Love Story

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The ultimate Daily Deal list

 Lately I have found myself stumbling upon a new daily deal site almost everyday so I thought I would put them all in one place for those of you who like that kind of thing. Enjoy! I will come back and update as I continue to find more, feel free to leave a comment with any of your favorite sites that aren't listed here.

Groupon - I think most people have heard of Groupon by now as they are incredibly popular and available in most cities. You will see deals on everything from local eateries, to laser hair removal, to museum passes. I have already bought a handful of deals from this site and continued to be pleased.

Mamapedia -  Very similar to Groupon. They actually don't have my city on this site so I just choose National and they feed me all the deals that are available regardless of location.

Gaggle of Chicks - The deals on this site are on mom-recommended products and NYC services. If you use this link you get a $10 credit just for signing up!

Zulily - I really like this site. This has deals for moms, babies and kids but it isn't just one deal a day it is dozens of sellers with products on sale. Some really cute stuff here!

Living Social -  Another one just like Groupon, ranging from food to local activities. You can put in your zip code and they will update you on deals closest to you. There isn't anything close enough to me to be worthwhile but occasionally they have national deals. You get a $5 credit for signing up using this link.

The Deal Planet - This site offers deals specifically in the Spokane area.

The Deal Pulp (Added 1/31/11) - Daily deal site offering online and national offers. Get a $5 credit for signing up using this link:)

Tippr (added 2/3/11) - Daily deal site offering 50% - 90% off local spas, restaurants, etc. They have a pretty limited city list but you can put in a request for your city. Get a $5 credit for signing up using this link.

Mertado Social Deals (added 2/3/11) - Offering daily deals from the top brands. Sign up through this link and you will earn $10 Mertado Cash after your first purchase

Quite Unique (added 2/16/11) - A daily deal site that features handmade items. How cool!

Totsy (added 3/19/11) -  For moms, babies and children. Brand specific sales at up to 70% off. Get a $15 credit each time a friend sign's up under your referral and makes their first purchase.

The Mini Social (added 3/23/11) - For mom, baby and child. Stylish, high quality clothing and accessories at a discount. Receive a $10 credit for each referral when they make their first purchase.

Rue La La (added 3/25/11) - Everything from kids' shoes to home decor to jewelry at a discount price. Earn a $1 for every friend who signs up (up to $100) and $10 for every friend who makes a purchase.

Bitsy Bug (added 4/5/11) - BitsyBug is a deal site designed just for stylish moms like you. We help you find the best sites and get great deals on the latest styles and trends for your cute little bugs. Why? So they can be even cuter, of course!

To be added to as I find more!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Get ready...

I have had a lot of people mention how much they liked the chicken recipes I shared awhile back. Well, I hope you all are ready for some more because we are getting another order from Zaycon Foods on Monday and this time we are keeping the entire 40 lb box of boneless skinless chicken breasts for ourselves. That's a whole lot of chicken!

I will be working on a new list of chicken recipes so all of you chicken lovers be on the lookout for an upcoming post. In the meantime, I would love for you to share some of your families favorite chicken dishes. We love trying new stuff around here!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Heart That Loves

I have been meaning to come back to write about last weeks study from the book A Woman After God's Own Heart but alas life has been busy and more time has passed then I intended. I last talked about the kind of wife I want to be and am wanting to continue to share the things revealed to me while reading this book and spending time with other women who are on this journey with me. 

The two chapters we covered last week were called A Heart That Loves Part 1 and Part 2. So far these were my favorite chapters in the book. Author Elizabeth George first talks about deciding to make your husband your number one priority. This really struck home with me. I think that it is so easy at times to take for granted our husbands and put our efforts towards other relationships. Or worse yet, choose the advice, comfort or company of someone else over that of our husbands. Genesis 2:24 talks about how we are to leave our parents and cleave to our mate. Our husband should be our number one priority after God and the way we spend our time should reflect that.

