Love Story

Monday, October 31, 2011

Old Navy and Crowdtap

This past week I was lucky to get the chance to shop at Old Navy for coats for a friend and myself. Any coat of our choice. Oh, and did I mention they were totally free? Yup! $180 worth of coats and we didn't have to pay a penny.
Are you DYING to know how? No, I didn't have to do anything crazy or over the top. Didn't sell my first born, didn't run through the streets of my town in just a pink bikini bottom proclaiming my love for outerwear, didn't even have to print a coupon off myself. I got this opportunity because I am part of an AWESOME community called Crowdtap. Crowdtap is a network of Brand Influencing Communities. A place marketers go to get feedback about their marketing ideas and products from influential consumers. It is so fun to be a part of. You start of by doing lots of what they call "Quick Hits" which are mostly multiple choice questions about different products and ideas. You earn points (and sometimes cash) for answering these questions. Points move you up to different levels which then gives you the opportunity to participate in different actions. These are usually discussions about various topics. I have participated in all kinds of topics ranging from Halloween candy to fall fashion to my love for Maxwell House coffee. These discussions give you a chance to communicate with others in the community as well as earn big points for thoughtful responses and even higher amounts of money. To date, I have earned $41.00 just for giving my opinion! It's easy to cash out, they give a portion to charity, and it is all at your own leisure. You pick and choose how much you participate.

Another type of action sometimes involves product reviews. Old Navy often provides opportunities to join a style council and receive a coupon good for one product for you and one for a friend. I have seen them do jeans, tank tops, and other clothing items. This is how I got my coats! I signed up, got chosen, and was sent a coupon for me and one for a friend. No limit, any coat of our choice in the store. I decided to take my sister-in-law who has also been one of my best friends since high school. We had a fabulous time and walked away very happy with our purchases! Want to see what we got?
Me in the red
Amy in the tan. Isn't she beautiful?
Yes, we did pick the same coat! Let me tell you, we tried on pretty much every coat in the store. Choosing the same coat definitely didn't happen due to lack of choices. There were tons of great styles but we both really fell in love with the Women's Wool Blend Double-Breasted Coats. They fit great, fall below the hips (a definite plus in my book!), and have a smooth polyester lining that makes the coat comfortable and not at all itchy. The thick wool is bound to keep us both warm but the double breasted look combined with the length makes it a stylish choice as well. 

Want to get in on a great opportunity like this? You can! Sign-up at Crowdtap now and start participating and before you know it you will be getting the chance to try out fun stuff like clothes from Old Navy! Just click on the picture below and you will be on your way:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Fun

Our family won't really be celebrating Halloween on the day this year as my husband is working night shift and that is when we would normally go to our church's Harvest Festival. But that doesn't mean we haven't had plenty of Halloween fun already!

Last weekend we made our annual fall trek to Greenbluff for some fun on the farm. This year we picked Walter's Farm where we met up with my brother and his family for some pony rides, tractor rides through the orchard, and of course scouring through the pumpkin patches for just the right gourd.
Jordan riding Daisy
Daddies took the kids through the orchard
Isaiah found one just his size
Shouldn't the ones with all the energy be pulling the cart instead of riding in it?  
Friday Nathan's school was having a Family Pumpkin Carving Contest. So my husband let his creative juices flow and they put together this really adorable Pumpkin Piggy Bank. Nathan proudly came home with a 3rd place ribbon in the Creative category! While he was at school Jordan worked on a tribute to his favorite food by carving his pumpkin into a hotdog:)
He's proud, can you tell?
3rd Place! He actually got a nice silk ribbon to keep as well:)

