5 Fun & Free Ways to Shake Off the Winter Blues

5-fun-free-ways-to-shake-off-winter-blues

Guest post from Asheritah of One Thing Alone

If you’re anything like me right now, you’re counting the days until the temperatures rise and all the white stuff on the ground has melted and spring has arrived. And while booking a cruise to a tropical island sounds like a great idea right now, most of us just can’t afford that.

So to help you ward off the winter blues, here are 5 fun and free ways to make the most of these last few weeks of winter:

1. Build a snowman.

I know, I hear you: delving into the snow sounds like the last thing you want to do. But sometimes, heading outside can help make fun memories that make the time go by faster. So grab a friend (or your kids), bundle up, and head out in the snow. Who knows — you might just enjoy yourself.

2. Book a Movie Night

Getting snowed in is the perfect excuse to pop in your favorite movie and enjoy a bowl of popcorn. And since it still gets dark early in the evening, there’s no reason not to plan a movie night during the week, too.

(Bonus points if you set up a themed movie night. Morrocan dinner and Casablanca? Yes, please!)

3. Catch up on your Reading List

Most of us have reading lists a mile long. Rather than scrolling through our Facebook feed our watching yet another cat video on YouTube, pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read.

You’ll soon find yourself immersed in another world, and the snowstorm outside your window won’t seem half as bad.

(For tips on how to read more as a busy mom, check out this post by Crystal.)

4. Join a Lent Challenge

Typically, Easter comes right around the dawn of spring, so why not spend the 7 weeks leading up to it doing something that will give you a sense of purpose?

Lots of people give up something for Lent and find the practice very fulfilling. Others read through portions of the Bible with a group of friends.

This year, every day leading up to Easter, I’m thanking the people who make my life special. If you’re interested, you can join me in the #40Thanks challenge here.

5. Cozy up under the covers.

So this might not be for everyone, but for those of us who are married, there may be a lot of free entertainment waiting in our bedrooms. Why not take these last weeks of winter to spark the passion in your marriage and rediscover why you fell in love with your husband in the first place? You’ll likely spark a fondness that will grow all year long.

These may sound simple, but a little creativity goes a long way in making the bleak midwinter just a little brighter. Try one idea for each of the next five weeks, and before you know it, the warm sun will be warming your face — no credit cards required.

Asheritah helps overwhelmed women find joy in Jesus on her blog and through her books. She’s also the instigator of the #40Thanks movement, a challenge to see Jesus in the kindness of others. 

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Brigette’s $65 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6

Aldi

Aldi

1 5-lb bag Baking Potatoes – $1.69

2 2-lb bags Lemons – $3.18, plus receive $0.25 back from Checkout 51 – $2.93

Cabbage – $1.29

1 bag Mini Sweet Peppers – $2.29

2 3-ct packages Romaine Hearts – $3.98

1 2-lb package Red Grapes – $2.38, plus receive $0.25 back from Snap by Groupon – $2.13

3 16-oz bags Baby Carrots – $2.17

2 16-oz packages Ground Turkey – $3.78

1 8-oz can Baking Cocoa – $2.19

2 8-oz cartons Heavy Whipping Cream – $3.78

2 24-oz cartons Cottage Cheese – $4.50

1 package Mini Marshmallows – $0.89

1 8-oz package Mushrooms – $1.29

1 large bag Kale – $1.99

1 32-oz package Spaghetti – $1.59

1 4-lb bag Oranges – $2.49

2 dozen Eggs – $3.18

1 20-oz package Roma Tomatoes – $1.79 (I was so disappointed they were out of the advertised $0.79 grape tomatoes!)

