Thursday, March 31, 2011

Henry and Stella Sale!

One of our Mom Based Businesses is having a AWESOME sale on some beautiful pieces ..just through April 8th!

I snatched up a few, including this beautiful thing.

Th sale items are starting at $8 with shipping/taxes INCLUDED ...a great deal and perfect for gifts!

She has them posted only on Facebook so better head there now ...Henry and Stella Designs

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Defining Simplicity

As I have mentioned, I am reading Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider. I have really loved being inspired by her suggestions and utilizing her practical suggestions for how to create a simple life.

I hope to write more about those experiences, but for now I want to share my thoughts about the idea of simplicity itself.

Tsh defines simple living as "living holistically with your life's purpose."   This is a great starting point for living this idea of a simple life, and can really apply to anyone and everyone who considers the idea. What that means to each of us is the variable, and what makes the difference between what your simple life looks like, versus mine.

I have been diverting some pretty serious mental resources to considering what "living holistically with {my} life's purpose" means, for me and my family.  In the refining, I have found some inspiration to take care of a few things, let go of a few things, increase my resolve on a few things and relax on others.

Living simply will mean different things for you as well - for some of you, a determination to live more simply will mean you get to work on decluttering your home, others it will mean you put the lysol away and focus on your family. For some, it will mean you relax your grip on your pennies and others it will mean that you are more committed to debt-free living. For some, you will be inspired to become more frugal and coupon clipper of the universe, while others will let go of the guilt of not doing it in this season of life. ..its okay, because living simply is about creating a life that allows you to meet those needs.

A couple of things I have learned about simplicity in my own life ....

* simple and easy are not the same thing. I have found that in order to live simply, I may have to make some hard changes. I may need to get on a budget or lose some weight. In order to live better, I may need to work harder least for now.

* simple and frugal are not the same thing...not necessarily.  Honestly, living simply may mean that I get that steam mop I love so I dont spend so much time/energy/hate points on lugging around a mop and water.  I may spend more on disposable diapers than if I did cloth, but frankly ...cloth diapers simple? nope, not for me.  It may cost more to get a washing machine that works better, but when I can cram 3 loads worth in one load relative to my old one ..I will take it.

Its about spending ALL my resources as currency, not just my pennies.

One thing Organized Simplicity has you do is create a family purpose statement...after some input from the hubby and considering it for a bit, ours is:

"Live simply, peacefully, less stressed with glory to God in everything we are, everything we have and in everything we do."

Having this written down had really helped refine what simple living means for our family. It has nurtured inspiration, motivated decluttering, prioritized our schedules, empowered our service, and given us a heart for what is the most important on a day to day basis. 

I am excited to share with you a little at a time some changes I have made, some have made a big difference in my overall feeling of calm and peace :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Congrats Stasi!

Congrats to Stasi for winning 6 months FREE on PearBudget! ...this should be a great kickstart for her new years resolution to get on a budget :)

She says in her entry comment ..."I love pear budget! I used their free spreadsheet version before we were married, but i never made the jump to the online version. Even if I don't win, i will try and convince my husband that the jump is worth it" 

I hope this helps your case Stasi! 

YOU may not have won 6 months for free ...BUT PearBudget offers everyone who signs up (again, nothing entered more personal than an email address) a FREE 30-day trial. I have been using mine and LOVE it!

Special thanks to Charlie at PearBudget, as well as Ruth who have offered this great giveaway and have let me gush to them about their great resource and my new favorite iphone app! :) Thanks so much!

Less Stressed Dinner: Chicken Stroganoff

{First, make sure to go enter to win the PearBudget GIVEAWAY ..we are drawing later today!}

Okay, next thing up ..dinner! 

