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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

I'm loving the extra room we have in the dining room since I've moved the table against the wall. The kids love it too...they now dance in the middle of the room together. :)
I'm also loving this cute little IKEA lamp that I bought at a garage sale for $1. I'm not sure where it will end up but it's adorable.

I'm starting to feel like I need to buy everything in bulk. My kids are eating me out of house and home (seriously, 12 string cheese sticks in less than 24 hours? A bag of apples in an afternoon?!) and I run out of toilet paper, dish detergent, hand soap at an alarming rate. I feel like I'm always at the store. I'm wondering if a big stock up day monthly would work out better. Maybe just for the household goods.

I'm still not back to a budget just yet. I realized, after asking myself why, is because I just don't care right now. There is a lot I just don't care about this summer. And that's okay. I'm not going to push myself right now when I can't/won't/don't want to handle certain things. 

I'm following Jennifer for Thursday Thoughts!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Best-Kept Secrets of Parenting

I was hesitant, yet interested, in reading a parenting book written by a male. For some reason I thought I wouldn't learn much from a male perspective. Luckily, The Best-Kept Secrets of Parenting by Brad Wilcox & Jerrick Robbins did not disappoint. This is not really about the day to day parenting but rather the attitude of parenting, which every parent can learn more about.

In a day in age where it is more politically correct to be a friend to your children, it's refreshing to see a book that promotes friendly parenting. Topics such as bringing humor into parenting give us a fresh look on parenting while still maintaining the focus of being a parent. Changes things up in how we relate to our children can and does make a world of difference.

What I like about this book is that it applies to both parents. Most parenting books seem to focus solely on mothering. This book would be great for mother or father, or read together even! 

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Boxycharm July Review

Boxycharm is a newer beauty subscription box. You receive several full size items for $21 a month. This was my first month receiving it so I was excited to see what was inside!
The theme for July is America the Beautiful. The shipping was so slow, I received it about a week after everyone else did. I'm not sure why.
All boxes are the same, though colors of products may differ. I received:

*Appeal Cosmetics Luxurious Lipstick ($22). I'm very happy with the color I received (Mock-Up).

*bellapierre Natural Lip Liner ($18). I don't use lip liner. :/ 

*bellapierre Shimmer Powder ($14.99) I love shimmer powder in place of eyeshadow! This is a nice color too (Bubble Gum).

*pur-lisse pur-protect SPF 30 moisturizer ($55) That's some expensive moisturizer. But I've used this brand before and really like it.

*Lauren B. Beauty Nail Polish - Rodeo Drive ($18) This color is really deep and rich, I'm thinking a good one for fall! 

While this box didn't excite me as much as the spoilers for June's box did, Boxycharm is a very high value subscription with some awesome brands and products to try. I'm keeping it to see how August shapes up! You can follow them on Facebook to see some spoilers, so far I know the August box is including a bronzer with a $35 value.

Disclaimer: Referral links included in post. 


I admit that I expected this book to be a bit boring. Simplify. Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul by Bill Hybels has a very simple cover. I totally judged it by the cover.

My goodness! Once I started reading it I was nodding my head along to several paragraphs. I grabbed a notebook to write down quotes and Bible verses and notes. I got SO MUCH out of this book!

I liked it so much, in fact, that I brought it along to Bible Study and shared it with the class. While it is not really a devotional (though I hear a devotional to go along with the book is in the works!!!), it teaches so much that our Bible Study decided to use this as our next book.

There are ten topics covered in the book; the most helpful for me were finances, forgiveness, and friendship. Bill goes in depth with each topic but not in a heavy way - the way he writes is wonderfully easy to read and makes so much sense.

If you only buy one book this year to change your life I think this one should be it! I highly recommend it.

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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Brain Splat

Today is the last day of Vacation Bible School. Joe had to miss it yesterday since he was feeling sick but was happy to be able to make it on the last day. It feels so strange having just Amy for almost 3 hours each morning. It gives me a taste of what it would be like if the two oldest were in school. I'm not going to lie, I really like the more quiet house and it is so much easier. Seriously, these mornings have felt like a vacation!

I've been looking for fabric to make curtains for the kitchen for months now. And I just happened upon this awesome IKEA fabric at the thrift store in town. For $2 for what appears to be 2 yards or more! It's thick and perfect!! I hope to get that project done this weekend. 

Speaking of fabric, but related to another topic, what is your favorite stain remover for clothing? My kids are messy and I'm not liking my usual "go to's" for stain removal, especially for Amy's clothing. I've actually ruined a couple outfits trying to get stains out recently. Anything gentle that works wonders?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

Yesterday I woke up and was just sick.and.tired of my house. It's been feeling tiny, crowded, and cluttered. I've felt down about not having the money to decorate it the way I want and finally came to the conclusion to use what I have and shake it up a bit. So I used the time when the two oldest were at Vacation Bible School and had Amy "help" me rearrange the dining room, fill a bag for donation, and am liking the space better already. Once it's where I want it to be I'll post some photos (I wish I had thought to snap a before photo).

