Have you signed up for PINCHme yet? If not, be sure to sign up and check back tomorrow, January 23rd, at Noon EST for this month’s freebie sample box!
These are the free samples that will be available for today’s box (not all samples will be available to everyone):
- Olay Total Effects Whip
- Dove Exfoliating Body Polish Crushed Macadamia & Rice Milk
- Garnier Whole Blends Gentle Shampoo & Conditioner Oat Delicacy
- Make Up For Ever ULTRA HD FOUNDATION – 5 color variations
- thinkThin® Protein & Probiotics Powder
- RXBAR® Kids Protein Bar
- Clairol Nice ‘N Easy Permanent Hair Dye 100% Free Gratuity Coupon
PINCHme releases these sample boxes once per month. They are filled with great brand-name samples that you can try for free in exchange for your feedback on the products.
The samples always go super fast, so be ready to grab your freebies right at Noon EST tomorrow!
Welcome to my weekly post I share a peek into our lives, talk about things I’m loving, share links to interesting articles or helpful ideas I’ve collected throughout the past week, and just talk about whatever is on my heart! 🙂
This past week was full of unexpected changes of plans and learning to be flexible! The week began with the kids being off school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Then, a snow and ice storm was predicted for Tuesday morning, so they were off school again on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday (because the snow and ice were still on the ground) and then one was off on Thursday, one had a late start, and one had a normal day.
We didn’t end up having a “normal day” until Friday. In addition, this meant that many other plans for the week were cancelled or changed, too. And that much of the week was pretty up-in-the-air while we waited for the roads to clear and the sun to come out and melt the snow.
I’m not the most flexible person and don’t usually do well when I don’t know what’s going to be happening or what the plan is. But I’m grateful that God has been teaching me and growing me in this area and, overall, I was able to have a really calm and cheerful attitude this past week — even though my neat little plan went out the window. 🙂
On Wednesday, my Offline Day, the kids were off school, too. So we got to have an incredibly relaxed day. See my post on that Slow Day here.
Speaking of my Slow Day, when I made the commitment to have Wednesday be my completely offline and unplugged day every week in 2018, I honestly didn’t know if I could do it.
I mean, hello, I run an internet-based company that is our family’s livelihood and the livelihood of my employees’ families.
What if me going dark in the middle of the week put too much strain on the business? What if it meant a nosedive in profits?
The first week, it was stressful leading up to Wednesday. I worked extra hours to get everything in place so I could go offline. I felt anxious about it.
And Jesse even looked at me Tuesday evening and said gently, “The whole point of you going offline is so you can slow down and have a sort of Sabbath in the middle of the week. If it’s going to cause you this much stress leading up to it every week, it’s probably not worth it.”
I responded, “I know I’m stressed about this, but I also know that it’s always hard to change habits and pave new paths. It might take me a few weeks, but let me stick with it long enough to know whether I’m making a big mistake or not. I don’t want to give this idea up too soon.”
He agreed and we went to bed that Tuesday night. And then my Wednesday offline day happened — and it was AMAZING! And I knew it was exactly what my soul needed to have more breathing room.
The second Wednesday, there wasn’t so much tension. I only had to work a little extra. And it was, again, an amazing thing to experience a middle of the week offline day.
This past week, there was zero stress leading up to Wednesday. Instead, there was sheer anticipation and, dare I say it, giddiness? Especially because it was a Snow Day, the kids were home from school, and almost everything was cancelled!
And it was another incredible offline day — I did very little other than sleep, hang out with my family, read, work on a few fun projects around the house, and go out with a friend.
On Wednesday night, as I was out with my friend, I found myself glowing and gushing and telling her, “I realize I’m so much happier and more excited about life because of this change! It was worth the struggle!”
The kids made a LOT of slime this week. Kaitlynn taught Silas how to make different kinds of slime and he was very proud of his creations!
I made one of our old stand-by recipes, 4-Ingredient Breakfast Casserole, for dinner on one of the snow days! Yum!
I got another Fix from Stitch Fix and I did an really honest unboxing of it. See the video here. (Also, did you know you can try Stitch Fix for FREE right now? They are waiving the styling fee for your first box through the end of January! Sign up here.)
I told you that one of my goals this year was to stop waiting for community to show up at my door & to start being the invitation.
Many of you have expressed to me that this is your heart’s desire, too, but that you don’t know where to start.
I’m learning that it begins with a simple willingness to say yes & go first.
To be the one to get brave & say, “Hey, I don’t know you very well, but would you like to grab coffee with me?”
