*Thrifty Living * Homeschooling * Natural Living * Creating * Baking * Learning * Exploring * Subscription Boxes * Childhood Cancer* Death of a Child*

Thursday, February 28, 2013

No More Perfect Moms

Did you ever notice that the most popular bloggers are the "perfect" ones? The pictures show an immaculate, fancy house. Adorable children who are always clean and doing adorable things. Movie star handsome husbands. Perfect food, fun crafts, amazing decorating. The blog writers themselves look like they just stepped out of a movie set.

Why do women flock to these blogs? To magazines showcasing glamorous movie stars? To television shows that depict a perfect life? My guess is that it's because all those things are the polar opposite of what real life is and that we are hoping that something will rub off on us.

Yep, "us", as in, the imperfect mothers. The ones who are just trying their best but fail in one area or another each and every day. The ones who continually compare themselves with the "perfect mothers".

When I was asked to do a review of No More Perfect Moms by Jill Savage I jumped at the chance. It sounded like the perfect book for me!
I read this book in one evening. It flowed so nicely and kept me interested the whole way through. I love how it didn't just focus on raising children but also on housekeeping, marriage, and friendships. All things that mothers deal with.

It not only deals with our own insecurities but also how we are so quick to judge other moms (which, basically, does boil down to insecurity). Over the past few years I've learned to view other mothers with grace (the majority of the time, that is, I still have a ways to go!) because of issues in my own life. I can understand why a mother may have a short fuse out in public (maybe she's exhausted after a night with little sleep), why a house may look like a tornado went through it (morning sickness? time spent more in play with the children then cleaning?), messy children out in public (remembering an appointment last minute?), and so on.

I'm learning to understand. This book came at the perfect time because while I've learned to understand others I'm only now learning to view myself with grace. This book helped me understand how to do that.

Disclaimer: I was given this book by Moody Publishers for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm linking up again for What I'm Loving Wednesday. This week I'm loving:

*Reading Eggs. Stupid name, awesome concept. Instead of letting the kids play video games I "let" them play this game on the computer each day. They learn and have fun at the same time. The free trial means that they get to use this website for free!

*Checkers. A classic game that I used to always play with my brother but somehow forgot about the past 10-15 years. After being gifted a checker board we've been teaching the game in this house this week and it's kind of addicting. Jacob and I just played three games and I'm teaching him my mad checker skills. :)

*Brach's chicks & rabbits. I know that circus peanuts gross most people out. I'm pregnant. Enough said.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Moxie Jean

By now you all know that I have a thing for children's clothing. By shopping smart and selling smart I am usually able to turn around and break even on the clothing that I buy for the kids. Even when my children stain an item (which they often do) if it is a good brand name it will still sell on online forums in "play condition".

I used to love ThredUp when they did boxes of clothing for trade through the mail. For a year and a half I got almost all my children's clothing from that site. I even touted them here on this blog a few times. With very little notice they then changed into an online consignment shop. The prices went sky high, the customer service levels dropped, and now they have many unhappy customers who feel their items were stolen when they sent in excellent condition clothing (even new with tag items!) that were not accepted but just disappeared. I had the same experience and stopped shopping their site. 

I missed the convenience of buying through the mail. Instead of dragging kids along and trying to browse through racks while still keeping an eye on them I can shop at midnight in my pjs from the comfort of my own home when online.

Imagine my delight when just last week I ran across the online consignment store Moxie Jean. The clothing is adorable and the stylists who put the outfits together do a fantastic job. For busy mamas, finding a place that sells complete outfits is amazing! I find the prices to be comparable to other gently used clothing online.

I ordered several items on Thursday and received them in the mail just 4 days later. Each outfit bundle was tied together nicely and I was impressed with the presentation.

Everything was clean and in like new condition. 

The shipping costs are very reasonable or free if you spend over $50 (and this was a good value as they shipped it in a flat rate priority mailer which is $10+ to mail).

