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28 Mar 2020   ·   6

The 3 Books I Finished Last Week (+ the 1 classic movie we watched)

Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

The Fourth Trimester

I was really excited to read this book as I thought it would be great for me to prep for birth and postpartum recovery — especially since I’ve struggled with postpartum depression/anxiety after all three of my pregnancies. (I think a lot of my struggles were related to not taking time to properly rest and heal after my births.)

Going into reading it, I knew the book wasn’t written from a Christian perspective and had a lot of influence from other religions in it. I was prepared for this. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting past a lot of those sections. So much of the advice just felt so self-serving and humanistic…  and some of the advice to ask for so much help and set such strong boundaries after the birth kind of felt like it was encouraging you to come across as a jerk. (Just being honest here!!)

That said, my big takeaways are that rest, good nourishment, and limited movement for the few weeks after birth are really important. Those are my hopes for this postpartum period for my upcoming birth and what I’ve spent the last few months prepping to make happen! This book definitely encouraged me to prioritize that.

Does anyone have suggestions of a good book for postpartum that encourages these things that might be a better fit for me (or something for me to recommend to others)?

Verdict: 2 stars

The Lazy Genius Way

I have heard of Kendra Adachi’s podcast (The Lazy Genius) but, truth be told, I’m not a listener. I think I may have have heard one episode way back when or maybe have heard her on another podcast, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge of her.

Despite that, I really loved this book! It’s well-written, funny, practical, and realistic. Kendra has the perfect balance of truth, humor, and grace sprinkled throughout it. She also makes you feel like you can actually get your home and life in better order (notice I didn’t say “perfect order” just “better order”? I think Kendra would approve of that language!)

I love her approach to be a genius about those things that truly matter to you and your family and to be lazy about those things that don’t matter to you and your family. I also found her light-hearted footnotes throughout the book to be a fun addition.

While I’ve read a LOT of time management, home management, and life management books, I still found so much fresh perspective and inspiration in Kendra’s book. And now I’m thinking I need to check out her podcast!

Verdict: 4 stars

The Gospel Comes With a House Key

Okay, I was a little scared to write this review, because it seems everyone I know absolutely adored this book. And, while I really loved parts of it, there were other parts of it that I just couldn’t stand behind wholeheartedly.

Let’s start with what I loved: I loved the author’s desire to encourage what she calls, “Radically Ordinary Hospitality”. It is a lost art in our usually-busy worlds and I think it is one of the biggest building blocks to genuine community and Christlike love.

I also loved that the book shone a light on foster care and the need for Christian families to prayerfully consider being involved in this ministry in some way. (You all know how passionate I am about foster care!)

That said, what bothered me in the book was that she presented hospitality almost as a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. That it’s only in the context of your church and neighborhood and that it pretty much always involves opening up your home for a meal.

While opening up your home is fantastic and serving food is great, I think hospitality can also be inviting a friend to the park or to coffee or to join you in a walk or reaching out to the lonely-looking person sitting on the sidelines at your child’s baseball game or inviting your co-worker to lunch… and a thousand other things.

For me, I believe hospitality is going to take on many different forms — because we all have different giftings and different spheres and circles we run in. I wish she would have talked much more about this.

The second thing I didn’t like in the book was that she was super honest about situations they’ve been through with other people — the good, the bad, the ugly. And in many cases, she shared a lot of details about conversations that I felt were private and not ones to be shared in a published book that anyone in the world might read.

I feel like there’s good chance some of the things she shared openly and in detail about very personal hurts and situations could very well damage relationships in her life — even some of those that might be ones she’s seeking to practical “radically ordinary hospitality” to.

(Maybe she got every single person’s permission to share what she shared and maybe each person was 100% okay with it… even then, I think many of the examples and conversations could have been omitted and the book would have still been as powerful. For me, it would have been even more powerful.)

And now I’m going to go duck from all of the rotten tomatoes I’m going to get thrown at me! 😉

Verdict: 3 stars

Classic Movie We Watched Last Week

The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it.

I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!)

Last week, we watched Mr. Bean’s Holiday — a movie Jesse and I had watched together a long time ago together and thought the kids might enjoy. They did enjoy parts of it, but they found it a little on the slow side and thought it drug on — especially toward the end.

(Note: I don’t think this actually qualifies as a “classic movie” since it came out in 2007, but oh well, we’re going to say it is since it was the movie we watched last week!)

What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??

