Friday, January 31, 2014

E-Book Review: Christmas with Strategic Shopping: The Twelve Months of Christmas by Candy Foote

I am a frugal girl at heart and LOVE a good deal! The one time of year that I can't get control of and be frugal with is Christmas Shopping. I actually loathe Christmas Shopping, my favorite shopping season is actually Back to School Shopping. Every year I tell myself "You can do better next year, be more organized and not be part of the "last minute shopping crowd". I have never succeeded, including Christmas 2013.

I have had the opportunity, over the last 3 weeks, to be a part of a Team to help promote the release of a GREAT e-book by Candy Foote-Christmas with Strategic Shopping The Twelve Months of Christmas. I was just telling my hubby during Christmas Shopping season that I really need to find some hints and tips on better shopping for Christmas. Well, this was the answer to my prayers/thoughts.

About the Book: 

Christmas is said to be the most wonderful time of the year.  It's also the most stressful time of the year! Decorating, baking, parties, and gift buying all stuffed into the month of December can burden down the best of us!

Candy Foote is a  mother of 12 who loves to overdo at the holidays!  She loves to go all out on all of it, especially the gift giving!So, how does she manage to do it without having to spend the next five months of the new year paying for all of it? Sadly, many Americans actually do spend January through May trying to pay off Christmas debt!

Candy's newest book --  Christmas with Strategic Shopping: The Twelve Months of Christmas -- shows you month-by-month how you can prepare for the holidays, taking the stress out of Christmas and making room for you to actually enjoy the holidays with your family.

Christmas with Strategic Shopping lists exactly what you should be buying each month.  It teaches that stores have a specific time where they mark just about everything in the store down to a rock-bottom price.

This book will bring you into the life of a mega family's celebration of Christmas. You can apply these principles into your own holiday celebration.

Don't panic – it doesn't require you to have twelve children in order to apply these techniques!

I had just come up with a plan to start a Christmas Club account in March(YES these still exist at Credit Unions), when we receive our Tax Refund. I figured that if we start with $500 in March and then have $25 from Hubby's paycheck 2x a month, we could have about $1,000 by November when the check is disbursed. We may not be doing that now that I have read through Christmas with Strategic Shopping-The Twelves Months of Christmas.

Candy Foote showed me how to shop and what to shop for all 12 months of the year to prepare for Christmas. I was "smacking my head" as I was reading some of the lists, as the lists completely make sense and are wise! I LOVE the "Christmas at the Foote House" stories woven into each section, the glimspe at how others celebrate is wonderful. I really thought that I wasn't going to learn new info, but I was so WRONG! I gleaned so much from this ebook and I am excited to get started on my Christmas Shopping for 2014. I know I will be able to add people to my Christmas List and have a BLESSED Christmas in 2014 with all that I learned from this e-book!

About the Author:

Candy Foote is a Christian, wife to one, momma to 12, and grandmother to 4, so far (Number 5 is due in May!)  She is a homeschool veteran of 21 years.  As a homeschooling mother of a mega family, Candy has learned many Strategic Shopping tips that have allowed her to stay at home while her husband, Jud, was the only breadwinner of the family.

Candy runs a website filled with free information on how you can become a Strategic Shopper.  She also enjoys going into people's homes and teaching them through her Strategic Shopping workshops.

Candy considers it her ministry to help other families learn how to live a quality life, while keeping money in their pockets.

Additionally, Candy has a second book Strategic Shopping. Strategic Shopping teaches you how to shop both using coupons and without coupons. The e-book shows you how to SAVE BIG at the stores. 30 chapters long and filled with GREAT info!

More Info on the Book:
Christmas with Strategic Shopping-The Twelves Months of Christmas is only $3.99
Strategic Shopping is normally $10.00
Buy both and save: $10.98 (regular price)

Click on the Book Covers to Purchase the books:

Christmas with Strategic Shopping: The Twelve Months of Christmas
                         Strategic Shopping:

Strategic Shopping Ebook Bundle

Where to Find Candy Foote online:

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Homeschool Adventure Co. Review: Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal

This post contains affliate links. I will earn a commission if you purchase by using the affliate in this post. 

