Monday, November 18, 2013

Cupcake Date for around $5

So a while back I wrote about my Top Ten Favorite Toddler Dates under $5

One of my most constant prayers is for the Lord to help me reach my children's hearts.

You reach their hearts by spending time with them loving them and affirming them. God made each one of us with a deep sense of wanting to be loved and appreciated by someone.

Having your children's hearts lets you be their #1 influence. Whoever has their hearts will also have their ears and will be a significant influence. And the biggest and most important influence you could have is to teach them about the Love of Christ and His extravagant grace.

It is really important to my husband and I to cultivate those relationships with our kids. We want to really know them. And to really know them you have to spend time with them.

They won't remember the specific toys or birthday presents but they will remember time spent and if I pursued them. Do I make them feel valued and affirmed?

So with all that being said I want to share with you about a little gem we have in our area.

Sassy Sweets.

It is where I took my daughter for a mommy/daughter date one day after getting some groceries.

We each had a cupcake and just talked and laughed about anything and everything a 3 1/2 year old wanted to talk about. No technology- Just chatting. It's quite fun and refreshing to enter the world of a 3 year old!

Sassy Sweets is the cutest place! I am so glad to have it in our area.  It is decorated in all glitz and glam with peacock blue, black, sparkles, glitter, and bling.

What a great place to take a little girl out for a date! Even if the whole "girly" thing is "not your thing". Bling and Cupcakes are always cool. It's always good to have a little refined in with your rough and tuff.

My daughter enjoyed looking at all the decorations and pointing them out to me. She was delighted.
Even the bathroom was blinged out!

Life is a gift to be cherished and celebrated.

 Sassy Sweets is a great place to celebrate life, love, and relationships.

The atmosphere is spectacular and not to mention the great service and that excellent cream cheese frosting!

Now go- Be Awesome and Eat a  Cupcake-Invest in a relationship today!

Chime In:

What is your favorite date with someone under 4?

PS: We had so much fun that we had to go back!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Creating a Family Culture

Join The Adventure

Who doesn't love adventure and fall? This time of year is just so cozy!

Can you say Pumpkin Pie? Pumpkin Spice Latte? Campfires? Chili Dogs? Hikes through the woods?  and lots of snuggling!

We recently took our family on a hike. Our kids call it an
 " adventure".

It is hard work but so worth the effort.

My husband and I enjoy backpacking and camping together. But, having such small kiddos can make it a little bit harder to do those types of things as a family.

But bringing them along with you on the adventure is so worth it!

Doing things as a family builds unity and helps tie those hearts together.

What you do with them today is shaping your legacy for tomorrow. 

Doing things together- especially things that you love- are huge in building your family culture.

Our kids had a great time and are still talking about the "adventure" and asking when we are going to go on the next one.

Was it hard for us taking 3 kids under 3 years old on a 2 mile hike? Well..... a little.
Our 7 month old was obviously carried the whole time and 2 year old man got a piggy back ride on the last 1/2 mile out from mom. (Can I please just add that it was up hill!? Good thing I like to exercise and have an awesome running partner who keeps me in shape! lol)

The memories made and the joy from the kids are worth every iota of effort to make things like this happen.

God is so cool that he created family. He basically created a "small group" for you to hang with and do life with. Ummm Awesome!

But creating and cultivating a small group that wants to be together will take effort on our part.

We must put forth the effort to build a family culture and create an atmosphere of love, comfort, and security- all while pointing them towards Jesus. 

In Proverbs- It says:
"The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands" Proverbs 14:1
Building a house will take intentional effort.


"Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain." Psalm 127:1

Unless you are building your house on the Lord- It will not matter. So the most important thing when building your family culture is that Jesus is the center of it.

What kind of house do you want to build? 
What kind of family legacy do you want to leave for Christ?

So don't be afraid- plan something fun as a family. It might take a bit of effort but it is totally worth it.

It doesn't have to be elaborate. It just needs to be together. Ours was free! We are blessed to live at the foot of the Ozarks in Arkansas so there is lots of outdoors stuff to do in the fall.

Take advantage of this awesome season and go build your family culture.

