2 day flash sale!

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and are enjoying the holidays! I know I am- no home school! Mama's on vacation! wohoo! ;)

I just wanted to pop in and share about the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle before it was too late! It's back for a 2-day flash sale that ends tomorrow night {Tuesday}!! If you're looking to get back on track {like I am} for the new year, this e-bundle might be perfect for you:

We all want to make better health and lifestyle decisions for ourselves and those we love in the new year. We want to lose some weight, have more energy, use greener products, create nutritious meals for our families, get fit, and feel confident that we’re doing all we can to prevent serious diseases.
But it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the masses of healthy living advice out there – to the point where we’re frozen into complete inaction instead!

That’s where The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle comes in. For the ridiculously low price of just $29.97 (for the PDF version) or $39.97 (for the eReader version), you can get access to a carefully curated collection of eBooks and eCourses with a total combined value of $1140+.

here's what you could do with the bundle: 

  • Heal your family with natural remedies
  • Lose weight and have more energy
  • Learn how to use essential oils
  • Learn to grow your own organics
  • Save money with DIY recipes

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

it's kicking my tail, Texas days + a raid

Oh, man. Life has been kicking my tail lately. Today I'm on round #6 or #7 {I've lost count} of sickness for me since we moved 12 weeks ago. Arggghhh. Someone please make it stop. Please?

But praise the Lord, I was okay for the last couple of weeks, which meant there were good moments too:

Shopping at Lowe's meant I wandered in the light section while the man gathered house supplies. I liked these two chandeliers lots:

And the weather has been grand- we've had tons of 60-70 degree days where it was this pretty:

And the clear nights in town after house shopping usually end with a tour of Christmas lights somewhere:

This was an especially fun night- we went to get a REAL live Christmas tree!! :D

Big highlights of our last two weeks always include Tex-Mex fajitas {of course!}:

And some serious artichoke dip:

We had the chance to score a couple of dates- one courtesy of my dad, and another courtesy of Parents Night Out at the gym. :D Sooo thankful to have a breather in these crammed days. I even wore high heels!

And speaking of heels- my girls love them so much that this is a typical play day for them after school:

They're only 5 and 7 and they're already raiding my closet. :) And Isabella is already wearing {and taking over} my athletic socks. What will it be like when they're teenagers?? I'm hoping they have clothes I can borrow! hahaha!

Our house is coming along- I hope to do an update when I can actually go there and take a picture. Strangely enough, life's been so full I haven't even seen it myself in several days.

One bonus of crazy long days is that every day feels 10x slower than a regular day, which means this Christmas season is lasting for what feels like months! :P 

I'd love to catch up- what has your life been like lately?

Do your girls raid your closet too? How can we use this to our advantage? :P

Help- which chandelier do you like for an island light? Pic one or two? I like them both!

the ultimate family gift guide: women, children + men {mostly $25 + under}

I love giving gifts, and it's always so fun for me to gather some of my favorite finds from the web and share them with you! :D eek! :D

Because I like shopping in one place and getting free shipping, most of them are from Amazon. :) When you have lots of people to buy for, you understand the necessity of killing several birds with one stone. :P

This year,  I decided to share finds for the whole family- some of them I thought were unique and fun, some are things I think I would love, and some are tried and true gifts that have passed the test at our house. :D

{p.s : this gift guide contains affiliate link information, if you buy something from an affiliate link, {bh} gets a tiny percentage of the profit at no cost to you! Yay! Thank you for supporting this blog!}

gift guide for women, under $30

First, I have to tell you about this life-changing tool. I used this at my sister-in-law's house for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and this thing is as amazing as all of the reviews claim:

1/ Remington Ceramic Curling Wand, 1/2 Inch - 1 Inch, $19.99

Best curling utensil I've ever used in 32 years. :D I was completely amazed. :)

2/ JJ Cole Diaper Changing Clutch, $13.96

I've never had one of these before, but this whole idea seems genius. It's disguised as an adorable clutch but in reality, it's a diaper and wipes holder with a changing pad! What? So smart! I'd carry that! {everywhere}

And speaking of functional and gorgeous, I love this:

If I had a decent sewing bone in my body I would make it myself, but this girl can do such a good job for less than $20! And you won't have to lose your lens cap like I do all the time!