I put this together last night for our dinner and it was SOO yummy I wanted to share ...its pretty easy, although admittedly not as easy as the Crockpot Beef Stroganoff recipe.  It also utilizes many things that are on sale this week at Publix ..inspired by Emealz? I think so :)

{Chicken Stroganoff}

1 lb skinless chicken breast, cut into small chunks
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, diced
4 oz of white mushrooms (optional..but yummy)
16oz chicken broth
1 chicken boullion cube
8 oz sour cream
3 tbl flour
 8oz egg noodles, cooked
seasonings for taste: garlic salt, poultry seasoning, basil, onion powder

Melt 2 tbl spoons margarine in a large skillet, toss and saute onions, celery and mushrooms. When veggies are tender, add chicken. Season to preference, I shake all that stuff I mentioned in there :) When chicken is no longer pink, add chicken broth and chicken boullion cube. Simmer until chicken is done and tender.  Mix flour and sour cream until smooth. Spoon this mixture into chicken/broth mixture...a whisk works great. Stir until the sour cream/flower is well integrated. Simmer for a few more minutes to allow the flour to thicken the sauce. Serve over hot egg noodles. YUMMO!

To make things even better, add some Cheese and Garlic Biscuits! ..I stole this recipe off the Bisquick box, adjusted a little to taste and use it ALL the time :)

{Cheese and Garlic Biscuits}

2 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2ish cup of shredded cheddar cheese
a few shakes of garlic powder
Mix together, drop onto a cookie sheet and cook at 350 until just barely showing color ..if they turn brown they are tad over done.  Brush with melted butter seasoned with garlic salt, serve warm.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Project Simplify: Kids Stuff

I have really loved taking care of some of these Hot Spots ...Simple Mom's Project Simplify has been most inspiring to get some of these problem areas knocked out!

This week's assignment was a big area of need in our house, which is why I took care of it last weekend ..two days BEFORE she assigned it as this week's Hot Spot :)

SO..I dont have any BEFORE pics of the Kids Stuff ..but I do have after pics and have been enjoying the organization of that for a week now!

We dont have a huge closet, but we do have a playroom so the only thing in my boy's room is their clothing and some books. That really helps keep the toy clutter to a smaller geographical location...

The boys closet BEFORE ..

{picture here ...the after pic with lots more clothes, stuff sticking out drawers and no empty hangers :}

The boys closet AFTER ...

The blue bins at the top of their closet is one of our Parent Control Stubstances ...their train set. If they have all the pieces down for that at once they end up spreading all over the house, always cluttering up their bedroom (so I take back what I said about there not being any toys in their room ..this is the only thing have in there ..the trains stay in their bedroom)

 The keep their laundry hamper in the closet, it keeps it from being a roller coaster ride down the stairs :)

In the drawers we have pj's, undies/socks and all their pants. Their shirts are all hanging. I personally find that much easier than folding.  I have two levels of shelves ..the lower shelf is specifically for clothes they choose for themselves. Those shirts are ones they can play in and are accessible by independent little boys :) The upper level is next season's stuff, and also shirts that I prefer they dont play in.

This is the room and the extra hangers we had left after we decluttered their clothes! :)

Decluttering their toys has been a perpetual process - I am constantly decluttering that area. Especially since Christmas I have been stealthily getting rid of toys that are broken, junky or not played with. With what we have left, I have half of it out and the other half in a bin in the garage. Its our version of toy rotation, only bringing it out when they start asking for specific things I know are in there.

I leave out categories of stuff that I know they love the most, dress up, blocks, trains, etc. We were still having a lot of trouble keeping that stuff picked up, so as part of this week's decluttering I did another brutal toy overhaul.

This time I had them chose from those categories their 10 favorites of each of those things (except blocks, the open ended toys stay as is).  They have 10 cars, 10 "people" (my boys LOVE gijoe guys, and other figures like that), 10 of their favorite dress up items, etc.  I was alittle concerned they would complain about it but ..not a whine.

When we were all done choosing our favorite things, we "celebrated" having simplified all of it and we dumped ALL the bins in the of the playroom floor! :) Then we saw how fast we were able to pick it all up, it was super fast :) This was a great lesson for mommy and boys :)

I also have a shelf of toys that are Parent Controlled - things they have to have permission and or supervision to use. In those bins is paint, playdoh, construction sets, etc.  They can reach them, but they know they cant get them without permission.

In the process of simplifying the kiddo's stuff I learned I learned a few things that I would like to remember for when I attempt this again ...

