Archives for February 2012

Looking for Non-Smartphone Recommendations

Yes, you read that right. I need cell phone recommendations, the only stipulation is that they can’t be for any smartphones.

cellphoneI know, I know. In today’s technological age, I’m looking for a phone that can’t give me turn-by-turn directions or tell me where the nearest Taco Bell is located. It’s craziness.

But, I just can’t afford a smartphone right now.

I had an iPhone. I adore my iPhone. In fact, I still use the apps on my iPhone all the time – and even more now that I finally have a wireless router in my house. But, the AT&T data plan for the iPhone that I had was killing us financially. I cannot justify spending $250/month on cell phones for my husband and I… and that’s exactly what we were paying. That’s 2-3 weeks of groceries for my family.

We recently switched to Go Phones from AT&T so that we could keep our same number. For $50/month, I get unlimited talk, text, and data. I can handle that.

Things were fine until I dropped my phone into a sink full of water. Now, it flashes all the time, and the battery goes dead within an hour of being unplugged. I need a new phone, but I need one that doesn’t require a smartphone data plan.

I’d love to hear what suggestions you have. Please don’t try to convince me to go to a smartphone – unless you want to pick up the tab. I had a smartphone. I loved it. I can’t afford it. Maybe in the future. For right now, though, I just need a phone that will allow me to talk, text, and surf the web.

Let me hear what you have to say!

Attack of the Stomach-Bug Monster

I apologize for the lack of posting around here the past few days. The stomach bug hit our family… hard.

It started last Saturday. I got a phone call from my MIL. The boys had spent the night on Friday night, and Zander woke up at 6 am sick to his stomach. He spent the entire day in bed with a bucket beside him. When I finally got him home, I put him straight to bed, and he slept the rest of the afternoon, evening, and all night long. He woke up Sunday feeling a million times better, but I just knew someone else was going to get it.

I spent the next few days acting like Mr. Monk and trying to keep the germs at bay with Lysol, Peroxide, and Bleach.

I really thought it worked, too! No one got sick Sunday or Monday, so I thought we were in the clear.

Tuesday night, Gage and Parker both got it.

Again, it lasted about as long as Zander’s, and they were both feeling better by Wednesday afternoon. I opted not to go to church, just because I figured we were still carrying the virus, and I didn’t want to risk giving it to anyone else.

SO glad we didn’t go Wednesday night, because we were far from done.

At 11pm Thursday night, Jace came in my room and got sick all over the floor. 10 minutes later, Lucy did the exact same thing. Another 20 minutes later, it was my turn. {I didn’t get it all over the floor, though.} 🙂 All night long, Jace, Lucy, and I would take turns being sick. About 1am, Ashley joined in the fun. Then Parker started again around 3am, and Gage at 4. I spent the entire night taking care of the kids…  and I was as sick as they were.

That morning, hubby got up at 6 am for work and HE ended up with it. He went into work anyway, but by 10am, he couldn’t take it anymore. He came home and confined himself to the couch.

We spent all day yesterday lying around the house, and we’re still not back to 100% today. I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. The kids slept all day yesterday and still slept in until 10 o’clock this morning. As I type this, Lucy, Jace, and Parker are back to sleep again.

This is one stomach flu that I would never like to repeat again. I’ve had stomach bugs go through the family – but it usually attacks one person at a time. {And usually one right after the other.} This is the first time that 7 of us have been down for the count at one time. It has been horrible.

Has this nasty virus hit your house? If not – stay far away from us. If so, did it hit everyone at once, or was it a one-at-a-time deal?

Shopping Your Way with Become.com

As you may or may not know, hubby and I recently moved into a new house. As with any home, there are improvements to be made, and items that desperately need updating.

One thing we will definitely be doing in the future is updating our master bathroom. While it has a nice “shell,” it just needs more.

I was recently introduced to Become.com and I’ve been having a ball looking at all the different bathroom fixtures and furniture.

For example, take a look at giallo ornamental 48 inch vanities. Some of them are really, really pretty. I could definitely see one of those as a vanity in our bathroom.