What do you like to do as a family in the fall?


Monday, November 11, 2013

Family Life Luncheon

So last Monday was super cool for me.

I was super blessed to attend a luncheon at the Family Life building in Little Rock and meet some super cool girls like Kelcie, Heather, Tracey,  and Stephanie- Plus several more Arkansas Women Bloggers. This opportunity came through AWB.

I can honestly tell you when I got the opportunity to go I felt a little nervous and out of place- because I don't feel like a real blogger. I'm sure if you've been reading my blog for long then you know that I'm super random about when I post. I average maybe 1 post/month. haha! So when I was invited to go with "real bloggers" I didn't think that I'd fit in or that it would be appropriate for me to attend such a cool thing without being a "real blogger". I mean I enjoy blogging- it's fun. But I enjoy my real life WAY more. So real face time with my kids, friends, and family always trumps computer time. It's really not even a contest.
So if you want to read my blog and thoughts I guess you will just have to come over and have coffee with me and read my tangible pen and paper journal. Please Do! I'd love to meet ya!

My kids are still little and need lots from me. Which I love to give. These years are fleeting and you can't get them back.  So I don't always have the time to hang out here at Embracing Grace. So instead, I play pirates, hide and seek, and read cool books to my kids. (and clean up lots of messes)

But I just want to share with you what a great experience it was at Family Life last week. I absolutely had the best time. First we toured the Family Life building and got to hear about all the cool stuff the ministry does and the history and heart behind it. Ummmm. Awesome. In a world where family is not always valued and pursued it was such a breath of fresh air to be surrounded by like minded people who are intentional about pursing family and relationships.

Next we had the privilege of listening to Barbara Rainey share about her Empty Nest years and what the Lord is doing in her life now. I was no stranger to the Rainey's ministry. When my husband and I were getting married our pastor used one of their books to guide us through our pre-marital counseling (which was awesome and fun by the way).

Also every Thanksgiving I pull out one of Barbara's books that she wrote and display it in our home. We read it every year. It has been a blessing to our family. My  husband has even presented the information in this book to our church body and family. It really digs deep and educates you about the Pilgrims. I learned so much that I did not learn in school from this book. Thank You Barbara for putting it together!

Anyways- back to what she is doing in her empty nest years- She has launched a line called Ever Thine Home. I'll share more about this later as I have ordered a few things and want to show you how I'm going to use them in my home during the Holiday seasons. Stay Tuned!

After Barbara Rainey so gracefully spoke and shared her heart with us, we were served and blessed by a beautiful lunch from Family Life. Thank You! We had pumpkin soup- which was delicious. I've seen recipes floating around on Pinterest, but I was way too scared to try it in my own kitchen.

But what I enjoyed most about getting out of my comfort zone and driving 1 1/2 hours by myself with a 7 month old to meet a bunch of ladies that I didn't know- was the connections made.

(Can I just add that my sweet 7 month old was loud on the tour and everyone was extremely gracious to me. I was the only one who braved to bring my baby. )

I got to meet some real faces and see the hearts behind their blogs. It was refreshing and encouraging to meet gals in Arkansas who share a passion for Faith and Family and write about it.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Love Dare- Love Listens

Hi Friends-

As several of you know....... I'm doing the online bible study over at Managing Your Blessings. We are doing The Love Dare for parents.

One of the chapters this week was Love Listens. Having a family of 5 with our 3 little ones so close in age it gets easy to just lump everyone together in all our activities and 1 on 1 time gets lost.
 Don't get me wrong I love family time....... but our kids also need some 1 on 1 time with mom and dad to cultivate that relationship as well.

I want my kids to know that I have time to really look into their eyes and see them.

I want them to know that I want to listen to their stories and ideas.

I want them to know that I enjoy them and value our relationship.

So we try our best to make it a priority at our house to let each kiddo have some of their own mom/dad date time.

Here is my list of Top Ten Toddler Dates for under $5 if you are looking for some 1 on 1 time with your tot.

