Posted on

Are you looking for cute Thanksgiving Decorations?

Looking for cute Thanksgiving Decorations, but not finding much left on the shelves? Don't Stress - Here are some of my favorite ideas & where to find them! 

Looking for cute Thanksgiving Decorations, but not finding much left on the shelves? Don’t Stress – Here are some of my favorite ideas!

(this site uses Affiliate links-purchases support our ministry through a small referral fee that never affects your cost.)

Today, I went shopping for Thanksgiving decorations. I had a coupon for the local home decor store, and I was so excited. All week, I’d been looking forward to this shopping trip.

Walking in, I was prepared to spend a decent amount of money I’ve been saving since my birthday. But wasn’t prepared for the explosion of snow, holly, and evergreen.

Looking for cute Thanksgiving Decorations, but not finding much left on the shelves? Don't Stress - Here are some of my favorite ideas & where to find them! 

Apparently I missed the memo that even though Halloween hasn’t happened yet, it’s already Christmas.

I was so frustrated. 

My family is coming to visit for Thanksgiving. I’ve never hosted the family for Thanksgiving, and I just wanted to add a few touches of warmth to my home.

I picked up a couple of items at Kirkland’s.

Are you looking for cute Thanksgiving decorations last minute? Here are some really cute ones I found!

But I really wanted bright vibrate foliage and flowers. No such luck! I’m going to have to turn to Amazon and Hobby Lobby!

Being Sunday, Hobby Lobby will have to wait until tomorrow, but Amazon . . . my sweet Amazon is always open!

Here are some adorable shelf sitters or table decor. I love the bowls that would be great for leftover Halloween candy (if yours survives the weekend!)

We don’t get a lot of fall color where we live, so adding some in touches at the doorway brings the sense of fall, even if I can’t count on the weather to feel like fall.

I love the light up trees and pretty leaf garland for the entry way.

I’m trying to decide if we’re going to go formal with my china for the main meal or use fancier paper plates. I might get some decorative paper plates for hors d’oeuvres and leftovers for the days following Thanksgiving.

Using my nice china and glassware is fun and fancy, but when my family is visiting, the last thing I want to do is spend an hour at the sink instead of spending time with them.

Growing up I always felt like my mom missed the best parts of the after-meal story telling around the living room. Cheeks flushed with the warmth of too much sugar and turkey, we would laugh and tell story after story.

While we would help her clear the table and load the dishwasher, she still spent so much time cleaning up. I don’t want to miss the stories. My husband always pulls out a new story for company, and I hate to miss them. He is just the best storyteller!

Using disposable plates is one way to keep the clean up a little simpler! Especially if you’re going to be having family staying with you for the days surrounding the holiday. I usually use some cheap foil pans for baking and cooking as well. They can go from freezer to fridge to oven to trash.


Let Earth Be Filled with His Glory – Throw Pillow

from: DaySpring Cards Inc

Since, we’ll be using our spare bedrooms for family, I’m also trying to decide if I should add a few pops of color to the guest room. Maybe some harvest or fall themed throw pillows for the guest beds.

Of course, the harvest theme is HUGE right now thanks to Fixer Upper.

I love the farm theme especially for Thanksgiving decorations!

Celebrating the harvest season reminds me to be thankful for God’s wonderful provision in my life. When I only wanted to be a mother, God answered that prayer. When we needed food on our table, God answered.

Can I just say that it’s totally unfair that my two favorite holidays are so close together! I would totally decorate for Thanksgiving and leave it up way longer if Christmas season didn’t start so soon afterward!

Well, my birthday money won’t quite stretch far enough for all these things, but I certainly found some adorable deals. And I’ll start baking any minute . . .

Can you smell the pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls yet? I hope you love these cute Thanksgiving decorations as much as I do! And find that they warm your home this Thanksgiving season!

Posted on

Creative Ways to Have Extra Christmas Money

Wouldn't a little extra Christmas money make Christmas a little more magical and a lot less stressful this year? And focus our hearts on Christ in Christmas

Wouldn’t a little extra Christmas money make Christmas a little more magical and a lot less stressful this year? While giving gifts isn’t the main message of CHRISTmas, we do want to show people how loved they are! But we don’t always have the funds for what is in our hearts.

(this site uses Affiliate links-purchases support our ministry through a small referral fee that never affects your cost.)

Every year, I promise myself I’ll actually enjoy Christmas with all the delicious baking and warm family times.

But the stress of the holidays often gets in the way. One way to take that stress down a notch is to remove the worries over money.

Wouldn't a little extra Christmas money make Christmas a little more magical & a lot less stressful this year? And focus our hearts on Christ in Christmas

Are you guilty of treating Christmas like a surprise?