* Kids really do like simplicity has been notable how there has been no complaints whatsoever about the limited toy options. I swear they are playing outside more, playing with eachother more, complaining less about picking up, and playing with what they have more often. Its not just for me :)

* Give them a voice ..I was a bit surprised when I called my 6 yo in to help me declutter his pants. He had a ton but apparently he had serious reasons for why he didnt wear certain ones (aside from Sunday, or when looking nice is important, he chooses his own clothes). I learned he prefers jean and not "brown" short because they "embarrass" him ..who knew? That helped eliminate several pairs of shorts that would have otherwise been taking up room :)

* Every pair of jeans we started out the fall with have holes in them now :) ..that means we now have that many pairs of cut off shorts for the summer. These are perfect play shorts, and as we have learned Ty more options for "not brown" shorts :)

* Because these boys are growing SO fast, I am keeping a basket in their closet or on my dryer (its on my dryer right now) for putting things away that are outgrown or need to be goodwill/garage sale'd. I have found that having a basket close by, it cuts down on the dreaded clothes overhaul every few months.

This was a great week for decluttering and simplifying!  ..cant wait for next week!
{One are we area simplifying is our BUDGET ..check out our PearBudget GIVEAWAY !}

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Does it Cost?

With this week's focus on keeping our finances simple and less stressed, I am also thinking alot the cost of what we do with all of our resources. We do not only spend our pennies, but each of our resources as they are all as finite as our monthly paychecks.

The truth is, is that whenever we use what we have we are taking from the supply of what we will have for later. Sometimes that is in respect for money, and sometimes it is in time or mental energy. Determining when and where to properly use any of those things, is the key to being a good steward of what God has given us.

On Facebook this week, I asked the question: What helps you MOST feel like a good steward of your finances ...keeping a budget, using cash or being frugal?

I think Christine answered for a good portion of us when she said, "Being frugal, not buying things others would buy. I try very hard to seriously evaluate whether I need something, or if I could do without."  

I liked her followup answer..."it helps to remember that Jesus didnt have an ipad :)"

I would agree that by being protective of our resources, whether financial or otherwise, we give ourselves a leg up  in the effort to make sure that all of our limited assets are distributed the way that God would want us to.  Choosing when and where we use those resources creates a sense of purpose for what God has given us, and allows for more effectively using them for the reasons we desire in our hearts to use them.

In her book, Organized Simplicity, Tsh Oxenreider talks about "opportunity cost". She talks describes opportunity cost as being "the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action...(it is) the benefit you could have received by taking an alternative action.

For me, that means that there are pros and cons of everything we chose to give ...when we give, it costs us something. When we spend anything on anything else we are pulling from what we have, which means that resource is no longer available to be used elsewhere. 

For instance, if you spend "x" on a new pair of shoes then you have "x" less to put towards the light bill. In the same way if you spend "x" amount of minutes watching tv then you have "x" less to give reading to your kiddos, reading your bible, etc. 

Our opportunity costs have to be evaluated when we look at all that God has given us, and how we use it. Whether we are considering our pennies, our energy, our relationships, our emotional reserve or our time we are "spending" those things either for God's benefit ..or NOT.

Something else to consider though, is when we have a heart for giving (again, no matter what it is we give) and we are doing it with service to God in mind, God does great things with the resources we chose to offer up. 

Consider the church in Macedonia, when the apostle Paul was collecting funds for the church in Jerusalem ..."..they were tested by many troubles, and they were very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which is overflowing in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.  They did more than we had hoped because their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do." 2 Cor 8: 1-5

As godly women, I believe we often struggle with the opportunity cost of everything we give in our lives. We struggle with giving too much time to laundry and thus sacrificing time with our kids, or too much time serving out side our homes and give up nurturing the environment of our homes. We struggle with the time it takes to cut coupons, vs the pennies we spend at the grocery store.  We struggle with whether or not we should take care of ourselves with a 30 minute jog or give focused time to our husbands at the end of our day.

We desire to beautifully balance all of these precious resources, because we have so much as stake ..namely our families, our homes and our godly service. 

