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Sunday, November 30, 2014

U.S. Cellular Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

With Black Friday behind us and Cyber Monday right around the corner it makes one wonder how to find the best deals. After all, Black Friday is no longer Black Friday when most deals now start on Thanksgiving. Not only that, but most deals can now also be found online on Black Friday, making one wonder why there is even a Cyber Monday at all (which also seems to start on the weekend beforehand)!

So where does one start to maximize the savings potential? Are Black Friday deals the lowest of the low or are those found on Cyber Monday?

I've found, personally, that Cyber Monday tends to have better deals. The reason being that what didn't sell on Black Friday is now reduced in price. Stores start to get desperate to unload these items and out price other stores, resulting in some pretty good sales for us consumers. This wouldn't apply to those big ticket items (large screen television for $198, anyone?!) but often the stores only have one or two of those in stock anyhow, meaning you just waited in a mile long line for nothing.

Your smartphone can actually assist you in finding the best price for an item. When out and about you can check the app Slickdeals to find the best deals, voted on by consumers around the country who found the items featured to be the bottom line best deal.

 ShopKick will help will help you find the best deals at a particular store right when you walk in. With stores such as Target and Old Navy, you will receive more points the more that you frequent these stores. And your ShopKick points can be redeemed for gift cards and more.

For those with a keyring full of store discount/reward cards you can save time, and money, by using the app Key Ring, which will scan and store all your store cards at the tip of your fingertips.

For those shopping from home, Amazon Mobile can help you locate the best deals online and help you find exactly what you are looking for.

And don't forget that during this season of Thanksgiving and celebration, it's important to keep our kids safe and smart with their usage of a smartphone. Be sure to download the parent/child agreement to learn ways to speak to your child about the rules of cellphone use.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade but all opinions are my own.    

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving After Loss

Thanksgiving isn't an easy day when you are missing a part of your family. While you are counting your blessings their absence is quite apparent.
                (A picture of Jacob and I taken at Chuck E. Cheese in 2005)

It's hard. Yet I keep reminding myself of

1 Thessalonians 5:18

which tells us to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

 As hard as it is to understand that God knew Jacob would be with us for a short 8 years when He formed him and placed him in my womb, there IS a reason. Probably a reason that I will never know this side of Heaven. Yet I know that in his 8 years of life he touched more people than some do in 80 years on the earth. Jacob's life was worthwhile, was planned out by God.

I'm thankful that God chose me to be Jacob's mama.

I'm thankful that I had 8 years with my sweet boy.

I'm thankful that this little soul was a part of my life and taught me so much about the true meaning of life.

I'm thankful that Jacob is enjoying his rewards in Heaven. That we have a special angel watching over us.

So while his absence is ever present, so are his fingerprints on our life.

 As difficult as it may be, I shall try to "give thanks in all circumstances."

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Give thanks for your family and friends today and count your blessings - even when they hurt.   

The Thankful Heart

What is better to read the week of Thanksgiving than a book about "thanks-giving"?!The Thankful Heart by Richard and Linda Eyre is about a Thanksgiving tradition that they started and have improved upon.

One Thanksgiving Linda got out a roll of calculator paper and the whole family listed items that they were thankful for. The next year they managed to list over 600 items.

It makes you stop and think. Obviously things like "freedom" and "parents" were listed, but the kids expanded it to items like "doorknobs". And when it comes down to it, doorknobs are important...how would one open a door without one? 

The point is that we need to become more thankful. Not once a year, but daily. This book lists each month and gives us a thought to ponder and a challenge to do.  Because often gratitude has to be deliberate, and it can change our whole outlook (as well as those around us).
This is a beautiful book. The layout is wonderful, the pictures are spectacular, and the quotes fit in perfectly throughout. 

This is a book that should be on the coffee table or bedstand as a daily, beautiful reminder of all we have to be thankful for.

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Familius in exchange for my honest review. It can be purchased through Amazon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Into The Canyon

Forget the sappy Christian romances or the "in your face" Bible thumping novels, Into the Canyon by Michael Neale is a wonderful mixture of faith, adventure, and life issues.

I didn't realize that it was a sequel until the end; this being book two and the first being The River. I don't think that one has to read the first book to get the gist of the second, which is nice when it comes to a series.

Gabriel Clarke lost his father to The River at age 5. Throughout this book he comes to love The River himself (something that terrified him for years after the accident) and learns to forgive the man who lived who his father died attempting to save. This book touches on love, faith, forgiveness, and most of all...HOPE.

There were a few things I didn't like about this book (though I did start it and finish it within one evening...so it proved to be an interesting read!). The journals within the book (thankfully, there are just tiny experts) are contrived and frankly quite annoying. You aren't sure WHO the journals are for - they read like words of wisdom for someone else and yet also seem so vague while trying to appear wise. I hated the journal entries.