I love the aqua/teal color, of course. :) I always do.  So you know I love this sweet little thing:

4/ Loire Glass Square 7.75 inch Square Cake Stand - Blue, $25

This is so beautiful! I haven't seen it in person but it gets great reviews. It looks very anthropologie to me. :) I imagined it stacked on top of this bigger amethyst one:

Oh my gosh, too much pretty! :) I can't believe they're so affordable- it would be a great sister/friend gift!! You could pair either plate with the pretty food from one of my favorite cookbooks:

Or, hey if you know someone serving up portions for a large family on a budget like me, they might like this cookbook as much as I do:

Or maybe, you need learn how to enjoy a feast of a better kind:

I haven't read that one yet, but several of my friends recommend it. But I have read this one, and it's one of my top 5 favorite books ever:

/// A Little Princess (Puffin in Bloom) /// Little Women (Puffin in Bloom), $13 each

They may be classic titles, but I kind-of-sort-of asked for these gorgeous rifle paper co. books for my birthday and I love them to pieces. ;) I think they'd make a wonderful gift for ladies or girls!

gift guide for children, under $33

Speaking of the munchkins, we LOVE these babies. I have no idea how I lived without them. If a young one is on your list, I would forgo the toys in favor of these and mama will be forever grateful!

And another tried and true children's gift- my boys LOVE these books:

Don't tell them, but I'm getting them books 4-6 for Christmas! :)

3/ ESV Grow! Bible, $20

Another big kid favorite at our house is this study Bible my dad bought for Noah last year. The boys both love how colorful and useful it is! And I love that they love it. :D

Last year, I gave Isabella this cookbook and we had so much fun making the bibbidy bobbidy boo sticks. :D {tortilla strips with sprinkles!}. She was over the moon to have her own cookbook.

5/ Little Tikes Cozy Shopping Cart Pink/Purple, $32.99 with free shipping

We normally don't buy big toys for Christmas, but last year we bought two of these for the girls, and they've seen non-stop use. I'm not even kidding- every day! :) It might be the best investment in a toy we've ever made!

The kids don't know they're getting these for Christmas! :) I imagine some really fun rounds of Bible trivia after devotions... :P

gift guide for men, under $40

My husband loves these socks so much he spent his Christmas money and ordered them himself. That  should tell you everything you need to know. :) {He doesn't buy any clothing for himself, EVER! :) }

Rob needs this shirt. He really is! I love this.

I'm amazed to find these so well reviewed for less than $40- most comparable sets are $100+. These are perfect for runners or people who work outside in the yard!! No more getting tangled in wires! {happens to me all.the.time}

This would be a great scarf for anyone! I love the color combo, and buffalo checks are so very classic. I can see myself stealing this one. ;)

for iPad (all generations), Samsung Galaxy Tab & Note, Motorola Xoom, HP TouchPad, Acer Iconia, Lenovo Idea Pad, Asus Transformer & LG Optimus

A cover that looks like a book? Ah! Perfect for a guy, girl or anyone with a tablet who likes covers- I can't believe they're only $7! So fun.

Rob's a computer guy so I'm always afraid to buy him anything technical. ;) I just asked him, and he said he likes this 32 GB metal one that goes on his keychain and is nearly indestructible. {Guess what he's getting for Christmas now?? hahahah!}

Possibly the most manly gift on this gift guide, the LifeStraw lets you drink water from any and every source. {Only a guy would want to, right? I'm a camping weenie!}. It's perfect for hiking, backpacking, camping, or going on mission trips! Again, for men, recommended by a man. ;) 

And those are some of our family favorites!!! :D 

Have you started shopping for Christmas yet?
I haven't. But hey, I still have 2 weeks!!!

Any fun gifts that have been winners with the kids at your house?

Ever needed a LifeStraw/water filter? {bonus points if you have!}
I kind of wish I had a reason to have needed one. I've not been out of the country much. ;) Or camping either. :P

big holiday giveaway to Holly Lane Designs {3 $50 gift cards!!}

I've got a super fun holiday surprise for you!! :D Remember Holly Lane Designs? They make beautiful jewelry that is meaningful and centered on the Bible {and meant to spark conversations about the Gospel! ahhh!} I love their purpose, and I enjoy wearing something that reminds me of the Lord when I see it, like this Birds of the Air ring I still wear often!

They kindly sent me this anchor necklace to review, and I love it too. :) Like all their jewelry, this one came with a verse card- Hebrews 6:18-20: 

I chose this anchor pendant because 2014 has been a hard year for me. Many, many times I felt like I was sinking. I wish I could say I felt instant comfort in the rough times, but I didn't. I knew that the Lord didn't abandon me, but I definitely had times of deep despair.

Like other hard times, the Lord didn't let me go away- I held on to the promise that the Lord will never leave me or forsake me- that no matter what trials I'm facing- He will not abandon me. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He knew this year would be hard for me. He knew my flesh would fail me. He knew I would feel so tired- so worn.

