December 27, 2010

Holiday Treats...


What a wonderful Christmas season!  It went by a bit faster than I expected, but it was full of changes, family, celebrating, fun, and love!  I couldn't have asked for a better finish to a phenomenal year!  We still have just under one week left of 2010 before we kick off the next year with lots of hope for an even better year than the last.

I was so blessed by all of my friends and family, spending time with them, and giving and receiving some wonderful gifts!  I got one that made me think of you (reader)!  I thought I'd share it with you since it is so appropriate for our journey to becoming a GGW!  I hope to hear from you...how your Christmas was spent and any plans for the New Year?!


"Grace is compassion, gratitude, surrender, faith, forgiveness, good manners, reverence, and the list goes on.  it's something money can't buy and credentials rarely produce.  being the smartest, the prettiest, the most talented, the richest, or even the poorest, can't help.  being a humble person can and being a helpful person can guide you through your days with grace and gratitude." - Amazing Grace, by philosophy.

December 14, 2010

Enjoying the Holidays and a Worthy Cause


Well, here we are... just 2 days from my 26th birthday and 10 days from Christmas Eve!!!  So awesome!  I've made it a goal to re-prioritize these last few weeks of 2010 and do only the things I have to do or that involves family, Jesus, and celebration!  To help keep the distractions to a minimum, I am going to take a 3 week Christmas break from blogging!  Feel free to join me in enjoying family even more this year.  And many blessings to all of you this holiday season!



Check out this amazing video, an inspiration that Brooke Fraser is taking part in for her birthday and one that has really got me thinking about what I can do too!  Charity: Water.

December 5, 2010

There is Change in the Air...


You ever get that feeling change is coming?  I felt that way so strongly two years ago...waited and waited until finally...nothing happened.  Looking back now, I can see plenty of changes, just none of the things that I had imagined in my head.  Probably at the top of the list would be having our third baby!  Definitely an unexpected change!  Well...the stirring is back...and no, we're not pregnant.
A few months ago I said a prayer, that I prayed with some sarcasm, "Well God, just change my heart then!"  My husband and I had been talking about his overwhelming desire to go back into full-time ministry, and I had been telling him all my reasons why I didn't want to.  Finally, as a means to close the discussion I said my little, half-hearted prayer.  I went to sleep that night the same and woke up feeling the same... but somewhere in the middle of that day God changed my heart (can you say "be careful what you PRAY for?").
Earlier this year, we got connected with a small church an hour away from our home.  We were sent out from Gateway Church to help them in their worship services as they sought out a new worship pastor.  Well, this was it!  God was making it clearer by the day that we were going to join them in furthering the gospel and plant ourselves and our family in their town, an hour away from everything we'd known since we've been married.  Obviously, I struggled for a few days with the realization that I wouldn't be just 10 short minutes away from both our parents.  But it was a bitter-sweet feeling, knowing we would be a bit of drive away but also knowing this was God's idea.  That took some time to work out in me, but God was patient.
Then, just after I accepted the distance and began to see God checking items off our "Must See Happen Before We Can Move" list, I experienced something I'd never felt before...it felt like a literal battle within myself.  I have NEVER wanted to be outside of God's best for mine and my family's life!  But I'd never had a moment where God didn't first put the desire in my heart (Psalm 37:4).  He had always prepared me for the changes ahead, and would give me an excitement about where He was directing me, sometimes before I even knew change was coming!  But shortly after my change of heart, I felt crushed with anxiety.  It was 48 hours of misery as I battled with my emotions and tried to get my feelings to submit and line up with God's plan.  "Why am I feeling this!?  I don't even WANT to do anything other than what You have planned for me God, and You have made it perfectly clear that this is our next step." A torturous struggle inside of myself, that kept me asking God to just cover me in His peace, beyond what I understood, beyond what I felt!  I needed Him to settle me and I asked that He would yet again, put His desires in my heart so I could be excited to follow in His plan marked out for me!! (Psalm 139:23).
Finally after two days, God showed me that there are some changes He wants to make in my heart; tear some walls down that I thought were helping me but are actually hurting me.  There are some things I need to learn that my mind and flesh were trying to completely reject.  As I started to realize these things, I was so relieved to understand what this battle was for, and accepted it all with eagerness!  I was ready to have the war inside over with!  I have lived my life trusting and knowing that whatever God's plans are they are the very best - even when I don't have a clue what He's doing!  And then, almost instantly His peace shielded my mind and heart, and penetrated deeper than my own understanding and I haven't looked back since!  Each day has been filled with anticipation for what He has planned.  And even though I know life isn't perfect no matter where we go, I can walk forward with boldness, confidence and peace because I KNOW that I am walking in the path God has set before me!
Change is in the air; excitement to move into all God has planned for us, to start worship pastoring again with a group of people that have become like family to us already; to truly see change in myself and to become more of the woman God has made me to be (quite a New Years resolution)!  And God has proven Himself Faithful yet again!
"Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires." - Psalm 37:4 NLT
If you want more details on what's going on in our lives, check out my 2010 Family Update.