We are also called to choose our husbands over all other human relationships. Including our children. I know this can sometimes be hard for a mother to grasp, especially when you have young children. The drive to nurture and care for these little people who are a part of us can sometimes out shadow the feeling to care for and love on our husbands. It is important to remember that these children wouldn't even exist without the relationship that first occurred between your husband and yourself. And one day when all the children are gone, you will find yourself in that place where you started. Just you and him. How foolish of us to neglect this important relationship that will continue on well past our child raising years!

Here is the part that made me fall in love with these two chapters. She lays out "nine tried-and-true ways to groom yourself in the fine art of showering your husband with friendship love." Doesn't get much easier than that! Okay, living it out can sometimes be hard but having this reminder sure does help:

1. Pray for Your Husband Daily - It is so important that we are lifting our spouse up in prayer. From his relationship with God, to his job, to his ministry involvements. Make this a priority. This goes for those of you with husbands who aren't Christians as well. God's role is to save your husband and your role is to pray fervently as you continue to love him and serve him. I love her point also that as you invest your time in praying for your husband you will notice your heart warming to him. It is really hard to be mad at someone you are praying for!

2. Plan For Your Husband Daily - To be that supportive wife God wants us to be, we must make a plan each day to do so. From planning special deeds of kindness to planning special dinners it is important that we consider our husbands needs and make an effort to meet them when possible. Last week I decided I would lighten Jeremy's load by running out all the trash and changing the cat litter so he wouldn't have to do it when he got home. He noticed right away and really appreciated what I had done for him which made me feel good as well!
For those of us with children it is important to plan time alone. This may look different depending on what stage your children are at, but it is important nonetheless. I know that for us, we make it a priority to put the kids to bed early each night so that we have those nighttime hours to talk uninterrupted. Sometimes we use this time to have a romantic candlelit dinner or we do something simple like sprawling on the floor with sushi while watching Netflix. Whatever it is, it is our time to stay connected.
Lastly, make a plan to go to bed at the same time. Schedules don't always allow this but when at all possible make an effort to adjust your schedule to your husbands. This will help strengthen you as a team, give you more opportunities to send him off in the morning and keep your family on schedule as well as nurture physical love in your marriage.

Steps 3 - 9 to be continued....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

$10 for $20 Amazon card!!!

Had to share this hot, today only deal with you all. Pay $10 for a $20 Amazon card through Living Social, a site similar to Groupon. Hurry up, this one is going to be really popular!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Unwholesome talk

The interesting thing about writing a blog about your life is that it is so easy to pinpoint what is going on in each season based on the reoccurring themes in your posts. What's going on in my life right now? Parenting issues! So lucky you, you are along for the ride as my blog focuses on this very thing. Your welcome:)

These past few weeks I have found myself having to really pay attention to what my children are watching on television. Not to say we weren't doing that to begin with, but now it is on a different level. About two weeks ago I heard my little 3 year old start calling his brother an idiot. While not the worst word in the world, I certainly don't want to hear it coming out of my children's mouths. Especially to insult someone else. It didn't take me long to figure out that the role model for this behavior came from their new favorite movie Toy Story 3. Needless to say after several reminders not to use that word it came down to taking the movie away for awhile. Unfortunately, that hasn't done much to curb it. Jordan has realized that he has found a way to ruffle some feathers and still smirks every time he says it. This doesn't surprise me as it is his personality to take joy in doing something he shouldn't. And in line with his personality, Nathan began copying this behavior because Jordan was having so much fun with it. You would think being the older brother he wouldn't fall prey to this, but he is a follower to a fault. Now name calling is a favorite past-time it seems. I was finding myself at a loss for how to deal with this until today.

