Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Modesty-A Journey of the Heart Part 1

This will be the beginning of a series concerning modesty. My hope is that it will be uplifting and encouraging, and not redundant on other articles you have read.

Have you ever stopped to think about how the clothes you wear affect those around you?

According to a survey done the clothing you wear can be: modest appropriate and tasteful, or it can be: a temptation, embarrassing, uncomfortable, a distraction, grievous to the spirit, and offensive. Which way would you like to dress?

Modesty, or the lack of it, is a daily part of your life though you may have not stopped to think about. Where are you taking your cue on what kind of clothes to wear? Is it from a model you see in a magazine, or the actors in a movie? Is it from friends at school or co-workers at the office? Is the world teaching you to dress or behave in a godly manner? What is modesty anyway?

The Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines Modesty as:

Neat- very clean, pure, well adjusted

Comely-decent, suitable, proper, becoming, suited to time, place, circumstances, or persons.

The Greek definition in the New Testament says:

Modest-2887 Greek says: orderly, of good behavior.

As a Christian do you stop to think about your impact on the world around you? Do you desire to be a righteous witness for Christ? Have you ever thought about your behavior and clothing as a direct testimony that other’s look at when they think about you as a Christian? In 1 Samuel 16:7 says… say that, “for the Lord seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance..” In our culture we are bombarded with the polar opposite of God’s plan for the Christian spirit and dress. We may follow the world’s ways and excuse ourselves in out hearts thinking that, “God knows my heart”. God may very well know your heart, but people will judge you by what they see can on the outside.

Modesty doesn’t only apply to women. It applies to men as well. It’s not an archaic word that applies to times gone by but it is an important and vital part of the Christian life. Modesty outflows directly from the condition of our heart. You may protest and balk to stop and examine this area of your life. Why do you protest? The way you dress is a reflection of your heart. When your heart is in the right place it won’t only be about you and what you want. First of all it will be about God, then the brethren around you. We are called to be a peculiar people. That means you are to be a peculiar Christian, one who is full of love. “For they will know you are Christian’s by their love.” Do you love your God and your fellow brother or sister? With that spirit of God within you will become a Christian who others see as chaste, meek, and loving. Your outward appearance will reflect the love that is in your heart. Modesty is a spirit that takes care to act, speak, and dress in a way that shows you are a reflection of Christ.

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Written by Jennifer Allen

The second part of this series will be one young woman's testimony in how she started dressing modesty, and the struggles she went through in her journey!


The winner of the Boutique Hairbows is... picked # 5! Misty whose email address starts with mmar@

Congratulations! I will be sending you an email letting you know!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Marie Madeline Giveaway!

One of my favorite companies online is the marie Madeline Studio. Not just because of the wonderful products they carry, but because the Long ladies behind the company are so sweet! They carry a sweet Christian spirit about them that is evident even over the internet! I was blessed at Christmas time to win the quilt they were giving away, and every day enjoy looking at the beautiful fabrics in the quilt I have hanging up on my wall.
(Forgive the blue tape in the picture, we are currently painting our dining room!)

Besides the beautiful fabric that Marie Madeline carries,
they also sell patterns that are just perfectly suited to go along with all the pretty fabric! I was really excited to be able to review the gracie skirt pattern for my little girl. When I told the Long Ladies that it was going to be Carrianna's birthday skirt they were generous enough to offer to send along fabric of my choice to make her skirt!

The first thing I noticed about the pattern is that even though the skirt looks like there a lot of pieces to the pattern, in reality there are only three total. The tips that are included are some that I have never read anywhere else! I didn't have all the items they suggested using for the tips, but the next skirt I make I hope to try all the ideas.

I didn't find the skirt hard to make. It took reading through the instructions a couple of times, and then I understood it all. The only thing I thought could be changed would be adding a cutting layout diagram for beginner sewers. But since you are just cutting out strips it is not hard to figure out.

Now comes the fun part! Marie Madeline has offered to give away a pattern of the winners choice! To enter, go to the Marie Madeline site and browse through the pattern selection. Would you pick a women's pattern, a girl's pattern, Apron pattern, or a bag pattern? It is so hard to decide!

For additional entries:

1. Follow this blog and leave a separate comment telling us you did.
2. Follow us on Facebook and leave a comment letting us know.
3. Follow us on Twitter and leave a comment letting us know you follow!
4. Post about this giveaway on your blog, leaving a separate comment with the link.

This giveaway will end Tuesday, April 6th at Midnight, and the winner will be announced the next day!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Organizing Your Recipes

From Jennifer Allen

I love to collect recipes. There is a love of cooking and collecting recipes passed down from my great-grandma to my Mom then to me. I have been collecting recipes since I was 16. I have changed the way I keep my recipe collection several times. I started out in one of those recipe folders, but quickly outgrew it. I then switched to card holders. I outgrew that as well. This is my current system:
This is very simple and inexpensive way to keep your recipes organized.Buy a shoe size plastic container with a lid for $1.00 at Walmart. Buy card separators and write your categories on the tabs. These are my categories:

Appetizers and Dips

Jams, Jellies, and Preserves




Biscuits & Muffins










Sauces & Gravies










Cakes & Frosting



I keep extra 3 x 5 cards in the very front of my recipe box to grab for any that I want to write down instead of print.
When I create my menu plans each week I pull those recipes out of the box. I have a recipe folder. On the left side I put recipes I'm interested in but haven't filed yet. On the right side of the folder I put all the recipes I will use for my menu plan this week. When the week is through I take those out and put them back in the recipe box.

When we bought our house the previous owners had installed this nifty pull down shelf in the kitchen. I don't know what they used it for. I put it to good use. That's where I put the food magazines I need to look through and the green folder with my current recipes in it.

I can push this up and out of the way. Works great! If I didn't have this I would put my current recipe folder in the cabinet with all my recipe books.

A couple of times a year I go through my recipes and get rid of the ones that may not have been awful but certainly weren't a big hit. As I am cooking if something was really great I put a happy face on the recipe. Those become well used favorites! If the food from a recipe was awful it's a simple decision. I open the trash can and toss the recipe (okay, sometimes the food too). Keeps life easier. Not making that mistake twice! This makes for a happy hubby and less waste of my food.