Christmas is the same time every year, but often we start scrambling to afford gifts come October or November, which is really too late. Then we plunge into credit card shopping only to dive deeply into debt. No one wants to start a new year paying off the last one.

Don't treat Christmas like a surprise! Plan ahead to have extra Christmas money now! Click To Tweet
  • DOES this seem like a strange post for me? It might, but going from two good salaries to one has made me realize how much stewardship is involved in properly handling our money. God has been gracious to provide for our family in many ways, but these are a few ways I’ve been thrifty and stretched every dollar!

We’ve been able to have Christmas paid for before the gifts were wrapped and under the tree for several years. Want to know how?

Tip #1 – Take $50 off the top.

Call your bank and have $50 a paycheck/$100 a month directly transferred to a savings account each month. This builds your savings without thinking about it. And gives you $1200 for extra Christmas money if you need to dip into it.

If you think I can’t afford $100 a month for savings, see if there are luxuries you can do without. Living beneath what you can afford makes money stretch.

Tip #2 – Find creative ways to EARN money!

Taking surveys, opening emails, watching advertisements isn’t going to make you rich, but it is a way to make spending money while watching television. I use several sites and redeem my points/cash expressly for extra Christmas money.

My Points is awesome! It’s a website that sends marketing emails. Each email you open is worth five points, some are worth more if you make a purchase or sign up for a service. Also, you can earn points for donations to the Red Cross and animal welfare sites.

Why I love it!

This year, I’ve earned points for up to $100 in gift cards. I can redeem my points for gift cards to many national chains including Amazon, The Children’s Place, Bass Pro Shops, Home Depot, Sears, Kohl’s, Old Navy, even Papa John’s!

Another similar site is Inbox Dollars.

I earn a few cents a day just opening emails. They pay in cash and offer surveys too. I have earned $35 in just a few months. That’s a Christmas gift or movie date night!



SAVE Money on Groceries!

One of my favorite ways to earn extra Christmas money is through the Ibotta app!

Ibotta is like reverse couponing. I scroll through the app after making my grocery list. After shopping, I scan the items I purchased into the app with a copy of my receipt. I’ve earned $182.65 using the Ibotta app so far.

Walmart Savings Catcher is another easy app. Every time you shop at Walmart, scan your receipt into the Walmart App in the Savings Catcher section. I’ve saved $190 using the app. It literally takes seconds as I walk to my car! I deliberately don’t use those dollars until Christmas and can transfer my credit to the Walmart Pay section of the app to pay for gifts.

Wouldn't a little extra Christmas money make Christmas a little more magical & a lot less stressful this year? And focus our hearts on Christ in Christmas

Do you shop online?

I shop online through Ebates – I can shop for Christmas while earning extra Christmas money! This year, I’ve earned $120 buying things I was purchasing already!

I just go to their site or app and shop, earning money back on homeschool products, website subscription services, Amazon, Wayfair, Overstock!

They even have a browser extension that pops up and reminds me to activate their service if I’m shopping a site that works with Ebates.

Last Tip – Shop smart & start EARLY

Shopping smart won’t earn you extra Christmas money, but it can save you enough to be worth doing.

I’ve already begun stock piling gifts.  I usually start in September. If you are saavy, watch for great sales now. A lot of catalogs count on Christmas to make their year, prices right now are often lower than they will be later.

Shopping early lets you have plenty of time to shop around for the best price and take advantage of early sales.

I make a list of everyone I need gifts for and begin keeping an eye out for just the thing that will make them laugh or smile or be really useful. Especially for my husband!

If nothing else, I can earmark all my planned gifts for Cyber Monday and be ready to snag the deals, having my budget set and Ebates locked and loaded.

Plan ahead, budget wisely, use some creative ways to earn extra Christmas money and this might be the most stress-free holiday season yet!

Bonus Tip

Plan ahead to be generous. Set aside some of your Christmas money to give to charities that matter to you.

Posted on

Intentional Multitasking for Busy Moms

What is intentional multitasking? It's how I quit feeling stressed and crazy, started getting stuff done, and found more time for enjoying my child.

God Above All Else Christian Strong Ladies Summer Tee Shirt Click To Shop

What is intentional multitasking?

When I was at my wit’s end, I had to find a way to quit feeling like a spinning top.  Intentional multitasking helps me get more done with LESS stress and MORE time to be the homemaker and Christian woman I strive to be.

(this site uses Affiliate links-purchases support our ministry through a small referral fee that never affects your cost.)

Even during this season of disability, I’m still BUSY!  But, I got tired of feeling frazzled, stressed, and distracted! I don’t want to miss my daughter’s childhood.


Something had to change . . . how I tackled multitasking!

Tips for Intentional Multi-tasking

Have a daily WRITTEN to do list

One of my largest stressors is worrying about forgetting something. By having a written list (even just a note on my phone), I don’t forget anything and don’t have mental stress over forgetting something important.