We must remember that above all else, we are to give ourselves to God, filled with joy in the giving and thus being moved to rich generosity.   

Does that mean we give to anything and everything to everyone? The Macedonian church was begging for the privilege of giving to a certain cause, not every one that was presented to them.  We must use wisdom in determining which causes are worthy, and which ones dont make the cut. But when we chose the right area to give, we are doing "just as God wanted {us} to!"

{Welcome ifellowshippers! Its always a blessing to have you here!}
{Dont forget to check out our post on PearBudget and our current GIVEAWAY ...a great way to manage your financial resources well!}

Monday, March 21, 2011

Less Stressed Tool: Pear Budget

Okay, I have been so excited to share this with you since I discovered it last week! This tool is going to make a BIG stressor WAY less stressful :)

I am reading Organized Simplicity, by SimpleMom (more on that later!). She is a big fan of this husband-wife team's online budgeting system.

Pear Budget is a super simple way to be a good little Dave Ramsey follower/debt free live-r/good steward of your financial resources. Using a very easy to use format, PB sets you up a monthly budget and helps keep track of your spending in less time and with less effort...thus, with less stress! :)

I have been keeping a budget for my entire marriage, which includes tracking every penny we use. Our beginning spreadsheets were in a word, complicated. They involved way more than they should have, for something that need to keep on top of in order to take good care of money. We have simplified through the years, but this takes the cake.

My favorite PB highlights:

*You enter your budget ONCE..meaning, that I made my monthly budget and they have it set up for me from here on out. I love that I can fast forward two months and put that I will need a haircut in May so to budget for that.  Love it.

* The whole thing is extremely simple - simple fields, simple key strokes, easy to find everything and easy to figure out as a newbie. The have you put in just enough info to keep your pennies behaving, but not too much where you spend way to much time entering info.

* Not only does create your budget for monthly stuff, it also takes irregular bills (like quarterly payments) and breaks it up for you. It helps you budget your big expenses better. I really love this because it something we do anyway with our car insurance and stuff. I love that PB does it for me! 

* They have an iphone app! ...I pulled this up this morning because that is something that will help me, both to keep track of what I can spend while I am out and about and also to put in what I am spending when I spend it. The app lets you hop on your budget, check out how much is in say, the "Dining Out" budget and then track the receipt, all from  your iphone.  One of my favorite things about that ..hubby and I can be on the same page!  He can know what we have, and knows if we have the bucks to buy me flowers ;)

* Dont have an iphone? Its okay ..they have something else that is great too ..its called a "Go Card" ..a 3x5 version of your budget that you can print and take with you. Love it.

* Aside from your email, it doesnt use any personal info - no bank info, no account numbers, etc. I like that.

* Their website is pretty .. :)

* The website and app is well worth the $5/month... And since they give you a free 30-day trial so you can play, learn and become dependent :)   ... this one is a no-brainer for me!  In order to try it, you dont have to enter any personal info, aside from your email address. No credit card numbers or anything.

BUT .... my #1 favorite thing about them to date ...drumroll please ...

They have offered LPLS readers a giveaway of a free 6-month subscription!

Wahoo! will WANT this!

In order to enter,  please go check out Pear Budget! ..set up a super easy budget (it literally took me less than 5 minutes) ..and then come tell me what you think!

If you "like" them on Facebook get another entry. I got on there this morning and learned even more great tips about new fav budgeting tool! 

If you "like" LPLS on Facebook get another entry...really, we want you lots of chances to get this great tool!

We will choose a winner NEXT Monday! ..ready, set, GO!

{in effort to manage my resources well...this WORKS FOR ME!}

Friday, March 18, 2011


I dont know about all of you ..but the older I get the more I am learning about me. Things that I have always just ignored because it was me, and "thats the way I am, I guess."

Over the past few years, especially since I turned 30, I have learned SO much about what that means. What "being me" mean? Who AM I anyways?