I am excited to introduce to you a BRAND New product by Stacy Farrell and her company Home School Adventure Co. I proudly helped Stacy launch a product last summer and now I introduce to you Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal.

My boys and I have enjoyed reading the Chronicle of Narnia series by C.S.Lewis together over the past couple of years. I have never read anything other then the Narnia series books by C.S. Lewis, though I tried a couple of times. I felt that his writings and books are so deep that I just couldn't read it without a guide. I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to review the Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal. I finally had a "guide" to help me think through the deep writings of C.S. Lewis.

I decided that my 6th grader and I would go through this together. He is a GREAT reader and his loves the challenge of deep thinking. I downloaded the ebook of Mere Christianity to both of our tablets so we can read & follow along together. I can not express how grateful I am that this opportunity came along as it has proven to be an awesome bonding time with my son. He and I both learned from this, but it was also a growing time in our faith, especially for Joshua. Joshua had been struggling lately with certain faith issues, but the Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal really made him think and it really opened his eyes. Seeing his eyes opened to different things, was encouraging to me as he has been going through those "Growing times" and not been very open. I myself also had some eye opening moments. We have not made our way through the whole book nor journal, but we are continuing on. We also feel that the 10-16 questions at the end of each section are the perfect amount to get you thinking!

Stacy Farrell really has put a lot of work into the Mere Christianity Journal and I know this Journal will help many! I will be recommending this for a group study for a group that I am a part of!

Book Description: 
The classic work commonly known as Mere Christianity is actually a four-book series which explores the common ground upon which all Christians stand. It brings together Lewis’ legendary radio talks broadcast during World War II previously published as: Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe, What Christians Believe, Christian Behavior, andBeyond Personality (or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity), and provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.

The Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal is a powerful tool to strengthen critical thinking while cultivating a biblical worldview. Although it was originally created to be a companion resource to Philosophy Adventure, it may also be used as group or independent study for teenagers or adults.

It provides 10-16 questions for each chapter which can be discussed in:
Sunday school
small groups

Author Bio:

Stacy Farrell’s worldview changed when she embarked on her homeschooling adventure in 2002.
Her background as a consultant and writer well-prepared her to teach communication skills; however, only hands-on experience (and much time spent on her knees) equipped her to mentor her sons through the character-transformation required to help them work toward their full potential.

Stacy has spoken at a variety of homeschool conferences and has published articles in leading Christian magazines. She wrote scripts for Willow Creek’s youth ministry, copy for Pastor Bill Hybel’s “Defining Moments” Audio Newsletter, and a broad range of material for corporate and non-profit clients. She also managed a law firm that specialized in civil rights litigation and constitutional law. Today, she loves to help empower students to recover territory lost by “fuzzy thinking” and low expectations. To that end, she created:

Philosophy Adventure™—Pre-Socratics – designed to help students 6th-12th grade cultivate and defend a biblical worldview by teaching them how to write skillfully, think critically, and speak articulately as they explore the history of ideas
Philippians in 28 Weeks™ — a simple and painless way to memorize an entire book of Scripture
The Wise Woman with Literary Analysis Journal Questions – an enchanting fable that unmasks the ugliness of pride and selfishness
Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal -- a powerful tool to strengthen critical thinking while cultivating a biblical worldview.

Although Stacy loves to write, speak, and teach, she considers her role as wife to Roger and mother to two precious sons to be her greatest work and privilege. You can learn more about her resources at ttp://

More info on the Book: 

Mere Christianity is on sale through Friday, January 31st. You can use code 10OFFMC to get 10% off:

The Print Edition of Mere Christianity is normally $28.95 and the Digital Edition is normally $18.95.
Click below and choose which version you prefer:

Home School Adventure Co. on the Web: 
Google +

Sign up for the Home School Adventure Co. email List for special announcements, discounts and informative articles. 

