and I have my workstation set up for what I need.
housetour4

housetour3

housetour9

I have many, MANY more photos of the house but these are a few to showcase the main living areas of the house.

I will have to draft a few more posts to showcase specific rooms in detail once they are decorated.

What I’m Listening To – September Playlist

I am participating in Love Bailey Jean’s Blog-tember challenge where I’ll post everyday this month following prompts. Today’s topic is create a playlist and I love listening to music.

September Playlist

I organized my playlist similar how I go about my day.

Early Morning

I sing along with worship music in the morning to get my day started on the right foot.

Mid-Morning

My drive to work consists of “happy music” also while I get set up for the work day.

Work Day

My job allows me to listen to a lot of music while I’m at the office so I like upbeat songs to keep my energy up.

Hit the Gym

Next, I head to the gym with songs that make me want to move!

Evening at Home

At home, I like to listen to some country songs with my husband.

Bekah’s September Playlist

I listen to all of these songs no matter the time of day. Shuffle and on repeat!

Do you have a handful of current favorite songs?

Memorable Birthday in Spain

I am participating in Love Bailey Jean’s Blog-tember challenge where I’ll post everyday this month following prompts. Today’s topic is what was your most memorable birthday.

My Most Memorable Birthday

I’ve had many memorable birthdays – ranging from last year receiving my DSLR camera from my husband to tailgating at an Iowa State football game when I was “feeling 22” (T Swift, anyone!) to a surprise party for my 16th birthday. 

I’d have to say my most memorable birthday was when I turned 19. Only 23 days earlier, I moved to Spain. I lived with a host family in a suburb outside of Madrid for a total of 10 months as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.

The night before, my host dad Isidro and I made a pastry for me to take to school. It’s like a cake with fruit yogurt in it for moisture. It was delicious and I shared it with 12 of my classmates and they sang Feliz Cumpleaños to me.

When I arrived home from school, I found a package waiting for me. My mom had sent 2 packages of Oreos surrounded by fruit snacks.

1. I love Oreos! They were difficult to find in Spain and expensive when you did.

2. My love of fruit snacks is ridiculous. They also make excellent packing peanuts! 😉

My host parents cooked a delicious meal and got me a “tarta de chocolate” or chocolate dessert/cake. We lit candles and they also sang Feliz Cumpleaños. 

My host family made me feel so welcomed and at home. They gave me a new watch to replace one I had broken when I first arrived and a green fleece pullover.

Memorable Birthday in Spain

Celebrating my birthday in a new country with a new family in a new school was a great start to my year in Spain. I learned so much – not only did I excel at Spanish, but I learned about the culture, the history and the region. I made great friends and embraced the city of Madrid. I learned to navigate public transportation and grew fond of walking around exploring the non-tourist areas. 

Besos a mi familia española! Os echo de menos muchísimo. 

What was your most memorable birthday? Have you ever celebrated in another country? What was is like?

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