A friend of a friend posted on Facebook that they used Ephesians 4 to discuss unwholesome talk with their kids. BINGO! I am really striving to raise my kids to choose to live as Jesus did and I want to set strong examples for them that are built upon the teachings in the Bible. This was an excellent chance to do just that. So after a car ride home from dinner tonight filled with various names going back and forth (mostly silly stuff but annoying nonetheless) we decided that we would substitute bedtime stories with some time in the Bible. I sat them both down, one on each side and begin to read through Ephesians 4:17-32. We stopped after each verse so that I could explain what it was saying in a way they would understand. I focused heavily on verse 29 which reads (from the NIV): "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." We talked about examples of unwholesome talk (Jordan's favorite part of the whole thing) and how saying those things would make others feel bad about themselves and that we are to only say things that would make others feel good about themselves. This is definitely going to be a conversation we continue over time. After all, they are 3 and 4 and repetition seems to be as necessary as water and breathing at this age. But I am pleased with how the discussion went and hope they took something from it.  

This also comes at a time when I have been feeling convicted that as a family we should be taking a break from tv all together for awhile. I will write more about this in a later post but it is just confirmation that this is an area we need to be diligent in when it comes to parenting. May not win us any popularity contests with our kids, but I can live with that!

Friday, January 14, 2011

You don't like it? You make it!

These past two weeks have been pretty rough for Nathan (our 4 year old). He has been full of attitude, defiant and complaining about everything. We think he is just really needing some one on one time. He is the most dependent of the 3 and this works against him as far as getting mommy and daddy's attention. This weekend Jeremy is planning an outing for just the two of them so he can get some of that attention he seems to be craving. Another thing we are doing is letting him get more involved in helping out. Not just "Grab Isaiah's binky, please" or "Can you go shut that door or turn off that light" but things that give him responsibility as well as time with one or both of us.

One of his big complaints this week has been dinner. He has not been pleased with what I have been serving and has made no effort to hide that. In this house we do not cater at mealtime, I take into consideration what everyone likes and dislikes but we have one meal and if you don't like it, you don't eat. I have followed through with this all week but have decided in an effort to give him some sense of control (as well as a taste of what I go through to put dinner on the table) I am going to let him start being in charge of one meal every so often. So I sat him down while I was doing the meal planning and told him what day he was in charge of. His responsibilities included planning a dinner menu, helping do the shopping for it and then helping me prepare it.

His dinner night is going to be Friday. What are we having you ask? Spaghetti and Meatballs with broccoli on the side. I thought that was a reasonable choice. And for dessert: his major requirement was that it had whipped cream and he finally settled on putting that on top of brownies.

On the menu!

So Friday came and Nathan was actually super excited about getting to help at the grocery store. I let him pick out the head of broccoli, which kind of pasta sauce, the brownie mix, etc. He had so much fun that he helped me with my entire list and did a great job at it. I think I found a new shopping buddy!

As soon as we got home and got the groceries put away we decided to get the brownies going. So he donned his new chef ware that he got as a Christmas present and jumped right into baking.
Doesn't he look so excited?

Who needs a Kitchen Aid when you have a 4 year old?
As soon as that came out of the oven it was time to start making the meatballs. This is where things took an interesting turn. First off, he didn't realize what I put in my meatballs. "Squash...I don't like squash!" he whined as I explained that he loves my meatballs and that is what has always been in them. Then when I told him we mix up the ingredients by putting our hands in he wasn't all too thrilled either. Ummm, this is a 4 year old boy we are talking about, right? I thought he would be thrilled to play with his food but not so much. So I talked him into putting his hands into it and that is when all heck broke loose. He was thoroughly disgusted and was begging to wash his hands. I told him I wanted him to make one meatball to see how it was done and I pretty much had to force him to do it. I think the pictures say it all:

Mean old mommy made me make a meatball (try saying that 3 times fast!)
As this was going on he realized that one of his favorite shows was on tv and he wanted to quit all together to watch tv. This is where the lesson came in. I told him that being responsible for making dinner isn't always fun. That besides the planning and shopping, you also have to stop what you are doing and sometimes miss out on the fun stuff to get it done. This is why it hurts mommy's feelings when you complain about what I make. While I wanted this entire experience to be a fun bonding moment between us I am glad this life lesson was incorporated into it as well. This was the backbone to the whole idea and I am glad it came about naturally so that he could truly get the point. After some time in his room following a full on meltdown (and a mini mommy meltdown), we got back to cooking and everything turned out great. His favorite part was serving everyone and getting to choose how many meatballs went on his plate. I told him one of the perks of being the cook is deciding how much you put on your own plate. I then asked if he wanted two or three meatballs to which he replied, "I think I need four, I have a really big mouth!"  Four it is Nathan. Four it is.