Mmmmm....Hot dog!
We rounded out the Halloween fun by heading to the town my brother and his family live in to attend Pumpkin Lane on Saturday. This is a two hour block of time where all the businesses hand out candy as families walk through town from place to place. We have been doing this for several years now and always have a blast. Next year we are thinking about all coming together with a theme for costumes. After all, we now have 9 people between our 2 families so that gives us a lot to work with! This year we had a hodge-podge of costumes. Nathan was in a homemade dinosaur costume, Jordan has been begging for months to wear the chicken costume Nathan wore 2 years ago, and Isaiah was in a monkey costume we have had for years. Easy peasy!
Dinosaur tail from Isaiah's birthday party, crocheted dinosaur hat and Daddy's make-up job:)
Yes, he's a chicken (but doubling as an Angry Bird!)
Our cute little cookie faced monkey
So indicative of their personalities - our happy dinosaur, angry chicken and confused monkey:)
All in all we have had a great October. Looking forward to the coming months and all of the holiday fun still to be had.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Magid Yellow Latex Glove Review

Latex Gloves - not on many women's wish lists this Christmas but definitely one of those items on most our our NEED lists. I know that the one thing I despise cleaning the most is my boys bathroom and something as simple as the barrier of a glove can make all the difference in how long I put it off!

So when I was recently sent a box of these yellow gloves from Magid, I was actually kind of excited. These particular gloves are flock-lined for comfort and have an embossed exterior to provide a superior grip on any wet or dry surface. They are liquid proof which means you not only avoid contact with harsh chemicals, but you are also avoiding getting up close and personal with whatever germs are most likely present in the messes you are cleaning. Finally, they come off and on with ease which I find to be an added bonus when I am trying to quickly tackle a cleaning job and move onto the next thing on my to do list. I was given the medium size and was hesitant that they would fit (I am not exactly what you would call petite;) but they went on really nice without feeling too snug.

Wanting some gloves of your own now? Magid sells these by the dozen for only $10.63. That is perfect for having several pairs to leave around your house, out in the garage, in your trunk, or wherever else you might find yourself in need of some gloves. Don't have a need for that many? Throw them into little gift baskets with some of your favorite cleaning supplies to share with friends or neighbors.  Like I said, this isn't something I would always think to buy for myself but I would be glad to get them and I bet your friends would be too!

I actually don't have a need for a dozen myself so after putting a pair under each of my sinks I still have 9 left over. If you would like a pair of these gloves to make your cleaning projects that much easier and more sanitary, be one of the first 9 people to leave a comment below this post saying you want one (make sure to include your name and email address) and I will get one sent out to you.

**I was sent these gloves by a company that works with Magid Glove & Safety in exchange for my review but any and all opinions are my own.**

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stars and Fairies

What a week it has been for our Kindergartner!

Friday when we went to pick him up at school he was beaming as he told us that he had been made Star Student of the week. "They even called my name on the intercom mom!" - He was practically squealing as he was telling us this. What exactly does Star Student of the Week mean? Apparently he gets some really cool jobs like putting the weather up for the day and changing the dates on the calendar and leading the line whenever they leave the classroom. These were all very thrilling prospects to our 5 year old star! He also got to make a poster all about him to share with the class:
At the top left he drew his family - "Mom, you are really big because you are 30!" Thanks for the reminder Bub! Below that he was asked to share 3 wishes to which he replied, "I wish for 2 snakes, I wish for 3 dragons, and I wish for 5 lizards." At the very bottom left he was to share a picture of what he wanted to be when he grow up. We pasted on a lego police station because for the moment he wants to be a policeman when he grows up. On the right hand bottom side is things he doesn't like - bees, tomatoes, and rain. Right in the middle are all the things he does like - robots, candy, meatballs and Leapster games. Add in the typical height, weight, hair color stats and you know all about our star:)

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one week, Nathan also lost his first tooth last night. It has been loose for about two weeks now and two nights ago we noticed a new tooth was growing in behind it so we figured it would be coming out soon. Last night he came up complaining about it moving around a lot and hurting so Jeremy was able to reach right in and pull it right out. Want to know the first thing he said after that? "Can I shoot juice out of my hole now?" Boys!!
That means we had our first visit from the Tooth Fairy last night. She has it easy in this house because we have tooth jars so she didn't have to try to sneak under his pillow. Inflation has really done a number on the going rate of teeth...I remember getting a quarter for my teeth and Nathan got an entire dollar.
I think that we have probably had enough excitement for one week. Although we may have to come up with a little something special for Jordan since he is starting to feel a left out of all the fun. I am a little worried he is going to find a way to lose some teeth so he can get in on the action. It's so hard being the barely younger brother!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

And the winner is...