1. Go out for Cupcakes

2. Go to a pet store to look around

3. Take them to a park to play- DO NOT BRING YOUR PHONE- Just play with them

4. Ice Cream- Who doesn't like this?

5. Go to a bookstore-Pick up a kids book and sit in one of those comfy chairs and read it to them while sipping a drink from the bistro

6. Go on a walk or hike (We call them adventures)

7. Go out for a Doughnut

8. Take some toys and a blanket- Go somewhere away from your home and sit on the blanket and build a fort with legos with them. 

9. $1 movies and eat popcorn (We have a $1 movie theater near us)

10. Go Fishing

Date with my little man- $5 Hot and Ready Pizza and a Raspberry Water from Sonic

The point here is not what you are doing.

The point is to really look in their eyes and let them know they are valued.

 Let them know that you enjoy spending time with them.

Cultivate that relationship today so that you will be in their lives tomorrow. 

Reach their Hearts. 


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Love Dare Book Study- Chapters 21-25 Love Intercedes

Hi Friends-
I'm doing an online book study of The Love Dare for Parents. This week we covered chapters 21-25. I'm linking up over at Managing Your Blessings for the study.

The Love Dare Chapters 21-25
 Love Is Fair
 Love Honors Authority
 Love Intercedes
 Love Forgives
 Love Takes Responsibility

 WOW! Are you guys enjoying this study or what?!?! I have read several "parenting" type books and this one is by far one of my most favorites! Why? I love how it is absolutely SCRIPTURE LACED. There are tons of references and extra study points. I also love how in this particular book everything is not based on how the author parents their children or their particular lifestyle but it is based on what the WORD says. It is objective and bible based.

You can take all the points and scriptures and apply them to your particular "flavor" or "style" of life. This week of study Love Intercedes has stuck out the most to me. This little bitty chapter is only 3 short pages, but I have pages and pages of notes, thoughts, ponderings, and ideas.

 If you just go through those 3 little chapters and write down all the scripture references included you will have a whole study just in that alone.

 Prayer is our pathway to the Lord. We are able to approach the throne of God. He wants relationship with us. And I will tell you- nothing in my life has brought me to my knees in prayer more than being a mom. You have so many hopes, dreams, and prayers for your children. But we are inadequate to fulfill them all or do everything right.We are sinners saved by grace.

 We need JESUS. Our kids need JESUS. Our kids need to know that We Need Jesus.

 God loves us more than we love ourselves and He loves our children more than we do.

 Let's take our parenting to him in prayer. He can and will direct our paths.

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. 

Proverbs 3:5-6

 There has been so many times that I've had to stop and really go to the Lord about how I was supposed to raising my children. He answers. He has directed my paths.

 I can feel and have felt his tiny whisper tugging at my heart pushing me in the direction I need to go. Does someone need some extra 1 on 1 time? Does someone need some discipline? Does someone need to be encouraged? Does someone need to laugh? The Lord has prompted me in each of these areas.

 Our kids need us to rely on the Lord and not ourselves in our parenting. Be your kids biggest fan and go to the Father in prayer for them. No request is too small.

 Think about it like this: If you only talked to your husband about the BIG events of the day or your life then there probably wouldn't be a lot of talking and relationship building going on. But if you share with him about your day to day happenings, struggles, thoughts, concerns, joys, etc.. etc..- Then that is how relationship is built. It's the same thing with the Lord. Let's be in relationship with him all the time. Let's ask Him for help, guidance, and direction with our children. Let's Praise Him in prayer for the mess, craziness, and joys. Let's rely on HIM and not on ourselves.

 Pursue that relationship with the Lord. Include his name on your lips all the day. Be your kids biggest fan. Cheer them on to the Lord. Seek His direction in all aspects.

 My biggest and most constant prayer for my kids is:
 Lord- please help me to reach their hearts.

 The Lord is faithful and has encouraged me when needed and helped me to readjust when needed.

 What is your most constant prayer for your children?

Managing Your Blessings

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

40 % off- Take advantage for Christmas

Hi Friends!
I wanted to post this real quick for you.
Here is a code to get 40% off any single item w/ code: EARLYGIFT One of my favorite places to get home decor that is meaningful and cute cards to send to friends. I also get several Christmas gifts here.
This code is valid through 10/31 on any item at  excluding clearance. 