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook: 1/2/14

Outside my window... A beautiful Snow is falling. The snow has been falling since New Year's Eve. We will end up with about 13" when it is all done.

I am thinking... The holidays were WONDERFUL and I am grateful for all that my family and I have.

I am thankful... The Brand new tires we put on the Van this Spring. The tires sure are making traveling in this snowy weather much easier.

In the kitchen... We are having Finger Food Leftovers. We had finger foods on New Year's Day and we will finish them off.

I am wearing... Comfy house clothes: Grey Pants, Purple shirt and fuzzy slipper socks.

I am creating... A plan for the coming months of getting our family organized and "calm the chaos".

I am going... NOWHERE! The snow is coming down hard and I will not go out in it.

I am wondering... The plans God has in store for me. He knows the plans and I will just have to sit back and allow those plans to transpire.

I am reading... I have several books I am reading. The one I am focused on is All Things Hidden by Kimberly Woodhouse and Tracie Peterson. My first Library Day of the year is Saturday, looking forward to stocking up on reading material.

I am hoping... The weather across the counter doesn't have ill effects on many. Stay Safe and Warm all!

I am looking forward to... Blogging more and expanding my blog this year.

I am learning... Nothing! We are on Winter Break right now!

Around the house... Daily Chores have been completed. Have to pick up the toy room later, but otherwise nothing.

I am pondering... Friendships! I have some wonderful ones both online and in Real Life.

A favorite quote for today...

One of my favorite things... My Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1  I bought it at Costco in the Spring and I so enjoy it. It is easier then getting out the laptop at night when watching TV and I LOVE the portability of it!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Today and Friday: Getting things done at home. Snowy days=Hibernating days. Saturday- Parent Meeting for our HomeSchool Support Group. We only do this type of meeting once a year. Special Guest speaker is Rob Rienow of Visionary Family Ministries. He is a GREAT speaker!

A Photo To Share..

A Snapshot of our Snowfall today


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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Product Review: This is My Life Planner from A Virtuous Woman

The New Year is here and I know many of you have made a resolution, goal or promise to become more organized this year. The "Digital Age" has many looking to their tablets or smartphones for "APPS that do that", but then you have to have "umpteen" apps on your phone for everything you want to organize. The traditional printed planner is still around and works well! I personally prefer a printed planner and use apps as a Back up or on the go helper.

Melissa Ringstaff has been blogging at A Virtuous Woman since 2001 and I have been following her blog since it began. I jumped at the chance to review her BRAND new planner "This is My Life Planner", because I knew anything designed and created by Melissa would be AWESOME!
Read more about Melissa Ringstaff HERE

"This is My Life Planner" comes in several options, I chose to Review This is My Life Planner + My Life Documented which has 248 pages. (I haven't been able to print the full planner yet as we ran out of ink a few weeks ago and I haven't been able to get any yet). I will be PRINTING it soon!

I chose This is My Life Planner + My Life Documented because it has EVERYTHING I need and more! I was using 2-3 planners for organizing my home and daily activities, but this one has it all wrapped in one. The Features and what is included in this planner are:

  • Font Cover
  • Contact Page
  • 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman
  • 7 Golden Rules of Housekeeping
  • Family Mission Statement
  • What does home mean to me? Worksheet
  • Special Days to Remember
  • This Year’s ONE WORD
  • Household Projects Master List
  • How do I spend my time? Worksheet
  • My Daily Schedule
  • 52 Weeks of “This is My Life” Planning Pages
  • 52 Weekly Menu Planning Pages
  • New Year’s Resolution Worksheet
  • Valentine’s Day Planner
  • Resurrection Celebration Planner
  • Resurrection Cookies Recipe
  • Summer Bucket List
  • 4th of July Planner
  • Fall Bucket List
  • Thanksgiving Menu Planner
  • Christmas Menu Planner
  • Christmas Shopping List Page
  • Christmas Ideas Worksheet
  • Winter Bucket List
  • New Year’s Day Planner
  • 2 Notes Pages
  • 9 Journal Pages
  • 52 Weekly Project Life Record Charts
  • 52 Weekly Project Life Layout Planning Charts
  • Back Cover

