Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday



© Photographer: Ximagination | Agency: Dreamstime.com

The cross was two pieces of dead wood; and a helpless, unresisting Man was nailed to it; yet it was mightier than the world, and triumphed, and will ever triumph over it.
 - Augustus William Hare -

As you celebrate this Easter weekend, enjoy the egg hunts and the Easter baskets.  But do remember the man who is God who sacrificed for us all on this day so many years ago.  Have a wonderful Good Friday.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sick Day

Remember back in the good ole days when being sick meant your mommy stayed home and took care of you all day.  You got to watch cartoons and sip on Gatorade while lounging on the couch.

The good old days are today for David.



Poor guy.  He's got this weird stomach virus that makes him sick for about 24 hours, then he's OK for 12 hours, then sick, then OK and on and on.  It has lasted 5 days so far.  And on top of that he has a sinus infection.  He's a sick little guy.

But despite all that... Looney Tunes still make him laugh.  Even ones that were made in 1949 (yes, we looked it up on Wikipedia).  Guess I can endure Cartoon Network for a few more days until he feels better.

Let's just hope he feels better soon because Spring Break starts tomorrow and no one likes to be sick over Spring Break.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Disney fever is just beginning

Well guys, it's back.

We have started planning a Disney trip for Oct and Disney fever is setting in.  Our school system is (finally) giving us a week long Fall break next year and we are going to put it to good use by going to Disney World. Wahoo!

I couldn't help but reminiscence about our last Disney trip by reading back through all the blog posts I wrote before.  To make it easier for myself and others to flip through the posts, I also created a new Disney World! Pinterest board.

Last time we went, the kids were 5 and 7.  This time they will be 8 and 10.  I wonder what differences we'll see.

Before David's favorite ride was Pirates of the Caribbean and Julie's favorite was Splash Mountain.  Will different rides be their favorites this time?

Lego Star Wars and Disney themed earrings took up most of their spending money in 2011.  Will their choice of souvenirs change significantly this time?

I guess in we'll find out in 6 months.

What do you think their favorite rides will be this time?  What would you spend your souvenir money on at Disney World?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Keeping Sane During Crazy Times

It's time again for Spring craziness to arrive.  Baseball, cub scout activities, end of year parties and field trips,  proficiency testing at school, PTA fundraiser, teacher luncheon, piano recital, finishing up everything that needs to be finished up...  Oh, and did I mention all these things will happen in the next 8 weeks.

So how do I keep it all straight?  My go-to tools are a great calendar and a great planner.  At the moment I keep both a physical pen-and-paper calendar and a digital calendar.  My favorite paper calendar and the one I ask for almost every year for Christmas is the Mom's Plan-it Calendar.  It has blanks to put each person's name at the beginning of every week.  You only have to write them in once for the whole year.  Each family member then has their own line to put their activities on.  This calendar lives on the fridge and I try to keep it up to date.  The kids like to go look on it to see what we are doing that week.


The digital calendar app that I use is called Business Calendar.  It does cost $4.99 but I think it's totally worth it.  It syncs with all your Google calendars and is very easy to use.  You can change between calendars at the bottom of the screen, so you can keep work and home calendars separate or keep separate calendars for each person if you prefer.  You can look at a month, week or daily view of all your events.  You can also choose to see a "bar graph" format on your calendar (just shows a bar in the time spot on a particular day instead of writing in words the name of the event) or you can choose to see all your events written out, which is my preference.  Clicking on a day brings up a closer view of that days events.  I really like the "add event" form as well.  It's straightforward and easy to use. I think this app is the best of the calendars apps that I've tried.  Since Tim and I sync up our Google calendars with each other, we can both see all our events on all our devices - phones, laptops and tablets.


While I try to keep the paper calendar up-to-date, I must keep my digital calendar up-to-date.  I use it to plan all appointments and activities.  It's especially handy to use on my phone while I'm not at home.  Everything that our family does is kept on that calendar.  That way, theoretically, no one has an excuse for not knowing what's going on.