Proverbs 3:5-6, 11-12 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths...My child, don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you.  For the Lord corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights." (NLT)

Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (NLT)

Psalm 139:23 "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts." (NIV)

December 1, 2010

New Pampers Rewards Codes!


If you haven't signed up with Pampers Rewards and you are a diaper buyer, check it out!  They have codes on their wipes and diaper packages, but there are also a lot of online codes you can get for free (here is a previous post with lots of codes, see if they work still!).  And here are some new codes I've found (just tried with success on 12-01-10):


PUNTOSPARAMI123 - 10 Points
2BEGINEARNING50 - 50 Points!!!
JOINNOW4REWARDS - 50 Points!!!
GTGCOUPONPOINTS - 10 Points
GIFTS2GROWBONUS - 20 Points!
WELCOME2PAMPERS - 50 Points!!!
PAMPERS4MOMSOND - 10 Points


Look for these and other great Rewards to redeem your points (especially with Christmas coming up!):


FREE Wall Calendar from Shutterfly (800 pts)
Alex Magnetic Boats in the Tub (850 pts)
25 Personalized 4x8 Photo Cards from Shutterfly (600 pts)
11x14 Collage Poster from Shutterfly (400 pts)
$3 Coupon to Diaper.com (150 pts) and more....


Have fun!!!  Leave a comment if you get something cool with your points!

November 25, 2010

EASY Homemade Cranberry Sauce!


12oz Bag of Cranberry
3/4 Cup of Sugar
1/4 Cup of Orange Juice (or 1tsp of grated Lemon Zest)
1 Cup of Water

Put everything together in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then simmer until the cranberries pop (about 10-15 minutes).  Mash all the cranberries with a potato masher, and transport into a bowl and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.  Serve and enjoy!!
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Week | Michael Buble Christmas FREEBIE!


Can you believe Thanksgiving is here already!?!  I think I'm still in shock!  It's so easy to get caught up in the holidays and meals, food preparations, gift buying, wrapping and giving... and it's just as easy to forget what these celebrations are really about!  Thanksgiving is supposed to be about just that... giving thanks.  I love the memories of throwing a football around, watching the Thanksgiving day parades and football games, playing cards and board games with family, seeing loved ones we haven't seen in a while, and of course eating all the amazing dishes and desserts.  But I want to make sure that I take the time, amid all the festivities to share my thankfulness with God, family and friends and pass those memories and traditions on to my children as well.
What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving and Giving-Thanks traditions?

Here are a few goodies for you:

The History of Thanksgiving

Martha Stewart's Online Thanksgiving Cookbook!

10 Ideas for Giving Thanks

Michael Buble Christmas FREEBIE!
Amazon FREE $3 MP3 Download Credit - Click Here and follow instructions.  Once you have your $3 Amazon MP3 Credit, Then Click Here and Download Michael Buble's 6 Track "Let It Snow" for $1.99 (which means you'll still have a $1.01 credit towards another download of your choice)!  ENJOY!

November 19, 2010

My Makeup Makeover that Didn't Break the Bank!


I've tried to take my time and make my makeup makeover fun!  I decided against throwing out all my current "toxic" products and plan to use some of them up while slowly switching over.  I did collect a bag full of products to give away.  So as I use up one type of product, I begin researching a better alternative before buying anything new.  I started with my most used products and so far I have switched my concealer, blush/bronzer, finishing powder, some eye shadows and a few of my most common application brushes.  Here are some of my favorites: (all "3" or under on the cosmetics database scale or "clean" according to these guidelines.)


CVS Cleansing Towels | These are great for nights you're to tired to do a full wash and moisturize, just wipe off all your makeup with these towels (including water-proof mascara); they're great for traveling; only $5.99 at CVS stores, but I see a lot of BOGO 1/2 off sales!!!


Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover | I use this with a cotton ball (if you haven't tried organic cotton balls, you should - it is SO much softer), and gently wipe off my water-proof mascara; actually gets a 4 on cosmetics database; $5 at Target (and many other stores).


EcoTools Brushes | I LOVE these!  I had a few coupons for them, and I've seen BOGO sales for them at ULTA; You can buy them for $2-15 at drugstores, Walmart, Target, etc. (sold individually too); Super soft and almost never lose bristles; Environmentally friendly!


Physicians Formula Concealers | I actually purchased a 2-pk of these at Walmart (in store) for the same price as 1 at most other stores ($5-$6); I purchased the Green for red marks and Light for dark circles; goes on great with the EcoTools Foundation brush!


Almay Pure Blends, Sunkissed | I'm not sure if Almay is discontinuing this product or not, but I purchased this for $3 at Target or Kroger from a cosmetics sale table; I LOVE this product, perfect "sunkissed" look; I use my own blush brush for a smoother look


E.L.F. All Over Color, Pink Lemonade | This is one of my favorite finds, goes on cheeks, lips and eyes; a perfect dewy glow; only $1 at drugstores, Walmart, Target and some grocery stores; 3 on the Cosmetics Database scale!


E.L.F. Mineral Eye Shadows | I have three shades, Wild, Elegant, and Seductive; $3 at eyeslipsface.com but they offer a lot of promotions - I got my mineral purchase 50% off; no harsh chemicals, goes on & stays on great (especially with their Mineral Eyeshadow Primer!)


Physicians Formula Organic Wear Translucent Powder | I rarely use a finishing powder, but if I do I use this or E.L.F. Mineral Glow Shimmer; I purchased on sale for less than $3 at Target but it's usually $9.98 at Walmart.

I am still switching over my Foundation, Everyday Moisturizer (face and body), Deep Conditioning Moisturizer (body - for winter months), Mascara, and a few more Eyeshadow Shades.  Do you know of any good-for-you beauty secrets?


And my Five-Minute Makeup Favorites are.....(drum roll please)
Concealer - Bronzer - All Over Color on Cheeks/Eyes/Lips - Lip Balm - Mascara!  Done!


November 17, 2010

The Foundary Update


I posted earlier about The Foundary. If you are interested in getting up to 70% off home furnishings through this daily deals site, sign up before November 19th to be eligible for the up to $50 credits (described in the image below).


Any signups after November 19th will only be eligible for invite credits up to $10.  Even if you're not sure you are going to buy anything, go ahead and sign up before Friday so you can decide later and still qualify for the $50 credits!  Use this promotional link to signup now!

A Few Holiday Tools

Free Flat Rate Shipping Kit for easy holiday shipping right from home!


Free Shipping Day for last minute, online Christmas shopping December 17, 2010!



November 8, 2010

Free Preview | Jason Castro New Album TODAY ONLY!!!


Go HERE and check out the free album preview of Jason Castro's new (Christian) album!  Today is the last day, but each week there is a new christian album to preview (a continual streaming of the entire album, great if you have an hour or so of work to do at your computer)!  Go to NewReleaseTuesday.com's Facebook Page and "Like" them, then check out their Album Preview page and their Free Songs page and download new tastes of music each week!  This week, Gateway God Be Praised title track is available for free (plus a few other songs)!!!!  Which reminds me to tell you that the album is being released nationwide TOMORROW!  Check them out on iTunes ($9.99) or in your local stores ($13.99)!!!  Enjoy the free music!

I'm also looking into Rdio.com ($4.99 or $9.99/month for web only or unlimited downloads that sync to your smart phone and add to your iTunes or WMP as well!).  Here is a link to their FAQ page.  I'll tell you more when I've tried it....Have you tried it?  What are your thoughts?!

November 5, 2010

The Foundary


Another daily deals site?  I know!  They seem to be everywhere.  But this is a first for me, up to %70 off home essentials at thefoundary.com.  I typically see clothing and accessories or entertainment type sites.  What's even better?  You can earn up to $50 credits (and more), free!


Sign up here and start accruing your free credits!  I saw some beautiful vintage prints for $45 the other day, so keep your eyes peeled and maybe you'll catch some free Christmas presents!

