As you know, we’re frugal. We were especially frugal in the first couple years of marriage. Because we had goals and dreams that required scrimping and saving, we HAD to be frugal. The things we did in order to dump LOADS of debt are not necessarily for everyone, but they were pretty painless, and they worked. Here are a few of our debt-destroying secret weapons.
We had some beautiful, sunny, and “warm” (for Winter in the Midwest, that is) weather this weekend, and I’m SO happy about it. It’s only fitting, then, that today’s Scripture reflects the joy of Spring. 🙂 Hope you all had a beautiful and blessed weekend!
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
This is my 3-year-old’s first year in preschool, and his first year exchanging classroom Valentines with his little friends. I spent a lot of time racking my brain about what cute and creative treats we would make, and then a trip to my local Dollar Tree steered me in a different direction. With such an over-abundance of sugary sweets on February 14th, and so many adorable candy alternatives out there, I thought, why do sweets at all?
4 One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Whether in a relationship or single, Valentine’s Day can be a lot of pressure when trying to make restaurant reservations, find the perfect present and create an incredible day, one that’s different from the past year. Instead of going out for Valentine’s Day, eliminate the stress and create a unique experience with your partner at home this Valentine’s Day. If you’re single, don’t sulk – use this day to celebrate the love you have for yourself and your friends! Here are some fun and creative ideas below to bring your Valentine’s Day to the next level!
For The Creative Couple:
Spice things up with wine cocktails you can create together. Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore is the perfect base for a variety of bubbly cocktails to add sparkle to your Valentine’s Day.
Strawberry Mint Bellini
4 cups of strawberries, sliced
Full strawberries for garnishing
10 mint leaves, torn
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore
Blend strawberries, confectioners’ sugar, mint and lemon together in a blender until smooth. Chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Dived the strawberry mixture among champagne flutes. Top each with Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore, stir. Garnish each glass with 1 strawberry.
For The Foodie Couple:
They often say “Food Is The Way To Someone’s Heart” so this Valentine’s Day why not ensure that that heart stays happy for a long time by making a delicious Valentine’s Day fondue dinner paired with Santa Margherita varietals. This pretty red cast iron Cuisinart Fondue Set is the perfect centerpiece for creating an intimate and romantic experience. Get creative with the set, melting anything from cheese for dipping pieces of cut meats, bread or vegetables, to melted chocolate for dipping fruits, pretzels, marshmallows, and more! A glass of Pinot Grigio Alto Adige is perfect with chicken. Red meats are enhanced with Chianti Classico Riserva. Prosecco Superiore should be paired delightfully with creamy dishes, fried fare and spicy dishes.
For The Wanderlust Couple:
Italy’s luxurious vineyards make for the most romantic Valentine’s Day setting. Unfortunately, it’s a little too late to book a flight, so instead transform your home into a vineyard and transport your significant other to the greatest romantic destination. Decorate the room with artificial ivy vines and white lights, and set up a wine and cheese tasting platter fit for Cupid!
For The Friends Celebrating Together:
Who says Valentine’s Day parties are just for couples? Host a Singles Only party, or have a mix of singles and couples and throw a game night with sushi and bubbly! Making your own sushi is a fun activity all your friends can enjoy together!
For The Single Spending The Day Treating Themselves:
Be your own Valentine and give yourself some TLC. Open up a bottle of wine, pour yourself a glass (or two), sit back and unwind with a relaxing spa kit, like this one by Cuccio for around $20.
No Valentine’s night in is complete without these tasty Santa Margherita Wines!
Pinot Grigio Alto Adige
This dry white wine has a straw yellow color. Its clean, intense aroma and bone-dry taste (with an appealing flavor of Golden Delicious apples) make Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio a wine of great personality and versatility. $26.99
Chianti Classico Riserva
On the Nose it gradually unfurls flowers, fruit, spice and gunflint in an intriguingly absorbing array of earthly wide-ranging aromatics. Sangiovese’s austere tannins are firmly in the traditional mould, underpinning progression on the subtly nuanced but centered palate, which combines warmth, freshness, savouriness and minerality. $18.99
A sparkling wine with a clean, pleasantly fruity bouquet, reminiscent of rennet apples and peach blossom. Its flavor is rounded and well-balanced. $17.99
How do you plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day this year…a fun and fast-paced night out, or a romantic and cozy night in?