"The River" seems to be an entity of it's own. To the point that it almost seemed to replace God and become "the life-source of all". The way "The River" is described, especially in the journal entries, are  puzzling. For example, on page 227, the last sentence of the journal entry is "Therefore, what The Great River has put together, nothing on earth will tear apart." This is typical of how "The River" is described throughout the book. I waited for it to just turn to a metaphor, something relating to God, but it never happened. This doesn't seem to fit in a Christian book.

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Looking back through my Goodreads account I see that I have read two other books by Erin Healy, and marked them both fairly low in stars. I remember why now.

Motherless starts off very confusing. You aren't even quite sure what you are reading about. It's very other worldly, and delves into the spirit world throughout. But in such an odd way. This book is not religious at all, until the very end when there is one page mentioning God. Which means that this book will appeal to everyone, and yet maybe make sense to no one.

Yet, towards the middle of the book it takes a complete one eighty and turns into something that you are least expecting. That was interesting. That makes for a good suspense book and does throw in the mystery. 

I did stay up past midnight to finish this book, which means it was suspenseful. Yet I didn't really like it. So I'm not sure how to rate it because it was good enough to feel strong feelings for it - one way or the other but not necessarily one I would recommend!

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

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Divorce Papers

I was thinking that The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger would be a fun book since it is almost like my kid's graphic novels. The whole book is a compilation of "papers" within a divorce file at a firm. E-mails, forms, letters, etc. Surprisingly enough, you actually learn about the characters and their lives through these papers and parts were quite interesting.

Unfortunately, the parts that weren't interesting were all the legal papers, and there were a lot. While they may have made this "file" more factual, they are literally mind numbing to read. I found myself flipping past so many pages that about half way through the book I got tired of the work this book involves. I feel like I am actually reading through a divorce file and as one would imagine, the majority of it all is just not interesting.

The back cover states that this is "smart, affecting, and funny to the bone." I didn't find this book to be funny or laugh-out-loud at all. I quit a little half way through this 460 page book. I think it would have been a good story had it not been chock full of actual (boring) legal documents.

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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I'm Back!!

Gosh, I finally am able to get back to my blog! My computer took a hiatus, and is only temporally fixed (not only did Amy actually break the on/off switch but it seems to have a virus and freezes up every minute or so, making typing quite tedious!) But for now things are on so I will work on updating some posts, putting up some reviews, and more this week. So check back often! :) 

Monday, November 10, 2014


I decided to start the week out with a mellow day. No hurries, no hustles, no get 'er done type stresses.
We ran errands, slowly. We went to speech class. We then stopped at the library where some of us took a nap and others worked on the computers or read.
Then it was time for play.
And more reading.

A whole two hours spent nicely at the library. Home to a simple pasta supper and then some peaceful play and writing.

An all around simple. perfect. day.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In This House We Will Giggle

Life seems to get in the way of fun most times. Being a mom is hard and sometimes it's just too easy to get bogged down by all the work and not have enough play.

I knew I needed In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo. "Making virtues, love & laughter a daily part of your family life." A reminder to make every moment count is often needed.

What I like best about this book is that it is broken down into 12 different parts...one chapter for each month. Instead of reading through a book and forgetting half of what is said this book can be gone back to time and time again throughout the year to bring a little more happiness into your home.

Each chapter focuses on one virtue. I will use November as an example. The theme this month is Gratitude. There is a memory verse, definition of the verse, Bible verses to read, questions for family discussion (such as "What are some signs that someone has an ungrateful heart?"), a pray to say aloud, an activity to do together, and several helpful hints on how to teach gratitude to the family throughout the month. It really is a month long project that should end up bring happiness, joy, and fun into your home.

Other topics include:  joy, love, forgiveness, faith, patience, perseverance, respect, responsibility, service, humility, and generosity. 

I also like that this book applies to all age ranges. Some projects are good for teens, some for elementary age, and some for toddlers. The whole family can learn and grow together.

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

Sunday, November 2, 2014


It's getting colder here. Which means little outside time and hunkering down indoors.

Creative play.

Pots full of soup.

Cups of hot tea.

Bubble baths.

Pumpkin bars baking.

Fall scented candles.

Warm sweaters.

And best of all. BOOKS! We don't get nearly enough reading done in the summer months but nothing screams READ ME! like a warm quilt, fuzzy socks, and a cup of tea at hand.

I have piles of books around my house. It doesn't help that the library recently had their fall book sale and I came away with a huge box full of books (Becca had another box just of her own!).

I have books coming in the mail for review.

And I now have a book to read monthly for the new book club at our library.

Last month we read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.

I enjoyed reading it, though I ended up disliking the characters. The discussion at the book club was fun...tearing the book apart to the bare bones showed how very unrealistic it all was. How things didn't vibe or flow smoothly. And yet, it was a fun book to read, I think, whether we loved it or hated it.

Next up is The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields which should prove to be interesting.

What are you reading at the moment?


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