Enjoying the fruits of his labor

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cheap and Easy Holiday/Winter Center Piece

While I am not overly decorative I do like to have a nice centerpiece on my table at most times. I don't know why...I think the table just looks so plain and boring without something there. Since we are on a pretty tight budget, I like to use things I already have around the house to decorate with. I will fill in with items from the Dollar Store or other clearance items I find here and there. I particularly like browsing through the dollar section at our Target, they always have great seasonal stuff. As I was getting ready to change out my current centerpiece from the holidays, I thought I would take a moment to share it with you all before I change it up. I realize the holidays are over but I think this would just as nice throughout the winter.

I bought the plate at Target...a two pack for $2.00. I bought the glittery pine cones from Target a year or two ago for $1.00 and have used them in several centerpieces since. The red and green candle I already had on hand. I think this by itself would be pretty nice. I decided to top it with a cake stand topper I had (mostly to keep little hands from grabbing the stuff inside) and placed it on top of a green table runner which I got on after holiday clearance from Target (yes, I am a little obsessed with Target deals). Not bad for a couple of dollars!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The kind of wife I want to be

I touched on the subject of submission, service and sex last year after attending a women's conference at my church. God has really been hitting home this subject for me lately and I feel convicted not only to work on myself as a wife but to speak out on the subject as it is so important. It is devastating to me that the divorce rate is so high and even more crushing that the rate is equally as high among Christians. Obviously we are going about it totally wrong. I recently brought up the book we are studying in my women's small group, A Woman After God's Own Heart, which has continued to remind me of what my priorities should be as a Christian woman.

This week we are reading the first two of four chapters about how to make our husbands a priority. These chapters are entitled A Heart That Serves and A Heart That Follows. I love how Elizabeth George talks about serving our husbands. She first points out that as followers of Christ we should all have a servants heart, married or not. This attitude of service should start at home, specifically with your husband. She goes onto define a helper, as described in Genesis 2:18. A helper is one who shares man's responsibilities, responds to his nature with understanding and love, and wholeheartedly cooperates with him in working out the plan of God. You see we are to team with our husband. This idea of team should eliminate any sense of competition which is why there can only be one head of the household. If we as women are competing for that position we are working against our husbands and ultimately against God's plan.

I furthermore love how gracefully Elizabeth describes our calling to follow our husbands. First of all, a husband's calling as head of the household does not mean that a wife isn't to offer wise input, be a part of discussion or question the decision-making process for clarification. The husband's headship means that he is responsible for the final decision. In the end our husbands are accountable to God for their leadership decisions and we are accountable to God for how we follow that leadership. If you ask me, we as wives get off easy! She talks about the fact that the main reason wives hesitate in following their husbands is fear. Fear of what will happen if our husbands choose to do things differently than we do. This is where faith comes in. Ultimately we must have faith in God's plan and faith in our husbands. And we must remember that it is a choice. We are not forced into submission but instead are given the privilege of choosing to do so. 

Already as I have read and prayed on what I am reading, God has begun to bless me in this area. I have noticed that my desire to put my husband before myself has increased as I have spent time making an effort to do so. It is often my first instinct to question or weigh in on every decision he irritating that must be. So I have made a choice to stop and bite my tongue when I have the urge to do this. I think about if I am about to speak up just to have a say or because it is something I feel strongly about. If it is not the latter I don't say anything. Not that I won't share my opinion if he asks, but I don't offer it freely on every decision. It is unnecessary. The second thing I have been working on this week is serving him. I try to get up each morning and think about how I can make his day easier. So often in the past I have gotten wrapped up in the things I have to get done and how he could make my life easier or my to do list shorter. I am working on reversing that thinking and putting his list first and making myself available to help wherever I am needed. Sometimes these are big things, sometimes it is just pouring his coffee and bringing it to him. He isn't asking or expecting me to do this, I am doing it by choice. And quite frankly, it is empowering. So often women think about serving their men and relate it to being oppressed or enslaved. But when it is your choice, especially a choice made to align your will with God's, it is absolutely an empowering choice to be made. I know that I am taking a step to creating the kind of marriage that God intended us to have and only good can come of that. And my husband being the kind-hearted man of God that he is reciprocates this kind of behavior. We are both having our needs met without putting ourselves first....go figure!