Menu planning, Holiday Planning, Daily Schedule, Scrapbooking your year pages, Ohhh yeah it is all in there. An ALL in ONE planner is just I NEED and that is why I LOVE this planner. I really like the fact that the planner is undated, so you can start using it at anytime and you don't "miss out" if you started later then January 1st. Melissa has designed this planner very WELL and I give her HIGH praises!

Are you still looking for a planner for the year? Here is in the info on all the Planners Melissa has available on A Virtous Women:

This is My Life Basic Planner $4.95
This is My Life 52 Week Planner $5.95
This is My Life 52 Week Planner + My Life Documented $8.95
This is My Life Documented Planner $4.95
The Holiday Bundle Add-On $2.95
This is My Life Two Page Spread Monthly Calendar Add-On $2.95
This is My Life Budget Planner Add-On $3.95
This is My Life Planner (All in One Bundle) $16.95

I will be printing my copy very soon and then taking it to my local Office Supply Store to have them Coil Bind it and put protective covers on it. I have done this in the past and it costs about $5 for the service.

I HIGHLY recommend the This is My Life 52 Week Planner + My Life Documented and any of the other planners from A Virtuous Women!

Make sure to Visit A Virtuous Woman website.
Melissa has some wonderful info for Women and you can also sign up for her newsletter.

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

GoodBye 2013

WOW, I cannot believe another year has come to an end. I thought 2012 went by FAST, but 2013 really has 2012 beat.

2013 was an exhausting year, had a lot of "Stuff" going on and we were trying to recover from the busy year that 2012 dealt us. I must say that 2013 was a HEALTHY year for myself, my husband and my boys. I haven't had a HEALTHY year since 2009. PRAISE God for good health and being able to stay healthy and not too many Drs. Visits.

Our family started getting back into our routine this year, but more importantly we did a LOT of fun stuff this year. We were supposed to go away to a semi-local hotel for a couple of days in April, but the day we were leaving the Chicagoland area and the area we were heading to FLOODED. Heavy rains and flooding did not deter us though, I called a hotel only 20 minutes from us and we stayed there for 2 days. The boys enjoyed themselves and got to swim a lot. It was a relaxing, get away from home, family fun time. We also had a Family Fun day at Six Flags Great America. My boys and I had earned tickets through the Read to Succeed program. Hubby took the day off of work on July 22nd, and we headed out there. July 22nd is Nathan's B-day and we had a GREAT time! The boys are already asking when are we going back. We also visited Zoo, Museums, Downtown Chicago and more day trips.

2013 was an exhausting year until about May, but as the year continued on it became relaxing and fun! GOODBYE 2013!

A couple months ago I began thinking about 2014 and how I would like our schedule and routine to really get back on track. Chaos many times seems to snag our efforts to a Calm routine. I decided we needed to slow down and focus, LIGHTEN our Chaos. So LIGHTEN is my WORD for 2014!

We are going to focus on our family and only the 5 of us. LIGHTEN my load and slow down. I am a person who likes to do for others and it is hard for me to say NO, but I need to start saying NO to others and YES to what is happening in our household. We need to LIGHTEN our mouths and talk sweeter to one another. LIGHTEN my load by having the boys and my husband help me more within the household. I tend to do it all for everyone, but I can't keep doing it all. LIGHTEN our schedule so we can get our routine in full gear so that Chaos leaves us alone!

My blog has been SLOW for 2 years due to all the busy stuff in life, but my blog will be the only thing that won't be LIGHTEN. I will be picking up the pace on my blog and I have some exciting things I plan on doing in 2014!