The only issue I had was the infant green set that I bought was listed as a Tea Collection outfit but turned out to be Petunia Picklebottom. Since I'm doing a review of their service I decided to contact them to see what they would do about it and they quickly responded to say that they were sorry for this mix-up and that I could return it for a full refund. Of course, I'm keeping it and it actually ended up in my favor since Petunia Picklebottom is a more expensive brand than the Tea Collection.

Moxie Jean also will buy your like new used clothing and send a bag already postage paid for you to fill and return to them. They have a price list on their site and will give you cash or credit to their store. Whatever they can't accept they say they donate to local charities and give examples on their website (unlike ThredUp which is very vague about what they do with the unaccepted clothing). This is a great service for those mamas who don't want to list on Ebay or drag a tote to the local consignment shop.

I am very happy with my purchase and will definitely be purchasing from them again. Sizes on their site range from infant to age 8 (I really wish they went up to size 12!). Since I was referred by a friend I was able to take $10 off my first order, which brought my total down to $45.95 (and free shipping since my original total was over $50). That makes my order an average of $4.50 per clothing item! If you are a new customer you can use this link to get $10 off a $20 order.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, I'm just sharing a new online company I am excited about. My referral link is included in this review.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Homemade Deodorant

My husband developed an allergic reaction to store bought deodorants last year. We tried some natural deodorants on the market but those too seemed to cause a rash and discomfort.

I researched making our own and came up with the simplest recipe to try. It's been a month and working great but the true test will come during the hot summer months.

Using coconut oil and tea tree oil means that there are a lot of antibacterial components in this deodorant. If you are wanting a more feminine scent you may want to switch the essential oil to lavender or your other favorite scent.

You will need:
*Coconut oil
*baking soda
*Tea Tree oil (or other essential oil)
*small container (I washed and reused a small jar that once held a sample of curl crème for your hair)

Depending on the size of your container, melt a corresponding amount of coconut oil in a bowl in the microwave. Stir in several sprinkles of baking soda. Mix in a few drops of essential oil. Pour into container and let sit until hardened. 
That is all there is to it! When it's time to use it just scoop out a small amount with fingers and rub under your arm. In the winter it may be more difficult to scoop out but in the summer it will be a softer consistency.

If I ever get an empty plastic deodorant container (the push up type that you buy in stores) I may try to make our own push up deodorant as that should be a lot easier to apply.  

Linking up with Clever Chick Blog Hop today!

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I ordered this book back in December as I thought it would be the perfect book for me. After all, the title says it all Desperate Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson.

The book arrived and I was about to tear into it when we received the news of Jacob's cancer returning and our life took a tail spin. I would glance at the book, intending to pick it up to read a few pages, but kept thinking to myself "This book is about motherhood but won't delve into what I'm dealing with." One evening I realized that while I am dealing with something that most mothers will never have to, I am still dealing with all the other issues that abound in mothering as well. I picked the book and wasn't able to put it down!

Being written by two mothers, one older and one younger, we learn the struggles of motherhood but also some solutions and answers. I couldn't believe how similar my thoughts and feelings were to Sarah Mae's, and I enjoyed reading Sally Clarkson's responses.

This book has a lot of food for thought. It doesn't fit every mother into one mold but rather tells us to follow God's path and not the world's - and that the path will be different for each person. The authors don't present a "right" way to parent; no chastising working mothers or putting homeschooling on a pedestal.

Often times I come away from a book on mothering feeling worse than I did before. Most authors present one way of doing things. The book makes the author look like supermom and that, we too, can be supermom if we just follow their plan. Desperate is the complete opposite - it shows us how all mothers struggle and helps us climb out of the suffocating trenches of mommyhood.

There were so many sentences in this book that spoke to my soul. I kept nodding my head and thinking "I need to write this one down!" This definitely will be read again by me as I feel I didn't absorb it all the first time around. 

This is a must have for any mother! 

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me through the Booksneeze Blogger Program in exchange for my honest opinion.  


*I'm wanting to take it easy and just laze about the house but grocery shopping needs to be done. I wonder if I can get away with just searching the cupboards and fridge this weekend for throw together meals. It's a tempting thought.

