Thursday, June 27, 2013

my very favorite budgeting tool {it's free!}

Do you have a budget? 

mint.com
We do. I'm not a big "numbers" person, but I've liked keeping track of money with lists ever since I was in high school and had my first job at 16. :)

I think I'm the money/budgeting person in our marriage, for the most part. :) Rob does all the hard stuff like making phone calls, arranging insurance, and taking care of customer service problems, and I try to make sure the bills are paid every now and then, and set the budgets for each category. I'm the spender most of the time, so it's very helpful for me to do the budgeting. I like it, plus it keeps me in line! ;)

Back when we were getting out of consumer debt, I had simple text documents and paper journals with lists and lists of every debt and dollar we had left to go. As Dave says, every dollar was on paper, and had a purpose! :)

Since then, I've left behind the paper notebook, and have been using Mint, and I LOVE it.


I never learned how to work Excel or other spreadsheet programs beyond doing sums in college, so I've been so thankful there are budgeting programs out there like Mint. It's totally free, and you put it all of your bank account information and it will display every financial transaction you have done in one place so you can budget your money easily.

I have been a big fan {and user} of Mint for a few years now, and have only enjoyed it more and more as they've added features and mobile apps. 

I've never had any problems with it - it's super easy to use, and just works. I've not been scared to have all of my information in one place, either- it's kind of like having Quickbooks online or something- nothing really happens in this program but viewing the numbers and transactions from all your online accounts in one place, and it makes your life easier!

I stole some screen shots from their website {I don't think they'll mind since I love it, right? I'm not affiliated with them in any way, just in love with their free awesomeness and wanted to share....}:

mint.com
So it categorizes most of your transactions for you {which is lovely- I've used others that were manual!}, and based off what spend in each category, you can create budgets and track your progress inside of Mint like this:

mint.com
This is especially helpful for those of you who are brand new to budgeting and use debit cards, because if you're just starting out, you may have no idea how much you're actually spending. {this is why mint is amazing but also hurts at the same time- you can easily see how much money is going out the window!}.

We have done a cash system a few times, but I feel better using this program because it is so much easier for me to spend cash frivolously than it is for me to have to see that red or yellow line all month long. 

Now, I will say I do hate that single moment at the register when I'm handing over multiple $20's- I won't deny that sliding a card is easier then, but I think this budgeting method is more effective for me because I really hate seeing that $100 I spent at Target all month long as I stare at Mint. I'm weird like that. ;)

If I want to {and haven't been to Target lately!}, I can even go into the graph section and see what percentage of money I'm spending where on a chart {this isn't our budget, but we almost spend more on groceries/household items than anything else in our budget- we eat a ton of food! :) }:

mint.com

It's amazing. :)

Can you tell I really, really like using Mint? haha!

The only downside I can think of? There are some months I don't want to look at it or even sign in. But that's just my fault, not theirs. :)


What's your favorite way to budget? 

Are you a cash system person? Or are you more like me and try that over and over and give up every time? LOL! 

Are you the spender or the saver in your relationship?
I'm definitely the spender most of the time. Rob will buy anything for me, but hates buying anything for himself- he'd rather do without it. I dislike spending money to eat out more than he does, but I like to let him decide when we do that one! :) {I think he likes it when I don't have to cook- so again, it's probably more for my sake than his. He's such a good man! :D}

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

what to do when you feel the heavy lies of Satan :: taking our thoughts into captivity


I never really thought about the importance of that verse before a few weeks ago. I think I understood it, yet somehow in my mind, it had to do with having impure thoughts, or hateful words towards another person.

But lately it's taken on a whole new meaning for me.

I won't lie- pregnancy is not easy. I have wonderful pregnancies physically- I can't complain a bit, but I do feel that pregnancy changes your hormones and it's truly a trial for a woman.

It's been a battle from the beginning, and the struggle comes not only physically, but mentally.

Any time you're tired or exhausted, or battling hormones, or trials, or even just hard situations, I think the devil really loves to mess with you a little {or a lot} more. Our defenses are down a bit, so to speak, and we become easier targets, especially if we don't stay focused on the Lord.

And what's funny {or not so funny} is that we don't even realize what Satan is doing- he's sneaky, and he is trying to devour us like prey. He doesn't make himself obvious.