Little Amy has been pretending to be a puppy lately. She even crawls into the kennel, shuts the door, and barks. What a cutie! 
 One sister for sale,
One sister for sale,
One crying and spying young sister for sale

I'm really not kidding so who'll start the bidding
Do I hear a dollar?
A nickle?
A penny?
Oh isn't there isn't there isn't there any
One person who will buy this sister for sale
This crying spying young sister for sale.”

― Shel Silverstein

While I homeschool, and don't have to do "back to school shopping" in the traditional manner, I do enjoy buying the kids new socks, underwear, and clothes before the beginning of fall anyhow. Actually, any excuse to shop for kids clothes is fine by me. ;) I still try to do it on the cheap. Luckily, I have $50 credit to Moxie Jean for a bag of clothing that I sent in and have a Rue La La voucher to Boden to use (I paid $35 for a $50 voucher and will combine it with free shipping and the 15% off code). My aunt's consignment shop also just put all their fall stuff out and I found the cutest GAP birdie sweater for Amy. I really need to go through the tubs of out of season clothes I have because I really don't think the kids need a whole lot this coming fall. One of the benefits of buying ahead at garage sales and consignment shops!

Don't forget to enter for the $50 Boden gift certificate! It ends in a few days!

I'm following Jennifer with Thursday Thoughts! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

VBS Week

It's Vacation Bible School time! The kids are having a blast and love telling me all about their day when I come to pick them up. 

Amy is so not used to having the house to herself and she looks so confused when we drop the kids off, like "Why do they get to stay here and not me?!" When it's time to pick them up she anxiously gets into the stroller and then waits with rapt attention for the classes to be finished.
This is Amy waiting, she's very interested in what was going on in the other room.
The kids are enjoying arts and crafts, games, snack time, and most of all - learning about God, kindness, hardships of others, and love. Nothing says summer as much as VBS!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Boden Love & Giveaway

If you've been reading my blog for long you realize that I have a love affair with clothes. You may also notice certain brands more often than others. Some of my favorites fill the kids clothes and dressers and one of those brands is Boden, specifically Mini Boden! 
I especially enjoy the boys "baggies" (shorts) as they grow with the kids through the years and match so many of their tops. The first year I buy them they fit like capris (which is the intention), the next year they fit like board shorts, and the next like regular shorts. So I essentially get three years wear out of them. And, they usually hold up so well that I can still resell them (the value of Boden resell is high!).
And their Baby Boden line is adorable. I always want it all for Amy! They have excellent sales, which I combine with a coupon code, and usually get some pretty decent deals for our clothes. 
The Fall 2014 line launches today! And OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!! This is my favorite line yet! A woodland theme?! PERFECT!!!!!
BIRDS?! This tunic is a favorite of mine and Becca agrees!
And this tunic top with footless tight set? Adorable!
Just look at these fabric choices this year. Birds, trees, color! Vintage and fun.
I don't own many Boden clothes for myself, but look at some of the items from the woman's line.
And these Baby Boden boys clothes make me want a baby boy, they are so cute.

You can use code X3Y2 for 15% off your order and free shipping

Ready for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate? Boden is graciously offering one of my winners a $50 gift certificate! This drawing is open to residents with a US-based shipping address and is only valid at www.BodenUSA.com.

You can come back to enter once daily. Drawing ends on Monday, July 28th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Pick Up a Stripper

This book started out with so much potential. After all, the question they pose "How would someone describe you in one word?" makes you stop and think. Would it be "kind"? "Loving"? Or would it be "Grouchy"? "Selfish"? "Liar"?

The premise of this book is excellent. Don't just talk about God's love, SHOW God's love. BE love.

Yet after the first 1/3 of the book I felt as though it became a broken record. Things seemed to be repeated. At some point it seemed to become more about Todd's church. "My church does this, my church does that. This is how we do this, this is how we do that." I only managed to skim through the last third of the book as it no longer interested me. 

I think a church leader or fellowship ministry would get a lot of useful information from this book.

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

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook

Something about this cookbook, by Alexe Van Beuren with recipes Dixie Grimes, spoke to me. I thought it was an over-sized paperback so when it arrived and turned out to be a lovely hardcover book I was pleasantly surprised.

The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery is in Water Valley, Mississippi. It's a grocery store/restaurant and features good 'ol homecooked food. This cookbook is filled with Southern recipes; Chicken Spaghetti, Peach Icebox Pie, White Bean Chicken Chili, Sausage Gravy and Skillet Biscuits are among several I want to try out. 