*I did talk to my doctor about my heartburn (thank you, ladies, for your suggestions!) and now take Pepcid AC and feel so much more like a human by the end of the day. I had heartburn with the other kids but never like this - so glad that the Pepcid is working!

*Selling items on Ebay last week was a success. Every item I posted sold. I even sold the Hanky Panky Thong from the PopSugar box for $10! Ebay and Paypal do take a lot of fees though so I think I don't think I will be selling on there often.

*I dropped off a huge bag of clothing and a box of books at St. Vincent's on Thursday. I took the kids in to look around and we had such fun - Joe found a wooden bunk bed for his toy animals, I found Becca brand new Converse shoes for $2 and a beautiful bohemian Justice skirt for $1, Jacob found a Star Wars shirt for 65 cents, and I found the baby a 2 piece Gap outfit for 65 cents, Lily Pulitzer skirt for 65 cents, and a few other pieces of clothing ranging in price from 35 cents to 65 cents. That is the reason why I no longer shop at Goodwill and instead switched to St. Vincent's. Have you noticed that Goodwill prices seem incredibly insane? Kids clothing starts at around $3 and jeans are often $5 or more.

*My house looks like a disaster zone and I'm at the point where it's uncomfortable to bend down and pick things up. I would just clean up from the floor but I can't put weight on my left knee after taking a spill a few weeks ago. My knee took the brunt force and is a nice color of purple and blue still...and painful with any amount of touch (just wearing jeans for the first few days was torture!). I think the kids may be bribed with some ice cream to get the rooms picked up. Ice cream makes everything worthwhile, right? 


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm linking up with What I'm Loving Wednesday today for the first time and listing a few of the things I am loving this week.

Folk Magazine At the beginning of the year I signed up for a year's subscription when it was on sale for $4.95. I received my first copy this week and love it! I love learning about all these people, their businesses, looking through the advertisements, etc. It's something I will pick up time and time again to absorb all that is inside.

Little House on the Prairie on DVD. I borrowed several seasons from my mom and have been watching an episode or two a night. The kids also are enjoying this show!

Earth Mama Angel Baby Heartburn Tea I am having horrible heartburn these days. This tea works. Unfortunately, I have heartburn all day and have gone through this tea so quickly that it's gone now. I plan on talking to the doctor tomorrow as I may just need a prescription for something stronger since this heartburn is controlling my life. I've tried all the natural remedies and TUMS don't come close to cutting it. If the saying is true that the more heartburn you have, the more hair your baby will be born with then this little girl is going to come out with a head full of hair!

Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this post. Just items I am loving this week!


Monday, February 18, 2013


*Jacob is doing well! We now only have to travel to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester twice a month, instead of weekly! His scans will be in the middle of March and we pray that they show that the trial drug is doing *something*.

*After a very unproductive weekend I finally motivated myself enough last night to go through some of our bookcases and my closet and dresser. I dropped a bag off at the consignment shop and have a giant bag of clothing and huge box of books to drop off at St. Vincent's this week. Sadly, after sorting through my clothing I have very little left for my summer wardrobe; and nothing that I like! As I asked on my Facebook page, any suggestions for brands of clothing that fit a post-baby body and are flattering? You know, brands that fit a woman's shape instead of a teeny bopper? :)

*I also posted a lot of new with tag items on Ebay. It's been over a year since I've sold anything that way so wonder how my auctions will go! I've sold several outfits and some educational materials on swap boards as well. Lots has been leaving this house lately - I think spring cleaning has started early!

*I'm feeling huge and very pregnant. I now have the pregnant woman waddle down and feel like this baby has dropped. I think it's the earliest I've ever felt like this so wonder if we will be having this baby early or if I'll just be feeling very uncomfortable for a long time yet? I'll bet on the latter. 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

February PopSugar Must Have Box

The PopSugar Must Have Box is the subscription box that I look forward to the most each month. Why? It's always filled with high end items that I would not typically buy for myself.

This month was, of course, related to love and pampering yourself.