I hope this was helpful. You can customize these ideas to fit your own cooking needs. For other ideas on organizing your recipes go here. You can also see Part One of Recipe Organization here, then Part Two of Recipe Organization here. These are good post to read if you print a lot of recipes off the internet to keep.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ergo Baby Carrier Sale!

This has got to be the absolute best price for an ergo baby carrier I have ever seen new! It is a one day only sale, where they are 48% off! Go here to see at baby steals. I like the pink one. It is so cute!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Boutique hairbow giveaway!

If you have a little girl you will just love today's giveaway! Amy from flowerzinherhair was kind enough to send me four different hairbows to test out on Carrianna. What fun! I was very impressed by these hairbows, as they are truly are no slip. She adds some special touches on them to help the hairbows grip the hair, so even if you have never had any success with bows staying in your little girl's hair, you should give these a try! Also, for boutique hairbows I thought her prices were really good. We were sent 2 flowers, ribbon flower, and a white bow. Perfect for all the spring dresses I have for Carrianna!

She also has bows and headbands for babies, so even starting out you could dress up with your sweet little baby. I have really enjoyed having Olivia wear headbands, it looks so sweet and girly!

Amy has kindly offered to give one of our readers a $20 e-gift card to her store! You could pick a lot out with that.

To enter, simply go to flowerzinherhair and pick out an item that you would like to try. Come back and leave a comment letting us know what you would like!

PLEASE leave your email address so I have a way to contact you!
For additional entries:

1. Follow this blog and leave a separate comment telling us you did.
2. Follow us on Facebook and leave a comment letting us know.
3. Put our button up on your blog and leave a post with the link back to your blog.
4. Post about this giveaway on your blog, leaving a separate comment with the link.

This giveaway will end Tuesday, March 30th at midnight, and the winner will be posted the following day!


We have a winner!

The winner of the Coco-Shea body butter is:

Misty aka mexmarr
Congratulations! I have sent you an email with further details.


Giggle Guide to Baby Gear Review

From Jennifer Allen

Do you have trouble making a final decision on the products you need to buy for your baby? Feeling overwhelmed by friend's recommendations and unending product reviews? What do you really need? The Giggle Guide to Baby Gear will be the book for you. The book is written by Giggle's CEO, Ali Wing, and will help you in the decision making for your child from newborn to toddler hood. The book begins with helping expecting parents in the process of setting up your nursery and bringing baby home. She then builds into the first six months of your babies life, toddler hood, and getting out and about with helpful products on the market. What I like about her checklist and reviews is they are lifestyle conscious. If you are "on the go" parents she will recommend products that will especially helpful for you. If you are a jogger here's the best stroller, but for the rest of us walking folks, these are the best all around strollers. This gives you advice for the life you live without asking you to expend money to buy every little thing on the market.

In the second section of the book she deals with baby on the go: reviewing car seats, strollers, baby carriers, and diaper bags. While she goes over basic choices with some very helpful pictures of each style the features to look for are also explained. Next is the nursery with reviews of cribs and beds, nursery linens, changing tables, rockers and gliders, and baby monitors. Chapter seven deals with bottles, breast pumps, feeding support pillows, high chairs, dishes, and bibs. Lastly is bath time with reviews of bathtubs and skin-and hair-care products.

If you are a new parent this book will help simplify the process of choosing what will work for you, your child, and your budget. It is well written and worth your reading. You can buy a copy of the Giggle Guide to Baby Gear by Ali Wing for as low as $14.96 new on Amazon.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Save $1500 on Groceries?

Now this lady has some great ideas on how to save $1500 a year on groceries. No, let me correct myself, you can save this much money in 7 months. Danielle did! Danielle at Transforming Home said it was easy. Here are some of her ideas:

This time last year my weekly shopping trip went like this:
1. Make a dinner menu for the week.
2. Make my list including all the ingredients needed for those recipes and all the other stuff.
3. Go to the store and buy what was on the list, typically sticking with the brands I was used to.
4. Monthly, I spent about $550 (for our family of 5).

Now my weekly shopping trip goes like this:
1. Carefully read through the sales flier every Tuesday.
2. Decide what is on a good sale and buy those items. If the sale is really good (meaning half off or buy-one-get-one (BOGO) free), then I will buy 2-3 months worth of that item.
3. Make my dinner menu according to what is on sale.
4. Go to the store without the kids (I always spend more when they are with me) and buy only what is on my list.
5. If I need something that is not on a good sale, I will find whatever is the best price of that item (not paying attention to brands) and only buy what I need.
6. Monthly, I spend about $320.

Go Here to read the rest of her post and how she did it. It was inspiring to me!


Menu Plan for week of March 22nd

From Jennifer Allen

Wow. It's Spring! Along with it came 6 inches of snow. It is beautiful but I can't wait for warm weather. This week I wanted to try a few new recipes. Last week we put together some dry mixes at church during a mixes class. I will be using the brownie mix and may throw in some biscuits as well. The Mom is Great Breakfast Cake recipe was a must when I came across it just for the title itself.

I'm curious to see if the Popcorn Chicken lives up to tasting as good as it sounds. You really must try the baked fish. It is so yummy! My sister Caroline, and her daughter Carrianna, both share their birthday as March 23rd. We will be having the party at my home. Supper that night at Caroline's request is the Orange Chicken and Rice. We don't have a great Orange Chicken recipe under our sleeve. Instead we buy the Orange Chicken from Costco. It is so good! If anyone has a delicious Orange Chicken recipe that could match that taste you'll have to let us know. Growing up we would get a Tippins French Silk Pie on occasion. That happens to be my favorite dessert. I thought I would try to make one for the birthday party. I'm going to try the recipe I found here for French Silk Chocolate Pie. I will be increasing the sugar to 1 1/2 cups and the vanilla to 2 teaspoons. We'll let you know how it turns out.

My sister Caroline has been talking about trying some freezer meals here soon. I have been reluctant for two reasons. Reason one is my Mom had made them years ago and they were disgusting meals. We never tried again after the first failures. Mind you that could be the recipes she used, but it remains in my memory. My second reason is I enjoy cooking every day. Pretty good reason huh? Pulling supper out of the freezer just seems boring to me. For real busy mom's freezer meals can be a life saver. I do understand that. I know we will give freezer meals a try here soon so we'll keep you posted.