28 Mar 2020   ·   2
Dollar Shave Club Starter Set

Dollar Shave Club Starter Set for just $5 shipped!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Have you been wanting to try Dollar Shave Club? You can get their Starter Set for just $5 shipped right now!

Dollar Shave Club Starter Set

If you’ve been curious about Dollar Shave Club, you can sign up and get a Starter Set for just $5 shipped right now! This also might make a unique gift idea for someone!

This initial Starter Set includes the executive razor handle, four 6-blade razor cartridges, a trial-sized shave butter, a trial-sized post shave dew, and a trial-sized prep scrub. This is a great value!!

I’ve been using Dollar Shave Club for quite a while now, and I really like it! You can read my completely honest review of Dollar Shave Club here.

Note: When you take advantage of this deal, it signs you up for the Dollar Shave Club membership that will renew after the first month at the full executive razor price of $9/month. Be sure to go into your membership settings and cancel (or change to a cheaper razor) if you don’t want to continue.

Stylized Dollar Shave Club Starter Set

Go here to sign up and get your $5 Dollar Shave Club Starter Set.

28 Mar 2020   ·   3

Brigette’s $88 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6

Aldi

Thankfully, our store was pretty well-stocked the day we went shopping. There were no fresh meats, and there were limits on most items – but I got all the essentials on my list.

2 pks Broccoli Crowns – $3.06

1 carton Baby Artisan Lettuce – $2.39

2 cans Green Beans – $0.76

1 pkg Baby Bella Mushrooms – $0.89

1 pkg Button Mushrooms – $0.89

2 cartons Strawberries – $1.98

1 bag Green Grapes ($0.59/lb!) – $1.09

1 bag Red Grapes ($0.59/lb) – $1.19

1 bag Baby Carrots – $0.89

1 bunch Bananas ($0.15/lb!) -$0.42

1 3-lb bag Jazz Apples – $3.49

1 bag Mini Sweet Peppers – $2.39

1 Cauliflower – $2.19

1 bag Mini Cucumbers – $2.09

1 carton Blackberries – $0.99

2 cans Diced Tomatoes – $0.72

2 cans Tomato Sauce – $0.38

1 pkg frozen Mixed Vegetables – $0.57

1 3-lb bag frozen Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – $5.59

1 3-lb pkg 73/27 Ground Beef – $7.19

1 16-oz pkg Deli Meat – $2.85

2 cans Chicken Breast – $1.99

1 pkg Beef Hot Dogs – $2.39

1 pkg Kielbasa – $2.35

1 pk Deli Sliced Cheese – $1.33

1 2-lb bag Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – $5.19

1 pkg String Cheese – $1.99

2 cans Pinto Beans – $0.98

1 can Baking Powder – $0.99

1 jar Bread and Butter Pickles – $1.38

1 pkg Taco Seasoning Mix – $0.29

1 can Baking Cocoa – $1.79

1 gallon 2% Milk – $0.97

1/2 gallon Unsweetened Almond Milk – $1.59

1/2 gallon Orange Juice – $1.59

1 can Whipped Dairy Topping – $2.65

1 32-oz carton Plain Greek Yogurt – $3.45

5 individual cartons Flavored Greek Yogurts – $2.94

2 dozen Eggs – $1.96

1 large box Corn Flakes – $1.09

1 large box Crispy Oats – $1.15

1 large box Crunchy Granola Raisin Bran – $2.19

1 box Clubhouse Crackers – $1.69

1 box Cheese Crackers – $1.49

1 bag Gluten-Free Pretels – $1.85

1 loaf Sandwich Bread  – $0.67

1 bag Mini Marshmallows – $0.89

Weekly Grocery Total: $88.85

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include:

Fruit, Cereal, Smoothies, Oatmeal, Toast, Fried/Boiled/Scrambled Eggs, Yogurt, Veggie Omelets, French Breakfast Puffs

Lunches

Deli Meat/Cheese Sandwiches, Apples, Cucumbers x 2

Crackers and Peanut Butter, String Cheese, Strawberries, Carrots x 2

Leftovers x 3

Dinners

Chili, Cornbread

Leftover Chili/Shredded Cheese over Baked Potatoes, Broccoli

Italian Chicken, Tossed Salad, Green Beans, Biscuits

Hot Dogs on the Grill, Broccoli, Baked Potato Wedges

Chicken Gravy Over Rice, Mixed Vegetables, Easy Italian Breadsticks

Homemade Cheese Pizza, Tossed Salad

Venison Roast in the Crockpot, Grapes, Roasted Cauliflower, Creamy Milk Rice

28 Mar 2020   ·   0

Earn money for taking surveys with Opinion Outpost!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

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Looking for more opportunities to make money from home? See my list of recommended survey companies here.