Included was:

*Brokedown Wrap($84). This is soooooo soft. Reminds me of something that a fancy spa would have. Unfortunately, I am tall so I think this will end up being quite short on me. It would be perfect for someone who lounges around after a shower/bath with a towel on or for after swimming, both things that I don't do. It's a great item but not something I will use, I don't think.

*Hanky Pankys thong, in purple ($20). I've heard that these are awesome thongs, even for someone who doesn't like thongs. They better be if you are paying $20 for a pair! Also a code for a free nail polish and 15% off for any purchase on their site. Again, an item that I won't use.

*Mariebelle New York's Tresor Box ($12). I received the Cacao Nibs. Unfortunately, the package came undone during shipping and spilled all over the box. We tasted them but they were a bit stale by that time. I contacted PopSugar to let them know. It's such a pretty package of chocolate that if they hadn't come opened I would have been thrilled with this!

*Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain ($7.50), which seems to be hidden in the photo above. I received the color "Romantic". Perfect for sticking in your purse for touch ups!

*Safe Haven Book (and song download) ($10). This has been added to my reading pile.

*Connoisseurs Quick Jewelry Cleanser ($10). I think my ring could use a good cleaning so this will be put to use this weekend!

*Conversation Hearts (50 cents to $1).

Total value of the box comes to $144.50! This box only cost $35 so that is a wonderful deal!

The boxes sell out quite quickly; I'm not sure if the March one is sold out yet or not. But if you are interested in signing up for a subscription use code REFERFRIENDS for $5 off your first box, making it just $30! If you don't like your first box just cancel and you will not be charged for any future ones. This is one subscription I am keeping!

If you subscribe already, what did you think of this month's box?

Disclaimer: This post has referral links. Thanks to those who signed up with my link in December, it made this month's box free for me!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Humble Heart

Image from Amazon.com

What an excellent book to read during the month of love - Humble Bumbles Humble Heart; A Book of Virtues written and illustrated by Amy Meyer Allen.

Joe was so excited when he saw this book and immediately flipped through the pages and spent much of the morning looking at the adorable illustrations. When it came time to reading it aloud my 9 year old and 7 year old actually sat down to listen as well. Though I would say it's more geared towards toddlers and kindergartners the lessons are great for those of any age.

Chapters include titles such as "Humble Honeybee Learns about Humility" and "Daniel Dog Learns about Faithfulness". Each chapter begins with a definition of a word and ends with a Bible verse that corresponds with the lesson.

Unlike many Christian children's books these stories are simple, keep the children entertained, and preach without losing the child's interest.

It's an adorable, sturdy book which would be perfect for a Valentine or Easter gift! You can learn more at Tyndale Kids or Humble Bumbles.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

This Week

*No news is *typically* good news and life has been steady with Jacob. He had another check up at Mayo yesterday (ugh...a 320 mile round trip!) and things are the same. His platelets are still dropping slightly but that's to be expected. The rash is still all over, which is a typical side effect but doesn't bother him at all (no pain or itchiness) so that's great. So far so good! We won't know how well it's working until the end of March when he has scans but he feels good and that's all the matters. 
*Becca and Jacob have been preparing to receive their First Holy Communion this year and have their first confession tomorrow! How exciting!

*My mom was admitted to the hospital with chest pains yesterday. After several tests, blood checks, etc. the doctors are fairly confident that it is bronchitis and nothing heart related. She will be released today if she passes the stress test this morning. Prayers for a speedy recovery for her, please.

*Even in the midst of chaos I have been getting decluttering done. I've kept my promise to myself to drop off at least one bag/box at St. Vincent's each time I have an appointment with the midwife. Thursday I managed to drop off two huge bags of items! Of course, I had to check inside the store and found the softest, fluffiest homemade baby quilt made from flannel for just $1.50 (the kids are all fighting over this but it's for the baby), a book on CD for Jacob (he loves these for our long car rides), and an adorable polka dot Gap baby outfit for 90 cents. I'm done with Goodwill....St. Vincent De Paul is the place to go!

*I'll be back with a book review later today.  


Related Posts with Thumbnails