cyber monday deals I love

The bad news: Our Thanksgiving break was very much at home this week thanks to a broken leg and 4 colds. :/ {More about that later...}

The good news: Thanks to our involuntary confinement, I've had lots of time to sit around and do 98% of my Christmas shopping online! I have never been done this early in my life! I feel a little weird not having it lingering over my head. :D I bought multiple gifts for 20+ people online this weekend and though I asked Rob and he totally approved, I'm not sure he realized the massive amount of boxes the UPS man will be bringing us in the next week or two. :D

I did most of the bulk of my shopping on Friday, but I am excited about a few Cyber Monday deals that are out right now and wanted to share them before the day is over! 

I bought the big original Trim Healthy Mama book late last year and have been fascinated by their research and way of eating. I've read tons and tons of books on diet and exercise for fun and I'm almost positive this method would work for nearly everyone. 

Cutting out sugar and processed carbs could do wonders for anyone of course, but the way they instruct you to mix fuels and eat lots of fats to satisfy you is very compelling for those who are used to a standard American/processed grain diet. I was already waiting to buy their stevia, collagen, and unflavored whey online and today they posted this CM deal so I got it instead! :) It's a great deal at $35 off! {aff link}

My real life friends Abbie and Lindsay started a cute print shop called Paint and Prose a couple of weeks ago and they are offering an awesome deal today to new email subscribers:

And then! Amazon is giving my favorite coupon of the year: 30% off any print book right now! {aff links included}

Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. 

Here are some books that I have and highly recommend:

Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need To Knock It Off - from my friends Ruth and Karen come this gospel-centered look at motherhood. They sent me a copy and I can't wait to read it- just flipping through various pages I'm in love with the Christ-focused advice they give on motherhood while sharing all-too-real stories from their own lives.

This is our favorite Bible curriculum right now- we read it aloud every week and it's thought provoking and challenging for both the kids and the parents: :)

And this is our boys' favorite book series as well {you can use the coupon to get $10 off!}: 

And since we already have the books I mentioned above, I want to use my 30% off coupon for this book that just came out this weekend: Balance, The Art of Minding What Matters Most.

Jennifer Flanders blogs over at Loving Life at Home, and has 12 kids {from age 5- grown with children!}. I know her in real life as well, and I have to say I am so excited to read her book because everything she writes is SO helpful to us and our family situation. I read her book Love Your Husband/ Love Yourself this summer and laughed all the way through it while vigorously nodding my head. I love to learn from this wise lady!

Oh, and if you're looking for the Trim Healthy Mama plan/book {without the food from their site}, they came out with a new, more simple edition this fall- you can get it for $8.74 with the coupon!!

I'm starting to get screen loopy from so much shopping online :D but you must promise to tell me your favorite deals today! I've memorized my card number now and have it ready to go- hehehehe! :D

homemaking hack: spray everything off with this

They say necessity is the mother of invention, but I think survival may trump necessity. And you know I'm in all-out survival mode these days! :D

Remember the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the father uses Windex for everything {including pimples? ha!}? I think I'm starting to have that kind of relationship with Dawn dish soap. :D

My favorite new hack came about only on accident! The kids clean off the counters every night, and one night they had refilled our lemon cleaning spray with dawn and water and were spraying it everywhere. It was one of those moments where I frowned initially and then realized they were actually little geniuses. :D

Now I use their little cleaning hack on a daily basis!! :D

With watered down Dawn in a spray bottle I can spray the insides of soaking dishes while they're still warm beside the sink, I can clean the sink after I do the dishes, I can wash the stove top and the microwave off like 5x better, and thanks to Rob I figured out Dawn also works amazingly on our concrete floor if you dry it with a dry towel right away! I think it cleans everything better because it cuts through the grease instead of just sanitizing it like some cleaners I've bought in the past. 

Another crazy awesome use for spray Dawn is washing toddler hands- I can cover Zane's hands one-handed without overdoing the soap! 

I'm telling you spray Dawn is my new Windex. :D 

Maybe you do this already and I'm way behind, but it was a new idea to me so I had to share! :D I keep our spray soap by the sink ready at all times now. :D

p.s. this is not in anyway motivated by any sort of sponsorship, I just think it's an awesome combo and is now a mom-necessity. :D

Okay, now you must tell me if you have any more uses for Dawn that I don't. I'm sure I could love it even more! :D I know I've probably forgotten something! :)

life lately {4 a.m. and daily life edition}

Ah. Life is wonderful. :D Wonderfully full, wonderfully busy, wonderfully messy... and it's all wonderfully hard work.

Right now my hands are free {!} and I'm excited to get a chance to write something. It just happens to be 4:06 a.m. and I've been up since 2 a.m. when a certain little girl had a nightmare. The baby is sleeping but I'm completely awake. :/ Something terrible always happens when I am startled in the middle of the night- I never can go back to sleep. In this case, maybe it's a really gift because the extra alone time is a good thing. :)

I may not make any sense at this hour, but at least this time I get a chance to share some of what life has been like lately! :D

This picture sums up every weekday pretty much since we started school:

My life from 8-3 these days is holding two babies while homeschooling. :) Someday I hope to show you, but in our new house plan we built a den connecting to the schoolroom so I could sit on a sofa and nurse the baby while reading with children and it has been one of the best things ever. If I sit in an office chair all day holding a baby my back kills me! Comfy couch = big win.

Many of the other hours of my day are {of course} spent being a short-order chef/baker/food plater:  :)

I usually keep it pretty simple unless I get a craving for a good cookie. :D The other day I made some citrus butter cookies {from the Pioneer Woman's first cookbook} and improvised with lemon and lime essential oils. I have no idea what the original recipe would taste like but these were pretty good:

I don't know how many times I've said it now, but somehow after 12 years of motherhood I'm still shocked at how much my kids can eat. We go through a loaf of bread in one meal and that's without me eating any! :D

Of course, lots of food= lots of dishes. I have to say though, I'm super blessed to have this view in the daytime and a husband and son who do the dishes after dinner. :D 

It's still very warm around these parts- even for November, so we've spent more hours outside during lunch and right after school. I'm glad for the 75-80 degree range, and when it gets down to the 60's every now and then we {Texans} pull out the scarves and boots. We may be sweating but hey it's almost Thanksgiving and we're going to wear fall clothes, by golly.

Oh, and is it just me, or does homeschooling make you love daytime appointments too? Even if it means taking everyone to the eye doctor, it feels like field trip... :D 

Probably the two questions we get asked the most when we go out are "Are these all yours?" usually followed by "Do you want to have more?"

The look on almost every single face is complete surprise when we answer yes to both. :)

Is this season easy? No way, man.

Does getting in and out of the car feel a little like torture? Yes, if I'm being honest.

Is homeschooling tough? On its best day.

Is all this daily, tedious, exhausting effort worth it? 

When I see these precious faces I instantly know the answer...

Yes, yes, and YES.

It's not only worth it-- it is truly a blessing from the Lord Himself. :)

I'm so thankful for this crazy, busy, awesome life as a mama/wife/homemaker/chef/teacher/housekeeper.

Not to say I'm not totally looking forward to the day we get a 12-passenger van. :D

{p.s. you may never think that will happen to you... just wait until you have 6 kids :P}