For me, Satan attacks my heart and mind through negative self-talk. When I'm tired, or sick, or feeling down, he loves to sneak up on me and plant thoughts in my head that completely contradict God's Word.

The other day I was feeling low- physically, I knew I was tired from a harder week, but I kept dwelling on these negative thoughts which made me feel worse mentally.

I cried out to God and told Him I was feeling low, and He answered in a way I didn't expect. {how does that keep happening???? He does it every time!}

That afternoon we went to the pool, and I felt the irresistible urge to bring my notebook along with me.

I was praying in my chair for a while, then I took out my pen and notebook and I just started writing. I wasn't even sure what I intended to write, but I started to make a list- a description of every single thing I was feeling right then. I was embarrassed and almost fought the urge to put it all out there on paper, honestly, because I knew so much of it wasn't okay or right, or even slightly true.

Here are a few of the feelings I wrote on my list:

Sad
Alone
Defeated
Impatient

Then after I added every single feeling that came to mind, I wrote this beside my list:

Sad
Alone
Defeated                        {what Satan wants for me to feel}
Impatient


Then I started making another list:

joyful
patient
thankful                          {what God wants for me}
happy
bearer of light

After I wrote this all out, I prayed and told God all of what was in my heart and on my list. I told Him, "Lord these are my burdens- these are what the enemy is telling me- please take them from me, and rebuke the devil, Lord God. Please keep him away from me. He tells me these lies, and I know this is not what you want for me Lord. I give you all these feelings- please take them from me."

I'd never done anything like this before- though I'd prayed and asked God for His help when I was feeling low many times, I'd never openly identified every single thing I was feeling {that was ugly and sinful} and consciously given it to the Lord.

I was shocked how it changed my heart- I just felt lighter, and the next day I realized what the Lord had done for me- He had taken my burdens and my negative thoughts and redeemed them, and brought to light the truth in my heart of what He wanted for me.

It hit me- the Lord was teaching me to take these sinful thoughts into captivity like He tells me to do in His Word:

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5

I normally would push them down and pray a little, and try to tell myself the truth to negate them, but they never would fully go away, you know what I mean? I think I was trying to talk myself out of them with my own power more than God's.

I was feeling down, believing lies {about myself} from the enemy when they stood in direct contradiction to the Word of God, and I didn't realize to what extent the battle was even happening. I thought I was just feeling a little low!

When I brought every thought into the light- on paper- of God's Word and gave every one of these thoughts and feelings to Him in prayer- He took them from me, and made me realize that not only were they not right or true, they were coming from the enemy himself! Oh, that serpent is so subtle and crafty!

I just can't praise God enough- He is so very merciful to me. I am so thankful that He cares so much about me that I can tell Him anything and everything- and He makes my burdens light. He makes my heart and mind comprehend the truth instead of what Satan wants me to believe.

The Lord kept working through the rest of the next week too, bringing situations into my life that specifically showed me the lies were even further from the truth than I thought. I tell you, our GOD is living and so very GOOD and full of grace and mercy! :)

He wants us to live in the light of His Word- to walk in His truth, and defeat the power of sin through His Son, and He can do it, my friends. He WILL do it if you ask!!

If you're feeling defeated or low, or something is on your heart, I made the worksheet below for you if you want to use it. I was so amazed at what God did in my heart when I laid my burdens before Him in all of their ugliness. What I told Him came as no surprise to Him, and you won't surprise Him either.

Give light to your burdens- let His light shine on every part of your heart. Don't be afraid- God will fill those darknesses with His light:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

And when you feel the heavy lies of Satan start to weigh on your heart, remember this:

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Our God has already overcome the evil one, my friend. Satan cannot defeat you.

Greater is He who is in you, than he who tells you lies.


 28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30




How have you seen God redeem your negative thoughts? 

Do you ever find yourself writing them down? 


Monday, June 24, 2013

in sickness and in health {and lime popsicles}

Our weekend went much differently than I expected it to, thanks to a great stomach thing that {luckily} only happened to me. If I can remember, I've never had anything like that happen this far along in my pregnancy. And I think I would remember if I did, because stomach problems + massive 34 wk. baby doing karate inside you constantly = extreme pain.