OR, “I know you don’t know me that well, but you just moved here and don’t have a lot of support. Can I babysit your kids so you could have a date night with your husband?”
OR, “My daughter is loving getting to know your daughter at school. Could I pick her up to come over to our house for the afternoon after school?”
I’m learning that when I start looking for opportunities to exercise hospitality, I begin to see them all around me.
This past week, hospitality looked like taking my daughter & her friend out on their day off from school, a few hours at Panera with another friend after dinner, inviting a new friend to start a weekly book study with me on Saturday mornings, & coordinating a birthday Girlfriend Get-Together on Friday night for my friend, Bekah.
That last idea was so simple, but it turned out to be a sort of magical night. I texted Bekah a few weeks ago & asked her to pick a date, a place, & send me a list of 5-10 friends she’d love to invite.
I didn’t know any of the women who came beforehand, but we all felt like close friends when we left. We laughed, we cried, we shared about how Bekah has impacted our lives, we told hilarious stories that shall not be put on the internet, we ate incredible food, & we all left feeling filled up.
You guys, I almost talked myself out of texting Bekah and asking. I usually come up with great ideas and then chicken out based upon past rejection and insecurities.
But we would have ALL missed out had I let my silly insecurities be the boss of me.
I’m so inspired to continue to say yes, to send that invite, to show up, to go first, & to just open my door…even though I know there will be many uncomfortable moments, you have to experience the awkward in order to experience the awesome.
It’s not the perfect parenting book. Or the right chore chart. Or whether we feed our kids enough organic food. Or if we homeschool. Or if we give our kids enough opportunities. Or if we protect them enough…
We can’t save our kids, bubble wrap our kids, fix our kids, or transform their hearts.
We can sure exhaust ourselves trying, though. We can stress and worry over them. We can feel frustrated and overwhelmed by their actions. We can live in fear over their futures.
But none of that accomplishes anything worthwhile.
There is one thing we CAN do and that is to pray. And I believe it’s one of the greatest things we can do on behalf of our kids
Because — as I am learning anew — prayer changes us. One thing I try to do almost every day is to I start my day on the treadmill running & praying over the day and praying for Jesse and each of my kids.
It’s an important piece of my day… to acknowledge my need for God’s help in my parenting, to pray for specific areas where my kids are struggling, to thank God for how He’s working in their hearts, to release my stresses and frustrations in parenting to God, and to ask Him to give me grace to love each of my kids in a way that makes them feel loved.
I’ve noticed that this time in prayer for my kids not only calms me and helps me to rest in Christ’s finished work on the Cross, it also changes my heart and attitude toward my kids, too. You see, I’m much more apt to respond to them in grace and love when I’ve just prayed that I can love them well and walk with them well! 😉
2018 Goals Update
1. Read 100 non-self-help books that will build me up/encourage me/inspire me/recharge me. (Fiction/story-driven/biographies/inspirational living books/devotionals.) See the list of 44 books I plan to read this year.
**Progress: 4 books read so far (look for a book update coming tomorrow)
2. Read through the entire Bible.
**Progress: I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan and am on Day 21 — yay!
3. Write one handwritten note to someone every week.
**Progress: 4 notes written total this year so far
4. Run 500 miles.
**Progress: 29.5 miles run so far
5. Go on an overnight trip with Jesse without the kids.
6. Read 10 books aloud with the kids.
7. Take the kids to South Africa.
8. Go on a family road trip.
9. Save up to pay cash to finish off an office for me and workout room for Jesse and me in the basement in our new house.
10. Replenish our Emergency Fund (we dipped into it to replace my car when it got totaled because of the carpet beetle infestation.)
11. Increase our gross income from the business by 8%.
12. Launch 5 new courses.
**Progress: 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life launched in January and we’re currently working on finishing Content Creation 101 — a new YourBloggingUniversity course!
Links You Should Check Out
- Our Completely Honest Experience With MoviePass (This post I wrote this week has been re-shared hundreds of times on Facebook already!)
- I’m Co-Hosting a Class on Becoming a Virtual Assistant (Have you signed up yet?)
- My Amazing $20 Thrift Store Haul (This was inspiring!)
- What I Read & Watched Last Week (Plus, some links on how I find time to read.)
Welcome to my weekly Slow Day post, inspired by Monica from The Homespun Heart. My Word for 2018 is Slow and, in the spirit of that word, I’m taking one day each week (Wednesday) off — I’ll be unplugged and offline and plan to move at a slower pace, take time to do things that refresh me, and just really focus on being present and savoring the moment.
