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

Monday, March 31, 2014

We've Been Away

We've been away, on a quick trip to Kentucky, but we are home now!
Pictures yet to come!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Handy Box Review & Giveaway

The Handy Box is a new monthly subscription box that specializes in tools and other handy gadgets that everyone should have around their house. Each box will include over $40 in value.  
It was heavy when I picked it off the porch so I was excited to see what was within!
Included in the pre-launch box was:

*25 Piece Tool Kit with flashlight ($25). This will be perfect to stick in our vehicle for on-the-go needs.

*Compass Key Chain ($5)

*4 AA Duracell batteries ($5)

*10 ft. measuring tape ($5)

*Crank Power LED Flashlight ($10) Perfect for an emergency kit.

*Hex Keyring Set ($5)

This was a nice assortment of items that everyone should have. I think that a box like this would make a perfect gift subscription for someone just moving out on their own as a way to build up their useful tool collection.

The pre-launch box got off to a rocky start with not enough postage being added to the box but I can attest to the wonderful customer service as they immediately contacted everyone, reimbursed postage, and gave an added bonus for the trouble. Sometimes it's customer service that makes or breaks a box, as I know a few subscription box companies that many people warn against solely for their bad customer service. The Handy Box was quick to rectify this mistake and that says a lot about their character.

Do you want a chance to win this exact box? The Handy Box is offering one winner this pre-launch box, so just enter in the widget below for a chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This box was given to me by The Handy Box in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


While things themselves aren't important, sometimes an item can remind us of a person, a happy memory, a moment in time long gone but not forgotten.

I love to surround myself with things I love, usually representing a memory. My bedside table is filled with memories. 
*The table itself, my Grandma's sewing table, lovingly painted a pistachio green by my husband.

*A Yoda sticker, which I would never keep on there usually but Jacob put it up there for me (he knew I liked Yoda best) and I can't bear to take it down now, or even correct it to make it centered and straight.

*A Faith crock that Becca got me for Christmas.

*A Rainy Day Fund jar filled with coins, which was Jacob's.

*A Joyce Meyer book that my dad gave me.

*A lovely bird lamp that I bought at my aunt's consignment shop that fits in perfect with my bird decor.
*And hiding inside the drawer of the table? Some treasures of Jacob's that I have found around the house since his passing.

Life is a collection of memories.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

inScribed Series

What a beautiful series of devotionals the inScribed series is by Thomas Nelson Publishing.
Meant for either personal devotion or group study, these books seem to be a journal, study-guide, and friendly conversation all in one. 
I love the style of these books as well as the actual Bible Studies themselves. Included in this series are:

*Dive Deeper; Finding deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion by Jennifer Jernigan

*Leaving Ordinary; Encounter God Through Extraordinary Prayer by Donna Gaines

*Living So That; Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life by Wendy Blight

*Amazed and Confused; When God's Actions Collide With Our Expectations by Heather Zempel

While I haven't done all the studies yet I have skimmed through all the books and love what I see and am very excited to use these as my next Bible Study. They are waiting for me on my nightstand.

These are such nice devotionals/studies that I can see giving one or the whole set as a gift to any woman in my life. It looks like three more books in the series will be coming out this fall and I'm excited to read those as well!

Disclaimer: These books were given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, March 21, 2014

March Ipsy Bag Review

My new camera finally arrived so I'm now able to post reviews! I received the March Ipsy bag last week and had to wait until I could snap a photo before I could start using these items - it was hard as I was so excited about this bag!

Each month there are several combinations of items that your bag could consist of, and they use your profile to choose the 4-5 items perfect for you. When I saw the options this month I immediately hoped for these four items and was so, so excited to see that I received the items I hoped for (some months are a total miss).  
The theme this month was Destination Beauty and the bag itself is a selection from artist Klari Reis' and based on the street anatomy of San Francisco. It's cute and original and it looks like future bags will be by different artists as well. I use these bags for everything - to hold pens in my desk, hair things in the bathroom cabinets, loose items in the diaper bag, etc.  
This month my bag included:

*Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar Body Butter ($7). I love Pacifica products!