My calendars are great for seeing the big picture - what events we have to go to at specific times during the week.  But what about daily to-do lists, errands to run and people to call?  I use my trusty planner for that.  I've used a lot of planners over the years and, to tell the truth, I've never found one that I absolutely love.  Maybe one day I'll have to make my own but for now I use a Franklin Covey planner system.  Yes, they are pricey but there are so many layout choices that I can get closest to what I want there.  I use my planner for everything.  I plan meals with it, keep track of my to-do list every day and write all sorts of notes to myself in there.  I'd truly be lost without it.


With all these great planning tools, you'd think I'd never forget anything.  But I am human and sometimes I forget that my child needs to take butter to school or that library books were due two days ago.  In general, though, the calendars and planner keep our family mostly organized and mostly sane, especially during the hectic last few months of school.

What about you?  What great time planning tools do you use?

No compensation or free products were provided.  I just wanted to tell you what I love.  However I did use my affiliates links.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pinteresting Pins: Apple Oatmeal Muffins & Whole Wheat Bread

Time for more Pinerest trials.  You can follow me on Pinterest here.

This week, I'm trying out some new recipes in the grain family. - Apple Oatmeal Muffins, a mostly healthy snack and Whole Wheat Bread, a bread machine recipe.

We'll start with the success, the Apple Oatmeal Muffins.

These muffins were super simple to make.  I only had one little hitch.  I was all set to mix everything up and I noticed the recipe called for non-instant steel cut oatmeal.  I looked down at my can of oatmeal and it said..."instant."  Oops.  But, at that point, I decided to go for it anyway.  And, thankfully, the instant oats worked just fine.  Just know, if you try this recipe out, you have to soak the oatmeal in milk for an hour, so plan ahead for that extra time needed.

Muffins - all ready to put in the oven

These were a huge hit, even with the picky crowd.  The kids didn't know they were healthy.  They just gobbled them up as if they were candy.  The recipe says these muffins are great to freeze and pop in the microwave for breakfast.  I'm sure they are, but they didn't last long enough at our house to find out.  We are definitely going to make these muffins again.

Now for the not-so-successful Pinterest story.

Recently I have been seeing tons of recipes in the blogging world for bread machines.  Way back when we first got married we owned a bread machine.  Why?  Because it was cool to put lots of neat gadgets on my wedding registry and because people bought me those neat gadgets.  I made bread a few times, but never really got a lot of use out of the machine.  Several years ago, I heard someone mention how they were saving up to buy a bread machine.  Since mine was just sitting in my cabinet and I figured they would get more use out of it then I would, I decided to give my bread machine away.

Fast forward to now.

I see bread machine recipes online...everywhere...I want a bread machine again.  But I don't want to shell out a couple hundred bucks to get something that I've already had once and didn't use.  Then, as if from God, I see a bread machine listed on our local Facebook yard sale site for $8.  Yay!  I'll take it!

OK, that's the back story.  So last week I decided to make my very first loaf of bread in that machine.  I got out my Pinterest recipe for Whole Wheat Bread, put the ingredients in the pan in the order specified, then let the machine do its thing.  The manual for the bread maker specifically says to take the loaf out of the pan immediately.  I tried.  And this is what I got.


 And it tasted even worse.

Frustrated, I tried to figure out what went wrong.  The recipe online says it's for a sandwich loaf but it doesn't say how big of a loaf.  My bread maker makes 1 lb and 1.5 lb loaves.  So I thought maybe the Pinterest recipe was really for a 2 lb loaf and it couldn't rise in my 1.5 lb max machine.

So I tried again, this time using the recipe in the manual that came with the bread maker.  I made sure to put everything in the machine in the order listed in the book.  And this is what the second try got me.


Doesn't look much better.  Although this time it tasted OK, it still wasn't great.  It just seemed so dense, like it didn't rise enough and it definitely did not come out of the pan easily.  The manual doesn't say anything about greasing the pan before use.  I assumed it is a non-stick pan, but my "loaves" (if you can call them that) are certainly sticking.

So, the Whole Wheat Bread recipe was a fail for me...times two.  I still haven't decided if it's the bread maker, or if it's just me.