I was down and out for most of the weekend, so much of the big stuff on my goal list didn't get done. We do have a brand new fence in the backyard thanks to my amazing husband who seriously worked all weekend long to tear out the old one and replace it. He's such a stud. {of course, I decided that a long time ago, and again after he proposed for the second time last year...lol!}

But I have to brag on him again, you guys. He worked ALL day long building the fence Saturday, then came in at 9:15 and made dinner for the kids, put them to bed, then went to the store because I wanted some 7-up and lemon popsicles {and applesauce and tootsie roll pops too- I had an "I'm sick free for all" shopping card, LOL}. Little did I know I sent him on a wild goose chase...

He came home an hour later with every citrus popsicle he could find:


He went to multiple stores all over town at 11 p.m. {dog-tired}, trying to find me lemon fruit bars, which apparently do not exist.

And at this point, he gets husband of the year award {okay, it was probably somewhere back at making dinner}.

I, however, do not earn any awards. My sweet husband brings me every citrus popsicle he can find in town, and lays them all out on the coffee table for me to choose from my curled-up fetal position on the sofa, and what do I tell him?

I don't like lime.


I'm such a winner.

I ask for the applesauce instead, and he stays up with me watching Netflix until I feel better at 3 a.m. for the second night in a row.

The man is gold, I tell you. A pure blessing from the heavens. 

I had this thought the other day that amazed me- I realized that God loves me even more than Rob does. And it made me cry like a baby. Because really and truly, I can't imagine a love even better than my husband's. I have never met a man who loves his wife more.

I have never met a man who lays down his life for his wife like he does. And I screw up {all.the.time}, and he still keeps loving me and giving up his own life to serve me.

He loves me like Christ loves the church.

And I don't deserve it. At all

It's so humbling, and I can't say enough how amazed I am at what the Lord has done in my life. I'm so very grateful for this man and how he lives out the Gospel on a daily basis- not giving up on me, but loving me far more than I ever could imagine or deserve.

He cherishes me, so very well.

25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.a 28In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30because we are members of his body. 
Ephesians 5:35-30

He loves me like that, you guys. And it's incredible. Only the Lord could give me such a wonderful gift like him. 

Yesterday I tried one of the fruit popsicles he brought me, and I can't believe it, but...

I think lime is my new favorite.

Friday, June 21, 2013

pregnancy update: 34 weeks, baby #5

So the other night I woke up after a dream and had completely forgotten I was pregnant! Then it hit me all at once: I'm seriously ABOUT to have a baby in a few weeks. In the middle of the night {when it was all new to me again}, I couldn't believe it is really this close- just 4-6 weeks or so left to go!

{I've decided he's not allowed to be late to this party.}

The rate at which my belly is growing is quite phenomenal, I have to say. It's out there! :) I might have to do more frequent updates just to keep up with it! hahah!


How far along: 34 weeks. {Unreal!}. It's not very long left in reality, but when I'm fully awake in the daytime, a month or more left seems like a lot of time to grow! :D

Baby size: Around 18 inches and 5- 5.5 lb.

Gender: Boy.

Weight gain: Still average- feeling a major hunger surge/growth spurt this week though- I think he's busy getting huge. :) My babies average 8 lb. + at full term/ 40 weeks every time!

Belly: is now blocking my feet, and looks like a basketball. Very round!

Clothes: I have fewer and fewer options in the closet right now. :) I broke down and bought a couple of longer non-stretchy t-shirts at LOFT a couple of weeks ago. I also tried on a dress there that almost made me forget I have a big ol' belly at all {really though, it was more thanks to their very generous vanity sizing and ultra-slimming mirrors....hahaha!}

Movement: His body parts are sticking out constantly! My new favorite thing to do is to freak out unsuspecting friends by making them feel my belly when his bottom is sticking up... it's so weird!! ;) I think I will be happy when he finally drops his feet and bottom out of my ribs for good though. :)

Food aversions: Hanging on to the coffee dislike from the past few weeks- I have to have some form of sugar/milk/flavor combo to drink it at all. I still don't want to eat meat or any dairy like yogurt or cottage cheese. 

Food cravings: Mostly liquids of any kind... I'm so thirsty, and it usually means I'm gaining weight...lol! Occasionally ice cream and smoothies sound good!

Labor signs: Much stronger contractions at night on occasion- like the ones that make you stop and realize they're happening. It gets a little uncomfortable sometimes!