But still He carried me. Though I wavered and tossed, He never moved. When I was at the lowest, He brought me good news, and it was incredibly comforting to know He really saw me there.  

In my naivety, I imagined walking with the Lord would always get easier just because I wanted it, but after this year, I'm not sure that's the case. It seems like growing closer to the Lord is more like a battle- some years are great mountaintop-high sorts of victories, and some years you're in the deep valley, fighting to stay alive. 

No matter where it is we are in our walk though- we know we have a sure and steadfast hope in Jesus Christ- our High Priest who KNOWS what it's like to walk this earth! He felt sorrow; He was acquainted with grief and knew exhaustion.

He came and lived, died, and rose again so that I might be His.

And no matter what may come, nothing can separate me from the love of Christ.

Not tribulation, not death, not persecution. Not even a hard season. Not a single thing can take me away from Him.

As strange as it sounds, you know what I've learned from this difficult year? I've learned to love my anchor even more because I've felt the high, hard waves crash against me and toss me about.

He is steady. He is sure. He doesn't waver.

I love Him. And the necklace they gave me is a precious reminder that no matter how hard it gets, He loves me. He is my hope, and this hope is the anchor for my soul.

I'm so thankful that this weekend I get the chance to share a sweet gift from Holly Lane Designs with you! Their company has so generously offered to give away 3 {THREE!} $50 gift cards!! yay!!

If I won, I would choose this anchor necklace: ;)

here's the scoop from Holly Lane Designs themselves:

We create sterling silver verse based Christian jewelry made to spark conversations about Christ. Every piece is hand assembled, made in the USA and paired with a Story Card™,  a small printed note that shares the sentiment or verse which inspired the piece. It is our hope and prayer our jewelry will encourage you to memorize God’s word, remember His promises and share it with others.

who’s Holly?

Holly Lane is the name of the street where Holly Lane Designs was founded. In 2003, Tiffany Scott, owner and Christian jewelry artist, began praying specifically that God would show her how to use her talents for His glory. Tiffany became a believer in Christ after many people lovingly shared the gospel with her time and time again. This experience is what directed her vision for Holly Lane Designs.

With her vision in place, Tiffany began creating her first pieces of jewelry from her home on Holly Lane. At the time, Tiffany was a stay at home mom with three young children and a newborn.

Through years of hard work and prayer, Holly Lane Designs has grown into a thriving business, now celebrating it’s 11th year.

Nowadays, Tiffany can be found home schooling her five children, running Holly Lane Designs, creating jewelry and traveling to craft shows and events sharing her story. 

connect with Holly Lane Designs

You can sign up for their newsletter to receive news about sales and specials, and follow them on Facebook and Pinterest!

And you definitely won't want to miss this:

the giveaway details

Enter to win a gift card by hopping over to Holly Lane, then come back here to tell me what you would choose if you won!  Please leave your email address so you can be contacted if you win. :) 

Open to U.S. and Canadian readers, this giveaway ends Monday, December 8, 2014 at noon! Winners will be contacted by email.

a super special discount for {bh} readers

They're also offering a sweet secret Christmas discount to {bh} readers- 20% off any purchase!! 

Enter code, “Christmas20” at checkout to receive this exclusive discount.

Which one would you pick if you won? :D

What do you think- has 2014 been a high, low, or steady year for you?

an unusual Christmas season for us + December ideas

I might be in the minority, but I think Christmastime/December is one of my very favorite times of the year. ;) This season is looking quite a bit different than our usual Christmas since we're not living in our own house- so we won't be hosting parties, decorating, or having family come stay with us this month.

Even without a "normal" Christmas, I'm sure the kids will enjoy this year just like any other year. We are changing up a lot of our Christmas traditions, and we can still do a few of our favorite ones no matter where we are or what we have. :) I really want to focus on the birth of Jesus and to share His great love, and this unusual year is an even better opportunity to do that, right?

Here are some of the things we are excited to get to do:
  • watch *The Star of Bethlehem* again 
  • make a simple gift for our family members {last year it was sugar scrub}
  • do what we can of this advent devotional
  • make sugar cookies + decorate them, then give them away
  • take pictures of the kids
  • make our sponsored children Christmas cards 
  • make a popcorn garland
  • take the kids out to have hot chocolate {done!}
  • take the kids to go Christmas shopping for their person {they spend their own money, and it's so fun to see them get so excited about giving! :)}

We had our annual hot chocolate yesterday:

hot chocolate 2014 :D 
Of course, the hot chocolate wasn't enough sugar, so we had to get donuts too. ;)

December is off to a great {sugary} start so far! :D

How has your week been so far?