Or how about the fairmont designs 104-v20 20 inch tuxedo eurolav vanity base. Since we have two bathroom sinks in our master bath, I’d love to do a set of vanity combos side by side. They would give the bathroom such a sophisticated look – and they are definitely my style.

What would a new bathroom vanity be without a fancy new faucet? Check out this search for 100 percent lead-free solid stainless steel faucet lavatory bathroom. Absolutely awesome.

And I love that Become.com gives me the prices and the best place to purchase exactly what I’m looking for. They’ve made shopping so much easier. They help you compare prices, find exactly what you want, and tell you where to go to get it. That saves you time, money, and so much hassle.

No more running around or scouring the internet for the best deal. Just log onto Become.com, type in what you’re looking for, and start shopping.

I’ve bookmarked this site and will definitely be using Become.com to help us save money with all our renovations in our new house. I can’t wait to get started!*

Have you tried Become.com? What are your thoughts?

 

Super Secret Fans Only #GlVEAWAY {Ends 3/21}


In celebration of reaching 1,000+ Facebook fans on the Blessed Beyond Words page, I am offering up a super secret giveaway that ONLY fans can enter.

The rules are simple:

  • You must be able to fill in the Secret Word in the Rafflecopter entry form

If you can do those two things, you can unlock lots more entries into the giveaway.

So what am I giving away?

The winner gets to choose: You can have a $50 Amazon Gift Card or you can get $50 in Paypal cash.

And since the prize will be sent by email, it will be open to ALL.

I am so thankful for my readers and my fans, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you!

What are you waiting for? Head on over to the Blessed Beyond Words Facebook page and find out what the secret word is!

Use the Rafflecopter gadget to enter:

[Read more…]

Taylor Joelle Designs {@TaylorJoelleDes} Review & One for You! {Ends 3/12}

I will admit it: I have a hat fetish. There is nothing more adorable than a baby boy sporting an adorable hat.

Recently, Taylor Joelle Designs contacted me and asked if I would review one of their cute little hats. Of course I jumped at the chance.

I selected the Owl Hat in Blue & Gray for my review, and I selected it in Gage’s size. As you can see from the picture, it is absolutely adorable. The quality, the craftsmanship, and the colors are remarkable. I just adore this hat.

Gage has had the opportunity to wear this hat out and about on several occasions. Every time, people will stop me just to tell me how cute he is and how adorable the hat is. I absolutely must agree on both accounts.

I decided to snap a few pictures of Gage in his new hat, and I ended up with so many cute ones that I couldn’t select just one to share with you… I had a bunch I want to share.

Take a look at some of the cute shots we got:

I am super impressed with everything about Taylor Joelle Designs, and will highly recommend them to anyone.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes and check out all the wonderful items Taylor Joelle Designs has to offer. It’s not just hats, either. They carry an entire line of children’s boutique products.

There are lots of ways you can connect with Taylor Joelle Designs:

The wonderful folks at Taylor Joelle Designs have graciously offered up a hat to one lucky reader here on Blessed Beyond Words. {Winner will receive their choice of in-stock hat.}

To enter, use the rafflecopter gadget below:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received the item mentioned above from Taylor Joelle Designs in order to facilitate my review. I have not been compensated for this post in any other way. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. Taylor Joelle Designs is sponsoring the giveaway.

Fairy Tales Hair Care Products { @fairytalesinc Review}

If you’ve been a reader on my blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably come across pictures of my kids. My daughter Lucy, has very long, thin, curly hair, and it is an absolute nightmare to deal with in the winter. Because we’ve had so many cold, harsh days lately, we have dealt with tangles, static, and more bad hair days than I’d even like to count.

Fairy Tales Hair CareSo, when I got the opportunity to review several products from Fairy Tales Hair Care, I jumped at the chance. Maybe this would be just what we needed to keep Lucy’s hair from being unruly and just plain hard to deal with.

Here are the products I received for my review:

  • Conditioning Shampoo
  • Detangling Conditioner
  • Static Free Leave-in Detangling Spray

When the box arrived, Lucy was SO excited. She just knew the items had to be for her, because there was a castle on there. She asked if I had gotten her some new Princess shampoo.

