Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: Growing Up Social

As a mom I've thought about parenting a lot, but there is one area that is new for all of us- technology and social networking. I've been able to curb the issue so far since the kids are so young, but I am kind of dreading the day when they are ready to really get online. So far their online experiences have been limited to educational sites and kids' videos on YouTube. And cell phones are banned until they have a car. :)

Growing Up Social is written by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane. It addresses some of the bigger issues with this overload of technology, like the tendency for people to ignore the real world while they are glued to their screens. A lot of people have already lost the ability to hold an intelligent conversation, and worse, how to appropriately talk in relationships. Think about all of the recent posts online about break-ups via text message. Technology cannot replace face-to-face interaction, and we have to teach the importance of real conversation with our children.

The chapters in the book are organized into two main sections- A+ Skills and Screen Time. Each one discusses a different aspect of what needs to be taught, such as affection and attention. They also focus on how technology affects aspects of parenting, like how much authority we have. The end of the book has a quiz to help you evaluate how much technology is affecting your home and a discussion guide to go with each chapter. 

Check out the trailer for the book to learn more--

Overall I recommend this book to any parent. Technology and social networking aren't going to go away and we need to learn how to work with it the best we can. Not only will we create a more peaceful and healthy environment in our homes, we will teach our children how to do the same later in life. 

You can learn more about the authors at their websites below: 

WIN your own copy of this awesome book- perfect for Christmas! Simply enter using the form below. Open to US only and ends 11/26.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review: InstaNatural Stretch Mark and Scar Cream

I don't know about you, but after having two kids, my body has changed a lot. Out of everything, my skin has probably suffered the most. I came across the opportunity to try InstaNatural and I figured it was worth a shot to try during this pregnancy.

I have tried several products for stretch marks and have not been able to find anything that I felt worked yet. I have used InstaNatural for a couple of weeks and I have noticed a difference already. My existing marks have faded slightly and I haven't had any new ones yet, even though my stomach is growing by the day. I like that it is all natural and overall I believe it's a good product. It is not greasy or heavy, and the scent is light and not overly noticeable. And most importantly- it does work.

I would recommend this product to anyone who is looking for something to work for them. Not every product is the same and some work differently for others. IF it doesn't work for you, InstaNatural has a lifetime guarantee so if you don't see a difference, they will give you your money back. 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cash for Christmas Giveaway Event

I'm excited to announce that I am co-hosting the Cash for Christmas Giveaway Event! This is perfect for the Christmas shopping season. Good luck!

MLA - Tammy Creative K Kids - Tammy
Tammy from My Life Abundant and Tammy from Creative K Kids have gotten together with a few of our bloggie friends to have a giveaway!

Cash for Christmas Giveaway $250 

 We are so excited to be giving away $250 in cash prizes for you to use starting Thanksgiving weekend.  Here are the prizes: 1 - $100 Amazon Gift Card 1 - $50 Target Gift Card 2 - $25 Walmart Gift Card 1 - $20 Khols Gift Card
Amazing. Right? Well, whats a gift card and getting up early, early to shop if you can't focus on your shopping.   So how about we add a $5.00 Starbucks gift card to each one of the prizes above!!
But wait. There is one more prize.
1 - $5 Starbucks Gift Card
Now its time to meet our wonderful co-hosts who have made this giveaway possible.

Starting at the top row we have:
Please stop by and say hi to these wonderful ladies and their blogs.
The giveaway will end midnight on Wednesday, November 26th, the night before Thanksgiving.  You will have 48 hours to respond to the email claiming the prize.  If you respond right away, we will get you the gift card promptly so that you can shop with it on Black Friday!  If we don't hear in 48 hours, we will choose another winner. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review: Purex Crystals Aromatherapy

I have been a Purex Insider for a couple of years now, and I am a big fan. The price is perfect, the quality is great, and they continue to push out new products. I love to see companies that are always looking for ways to improve and grow. 

If you've been in the laundry aisle this past week, you may have noticed the latest and greatest from Purex- Aromatherapy Crystals! 

Purex Crystals Aromatherapy comes in three great scents- Energy, Well Being, and Serenity.

I tried Energy and I really liked it! The package has oranges on it, but it doesn't smell like just oranges. That may sound like a weird thing to point out, but if you're anything like me, you don't want to walk around smelling like a fruit. The Energy Crystals smell bright and fresh, with a kind of tropical hint.

I received this product for a review less than a month ago and the bottle has been long gone. I bought two new bottles this week as soon as I saw them on the shelf! Seriously, you can't beat this kind of quality and the price. I spent half as much on these as I would have on the brand I used before. With a family of four, with one on the way, AND living on a farm, we do a ton of laundry. I am thankful to have options like Purex so that I don't have to spend an arm and a leg on supplies.

Let's be honest, laundry stinks- literally and figuratively. So,why not treat yourself to a little aromatherapy while you're getting it done? Of course a little wine or chocolate may not hurt either!

