Valentine’s Day Family Recap

Looking back, I think this was the first Valentine’s Day that I decided to go all out. I even decorated for breakfast and bought different pink treats to eat throughout the day! The kids were ecstatic! The table was decorated the night before which made it a little easier in the morning. Then when we woke up, we were able to focus on everything else we needed to do – make cards, fix breakfast, have coffee…1302blog_IMG_1162 1302blog_IMG_1161When I awoke, I found 13 hearts near my place setting. There was one for each year we’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day as a married couple. Some had little notes about that year and how many children we had or were anticipating. It was such a special and thoughtful gift from my husband!1302blog_IMG_1160Next, I was off to card making. Thankfully, we made daddy’s card the day before because it was such a huge undertaking. Making each card unique and special for our little ones is, also, something we enjoy doing.1302blog_P10709141302blog_IMG_1159 1302blog_IMG_1158 1302blog_IMG_1157 1302blog_IMG_1156Then, my hubby woke up and treated us all to a fabulous french toast breakfast. It was delicious and the kids’ tummies were thankful.1302blog_IMG_1164After breakfast we were able to wish Grampa & Gramma a Happy Valentine’s Day via FaceTime on my iPad. Technology can be great for staying connected!1302blog_P1070832Some of our pink treats were dried strawberries, berry gummies, strawberry applesauce, and pink frosted cupcakes (I’ll have an upcoming post on how I naturally colored these). My 3-year-old was elated with having all of the treats in her favorite color.1302blog_IMG_1168 1302blog_IMG_1167

What a splendid day we had!

Helping Hands at Home {A Gabby Mom’s Review}

Helping Hands

Bunched up wet towels, spots/smears on the mirror, soap squished in its dish… How I long to just shut the door and pretend that the bathroom magically has been cleaned! Then reality hits and I ponder how I can motivate my children to help conquer this area of our home. Thankfully, Lorrie Flem from Eternal Encouragement wrote a Kindle book titled Helping Hands at Home, so I didn’t have to ponder long. She has simplified this dreaded task and has changed it into something that you and your children can be proud of when finished.

When I received this as part of the Gabby Mom’s program, my first thought was, “I know how to clean, I just need to find the time to do it and show my children. I come from a line of Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners, surely this isn’t going to tell me anything new.” But, I was pleasantly surprised!

Now comes the test, will Lorrie’s tips work? So, I gathered our supplies and my 8-year-old daughter and went in to tackle the bathroom. As I explained each step and showed her what to do, her eagerness couldn’t be contained. She was ready to begin. Much to my surprise, soon after beginning, my 4-year-old son, also, came in asking if he could help. How thankful I was for their desire to help! I explained that I needed to show them first, then watch them do it, and finally I’d set them free to clean on their own. They both stayed, watched, and asked questions. It was simple, quick, and rewarding. When we were done, my daughter and I stepped back and said it was the best it’s looked in a long time.

The process and my enthusiasm must have worked. The next day came and my daughter was already asking, “When can we clean the bathroom!” Who knew by cleaning the bathroom in just 5 minutes every day, you can actually save yourself time rather than letting it build up.

Helping Hands at Home is filled with cleaning tips for your bathroom and kitchen. They are simple things that will help you and help you teach your children so you can pass these tasks on to them. Our children love to help and we just need to take that extra time to show them. Also, in the back of her book, she shares recipes for a few of her homemade cleaners. I’ve tried her “Soft Scrub” cleaner and it made the bathroom sink sparkle!

Right now, this book is available on the kindle for just .99! If you don’t have a kindle there are apps that you can download to your computer that will allow you to view the book. Finally, don’t forget to check out Lorrie’s other products over at Eternal Encouragement.

**I received this product for free as part of The Gabby Moms  program through Eternal Encouragement in exchange for my honest review.**

Cleaning Checklist to Motivate Moms

One of my goals this year has been to get a handle on cleaning. Not that my home isn’t clean, but its tidiness relies on my time schedule and what I’m in the mood to do that day. As a consequence, keeping up my home becomes an area that I fail in.

So, how do I solve this cleaning dilemma? Bring on the checklist! I’ve read blogs and books, tried paper lists (only to lose them) and nothing has worked. At least not until I thought about finding an app for my phone. When I searched, I found the Motivated Moms 2013 app. What a sanity-saver this has been! My phone is always with me, I can touch the screen to check off a task (no searching for a pen), tasks can be color coded for family members, and the lists are pre-made with the ability to change or add to them. How convenient!

This website offers a paper version as well. I’m sticking with the app! I’ve been using it for 2 weeks and have been amazed at how organized I’ve been. My trial period for the app ended today and I was faced with the decision whether to purchase or not. Although I wish it cost a little less (only because you have to purchase it each year), I made the choice to continue with it. So far, I really like how it’s keeping me on track.

This mom cannot thank Motivated Moms enough for such a simple and useful checklist. How are you doing with keeping your home clean? Tell me about your cleaning schedules and how you stay on track with keeping your home in order.


Staying Sane in 2013

When I examine my life in 2012, I see many things I liked and didn’t like. Time seemed to slip by with glimpses of joy and happiness, but more often with struggles and stress. Why I’ve allowed this, I cannot answer, but I can focus on changing it and not only stay sane in 2013 but be joyful in the process.

So, what are some areas I’m working on? Prayer time, bible study, marriage, time management, self-discipline, housekeeping, parenting, homeschool. It seems every area needs tweaking and adjusting. Where do I begin?

Well, blogging is one area where I can easily change and figuring out what works for me. My goal is to blog once per week and see how that goes. Then after January maybe I’ll add a 2nd day, but I think I’ll start small. Every Monday, I’ll post something new. My whole reason for blogging was to share my life, my story and anything I learn along the way. I tend to get so bogged down in details that nothing gets posted or I think it has to be perfect. Life isn’t perfect, so I think it’s okay if my blog isn’t.