Part of that is refining for myself why certain things stress me out (thus, this blog) and why certain things calm my default settings down :)

For example, I know I have always loved the role of teacher. I am the oldest of six kids and the structure of our home allowed for me to be a mentor and teacher to all my siblings. I have carried that passion and love through to adult hood, but only recently have I discovered what that really means specifically.

What I have learned is that I love to teach people things that bring calm, empower and inspire peace. I dont want to just teach someone anything (I am really bad at explaining how to play a game, for example :)  ..but something that will be valuable and valued

All THAT to say, I have always knew that I loved order. I love lists, sets of matching things, clean lines, and things being sorted by color. I love it. To refine it, though, I have discovered that what I really am after is simplicity.

What I really want and what causes me a sigh of contentment is simple order.

I am just bursting at the seams with serious blog inspiration that cant WAIT to pour out over the next week. I have a book I want to tell you about, some great links to share and a giveaway that I just got word about.

What some simple inspiration to get you in the mood? ...I have discovered Simple Mom, check her out!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

a little oil

I am doing a study on the lives and ministry of Elijah and Elisha. This week I was reading the story in 2 Kings chapter four,  of Elisha and the widow of a prophet of God...

  "The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my
two boys as his slaves.”
 2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
   “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.
 3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
 5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
   But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
 7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” 

I wonder how often we feel like this gal? We come to God feeling desperate and overwhelmed. We feel as if we have nothing at all to offer God, or anyone else. We are spent and exhausted. We have the weight of the world on our shoulders, and the reality of our situation starts closing in on us.

As the woman lays out her case to Elisha, he responds with a question that seems deeper than just "Tell me, what you have in your house?"  ..."I have nothing."  Nothing to give, nothing to offer...except this little bit of oil. 

I love LOVE how God uses the very thing that she offers to show himself to her! I love how Elisha tells her to .."dont only ask for a few" ...God is gonna do something big, girl better get ready for it!

She does what Elisha says, but dont you think she wishes later that gotten more empty jars? 
She starts pouring, and pouring and pouring. You can just about see the excitement building as she keeps setting full jars aside, knowing her debt would be taken care of and her babies would not be taken away.  She keeps reaching and reaching, then as the last one is used up..the oil stops pouring.

I have been considering how little she felt she had to offer - how helpless she had felt only a short time before. She offered what she had, and God used it. He took what she had and multiplied it, as only He can, to meet her needs. 

I think that we can take a lesson from this lady ...first, she offered ..what little she felt she had, she offered it. Then, she obeyed, she collected jars, shut the door and starting pouring. Last, she saw God taking her little and making it more than she could imagine. 

You may not feel like you have anything ...but even that little drop of oil at the bottom of a dried up flask can be used by God to show his power in your life! I pray that you offer him what you have, and then are blessed enough to see it fill all the empty vessels in sight!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Emealz Dinner Idea!


In case you missed it..I shared with you this week about a great online resource I have been using the last few weeks!  Learn more about Emealz here!

I wanted to share one of their great recipes with you, to show how simple but YUMMO the menus are!

We LOVED this one!

French Dip Sandwiches
by Emealz
1/2 to 1lb boneless shoulder roast
14 oz can of beef broth
2 oz box onion soup mix, 1 pkt
1/2 loaf bakery French Bread
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Combine beef broth and onion soup mix in crockpot. Add roast. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
Remove roast to slice or shred. Slice french bread in half, lengthwise. On one side layer beef, then cheese.  Close sandwich, wrap in foil and place in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. 
Remove and slice. Use broth from the meat as au jus for dipping.

{I was a little pressed for time, so I used a can of condensed  French Onion Soup instead of broth/mix and I also broiled my meat/cheese instead of wrapping in was AWESOME!}

Honestly, all of the meals on our Emealz menu have been great ..all simple, few ingredients and yummy!

Click on the button to check out Emealz (OH ..and I discovered that I DO get a 25% commission on each referral made ...but I promise I didnt realize that before I decided to share them with you! :) ...and dont forget to use the COUPON code on the side bar for $2 off a subscription!

Anxious for the Right Reasons

We all know what it feels like to be anxious. We know how to worry, fret and over analyze. As women we are wired to do these things by default. In effort to surround ourselves with peace and calm, one of the first things to go is that tendency toward giving over to that default setting.