WIN your own! I am doing a quick giveaway with 3 winners. Check out the Rafflecopter form below- Open to US only! Ends at midnight 11/13!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Field Trip- Literally! {Farm Life}

Last weekend we had a rare opportunity to take both kids out to the fields to watch the guys work. Usually I can take Ethan in the mornings but it's too busy when Emily gets home in the afternoons. Needless to say, Emily was excited to get in on the action. 

We watched for awhile, but then the kids got to take turns riding along. One in the combine, and one in the grain truck! 

Emily in the combine, you can barely see her!

The boys in the truck- Jordan was SO sleepy.

Little Ethan in the combine.

Wondering why I'm making her stand in a field...

This is what shelled corn looks like! Photo courtesy of Emily

Oh, and here's my favorite part-- HARVEST IS DONE! Jordan has been home in time for dinner for the past two nights!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review: A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas

Jordan and I have been married now for five months! In a way it feels like yesterday, and in a way it feels like we've been together forever. He is my best friend and I couldn't be happier! 

If you know us personally, you may have noticed that I said five months and not four... We actually eloped a month before the wedding. The reason was simple- we had been living together in the same house and we weren't following the 'rules' according to the Bible. That conviction had been on our hearts and after a talk with our pastor, we decided we were ready to set things right with God and in our relationship right away. It was an opportunity to show the kids what we believe and how important God is in our family.

We had a very small ceremony with our pastor, a couple of witnesses, and of course, Emily and Ethan. After the ceremony we went out for dinner and celebrated being a new family. It was a sweet time and I am glad that we did it. The big wedding in June was more than I could have dreamed, but our ceremony before was a way to share something special as just the four of us. 

The last five months have been wonderful, but a good marriage takes work. Someone once told me that you are never truly 'done' working on your marriage. There is always more to learn, some way to improve, and ways to grow even closer together. 

I received the opportunity to review A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas, and I was very excited. What a great review for these newly weds! 

The book talks about one of the core principles in my marriage with Jordan, and that is how we prioritize our life together. God comes first, our marriage comes second, the children come third, and everything else falls after. The idea is that the closer you get to God, the closer you can grow together. And ultimately, the better and stronger your marriage, the better and stronger your family will be. 

This book is FULL of helpful and heartfelt information. With three main sections:

Part One: The Magnificent Obsession

Part Two: Growing Together

Part Three: The Journey Toward Love

Each section includes several chapters that break down each category. From the importance of a God-centered marriage to the 'art' of coming together as a couple to learning more about what love actually is. There is a lot of information to go over, but each chapter ends with questions to help you reflect on what you read, and a prayer. 

Since there is so much information, and I would like to really soak it in- I have made it about halfway through the book. The questions at the end have really helped me personally with connecting the concepts and reflecting on my role in my marriage. Considering the work it's helping me achieve in my relationship, I strongly recommend this book for other couples. You won't be disappointed!

You can find A Lifelong Love in bookstores and online, or you can win a copy right here! (Open to US and Canada only!) 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Kids Broke a Window Out of My Car... Now What?

The last few weeks have been insane... and to ice the cake of crazy- the kids threw rocks through one of my car windows. As a mom, I'd like to think I have a pretty high tolerance for things. Not that I let behavior go, but I generally don't let it get to me. This was one of my biggest tests.

Last summer, this same window was broken out while I was at school. The police said it looked like it was a result of heat (over 100° that morning). Lesson learned: don't leave all of my windows rolled up when it's hot.

Somehow I didn't think this lesson would be so simple.

The reality is that cars are very expensive. This car was listed online to sell, so the last thing I wanted to do was spend more money on it. Last summer, it was over $300 to get it fixed. I'm pretty sure I was over charged, but that was the number stuck in my head. Christmas is coming up, baby on the way, house to work on... We don't have $300 to spare!

As soon as I saw the car, I told the kids to go inside and get in their time-out spots while I took a minute. I haven't ever really blown up at my kids and I knew that as angry as I was, I didn't want to overreact. It was a big deal, but not the end of the world.

The first thing I did was take away their privileges for the evening, since they had about 3 hours before bed. Everything, except books, was off limits.

The second thing I did was ask them to get their piggy banks. I counted the money out with them and explained that it would be used to help pay for the window. Somehow they would help earn the rest, but I would need to think about that more.

The next day, I wrote out a list of jobs for the kids to do to help earn the money. Nothing too hard, but nothing too easy either- it is a punishment! The list includes things like helping clean up the car, cleaning bathrooms, weeding the garden, etc.

Each job done earns them 25¢ each. They need to earn $10 before their punishment is over. The idea is for them to understand that money is earned through doing work. But we kept the amount low so that they could each visualize the numbers.

Until the $10 is earned, no allowance or rewards.

Now that I've played the mean mom for awhile, I want to point out something-- Emily is 7 and Ethan is 5. They are too young to have jobs or have enough money for such a large expense, and these jobs are going to take a few weeks to complete. Realistically, we can't expect them to earn the full amount of money or to be miserable for several weeks. That's not fair and I feel like it would be more mean than beneficial. 

So, life is going on! We do 1-2 jobs a day, and the rest of the day is pretty much normal. Our last adventure was carving pumpkins. :)

What would YOU do if you were in my position? What do you think is fair for their ages?