She was so excited, in fact, that she couldn’t wait until that evening to get her bath. I gave in and allowed her to hop in the bathtub. I was almost as excited to try out the new products on her hair and see if they would make any difference.

The products smell absolutely amazing. I can’t quite describe the scent, but it’s sweet and not overly potent. Just perfect for a little girl’s hair.

Lucy's hairWhen she got out of the tub, we sprayed her hair with the detangling spray. {It had the same yummy scent.} I couldn’t believe how easy it was to comb through her hair. Usually combing Lucy’s hair is a fight. There are tears, and millions of “Are you done yet”s. But not this time. In fact, when I had finished combing her hair, she asked, “Are you done already?!” Talk about a nice change!

Since it was earlier in the day, Lucy asked if I would straighten her hair. I figured that would be the ultimate test of the products. Would her hair look thin and stringy and filled with static, or would these products actually make her hair look better?

I’m delighted to tell you that they worked – beautifully! You can see in the picture just how long Lucy’s hair is – and there’s hardly a “fly-away” hair to be found anywhere. Her hair feels healthier, looks shinier, and is absolutely gorgeous. We both love it!

I would highly recommend Fairy Tales Hair Care Products to any mom with a little girl. I am super impressed by how well they tamed my Lucy’s crazy hair, and will continue to use these products on her hair.

To learn more about Fairy Tales Hair Care Products, you can connect with them in the following ways:

I also wanted to let you know about a contest Fairy Tales Hair Care is running on their Facebook page. It’s the “OH NO, I HAVE LICE” Photo Contest. Parents are encouraged to snap and post a quick picture of their child{ren} showing their best reaction to finding out she/he has lice. The funniest photo will win a Rosemary Repel 5 pack AND a $50 Visa Gift Card! Plus, all entries will receive a 20% off coupon code. All you have to do is like Fairy Tales Hair Care on Facebook and post your picture! It’s so easy! You need to hurry, though, because the contest ends February 29th. Don’t miss your chance to enter to win!

Disclaimer: I received the products mentioned above from the Fairy Tales Hair Care company in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. I was in no other way compensated for this post.

New Feature: Liking Comments

There have been many times I have been reading through the comments on my blog, and I’ll think to myself, “Man, I wish I could like this comment. It’s great!”

Well, now we have that option! You’ll notice a little button in each comment box with a thumbs up sign. Click on that, and you’ve officially “liked” the comment. They don’t go to Facebook or anything… I’m still working on finding just the right plug in for that option, but I figure it’s a good start.

I hope this adds a little more fun to your visits here at Blessed Beyond Words.

{And, just so you know, I do read through all the comments I get on my blog. I don’t always get the chance to respond, but I want you to know that what you say is extremely important to me, even if I don’t get a minute to tell you that.}

If you have any other features you’d like to see here on the blog, let me know!

Birthday Party Ideas: Pinterest Style

Since Gage’s first birthday is coming up next month, I’ve been using every spare moment to scour Pinterest for some birthday party ideas.

I’m not going over the top. I never have with any of the kids on their first birthday.

jungle cakeWhy?

Because they’re just not that into it. They couldn’t care less about the presents, the decorations, or any of the hoo-ha. {Is that a word?} BUT, next year, when Gage turns 2, I’ll be singing a different song. I always tend to go a little overboard for the second birthday. Not sure why, but 2 has been my favorite birthday for each of my kids.

Anyway, I’m having a small party at my house on Gage’s birthday. Only family and our closest friends will be invited. I worked out the menu this week with hubby, and I’m talking with my dear friend Melissa of Melissa’s Custom Cakes & Goodies about the cake. All I’m going to say is that it’s going to be adorable. And definitely not over the top.

I’m doing a Monkey theme for his party. {Of course! Would anyone expect anything else?} And the colors will be Navy Blue and browns. It’s going to be awesome.

As I was scouring Pinterest, though, I came across some of the coolest cakes. Each of the kids {aside from Gage} have picked out their birthday cakes for this year. {So, get your ovens ready, Melissa. Come July, I’ll have 1 – 2 cake orders per month for you until October.} 🙂

I started a new board on Pinterest called “Birthday Party Ideas for the Kids.” You can follow it if you’re looking for ideas. I’m certain I’ll be pinning a million more things to it over the next few weeks.