28 Mar 2020   ·   0
How to Teach Your Special Needs Child at Home

Free eBook: How to Teach Your Special Needs Child at Home

Need help with teaching your special needs child at home, due to the quarantine? Grab this free eBook!

Psst! Don’t miss this HUGE round-up of free educational programs for kids.

How to Teach Your Special Needs Child at Home

Download a FREE eBook about How to Teach Your Special Needs Child at Home.

This step-by-step crash course will help with:

  • How to set up your school space
  • How to create a workable schedule of only a few hours a day
  • What to teach
  • How to keep track of resources
  • A system for organizing your teaching materials
  • Why neurological organization is key to your child’s success
  • And teaching tips galore!

This program is designed to be used with your child’s current IEP, or you can choose to design your own program based on your priorities.

Go here to download the free eBook.

28 Mar 2020   ·   2

3 Steps to Start That Blog You’ve Been Dreaming Of!

Have you been dreaming of starting a blog?

As a blogger, I remember what it was like trying to get my blog started without the help of someone who knew the ropes — the wasted time and frustration trying to figure it all out by myself.

I don’t want your frustrations and fears to keep you from starting that blog you’ve always dreamed of!

And that’s why I’ve decided to offer FREE lifetime access to my one-hour introductory blogging class 3 Steps to Start That Blog You’ve Been Dreaming Of!

Go here to sign up!

28 Mar 2020   ·   0

T-Mobile Customers: Get Unlimited Data and 20GB Extra Hotspot!

Calling all T-Mobile customers! Check out this hot deal right now!

Right now, T-Mobile is offering customers unlimited data for 60 days (starting from March 13th)!

Plus, you will also receive an additional 20GB of smartphone mobile hotspot! This will show up as 10GB per bill cycle for the next 60 days starting from March 20th.

This is automatically applied to your account so you don’t need to do anything to get this offer.

Psst! Don’t forget Verizon is offering all it’s mobile customers a free 15GB of High Speed-Data! 

28 Mar 2020   ·   0

Free Krispy Kreme Dozen Doughnuts for Healthcare Workers!

Calling all doctors and nurses! You can score a free dozen doughnuts from Krispy Kreme!

Krispy Kreme is offering a free dozen doughnuts to healthcare workers beginning Monday, March 30th, and every subsequent Monday through May 12th!

Simply place your order in the drive-thru and show your employee badge at the window to get your free dozen.

Psst! Did you see healthcare workers can also get FREE coffee at Starbucks and possibly FREE Crocs Shoes?!

Thanks, Hip2Save!

27 Mar 2020   ·   6

Listening to Audiobooks with Kids 101

Are you interested in listening to audiobooks with your kids as a family? This is a must-read post on all things audiobooks for kids!

Psst! Be sure to check out how I listen to audiobooks for free. And don’t forget that you can get a FREE Audible trial with a bonus audiobook right now, plus Audible is offering free Audible books for kids!

Audiobooks for kids

Guest post from Kelsey of Orchard Reads:

I don’t think many of us would have expected just a few weeks ago that our kids would become homeschoolers indefinitely, but here we are!

Like many parents, you are probably scrambling trying to keep up with school work and entertain your kids and maintain some type of order and balance in this new season. You are probably also overwhelmed with offers for free educational programs, and it’s tricky to know what’s really going to be beneficial to your kids.

If I had one recommendation of a learning activity to add into your daily routine, it would be listening to audiobooks together.

Our family has found that listening to audiobooks has bonded us, educated us, and redeemed many hours my kids might have spent being “bored.”

Kid Listening to Audiobook

Sources for Audiobooks

There are tons of places to find great audiobooks for kids, but here are my three favorites:

Your Local Library

Each library system is different, but our library has an account with an app called Libby. If you download the app on your phone and put in your library card information, you have thousands of audio books at your fingertips that you can listen to wherever you are. One important note: These books sometimes have significant waiting lists. Most books I put on hold have between a 2-10 week wait, but sometimes you can get lucky and find them available immediately.