2 16-oz cartons Egg Whites – $3.98

1 gallon Milk – $2.99

1 48-oz carton French Vanilla Ice Cream – $2.49

Total after Rebates: $53.41

Ollie's

Ollie’s

Ollie’s is a discount store right by our house that has a wide variety of discounted items. My husband was taking my children there to pick out some birthday presents for my soon-to-be-one year old, so I asked him to pick up some vanilla for me. Always the over-achiever, this is what he came home with. :)

4 jars (7-oz each) Pure Vanilla Extract

Total: $11.96

Care package

I was super excited that my Mom and youngest sister sent me a care package this week that included these favorites!

Weekly Total: $65.37

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Oatmeal and Fruit x 3

Scrambled Eggs and Toast x 2 (Veggie Omelettes for me)

THM Pancakes (from the Trim Healthy Mama book)

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, Fried Eggs

Lunches

Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches x 2, Grapes, Peppers

Baked Potatoes topped with leftover Chili, Carrot Sticks

Build Your Own Tossed Salad (Romaine, Kale, Assorted Fresh Veggies, Hard Boiled Eggs, Sunflower Seeds, Shredded Cheese), Crackers

Macaroni and Cheese, Oranges, Peppers

Leftovers x 2

Dinners

Three Cheese Baked Spaghetti (using ground turkey), Italian Garlic Bread, Tossed Salad, Steamed Broccoli, Ice Cream Pie (Birthday meal for my youngest!)

Chili (using ground turkey), World’s Best Honey Cornbread, Carrot Sticks

Meat Potato Quiche (using turkey bacon that I bought several weeks ago), Green Beans, Oranges

Fried Egg Sandwiches, Smoothies (using a combo of kale, oranges, frozen strawberries, frozen bananas)

Kielbasa with Potatoes, Cabbage and Carrots, Pull Apart Oat Rolls

Chicken Carbonara, Leftover Pull Apart Oat Rolls, Tossed Salad, Steamed Peas

Leftovers

Snacks

Smoothies, Black Bean Brownies, Popcorn, Pumpin Spice Latte (for me)

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3 Books I Read This Week & What I Plan to Read Next Week (+ win a stack of books!)

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3 Books I Read This Week:

Unstoppable — All in all, there was a lot of food for thought, motivation, and inspiration in this book. I think it would be especially encouraging for those who feel called to do something but are struggling because it’s hard, and heavy, and discouraging, at times. It encouraged me to keep going, keep running the race I’ve been called to, and keep persevering even on those days when I really want to give up.

This was one of my favorite parts of the book…

3 Books I Read This Week

Help Me, Jesus! I Have Nothing to Wear! — I heard the author speak at a conference not too long ago and loved her suggestions and tips for dressing well. I was so inspired, in fact, that I went and bought her book and had her do my color analysis at the end of her session. This book is a fun read with lots of pictures and practical application.

I didn’t necessarily agree with all of the conclusions, but I love how it helped me further formulate what my style is and how I can put outfits together in a way that compliment my shape, height, and personality. And it’s a good thing I had this help because I had to spent quite a bit of time working on putting outfits together this week (see my Instagram picture here for more details!)

The Cricket in Times Square — This book was a huge hit at our house with all the kids. It starts out a little slowly but quickly picks up into a fast-paced adventure that all of our kids loved. They would beg me to read extra every day because they enjoyed it so much. And we were very sad when we finished the last chapter.

3 Books I Read This Past Week

9 Books I’m Reading This Week:

Parenting the Wholehearted Child — Can I be really honest with you? Parenting books aren’t my favorite genre. In fact, I typically steer clear of them.

I was raised in an age and culture where many families followed parenting books and discipline plans to a tee and, well, much of the fruit from all that didn’t turn out so great. It left a bad taste in my mouth for the whole “follow steps A, B, and C as a parent and you’ll be a Godly family/good parent” etc.

So yes, I kinda prefer to stay far away from anything that remotely resembles a system or method of parenting. Because I truly have come to believe that there are no one-size-fits-all plans.

At any rate, I was hesitant to start this book because it fell under the “parenting book” genre. But I’m so glad that I did. I’m two chapters in and it is honestly turning out to be one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a long time.