November 4, 2010

Free Swagbucks + Donate to Charity



For those of you who haven't heard of Swagbucks, I wrote an article on it earlier, it is an easy way to make money!  Really!  I use Swagbucks as my search engine instead of Google, and collect "swagbucks!"  In about two weeks of regular web surfing I earned 450 points which is all you need for a $5 Amazon.com gift card (though there are TONS of other items you can "purchase" in their store).  I have collected a total of $40 dollars in Amazon.com gift cards!  (Go here to find out how you can get free two-day shipping on Amazon.com)
If you haven't started using Swagbucks, click on the link to start a free account and begin surfing the web!
Also, for a limited time, Swagbucks is teaming up with GE to help donate to charitable causes and put 7 free Swagbucks in your account!  Click here to find out more!

Happy Surfing!

November 3, 2010

Recycle Bank | 165 Free Points! + iPhone Bonus

New sign ups get an instant = 25 pts!
Sign up for Ebay Green Team (free) = 50 pts!
Code: TakeSmallSteps choose Marcal as points partner (in drop down menu) = 15 pts!
Code: 031604025496 choose Nature's Made as points partner = 10 pts. up to 5 times = 50 pts!
Take the quiz here or below = 25 pts!

Also, check Marcal paper products for codes worth 15 pts.
Specially marked Kashi cereal boxes for codes worth 15 points, but doubled before November 30!
You can enter to win a free box of Kashi cereal here (until November 4th)

Take the quiz below for 25 Free Points!






Attention iPhone Users:





If you have an iPhone, check out the free app: shopkick!
The shopkick app is the first to offer you rewards just for walking into stores. By just clicking, scanning or walking into stores you accumulate kickbucks and you can get coupons and offers at different stores in your area.  
The reason I thought I'd tell you about this is because I just found out you can make donations to different causes, and for just 3 kickbucks you can donate to carbonfund.org and offset 2 pounds of carbon emissions!  The average American produces 50-100 pounds a day, so start offsetting your footprint for free!

November 1, 2010

November has arrived!


I cannot believe it is November 1st and this year of 2010 is almost at a close!  So hard to grasp!  Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner all ready.  I like to use the last few weeks of the year to try and recap on all of my journaled prayers prayed and answered & blessings given and received before heading into the New Year with fresh goals.  What better time to count our blessings than the month of Thanksgiving!
This month, don't forget:

2 - VOTE!  Check out this page for quick and easy information on your local candidates!
6 - Daylight Savings (clocks fall back)
9 - Gateway God Be Praised Worship album released! (Available on iTunes)
13 - First weekend in Gateway's new church building!!!
25 - Thanksgiving Day!

Enjoy these Autumn months and your last few weeks of  2 0 1 0!

October 31, 2010

Gracious Essential Four: Tame Tongue


"None of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. " - James 3:2 (The Message)
This used to be one of those areas that I felt I was really getting the hang of.  I tried to be mindful of every word I spoke, taking the scriptures quite literally:
"And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgement day of every idle word you speak." - Matthew 12:36 (NLT)
My husband can confirm, I was crazy about it!  I went as far as trying not to say "whatever," because it seemed a word with no real meaning.  Of course I stayed away from the typical curse words and even some harsh-sounding words.  But as of late, I realized that I haven't been quite as diligent in watching my idle words. Want a good wake up call?  Have a 2 year old and a 4 year old follow you around for a few days.  They start repeating things you didn't realize you even said...to your friends, parents, random people at the grocery store...
Most of the parents I've talked to agreed that having toddler-aged children is what made them realize they needed to get their words in check, quickly. So, I'll take it as a blessing, having my every discussion and discipline on repeat for the world to hear, because I really want to do my best to tame my tongue.  Why?
"A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything - or destroy it!  A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.  By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos...with our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women He made in His image."  - James 3:5-6, 9 (The Message)
If this is the one area that could help us keep the rest of our lives in check, why isn't this our focus!?  I know that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34), so I first must fill my heart with Truth and then I will begin to see a change in my thoughts, actions and words.
One of the best ways I know how to do that is memorizing scripture.  Then begin re-evaluting your life and what you are putting into your heart: friendships, conversations, music, movies, books...what do you find yourself meditating on?  (What do you find yourself daydreaming about?)  Pour truth and life into your heart and it will pump it throughout your spirit, body and soul, so that when you open your mouth only truth and life will come out if it.  And remember, there are times when we just need to keep our mouths shut! (Proverbs 21:23).
Also, be mindful of your inner dialogue.  "Fat talk" applies to how we talk to ourselves about our physical appearance... but we can "fat talk" ourselves into fear, insecurity, distrust, or depression by unhealthy thoughts about ourselves, and God.  We need to keep our inner dialogue positive and watch everything we are putting into our hearts and the wise words will follow!