*Nicole by O.P.I nail polish in "On What Grounds?" ($8) This color reminds me of robin eggs and is perfect for spring. What a pretty color!

*BareMinerals Marvelous Moxie lipgloss in "Rebel" ($15)

*Be a Bombshell eye shadow pallet ($15)

*I used my points (which you get for referring and reviewing each bag) to get the added bonus Benefit High Beam ($25)

This may be my favorite bag set to date! Ipsy is just $10 a month and extremely high value!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Stillness of Chimes

I read A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley this weekend and enjoyed the mixture of romance (not too cheesy!), suspense (a bit predictable at times but not in a roll your eyes kind of way), and faith.

This is the type of book that I chose for the cover and ended up thoroughly enjoying. The ending was a little far fetched for me but typical of suspense books so I should have expected it.

 A fun summer read for anyone interested in Christian fiction!

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids

I chose this book for my 10 year old daughter to read. With her stuck on books like The Babysitter Club I thought it would be good to introduce some Christian fiction into her life. Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids by Jill Osborne seemed like a good one to start with.

She says that she really liked this book. She loved the adventure aspect of the story and the fact that the whole book didn't revolve around "typical" pre-teen story lines like boys and make-up. There was adventure, drama, Faith, and even real life like cancer and hospital stays introduced. These are things which may seem deep for the age group but since my daughter has actually lived a life with this drama involved I found it to be quite relevant and good for pre-teens to read about real struggles in life.

She is looking forward to the other books in the series and I'm glad to have found an author that can write interesting, as well as moral, pre-teen books.

Disclaimer: This book was given to us by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for our honest opinion.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Between Heaven and Earth

Like Steve Berger, the author of Between Heaven and Earth, I've become more obsessed with Heaven after losing a child. Reading Steve's testimony about losing his child in a car accident resonated deep in my soul.

I loved the first half of this book. Reading verses and detailed explanations of those verses of Heaven and what we can expect there interested me greatly. Unfortunately the last half of the book seemed to be repeats of the first. I lost interest after awhile.

This isn't just a book about what we will experience in Heaven, but also how to get to Heaven in the first place. I love the quote that Steve included by Warren Wiersbe on page 144: "It is the Word of God that equips God's people to do the work of God." That sums of this book nicely.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Roll with the Punches

After yesterday I had hoped that our bad luck had run out for the rest of the month. Then hubby comes home and states that budget cuts at work meant a pay cut for him, a fairly modest one that will add up to a noticeable difference each month.

I had already had to work a new budget for our increased health insurance costs. Now it will be an even tighter squeeze...so the rest of this month I will work with adjusting the budget to a workable one.

One thing that I learned from Jacob's life, from his illness, from his death is not to sweat the small stuff. Money is small stuff, even when it means that things will need to be cut from our budget. Because things are also small stuff. 

Money, things, small obstacles and trials in life are opportunities to trust in God and watch His plan unfold in our life. These are all things that we can place in God's Hands and let Him deal with. Hebrews 13:5:  Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

God always provides. We saw this greatly through the years when Jacob was sick. We see it when we feel lead to give more than we feel we can afford. We see it when we least expect it. Matthew 6:31-33:  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Most of all, as Romans 8:28 says: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. No matter what has happened we have seen the good behind it. This too shall work together for good.

In that I have trust.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

This Week

*Wow, it's been a week since my last post! All I can say is that it really hasn't been my week at all.

*First, Joe happened to spill his smoothie all over my pile of "to-read" books, ruining about half of them as it seeped into the pages. I was so sad I could have cried (and may have!).
*We had to pay $40 to get the rear windshield wiper of our vehicle replaced after my husband snapped it off while fixing deicing it.

*Amy pulled my camera off my desk and cracked the screen, which of course resulted in a broken camera.