I just want to sit and read the whole thing in one sitting. But on the other hand, I want to process it slowly so that I can take it all in!

She Reads Truth Lent Study/Bible — I am loving the Lent study so far… as I have loved all the She Reads Truth studies. Seriously, one of the best things I’ve invested in for my personal spiritual development and relationship with God ever.

3 Books I Read This Week

Stepping Heavenward — My new friend, Allison Burr, (who is not only been a huge blessing to my life by helping me with some business projects but is moving from Minnesota to just 15 minutes away from me this very weekend — I’m so excited!) sent me this book and said it was one of her very favorites ever. Can you believe I’ve never read it? I’m working on remedying that stat.

The Imagination Station: Book 16 — All the kids have been anxious for me to start this one ever since it showed up in our mailbox!

Love Without Limits – For years, Nick Vujicic has been a huge inspiration to me. I was excited to see that he had gotten married and is a dad now and am looking forward to reading this book from he and his wife.

The Relational Soul — This book came highly recommended to me by a friend. It looks intriguing and I can’t wait to start it.

Lizzy & Jane — So far, I’ve found this to be really engaging!

Long Walk to Freedom & Kaffir Boy — I’m slowly working through these as I seek to understand more about South African history.

See all the books I’ve read so far in 2015 here.

3 Books I Read This Past Week

Who Wants to Win FREE Books?

Leave a comment telling us what you read recently and you could win the stack of books shown above + a $5 Starbucks gift card!

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Listia: Trade in stuff you no longer need & earn free gift cards!

http://strk.enlnks.com/aff_c?offer_id=1938&aff_id=502

Have you tried out Listia before? It’s a site where you can list items you have that you no longer need or use and then you can earn free credit that you can cash in for gift cards — including Amazon gift cards!

Read more about how Listia works here.

Have you tried Listia before? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences!

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)
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Natural & Organic Coupons & Deals Round-up

Natural-and-Organic-Header

Here are the best natural & organic coupons & deals available right now, with thanks to Andrea from The Greenbacks Gal for compiling them:

Natural and Organic Coupons: Hot coupons this week include coupons for $0.75/1 Earthbound Farms Organic, $1.00/2 Sunchips, $0.75/1 Mary’s Gone Crackers, Check out the full list of coupons for Natural and Organic products.

Target: Target continues to have some hot deals. Get Plum Organics Soup for only $1.49 per pouch, and Bernie’s Farm Animal Cookies just $1.49 each.

Abe’s Market: Abe’s has a great deal on Water Wipes – get 3 packs of 10 for just $2!

Quooz Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser: People LOVE their Quooz diffusers. Get yours now and you can save $30 off the list price!

Andrea Green of The Greenbacks Gal is an organic coupon expert. What if you could find affordable organic and eco-friendly products on a budget? Eco-friendly moms need affordable solutions. Andrea finds the best green deals, helping hundreds of families save on the frugal, green lifestyle. Nothing makes her happier than to help people realize being organic doesn’t have to cost more.

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FOR MORE COUPONS, search our comprehensive Coupon Database for manufacturer coupons, printable coupons, eCoupons, and more!

3 freebies I got in my mailbox this week…

3 Freebies I Got In My Mailbox This Week

Here are the freebies that showed up in my mailbox this past week:

2 books from PaperBackSwap — I’m so bummed that PaperBackSwap is now going to be charging a small amount per transaction. I had some credit in my account that had built up over the years that I was able to use to cover the cost of an unlimited yearly membership. But after that year expires, I’m not sure that I’ll continue to use them. :(

1 free Degree Men’s Dry Spray — Jesse was really excited about this freebie! And it was such a generous size, too!

What freebies have arrived in your mailbox recently?

By the way, if you want to start getting great freebies in your mailbox, just start signing up for the freebies I post every day that interest you. Within 4-6 weeks, your mailbox will start filling up with great freebies!

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