Put the quality back into your quality time with Intentional Multitasking

When I remember something I need to do, I write it down. Instead of shifting away from the task I’m working on, I save it to my list. Then, I finish the priority task rather than let all my random thoughts distract me.

Combine activities, don’t split focus.

I can combine some activities, but some really need focused attention. I choose one task that needs most of my focus and combine it with some mindless mom task, like folding laundry.

They are PERFECT opportunities for intentional multitasking. I can chop vegetables while helping my daughter read a book (hint-if you plan meals well, you can chop/prep for a couple of different meals at once). I can vacuum while reviewing my mental to-do list or even use that time to pray for friends and family.

Intentional Multitasking? Put more quality back into your quality of life. Click To Tweet

Throw in a load of laundry while reading a book with the kids. Use toy clean up as a chance to do squats or stretch. Make it a game with worship music and you’re cleaning, praising, and spending quality time with the kids.

Right now I have a load of laundry going, my daughter is working on some math, and I’m finishing this post.

I can combine tasks, but never split focus. Giving my best attention to the most important part of this mom life.

I need most of my attention to proofread and write, but can take a minute here and there to check on my daughter’s progress and to switch laundry from washer to dryer.

Make Time for Quiet Time

Quiet time can be one of the first things we set aside when life gets busy, believing we’ll get to it later, but the day only gets busier.

Some of my quiet time is listening my daily Bible reading on the YouVersion App. I wouldn’t trade all my Bible reading for audio, but while washing dishes or fixing my hair, I can primarily focus on God’s word. And it’s pretty hard to be bitter about chores while listening about the Israelites complaining in the desert. 😉

 

Driving in the car, it’s easy to turn on the radio, but I have a few favorite preachers I find uplifting and convicting, so I listen to recent sermons instead, which helps pass long drives and is great way to hear in-depth teaching of God’s word when I don’t have MARY time in my MARTHA schedule.


Using social media is the death of productivity. It’s a rabbit hole that will suck hours of your life away. If I want to get things done, I have to close tabs on my laptop, silence my phone and turn it screen down.

In fact, multitasking with our devices decreases productivity and even our IQ!

I literally work ON social media, but I have to set strict limits on it during the day or I find myself spending all day reading important articles and viral posts and then I’m commenting on my friends’ statuses. Next thing I know, it’s dinner, and I’m still wearing pajamas.

But if you’re on –

Be more intentional with your blogging - use a plugin that saves time! (Affilink)

Know when NOT to multitask!

Trying to complete two tasks that require high levels of mental attention at the same time means doing them both poorly. It takes intentionality to know when I can’t multitask. Sometimes, I have to block everything out and finish something, especially something time-sensitive or important.

The Daniel Tiger-esque rhyme I created is “do one thing until it’s done, then you’ll have more time for fun!”

When I decided to stop making myself crazy doing a little bit of a lot of things and chose to do a couple of things with my best attention, I learned to use intentional multitasking to stay on task, to prioritize my to-do list, know when to multitask & not to.

Now, my daughter gets more undivided attention with lots of stories, hugs, and kisses. Unrushed quality time just feels longer!

[jetpack_subscription_form subscribe_text=”Get more encouragement for the modern Christian mom!”]

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted on

Natalie’s Juice – a fresh take on juice

Natalie's Juice - a fresh take on juice that I feel good taking home to my family.

Between shopping with a 5 year old who thinks she needs to have an opinion on everything I buy (or pass by) and navigating nutritional labels, grocery shopping is more and more challenging these days. I am trying to balance making healthy choices with not allowing a fear of additives and GMOs, etc. to overwhelm me, but it is hard to know what are good choices.

Being a Christian parent my faith is part of everything I do, including grocery shop.

I want to be a good steward of the body God has given me and teach my daughter to do the same.

When I saw a sample table in our path, after an hour of negotiating the commissary with a cranky 5 year old, I was hoping for a little pick-me-up.Natalie's Juice - a fresh take on juice that I feel good taking home to my family. Heaven Not HarvardI was willing to let my daughter try a few sips of a juice and move on, but as I listened to the representative, I got excited about Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice.

Ever wonder why most store bought juice is nothing like fresh-squeezed?

Concentrating juice doesn’t just remove water, it also removes the flavour. After it has been reconstituted, manufacturers add ‘flavour packs’ — cocktails of chemicals which restore ‘natural’ oranginess. 

Doesn’t that sound tasty? 😛

In contrast, Natalie’s was started by a mom who wanted to give her child the healthiest juice possible, just like ME. Okay, so now, I’m listening. Then the representative said those magical words, “No ADDITIVES!” Only the lemonade varieties had any added sugar, but 100% pure cane sugar, not GMO sugar beets.