Weekly Menu Plan

Monday- Pan Pancakes & Blueberry Shake
Oatmeal w Raisins, Green Smoothie
Breakfast Burritos
Cream of Wheat Combo
Mom is Great Breakfast Cake
Peanut Butter Honey Toast, Pears, Cottage Cheese

Monday-Salad w black beans, fruit
Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Salad, fruit
Spaghetti, fruit, veggies
Beef Barley Soup, whole wheat bread
Rice & Veggie Stir Fry, Strawberry Peach Slushies
Potato Soup, Brownies

Kettle Popcorn
Celery & peanut butter
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Putter Fingers
Banana w Peanut Butter

Monday-Round Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Carrots, Green Beans
Orange Chicken & Rice, Salad, Butterhorn Rolls
Baked Fish
, Tater Tots, Salad Peas
Parmesan Chicken, Spinach Rice Casserole, Corn
Popcorn Chicken, Corn Pudding, Green Beans, Chocolate Pudding

Pumpkin Pie


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Baked Fish

From Jennifer Allen

I didn't grow up in a family that ate fish regularly. We had canned salmon and tuna. Other than that I thought eating fish meant a visit to Long John Silver. After my grandparents moved to Florida my Grandpa introduced us to eating fish fried, baked, or grilled. Orange Ruffy and Talupa were our beginning fair. I graduated to Bassa fish and Grouper. My Grandpa made some awesome fried Bassa fish. When he fixed it that's all we ate, plates of fish and his home made tarter sauce. It couldn't get any better than that!

Since Neil and I have been married I haven't used fish in our meals very much. Last week I found this simple recipe for baked fish from The Grocery Shrink ebook recipes. So far every recipe I've used from The Grocery Shrink has been good. They seem to be the normal Midwestern food that I'm used to. Oh, and my husband will eat the food. The fish recipe was a winner! We both loved it with these seasonings. Since they were baked I didn't have to watch them carefully like broiling the fish, and clean up was a cinch. I did melt my butter, brushed it on, then generously sprinkled on the seasonings. Ready for the recipe? Here it is:

Baked Fish
Place fish fillets in 13x9 pan. Dot with butter, sprinkle with garlic salt, pepper, and basil. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

It's that simple. Enjoy!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Sometimes, it just isn't easy...

So many times we read in magazines, or online, those glowing articles about how wonderful Motherhood is; the tender sweet cuddly moments, or those amazing times when your child displays good character and you feel rewarded in parenting. Those moments are oh so sweet, but I just want to be honest for a moment and say - they can be the exception! Parenting is H-A-R-D work, with very little rest. Some days you feel like you've taken one step forward and two steps backward!
The other day I took my four children, (who are 6 and under), to a conservation department for a homeschool class. A friend of mine also came along with her older children. My oldest went into a class with them, and I took my three youngest into the 3-5 year old class. So here I had a 4 year old, almost 2 year old, and 2 month old in this class. When we walked in, all the parents were sitting in the back chatting with each other and calmly enjoying the moment while their children were sitting on little carpet squares listening to the teacher. There wasn't really a good place for me to sit and nurse, so I found a spot in the front with the children on the floor and tried as best I could to nurse discreetly. So far so good - but then came craft time. Let me put it simply - while I can sew I do NOT like crafts. Period. End of discussion. I never liked them as a child because my Mom didn't care for them either. I'm always grateful when my husband takes over and helps our children with craft projects at church. But back to this craft. Here we were supposed to make cute little turtles out of cardboard egg cartons. My 4 year old was supposed to cut out the turtle's body parts using glue and tissue paper (delicate little task), and, of course, he can not do this without some help. I bravely walked over to the table, determined to be a good Mama (craft-challenged as I was) and assist my son (with only one arm, of course. The other is holding my baby. And a blanket. And a coat.) We had no more than begun and suddenly my baby spits up on my son's head. Big time. This was one of those spit-ups where you wonder if anything made it into the baby's little tummy. It (the spit-up) managed to also make its way into my daughter's hair and proceeded from there onto the floor. The lady next to me (who is helping her one and only delightful little child) looked at me and said, "Oh, do you need some help? What can I do for you you sad excuse of a mother?" Ok, so the "sad excuse of a mother" wasn't in there, but I felt like it could have been. I wanted to melt...where was the disappear button? This woman was simply gorgeous, her hair was perfectly styled, makeup on, tiny and trim, and she had both hands free to help her daughter who was cheerfully making the best egg-carton turtle shell you ever saw. Instantly, unhappy thoughts came into my head, "What am I doing all this for? I'm so humiliated. Why do I always have to appear so helpless and dependent on others to help me with four little children? Maybe I'm not good enough for this Motherhood thing after all?"
As that battle was raging inwardly, outwardly I made every effort to calmly finish our class while trying to keep my daughter from constantly pulling her skirt up to her head! Certainly not appropriate for "The Modest Mom's" daughter : ) I had noticed as we walked out the door that the hem of her shirt had been ripped off somehow. No time to change now . . . I just hoped nobody would notice. I would throw it away at home.
We finally finished, and by the time we were in the car my blood sugar was quite low from the stress of the morning. My friend looked at me and asked, "So, do you want to do this every month?" and laughed. She encouraged me that it would get easier when they got older (something she knew from experience). True, but that didn't help the present moment!
No big revelation came to me to get me through the day. I somehow managed to go to the grocery store before coming home. When at home, we all ate lunch and everyone instantly laid down for naps. I heaved a big sigh and started sewing for the afternoon.
It's been two days since, though, and I have been blessed with some of those rare sweet moments that you read about in the magazines; times when you look at your children and your heart just wants to burst with love. I have come to a few conclusions since that day. . .the first is that my children's education will not suffer if we fail to make it every month to these classes (though I do appreciate them). I think back to our fore fathers and realize how much pressure is on mothers these days to take our children here and there simply to satisfy the current thinking that they *need* these activities to grow up as cultured, well balanced adults. What will help my children the most in becoming fine young men and women is having a stable, loving, secure home with the assurance that their parents love them and will always be there for them. If I can give that to my children, and impart the love of God to them, that is so much more important than these classes.
Will we try again? Probably. I learned what to bring next time that should help things go a little smoother (a tarp, perhaps?), but most importantly, I will need to remember to pray before I go in, take a deep breath and just enjoy every crazy moment of parenting!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Modest Swim Suits!