We should constantly remind our hearts to "cast your cares on him, because he cares for you." {1 Peter 5:7} and of course, "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." {Philippians 4:6}

There are times, though, when we feel a degree of anxiety that is based on the good things we are doing for the benefit of God's will.  Have you experienced that kind of anxiety?

When your insides are unsettled because you know you are being challenged to move forward, away from your comfort zone, to a new horizon and new task? How about when you are sensing the need for change, renewal or revising a good thing you are doing for Him? 

I have been feeling that the past couple of weeks for a ministry with my church family ...I am ANXIOUS about the needs and the potential for meeting them!

It was in state of mind on Sunday, when I saw this jumping out at me ..."For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You wont spend the rest of your life chasing your own desires but will be anxious to do the will of God."  1 Peter 4:1b-2

That is a great reason to be anxious!

I pray for you today that you will be anxious for the RIGHT things ..for doing His will, for accomplishing the tasks to which you have been called, to manage your resources well and to be called a worthy servant of His! 

{Welcome, ifellowship friends!}

Monday, March 14, 2011

Project Simplify: Paper Clutter

{okay, I am going to participate in this weeks Project Simplify challenge but I am reposting this to remind myself about a system the does work great for me long as I stay on top of it!}

A huge area of stress and clutter in my house is paper!

I just finished cleaning off my desk ..which was a pile of ridiculousness that I have been putting off for forEVER. I had piles everywhere and only I knew what to do with any of them.

I was forced to resurrect a great system that I used awhile back. I am now remembering how much easier it was than going through a pile of paper clutter for a couple of hours every few months. Like so many things, it is a matter of taking care of the clutter on the front side ..before it becomes clutter.

Having a place to put everything, just like in my house otherwise, is the secret to keeping the clutter down.

I found this file folder holder about a year or so ago at Sam's Club, of all places. They have all sorts of file keepers on sale right now,  so it would be a great to get what you need for this tool.  It came with some really cute file folders (cute makes everything easier). I think I bought the whole thing for $ works great for me!

It is in my kitchen, where I bring the mail ...the ROOT OF ALL PAPER CLUTTER!  I have each file folder labeled:  Current Bills, Finances, Current Projects, Receipts, Pending Business and Important Stuff (genius, I know).

As I open my mail, everything goes into one of these places or the trash.  I open it all right at the file folder so I open, file or throw away. No putting the filing off til later.

I have found that this keeps everything I need right at my finger tips when I need it (like, the bills), helps me keep track of small pieces of paper (invitations, receipts, gift certificates, etc.) and important information (like eye prescriptions, drs excuses, etc.). I do still have to file into my larger filing system at some point, but only every couple of months and then it is already sorted and organized.

Another great use of it is keeping track of receipts for tax purposes ..last year was our first year to itemize, so this year I am having to keep a close track on all my receipts. I am filing them straight to this file box so I know exactly where the money receipts are!  I will love myself next April :)

What type of paper clutter system do you use? Does it work for you??!

Less Stressed Dinner: Emealz

Today, I wanted to share something that I have utilized the last couple of weeks that has taken some stress away from both grocery shopping AND making dinner! :)

E-mealz is a great Less Stress tool ...created by moms just like us to help us blend together weekly sales of our favorite grocery stores, a weekly menu (with recipes!)  and a shopping list!  They have a long list of options of different menus and shopping lists including different grocery stores (Publix, Walmart, Kroger, ect.), different size families (2-5 people), different meal preferences ..including a Weight watchers Points Plus plan! 

The recipes included are super simple and way yummy (I will post an example later today!)!

Also, some menus/shopping lists also include online coupon links that can be used on your shopping lists ..on top of the sales that week.

Each week you simply login, print your menu/shopping list and head to the grocery store for great savings and a week of great dinner meals!

This great resource costs $15/3months ...$5/month, $1.25/week. I wrote the gals at E-mealz and let them know that this is PERFECT for LPLS readers! They have offered us a coupon code for $2 off a subscription! 