Sometimes it looks like Day Spring came and threw up on my living room- and I LOVE IT!
I personally order from there regularly.


If you get something come back and comment and let me know what you got :)

(This post does contain an affiliate link).... But What I write is the truth- I love Day Spring and order from there regularly. I can't wait to use the code! I'll come back and post in the comments what I purchased :)


Monday, October 7, 2013

Making Your Home a Haven with Candles

What kinds of things do you do to make your home a haven?

The other day I had gotten home from a very tiring and stressful day. I actually had a couple of pretty stressful and busy weeks.

My sweet man told me to take some time to "recharge". So he took the kids out for a couple of hours. I was really looking forward to sitting down at the computer and catching up on some online scrapbooking, getting a shower invitation ready that I am hosting, planning the party, catching up on emails, browsing Pinterest to get some ideas for the party, make an Amazon order, look up some Christmas gift items etc.. etc... I was going to do all this in quiet. I planned to be efficient and productive. (obviously not resting)

All of which I needed to use the computer

Guess What?!? Our internet was down the whole time my family was gone. I spent the first 30 minutes being frustrated that I couldn't cross things off my "to do's".

But then I decided to change my attitude. I lit a Wood Wick crackling pumpkin caramel candle, turned off all the main lights and kept only the candle and lamps lit, turned on some music that I enjoy, and cozied up on my couch with a journal, book to read, and my bible.

I spent the next 1 1/2 hours refueling and recharging myself spending time with the One who loves me most.  
I spent time with the only one who could give me rest.

"Come to me all you who are heavy laden and 
I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

What I was going to do with my alone time would not have refreshed myself at all. It would have just left me with a longer list of to do's. I'm glad my internet was down. It was exactly what I needed.

I lit that candle just for me and my home. Since that evening I have lit that same candle everyday.

We have lit our candles for dinner every night. Just for us.

My toddlers have grown to love it. They ask for candles on the table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I enjoy adding the extra special touches to make our house a home.

I'm thankful for that evening that I couldn't get anything done.

What kinds of things do you do to make your house a home?


Thursday, September 26, 2013

BBQ Meatball Recipe

Hi Everyone!

I'm excited to be guest posting today over at Arkansas Women Bloggers- Come Visit Me!

But First Here's a recipe to go with my post at AWB.

I had intended to take all kinds of fancy pictures for you in the process..... but

1. I'm not the best photographer
2. I forgot

 So you just get a pic of my table getting ready to eat the meatballs!

 I use this recipe A LOT! We live on a ranchish (Can I use that word?) ... Meaning my father in law has cows and chickens and we live next door.

 So we buy our meat in bulk. Yep... that's right Sweet Bessie ends up being roast, steaks, and burger stocking our deep freeze once a year.

 Anyways- Here's a short story for you- This summer during some deep freeze complications (I'll spare you the annoying details) we ended up having about 10-13 lbs of meat thawed that we had to do something with in order for it not to waste.

 On top of that I had an extremely busy day out doing some things. I was exhausted. I couldn't wait to get home to kick my feet up and rest.

But when I came home I found my husband working hard in the kitchen trying to take care of all that meat. So instead of coming home to relax I came home to work with a bunch of burger.

That story probably wasn't necessary to share for the recipe.

 But.... anyways We love this meatball recipe. We now make up 100's at a time and stick in the freezer for a quick, easy, and tasty meal.

 They are great to have in your freezer. They are easy to Cook and Take to a Friend! (ahem ahem hence the post on Arkansas Women Bloggers)

Serve on top of rice and add some veggies as a side dish. A regular meal at our house are these BBQ meatballs (that I pulled out of freezer) served on rice with sweet potatoes as a side. Enjoy! Make some for a friend!