The pictures are gorgeous. I seriously just want to go visit this store - it really is quaint and old-fashioned looking. There are stories throughout the book about recipes as well as people. I love a cookbook that is more than just recipes and reads more like a story rather than a cookbook. This is a beautiful cookbook which I am more than happy to add to my shelves!

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

Going on Nine

By reading Going on Nine by Catherine Fitzpatrick I was transported back to the summers of my own childhood. While this book is based in the 1950's, and my childhood wasn't until 30 years later, so many good memories came flooding back as I read this book.

"From the morning of my eighth birthday, I regarded myself as going on nine. By then, I had long since melded into the loose confederation of children who were essentially feral from apricot dawn to lavender dusk. Our world was Thistle Way, a neighborhood of twenty-eight modest houses that faced one another in a circle."

And so begins the story of a young girl, "going on nine". While it only spans one summer it is filled with adventure, laughter, sadness...life growing up in the 50's. I loved how each chapter was focused on different families/children in the neighborhood. And yet it flowed so seamlessly. 

This is the summer read. It's not chick-lit, but is easy reading. The lovely descriptions make you feel like a child of summertime again. While it is fiction, you learn a lot of history about the 1950's in a very interesting way. I look forward to any future books by Catherine Fitzpatrick!

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July Phone Case of the Month

Phone Case of the Month sends a new phone case (and little treat!) monthly for $10. Their cases are limited to 200 per design so you can be assured that you are carrying around a fairly original case! There are several different designs sent monthly so seeing spoilers does not mean that you will be getting that same case. They have several phone styles to choose from so there should be one to fit your type of phone.  
I love my case this month! I am a huge fan of birds and feathers and think this peacock feather case fits me to a t! The little card with it is cute too..."Study nature. Love nature. Stay close to nature. It will never fail you." ~Frank Lloyd Wright 

Get your first month for just $5 when you sign up here

Disclaimer: Referral links included in post.

Friday, July 18, 2014

July IPSY Bag Review

IPSY is a monthly beauty subscription which sends 4-5 sample and full size beauty items, as well as a fun make-up bag, all for $10! This is one of my favorite subscriptions as the value is perfect and the bags are fun!
The July theme is "Sensationally Sun Kissed". There is a large variety of products that your bag may contain so most are not the same combinations.
I received:

*wHet nail polish in Facetious. The color is insane but I think I like it!

*Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil. Not going to use this. 
*Be fine food skin care Daily Moisturizer with SF15. This smells delicious and fresh.

*Pixie Beauty Mini Tinted Brilliance Balm. This is awesome, it's personalized hue changes color & intensity depending on pH level of lips!

*5 in 1 bareMinerals BB advanced performance cream eyeshadow. I was hoping to get this and was thrilled to see it was in my bag!

Not my most favorite mixture to date but still fun to look forward to each month! The pretty pink bag will be put to use as well. :) There is a waiting list for IPSY but I don't think it's a long one anymore. Remember, these bags filled with goodies are great for Christmas presents or stocking stuffers! 

Disclaimer: Referral links included in post.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

We have a sick baby in our household. Little Amy has a summer cold and is whiny and crabby. Yet, she is so angelic when asleep!
I realize I need to take more photos of Becca! She's been off on her own much of this summer; reading, writing, rollerblading, playing with the dog, at her friends house that she often misses our photo opportunities. I must resolve that this week! It's strange having a tween in the house - moody, opinionated, and not always welcoming to her younger siblings!

I have a lovely to-read pile for reviews coming up. I'm reading an amazing devotional right now and a fun fiction read - I can't wait to tell you all about them!

Saturday marks 11 months since Jacob has been gone. It's an amazingly long time to be without my little boy. You know how after you have a child and you can't remember life without them? Sometimes I can't remember life with Jacob. It all seemed like a dream that was over too quickly. It's the worst feeling in the world...to be without your child. Seriously, this summer has been so hard. I may not write about it all often, as it seems too personal, and when I do the words may seem a bit detached. But I think about Jacob all the time, he is in my heart and soul at every single moment.

The weather has been gorgeous. It feels more like Fall than July. I think I will take the kids hiking today, if my foot stops hurting. I think I have a piece of glass stuck in my foot but can't see it or feel anything poking out...all I know is it is painful! Any tips on getting an invisible ouchy out of your foot?! 

I'm following Jennifer for Thursday Thoughts!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Goodness, this summer is going so quickly! This month there are lots of activities planned (Kindermusic, Vacation Bible School, library programs) that it makes the days go even quicker. 
Basically there is still a lot of outdoor play and free play, which is what I remember from my childhood!
I have several posts coming up: budgets (oh my, I really need to stick to this!), recipes, some fun giveaways! Stay tuned!


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