What about you?  Have you had any success with a bread machine?  Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong?  What are your favorite Pinterest finds?

Want to see some hilarious Pinterest fails by other people?  Check out this site.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Update on my health

I have been overwhelmed the past few months by all my readers and friends who have asked about my health, encouraged me, prayed for me and told me they have been thinking about me.

I have talked to a friend from college who has gone through similar myofascial pain in the past.  She gave me some great advice and a list of resources to try out.  Another friend told me about a clinic in her town specializing in curing chronic pain using more natural treatments and offered me a free place to stay if I decided to check it out.  Yet another friend told me about how she had major abdominal pain after abdominal surgery and how breaking up abdominal adhesions (and keeping them at bay with some internal netting) completely cured her of her pain.  She wondered if a similar procedure could help me.

Long ago friends are contacting me because they care about me getting out of pain.  Some of these lovely friends and I haven't spoken to each other since we graduated from college 12 years ago. (Not because we are mad at each other or anything. We have just lived in different cities.) Yet they cared enough to contact me now.

Thank you!  From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

So the last you heard about me, I was in a downward spiral.  How am I doing now?  I'm doing better.  Not cured, but better.  There are still good days and bad days.  I can't say that the good days outnumber the bad ones yet, but I can say that there are more good days than there used to be.

I have some great resources that have been helping me.  First of all, after a year of changing meds and tinkering with doses, I think the doctor and I have found the right mix of muscle relaxers, nerve medicine and pain medicine to keep me functioning well through most days.  My pain level is around a 2 on most days.  It used to be at least a 6, so this is a big improvement.

Secondly, I have found the greatest resource ever (thank you, Pamela!) - my pain machine.  No, it doesn't cause pain.  This isn't the Princess Bride.  It relieves pain.  OK, it's really called a TENS machine.  There are 4 little electrodes attached to it.  The electrodes are sticky and you put them all around the spot that hurts.  Then the machine delivers little electrical impulses to the electrodes.  The electricity helps control pain.  When my pain level goes up, the TENS machine goes on.

One of the things I love about that little machine is that if I can anticipate when I'm going to be in pain, I can stick the electrodes on beforehand.  Then I just hook the machine up during the activity and it keeps my pain in check.  For instance, I know that sitting for a long time makes me hurt, so before church starts, I put the electrodes on.  I can stand up and sing, etc at the beginning and no one can see that they are on.  When it's time for the service, I hook just hook up the electrodes and sit there all happy and pain-free during the sermon.  

What else has helped?

  • Water, lots of water.  I've increased my water intake to 1.5 - 2 liters a day.  
  • Walking.  The days when I can get in a short walk around the neighborhood, I feel so much better.  (Walking too much does increase pain, so it's a fine line there on how much to walk.)
  • Fascial stretches.  Thanks again to Pamela, I have been, very slowly, working on some fascial stretches from the Permanent Pain Cure book.  In the book he recommends doing the stretches once a day.  I tried that and my pain greatly increased.  So, at the moment I am doing them every other day without a significant increase in pain.  They do seem to help keep me stretched out.
  • Biofreeze.  One of my new best friends.  Similar to BenGay or IcyHot, Biofreeze is something you can put on sore muscles.  However, I put it on to keep my muscles from getting sore.  I use it on my rotator cuff muscles every morning.  While my shoulder is tons better than it was, my bra straps can still rub and irritate that muscle.  So it feels better when I put on Biofreeze before I put on my clothes.
  • Lumbar support.  My physical therapist had suggested getting some lumbar support to use in chairs at home.  I tried a regular lumbar pillow but it was too big for me.  It wasn't comfortable at all.  So she suggested I use a travel pillow.  Perfect!  I have behind me on the couch every night.
I'm sure there are things I am leaving out that have helped me.  Some of these things have become such second nature to me, that I don't even notice I am doing them.  Thank you again for all your wonderful comments; those on the blog, on Facebook and in person.  I'm still looking for that elusive first pain-free day but I am definitely better than I was 6 months ago.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Booksneeze review: Dirty God

Dirty God by Johnnie Moore


(from Booksneeze)
In Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches, Johnnie Moore draws on both Scripture and his extensive experience with other cultures and religions to show how the God of the Bible is unique in his willingness to be near us in all of our messiness. Moore outlines the central importance of the doctrine of grace while introducing readers to a humble and human Jesus who reaches out to us at our worst and pulls us up to our best.