I am looking forward to 2014: Slowing Down and Getting it DONE!

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Mosaic Review: Udderly Smooth

Winter is upon us and that means DRY skin and other skin related issues. I was sooo excited to receive an invite to participate in a Review of Udderly Smooth products, as part of my participation in Mosaic Reviews. I had heard about Udderly Smooth for the first time this year, in September, but forgot to look further into the product.

About Udderly Smooth: 

Made in the USA for over thirty years, Udderly Smooth® products contain rich moisturizing ingredients. Not your average moisturizing lotion- Udderly Smooth® can be used on Dry Skin, Cracked Skin, forDiabetes Foot Care, as a Facial Moisturizer, as a General Moisturizing Lotion and many other uses.

Pioneered by a Pharmacist, reasonably priced and made in America’s heartland. Use Udderly Smooth® daily for smooth, soft skin head to toe.

Look for the lotion with the black and white cow spots. Try it and get Udderly Smooth®  (Taken from their website)

More about the Company

I received the following Items for to use and review:

1 12oz Body Cream
1 8oz Foot Cream
1 4oz Hand Cream tube
1 2oz Hand Cream tube
A few samples of hand cream to pass out to friends

My Thoughts and Review: 
I have stress induced Eczema on my Arms, just started in March of this year. I have been using Prescription Strength Hydrocortisone Cream to treat it. I also switched to using Oatmeal soap to bathe, as I heard Oatmeal soap helps the outbreaks. The combination of treatment was working OK, but it wasn't going away completely. I had begun researching online how to treat eczema naturally and this opportunity came along. I also have really "dry" feet and heels. I wear Sandals about 8 months out of the year, so the heels take a beating. I was ecstatic when I received the confirmation that I was on the Review team.

I received the various creams about 3 weeks ago and immediately began using the products.

I began with the Foot Cream(forgot to take a picture). I applied the Cream right before bed the first night and woke up to drastically improved heels and feet. I continued to use it and by the 3rd use my feet were and still are SMOOTH!!I continue to use the Foot Cream every other day and LOVE it!

The Hand Cream is so different from other hand creams or lotions that I have used. I LOVE the non-greasy feeling and that it leaves my hands feeling soft and smooth. I wash my hands multiple times per day and I don't feel the need to reapply the cream like I do with other lotions and creams. I use the Hand Cream about once a day, as I don't normally have dry hand issues so once is enough.

The Body Cream, oh the Body Cream, is by far my favorite. I have been using it on both of my arms and have seen DRAMATIC improvement with the Eczema. I had 4 spots when I began using it 3 weeks ago and I now only have one noticeable spot. 3 of the Eczema spots are completely gone, the 4th is almost gone.I have been treating the eczema for 8 months prior and didn't see much improvement. Udderly Smooth helped my eczema within 3 weeks! I am beyond AMAZED and pleased with the Body Cream!

Things I really LOVED about Udderly Smooth: 
  • Healing of Dry Skin issues begins within a couple of days. 
  • The Creams do not leave a Greasy feeling on the skin. 
  • Very Affordable for everyone.
  • MADE in the USA product. 
  • Doesn't wash off while washing hands.
The only NEGATIVE for me: 
The Creams weren't as natural as I thought they would be. Some of the ingredients are non recognizable.

More info on Udderly Smooth Products: 

Udderly Smooth comes in many Varieties and Sizes: Product Info

Udderly Smooth is available online at the Udderly Smooth Website. The prices range from $1.75-$8.75 depending on size and product.

Udderly Smooth is also available in stores. Where to Buy

Where to Find Udderly Smooth on the Web: 

I give the product 5 out of 5 stars! I will continue to buy and use Udderly Smooth! GREAT product!


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Friday, December 27, 2013

Mosaic Reviews: HelloFresh

Do you loathe meal planning and grocery shopping?? Do you wish there was someone to do it for you and delivers? Well, there is: HelloFresh 

HelloFresh is a Subscription service that creates recipes, creates weekly menu choices, gathers the ingredients for your 3 meal choices and delivers to your door every Wednesday.