I don't know about you, but the thought of summer coming on always brings a groan inside of me...what will I wear to go swimming? I don't like swimming in a huge t-shirt over a swimming suit, but that is normally what I end up doing just because I don't have anything else. I just found this website that sells modest swimming suits. The most exciting thing? They have quite a few on sale right now 70% off, and they are $30-$40! For a modest swim suit that is an awesome price. I would like the swim suit with the sleeves for more modesty. Cute!


Household uses of Hydrogen Peroxide

From Jennifer Allen

I found this list of household uses for hydrogen peroxide as I was reading through a manual about getting rid of mold & mildew. This company is selling a specific product that has a large portion of hydrogen peroxide. To prove the point of the effectiveness of their product they gave these uses for hydrogen peroxide. I thought it was very interesting. I come from a family that gets headaches easily from chemical cleaning products. Through the years my Mom would find effective and cheap recipes for making her own household cleaning products. Most of them would work well. This list looked very helpful! If you walk into a natural food store and buy some of their cleaning supplies it is very expensive. You can't get any cheaper cleaning supplies than these suggestions for hydrogen peroxide!
I will give one warning about the use of hydrogen peroxide. I had worked for a periodontist who had a lot of patients who were saying they were rinsing their mouth out on a daily basis with full strength hydrogen peroxide. He warned them that in some studies done it appeared there could be a cancer risk if you use it full strength to rinse on a continual basis. Even something good in large quantities can be dangerous. It is not proven but it is a possible correlation so I would suggest moderation to be safe.
Household uses of Hydrogen Peroxide:
Throw out your harmful toxic disinfectants, cleaners, bleaches and insecticides! Hydrogen peroxide is the only germicidal agent composed only of water and oxygen. Like ozone, it kills disease organisms by oxidation! Hydrogen peroxide is considered the worlds safest all natural effective surface sanitizer. It kills microorganisms by oxidizing them, which can be best described as a controlled burning process. When hydrogen peroxide reacts with organic material it breaks down into oxygen and water.
Toothbrush: Soak your toothbrush in 3% hydrogen peroxide between brushing to kill bacteria and stop the passing of sickness with family members.
Shower: Keep a spray bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide in the shower for spraying down the shower to kill bacteria bugs and viruses.
In the dish wash/rinse water: Add 2 ounces (or more) of 3% hydrogen peroxide to the regular washing formula to safely sanitize and eliminate the transmission of colds and diseases.
Washing meat: Use salt and 3% hydrogen peroxide in chilled water for washing fish, chicken, or other meat to kill bacteria and viruses.
Cleansing for vegetables and salad greens: Add salt in addition to ¼ cup 3% hydrogen peroxide to a sink full of clod water. Wash vegetables thoroughly, rinse with cold water and drain. This process prolongs freshness.
Leftover tossed salad: Spray with a solution of ½ cup water and 1 Tb. of hydrogen peroxide. Drain, cover and refrigerate. Eliminates use of chemical preservatives.
Marinade: Place meat, fish, or poultry in a casserole (avoid using aluminum pans). Cover with a diluted solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Place in a loosely covered container in refrigerator for ½ hour. Rinse and cook.
To freshen kitchen: Keep a spray bottle of 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide in the kitchen. Use to wipe off counter tops and appliances. It will disinfect and give the kitchen a clean, fresh smell. Works great in the refrigerator and lunch boxes.
Dehumidifiers and Steamer: Use 1 pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water.


Grocery Organizing Tip

From Jennifer Allen

Today I wanted to share a quick grocery organizing tip I use often. I have a magnetic shopping list pad stuck on my fridge. As I am cooking or having my baking days I will run across an ingredient I am low on or don't have at all. I stop and run over to this list and write it down. This has helped me greatly as I already have a running list of grocery needs without scouring the cabinets before I head to the store. I put other household items on there as well. If I have pulled out the last light bulb or tube of toothpaste, I stop right then to run over and write it down on the list. The key is to stop right then! If at 9:00 am I realize I need more honey by 9:20 am it may be out of mind and not come back until I need it! My husband teases me for being so insistent on writing needed items down "at that moment" but that's why it works. It's just one more way to make your shopping simpler.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Coco-Shea Belly Butter Giveaway!

What Mom who has had children does not have stretch marks? I don't know of very many moms who can say no. Our giveaway today just might help you! Sum-Bo-Shine generously offered to give one of our readers a full size container of Coco-Shea Belly Butter. I was sent a sample to try, and just love how rich and creamy it is! The Coco-Shea Butter is perfect for anywhere on your body, not just your tummy! I've been using it on my hands, and it feels so yummy! It has a natural Coco scent that is pleasant and not too strong. Here is what Sum-Bo-Shine has to say about this product:

"Cocoa butter is the fat extracted from cocoa beans and is used in a variety of products due to its healing properties and is often referred to as the ultimate moisturizer. Cocoa butter has been used by pregnant women for years in the treatment and prevention of stretch marks.

Shea Butter is also a natural fat and is extracted from fruit of the Shea tree and is used as a moisturizer and an emollient in high-end cosmetics. Shea Butter contains vitamins A, E and F. These vitamins balance and normalize the skin. Shea Butter is quickly absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy residue.

At Sum-Bo-Shine we have married these two wonderful butters into one amazing body creme to create a moisturizer for the whole family. Organic Aloe, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Vitamin E and Jojoba Oil are just a few of the natural botanical ingredients you will find in our Coco-Shea Belly Butter. Created to help maintain skin elasticity and moisture, our Belly & Body Butter is rich and ultra-moisturizing.