As my daughter diligently tasted each juice, I picked up a brochure. Natalie’s juice is made from handpicked, non-GMO Florida fruit and fresh-squeezed daily to order (not sitting around on a shelf or in a freezer!) It is also pasteurized at the lowest temperature for the shortest amount of time to make sure the juice retains fresh flavor and vitamins. Natalie’s Juice never has any added flavor packets or chemicals!

The company takes the entire process beyond healthy and delicious to environmentally responsible by making sure every part of their packaging is made in America and is 100% recyclable, while maintaining the smallest carbon footprint in the juice industry.

I was sold, but how does Natalie’s Juice taste?

We squeeze our own often, so I know this is the closest, freshest, and sweetest juice I’ve ever tasted from a store.

All the varieties we tried were delicious: Orange, Orange Pineapple, Honey Tangerine, Grapefruit, Orange Mango, Lemonade, and Strawberry Lemonade. Our favorite was probably the Honey Tangerine (which is made from honey tangerines) because we both like our juice a tad tart, but all were refreshing and crisp.

We found Natalie’s juice delightful. The friendly sales representatives chatted with my enthusiastic daughter, who loved playing taste tester. They even gave me a few samples to take home.

Better still, when I mentioned I was a Christian blogger, they pointed out the ichthys fish symbol on their packaging.  I love supporting responsible, female-owned, small businesses, especially faith-based ones. Win-win-win!

Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company is a home run. But don’t take my word for it – they’ve received many national awards including ones from Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, and Cook’s Country.

And they’ve earned my business. I feel good sharing this juice with my family. I hope you will look for it next time you make the magical journey through the grocery store.

Posted on

Blueberry Muffin Bread Pudding Recipe

Scrambling to make something great with leftovers? This delicious Blueberry Muffin Bread Pudding recipe solved my crisis with empty plates in record time.

Scrambling to make something great with leftovers? This delicious Blueberry Muffin Bread Pudding recipe solved my crisis with empty plates in record time.

Some days, dragging myself out of bed is hard enough, much less trying to find something more creative than cereal to feed my kiddos. I was really excited when my brainstorm blueberry muffin bread pudding recipe was a hit!

(this site uses Affiliate links-purchases support our ministry through a small referral fee that never affects your cost.)

One morning, I had a rare occurrence – leftover muffins. They had gotten stuck in a container and hidden WAY in the back of the fridge. You know the kind of ‘Tupperware’ that originally had food in it, and you forget what’s really in there? Yeah, we’re that family.

Scrambling to make something great with leftovers? This delicious Blueberry Muffin Bread Pudding recipe solved my crisis with empty plates in record time.I didn’t want them to go to waste, but the nutritional value of just muffins for breakfast was not what I wanted for the kids, and we were running low on just about everything since we had just returned from vacation!

Brainstorm – Blueberry Muffin bread pudding!

I rough chopped the muffins into chunks and put them into a loaf pan. You’ll want to grease your pan if it isn’t a miraculous non-stick pan like mine.

I LOVE my Farberware nonstick!  It rarely needs any greasing. I have used these pans for all sorts of delicate recipes that usually require greasing or even flouring, and the cookies, cakes, etc, just slide right off! Even muffins come right out without greasing, papers, or those silicone muffin cups that are a pain to clean.

For the 7 muffins I had, a loaf pan was perfect, but if you use a larger amount, you might want a 9×9. You want to have the bread be about 1 1/2-2 inches deep in the pan loosely packed.

Ingredients

  • 7 blueberry muffins

  • 4 eggs

  • a cup of milk

  • dash of vanilla.

I whisked the eggs, milk and vanilla together until well mixed and poured over the bread making sure all areas were saturated, and let it rest for 5 minutes to soak up the milk.

Then, I sprinkled cinnamon sugar over the top and baked for 35 minutes at 350. Test with a toothpick, make sure it comes out cleanly.

After letting it cool a bit, I dusted each piece with powdered sugar and a drizzle of organic maple syrup. This made one serving for each medium-sized muffin, although the teenage boys ate two pieces each.

My daughter who is notoriously SLOW to eat breakfast, finished her piece before I even started eating. VICTORY!! I took something that was nutritionally less than ideal, added protein and calcium, and they liked it even better than the muffins alone!

And Mom for the win!

Blueberry muffins into bread pudding for the win! Easy, delicious and a bit more nutritious. Click To Tweet

I am excited to share anything that makes being a Godly mom easier. We’re all trying to balance nutrition, time, value, effort, etc. with all the needs of our spouses and selves. This recipe using leftover blueberry muffins took minutes to prepare; I could sip my coffee and get dressed while it baked, and used up things taking up space in my fridge.

This would also be something you could make using store bought muffins and make into a semi-homemade dish for a brunch. Who doesn’t need more impressive looking recipes that are too easy!?