Starts in the HEART - Aligns the MIND - Brings corrections to your ACTIONS -  TAMES your TONGUE!


Why not start setting your mind on the Word with these scriptures: (I'm using the New Living Translation, unless otherwise noted)
  • "Listen to His _________________ and ______ them in your ________. (Job 22:22)
  • What does God say about changing our hearts? __________________. (Ezekiel 36:26)
  • "________ in me a _______ heart..." (Psalms 51:10)
  • What happens when you control your tongue? ___________________.  (Psalms 13:3)
  • "If you claim to be __________ but don't control your tongue you are just _______________." (James 1:26)
  • "If you want a happy life and good days ________________________. (1 Peter 3:10)
  • "Set a _____ over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the ____ __ __ ____." (Psalm 141:3 NIV)
"Gracious speech is like clover honey - good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body." - Proverbs 16:24 (The Message)

October 18, 2010

This week...


Well some wonderful things have happened this week!  DJ (my hubby) had is 28th birthday!  It was a wonderful time of celebrating him with a few friends and family, BBQ, cake and a Ranger's game of course!  (I love you honey, and I'm honored to spend life with you!!!)
Of course Ranger Mania has arrived here in Texas...we are 1-1 in the ALCS - which for those of you who don't know, is history in the making!  The Rangers have never made it to the American League Championship Series...and if they can beat the Yankees they will make it to the World Series! (whoa!) So we are spending many family birthdays and get togethers celebrating the Rangers and watching their games as well.  =)  Josh Hamilton, one of the Rangers, attends our church, he has an awesome testimony!  If you haven't heard it, check it out!
Also this week, Brooke Fraser's new album Flags came out!  I love her singer/songwriter/indie feel in all her own written songs.  She is an inspiration to us songwriters!  Check out some of her music!


I had the opportunity to see my ministry role model, Beth Moore, in person at one of her TV show tapings! It's the second time I've been a part of a recording of hers and it's just like a mini woman's conference!  It's always giving me something to think about, and helping to keep life in perspective a bit.  I'm excited to start my next BM Study this week: Esther!  I'm sure it'll keep me growing, thinking and learning ... so I should have some gems to share with you soon!  What has God been doing in your life this week?

October 11, 2010

Autumn Inspirations Under $15!


I love Fall!  Definitely my most favorite season of them all!  Growing up in Vermont, Autumn came in the beginning of September with crisp mornings, leaves changing into bright, fiery colors, and picking apples in the orchards!  I have wonderful memories of piling leaves in the front yard and getting to take the day off from school (even though I was home-schooled) and jump in the piles. 
Things have changed a bit since those younger years.  In Texas, Autumn comes sometime in mid-late September for a day, then leaves again and doesn't stick around until late-October/mid-November.  The leaves only change one color: brown.  The grass is that color too by then.  And I haven't seen an apple orchard yet...but maybe I'm not looking hard enough? 
Either way, no matter where I am, I am inspired by Autumn!  I love the cozy scarves and sweaters, cool boots and cinnamon-pumpkin candles.  Here are a few of the fall-ish things that have caught my eye this year... all $15 or less!!!

1. Colored Flour Sack Towels.  I read a great article on flour sack towels before i ever started the transition to a greener-me.  I have a few of my own, but they are white.  These beautifully colored towels really bring the changing season straight into your kitchen! ($9.99 Amazon.com)

2. E.L.F. All Over Color Stick.  This is my new favorite "go-to" piece in my makeup bag.  This product gets a "3" on the CosmeticsDatabase, which is the highest ranking I like to buy when replacing old toxic items.  I purchased the "pink lemonade" color and it blends in smoothly on cheeks, eyes and lips!  It's even better priced at $1!!! ($1 at drugstores and grocery stores or online)

3. Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo.  For those of you grasping at the last days of blazing sun and summer beaches, this is a pleasant reminder that leaves your hair soft, healthy and smelling sweet!  ($6 at Walmart, CVS and other stores)

4. P.S. I Made This: Embellished Shoulder Pad.  This is quite a statement-making accessory!  I haven't tried this yet, but I can't wait to make it myself and add a fun finishing touch to t-shirts, blazers and sweaters!  (a few $ for items you don't already have)

5. For Every Body Soy Candles.  I have a tiny obsession with sweet-smelling candles!  Especially this time of year, it adds such warmth to every room in your house.  These are a new find that I'm enjoying very much, soy based candles with lead free wicks!  I just learned how much cleaner soy candles burn than regular ones.  ($5.99 at Kohls - currently on sale!)