Grace, Moore argues, is something that is both gotten and given, and the two-part structure of the book allows readers to explore both of these dynamics. By offering hope rather than condemnation and showing the practical applications of grace in today’s world, Dirty God will appeal to both the committed Christian and the spiritual seeker looking for a more authentic faith. Challenging and engaging, Dirty God is sure to establish Johnnie Moore as an emerging voice for Millennial and Gen-X evangelicals for years to come.

My Thoughts:

I've procrastinated a lot in writing this post.  Even now, I think I would rather be cleaning than writing this...and I hate to clean.  I really want to give this book a good review.  I mean, it's about grace - getting it from God and giving it to others.  I'm supposed to like a book on grace, aren't I?  But there are parts of it that I just can't agree with.  Certain quotes I love, but others leave me wondering.

Can I give a positive review if I only liked half of the book?

Let's start with the good things.  I thought the first half of the book was great.  Moore gives a new perspective of Jesus' time here on earth and his gift of grace to us.  He provides insight into how people, like lepers, really would have lived and what it really meant for Jesus to touch them.  The personal stories that Moore uses from his days as a missionary and from his current travels around the world are spot-on, relevant and entertaining at the same time.

Some quotes I loved:
"God has a track record for giving grace to rookie leaders..."
"...most of the great figures...in the other religions of the world have become famous by their perfection....Yet Jesus taught us that his Father was the kind of God who picked regular people and then used them in powerful ways despite their imperfections."
"Jesus cared little about impressing the important people.  He was too busy getting his hands messy with the regular ones..."

Now comes the negatives.  I just couldn't agree with some of the things he said in the second half of the book.  Don't get me wrong, I agree with the idea he has proposed: Christians need to give grace to others especially through meeting their daily needs.  But some specifics that he talked about didn't sit well with me.

Moore's definition of evil seems to be an entity apart from us that we can't help, not something that we, as sinful man, have chosen to do.  "It's evil when deficient self-esteem causes a young lady to give herself to every boy who gives her any attention..."  To me, that sounds like the self-esteem is to blame not the young lady.  Later, Moore talks about the entrance of evil into the world.  He starts out by relaying the ancient Greek story about Pandora opening the box of evil and unleashing it on the world.  Then he says "Whether it's the historical account of Eve in Eden sneaking a bite of the apple, or the myth of Pandora's curious mistake, there is one overarching conclusion...evil is real."  Huh?  He compares the truth of the Bible with a Greek myth and makes it sound like they were both valid ideas for evil entering the world.  I can't stand by that.

Apart from the theological differences that I had with the book, I also felt like I couldn't get a clear outline of his writing in my head.  Instead of feeling cohesive, the book felt more like a random collection of thoughts, more blog-like than book-like.

At the end of the book, Moore definitely gets on his soapbox and starts shooting out statistics left and right.  He mentions general ways we can change the world, but he specifically mentions the aid organization where he serves on the board.  While everyone has the write to promote their own organizations and passions, other choices that we as the reader could choose to help with, would have been greatly beneficial.

In the final chapter Moore expresses his hope that this book will be bookmarked and highlighted on e-readers everywhere to be referred to again and again.  And to be honest, I have 32 passages highlighted on my Kindle.  Some are highlighted because I love them, some because I totally disagree with them.  But, if nothing else, Dirty God made me think and made me search my Bible for answers.

If I were just rating the first half of the this book, I would give it five stars.  But I have to give an overall review.  This book earns

3 out of 5 stars

I received a complementary Kindle version of this book from the Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Gratitude Project

My one word for this year is Gratitude, being thankful to God for all he has given me.  Join me in the Gratitude Project every Thursday.  I list what I'm thankful for and you tell me what you're thankful for.