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? 
And do they ever involve donuts? :P hahaha

*= Amazon affiliate link 

exciting Amazon deal this weekend- 30% off any book

I'm so excited about this deal at Amazon^:

It's only good through today, December 1, and on print books {not Kindle editions}. I am trying to narrow down my selection! I could even give a new Bible as a present... {hmmm!}

What book would you choose for a friend? {Or yourself? :)}

^= Amazon affiliate link - should you purchase an item from an affiliate link, I get a percentage of the sale at no cost to you! that's a sweet deal, right? :P

good thing I'll be burning off these calories with this to-do list

Thanksgiving? Already? Wow. I don't know how that happened, but I'm glad it's here! :)

For the first time in my life we're having Thanksgiving in another state. That's quite a milestone if you ask me! I'm used to doing all the shopping and hosting, but this year I'm making a few things and mostly spending the my hours packing for all of us to travel. It's going to be fun!

My brother and sister-in-law are hosting this year, and I am bringing desserts! ;)

Can you guess what I'm making with this?

I'm making Edie's fudge for the first time! I'm thrilled to try a new recipe.

As far as packing goes- this is what I've got ready so far:

We probably need some clothes too, I suppose, but I really don't want to think about it yet. We have to get our winter clothes out of storage before we go, and I'm not looking forward to that. :/ I'm tempted to buy an outfit for everyone and call it a day. No one will notice if we're wearing the same thing the whole time, right?

I have so much to do. ;) Just don't panic, right? Maybe packing will be better with these:

I have to thank my sister-in-law Cayse for getting me addicted to those. I'm think I'm going to have to make something with them so they don't tempt me all day. :)

Here is my 24 hour to-do list as it stands now:

-- return item to a store
-- run errands {bank, etc.}
-- clean out/switch purse {done!}
-- make fudge
-- make toffee
-- make cheesecake
-- pack mine and Rob's clothes/toiletries
-- have children lay out their outfits and pack them
-- go to the plumbing store and select a master bathroom bathtub {must do!}
-- pick up 25 gallons of paint at paint store
-- get winter clothes from storage building
-- exercise at least once
-- bathe the baby tonight
-- wash/dry my hair
-- wash dishes
-- wash the rest of the sofa slipcovers and replace {another round of sickness yesterday :( }
-- find two lost things I need {one is now found!}
-- clean out the car
-- get the oil changed

Are you wondering why I'm here right now? Me too. :) hahahah!

Happy Tuesday, friends! I'm off to work! :)

life lately: the last 3 weeks in pics

You know one good aspect of getting shingles? {okay, maybe the only thing?}


It's when your mom comes down and folds all the clothes for you!

Oh, and then when she does the dishes too:

Though I have to admit, the hour of alone time at the doctor's office was nice too. :)

I had a pretty short case from what I hear- it took about a week to feel better. Luckily it was only in my neck/ear area and mostly internal. I'm incredibly thankful for medicine that may have saved my face from permanent nerve damage. It's been a few weeks now since I took the meds and I feel a nerve twinge every now and then, but I really believe medicine shortened the whole process by several weeks. Again, so very thankful for the Lord's provision there. Phew!

While my mom was here, I made this asparagus tart from the ^Forest Feast cookbook^:

My favorite parts were the puff pastry and the cheese. :)

And the next weekend after life was back to normal, we had the chance to go on a cheap date at a deli:

We stopped at Baskin Robbins for ice cream, but he ended up with a donut:

And I just wanted the cone:

I know, I'm so weird. {The cone is the only part of ice cream I like!}

And naturally, the only place we went after that:

It might have been the best trip to HD I've ever been on. They had refrigerators on sale. :)

Oh, man. I am so excited about moving in our house. It's probably good that the holidays are coming to distract us in the meantime. Isabella made a chart to check off the days left until Thanksgiving:

Really, it's too bad we don't eat guinea for Thanksgiving, because here was our backyard this weekend:

They heard the water running and rushed to get there. I almost thought they were going to befriend Rob, but they just wanted a drink. :)

Oh, how I love the country. :) 

{assuming those birds don't wake you up early, ha!}

Being awakened by a rooster always sounded so romantic to me... until the first time I had one wake me up before dawn. ;) 

What's your life been like lately? 

Favorite Baskin Robbins ice cream? Do tell!
We've never had it...yet! :) lol! I tend to like caramel/dulce de leche/anything without nuts in general.

Ever been woken up by a rooster? 
Believe it or not, I was an adult the first time!

^^ = book affiliate link from Amazon! :D