3 lbs ground beef
1 can (12 ounces) evaporate milk
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup cracker crumbs (I just use whatever I have... crackers, bread crumbs, itallian bread crumbs, etc..)
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder

2 cups catsup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke or to taste (I use about 1 1/2 teaspoons because I love that flavor)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped onion (I like the onion in there... but sometimes I'm too lazy to cut one up especially if I'm crunched on time. They taste fine without it)

Combine all ingredients and shape into walnut-size balls. Place meatballs in a single layer on wax paper-lined cookie sheets. Freeze until solid. Store frozen meatballs in freezer bags until ready to cook. To make sauce combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Place frozen meatballs in a 13 in x 9 in pan; pour on the sauce. bake at 350 for 1 hour.

NOTE: This is a good recipe for us because I always have the sauce ingredients on hand. When you are busy you can just assemble sauce and throw it all in the oven. Little Clean Up- Little Prep- and Tasty Dinner! That's what I'm talking about! If there are leftovers- have a bbq meatball sandwich for lunch the next day. (After you've taken a batch to a friend)
I usually make 2 batches at a time and then put into baggies what my family will eat. You can adjust the sauce as necessary to fit your quantity of meatballs or how you like it.

Who are you going to take some to? 

What is your favorite freezer recipe?

 PS: I just used that last batch in our freezer so it's time to make more!

Arkansas Women Bloggers

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Delighting in Your Children

Hi !

Do you delight in your children?
Are they a joy to you? (even in the mess)
Meet me over here today as I talk about just that at Managing Your Blessings.

Monday, September 16, 2013

(in) courage your marriage- Sign Ups This Week


I'm so excited! This week starts the sign ups for (in)courage small groups.

I have an announcement to make- I will be co-leading one of the (in)courage small groups this season. I'm super pumped and hope that you will join us in creating community and having some fun along the way.

If you don't know much about (in)courage. Check it out. It's pretty cool.

And while you are over there- Go sign up for a small group this season. Click Here.

So I bet you are wondering which group I will be co-leading huh?

I'm co-leading the (in)courage your marriage group- which I'm super excited about. Marriage is a topic that I love and am passionate about. So I'm really excited to get to be a  part of the (in)couragers leadership team this season. Come join us!



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The #1 thing I said I'd never do as a mom

Oh Yeah......
I did it........
The #1 thing I said I'd NEVER do as a mom......

I am now a mini-van driver.

For as long as I can remember- I have SWORN that I would never drive a mini-van.

I was way too cool....

What is cool when you have 3 kids in car seats in a tiny backseat, spit up on your shirt, boogers on your sleeve and greasy hand prints all over all your clothes?

I'll tell you what it is- It's a mini-van.

I can now Honestly and Proudly say that I love my mini-van.... and it is cool!

Something about....
those bucket seats where no one is touching each other
Or the fact that I can push a button and the doors open (that's what's up!)
Or could it be all that Extra Room?!?!

I don't care that it is 9 years old- I love it.... and I drive it proudly. (If you have a question about the age of my vehicle... pick up a Dave Ramsey or Larry Burkett book- you won't be sorry)

So bring on the soccer mom jokes. I can take it.

So to all you mini-van drivers- Be Proud- You are cool!
Put on the shades- crank up the kid tunes- and roll into those parking lots with style.

and to all my family who might stumble across this post...... don't be too hard on me :) I know I'm eating my words... and they taste good!

What is the #1 thing you said you'd never do as a mom? I'd love to hear. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A year without TV

Hi Friends!
Thanks so much for stopping by my corner of this wild web!

A year ago our little family moved into a new house that we built... (that story to come later if anyone cares).... This was a huge blessing!!!!!!

Well.... when we moved it was a huge hassle to move our cable with us... extra fees, phone calls, etc.. etc....

So my husband and I talked about it and realized that that we didn't really watch much TV anyway.... We just didn't have the time.

We decided to not move our cable with us on a trial basis. And not just  cable.... but we opted out of an antenna as well. That's right-- you heard me correctly- we have NO channels.

It's been 1 year- and WE LOVE IT!!!!!!!!
Yes.... I said it.... We have had NO TV for a year!
(We do watch DVD's) (We are somewhat of movie buffs)

Here are some of my thoughts from not having TV from the past year:

It is great!- and I highly recommend it.... There is not much on anyway that is worth wasting your mind on.....