6. Raw Apple Crisp (I will still be making the original version this year!).  I L-O-V-E Apple crisp, the bubbly, sweet, baked dessert brings back beautiful memories of happy childhood days.  I thought I would give this raw version a shot in effort to get healthier (inside and out)!  (a few $ for ingredients, many you probably have on hand already)

7. Long-sleeved Lace T-Shirts.  I love how lace can add a little femininity to almost anything! It's a great choice for all the layering you'll be doing this season, under summer dresses with some boots, or over a tank top with a cute blazer or sweater in hand when it cools down in the evening.  Dressy or casual, definitely worth the small investment! ($15 at Charlotte Russe) 

8. Chocolate!  Chocolate is always inspiring!  I feel right no matter what the weather, with a good chunk of dark chocolate!  But this kind is a little extra special because it is made in my hometown in Vermont, called Lake Champlain Chocolates.  Dark Chocolate has some great properties, and it's yummy too! ($2.70 LCC)

9. Leaf Place Cards.  I love dried leaves!  What a great idea to turn them into name cards for your holiday events!  You may choose to place them on the napkin or table rather than in drinking glasses. ($0)

10. E.L.F. Mineral Makeup.  I just made my first online purchase of ELF mineral cosmetics.  Sign up for their newsletter to get many good deals.  They just had a 50% mineral makeup purchase, so I was able to stock up on eye shadows, blushes, eye liner, lip gloss and a few other items for less than $20 (including shipping)!  I have tried each item and I'm sold.  Great products, without the harmful chemicals to look out for, and amazing price!  Bring on the sunless skin, I've got enough color to make me blush!  ($3-8 at elf.com)

October 5, 2010

October is here!!!


I cannot believe Autumn has arrived in Texas!  "Woot!"  Along with the cool weather, fringe scarfs and football, are some great celebrations and deals in the month of October.  I thought I'd do a little research for you so you can take part if you want!

October is...
Pastor Appreciation (2nd Sunday of month)
State Fair of Texas (until October 17th)
Cupcakes for Life (October 9th) - ProLife
Harvest Festivals (Halloween alternative - check your local church or Gateway Church FF)

Red Hot October Deals...
Dr. Seuss Books $2+ at Walmart and ships free to local store!
LifeWay Christian Bookstore $5 off $20 purchase (planning to use this to save on my Esther Workbook for an upcoming Beth Moore bible study!!)
$10 off $25 purchase at Yankee Candle
Amazon Mom (FREE 2-day shipping for 3+ months, and you don't have to be a mom!)
Walgreens Game - play daily to win $25, $50 or $1,000 gift cards!
Know of any deals/events going on?  Share them in the comments below!









October 4, 2010

White Beans, Noodles, Kiddos...Oh My!


I just found out a sneaky little trick to help add some protein to my girls noodles!  White Beans blend in perfectly with whole wheat macaroni!  Add a can to your tomato sauce and pour over your WW macaroni for a little "hidden" fiber and protein!  Do you have any sneaky tricks of your own?


Benefits of White Beans (Navy, Cannellini, and Great Northern Beans):
Low in Calories
High in Fiber
High in Protein
Curbs Cravings
Increases Energy
Inexpensive!
Easy to mix with pasta in sauces and salads, mash into bean dip and hummus, stir fry, add to soups....the possibilities are endless!!  Have fun!

October 2, 2010

Green-Fruity Breakfast Smoothie


I have really enjoyed making these smoothies for breakfast about twice a week.

Ingredients:
Handful of Kale, Spinach, Collards or Lettuce
Juice (or water)
Protein Powder (optional)
Green Powder (optional) - Veggies, spirulina, etc.
Frozen and/or fresh fruits
Yogurt
Honey
Flax Seed

I don't have any amounts labeled because I eye everything by texture.  If it seems to thick, add more juice or water; too runny, add more frozen fruit or ice; too ice-y, add more yogurt to make it creamier!  I usually make enough for two full glasses with a little extra, and it fills almost the entire blender.  So if you are just making one glass for yourself, I would fill all ingredients up to the half way mark, and make adjustments as you go!