(from Feb 4)
I'm thankful that I am successful, meaning I am doing the job that I always wanted to do and that I felt God was calling me to do.

I'm thankful for all the books on obedience that God is bringing to me, stories of others that are obeying God and loving the results.

I'm thankful for my washer, my dryer, and my dishwasher.  I'm thankful that we have clothes that need to be washed and daily food to eat that makes dishes dirty.

What are you grateful for?  What everyday chores can you turn into a moment of gratitude to God?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

eShakti Contest - Three $150 prizes

eShakti just posted a great little contest.  All it takes is a simple email and you could win a $150 gift certificate to use on their site.  They want to know in 45 words or less, what women really want.  Send your response to contest@eshakti.com by March 15.  Three winning entries will be picked from a jury of your peers (just kidding, a jury from eShakti) to win a $150 shopping spree each!  (Psst, everyone who sends in an entry will get a little something special as well.)  Feel free to read all the details below.

eShakti.com dress review

Clothes custom fit for my body?
Yes, please.
Oh, and I can get those without leaving my house?
Even better.

Last week I introduced you to eShakti.com, an online store that creates customized clothes for women.  Since I can't sew worth a lick much less create something custom to fit my body, I was super excited when eShakti asked if I would be willing to do a product review for them.

I'm one of those people who, proportionately, have much bigger hips than I do waist.  Sadly, I also have a very small bust.. sniff, sniff.  So sometimes it's hard to find clothes that fit right.

And don't get me started on dresses...
It is so hard to find nice, modest dresses anywhere in a brick and mortar store.
But, guess what, now I don't have to.  I can shop for beautiful dresses, shirts, skirts and jackets from the comfort of my home, ones made to fit just me.

Once you start browsing on eShakti, you'll find the hardest part about shopping on their site is that there are so many pretty things to choose from.  I immediately decided I wanted to get a dress, but I was really torn about which one to get.  There are sooooo many gorgeous ones on there and so many options to choose even after you choose the dress.  You can order items in standard sizes (with a size chart provided on the site) or you can have them custom made to your measurements.  On some items you can choose how long you want the sleeves to be, what kind of neckline you prefer and/or how long you want the garment to be.  With every dress, you enter your height so the dress-makers know how long to cut the skirt.  These are some dresses that instantly drew my attention.
I absolutely love this black toga dress!

This one is fun and flirty for the summer.
But the one I chose, was this dandelion dress.  I am just in love with the draping on it, the wrap style of the bodice and the dandelion embellishment.  I adore the dandelion embellishment.  (You can choose not to get the embellishment on any garment, if solid is more your style.)

When the dress arrived, it was folded nicely in a plastic bag inside of a really sturdy box.  It was not all wadded up like clothes I've gotten from some other online stores.  Maybe that's a little thing, but I really like that attention to detail.  The dress was a little wrinkly even with its great packaging and I don't like to iron so I hung it up in the bathroom to let the shower steam relax all the wrinkles.  Like most items on eShakti, this dress is washable so I could have stuck it in the dryer for a few minutes to pull out the wrinkles as well.


It fit very well, almost perfect.  The first time I put it on, I noticed that it was slightly big in the bust.  Luckily, to put it modestly, a change of undergarments fixed that problem.  Score!  And the dress is so very comfortable, one of the most important criteria in clothes for me.