We spend a lot more time doing this

and this

We have found that we spend a lot more time:

  • Talking with each other - fun talks, serious talks, long talks, silly talks etc.. etc.. 
  • Engaging our minds in more stimulating things
  • playing with our kids
  • reading with our kids
  • fellow-shipping with others
  • having more fun
  • laughing a lot
  • spontaneous activities and outings (This one is my favorite!)

We feel like without our TV we are able to really focus on the people that live here and the relationships around us without the distraction.

At home during the days our kids are:

  • playing
  • crafting ( aka making big messes)
  • going on walks
  • using their imagination
  • learning 
  • building
We love this!-
There are only 2 things that we miss from not having Cable-
Football and March Madness.... These times of year seem to cause a slight inconvenience for us. But it gives us a great opportunity to fellowship with friends and family and offer to bring a yummy dish to share.....

We have talked about getting cable again- just for those two reasons (Football and March Madness) but the benefits of not having it OUT-WAY the gains from having it by more than you could imagine.

We feel like this past year has completely ENRICHED our family life. Try It! It's fun:)

What else could you spend your extra $$ on?
Here are some ideas:

*Pay someone to help you clean your house once/week
Wouldn't that be nice! You get to be blessed while blessing someone else.

*Sponsor a child

*Support a ministry you feel strongly about- There are so many great things to support to help further the kingdom... Decide what you feel passionately about and pursue it. I have been convicted lately about water.....Do you know how many people in the world don't have clean drinking water?..... Ever since I've learned about this... I've noticed how many bottles of water I dump out, how many clean hot baths my family takes regularly, how many times I fill up the sink just to let the kids play.......... Wow.....
What do you feel passionately about?

*Take that extra $$ and buy something for someone else each month-
surprise lunches for friends? How nice would it be to treat a gal pal to lunch- Bless your friends!

*Great books- Build your family library

*Leave cash anonymously for people in your church body that you know could use a little extra each month..How Fun!!!Seal it in an envelope and tape it to "their pew" with their name on it... Yes we all sit in the same pew every week- I know you do it!

*Get out of debt

I promise....... What you could do with that extra money would be way more fun than anything you could possibly watch on TV!!!

Are you up for the challenge?

Thanks so much for stopping by to hang with me a few minutes... I'd love for you to like my facebook page and let me come to your inbox:)..... Oh and don't forget if you like my FB page to add me to your interests list.... otherwise you probably won't see my ramblings in your news feed:)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why I shop at Consignment Events

Why I shop at Rhea Lana's:

Photo Credit:
Hi Friends-                                                            

The Rhea Lana's Children's consignment event is coming up around where I'm from. So today I wanted to share with you a quick post about - Why I choose to shop at Rhea Lana's.

1. Being a good steward
I believe that God intends for us to be a good steward of all the gifts he has given us- Including our finances. Why spend tons of  your $$$ on brand new clothing for you sweet kiddos- When you can shop at a good consignment event and get Great Quality- Cute- clothes for a fraction of the cost?? This just seems smart to me. Basically a no brainier-  I spend less money and get great stuff that I like...... That would cost so much more at retail cost. Which... going back to being a good steward with our finances allows us to do other things with our $$... (See #2)

2. Allows you to be generous
As I said in reason #1- I am able to spend less money but still dress my kids in great quality, cute clothes that I like and are "our style".....
Spending less $$ on my children's clothes allows me to be more generous to family and friends! This is such a blessing! There are so many great deals to be found  shopping at consignment events like this......... I have been able to buy cute outfits for my friends kids and clothes/toys  for nieces and nephews. - And not for any occasion but "Just Because"... Don't you love receiving "just because" gifts?!!

3. Time Management
Okay- I love to go shopping as much as the next gal.... But let's be real and honest here- I don't have time! We live over an hour away from a city to shop in and I have (will have) 3 sweet kiddos 3 and under.... plus my husband has a busy work schedule  Not to mention- We are just busy in general "doing life" and such... (Like I know we all are!) So to take a day to drive over an hour 1 way- shop all day- get a babysitter- etc.. etc... is just not a feasible and easy thing for me to do in this season of my life. (I'm hoping when my toddler girl is a little older we can have lots of Mommy/Daughter days in town!)