Instructions:
I throw whatever raw greens I have in the blender with some juice (any kind is fine) and chop up until blended.  Then I throw in the powders and blend some more.  Next is the frozen fruits.  May need to add more liquid to blend throughly.  Then the flax seed, honey and yogurt (and any other ingredients you feel like adding).  Blend until smooth and drink immediately!  Enjoy the creamy, fresh, fruity taste and healthy, green benefits!

October 1, 2010

PS I Made This!


PS I Made This is an INCREDIBLE site I've just discovered that teaches you ways to be eco-chic!  Filled to the brim with easy projects to reinvent current items you (most likely) have into creative, beautiful articles of clothing, accessories and decor for your home!  Check out the archives page for all of the projects and the book here for under $13!



... and here is my version:


The dark blue is my favorite, much longer, thinner and edgier cuts than the sea-green scarf which has shorter and thicker cuts.  I threw a pin on that one just to see what it would look like.  I also used the top half of each tank top to make my girls little scarfs of their own.  I especially love the tiny stripes from the shirts, too cute!  Share your DIY adventures!

September 27, 2010

Kailyn Turned 4!


Wow, it's been a crazy September!  Kind of feels non-stop.  But at least it's been full of beautiful things!  Kailyn, my oldest baby, turned Four on the 26th.  I can't believe it!  I also can't believe I'm going to be one of those moms who cries harder than her kids when they go to their first day of Kindergarten, turn 10 (double digits), 16 and start driving and of course leaving the house for college... and though I know those days are far away, I'm learning very quickly that the years are going to slip by swiftly.  I had to hold back tears three or four times when I looked at my baby with her hair all curled and her smile covering her entire face as she got ready for her princess party.  She is four years old already!


We had a great time going to the Aquarium for the first time, on Friday.  Then all weekend we got ready for her Royal Spaghetti Dinner (she picked out the entire menu!) which overflowed with "Princesses, Rainbows and Unicorns."  We had a blast celebrating her amazing four years of life so far... and I know that there are going to be so many more amazing years to come!
So this seems to be quite a stretching September, learning that as we enjoy this last year with all of my babies home with me all day... seasons truly do come and go.  Life moves and breathes.  We love and are loved... thank You Jesus for loving us no matter what we go through in life.
Enjoy this beautiful Autumn season everyone!

September 14, 2010

Hosting My First Baby Shower!


I did it!  I hosted my very first baby shower (which is part of the reason I've neglected my blogging a bit)!  I thought I'd post a few pics of the things I did in case anyone could use some of the ideas (I also just want to show you what I've been working on for the past few weeks)!  Let me know some of your great shower/party ideas!
I made a blog for the shower.


And put some fun stuff up (like a picture of what the baby might look like according to morphthing.com)  along with directions and all the details for everyone who may have misplaced their invitation.


Then I just started to think about all the things I've appreciated in showers or wanted to have.  First thing, I really wanted the Guest of Honor (Becky) to have plenty of time to visit with her friends and family here since she now lives hours away from us and hasn't had a chance to see everyone in awhile.  So I decided on no baby shower games.

We decided on a polka dot/turtle theme (in correlation with the registry), with hints of Dr. Seuss (Becky loves Dr Seuss everything)!

Gift: My First Diaper Cake!








Kept the Food Simple: Fruit & Veggie trays, Chicken Salad and Crackers with Sliced Cheese.  Raspberry Sweet Tea and Water to drink!





Cake(s): Janet (my sister-in-law) made AMAZING Truffle Turtle cakes, as well as two huge Turtle Cupcake Cakes with some extra cupcakes on the side.  Everyone LOVED these!
After everyone had a chance to eat and talk I did a drawing and gave away four prizes (bath stuff, Starbucks gift card & journal, devotional CD & journal...stuff like that!).  I had everyone fill out their name and address on envelopes and place them in a blue bin decorated with little turtles.  It's always fun to get prizes and Becky doesn't have to address 40 Thank You's now!  This was also in place of a game: it got everyone's attention and helped direct the mood to the rest of the shower's "agenda" which was cake and presents!

On their way out I had a bowl of Kit Kats each with a note attached reminding everyone to check out the blog for event pictures and giving them a web address where they could upload the pics they took!



All in all, we had a great time visiting with friends and family and were able to bless Noe and Becky with many of their baby needs!!!  We were all tuckered out when it was said and done...

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