Thursday, December 29, 2011
My top blog recommendation for learning how to get out of debt and to save money is the Money Saving Mom blog . I have read Crystal's blog for years, now, and I am still learning so much! I was so elated to hear that she has written a book called The Money Saving Mom's Budget. Her publisher graciously gave out dozens of review copies, and I was thrilled to be one of the initial reviewers.
In the beginning of Crystal and Jesse's marriage, they had a very modest income. Their grocery/household needs budget was about $35-$40 per week. Instead of feeling bogged down by that small of a budget, Crystal took it on as a challenge. She learned how to thrive off of a very small income, and she shares many of the tips/strategies that she used during that time.
My two favorite sections of the book were: "Give Yourself and Instant Raise Without Increasing Your Take-Home Pay" and "25 Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill Without Cutting Coupons". It often seems like people think that when money is tight, the only solution is to find more income. I loved Crystal's recommendations on lowering your expenses, in order to save more money/have a workable budget each month. Finding ways to save money can be just as validating as finding ways to earn it. I loved the chapter about lowering your grocery bill without coupons, because I am in a phase in life, which isn't very coupon friendly. (I have four children, ages eight and under.) Some of her ideas include: having a meatless meal each week, bake your own bread (with a bread machine), and ditching cereal for breakfast.
The last chapter of the book, which deals with embracing today, choosing contentment,and blooming where you are planted, is well worth the price of this book. Crystal has inspired me to be more of a giver, and not to focus on collecting things for this fleeting life. All of the proceeds from the sales of The Money Saving Mom's Budget are going to Compassion International.
Win a Copy:
Leave a comment letting me know that you would like to win a copy of this book.
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This giveaway ends January 12, 2011 at 12 pm EST.
Disclosure: The review copy and giveaway copy were given by the publisher, in exchange of an honest review.
Posted by Christine at 10:39 AM
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I hope you are having a wonderful advent season and that you have a lovely, joyful Christmas! This past month has flown by so quickly; it is hard to believe that I haven't blogged in a few weeks. Here is an update of sorts:
* We visited extended family for a few days, after Thanksgiving. It was so much fun to see so many relatives, many of whom I haven't seen in years. Lily loved holding my cousin's precious baby boy. (He happens to have a darling twin brother, too!) My parents let my hubby and I go out in their canoe. It was a definite adventure to say the least.
Grace for the Good Girl (perfect for recovering perfectionists/people-pleasers like me!), Forgotten God, and Money Saving Mom's Budget (review to come!). My children absolutely love The Building on the Rock series devotionals published by Christian Focus Publications. Christian Focus Publications sent me one of their books, How God sent a Dog to Save a Family, for review purposes. Each of these devotional books contain captivating, edifying stories, followed by a few insightful questions, and relevant Scriptures. This book has left my children with a greater understanding of the truths of God's Word. These are very easy to use as a devotional, and I hope to collect The Building on the Rock set.
* I may have a slight obsession with Pinterest. I can admit it, and that is the first step to recovery...tee hee. It is such an awesome way to file away recipes, fun for the children, and even Creative Repurposing ideas. I have tried over 20 recipes on my "To Eat" board, and it is an invaluable way to corral all the delicious sounding meals from bloggyland. If you are on pinterest, I would love to follow your boards!
* Artisan bread in Five Minutes is revolutionizing my life. Needless to say, my bread machine has been collecting dust for a few months now. The basic concept of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, is to make up one bowl of dough for a week's worth of bread loaves. The quality of the loaves is stellar, and is similar to artisan loaves which sell for about $3-$5 a loaf. I love that you can use the dough to make cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, etc.. The basic unbleached flour recipe is here, and the whole-wheat recipe is here. It is so much fun with experimenting to make different shaped loaves. I think my bread machine may continue to collect dust for a while.
* The Joy of a Simple Christmas: This Christmas, we have scaled back quite a bit. My children chose to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, rather than receive gifts from my husband and I. (note: my children still receive gifts from other relatives) They had the best time picking out gifts for needy children, and are learning the joy of giving. We are definitely hoping to make Operation Christmas Child a yearly tradition.These are the kind of things we want to focus on, as they are great blessings to us! Spending less time in stores and more time as a family is an immense blessing. I loved Ann Voskamp's post, When Christmas Gets Radical. Her family gleans His catalogs, to give to others, generously. I am utterly inspired.
*One Christmas joy that my children and I cherish is baking together. This year, we were requested to bring desserts to Christmas dinner, so we are bringing Chocolate Peppermint Roll with Chocolate Ganache and Apple Cake with vanilla ice cream. I am hoping that the chocolate peppermint roll works out without a glitch. I have made a pumpkin roll, a few times, and I must say that my heart races every time I peel back the parchment paper on the cake. Rolling the cake just about makes me break out in a sweat.
*Other Web Inspiration:
This lovely house tour is inspiring. I love how Meg creatively decorates her home with Scripture.
Lily and I are taking Crochet School lessons online. Crochet School contains 30 lessons with online videos, for free. Highly recommended.
When I am busy doing something seemingly mundane (though nothing is mundane when done for His Glory!) I love to listen to the Simple Mom podcasts. My favorite recent episode was Major Purge, all about decluttering, which is something I am really hoping to jump into, in this new year!
One of my favorite websites for larger family inspiration is Large Families on Purpose. Large Families on Purpose is written by Bob and Erika Shupe, who have nine children, and live in a 1100 sq. foot house. They are so organized!
I hope you are all enjoying this Christmas season! Many blessings, dear friends!
This post is linked to the Modest Mom.
Disclosure: I received How God sent a Dog to Save a Family in exchange for an honest review.
Posted by Christine at 2:09 PM