I guess this fits into time management. This is a huge area of change for me. If my time can be brought under control, other areas will be simple to adjust. Blogs can be great at catching up with people’s lives or learning new ideas. They can be time-consuming as well if a plan is not in place.

Thank you for staying with me as I figure out how to stay sane and joyful in 2013! Next week I’ll share something that is helping me with my housekeeping, so stay tuned!

A Fresh Start in the New Year – Have Specific Resolutions

Tomorrow begins a fresh start for a new year. It’s a time for change. A time for pondering the events of the prior year and setting goals to better ourselves in the coming one. Yet, even with our best intentions, why do we have momentum and lose it only after a few months? Are our goals unattainable? Unrealistic?

For me, I think my goals tend to be too broad and not specific. Take the resolution of losing weight. This one is very common, but if we are looking at our achievement only from the scale, we might easily be discouraged. What about changing the goal to running once per week? That’s more specific and easier to attain. Here’s another one: spend more time with family and friends. Is this daily, once per week, month, year? The time isn’t defined which makes this goal difficult to reach. What about something like, eat dinner as a family 3 times per week or visit extended family once per month? Those are specific and easier to reach.

So, when making resolutions, narrow it down, be specific. Pray over what God wants you to do this coming year. He knows what is best for you! Then, choose someone to hold you accountable. Someone to track your success with. They can be honest if you are failing and encourage you to succeed.

Go ahead, make those resolutions and may you be blessed in the coming year! Happy New Year!

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Cooking Extravaganza {A Gabby Mom’s Review}

What do you do when mealtimes are stressful, your husband ends up rescuing dinner, and the kids are asking for something besides cereal for breakfast? You pray for a miracle! Well, although you could do that, I would pray for God’s wisdom and direction which is just what I did. One of the paths where He led me was to Eternal Encouragement, the website of Lorrie Flem. Her books and magazine had ministered to me in the past, so I searched her site for recipe books / menu planning. So, although I received this set to review, it has been in my home for over a year.

So, what does this Cooking Extravaganza set contain you might ask? 7 e-books/booklets + 1 printed book are included:

  • Bulk Cooking Tips & Tricks
  • Fill ‘Er Up
  • Healthy Sanity Savings Breakfast
  • Lorrie’s Favorite Recipes
  • Brianna’s Pizza Primer
  • Sensational Salads
  • The Secrets of the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies Made Simple
  • A signed printed copy of What’s for Dinner Mom?

What great resources for any homemaker to have!

Two of my favorite family meals have been the Chicken Enchiladas (Lorrie’s Favorite Recipes) and the Breakfast Cookies (Healthy Sanity Savings Breakfast). They are approved by all, even by my picky eaters, and are rather simple to make. What’s for Dinner Mom? is one of my main recipe books and I can’t say enough great things about it. Almost every recipe from this book is a hit at mealtime. What a blessing it has been! Pizza Primer has, also, helped me improve my pizza making skills and Fill ‘Er Up has brought ideas to mind for stretching my meals.

All in all, I cannot say enough about this set and how it started me on the path of sanity during our mealtimes. My husband is thankful that he no longer has to “rescue” the meals and I am thankful to have some variety on the table (the kids are, too).

This would make a great Christmas gift! In order to assure Christmas delivery (for the printed book), orders must be placed by December 12th.  If you’d like a chance to win this set, enter the giveaway at Lorrie’s Blog, Randy’s Rib. The winner will be drawn December 1st.

**In addition to the set I already owned, I received another set for free as part of The Gabby Moms  program through Eternal Encouragement in exchange for my honest review.**

Centered, Sane, and Growing Gratitude {A Gabby Mom’s Review}

Some days I wish I could start over. Sometimes I don’t feel like smiling. Some moments I wish I could take back. Yet, each second I am able to control the outcome. With God’s grace and His help, I can choose my attitude and either be centered and sane or unhappy and off course. Unfortunately, I find myself off course and unhappy more often than not.

This month the Gabby Mom’s reviewed 3 audios that included a fill in the blank pdf. The topics were “Centered & Sane”, “Growing Gratitude” and “How to Grow Gratitude”. These audios are part of a new collection from Lorrie Flem at Eternal Encouragement which will be available after November 1 at

Lorrie shared from her heart how she’s been able to grow gratitude in her home and how to stay sane and centered even though life is full of obstacles. She emphasizes how we have the power to control the tone in our home. If our attitudes are positive, it will spread. Smile more, laugh more, thank God for everything He’s given you. How I need to be reminded of this often! I’m always telling others to smile and be happy, yet maybe I’m being a little hypocritical. My smile fades when the roadblocks of life come up. Complaining and weariness set in when I feel like God isn’t listening to me. God has blessed me and provided for me in every circumstance. I can be grateful for many things in my life, but if my focus goes off of Him, my attitude goes as well. With His help I can climb over anything!My life isn’t perfect, but through imperfections and trials gratefulness can abound. Joy can exist in ever situation. It’s my choice as to whether I will smile or not. It’s my choice whether I will complain or be grateful. The positive attitude is powerful and it is a life changing choice! I’m so thankful for this timely audio set to review. It was a reminder to me that if I want change in my home it starts with me being centered on Christ. So, when life happens center your focus on Him and keep on smiling and being grateful!

Lorrie has done a great job providing tips and helpful advice on having a positive attitude! Remember this collection will be available on November 1 at You will be blessed by it!

**I received this product for free as part of The Gabby Moms  program through Eternal Encouragement in exchange for my honest review.**