I cannot begin to tell you all how excited I am to have gotten to host this $50 Visa Gift Card Giveaway. Again, I owe a big thank you to BluePay credit card processing company for the offer. I only wish I had enough for all of you. I appreciate all the participation, this was the biggest response to a giveaway on my blog so far!!! You all gave some very thoughtful responses. Hopefully we can keep these kinds of things going because I sure love passing on great stuff to all of you.

On to the announcement...out of 55 eligible entries, chose lucky commenter:
#8 - Sable
Congratulations Sable!! You should be receiving an email shortly with further directions on how to claim your prize. Happy Spending:)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Be the tree

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. - Matthew 7:20

Oh how I long to be the tree God has called me to be...roots firmly planted with a solid foundation of rich soil. Branches full of luscious, ripe fruit so abundant that they should be weighed down but somehow they remain unbending. I want to be a tree that doesn't stand alone but instead is found right in the middle of an orchard, surrounded by other trees, some just beginning to sprout up out of the ground and others bigger and more fruitful than myself.

Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. - Matthew 12:33

I want my fruit to be so ripe and colorful that even when someone is viewing it from far away it is immediately recognizable to the eye. No bruises, no soft spots, no worms - just perfect fruit.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. - John 15:4

Of course not just ANY orchardist will do when it comes to caring for my tree...I want the original creator of all of nature Himself to be my caretaker. Pruning, watering, fertilizing, taking my fruit off in its moment of perfect ripeness to share with others in a timing only He can determine. I want the One who never leaves, knew me before I was created, has plans for me to prosper, loves me unconditionally.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. - Galatians 5:22

I want my tree to grow not just one kind of fruit but many kinds of fruits. No one fruit compromised by the presence of the other, but instead each variety of fruit would make the others look and taste even better than had they been simply grown on their own. The integrity of my tree would become stronger with each new piece of fruit it bore.

Oh to be the tree...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

$50 Visa Gift Card Giveaway!!!

To date I have had some fun things to share and giveaway, but I have yet had the opportunity to share money with you all. Well that all ends today!!

BluePay, a credit card processing company that offers an array of merchant services designed for unique businesses in competitive markets, is offering one of my readers a $50 Visa Gift Card. What great timing as we begin to go into this holiday season!

How to win:
- Check out BluePay's website ( Then come back and leave a brief comment on this post stating why you think it is important for small businesses to accept credit cards.
- You must leave a first name and email address I can contact you at within your comment, or your comment will not be counted in the drawing.
- One entry per person.

This giveaway will be open until Saturday October 15th at 9pm PST. Winner will be chosen at random using

**I am being compensated with a $50 Visa Gift Card for holding this giveaway**

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

4 years ago today...


Looking back on it now, it is no surprise to me that you entered the world the way you did - in your own time, in your own way, leaving all of us feeling helpless. Labor would have been over in a handful of hours but you were turned funny and got your head stuck. When you finally turned after hours, you dropped quickly and ended up with the cord around your neck. I clearly remember the OB telling me calmly that the cord was around your neck and that if you were breathing fine they would let daddy cut the cord and place you on my chest but if not they would have to make it quick and take you off to work on you. So when she quickly cut the chord and the nurses rushed you off to the corner I knew that everything wasn't as it should be. The world stood still in that moment. Everyone could see you but me and I felt so helpless in that bed as I waited to see your sweet face and hear the words that everything would be okay. Tears ran down my cheeks and I just prayed as I waited to hear that cry. After what felt like forever they finally gave you to me all wrapped up and doing just fine. You had an enormous bruise on your tiny head from being stuck for so many hours but other than that you were perfect as could be. It definitely wasn't the easy way to do things, but then again, easy isn't really your style!