*They say trouble comes in threes so I'm hoping that we have met our quota for awhile now.

*Luckily, the weather has been warming up and on Monday we had 50 degree weather. We took our first walk of the year and enjoyed the sun on our backs and splashing in the puddles.

*Yesterday I had fun at the thrift store. I was able to find Joe some Hanna Andersson pajamas and a sock monkey that he picked out, Amy an adorable two-piece Ralph Lauren dress set, two Smartwool hats, a set of Aden +Anais bibs, two Lamaze cloth books, Ben a Kramer from Seinfeld mug, Becca a movie, and a box of notecards for myself. 

*So this week wasn't all bad, except for my pocketbook. :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

This Week

*I think the garbage men may hate us lately. I've been doing lots of deep cleaning and seem to have an extra bag of garbage (if not two!) each week. We have a three bag limit, which we have been exceeding at time, but so far they haven't said anything. Maybe they are too cold to notice.

*Amy turned 11 months old on the 1st and took her first steps yesterday!
*I've jumped onto the Downton Abbey bandwagon. I'm on season 3 right now. I love it and hate it all at the same time. Anyone else fans? What do you love/hate about it? I'm especially annoyed by Mary, though this season started to really not like Cora. Her voice is so whiny and she has no expression on her face. I'm still loving Anna and Carson the best.

*I'm still not minding this harsh winter that much, though am happy about the warmer temperatures in the forecast. Anything in the 30's sounds like a heatwave now. Hoping it melts enough off the sidewalk that I can walk with the kids and the stroller. Not too confident about walking without the stroller as I fell on the ice last week. So thankful I wasn't holding Amy at the time!

I Like Giving

I knew I had to read I Like Giving by Brad Formsma when I heard about it. The subtitle The Transforming Power of a Generous Life has manifested itself in my own life the past 6 months.

This book is filled with practical ideas as well as inspiring stories. Many areas of the book hit home with me.

Page 191: "I'm convinced the joy comes from being obedient to what God wants."

Page 177: "Often when we see someone in a bad situation, our natural response is to say, "Hey, if you need anything, let me know." Please don't say that. Unknowingly you have put an added burden on the person.

In other words, we must just do, don't ask. Why is it not so easy to do this? One, we may not know how to help exactly (though we can always come up with someway to help) and two, we fear rejection.

Page 50 states: "The key in all these situations is to remember that giving to others is not only about how the receivers respond. Sometimes we need to give more than other people need to receive."

This book shows several ways in which to give, not only monetary but also time wise or even something as simple as a smile.

The only complaint that I have with the book is the actual title and the title of the chapters and stories. While these were explained in chapter two I feel that neither the title, nor the title/story chapters, really covey a lot of feeling. I Like Giving may get to the heart of the matter but I Like Being Robbed doesn't exactly fit, does it? That aside, this is a great book for changing how we give and how we see life.

I'll leave you with Brad's quote on page 196: "What if the more than 315 million Americans alive today would do something generous for someone else daily, weekly, or even monthly. How powerful could that be?"

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Chemo Therapist

My mom received her advanced copies of her newest book, Chemo Therapist by Mary Potter Kenyon, in the mail yesterday. I had to rush to her house to grab my own copy! I had read the early version of the book years ago but was excited to read the finished product.

I sat down last night, expecting to read a few chapters, but the book pulled me in and I didn't go to sleep until 1:30am, after finishing the book.

It's hard to review a book written by my mom. The review would be great regardless, right? But seriously, there were times when I was reading that I forgot this was written about my own family.

While the subtitle is How Cancer Cured a Marriage this book isn't just for spouses who are caring for someone with cancer.

I could relate, having been a caregiver for a loved one.

I could relate, having a marriage that has been stressed to the max.

I could relate, being a human.

I had tears running down my face in several parts. I laughed out loud in others.This is a story about life. This is a story about love. We can all relate.

While the official release date isn't set until April 8th, you can advance order through Amazon (for a reduced price at the moment!) and it will be shipped when released.  


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