Once the libraries open up again, they also have a great selection of hard copy CD audio books. If you still have access to a CD player (we listen to these in our van), there are thousands of options to choose from!

Audible

When you sign up for an account with Audible, you’ll automatically get one month free that gives you access to one audiobook and two Audible originals. It does cost $14.95 after the first month, but there’s no requirement to continue.

Audible has TONS of incredible audio books for kids and teens, and if you can swing the monthly fee, it’s definitely the most thorough and readily available collection of audio books you can find anywhere.

HOT Deal: Right now they’re offering a bonus audiobook when you sign up for a free Audible trial — meaning you’ll get TWO free audiobooks plus two Audible originals!!

Audible also just announced that they’re offering FREE Audible books for kids while schools are closed! While it doesn’t have as many titles available, there are still lots of great books to listen to for free, no strings attached!

Librivox

This is an interesting site that offers thousands of free audio books that are read by volunteers from all over the world. They may not have a specific title you are looking for, but it’s worth perusing the catalog to find out.

Book with Headphones

Incorporating Audiobooks Into Your Daily Routine

Listening to audiobooks in the car is one of our favorite things to do, but now that we’re all mostly homebound, we have to transition to listening at home.

Here are some of my best tips for incorporating audiobooks into your daily routine with kids:

Let Your Kids Keep Their Hands Busy

Whether you let them play with blocks, legos, a train set, a drawing pad, play-doh, puzzles, or another toy, keeping little hands and bodies busy while listening to an audiobook always works best for our family. There is often squirming, arguing, and interrupting — but it’s still worth it!

Turn On Audiobooks When Your Kids Ask for TV

There is NO judgment on my part for letting your kids watch TV (ours are watching a movie as I write!), but we all know that sometimes we really do need to limit the screen time. Listening to audiobooks is actually incredibly similar to watching TV, but it requires kids to use their own mind and imagination rather than having the images displayed before their eyes.

Put On Audiobooks for Afternoon Rest Time

If you have kids who are too old for naps but still need a little bit of down time in the afternoon, audiobooks are the perfect way to give them some quiet time while also keeping them occupied. There are tons of audiobooks that are 30-60 minutes long, and I have found that these are perfect for rest times.

Work Through a Series Together as a Family

While it’s fun to listen to stand-alone audiobooks, it’s also fun to find a series that everyone enjoys and work through it together slowly. Not only does it give you lots of hours of listening, but it also creates sweet family memories since you will have invested so much collective time together.

Audiobook Titles for Kids

Best Audiobooks for Kids By Age Group

Are you interested in audiobooks for your kids, but you have no idea where to start? Here is a list of our favorite 10 audiobooks for each age group!

We have listened to every one of these audiobooks and can personally vouch for the fact that they are meaningful, entertaining, and worth your time. They are also all available on Audible, so if you start the free Audible trial you can listen to at least two for free:

Ages 1-3

Amelia Bedelia Collection (Peggy Parrish)
The Complete Adventures of Curious George (H.A. Rey)
Henry and Mudge Series (Cynthia Rylant)
Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss (Dr. Seuss)
Berenstain Bear’s Stories (Jan Berenstain)
Frog and Toad Series (Arnold Lobel)
Little Bear Series (Else Holmelund Minarik)
Pete the Cat Series (Eric Litwin)
Pinkalicious Series (Victoria Kann)
Fly Guy Series (Tedd Arnold)

Ages 4-5

The Courage of Sarah Noble (Alice Dalgliesh)
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (Alice Dalgliesh)
26 Fairmount Avenue Series (Tomie DePaola)
Phoebe the Spy (Judith Griffin)
Mercy Watson (Kate DiCamillo)
My Father’s Dragon Series (Ruth Stiles Gannett)
James Herriot’s Treasury (James Herriot)
Barkus Series (Patricia MacLachlan)
Anna Hibiscus Series (Atinuke)
The Lighthouse Family Series (Cynthia Rylant)

Ages 6-8

Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Beverly Cleary)
Riding Freedom (Pam Munoz Ryan)
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh (Robert C. O’Brien)
The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate)
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (Karina Yan Glaser)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Brian Selznick)
The Trumpet of the Swan (E.B. White)
Understood Betsy (Dorothy Canfield Fisher)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)

Ages 9+

Esparanza Rising (Pam Munoz Ryan)
Number the Stars (Lois Lowry)
The Giver (Lois Lowry)
Where the Red Fern Grows (Wilson Rawls)
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Mildred Taylor)
Julie of the Wolves (Jean Craighead George)
Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson)
Tuck Everlasting (Natalie Babbitt)
The Twenty-One Balloons (William Pene du Bois)
Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott O’Dell)