Exercising: So far, so good- I've kept my regular teaching schedule so far, and generally can do everything I used to, except for big jumping moves, push-ups and planks on my toes. It is getting more challenging for sure with this big belly! :)


Comparison shots: left to right-19 weeks, 22 weeks, 26 weeks, 31 weeks, 34 weeks





What I miss: not gaining weight nearly every single week... ;) bending over normally, sleeping on my stomach, and not being tired every late morning/afternoon.

Preparing for birth:  There are few things you don't think about when you think about home birth, unless it's your own happening- like buying shower curtains and wash clothes and extra sheets... that's all new to me! I also have to make sure I have a crockpot, a thermometer, snacks, and lots of towels and extra pillows on hand. This is so different than a hospital birth! :) You just don't think about anything like that when you go to the hospital! :)

So those of you who have birthed at home before- what's something I REALLY need to have? Anything you forgot the first time at home?

Average birth weight of your babies? 

Non-pregnant people- would you be so kind to remind me how fast these last few weeks go by? 4 weeks isn't long, right? LOL!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

thrifty date night outfit: $5 GW dress + $1.86 owl necklace {w/amazon link!}


I mentioned on Monday that we had the chance to go on a date at Carino's... it was the first time since our vacation last month. :) I was super excited to have a reason to wear this GW find from a couple of months ago that I hadn't worn before {and even more glad it still fit me! lol}:


My dress was originally from Target, brand new for just $5! I had so much fun dressing up again {and on the cheap}! In your last trimester, dressing up is not something you do or want to do frequently for some reason. :)

And remember this Vintage Owl Pendant Long Bronze Chain Necklace* from the gift guide for girls? It was $1.37 shipped. The price has gone up to $1.86 now, but I'd still say it's a great deal! :D {side note: I have quite a few more of these amazon finds- would you want me to share them on a regular basis?}



I've been putting it to good use since Christmas, and it's held up very well!
'

I've been so thankful for dresses this year especially- it's been hot in our old house this summer! Thanks to being 8 months along with baby #5, no matter where I go, I can only wear jeans or capris for so long without feeling like I'm overheating! :) In fact, I used to be so cold-natured that I had to carry a jacket with me year-round and now I almost never need one. I'd say that's one benefit of pregnancy, wouldn't you? ;)


How about you? How do you dress for the heat in the summer? 
For me, it really depends on the state of pregnancy I'm in that month...lol! :) For 4 out of 10 summers, I've been pregnant during the summer months! :) And I'm almost always at the end of my pregnancy, so Texas feels a little hotter than normal.

Favorite date restaurant? 
favorite chain restaurants: Carino's {Italian} and Saltgrass Steakhouse, and for very special dates- P.F. Changs. I find when we're without kids I really love to go to quieter places with big tall secluded booths. hahahaha! :)

Do you sit side by side or across from your significant other in a booth?
Side by side. Unless I've had a long day and I'm feeling the need to breathe, which has only happened a few times in our marriage. Most of the time I like to lean on his shoulder/hold hands while we wait for food. :)

Have you scored any cute finds lately? Please share the link if you have one! :D




*amazon affiliate link

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Crunchy Mamas giveaway winner!



The winner of this weekend's Crunchy Mamas giveaway is:

After reading about your items the other day I ordered a few of my own! :) I would still like to try Achy Breaky, Bug Off, and Menth Head.


Congrats, Rebecca! Please email me with your info! :D

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

foods I now love that I used to hate + goals and menus {june 18, 2013}

Happy Tuesday! :) I intended to post this yesterday, but hey, we worked out in the yard instead! :) We are getting closer to my crazy nesting goal of having the entire yard redone! {it already looks so much better than this!!}

I was also very happy with the progress we made on the to-do list from last week:
    pinterest source
  • plan Ava's first party : it's going to be a rainbow princess party! {I'm pinning lots of pics here
  • make a loose summer schedule {download a copy here}
  • list two more items on Craigslist: listed and sold them!
  • figure out house payoff schedule/timeline
  • wash baby clothes we have, figure out additional clothes we will need to buy for his first few months 
  • work on planting grass in the corner
  • make wall decor for baby room 
  • write a love note to my husband
  • write a love/encouraging note to my oldest 
  • take the kids swimming and to the library 
  • reschedule midwife appointment 
  • arrange Father's day plans/gifts :D
  • buy summer homeschool books for each child 
  • make lots of dinners at home {I was super busy last week, and we ate out a lot!
  • teach pump Saturday