Click this link and use the coupon code when you order:  SAVINGMONEY

{Disclaimer: aside from the coupon code I am sharing with you, I am not getting any compensation for sharing this resource ..I really do love it}

Friday, March 11, 2011

A good reminder for myself ...

{I had to repost this because I needed to be reminded one point this WORKED FOR ME! still does I just had to remember!}
I love organization! 

It makes me giddy to experience order, especially in my own home. Because of that, I get really frustrated when I cant achieve some level of order in my home. Just having had a baby 6 weeks ago, I am feeling that urge to order and reorder the world of crazy chaos around me :) ..three boys under 6 will do that to a gal.
I keep hearing one of my favorite order mentor, FlyLady saying ..."anyone can find 15 minutes in a day."  Now, not to disagree with her (like I said, I love her concepts and use them regularly) but 15 minutes all at one time is often IMPOSSIBLE to find in my crazy days. 

Part of the problem is if I do get 15 minutes at one time when I am not needed by a new baby, a potty training toddler, a learning to read 5 year old,  a wonderful daddy, a busy household ..I have 1000000 things to get done in that 15 minutes.

I have learned to settle for asking less (much less) of myself, and trying not to let that idea that "anyone can find 15 minutes" throw me off.  Somedays, 2 minutes to accomplish anything is all I have. 

But, I am working on a mental list of things to do that I can get done in 5 or less minutes is what I have come up with so far ...

*Make my bed ..JUST make my bed, not put clothes away or dust the dresser, JUST make the bed
*Switch the laundry 
*Fold some of the laundry ..maybe not all, but if I knock out half then its that much less that I have to do later
* Fill the dishwasher ..again, maybe not all but its okay
* Swish the toilet bowl
* Wipe off the bathroom sink
* Take the stuff on the stairs upstairs, or downstairs depending on where it goes
* Take the meat out for dinner
* Consider dinner 
* Clip this week's coupons ..not all, perhaps ..

Having a few things in mind before hand,  I can get straight to it in that quiet time between putting the kids in the bath and them start yelling about their sibling splashing them, or while the baby is happy between feedings and needing a nap, or that wonderful first 5 minutes that a cartoon is keeping their attention.
Short spurts of time can make a big difference if I have a plan, AND be okay with not getting something completed. Sometimes, it may take several short little productive bursts to complete that load of laundry but when its done, YAY! 

Hip Homeschool Moms

You know that if you are a homeschooling mom that this time of year, as your kids are wrapping up this school year YOU are already thinking ahead to NEXT year!

I am not different ..I am very excited for what we have plans for, but need to move out some of this curriculum we are done with (or will be very soon!). Getting rid of that will relieve stress because we are "getting rid of it!" and because now we have some pennies to put towards those great plans! :)

I have my materials listed with a great community I found called Hip Homeschool Moms ..since I (of course) consider myself one such mom ;) I love to visit them on Facebook and their blog.

They have a great Homeschool Classified community I am utilizing is my listing if you are interested in purchasing my used Beyond Little Hearts to His Glory deluxe set :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Creating Peace in Others ..or Taking it Away

I love considering how we can encouraging each other to a peaceful balance of utilizing our resources and blessing others through them. I love seeing how my effort to be more available for God's peace to fill me, can perhaps give others the ability to experience God's peace in their own life..I say that in a general "us" kinna way, rather than something I specifically do ..but I love to consider it.

For me, along with considering how we can encourage peace in each other, is considering how we can do the opposite of that. Specifically, I have considered lately how negativity in our words, attitudes and actions can serve to take peace away from those around us.

I know we have all been there ...when others' lack of peace affects us in a negative way. When their words, harshness, stress, bad attitude can suck the peacefulness of our hearts away in a second. It may take a careless or unloving word to ruin much more than just a moment of peaceful rest in God's goodness.

Even in the midst of positivity, a negative outlook can ruin things.

I had a opportunity recently to be in a position where I was able to receive feedback about a heart-deep service offering to my sisters in Christ. It is one of things that I and a friend of mine give months of thought and heart to. We have a team of people who encourage us, support us, work along side of us and pray through this work on a yearly basis.  We love it.