Our Favorite Series

Little House on the Prairie (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
Ramona (Beverly Cleary)
Henry Huggins (Bevlery Cleary)
Little Britches (Ralph Moody)
The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)
The Magic Tree House (Mary Pope Osborne)
The Boxcar Children (Gertrude Chandler Warren)
The Penderwicks (Jeanne Birdsall)
Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren)
The Great Brain (John D. Fitzgerald)

I hope that as you hunker down in your home these next few weeks, audiobooks will become a big part of your family’s new routine!

Related:

Kelsey is a pastor’s wife, mother of four, book lover, piano teacher, worship leader, and home economist. She writes about her family’s favorite books at orchardreads.com.

27 Mar 2020   ·   3

Adidas Women’s Essentials Cloudfoam Pure Shoes only $25.99 shipped (Reg. $70!), plus more!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Need new sneakers? Check out these HOT deals on Adidas shoes!

Adidas is offering an extra 30% off shoes and more when you use the promo code MARCH30 at checkout! Plus, shipping is free when you join the Adidas Creators Club (free to join)!

Here are some deals…

Get these Adidas Women’s Essentials Cloudfoam Pure Shoes for only $25.99 shipped after the code (regularly $70)!

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Get these Adidas Women’s Originals Continental 80 Shoes for just $28 shipped after the code (regularly $80)!

Get these Adidas Men’s Essentials Energyfalcon Shoes for only $25 shipped after the code (regularly $70)!

Get these Adidas Men’s Essentials 90s Valasion Shoes for only $28 shipped after the code (regularly $80)!

Get these Adidas Children Essentials AltaRun Shoes for just $16.10 shipped after the code (regularly $45)!

Get these Adidas Children Essentials Runfalcon Shoes for only $17.50 shipped after the code (regularly $50)!

Shop the entire Adidas sale here.

Valid through March 29, 2020.

27 Mar 2020   ·   0
Easter Giant Table Top Coloring Pages

Giant Table Top Coloring Pages only $7.99 + shipping!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Looking for something to do as a family during quarantine? These Giant Table Top Coloring Pages look like so much fun for the whole family!

Easter Giant Table Top Coloring Pages

Jane has these Giant Table Top Coloring Pages for only $7.99 + shipping right now!

Choose from three sizes and 33 different designs.

Shipping is $4.49 for the first page and $0.49 for each additional page shipped within the same order.

Psst! We love Jane! Looking for other great Jane deals? Check out our custom Jane page for more of our hand-picked favorite deals each day!

27 Mar 2020   ·   0

Up to 80% off Vera Bradley Purses & Bags + Free Shipping!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Love Vera Bradley? You can get up to 80% off purses and bags plus free shipping right now!

Right now, Vera Bradley is offering an extra 30% off clearance sale – no promo code needed! Plus, shipping is free!

Get this Weekender Travel Bag in Lilac Medallion for just $42 shipped (regularly $120)!

Get this Factory Style Little Hipster in Tropical Paradise for just $12.25 shipped (regularly $58)!

Get this Mailbag in Superbloom for just $21.70 shipped (regularly $88)!

Get this Factory Style Coin Purse in Pueblo for just $4.20 shipped (regularly $19)!

Shop the entire Vera Bradley sale here.

Thanks, Passionate Penny Pincher!

27 Mar 2020   ·   0

*HOT* FREE $10 purchase at The Children’s Place after cash back!!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Love shopping at The Children’s Place for your kids? You won’t want to miss this RARE offer from TopCashBack!!

TopCashBack is offering $10 cash back on ANY $10 purchase at The Children’s Place, making it FREE!

Here’s how to get your FREE $10 The Children’s Place purchase:

1. Head here for the special The Children’s Place offer and sign up for a new Top Cash Back account.

2. Make a purchase valued at $10 or higher. Shipping is FREE.

3. Within 21 days, your TopCashBack account will be credited with $10 — enough to cover your purchase!

4. After you receive the $10 payment in your Top Cash Back account, you can choose to transfer it to your bank account or request a Paypal payment.

This is for new Top Cash Back members only. If you are already a member, you are allowed to sign up another adult in your household.

This deal is valid through April 18, 2020 — or while supplies last.