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5 Things I’m Loving This Week (+ why I’ve fallen in love weight-lifting!)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

1. Reminders to Live Life with Abandon

This girl lives life with abandon. She doesn’t worry about tomorrow, she shows up fully for today and believes wholeheartedly that every single day is a good day to wear fancy hair — even if you’re just staying home all day.

I think God knew how desperately I would need constant reminders to embrace and celebrate life instead of just plowing through it in get-er-done mode, so that’s one reason He gave me this beauty!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2. ALDI

As I told you earlier, I was reminded just how much I love Aldi this past week.

If you are looking to lower your grocery bill and have an Aldi in your area and haven’t checked it out, please do yourself a huge favor and go check ALDI out. It is basically one of my lifelong missions to get as many people as possible to regularly shop at Aldi. So it would make my day/week/month to find out I had convinced another person to give it a try! 🙂

For more tips and encouragement on shopping at Aldi, check out my post here.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. Making Do With What’s in the Fridge

Now that I’m back to the menu-planning and grocery-shopping, I’m loving getting creative using with what’s in the fridge and freezer. One of the hit recipes from this past week was thisFrench Toast Bake. I never managed to get a photo of it, but it was a winner.

In typical Crystal style, I made some changes to the recipe. I used almond milk instead of regular milk. I used half almond milk/half half & half instead of cream. I used day old bread and hamburger buns I got marked down at the store. I used a mix of coconut sugar + brown sugar. And I used coconut oil instead of butter. Okay, maybe a few more than “some changes”, but even with all these changes, it was SO good!

In case you missed it, you can see our menu from this past week here. Pictured above was one night’s dinner — Chicken Sauce over Rice with broccoli and fruit (I was going to make a Chicken/Cheese/Broccoli Sauce over rice but changed my mind and did this instead.)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4. All The Light We Cannot See

I’ve been listening to this book on audiobook, thanks to the FREE OneClickDigital app from our library, and I’m truly loving it. It took me a few chapters to really get into and I almost gave up on it, but I’m so glad I persevered.

It’s truly a well-written and deeply moving book. I’m especially struck with the way the author crafts words and sentences as well as weaving together stories is inspiring.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. Weight-Lifting

I know I’ve talked about this a lot, but you’ll just have to pardon me while I (once again) gush about how much I’ve fallen in love with weight-lifting. Because I have. And I just can’t help but talk about it.

I’m especially loving it right now because I’m starting to really see the effects of all that time in our in garage gym every week. I feel so much stronger. I have muscles I never knew existed. And I feel more energetic and healthier than I can ever remember feeling.

I have gained muscle weight, but I’ve lost fat… and I’m truly seeing my body transform from being borderline too thin and lethargic, to strong, muscular, and powerful. I’m definitely nowhere near where I hope to be as far as my personal records go for maxing out reps and weights, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come.

As an added benefit, I feel like this is helping me having fewer mood swings, feel more emotionally and mentally strong, and am emboldened and braver by my weight-lifting success to step out and try new things.

If you follow me on Snapchat, I post often about my workouts (in case you’re interested or would love the regular motivation to make fitness a priority). This week, I got to celebrate the fact that I finally mastered Skullcrushers — something I’ve been working on for weeks. And I conquered some of my ongoing fear of squats.

You can read more about why I’m weight-lifting and what plan I’m using here.

What are YOU loving this week? Tell us in the comments!

Walgreens: Deals for the week of July 31-August 6, 2016


Here are the best deals at Walgreens this week, with thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher for her help with compiling these:

Balance Reward Points

Buy 2 Mitchum Deodorants at $3.99 (Buy 1, Get 1 50% OFF), Get 2,000 Balance Reward Points
Use $2/1 coupon from the 7/10 SmartSource insert
Free plus $2 moneymaker coupons and Balance Reward Points

Register Rewards

Buy 2 Colgate Toothpaste or 360 Toothbrush at $4, Get $4 Register Rewards
Use $2/1 coupon from the 7/24 SmartSource insert
Free after coupon and Register Rewards

Other Deals In Ad

Paper Mate Pens (10 pk) – $0.49
Use $0.55/1 coupon from the 7/31 SmartSource insert
Free plus $0.06 moneymaker after coupon

Sharpies (4 pk) – $1
Use $1/1 coupon from the 7/31 SmartSource insert
Free after coupon

Erasers ( 2 – 15 ct) – $0.25

Index Cards -$0.33

School Glue (4 oz) – $0.33

Dividers (5 pk) – $0.50

Sharpies Colored (8 pk) – $4

Backpacks – $4

New to shopping at Walgreens? Be sure to head over and check out Walgreens 101 where I explain in detail how to maximize the mileage of your money at Walgreens. See the full list of deals at Walgreens this week over at Passionate Penny Pincher.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Walgreens deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your Walgreens deals post will be deleted.

Rite Aid: Deals for the week of July 31-August 6, 2016


Here are the best Rite Aid deals this week, with thanks to Shannon for her help in compiling them. If you are new to shopping at Rite Aid or have questions about their coupon policy, click here.

Dial Bar Soap, 3 pk, or Liquid Hand Soap 7.5 oz, or Tone Bar Soap, 2 pk – 2/$4
200 ($2.00) Plenti Points wyb 2, Limit 2
Use $1/2 coupon from the 7/10 RedPlum insert
$0.50 each after coupon and points

Zest Bar Soap, 3 pk, or Body Wash, 18 oz – $1.99
Use $1/1 coupon from the 7/31 SmartSource insert
$0.74 after coupon

Pop-Tarts, 6 – 8 pk – $1.99
Use $1/1 printable
$0.99 after coupon

Peroxiclear, 12 oz – $7.99
Use $4/1 printable
$3.99 after coupon

Pepperidge Farm, Biscoff, Nonni’s, or Big Win Cookies – 2/$6
100 ($1.00) Plenti Points wyb 2, Limit 2
Use $1/1 printable
$1.50 each after coupon and points

See the full list of deals at Rite Aid this week here.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Rite Aid deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your Rite Aid deals post will be deleted.

