Monday, September 28, 2015

Giveaway: Quack and Daisy

My daughter's friend Jax is autistic. But you'd never know looking at the class. From kindergarten, they embraced Jax, finding routines that work for him and ways to help him settle down on tougher days.

Five years later, they still celebrate "Free Hug Friday" - a free-for-all where everyone gets high fives and hugs. That's what I love about children. They don't understand differences as being bad.

And that's also what I loved about Aileen Stewart's book, Quack and Daisy. Set on a farm, a kitten and duckling meet between the barn and a pond to show readers that it’s okay to be friends with those that may seem different from yourself.

It's a sweet story with a great lesson for children, any day.

And you can win a copy!


Quack and Daisy giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

  Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. Contact Thaleia at s2ovaservices@gmail.comif you have any additional questions or comments.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Frugal Friday #2: An exercise in patience

I confess, my Frugal Friday post is a bit late, but not without reason. We've been dealing with illness the last two weeks in our home, and sometimes blogging just falls lower on the priority list.

This week's frugal accomplishments:

  1. Sold an extra pair of snowpants to a grandmother on the employee classifieds. Found out that her family's home had burned, and we're able to bless her granddaughter with some additional clothes from my daughter's closet.
  2. Carpooled to son's friends' birthday parties. (Sadly, yes, plural. We actually turned a third friend down for today. Too much!)
  3. Ate leftovers. (Sorry, it is an accomplishment, it's a tough habit to embrace.)
  4. Put my faith in God by putting in a contribution at church. It was a little one, but the habit of sharing, even when it is tough, is one I need to re-instate. I will try to build up to tithing eventually but am embracing consistency over quantity first.
  5. Documented all mileage for donations and volunteer hours for taxes.
  6. Had a "playdate" with my daughter and her friend that actually was a community service project vs. a go out and spend money activity. They loved making a difference in our community!
  7. Reached out to my fellow Girl Scout leaders to see what supplies they could collect in advance of an upcycled ornament event we are doing in December. (Being frugal, though it's not my money!)
What accomplishments did you have this week?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Frugal Friday: My little moments

I've decided to start journaling our family's frugal moments on a weekly basis. As we are now beginning our third month of unemployment, and were denied unemployment assistance by the state, we are having to buckle down even more. By journaling my moments, I feel like I can take more ownership of our family's situation.

Frugal accomplishments this week:

  1. I took my son shopping. More specifically, Christmas shopping. Each of my children had received a Toys R Us gift card as a thank you for their participation in a project. My son's first reaction was "I wish it was more" - a typical 7 year old reaction, but one that made me cringe. After some thought and prayer, we approached each kid with the idea they could use the gift card - to buy a Christmas gift for their sibling. He was not allowed to spend over (other than tax, which I would cover), and it was a great way for him to learn about budgeting and decision-making. It was a treat to take my son shopping (before the mad holiday rush) to let him casually, determinedly discover his best gift idea for his sister.
  2. I sent my brother to space. Yep, the little boy who went to space camp and dreamed of being an astronaut has now grown up to be a computer geek...who visits NASA for fun on summer vacation. So what do I get the brother who has everything? His name on a mission to Mars. (And you can too, but NASA's cutoff is Sept. 8!) So for Christmas, he's getting a framed boarding pass, hopefully with a space camp photo from his childhood.
  3. I came clean. Birthday parties seem like they are every week in September, and they can quickly become budget-busters. I sent a message to each of the moms, explaining our situation and asking what ideas they have for smaller things we could get. All have been gracious.
  4. I asked for prayer. We cannot live in this world on our own, and I'll admit this week has been difficult on a number of levels. When I hit my lowest, I reached out on social media, asking for prayers and support. Reaching out does your heart and soul good.
What frugal accomplishments did you have this week?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Putting God First: How to Make God the #1 Priority in Every Area of Your Life: A Review

Putting God First: How to Make God the #1 Priority in Every Area of Your Life

Rarely do I order an e-book and make it past the first page. Reading a book on my phone never ends well.

And then I ordered Brittany Ann's book, Putting God First: How to Make God the #1 Priority in Every Area of Your Life. I've read Brittany Ann's blog, Equipping Godly Women, for some time, and I was intrigued by what she'd say.

How could you not be attracted to a description like this:

Do you ever feel stressed, worn out, exhausted or overwhelmed? Like no matter how hard you work, how late you stay up or how much you plan and multitask, there simply is never enough time to fit it all in? Has quiet time with the Lord become a distant memory? And while you know you should change that, at the end of another long day, all you really want to do is fall into bed and sleep? 

Little did I know how much this book would touch my heart.

I scanned the first paragraph or two once my phone said the book was downloaded, then stopped. And read it.

And then I went to the next page.

By the end of the introduction, I was hooked - enough to share the book with friends.

Throughout my morning, I kept wanting to return to the book, and confess I was secretly relieved that the school called to pick up a sick child - so I could read while she watched her movie on the couch!

What was it about an e-book, written for a reading format I struggle with, that grabbed me so much to draw me from my daily work?

It was the fact that "life" was pulling Brittany away from the life she should be living in the Lord. She was overextended in the wrong things, and neglecting the simple tasks that could bring her peace and comfort. Being faithful to the Lord doesn't require long hours, but it requires mindfulness in Him. It requires a relationship, not a wish list and a check-off box.

For some time, I've been bothered by some personal habits of mine. Like the fact that I, who always felt uncomfortable when a phone meeting plowed through the overhead noontime prayer, now was rushing down the hall when I heard those words of faith over the intercom.

Or the fact that I was going through life without stopping to say grace, or if I did, it was while I was doing six other things for mealtime.

Or the fact, as I told my husband, "I don't have anything else to give."

So instead, I spent a sick day afternoon reading - and hopefully taking to heart - ways I can become a more godly woman. Not in the holier than thou variety, but one who just carries peace in her heart in the most difficult seasons.

I urge you to check out Putting God First: How to Make God the #1 Priority in Every Area of Your Life today. It's a fast read, and one that I hope will touch your heart as well. The book currently is free for download on Amazon, please grab your free copy today!