Massage on belly, breast, and buttocks or where needed to maintain skin elasticity and moisture and aid in prevention of stretch marks.
77% organic content!"
This container of Coco-Shea Butter retails for $17.00.
To enter you must first go to Sum-Bo-Shine and pick one other product you would be interested in getting, come back here and post what that is.
PLEASE leave an email address so I know how to contact the winner!
For additional entries:
1. Follow this blog and leave a separate comment telling us you did.
2. Follow us on Facebook and leave a comment letting us know.
3. Put our button up on your blog and leave a post with the link back to your blog.
4. Post about this giveaway on your blog, leaving a separate comment with the link.
This giveaway will end on Tuesday, March 23rd at midnight, the winner will be posted on Wednesday the 24th. A winner will be picked using


Menu Plan for Week of March 15th

From Jennifer Allen

Last week I was planning my menu to eat out of the pantry. If I have a week where we end up with more leftovers than I planned, visit with family, or have food that needed used up before I planned the menu changes. Since I already have the food on hand I was going to use in my original menu plan I just roll that on to the next week's menu. We are still eating out of the pantry and freezer, with a run to the store for dairy products. My food budget is enjoying these past few weeks!

Weekly Menu Plan


Monday- Favorite Pancakes & Cottage Cheese
Breakfast Burritos
Cream of Wheat Combo
Whole Wheat Waffles & Applesauce
Pan Pancakes & Blueberry Shake

Monday-Egg Salad Sandwiches, fruit, veggies
Beef Barley Soup, whole wheat bread
Salad w black beans, fruit
Chicken & Noodle Soup, veggies, fruit
Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Green Beans, Chocolate Pudding

Mom’s Crescent rolls
Celery & peanut butter
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Putter Fingers

Monday-Pizza, Salad
Chicken & Rice, Salad, Cranberry Sauce
Parmesan Chicken, Spinach Rice Casserole, Corn
Salmon Patties, Green Beans, Baked Beans
Baked Fish, Tater Tots, Green Beans, Carrots, Red Lobster Cheddar Cheese Biscuits



Friday, March 12, 2010

This week in our Homeschool Journey...

We have had so much fun homeschooling this week! Without planning any of this, we have spent the week studying about bees. Thanks to the wonderful generosity of my Mother, we have been blessed with many homeschooling books we would not have otherwise had, and one of those is "Parables from Nature with Mrs. Gatty." They are really sweet stories written in the 1800's about animals. We read the story about the bee which Mosiah really liked. So I checked out some books from the library on bees. Then I let them watch City Of Bees by Moody Science. We did some coloring pages of Hives, and a Beekeeper. I pulled out some honey from the pantry, and the boys looked at it with whole new respect, and talked about how long it must have taken the bees to make it. Mosiah was really sweet, yesterday at lunch he told me that I should have prayed for the bees because it is so sad how they don't live very long. :-) Next week we are going to study about what the scriptures say about bees and honey. I got another DVD from the library that looks really neat for them to watch, and some more books are on the way from the library. The only bad thing about doing it this time of year is I don't think I could actually take them anywhere to see a real beehive. Oh well.

We just got done studying about the life of Joseph, and much to the boys excitement have moved on to Daniel. They can't wait to get to the lions part. :-) I just love seeing them soak in knowledge concerning the scriptures. What a blessing. At night during dinner we try to review what we have learned and share with Papa.

On another note, I finally let Mosiah do some phonics work at and that has helped him tremendously. I just won a bid on Ebay for Color Phonics, which was recommended to me by a friend, so I'm eager to let him try that. He is such a visual learner, so doing some computer type activities seem to really help him.


Raising Boys-Part 2

Here is a snippet from part two of Raising Boys written by the Boyers. It was so encouraging to read the part about boys and there energy. My boys never seem to slow down! I had to laugh about her writing that her boys would butcher their playdough cows. That seems so much like something Israel would do. He will drag stuffed animals around by their tails, and tell me that is his meat that he just killed. I have no doubt that Israel will want to go hunting when he is older. :-)

"One thing is that boys have lots of energy, even the laid back one, like Tuck. Almost every day, my son Tuck, who is 16 now, will ask me if he can take a break to go outside and jump on the trampoline to wake himself and his brain up. IT WORKS! It is extremely hard for boys to sit still for long periods of time. They just function better if you break up their time with exercise. Even when they were very little, I would let them stop studies and play with play dough if it was raining outside. They would make cows with their molds and then proceed to "butcher" them with their plastic knives. They just needed to do something active. I remember them quoting their Scripture verses while sometimes standing on their heads or pacing around the room!

The activity helped them to think.

For preschoolers it is best to have maybe two or three 10 or 15 minute periods of book type study- broken up by active periods, than trying to do 20-30 minutes of concentrated book time. "

Go here to read the rest of this article!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Organizing Your Home

From Jennifer Allen

Last month my mother moved in with us due to her illness. We have completely rearranged several rooms in the house upstairs and downstairs according to her needs and ours. All our books have been moved, furniture, and all my sewing room. Needless to say it has been a lot to pull it all apart and put it back together again. It unsettles me when my home is out of order. I'm thankful that we are almost back in order again! I ran across this article I put together on organizing in the past. Hopefully something in here will help and encourage you as it did me.

Organizing Your Home
At my church we were having Keeper’s At Home meetings. (I'll post on this at a later time) For one of the meetings a young mother, Rachael, asked her mom Elaine to share with us her thoughts on organizing in the home. I have been in Elaine's home many times through the years and know she is very good about organizing her home and personal schedule.

Elaine first started by mentioning we need to have our spiritual lives in order as Christian women. Your home can’t be a refuge from the world with peace and order unless you have submitted yourself to the Lord in spirit so He can come dwell in your heart and home. Then you change the physical reality of your home to what it should be, because there is peace in an orderly home.

Elaine shared many practical applications for us. Some of these ideas she shared are as follows:

Morning Cleaning:
As you are getting ready in the morning clean as you go. See how long it takes you to get each task done and in the future you could use a timer to keep yourself on time and ready for the next task. If you start your day getting ready in the bathroom pick up after yourself. After taking a shower you could use a squeegee on the shower door to make it easier when you are scrubbing the shower later on.

In the kitchen clean your dishes as they are dirty or rinse them off and put them in the dishwasher. Fill the dish washer with table dishes, not pots and pans. It’s quick and easy to wash the pots and pans yourself if a large load won’t fit in the dishwasher.
If you have small children teach them to avoid messes. Teach them to eat at the table with a mat and large plate to lean over. You can use plastic color plates, cups, and silverware for each child. If your child has for example green color for their dinnerware buy them green wash cloths as their napkins. That child can then wash their own dinnerware and put the washcloth in the laundry.