I recently had the opportunity to receive a weekly box for my family to enjoy as part of my participation in Mosaic Reviews.

How Does it Work:

You will need to create an account at HelloFresh website. Once you have created your account you will be able to select your first delivery box. You have to have your order in the system the Wednesday prior to the next Wednesday delivery, so basically 7 days in advance. HelloFresh has 2 different Boxes to choose from: Classic and Veggie which both come in 2 person meals or 4 person meals. You are given 3 meals as the main choices, but there are 2 optional that you can swap out for any of the 3. Sit back and wait for your Wednesday delivery!

Our Family's Thoughts and Review: 

We are a family of 5, so we cooked all 3 meals for dinner the night after we received our box. The box was delivered on Wednesday, but we are at church on Wednesday night. The box arrived while we were gone, but that did not create a problem. The food comes in a VERY well insulated box and sits atop 2 very strong ice packs.

Our 3 meal choices were: Steak and Brussels Sprouts Stir-Fry, Chile Dusted Shrimp with Corn Relish, Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Lemony Skillet Potatoes and Zucchini.

My husband is the Chef of the family and I am the baker, so my hubby was the one who prepped and prepared the food. He likes for "everyone to stay out of the kitchen while I am cooking", so I didn't get to the food being made, but I did get his opinion on the preparation process. His thoughts: "The meals are easy to prepare, especially with all the ingredients measured and ready for cooking. The cooking process is easy and most of the meals did take 30 minutes or less. The Tendorloin took a bit longer, but it was worth it".

I was arranging the food on plates and bowls as each meal was ready. The finished meals were looking delectable. The 3 meals were ready for us to enjoy in about 1hr 45minutes. The wait was COMPLETELY worth it! I was quite impressed that each meal created a LARGE portion. We all took a portion of each meal and enjoyed dinner.My boys did surprise me by saying the Steak and Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry was actually spicer then the Chile Dusted Shrimp with Corn Relish. The meals were not too spicy though because the boys went back for seconds. YES, even though the meals were for 2, there was enough for seconds for my boys. I myself enjoyed every bite of each of the 3 meals! My husband was very satisfied with the meals! My personal favorite was the Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Lemony Skillet Potatoes and Zucchini. The family really enjoyed the meals!!

Some quotes from my boys: 
8yr old: "Wow we are eating fancy tonight"   We are more of a comfort food type of family, thus he thought this was fancy food. LOL

11yr old: He came to me about 2 hrs after dinner and said "When are we getting another box?" My 11yr old is the PICKEST eater I have ever met, so he comment says a LOT!! He truly enjoyed it!

The things I really Like about HelloFresh service: 
  • All the ingredients are shipped to you in the EXACT amount you need.
  • The quality and freshness of the food and ingredients.  
  • The beautiful recipe cards that give cooking instructions with pics. 
  • Ability to "pause" your delivery for however long you need to. 
  • No CONTRACT and NO Minimum monthly order
  • Customer Service is OUTSTANDING! I received a call a couple days after delivery from their Social Media rep and she was friendly, helpful and we had a nice conversation!
The CON for our family: The COST!! I am a Frugal Shopper and my weekly food budget is about $100. 3 meals will only cover 1 night for our family, so that would put our grocery budget through the roof.

More info about HelloFresh Subscription Service:

Cost per week: 

Classic Box (3 meals):
2 people $69
4 people $129

Veggie Box (3 meals):
2 people $59
4 people $109

Shipping is ALWAYS FREE!

Are you interested in HelloFresh service?? 
Sign up now and use code XN6V7C at Checkout to 
receive $20 off your first box. 

Where to find HelloFresh on the Web:

I really wish HelloFresh was more cost effective for our family because we would be ordering a couple times a month!! 5 out of 5 stars! EXCELLENT food and service!


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