But shopping at my local Rhea Lana's consignment event allows me to take control of my life and be a wise steward of my time. I am able to get the majority of my children's clothes for 1 season in 1 shopping day- close to my home. (Did I mention... at a fraction of the cost??)

This is great! Because I am never stressed about my kids not having the next season of clothes ready to go. AND- by getting the majority of it at once I am able to buy cute new outfits for my kids "just because" throughout the year as special treats. So when we do get a chance to go to "town" (Do you other rural peeps call it "town" like I do?) I get to  treat my kids to a special outfit/shirt/ or dress just because I want to and it doesn't break the bank.

4. Smart $$
So you might be asking me - How do you come up with the finances to buy a new wardrobe for 3 kids all at once?... Not everyone (most of us) has those kind of finances just laying around to go on a huge shopping spree on a whim.
I consign my clothes from the last season- With Rhea Lana's in particular you earn 70% of your sales. So I'm able to use what I've made from consigning to purchase the next batch of goodies.

5. Friends/Fellowship
Another reason I shop at Rhea Lana's is the friends and fellowship. At most consignment events like this- You can volunteer to shop early. By volunteering to work at your local event- You get to hang with other cool moms, make new friends, connect with your community, and have a good time while working hard . You never know what kind of relationship you might build through working one of these events.
I have been on the leadership team at my local even for 3 years now and have made some great friends and built some great relationships with others on the leadership or volunteer team- OR just through meeting people who come in to shop/consign.
Can any of you find me in the picture?......
Picture Credit: Zoe Portrait Art
Here are some common questions that I have heard:

Q.Why don't you just shop consignment stores?
A. See answer 3...... I don't have time. I don't have time to go "check stores out" to see "if they might have something" Plus going into a consignment store is a hit/miss opportunity. At consignment events- consignors sell their best items so there are lots of choices in each size. If I have a day to go running around town- Hitting up consignment stores are not my first choice of what I want to do..... I'd much rather be having coffee with a friend......... or shopping for treasures at Antique stores- totally different than consignment clothes shopping for kids!

Q. Why don't you just shop online? I find all my kids clothes online....
A. I do like shopping online..... but I don't always like to just sit at the computer... There are so many other things I'd rather be doing 99% of the time. (unless I'm avoiding the laundry...then computer time looks really fun)

Q. I get all my kids clothes brand new on clearance.  I shop at the right time (when seasons change) and get brand new out of season clothes.  Why don't you just do that?
A..... Again... I don't have time. When you "bank" on getting your kids clothes on clearance- I don't always find things in the right size that I like. And- (again see #3) Since I don't go to "town" (remember the 1 over an hour away) super often I don't always have the opportunity to check the sale rack every Saturday. We have other things to do on Saturdays at our house.... (That are way more fun!) And again- I've always found " like new" quality items at our local event. .....(The brands I love too!)

So basically- I get the majority of my shopping done at once... and spend less money....
So I have more free time during the year to be doing other things.. Use your time and money wisely:)

Anyways-.... These are just some things I've been thinking about and wanted to share them with all of you. There are all kinds of Children's Consignment Events around the U.S. What do you have in your area that you love???

Lets be good stewards with our money, time, and resources -
And be generous and cheerful givers! Bless Someone!

Thanks so much for stopping by to hang with me a few minutes... I'd love for you to like my facebook page and let me come to your inbox:)..... Oh and don't forget if you like my FB page to add me to your interests list.... otherwise you probably won't see my ramblings in your news feed:)


Monday, February 11, 2013

What to do with all your Pictures

I've kinda self proclaimed myself as the picture police. It really stresses me out if you don't have some sort of "system" for your pictures.

Are your pictures just thrown in boxes?
Are they unorganized?
Do you just leave them on your phone or computer?

I'm going to share with you what I do with my pictures.

1. Make an Online Scrapbook

This is my personal favorite. It is a little pricey- but it's well worth the money. I've tried several different companies and programs. But I have found Heritage Makers to be the best for my needs and wants.
I upload my pictures to the company's site and work on the book all year long. It is not very time consuming if you keep it simple and don't over stress about making each page super detailed. I only work on it a couple of times per month and I stay caught up.