I am excited (as is my husband:) to continue next week with the chapters on A Heart That Loves. I know that God has great things in store for us as I continue to work on being a wife his heart. My prayer is that you will look at your role as a wife and pray on the areas that God is calling you to make changes. I promise that He will work wonders if you allow him to.

  Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Re-purposing Old CDs

 Awhile back someone on my Facebook posted this link that had a fun idea for re-purposing old CDs. I loved it so much I sat down and did it that afternoon! With the holiday craziness I am just now getting around to posting it, but it has been done for a few weeks. I had all of these items on hand so this made for an easy project and it looks really great when it's done. When I was pregnant with my first two boys, I painted wooden letters that spelled their names and strung them above their cribs.  I hadn't gotten around to doing anything like that for Isaiah yet so I decided to make this project for his room. So far I haven't punched holes in them but they are propped on his shelf and still look really good. Here's how mine turned out:

First I traced the CDs onto some card stock in the colors I wanted

Added some modge podge to CD, covered both sides with card stock, modge podged again to add letters

Finished project - Plain but cute!

This post was featured on Thrifty Northwest Mom:
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

This New Year

Ah, the excitement of a new year is upon us. The Christmas decorations are being taken down, the new gifts are finding their place in our home and the busyness of the holidays is settling. Life as we know it is going back to normal as we get ready for whatever 2011 has in store for us.

Normally this time of year has me feeling excited over the possibilities of a new start. All sorts of resolutions race through my mind as the permission to start over is granted with the dropping of the ball. This year I am just not feeling it. Maybe it's because I didn't actually stay up until midnight (hey, mother of a 7 month old here...I'm allowed to be lame like that!) so the whole change over hasn't set in. I think more likely it is because this last week, most of this last year really, has been so full of blessings that I do not find myself looking ahead for what's to come. I am actually relishing in what I have at this moment which is such a good feeling. I got to spend the holidays with all of my favorite people and I just soaked up that time realizing how truly blessed I am in this life. I am so grateful that this year brought us Isaiah, who along with his two older brothers has shown me what life is really about. I appreciate the increased opportunities my husband and I have had to serve in our church. I realize that I am in a marriage that is getting stronger each year and I know that this isn't something to take for granted. I have family who truly loves me and supports me in all that I do. These things alone are enough to make me want to hold onto the moment as it feels as if it can't get any better than this.

That being said, as I sit and think about it I do have plans for this year and hope to use the time I am given to work towards being the woman I am meant to be. While the typical lose weight, get organized, etc. are on my list the real goal I am setting is to become more of a woman of virtue. The biggest areas I struggle in that I am feeling convicted to change are to no longer allow laziness/idleness to rule my day, to be more present for my kids and husband, and to be a good steward of what God has given body, my time, my money, my home, my family. This is a big task!! If I am totally honest with myself these are things I may have to work my whole life at and never truly accomplish to the level I am striving to reach. It is not like saying I want to lose XX lbs. The scale will tell you when you have reached that goal and you can feel released to finish your weight loss journey. To strive to be a woman of God is to commit to a life long journey of getting closer to him and trying to align my will with his. Overwhelming when looking at the big picture but so exciting to think of what he can do with my life in this next year if I continue to allow him to guide it. I am not even going to guess what I will have to write about when reflecting on 2011 but I can't wait to find out. Hey, I did manage to get excited talking about the new year...just needed to take a minute and think about it I guess! 
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