here's the baby list progress I made:
  • make quilt/bedding
  • make 1 wall decor piece for over the bed
  • paint crib and dresser {still working on this, but mostly done}
  • wash baby clothes
  • buy diapers, wipes, and nursing supplies 
  • wash car seat + bouncer covers
  • hang curtains
  • order or find a pack n' play travel lite on Craigslist {decided not to get this after all- will use old playpen we already have instead of buying unless we find a good deal}

and here's the new goal list for this week:
  • hang curtains in the baby's room
  • start cleaning out the attic
  • make grocery list for Ava's party
  • wash kid sheets and blankets
  • list/sell 2 things on craigslist
  • buy home birth supplies we need
  • organize + purge kid toys upstairs
  • sub extra BODYPUMP class {+ burn off extra cake and Mexican food...LOL}
  • change phone plan
  • organize husband's dresser/clothes
  • add light fixture to bathroom {not me, LOL}
  • put girls' bed together {not me again}
  • take the kids swimming and to the library

Here are this week's menu plans- it's summer, so I'm shamelessly repeating most of last week. I've decided my goal this summer is to make as many paper plate /one dish/microwave meals as possibly I can. :) 

dinners:
  • dinner with friends
  • ground turkey tacos {I have pre-cooked meat in the freezer ready for the microwave}
  • crockpot turkey spaghetti + bread
  • seasoned grilled chicken, pineapples + rice
  • griddle turkey sun dried tomato quesadillas + corn 
  • beans and rice {crockpot + rice cooker}
  • brown rice +/- lean beef {me}
  • zucchini pasta with homemade marinara {I hope I can find good zucchini at the store now!}

lunches:
english muffin toaster oven pizzas
sandwiches
lunch out
pb + j with frozen fruit

breakfasts:
fruit
cereal {frosted mini wheats or honey nut cheerios now that it's summer! :D}
bagels for the kids {I stocked up at the discount bakery a couple of weeks ago}

Have you tried any good summer {no-oven required} recipes lately? 
I would love it if you'd share- we are trying not to heat up the house this summer with our electric bill getting so much higher already.

Sun-dried tomato basil lover or hater?
I used to detest basil and then sometime in my 20's I fell in love with it. My children don't really like it now either, but I have a feeling they'll come around after they grow up. Ha! :D

One food you used to hate as but now love as an adult?
tofu, mushrooms, onions, eggs, fresh green beans....and the list goes on! I can't believe how much your preferences can change over time!

Monday, June 17, 2013

change is coming, an eventful date weekend & father's day, + our summer schedule


I realized last week that we only have a few more weeks as a family of 6. Isn't that weird to think about? For 4 years, this is what we've known- having 2 boys and 2 girls, and at this point we've not changed a diaper in 1.5 years, or carried a carseat around in over 3 years. 

Change is coming. :D It will be a wonderful one, but I'm kind of trying to live in this moment, and enjoy having mostly big kids while it's easier to get around. :) 

On Friday, we went to the library, the pool to swim for a while, then stopped in for free ice creams with our coupons:


Our gym also had a date night this weekend, and they were thrilled to go play while we went on a date.  Win, win. :) 

I was feeling like Italian food- or more precisely, Italian Chocolate Cake with toffee and ice cream. This is #2 of my favorite desserts from a restaurant! :) {here's #1}


We walked the mall for a very short while. Honestly, it was fun, but I was ready to head out very quickly, which Rob was probably thankful for! hahaha. Shopping and/or walking long distances in high heels is not my thing right now, but I did find something cool for the baby's room I can't wait to show you. ;)

Then we headed over to a local store that has free live music on Fridays- and it was like God planned for us to go there, because these people were playing our very favorite kind of music:


We only caught the end, but it was long enough to listen to three of the most beautiful songs I've heard live. Somewhere Over the Rainbow was one of them, and it made for the most perfect date. Ahhh. :)

But really, it could have been the most perfect date because I got to go with this guy:


Over and over, I realize how blessed I have been to be given such a loving, kind, honest, hard-working man to be my husband and the father of my children. I've never met a single man who loves his wife and family more than he does.  I'm so, so very thankful for him. :)

So yesterday was Father's Day, of course, and we had plans to chill out after church and lunch. Instead, we came home to a terrible {read: gross} house emergency which he dealt with for hours until dinnertime. 