Every January after I finish up with the Christmas pictures I get my book printed and shipped.
It's like getting a present in the mail! So exciting! Our family makes a special deal out of looking at it together for the first time.

Our lives and memories are bound in a pretty book in chronological order. What a treasure!
You can do this in a Basic (Free) account! (or you can purchase a membership to get access to thousands of art pieces)

The money spent is worth it to me. The quality is excellent! (*Note- I do not receive any financial compensation from this company. I just truly love their product and wanted to share because I don't want your pictures to be in old shoe boxes.)

I've compared the prices with just printing my pictures off and putting them in albums and I've found the cost to be very similar. With using Heritage Makers I choose only the very best pictures instead of printing of 10 pictures of the same pose with only a slightly different tilt of the head.  (Yep.... All moms do that!... Don't Lie)

Another reason I love Heritage Makers is because I tell our family story throughout the pages. On each page I write about what's going on in our lives, what cute things the kids are doing, what we are thankful for, or the story of the picture etc.. etc...

Also the projects are saved on Heritage Makers forever. So my plan is to buy each of my children a set of the albums when they are settled with families of their own. I will buy each child 1 per year  from our past until they have their own collection. (My plan is to have more $$$ when our kids are out on their own so that I will be able to do this... surely that's how it works!!)

What else do I do with our pictures?

2. Make "The Wonderful History of  (insert child's name) boxes"

I wrote about it here.
Each year I make them a small photo album of photos of themselves to go in their box. I also include favorite pictures of them with us (mom/dad) and their siblings. I put their little photo albums in their stockings for Christmas. They love getting to look at their own personal memory book. The key here is to not get carried away with printing off all 300 pictures of them throughout the year. Buy a cheap photo album and PICK YOUR FAVORITES! 

My daughter is 3 and when she is sick or on a special day I allow her to look through her box. She loves it!

This is not time consuming at all.

Another Thing?

3. Shutterfly Calendars

To keep my pictures stored I
1. Upload them to my computer
2. Upload the ones I'm going to scrapbook to Heritage Makers
3. Upload them to Shutterfly

I create Monthly folders in my Shutterfly account to store the pictures. To stay on top of it I upload about once or twice a month to my shutterfly account. Also several members of our family  have Shuttefly Share Sites where we look at all the cute pictures of everyone's kids. I post mine monthly to the site for everyone to look at. (You can set this to private so only your family can see)

 Every December I make myself and family members (Christmas presents!) a calendar for the next year. Everyone loves it! You are able to put pictures on the actual Birthdays of loved ones. (Maybe this year I can manage to get some Birthday Cards out to nieces and nephews.... ahem.. hopefully)

All the pictures are already stored and ready to go.

4. 50 Year Anniversary Book

I purchased a $5 photo album from TJ Maxx that only has 50 picture slots.
Each year put 1 picture of you and your spouse in the book. Write the year and a small description of what you are doing. (This is easy to catch up on!)

For your 50th wedding anniversary you will have a book to showcase your 50 years of change together! (not to mention you will have your story from your online scrapbook) (Maybe our kids will throw us a really cool party and the book would come in handy) ..... If you hadn't noticed I really love Celebrating!

Last thing......

5. Random Loose Photo Box

Do you guys somehow end up with random loose photos throughout the year? I do... This happens when people give you pictures, you replace pictures in frames, you print off a couple extra every now and then, etc.. etc...

What do you do with them!?!

I put mine in a decorative box that I have easily accessible on a shelf in our living area.

A couple times a year I go through it. The pictures either go 1. In the kids "special boxes" or 2. in a photo album that I keep stored on a top shelf in a closet.

I only go through the box a couple times/year and it is not time consuming either. Because... Most of my pictures are online in my Heritage Makers scrapbook waiting for me to print off in January. This box is just the "catch all" for those random pictures we all end up with.

I hope this helps you to get organized and do something with your pictures........
If I knew that you just kept them on your phone or in an old shoe box----- I really might cry. I don't want you to lose them!

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