Sunday, December 20, 2009
December is certainly one of my absolute favorite times of year. Here are a few ways that we celebrate, during this sacred season.
*The children enjoy their daily hot cocoa, while mama reads aloud to them from A Christmas Carol. (They also do crafts, to keep their hands busy, while listening to the story.)
* Watching our favorite Christmas movies including Little Women, The Nativity, and A Charlie Brown Christmas .
* Bundling up in the evening to take a stroll to see Christmas lights in the neighborhood.
*Creating Christmas crafts is so much fun: snowflake ornaments, paper snow flakes, and advent countdown paper chains.
* Playing in the Snow- though we haven't had any snow in this part of NC, this activity can allow little ones to build their own "snow creations" , indoors. (Isn't that creative!)
* Attending the Church Christmas party and Christmas service.
*My daughters and I love baking Christmas goodies. So far, we have made a couple batches of Muddy Buddies and a batch of oreo truffles.
Lily is such a wonderful helper; it is amazing how a six year old can be my right arm!
These truffles were heavenly! Only Baker's chocolate will do, as it adds such a rich flavor!
* Singing and visiting with patients at nursing homes is such a delight and blessing, at any time of year, but especially at Christmas!
*Listening to Handel's Messiah.
*Learning about Christmas around the world in our homeschool studies.
I hope you are having a blessed Christmas season.
What ways do you enjoy spending this delightful time of year?
Posted by Christine at 8:57 PM
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I so enjoy reading the following websites, as they inspire me to be more creative in my own life. What are your favorite niches on the web?
The Inspired Room
The Pioneer Woman Cooks
The Crafty Crow
Money Saving Mom
Posted by Christine at 2:07 PM
After learning about the vast health benefits of coconut oil, including weight loss, premature aging prevention, digestion aid, immune booster, dental care, and more, my family and I made the switch to coconut oil for our cooking needs. Unlike most other oils (including olive oil and vegetable oils) , coconut oil can withstand high heat, without being destroyed. The fact that other oils can promote free radical formation, was a huge factor in my family's decision to switch to coconut oil. Unfortunately, at the time, we did not know the difference, so we purchased a generic brand of coconut oil from the local supermarket. It had a pretty strong taste, and could be difficult to get used to. Tropical Traditions graciously sent me a sample of their Virgin Coconut Oil, which has been such a delicious cooking and baking oil to use. The flavor of Tropical Tradition's Coconut Oil enhances each dish, without overpowering it. Now that I have tasted the drastic difference between refined oil and unrefined oil, there is no way that I could go back! An independent study found that Tropical Tradition's Coconut Oil contains the highest levels of antioxidants on the market. There are many other household uses for coconut oil, besides cooking and baking, including: hair care, moisturizer, diaper salve, and even chapstick. I love it when one item can be used for a plethora of necessities! I would love to use Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil, Organic Dried Coconut, and Organic Coconut Flour to make a coconut cake for a family member who adores coconut!
If you are interested in making an essential difference in your family's health, this upcoming year, I encourage you to make the change to Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Oil ! If you are a blogger who is interested in reviewing a Tropical Traditions product, please visit this site.
Tropical Traditions provided me with a free jar of coconut oil. I was under no obligation to blog about it.
Posted by Christine at 12:53 PM
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Are you looking for some inspiration for making inexpensive, fun gifts for children? These ideas look like so much fun for the nine years old and under crowd!
Recycled Chunky Crayons Use different shape molds for extra fun!
Crayon Roll ( Here is a Crayon Roll that even a young, novice seamstress can make.)
Felt Heart Cookies
Plethora of Felt Foods (Full tutorials for making fortune cookies, pie, ice cream, donuts, ravioli, pizza, and much more!)
Chocolate Play Dough (Good thing it is non-toxic!)
Handmade Blank Book
Paper Pocket Booklets
Nature Walk Notebooks
I would love to hear what you are making/buying for the little ones in your life! Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 6:51 PM
Monday, December 14, 2009
Since taking a recent sewing class, I have fallen in love with sewing. I actually enjoy it and look forward to it, now. I finally completed a project, a bosom buddy, which had been a work in progress for far too long. (It required putting boning in, which was a whole new domain for me.) One of the best aspects is sewing with Lily; she is a natural and really enjoys it. (Though I still have to push the pedal, for now.)
My next planned project is this apron. (The pattern was a Christmas gift from my dear husband, a few years ago.)
What projects are you working on?
Posted by Christine at 2:05 PM
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I am excited that I am now 28 weeks! God has really protected me, and the baby, throughout this pregnancy. I am very blessed by all who have been praying for me! (I f you are expecting, or have any other prayer need, for that matter, please leave a comment.)
Here is an update on the baby:
-Baby has been head down, for quite a few weeks now.
-Baby's heart rate is 145 bpm. (Baby's heart rate has stayed in the 140's at every pre-natal visit, except for one.
-Baby is super active at night.
Photo taken by my favorite photographer, my 6 year old, Lily.
Posted by Christine at 8:10 AM
Thursday, December 03, 2009
I am convinced that I used to be the absolute worst haggler for getting a good deal. If a price was written down, I felt like it was "set in stone" and was non-negotiable. Usually, I would just walk away, without even trying, if the price wasn't right. Only recently have I learned that it is reasonable to negotiate to get a great deal.
My husband and I have waited 7 1/2 years to get a matching bedroom suite, since we had other financial priorities, thus far. We have learned to make do with mismatched dressers and no headboard/footboard. For about a year now, we have been actively searching Craigslist at least once a week, yet we hadn't found a decent set, at a price we wanted. Finally, a few days ago, we received a flier advertising a new, $699 solid wood, sleigh bedroom set. The price seemed fair, so we went to the store. We brought $700 with us, and were going to ask them to give it to us for $700 out the door. (taxes included) We ended up not liking the set in person, and we actually found a set that we liked better, for $599. We felt that was reasonable, since we had the cash for it. It was about $650, out the door, for a complete bedroom suite. Delaying this purchase ensured that we were very cautious about what we purchased, and we could really do our homework to find a great deall.
Helpful Tips for Getting a Good Deal:
1. Check Craigslist or Freecycle to see if you can find what you are looking for, at a great price.
2. Don't set your heart on an item, whether it is a house, car, furniture, etc.. Once you set your heart on something, you are usually more willing to pay a much higher price than you would have. Be emotionally detached enough from whatever you want to purchase, that you can walk away, if the price isn't right.
3. Whenever possible, pay with cash. Bring a certain amount , and make an offer that is reasonable to you. Businesses should be more willing to allow you to negotiate on a price when you are paying in cash. Considering our economy, most stores will negotiate to make a sale.
4. Carry competitor's ads and/or coupons. When we bought our bedroom set, at a furniture store, if the price wasn't right, we brought a competitor's coupon for 10% off. (Even Walmart accepts competitor's ads to price match.) If you see a nice set at the Ashley furniture store, call around to different local Ashley retailers to compete in getting you the best price.
What ways have you found to save on more expensive purchases? For more Frugal Fridays, visit Life as a Mom.
Posted by Christine at 6:41 PM