I was so in awe of him. He's such a MAN, you know what I mean? He faces a challenge head on, when I would faint and give up at just the sight of it. I love him. And I seriously have no idea what I would do without him. :) So after that, we took him out to the best Mexican food place in town- Chuy's:




It was a much better ending to the weekend than the afternoon... ;)

And today is our first day working our new summer routine:
download a copy here


So far I like it even though it's slowing me down quite a bit. The kids seem really happy to have an order of events, and to start in on their new school work. It's day one, so I'm going to enjoy that while it lasts. ;) {okay, never mind. That lasted less time than it took me to write this post...}

I'm thankful for summer so far- it's been a challenge to be at home all day with the kids and no school work/schedule, but I've also been able to get lots done before the baby comes. :) I'll update you with that list and our menus for the week later on today! :)

How was your weekend/ Father's Day?

What's your favorite kind of music to listen to live?
I love orchestrated music the most, probably, then rock style. :)

Or your favorite way to motivate kids to finish their work/chores in the summer?

Friday, June 14, 2013

giveaway: Crunchy Mamas organic skin care product package {ends June 17}

disclosure: this is a sponsored giveaway and review for Crunchy Mamas- all opinions are mine! :D

If you follow over in FB land, I posted on the {bh} page last weekend how excited I was to receive this little package of organic skin care goodies from the Crunchy Mamas themselves- two sister mamas, Katie and Ashley, who wanted to make organic, chemical free products you could put on your babies without worrying about it.


And even a week later, I'm still excited about them! :) We've tried/smelled/rubbed them all on, and I've been very impressed!

I love their mission Ashley shared on their blog about why they make their products:

"Katie and I began this quest several years ago.  After becoming fed up with commercial products and their misleading labels, we began making our own toiletries and such.  Countless hours have been poured into researching the best oils for various products.  We felt we had a right to know exactly what was being put onto our precious babies, and you deserve that same right.  That is why we include EVERY ingredient on our labels."

You know that wholesome, deep herbal smell you smell when you walk into a health store that makes you breathe in really deeply and relax all of the sudden? I have no idea which herb that is? {clueless} but that's what these products remind me of- they all smell so good, and you suddenly feel relaxed when you rub them on. That sounds crazy, I know, but I need more of that in my life! :)

Here's what Ashley and Katie sent me to try out:




They all have their organic ingredients listed right on the package- and their main ingredients are unrefined coconut oil and beeswax. I rubbed the about to pop balm all over my belly as soon as I got the package open- it's not greasy, it smells awesome and it doesn't freak me out to rub it all over my belly like petroleum does for some reason.

Now I'm not a super-natural girl when it comes to body products {confession: I like sunless tanners, Bath and Body works and non-organic makeup}, but for some reason I refuse to put any lotion on or near my belly because they all seem so chemically laced. {and I still put lotion on the rest of my body. I know, I'm weird! ha!} I wasn't worried at all to rub their products all over everywhere though, and the about to pop balm felt so good on my stretching belly.


My husband used the scab stick on a knee injury already, and I use the hand sanitizer ALL the time now- it smells awesome- I like to spray it on before we eat and the smell of citrus on my hands is SO much better than the normal hospital smell.

The lip balms are super thick and smooth too, and glide on without clumping. Their lime lip balm makes me crave lime- it's the real lime smell- not that fake icky lime smell that you normally find in lip products.

I tried the Bug Off, and I didn't have as much luck with it as the other products- I liked the citronella and the lack of DEET, but we have major mosquitos at our house and they love this pregnant girl with a passion, so it only worked for about 20 minutes before it absorbed and I became a mosquito buffet again {seriously, I can't even walk from the car to the house without being bitten normally}. We don't have other bug problems like flies and chiggers so I can't say if it would work for those. I would recommend it for light use, or for use on the babies you don't want to spray with bug spray. {fyi: here's a testimony from someone who used it and had great success though. I might live too far south!}

I really was impressed with all of their products- the smell and feel of all of them especially! I am actually afraid I'm a little hooked on all of them! :) I can't believe they can make such good products homemade!

They have offered some deals for you guys too- they're giving away a package of these four products to one lucky winner!



And they're offering a special discount to {bh} readers through July 14. Use the one-time discount code BIBLICAL when you check out to save an extra 15% off your order!