My Mr. Independent, you always have to do things your way and on your own. And usually you take the most difficult route to get there. You feel things in a big way and react the same. Some of these qualities make it so difficult to parent you as a toddler and now preschooler. But I know that one day these very same qualities are going to make you one amazing adult. To balance that strong personality, you were blessed with a huge funny bone! You are definitely the entertainer in the family, always cracking a joke, doing a dance, making a silly face. The funniest things come out of your mouth and we are never short for laughs when you are around.

For the longest time you were the little brother in the family, always tagging along with Nathan. We used to joke that you had a "middle kid attitude" so it was only fitting when Isaiah came along and made you an actual middle child. At first you weren't to fond of our newest addition but over the past year I have seen you step into that big brother role and you fit in those shoes quite nicely. I am so excited for you because you really have the best of both worlds with a big brother to teach you stuff and a little brother to have look up to you. I know that Nathan and Isaiah feel lucky to have you as their brother.

Happy 4th Birthday my spirited son!! I can't wait to see what this year brings for you as you continue to grow and develop into the little person God has created you to be. We are blessed to have you in this family, you are one of a kind and make each day fun and unique. Hope this day makes you feel as special as we all think you are!


Monday, October 3, 2011

:And the winner is...

So glad you all got so excited about the Poo-pourri giveaway!!! I again want to say a big thank you to Bryann for sharing this product with us...this was part of something she won and because it is something she loves so much, she wanted to share with you all. Isn't that so sweet?

Okay, okay, let's get this thing rolling., who is our lucky winner???

Out of 29 valid entries, picked #...........18 - Holly Hennessy Swint!!


You should be receiving an email shortly with details on how to claim your fabulous prize:)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Master List of Substitutions for Baking

Honestly, this post is mostly for myself! A place for me to keep all the substitutions I commonly use during baking so I don't have to hunt around for them when I'm in a pinch. Of course by putting it here I hope that some of the rest of you can benefit as well:)

Baking Powder Substitute (as found here)
Mix 2 parts cream of tartar with 1 part baking soda

Buttermilk Substitute  (as found here)
To make 1 cup of buttermilk:
  -Place 1 Tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup.
  -Add enough milk to bring the mixture to the 1 cup line.
  -Let stand for 5 minutes, then use as much as your recipe calls for.

Egg Substitute
Ideas based on it's role in the recipe here 

Molasses Substitute (as found here)
Replace 1 cup of molasses with one of the following:
  -1 cup dark corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup
  -3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar *best choice if molasses flavor is vital*
  -3/4 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water

Self-Rising Flour Substitute (as found here)
One cup self-rising flour equals:
  -1 cup all purpose flour 
  -1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  -1/8 tsp salt

This list will continue to grow and change as I find different or new substitutions. I would love to hear about any of your favorite go-to swap outs as well!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

~Poo-pourri Giveaway~

One of my very generous followers recently won a gift pack from Poo-pourri and was kind enough to think of all of you and offer to share what she won. Isn't that sweet?

Let's start by getting the name out of the way - No, that is not a misspelling. You read correctly! Poo-pourri is a bathroom natural air freshener and room deodorizer unlike anything I've heard of before. The original concept to this deodorizer is that it is designed to be used BEFORE you go. Just a few squirts into the toilet bowl before doing your business and when you are finished, flush and it creates a barrier against unpleasant smells. How original!

My friend sent me this cute little package which includes Santa Poo, a Citrus and Holly Fresh blend of Lemongrass, Grapefruit, Evergreen and other natural essential oils that leave the bathroom smelling clean and fresh.

I am happy to pass this on to one of you and can't wait to hear what you think of it! I am going to make this one simple so all you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment on this blog post saying you want it (make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win). One entry per person. You have until October 3rd, 2011 at 9pm PST to enter. Good luck!!

*If you are wanting to learn more about these products you can check out the Poo-pourri website ( or their Facebook page (
**A HUGE thanks to Bryann for thinking of me and my followers!! You are so sweet:)

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