CVS: Deals for the week of July 31-August 6, 2016

Here are the best deals at CVS this week, with a big thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher for her help in compiling them:

Buy 2 Body Armor (16 oz) at $1.50, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 1)
Free after ECBs

Buy 1 Crest 3D at $3, Get $1 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $2/1 coupon from the 7/31 P&G insert
Free after coupon and ECBs

Buy 2 Speed Stick Deodorant at $2.50, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $1/1 coupon from the 7/24 SmartSource insert
$0.50 each after coupon and ECBs

Buy 2 Propel (1 L) or Aquafina (25.4 oz) at $1.25, Get $1.25 ECBs (Limit 3)
$0.63 each after ECBs

Buy 2 Colgate Total Toothpaste at $2.99, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 4)
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 7/24 SmartSource insert
$0.99 each after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Colgate Toothbrush at $3.49, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 4)
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 7/24 SmartSource insert
$0.99 after coupon and ECBs

Buy 2 Hefty Slider Bags at $3, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $1/2 coupon from the 5-15-16 or 6-20-16 RP
$1.50 each after coupon and ECBs

Spend $30, Get $10 ECBs (Limit 1)

*Deal Idea*
Buy 4 Tide Laundry Detergent – $5.34
Buy 2 Crest Pro Health Toothpaste – $5.79 (Buy 1, Get 1 50% OFF)
Use $2/1 coupon from the 7/31 P&G insert
Use $2/1 coupon from the 7/31 P&G insert
Pay $18.04 out of pocket, Get $10 ECBs
$3.34 each after coupons and ECBs

OR

Buy 3 Charmin Toilet Paper (16 Roll) or Bounty Paper Towel (12 pk) – $9.99
Use $1/1 printable or $0.25/1 coupon from the 7-31-16 P&G
Pay $26.97 out of pocket, Get $10 ECBs
$5.65 each after coupon and ECBs 

OR

Buy 3 Pampers Diapers – $8.99
Buy 3 Puffs Tissues – $0.99
Use $2/1 printable
Use $0.25/1 coupon from the 7/31 P&G insert
Pay $23.19 out of pocket, Get $10 ECBs
$4.39 each after coupon and ECBs (Plus 3 boxes of Puffs)

Other Deals In Ad

Gold Emblem Tea – $1
Use $1/1 printable
Free after coupon

V05 Shampoo – $0.75
Use $0.50/2 coupon from the 7/31 SmartSource insert
$0.50 after coupon

New to shopping at CVS? Be sure to check out my CVS 101 post that gives you the full scoop on how to get the best bargains at CVS. See the full list of deals at CVS this week here.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your CVS deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your CVS deals post will be deleted.

3 Lessons We’ve Learned by Living Debt Free

debt free

Guest post from Dina-Marie of Cultured Palate

Becoming grape farmers was a huge lifestyle change for us with important lessons about financial freedom… but first let me give a bit of background.

In 2008 our family moved from Alabama (where my husband had been a chemist for 20 years) to west Texas, to start a vineyard. At that time, we had 8 children… and leaving the secure corporate world was a big step!

We were counting on the sale of our home to fund our vineyard expenses. We rented a small house within walking distance of the land and began work to turn the old cotton circle into a vineyard.

It took 5 years for the house to sell but during that time, we learned 3 valuable lessons:

1. Frugality and Good Stewardship Go Hand in Hand.

We were able to use our retirement and another small investment to pay the needed expenses to plant and care for the growing grapevines. But, when the money ran out, we were forced to make a choice – return to Alabama or do what it took to make things work without debt. To make ends meet, my husband and older children took a couple of paper routes. They would wake around 4 am, deliver papers, return home to sleep for an hour or so and then work in the vineyard.

When money is tight, perspective changes and items which would have been thrown out now have value. With eight children still home, I had made a monthly meal plan and knew how much each meal cost to serve. I was already in the habit of budgeting so I knew where the money went. Shopping sales turned into shopping thrift stores and coupons became a way of life. Getting staple items like laundry detergent, free or almost free, became a game I really enjoyed.

2. Working Together as a Family Strengthens Relationships

Who would ever think of a paper route being such a blessing! It paid our monthly living expenses and I got all the unused Sunday papers, so I had a wonderful stash of coupons!

All the children helped with the paper route, milking, chickens, gardening, and vineyard work which gave us a stronger family bond. Working together for a goal builds character and relationships!

With everyone working together, and with the Lord’s help, we made it through until our first harvest. Plus, we learned so much about frugal living.

3. Staying Out of Debt is a Choice

We were committed to stay out of debt, so we planned our home at the vineyard to be built in stages.

It took three years, but we now live in what will eventually be the basement. This past year after harvest we even started the upstairs by adding the first floor walls and roof.

Doing the work ourselves has saved money and taught important skills to the children.

Yes, it is slow but it’s worth it!

We have a debt free, comfortable home and have learned so much in the progress!

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Dina-Marie and her family live in west Texas on their family vineyard. She is the mom of 10 children and author of Cultured Palate blog where she shares about life on the vineyard and simple healthy living. Remaining debt free and encouraging others in financial freedom is important to the whole family. Home educating takes most of her time but she also enjoys cooking and gardening.