To enter the giveaway, hop over to their shop and look around, then come back and leave a comment telling me the product you'd want to try most- preferably one I didn't mention already! :D {or the one you find most intriguing- they came up with the best names!}

You can also check out their facebook page to get to know these two sweet mamas even better, get more discount codes and find out about other giveaways!

The giveaway ends on Monday night, June 17, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

thrifty outfit: $10 Walmart dress + thrifted Banana Republic {+33 week pics}

Remember the $9.97 coral Walmart dress from Tuesday? Here's how it looked on with my $4 Banana Republic thrifted sandals:

I wouldn't necessarily call it the best maternity dress with the elastic hitting mid-waist, but I really, really liked it anyway! It's super soft, has adjustable straps, doesn't go too low in the chest, and hits the knee so I don't have to wear something under it! 

I was very impressed, and the hubs loved it too. He said I looked cute! :D

I'll take "cute" these days- especially when I don't feel super cute with this growing 33-week belly all out there... :) 


Hey, I will say the belly makes for an excellent armrest while I'm thinking/speaking though... hahaha! :) This baby armrest/bowl holder/toothpaste catcher just keeps getting bigger and bigger! :) {a good thing, for sure!}


I was at a shower for our sweet friends here last weekend- and I had the chance to get to know a new friend, Carol, who writes children's books! We had so much fun chatting about writing and blogs we both read! :D 


And oh my goodness, the shower was so gorgeous! It was an adoption shower for our pastor and his beautiful wife who are adopting a sweet preteen girl from Ethiopia this summer. I'm so excited for them! :) If you think of them, will you pray for them and the big transition that they will be going through this year?



{many thanks to my friend Danielle B. for taking all of the pics!! she did such a great job! :D}

So I have a question for you- have you adopted before? Do you have any advice for friends of adopting parents of an older child? How can we help them best? I'd so love to know your thoughts!

What's your favorite flower? 
Hydrangeas are mine- indoors and out. Aren't those purple ones gorgeous? ahhhh....

Any tricks for getting babies to move out of your ribcage? 
This one is either really, really high or really low, all the time! :)


p.s. stay tuned for a big giveaway later on today {Lord-willing!}! :D

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

homemaking hack #7: how to measure portions easily

I may say this every time I post a homemaking hack, but I can't believe it took me so long to think of these two! :) I use these two tricks every day now and they both work for me and save me time and lots of calories in the kitchen! :)

These hacks have changed the way I see and estimate portion sizes, especially when it comes to things I love to eat {and overeat!} in bowls like soup, beans, watermelon, yogurt, oatmeal, and cereal.

Here are two easy ways to keep an eye on your portion sizes:

1. Use thin metal measuring cups to cut and scoop out your foods. 
Of course using measuring cups always makes sense for portioning out foods, but I never considered using them as a scooping and measuring tool for my favorite melon fruits at the same time! :)


I don't weigh or specifically measure my food portions out normally, but one day I was trying to get an idea of how much watermelon I was actually eating {it felt like several servings at one time!}, so I decided to use my metal cup to cut and scoop out my watermelon. I was shocked it was so easy to cut with a measuring cup! 

And even better than that shocking discovery {ha}, for the first time in history, I actually overestimated how much I was eating- the calories in my average bowl full of watermelon were far less than I thought! {Does that EVER happen? not to me! yay!}

So these days, when I don't use my metal cup scooping method for watermelon and everything else I want to portion out- I use option two- which is:

2. Pre-measure the capacity of your favorite bowls for easy portion estimation {and use the same bowl for everything!}.


My anthro bowl is 2 cups exactly from what I can tell- so I know if it's 1/2 full of dry cereal, I am eating more than 1.33 servings of my favorite Honey Bunches of Oats. {and who could ever just eat 3/4 of a cup for one serving?? That makes me sad.} 

Or if I am eating a bowl of oatmeal or greek yogurt in the anthro bowl, I know if I fill it up, that's 2 or more servings I'm eating at one time! {that's why I stick to my 1/2 cup bowls for ice cream and sweets- if I put them in a 2 cup bowl my brain feels deprived- but a packed 1/2 cup? I have to use a baby spoon then, and it's like eating gelato at the mall- special and filling! :D It's all in the mind!}


So the moral of option 2 is this: if you're trying to get an idea of how much you're eating- keep an eye on your dish size at home! It works for me! :D


What are your favorite tricks for measuring food portions? Please share!