This post contains affiliate links.
I’ve been provided with promotional products from Santa Margherita Wines for review purposes, but have not been paid for this post and thoughts reflected herein are my own. 🙂
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
With Valentine’s Day right around corner, it’s only appropriate to talk a little bit about love. However, I’m not talking about the typical stuff that goes along with the holiday – the mushy cards, flowers, and candy – but the everyday, real life type of love that goes along with marriage.
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all heard 1 Corinthians 13 4-8, one of the most well-known Scriptures from the Bible. It goes:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
It is recited at so many weddings and posted as art on the walls of peoples’ homes. It contains the golden rules for a happy marriage. But, how do these words apply to real life? Here’s some insight into how can you implement this Scripture into the everyday events of your marriage.
Love is patient.
Be patient with your spouse. When we’re impatient, we are quick to get irritable, we don’t think before we speak. When we are not patient with our spouses we are more likely to say unkind words we will regret later. Patience fosters good communication. Jesus is patient with us, and we must be patient with one another.
Love is kind.
When you first started dating your spouse, you put your best foot forward. You wanted them to fall in love with you, and part of that meant showing them the utmost kindness and respect. It’s so important to still be kind to your spouse throughout your marriage. Show them the same kindness that Jesus showed to everyone. Be like Jesus to your spouse through your kindness. It’s a fact that showing kindness to others is contagious. The more kindness you show your spouse, the more kindness you’ll get in return.
It does not envy.
Have you ever received good news from your spouse about their promotion, their raise, or something else, and… … maybe you’re a stay at home mom who gave up your career to be home with the kids, and maybe you felt that little green monster of envy creeping up inside? You’re only human, but envy is not an emotion that serves anyone in a marriage. As spouses, it is our job to build each other up, support one another in every way, and be each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Success on either side reflects well upon both the husband and the wife, becuase marriage is a partnership and you can’t succeed without the support of your spouse. There’s no room for envy and jealousy, as these emotions will eat you up inside and make you an incredibly miserable person, and break down your marriage.
It does not boast.
So you may be better with the finances than he is, you may be a better handy-woman around the house, but please don’t boast about it. I heard this saying years ago and it rings so true, “do you want to be right, or do you want to be loved?” Boasting to your mate only undermines them, breaks down their confidence, and leads to doubt and insecurity… that’s a recipe for a broken marriage. We all have talents and skills, and chances are your spouse excels at some things you don’t. Think of how you’d feel if they boasted about it? How about this instead – boast to your spouse about how amazing THEY are and about their talents and skills. Praising them and building them up will make for a very happy and satisfied mate.
It is not proud.
Remember that time you two argued about where he hung up your green sweater, and you were so mad that he lost it, only to remember an hour later that YOU actually folded it and put it in the dresser in the guest room…but you didn’t tell him that it was actually your error, becuase you were too PROUD to admit you were wrong? And then that pride turned to guilt and ate you up inside, knowing you were wrong, but knowing you had dug yourself into a deep hole. Yep, that’s pride for ya! A bitter emotion that leads to nothing good in a marriage. Never be too proud to admit that you’re wrong, and to ask for grace and forgiveness. And, besides, if you follow the first few thoughts about being kind and patient, you won’t make it to pride anyway! 😉
It does not dishonor others.
Love means honoring your loved ones, and we do this by making them feel good, putting them first, and showing them our support.
It is not self-seeking.