With the laundry give each child their own color for laundry tubs, one for clean clothes and one for dirty clothes. You could put pictures on the side of the tubs for children who can’t read yet. Maybe a frown face for the dirty laundry bucket and a happy face for the clean clothes. As they grown older they can fold the clothes in the their “happy” basket.

Learn to organize your mealtimes. You can have a grocery list and meal plan for your week. The days of your week can be organized such as laundry day is Monday, Tuesday’s are errand days, and soon. If you attend church on Wednesday evenings make sure you have simple dinner meals to prepare like a crock pot meal.
If you need to iron clothes and have room in your closet, go ahead and do your laundry and ironing for the week. Another idea is to iron the clothes for yourself or your family before you go to bed. I usually have my clothes ironed for the next day before I go to bed and hanging so they don’t get wrinkled again during the night. I wear a lot of cotton dresses and blouses so ironing is a must do for me!

Children's Chores:
An idea for your children’s chores is to create a chore chart with a one color for each child. If your child Amy is the red color she knows she will be bathroom, dishes, and feed the dog on Monday’s by looking for her color on the chart. To motivate your children with an evening pick up have a Redemption box. Your children have to get everything picked up by 8PM. As you go around the house and see anything they left out you put it in the Redemption box. You do not put essential items in the Redemption box such as a tooth brush. You can decide how the children will redeem those items in your family for Saturday night Redemption's.

Like Items:
In your home you can consolidate all ‘like” items together. Such as put all the CD’s in one spot. Keep all the sewing fabric in the one spot. It makes it so much easier to find what you need and to sort and get rid of extra items. If you home school you can save back toys for the younger children that are only used during the school hours. When school is over those toys are put away. One of Elaine’s daughters had a special doll that was for school time only.

As the mail comes in open it and sort it. You can have a basket that the bills are placed in. As I open bills I write on the envelope “due 9/15” etc. then keep them in order of what needs paid in the basket. It is important to have a filing cabinet for paperwork. Create a file for each member of the family and place important paperwork in it for each person such as birth certificates, immunization records, etc.

I really appreciated all the ideas Elaine shared with us. I am a person who loves to be organized. At the same time I am not a rigid “I will stick to my schedule” person! My Mom would drop anything to go help if someone needed it, and she passed that thought on to me. There is a reason to keep a schedule but you don’t want to become a slave to it. There are times you will need to flex and meet the needs of your own family or friends around you, even if your house isn‘t clean.

Another way to keep your home organized is to de-clutter often. I have cleaned house for elderly or sick people who needed help as a teenager. My brother, sister, and I did the housekeeping for my great-grandparents when they were not able to on their own. From these experiences I told myself I would never ever allow myself to collect so much stuff! It is so easy to have things pile up on you and before you know it you’ve become a pack rack. Even in this you can have an organized approach to taking care of it all.

If your home is seriously overcome with odds and ends of items you should try tackling 1 room each month. Have a get rid of tub with you, a trash bag for items that no one else can use, and tubs for storing or organizing things you can’t live without out. After my great grandparents died this “seriously overcome house” put my Mom, aunt, sister, and I to the test. We did go room to room and had to decide what would be garage sale, auction, a family keep, or off to the trash bag. At the time there were a lot of things that seemed to be of sentimental value that we all kept. After a few years of much of it sitting in the attic my Mom took her box out and weeded through what she truly wanted to keep. If you have a lot of sentimental items I would advice this method so you don’t regret what you threw away later on down the road.

For other homes you may be able to go through 1 room a week. I have done this before! I go through the closets, and linen closets while I am at it. If I have sewn or bought new clothes I try to go through my closet and get rid of something I haven’t worn in the past year as the new clothes go in. This spring when I get out my spring/summer clothes I will weed out clothes from my spring/summer set. I’ll make sure each skirt has a blouse or shirt that goes with it, the dresses aren’t faded, and so on. Then I will give to Goodwill or someone at church anything I don’t need or want. The same thing goes for shoes and everything in my dresser.

An idea I got from my great-grandma Schmidt is to have a gift dresser. As the year goes by and I find something that would be a great Christmas gift, birthday present, or baby shower gift for someone I know, I buy it and stick in the gift dresser. One drawer is full of wrapping paper , gift bags, tissue paper, and bows. I have some folders in there with cards for various occasions such as weddings or baby showers. This dresser came in very handy the summer I attended 7 weddings!

One year I sat down and wrote on a calendar all the birthdays and anniversaries of people I would send cards and or gifts to in the year. Each new year I sit down and rewrite the info onto the new calendar and in five minutes I’m ready for the year! Once you start organizing your home I’m sure you’ll come up with plenty of great ideas yourself. I am blessed to be the daughter of a woman who loves to be organized so I’ve had plenty of lessons in real life growing up. Take a look at your local library for some books on organizing so you can brush up on or learn your skills as a domestic engineer.

For more extensive ideas on organizing your home check out: Manager’s of the Home by Terry Maxwell, Books on organizing by Emilie Barnes, and books on cleaning by Don Aslett. His books are wonderful! Happy Organizing!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nursing Cami Review!

I was given a chance to review a nursing cami from undercovermama, and I was so grateful to be given that chance! I have nursed for four years now, and have spent those four years feeling half undressed-mainly around my house, I'm extremely careful in public while nursing, and use an awesome nursing cover when I'm out! This time around while nursing, I have been determined to change that, and have slowly started getting camis to use while nursing. The undercovermama cami has been the neatest cami to discover yet! Here is what the company has to say about it:

"Undercover Mama functions as an undershirt, keeping your back, sides and belly covered as you nurse. It has no straps and attaches directly to the outer flaps of any top-opening nursing bra. Undercover Mama remains attached while in use. You will feel like you are wearing a regular cami under you shirt, but when you need to nurse you still just have to undo the flap on your bra and Undercover Mama opens with it- No extra flaps or hooks to deal with each time. Undercover Mama's generous length make them great to layer under your shirts and allow you to nurse comfortably."

When I tried using it, I was sceptical to see if it really would stay in place all day, but it did just fine! And it covered my tummy nicely. What I like about this cami, is that I will still be able to use it when I'm not nursing. I did find that I should have ordered a size small, as the medium is just a little too big for me. But they say on the website that if you are between sizes, to go smaller instead of larger.