Do you stick to portion sizes? Or is eating more of a "how hungry am I right now?" thing for you? 
I'm an option 2 girl by nature- especially when it comes to sweets! I still eat as much as I want when it comes to natural fruits and veggies, but I cut back majorly on ice cream, yogurt, and dessert portions a few years ago, around 25 or so. The older I get, the more processed things seem to affect me negatively! :D Back when I was a teenager I could eat 1/2 of a huge bag of M&M's and Taco Bell and not feel a thing! :) Ah, the days!!

Do you pre-cut your watermelon or keep it in the rind?
I find it tastes so much better straight from the source! I keep the whole melon in the fridge to scoop out servings as needed! :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

8 cute + thrifty walmart finds i love this week {summer 2013}



I mentioned yesterday one of my goals this week was to make a plan to pay off our house.... I'm super excited about the idea, but it wasn't all that long ago that we were on the Dave Ramsey plan to pay off all of our consumer debts and student loans.

I remember the gazelle intensity like it was yesterday, along with all the time and effort it took to save money to snowball on our debts. It was intense! I'm trying to mentally prepare to do it again- which means I'll be avoiding Target and the mall like the plague for a while. :)

When it comes to clothes and decorating, I'm a Goodwill girl mostly, and I love Target to pieces now that we have a 5% off debit card there, but sometimes even GW can't beat Walmart prices! :D I know I was shocked to find some cute stuff there this spring in round 1! :D

I couldn't wait to share the new finds I spotted at Wally World this week. {don't worry, I didn't buy them all! I just thought I would pass along the deals in case you needed to save some dough too!}

And I'm not sponsored by Walmart in any way, but I do spend a good percentage of my money at their store...hahah!

1. Coral summer knit dress for $9.97.

I picked this one up without trying it on yesterday, but I will let you how it goes. It's super cute in person! :D It comes in all kinds of colors too!


I loved it because it reminds me of this Ann Taylor Loft $40 sale version, {except the Walmart version is longer, yay!} what do you think?  :D 





It's too hot for maxi anything when you're 8 months preggo in the Texas summer heat, but if you live somewhere a bit cooler and/or aren't preggo, you might like this maxi! :D


And it comes in this cute color combo too! I really LOVE this one!



Here's a similar Gap version for $69.95 {wow}:




While our Dave Ramsey house payoff plan probably won't include buying any poufs anytime soon, I thought these were incredibly cute and a good size for the price!


I didn't see this ikat one in the store, but I found it online- isn't it colorful? It's my favorite, I think. :D



4. Starter men's dri-wear workout shirts, $8.47.

My husband loves to wear shirts like this to lift weights in! We normally buy the Nike version for $20-$25, but these are almost exactly the same. {shhh... don't tell- Rob's getting this for Father's Day!}


5. Colorful ties for $10. {in-store only}

We know from experience that it's so hard to find bright colored ties for a reasonable price! I LOVE these! {I was so tempted to buy one for Father's Day, but he doesn't use them often!}



While this isn't necessarily a "cheap" find, it's far less expensive than the World Market version. The only downside is that it's not real wood. But I couldn't resist snapping a pic. I really thought it was cute, even with the laminate wood, and it gets decent reviews! 


7. Multi-colored floral plates {in-store}.

I've seen plates almost identical to these at Dillard's for way, way more! :) These are bright and fun, and go with a range of colors you might have in your kitchen. $5 isn't too bad for one of these to hang on the wall! :D



And I loved their melamine plates {maybe even more} for $2.38. Aren't they adorable?


8. Drawstring dri-wear exercise tops for women, $5.96.

You already know I'm a big fan of Walmart's workout shorts, but I fell in love with these yesterday too:


I got this burgundy/purple version since it's a BODYCOMBAT color, and is long enough to hide my belly for the next few months. Even better, these tops are like 1/10th of the price of Lululemon! Unreal! :D


So those are definitely my favorite wally world finds right now! :D I am always surprised at the cute stuff they have if you dig around! :D

What are your favorite finds there recently? Any luck with cute stuff in round 1? :D


Are you on a Dave Ramsey/Walmart/beans and rice plan too? hehee

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