I was amazed this year, to receive an abundance of awesome and wonderful feedback about the work we did once it was completed. We had alot of really great and encouraging words given to us, then and since. It seems though, that in our human weakness we default to only really thinking about those few negative comments that hurt us in the moment they were said.

Its silly really - the ratio of good to bad comments is 98:1 ...but amazingly it still did a number on the peace that we got from doing that work.

Really, its just a reflection of my own weakness and pride...but it made me realize how important the words we use are. How one negative word or thought shared at the wrong time can be so damaging to God's servants and ultimately His work.

It has made me more aware of how I use my words, and how negativity can have such an dramatic effect on how a person experiences the peace that comes from doing God's work, or living their purpose. Its a powerful tool in Satan's arsonel, especially for women!

I think we need to reflect carefully on these words, keep them close to our hearts and meditate on them so when we get the opportunity to say something that may steal a person's peace we can remember ...

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Eph 4:29 (NIV)

The New Living Translation puts a bit more simply, "...Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."

Certainly, this requires some serious considering of the words that come out of our mouths (a tough one for me!) ...but worth the cost, when we consider that we can do much to encourage peace in others and take it away just as easily.

As an end note ...I am totally over anything negative that was said (we did a GREAT job!), but the lesson was still an important one! :)

{Welcome ifellowshippers! ..thanks for visiting!}

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I have been feeling a general sense of anxiety lately. I have had alot going on, many responsibilities, many commitments and many things to focus on. That anxiety has crept into the priorities in my life reflecting on my home, the discipline of my children, our homeschooling and even my friendships.

I am feeling determined this morning to do a true open heart inventory of it - the source, and also get recommitted to those areas where I need to be doing better.

I am realizing the importance of evaluation. Of stopping, looking, studying and determining where the sources of our frustrations, anxiety and worry really are born.

Its not that anything bad is going on, or that I have anything to complain about. Its just a build up of that every day stress that piles on top of each other and then weighs on my heart, heavily.

I am reminded that God reminds us often throughout scripture to "..cast your cares on the Lord, he will sustain you. He will never let the righteous fall." Psalms 55:22

And, "...Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

I am reminded, also, of what a powerful tool that Satan uses in the hearts of our Creator's more gentle sex. He uses it expertly, even when things are going well, blessed and worthy of nothing but praise.  As I am reminded by a friend and blogger this morning, anxiety places us in a direct conflict with where God wants us to be. To allow myself to stay in this weighty place, I would be being less than what God desires of me.

So, I go to my old standby (as I friend says, I own this verse!) ..."do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace that transcends all understanding with guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:6

I am going to go to my prayer blog and share all these things with him, now. I am going to share where I feel weak, failing, challenged, convicted and regretful.  I know that he will bless that offering, as he always does.

I pray for you today that you are able to evaluate the sources of your anxiety, be able to give it to him, and be willing to allow his peace to overwhelm you this day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mom-Based Business: Henry & Stella Designs

Our Mom-Based Business of the week is Henry & Stella Designs ...a new jewelry line that I LOVE LOVE!

{Our mom is Krystal}

Krystal Maples is a jewelry designer and stay-home mom from Cheney, Kansas. She and her husband, Chad, have been married since 2004 and have two adopted sons, ages 13 and 9. She began making jewelry in 2010 and fell in love with hand-stamped metalwork. She recently left the corporate world and her job as a private investigator for a law firm, and now runs Henry & Stella Designs (named after two of her dogs) from her home. She greatly enjoys the flexibility of being her own boss and having a more active role in her sons' lives.

I am a proud owner of a Henry & Stella design with all three of my sons' names on a round silver circle. I love it! ...this is me when I got to wear it for the first time :)

These make GREAT mom or grandmother gifts! Her designs are unique, simple and beautiful. She does them for your school, your favorite athlete, your favorite nickname..etc. They are as unique as you are :)

Check out her site, look around and get to know her work. I would love for you to come back and tell me what you LOVE!
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Related Posts with Thumbnails