I think these camis are reasonably priced at $20.00 each, AND if you buy 2 of them you get free shipping! Plus I was given a discount code to share with my readers! If you use the code MODEST while checking out, you will save 15% off, plus still get the free shipping if you order two of them! They come in brown, black, cream and white colors.
If you go to the website, you will see a video that demonstrates a woman putting it on, and how it works. Since she is wearing a sports bra in the video, I didn't put the link here, but if you have a minute to watch it without any children around it was helpful in knowing exactly how this cami works.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Free Downloads: Meal & Menu Planners

Over at Money Saving Mom she has put together some really awesome Meal Planners and Menu Planners. You can also find Freezer Cooking Planners. The great thing is Crystal made them available as free downloads! These are so helpful and a great idea to share with others who are struggling to be organized and pull it all together in their menu planning.

Menu Planners: These are some of the free down loadable menu planners. Go here to see the complete list!
Monthly Menu Planner :: This form is laid out like a monthly calendar where you can write the days for the current month. Includes space for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner for each day.
Meal Planning Worksheet :: This brainstorming form contains spaces to write down store deals, coupons, items on hand, and recipes that can be made from those items.
Shopping List :: Contains space for the items to purchase, the cost of the item, whether there is a coupon for it, and how much the coupon is for. Also includes a space for notes where you can record extra information about your shopping trip.
Two-Store Shopping List :: Two separate shopping lists on one page, each of which includes space for the items to purchase, the cost of the item, and whether there is a coupon for it. Also includes a space for notes where you can record extra information about your shopping trip.

Freezer Cooking Planners: These are her freezer planners. Go Here to see a complete list of all her free downloads!
Master Freezer Cooking Planner Pack :: Includes all three freezer cooking planners listed below in a single pdf file.
Ingredients Planner :: Includes spaces for you to record the ingredients you have on hand, the ingredients you need to buy, and recipe ideas.
Freezer Recipe Planner :: Includes sections to write out the final recipes you’ll be using along with notes about preparation.
Master Prep List :: Includes a checkoff list to record your order of preparation as well as a space for extra notes.


Menu Plan for week of March 8th

From Jennifer Allen

Menu Plan: For this week's menu plan I wanted to try a few new recipes such as the Parmesan Chicken and Bruschetta Chicken Bake. My husband dislikes pancakes generally but enjoys the Favorite Pancakes recipe. If you smother them with a Blueberry Sauce they are delicious! For the Breakfast Burritos I have made them as hot pockets but didn't like them as well as burritos. I make the filling the same but use the burritos shells. I wrap all the extras in foil and put them in a Ziploc bag for the freezer. It makes for an awesome quick breakfast! Just pull those out of the freezer the night before then into the oven before breakfast.

My menu plans are generally on the simple size. I enjoy cooking but have I don't have time to spend several hours a day in the kitchen on complicated meals. Tasty but simple is my motto!

Monday- Breakfast Burritos
Whole Wheat Waffles
Cream of Wheat Combo
Favorite Pancakes w Blueberry Sauce
Egg Sandwiches, Applesauce, Cottage Cheese

Monday-Grilled Cheese Sandwich, veggies, fruit
Chicken & Noodle Soup, veggies, fruit
Salad w tuna, fruit
PB & J, fruit, veggies
Salad w black beans, fruit

Green Smoothie
Banana Muffins
Celery w Peanut Butter

Monday-Parmesan Chicken, Spinach Rice casserole, Corn
Salmon Patties, Green Beans, Baked Beans
Chicken & Noodles w mashed potatoes, salad, pudding
Baked fish, baked potatoes, peas, Red Lobster Cheese Biscuits
Bruschetta Chicken Bake, sweet potatoes, green beans


Free Homemaking Journal Pages for Spring

Do you feel like your life is lacking routine, and organization? I know I do most days! It is something I am constantly working on. This Spring Organization planner is available free for download for a short time. I downloaded it, and it looks really sweet! It reminds me of the planner pages my Mom would always use.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Raising Boys!

This is a wonderful article from the Boyers on how to raise boys...stay tuned for more being written by them!

"Boys need to be encouraged to try new things,experiments, building, etc. As our boys reached, say, 7 or 8 years of age we would supply them with wood and nails and let them try building things- bookcases, birdhouses, chicken houses, etc. Boys need the freedom to try and if something fails, that in itself is a valuable learning experience. Our sons would try experiments with plants, ways to train their animals, creative ways to do things. I remember 6 year old Tim mowing with Dad's supervision. He was a natural from an early age. We gave him the freedom to try to fix things that would break. Even folks at church would bring him their broken blow dryers, mixers, etc. If he could fix it, he earned a few dollars. If not, he earned some valuable experience. We even let them try things we knew wouldn't work, like keeping plants in the dark or planting "soup" as four year old Rickey tried once.

Little boys are messy, noisy, and yet they have a charm of their own. I remember my boys spending hours in our garden after all the crops had been gathered in, creating towns with churches, homes, post offices, stores, roads. They had hours of fun and would come in very dirty, but it was a healthy kind of play. We did not raise our boys with a TV or video games. They had lots of great books, puzzles, tools, trucks, and materials to learn, explore and create. Artificial entertainments were few and what we learned was that they learned to think creatively. It's too easy to plop down and WATCH something, but if it's not an option, wow, the mind begins to think and explore and a whole world of learning is opened up to them."

Go here to read all of it!


Handwriting help!

My husband and I were a little dismayed to discover that our oldest son is left handed. I think are reasons were different for being a little anxious about it. My husband is an artist, and he doesn't know any good artists that are left handed-though I'm sure they are out there! I am a little nervous just thinking of all the years ahead of me to teach a left handed person to do things. As we started working on writing our letters, I knew I needed to get something to help him practice them over and over again. I went to our local Christian Homeschooling bookstore, and discovered these handwriting templates! I got the uppercase and lowercase stencils, and already they have been helping Mosiah a lot to write more neatly. Even though they were a little expensive to me, I didn't care! The school-rite templates are even advertised to help left handed children learn to write. They will definitely be used to help all of our children learn to write.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Decorating On A Budget

From Jennifer Allen

After my husband and I bought our house I wanted our home to be a lovely inviting place. However, we most certainly couldn't go out and buy everything I would want full price, or at once. So began my slow but steady process of getting our home decorating in order. Here are some things I took in consideration before I began.