The dress zips on the side.  It's easy to put on and fits snugly to my waist.
The dandelion embellishment is just as pretty in real life. 
The eShakti website shows the back of every garment too.
I always love to see how the back of an item looks.
The things I love about eShakti and my new dress:
  • I love that the details make it completely unique and I love that it is refreshingly modest.  
  • The dandelion embellishment on the front is just gorgeous.  It's what first drew me to the dress and it's still what I love most about the dress. 
  • I love that most of their clothing is washable.  That's a big plus for everyone but especially for moms.  
  • The details are subtle, making it easy to accessorize with jewelry, shoes and sweaters.
Even though I chose boots,
this dress could easily be paired with cute pumps or sassy heels.
The things that need improvement:
  • There are no half inch measurements listed in the drop down boxes on the custom order form.  Some of my measurements were only a half inch different from the measurements near them.  When you round them up, it looks like I have no difference at ll in those areas, but I do.  Adding the half inch increment would be nice.  
  • It would be nice for eShakti to have a video on their site or link to a video showing the correct places to measure.  Even with the pictures, I wasn't confident I was measuring correctly.
  • The items they have listed on their website change very quickly.  If you see something you like on there one day, it may not be there the next.  You have to order it while you can.
My personal experience?  I was so impressed with my new dress, that I ordered two more from their site.  They haven't arrived yet, but when they do, I'll be sure to post pictures.

If you have ordered something from eShakti, I'd love to see pictures when it arrives.  Just post them onto my Facebook page.  Make sure you "like" it first.  Happy shopping!

** Remember, just for my readers, eShakti.com has provided a promotional code that will get you 20% off of your order up through March 25.  Just enter TNSTYNTHEC in the promotional code box. **

A complementary product was provided by eShakti.com for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Better World Books has Better Customer Service

Ever find somewhere that just gives you awesome customer service and you want to share it?


Better World Books is a site that not only sells new and used books, they also donate a book to someone in need every time you buy a book from them.  They love books and they are environmentally friendly as well.

Back in January Better World Books had a great deal on books they listed in their "Bargain Bin."  Since they were deeply discounted and since I love books, I decided buying some books would be a great way to get cheap Valentine's gifts for my children.  (I know, I'm the weird mom who doesn't give my kids candy for Valentine's.  They get enough of that at school.  I give them books.)

Pretty much the rest of America must of have the same idea as me because the site was as slow as molasses and when I got to the checkout page, it died on me.  Undeterred, I picked out all the books...again...and made it through the checkout process this time.

When you choose a used book on Better World Books, they give it a rating based on its condition, i.e. very good, good, acceptable, etc.  Each rating has a description on the website.

When the books arrived, I was disappointed.  Two of the books were more worn than I thought they would be.  I want to make it clear that I did know they were used and I did realize that they wouldn't be in new condition.  I just thought their condition didn't match the condition I had chosen online.

So the next week when a survey from Better World Books appeared in my inbox, I was quick to fill it out.  I told them of my disappointment, but I didn't really think the survey would be read and responded to.  Thankfully, I was wrong.  Someone from the Better World Books customer care department contacted me and told me how terribly sorry they were to hear of my disappointment.  They asked for the specific titles that I felt weren't up to par.  After emailing those back, the site refunded me the cost of those books (asking me either to keep the books or pass them on to someone in need) and they gave me a $10 gift credit to use to purchase more books at the site.  They asked that I give them a chance to redeem themselves.

I was blown away.  Not only did they follow up with a survey, even though thousands of people were using their site that night, but they read my responses and contacted me to fix the issues.  Yes, I did have issues with the quality of their books on my first order, but with customer service like that, I will be glad to give Better World Books a try again.

Better World Books did not sponsor this post in any way.  I just got great service and wanted to tell you all about it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Free and discounted books I love on Amazon today

Just a quick post to tell you that two great books are available free or discounted today on Amazon.


I reviewed Tangled Ashes in the past and loved it!  Get it for free here.


This is a book that Tim and I both love.  It tells you exactly what a millionaire looks like - not what someone who is trying to look wealthy looks like, but someone who really is wealthy.  Get it for only $2.99 today (that's a great price and totally worth it).

Guest Post: Great Ways to Save Money Online


(Guest Post by Kristin Lynn Steward)

Source
Shopping Online and Saving Money

Let’s face it – we all have way too much to do and not enough hours to do it. We need to do more with less – less time and less money. There are plenty of ways, however, to save both time and money by shopping online and looking for deals.