Each Saturday, I’ll be sharing a photographic peek into my Slow Day — and I’ll let the pictures almost 100% speak for themselves, instead of giving many explanations. Enjoy a little peek into our lives!
Links to Items Shown in the Post:
- Fireside Vanilla Spice Tea
- Electric Teapot
- Mom Set Free
- She Reads Truth Bible
- Courage to Soar
- Daddy Long Legs
- The Next Right Thing Podcast
- How I Drink a Gallon of Water Every Day
- This is Us
- My Latest Stitch Fix (+ did you see that you can try Stitch Fix for FREE right now?)
- Surprise Ride Activity Box
2 big bags Red Grapes (4.63lbs @ $0.89/lb) – $4.12
2 pkgs Baby Carrots – $1.58
1 10-lb bag Russet Potatoes – $3.19
1 bunch Bananas (3.03lbs @ $0.33/lb) – $1.00
1 Pineapple – $0.89
1 head Cauliflower – $1.79
1 16-oz bag Mini Cucumbers – $1.59
1 bag Fresh Green Beans – $1.39
2 bags Radishes – $0.98
1 pkg Mushrooms – $0.49
1 pkg Romaine Hearts – $1.59
1 large tub Organic Spring Mix – $3.49
2 pkgs String Cheese – $3.98
1 pkg Turkey Bacon – $1.89
1 64-oz carton Cashew Milk – $2.49
2 gallons Whole Milk – $3.12
1 64-oz carton Orange Juice – $1.59
2 dozen Eggs – $1.98
1 5-lb bag Flour – $1.19
1 bag Nacho Tortilla Chips – $0.75
1 bag Pretzels – $0.85
2 16-oz bags Shredded Cheddar Cheese – $4.30
2 12-oz bags Shredded Italian Cheese – $3.18
1 can Parmesan Cheese – $2.29
1 32-oz box Spaghetti Noodles – $1.09
1 can Baking Cocoa – $1.89
1 pkg Sliced Pepperoni – $1.95
2 loaves Sandwich Bread – $1.35
So after I went to Aldi, I stopped by the brand-new Lidl that was just opened down the street from Aldi. I didn’t actually *need* anything, but I spent quite a while shopping and price-comparing. I’ve got to say – I was pleasantly surprised! This European-based discount grocery store has a lot to offer, and the prices are mostly comparable to Aldi. It is bigger than Aldi – so more selections – and it has an app that you can download and clip coupons! I went ahead and picked up a few things since I was there, and I will definitely be going back in the future. 🙂 Do any of you shop at Lidl?
2 huge bags of frozen Green Beans (35.3oz each) – $3.78
1 large can Chicken Breast – $1.55 (I buy canned chicken at Aldi to use on salads – but this price was significantly cheaper. I only bought one can so I could try it before buying a bunch)
1 pkg Hot Dog Buns – $0.59
1 12-oz bag 2% Mozzarella Cheese – $1.59
1 pkg Gluten-Free Baking Mix (Super excited to find a mix with only a few ingredients, all of which I can actually have right now in the middle of an elimination diet!) – $3.99
Grocery Total for the Week: $67.49
Weekly Menu Plan
(For those who don’t regularly follow my posts: I buy my chicken and beef in bulk from Zaycon. I usually only place/pick-up an order every few months. I have several orders coming up in the next 6 weeks, so if you want to see these bulk purchases – keep reading! Also, my husband is a hunter and generally gets 4 deer each hunting season. We eat a lot of venison. 🙂 All of the meat in my meal plan this week – other than the bacon – will come from the stash in my freezer.)
Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include:
Cold Cereal, Fruit, Oatmeal, Toast, Fried/Scrambled/Boiled Eggs
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Grapes, Carrots x 2
Baked Potatoes with Cheese, Fresh Veggies and Dip x 2
Snacky Lunch: Pretzels with Peanut butter, Cheese Sticks, Grapes, Cucumber Slices
Leftovers x 2
Venison Hash (this was given, already made, to us by a friend and we need to use it up!) over Rice, Fruit Salad, Steamed Buttered Carrots
Homemade Pepperoni Pizza, Breadsticks with Marinara Sauce, Tossed Salad
Venison Roast in the Crockpot, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Baked Chicken Thighs, Easy Whole Wheat Muffins, Roasted Cauliflower
Taco Salad, Spanish Rice
If you have purchased Align Probiotic Supplements between March 1, 2009 and June 6, 2016, you might be eligible to receive $15.88 per product purchased due to a Class Action Settlement involving false claims about the products.
There is a limit of $49.26 per household.