With love – real, true love – you don’t put your own needs above your spouse. You give of yourself freely, from a place of abundance. I stay in the kitchen a little later after dinner is over, not because it’s fun for me (I’m tired and I’d rather be watching tv in bed) but becuase I am making my husband’s lunch for the next day, to help him out, to nourish his body, to keep him strong and to take care of him. He bathes the kids for me after a long work day, not because he enjoys the stress of wrangling two tired toddlers and breaking his back bending over the tub, but becuase he cares about giving me some quiet time at the end of a long day of child rearing. We each put the other one above ourselves, and we are elevated to a spirit of giving. Love, it’s not self-serving. It is selfless. True love means sacrificing sometimes to better our spouse. Let me tell you, when you give to your spouse from a full heart, you will be blessed tenfold. Not only does it make God happy, but it pleases your spouse, who, in turn, wants to please you! How much more winning can you get?
It is not easily angered.
Bad moods happen, we are only human. But taking a ten second breather, saying it in your head first, and not letting the emotions take over will save you a lifetime of regret from saying something you shouldn’t say in the heat of the moment. Unkind words and bad tempers leave emotional scars that sometimes can’t heal. It damages a marriage. Being easily angered is a surefire recipe for your spouse to distance themselves from you, shut down, and put up a wall. Kindness, again, goes a long way. Always, always show your spouse kindness regardless of how you feel inside. Kindness breeds more kindness.
It keeps no record of wrongs.
We women are notorious for keeping records of wrongs. It’s one of the longest running jokes of all time.
Keeping a record of your spouse’s wrongs is not only frustrating to them, but it’s toxic to you. Let go, move on, and start with a clean slate. Just as Jesus died on the cross to cleanse us of our sins, show your spouse grace by forgiving and forgetting. Don’t keep a record of their wrongs. God doesn’t!
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Plain and simple, love does not rejoice in wrongdoing. Instead, it treasures truth, celebrates good behavior, and promotes virtue. True love has nothing to hide.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
What are the ways that you show your spouse God’s love and grace?
This Christmas, don’t forget about your trusty canine companions! Check out this list of 5 great, no-fail gift ideas sure to please your furry friends!
1. Eco Dog 2.GO Gift Box
Looking for a gift for pup-loving friends or co-workers? Try a two pack of Eco Dog’s signature shampoo, Simply Clean, and their popular between-baths spray, Simply Fresh. The crisp scent and healthy formula will be appreciated by your friends whose pups are family. Made with all-natural ingredients to support coat health, and free of chemicals and dyes. Fido will thank you! Visit their website for more info about these wonderful green products!
2. Claudia’s Canine Cuisine Cookies
Freshly baked with premium, human-grade ingredients, these fancy, cookie-shaped Christmas dog treats are just what your favorite, tailwaggin’ “elf” deserves, boasting yummy taste and mouthwatering aroma.
3. Keepsake Deluxe Pawprint Kit
Decorate for the holidays with a pawprint of your favorite pet. Complete kit includes everything needed to create a lasting holiday ornament with a cute pawprint in clay. Easy to embellish with your pet’s name, date of birth, or year.
4. Play the Field Toy Gift Pack
Need a quick gift for a dog who’s been good this year? You can’t go wrong with the Dog is Good “Play the Field” Toys Gift Pack. Each four-piece set comes with a dog-pleasing assortment of toys in a ready-to-give box.
5. Dog Collar Leash Light
Don’t walk in the dark! With this leash light, you and your dog will have added safety during night time walks. Be visible to cars and have added convenience for dog cleanup on walks.
If you’re looking for last-minute gift ideas for the rest of the family, check out the 2015 Holiday Gift Guide!
I was provided with free Eco Dog products for use in this blog post, but have not been paid for this post and thoughts herein are my own.
This post contains affiliate links.
With the holidays quickly approaching, I must say I’ve become a bit of a cleaning fanatic. I love a sparkling clean home, which isn’t always easy to achieve with four adults, three kids, two dogs…and a partridge in a pear tree (all under one roof)! I’ve noticed that with the combo of colder weather, plus my harsh, chemical-laden products, things are really starting to take a toll on my my hands! They’re dry, cracking, and honestly a little painful. And that’s where Nixall comes in!