First, remember to look for coupon codes. There are plenty of sites that share codes as well as how well they worked and the amount of money saved. By simply searching for a store name and “coupon code,” you should be able to find several different codes that will offer a variety of deals and promotions. Many sites also offer free shipping if you use a coupon code or meet a minimum order amount. Try to “gang up” purchases in order to save on shipping fees. There are many ecommerce sites that this is easy to achieve. For example, if you need a special gift for someone, go to Shutterfly to upload photos and create a customized iPhone case or take a look at their selection of photo gifts and have it delivered while ordering address labels for yourself and a customized water bottle to stay hydrated while running errands.

There are also cash back saving sites like Ebates that provide not just coupon codes for many commonly-used ecommerce sites, but you can get cash back from those same sites for shopping. Other sites like Amazon Local and Groupon offer special deals for businesses that are located in your area.

After the kids are put to bed, consider doing your food shopping online. There are often extra coupons available as well while you shop. Once your order is submitted, an employee of the store will do all the shopping, check you out and all you need to do is pick up your order. Talk about a time saver! Some food stores even offer delivery for a small fee. So if you are home with a sick child, you can still get your food shopping done and have it brought right to your door.

Saving money is all about getting creative today. Thanks to the Internet, there are plenty of ways to get creative and find those extra deals.

****
About Kristen:  I'm a mom of 2 with a great husband. We reside in New England. My family is very active, especially in the Spring with the outdoor sports. I love writing and it's always been a huge part of who I am. I minored in it when I was in college, back in the day. A few of my other hobbies are baking, crafts, and anything related to photography. I love finding amazing pictures.

****
Thanks, Kristin!

If you are interested in writing a guest post, please feel free to contact me either through a comment (with a valid email address attached to your Google account) or through an email.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pinteresting Pins: Breakfast Ring & Crispy Chicken Wraps

Once again, Pinterest is busy giving me new ideas for dinner.  Thank you, Pinterest!

We tried out two new recipes last week - Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps and a Bacon, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Ring

First up...the Chicken Wraps

I have to admit, I changed the recipe quite a bit on this one.  It called for a bunch of spices, a bunch of veggies and black beans, all of which I omitted when I made it.  My wraps consisted of chicken, rice and cheese (with the addition of sour cream for the ones Tim and I ate).  While Tim and I would eat all the other items included in the recipe, the kids would not.  In fact, they wouldn't have even touched them or taken a single bite of them.  Sometimes we are sticklers and make the kids eat stuff they don't want to eat and sometimes we just don't want the battle.


I think the brilliance of this recipe is in how you cook the wraps.  You spray them with cooking spray first - that's the secret - then you brown them on both sides in the frying pan.  I loved the crispy outside.


While they were good, everyone felt like they needed less rice and more of everything else - more chicken, and more cheese.


We'd definitely try this one again with a little tweaking to the filling. (For those of you without Pinterest, you can find the recipe here.)

Recipe #2 - Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Ring

Oh my, this was so good and so easy.  You cook up the bacon and eggs.  Combine them with cheese and put it in crescent rolls shaped like a ring.  Cook it all together and you get a great filling dinner or breakfast.

Shape the crescent rolls like a star, add your filling,
then pull the ends to the middle to make a ring.
We made 2 of them and ate one right away for dinner.  The other we saved and ate on all week for breakfast.  I'm a big proponent of eating lots of protein at breakfast.  It keeps you feeling full until lunch and keeps little tummies from having to visit the nurse at school just because they are hungry.  This recipe is a great, yummy way to get that protein at breakfast.


Both of these recipes were winners.  I was a little bit more partial to the breakfast ring because I love anything with bacon, eggs and cheese.  (If you don't have Pinterest, you can find the recipes here.)

Planning to try these out?  Leave a comment and let me know which one you think looks the best to eat.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Gratitude Project

My one word for this year is Gratitude, being thankful to God for all he has given me.  Join me in the Gratitude Project every Thursday.  I list what I'm thankful for and you tell me what you're thankful for.


I'm thankful hat I have access to the Bible in many different versions and on many different devices.


I'm thankful for David's snuggles.


I'm thankful for Julie's questions and for her sense of humor.


I'm thankful for Tim's patience.


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