1. What are your favorite colors? How will they look as wall paint in your home and with coordinating decorations? Applying some new life in your home is as simple as painting your walls for a fresh start. This will help you decide what colors you will use in a room or rooms. When we bought our house we knew we would need to re-paint the interior of the house before moving in. I had already been in several friend's homes that had paint schemes that I liked. In fact one friend even had the paint names and colors to give me. I went with those two colors, a tan and a sage green. I tried to think about the color schemes I would want in each room based on the furniture we already had. That helped me decide what rooms would be tan, and what rooms would be sage green.

2. Furniture is next. We were very blessed when we got married to be given most of our furniture as wedding presents. My in-laws blessed us with furniture and my thrifty Mother-in-Law found it all on Craig's List. You can try Free Cycle, Craig's List, EBay, and local Thrift Stores to find what you need. My parents were moving and gave us some of their furniture. Maybe you know some friends or family wanting to get rid of something extra in their house? If you have a really yucky old couch but can't afford a new one consider a slip cover. An old scratched up table? I am trying to prevent that from happening with mine. I have a beautiful table cloth I found at Kmart for $4.00. I bought some medium duty plastic and covered the tablecloth. Any spill or accident can be wiped up, it looks pretty, and the table is being protected. If your really adventurous you could re-stain or re-paint some old furniture that needs a helping hand.

3. Decide what look you want in each room. Make a list of items you will need, then be patient. I made a list and had a very definite vision of how I wanted each room in our house to look. We bought our house in October of last year but didn't move in until January because of all the work we needed to do first inside. I still have one piece of furniture I want to buy for the living room, and finish the library room. I have been looking at clearance racks in stores, thrift stores, Craig's List, EBay, and most important of to me, garage sales to find the items I could use in our home. Slowly over the months I have found great deals on items I was looking for. Need new curtains? Here's a idea I gave when I scored some great deals on table cloths to sew up into curtains.
I'm going to through several rooms in our house so you can get an idea of what I planned and where I bought items that brought a room together.

The Library Room
The goal is to have pictures of my husband's favorite US Presidents. So far we have Lincoln and Washington. I will be buying the prints off EBay, at Antique Malls, EBay, Hobby Lobby, or anywhere else I find a president Neil wants. Once we find another print I will buy the frame at Hobby Lobby or Kohl's during a half off sale.

Our Rec Room
I had the picture of Jesus. The candles and candle holders were what I asked for as a birthday present. I found the fireplace set at a garage sale for $4.00 and the black wire basket at a church sale for $3.00. The beautiful flowers that matched so well? A huge black bag of these at a garage sale for $2.00. They were brand new with the tags still on and worth about $45!
Living Room
In our living room we were given the couch and seat as a wedding present. The curtains were given to me from my Mom and the pole lamp we found free. The frames and curtain rods I bought half off. The sheers were given to me from my Mom when she was moving to another home. I found the blinds for $1.50 each at Cargo Largo, only to learn later they normally cost about $45-60 each.
Living Room
On the other wall in our living room you can see where I decided to use the black picture frames my husband had before we got married. Neil took some awesome photos when we were on our Honeymoon in Oregon. We decided which photos we would like to enlarge and had those printed. For the price of the photos we had a collage of lovely memories to line the walls of the living room. The chair was free and the piano was a gift from my parents when they bought a newer one. I found the piano lamp at a garage sale for $2.00.

Our Bedroom
In our bedroom I knew I wanted to use my favorite colors. Sage green, rose, black, tan, and white. Most of these colors are in our quilt bedspread. When we were preparing for our wedding I thought ahead to being able to keep flower arrangements for decorating our home. My Mother did all the dry flower arrangements for our wedding and these are the largest two. I found the vases half off at Michael's and all the flowers were bought half off at Hobby Lobby as we waited for the sales. I love Hobby Lobby! They run half off sales on items on a rotating basis. The candle holder and candles were also from our wedding. Again everything was half off. The black frames in our room are from Kohl's, half off normal price. All the photos are prints from our wedding or honeymoon.

Our Bedroom
For this side of our bedroom I found the frames half off at Kohl's. The lamps were on clearance at Wal-Mart several years ago and I held on to them. We bought our phones off Craig's List for a good deal. For about 8 months our bed was just sitting on the floor. We couldn't afford to buy a new frame, headboard, and foot board. Our bedroom set came from Craig's List at a really good deal, but missing anything for the bed. My Mother-in-law found our bed frame and headboard at a Thrift Store for $30. I was so excited to be off the floor and have a headboard that would match our set!
In our kitchen we had cabinets with space for some decorations above. I had put some random items on them. My husband isn't into decorating so when he was commenting on my "weird" set of mis-match items up there I knew it had to go. I took everything down and the cabinets sat bare for several months. I don't have China dishes but a small set of pretty rose dishes. I had the thought one day that rose glass bowls and plates would go well with the set and look pretty above the cabinets. Several weeks later I found this rose glass bowl at a garage sale for $1.00.
Then I found this rose glass plate for $1.00. I remembered I had a rose relish tray from a great-aunt. So began my little collection. I'll add to it a little at a time.
I had seen this set of curtains at a friend's house and loved them. They would match perfectly in my kitchen! They were sold at Kmart. When I went to look at them I saw they were over $16.00 each. No way was I going to pay that! On another visit to Kmart several weeks later I noticed they were on clearance. Not only a few valances, but the table cloths as well for $4.00 each! Read here to see how I planned on using my extra tables cloths to make curtains.

As you can see I had a list of what I wanted then had to be patient and find great deals on what I needed a little bit at a time. Almost one year later I still have some things on my list. However, everything I bought has been in my budget. We never used a credit card or bought anything brand new. You may not be starting from scratch in a home as I was, but I hope this gives you some help and ideas as you consider decorating your home on a budget. Keep in mind your home may never look like a magazine cover (mine never will!) but with some creative thinking and bargain hunting it can be a home sweet home to you and yours.