Nixall is a fabulous line of cleaning, and first aid products that are ALL-NATURAL! Their first aid spray takes care of the damage that’s already been done to my dry, cracked skin, and their all-natural cleaners help keep my home clean while being kind on my skin. And they don’t just have ME covered, but my pets, too! They’ve got products to keep them smelling fresh (which I love, especially during the holidays when guests drop by), and to heal their scrapes and itchy hot spots.
Today I’m going to share with you 4 wonderful products from Nixall that might just help you get through the holiday season with more ease. I’m also going to share with you 5 of my tips for keeping your home spotless for the holidays!
1. Nixall Cleanser.
Unlike traditional cleansers that contain harsh chemicals, Nixall® contains hypochlorous acid, a naturally occurring molecule of the human body, making it a very powerful deodorizer and cleaner, but still totally safe to use around your family and pets.
2. Nixall First Aid Solution.
VETRESPONSE Skin Coat Grooming Solution oxygenates and hydrates the skin, maintaining a healthy and shiny coat for your cat, dog or equine animal. Used by Veterinarians and tagged as ‘a groomer’s best friend’, VETRESPONSE is not only safe and effective in making your furry friend look great, but it also removes odors on contact, leaving them smelling good too!
4. Nixall VetResponse Wound + Skin Solution.
VETRESPONSE line of products offers to you the pet lover and livestock owner, the most effective and affordable wound management product in the world. We have done this with an easy to use, one-step, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly solution.
For more information about Nixall’s line of all-natural products, visit their website!
5 Essential Holiday Cleaning Tips
In our busy home, I will admit that I struggle at times with housekeeping. However, I’ve recently implemented some great routines that I’ve been able to stick with, that have helped me maintain a clean & orderly home! Yay!
1. Get up early every morning, shower, and get ready for the day.
Are you asking yourself, “What in the world does this have to do with a clean house?!” Well, for me, everything! It’s all about starting my day with the right mindset. I find that when I feel good and I’m dressed well, and I look presentable enough to go anywhere or have company drop by at any time, I’m much MUCH more motivated than I am when I’ve stayed in my pajamas all day moping around the house. It sets the tone for a productive day, making me feel better about myself and ready to tackle anything.
2. Set a goal and put a time limit on it.
The last thing you want to be doing is struggling with housework…all. day. long. That’s not fun for anyone! To keep myself in check, I set a goal with everything I want to get done that day, and I tell myself I’m not going to do any housework beyond 10am (other than cleaning up any messes that are made as we go about our day). Having a goal in mind prevents me from feeling overwhelmed, and also keeps me from running myself ragged. It makes me work hard and fast for a short amount of time, and frees up the rest of my day to enjoy with kids.
3. Make the beds every single morning.
I started doing this a couple years ago, and maybe it wasn’t LIFE CHANGING, but….ok it was sort of life changing. Walking into a room with a bed that has been made just makes everything feel more put together. Even on the days where I can’t muster up the motivation to do much housework, I always make the beds. I’ve gotten it down to a science, and it only takes me about 30 seconds start to finish. Small price to pay for such a huge reward.
4. Baby wipes can do anything.
I’ve mastered the technique of quick cleaning using baby wipes! I take just a few seconds here and there, grab a baby wipe, and quickly dust off furniture, clean dog hair off the couch, wipe down the bathroom vanities, spot clean the floor, and wipe off the toilet. For busy moms, wet wipes are a huge help! You can even attach a wet wipe to your Swiffer Duster for an instant disposable damp mop.
5. Good enough is good enough!
My house will never look like a magazine…until my last child goes to college, that is, and then IT’S ON! But for now, we live here! I clean daily, but there’s random stuff strewn about because we have toddlers in the house. Ya know what? It’s clean, it smells good, it’s fairly picked up, and good enough is good enough! I wouldn’t be ashamed if company dropped by unannounced, and that’s a goal I’ve worked on for a while! You will drive yourself crazy striving for complete perfection (trust me, I’ve been there), so just let it go and enjoy your life!
I received free Nixall products for review purposes, but thoughts here are my own and I have not been paid for this blog post. This post contains affiliate links, which may earn me a few cents if clicked, paid by the advertiser, at no cost to you.