I also wanted to share some of my favorite pins from that board:

Got any more monkey-themed party ideas for me? Whether you’ve pinned them, posted them on your blog, or just happened across them on the world wide web, I’d love it if you’d share them with me!

Completely Organize Your Life Online With Clipix

You are all probably somewhat aware that I have an obsessing with being organized. With such a large family, I have to be.

Recently, I was introduced to clipix. I am completely hooked.

I am always finding things online that I want to be able to come back to quickly and easily. I’ll bookmark something, but I have over 6,000 bookmarks on my desktop computer. There’s nothing quick or easy about finding anything I’ve saved.

That’s why I love Clipix so much. Now, I can Clip something to a clipboard, and I can find it fast. No more hunting for hours on end, swearing that I saved that page as a bookmark somewhere.

There are tons of uses for Clipix: gluten free recipes, vacation ideas, stuff you want your hubby to buy you…. the list goes on and on. I’ve just started using it, but I can already tell that I’m going to love it. I plan to start by clipping articles on blogs that I want to come back and read. {There are a lot of those!}

Clipix also offers an iPhone app, so you can always have your clipboards at your fingertips. You can even take pictures of things you see while out and about and clip them onto your clipboards.

There’s no limit to the number of clipboards you can have, either. Clip as much as you what, as often as you want. And then decide who you want to see them. You can make your clipboards completely private, or share them with the world.

It’s so easy! Look, I’ve just started clipping, and I’m having a blast:

Clipix Screenshot

Check out the clipix YouTube video to learn more:

To encourage you to start clipping things, I’ve added a Clipix button to the bottom and side of each post. It only takes a minute to sign up for Clipix, and I hope you’ll join me.

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Amazing Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

It’s no secret, I love chocolate. And, since yesterday was Valentine’s Day, I had an excuse to make some sweets for all my sweeties.

Thanks to Pinterest, I happened across this recipe. It sounded amazing, and I decided I would change things up a bit and make the recipe my own.

Here’s my version:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

 Cake Ingredients: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
1 Box Chocolate Cake Mix. {I used Devil’s Food Cake}
2 Pints Mayfield Peanut Butter Fudge Ice Cream
2 Tablespoons Milk

Topping Ingredients:
1 16 ounce Can of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
1/4 cup Reese’s peanut butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to temperature recommended on the cake mix box. Mix together the cake mix, the ice cream, and the milk. Stir until moist. {My batter was quite thick and lumpy.} Spread into a greased and floured 9×13 pan {or any size pan you prefer}, and bake according to the directions on the cake mix box. {Remember – you don’t need the oil, egg, or anything else. Just the ingredients listed above.}

When the cake is finished baking, and a toothpick comes out clean, allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes. Pour the entire can of Hershey’s syrup over the top of the cake. Melt the peanut butter in the microwave, and drizzle it over the top of the cake. With a knife, swirl the peanut butter and chocolate topping together.

This was a HUGE hit with my kids and my husband last night, and it was so easy!

I think I’ve found my new dessert to take to church dinners. 🙂

Another Dead Celebrity. So What?

Several days have passed since we found out about the death of yet another celebrity. You all know who I’m talking about. Her name and face are plastered all over Facebook, twitter, newspapers, magazines, and tv stations. The “tragic” death of someone before their time.

It sickens me.

Who was she? She was a singer. Sure, she had a beautiful voice, but so do many other women I know. None of them have ever won a Grammy or set foot on a stage before millions of people. But every Sunday morning, they sing their heart out to the Lord. And it’s more beautiful than any celebrity I’ve ever heard.

She was not a role model for children by any stretch of the imagination. Become famous, get hooked on drugs, and spend your life in and out of rehab while the world watches your every move. I don’t know about you, but I want more for my children.

But her death seems to be all anyone can talk about.

I can’t help but think of people I know that have passed away recently… some far before their time.

Ms. Nancy was one of the sweetest women you could ever meet. Her pizza became an addiction. And you couldn’t walk into her restaurant without spending at least 20 minutes talking to her about the latest happenings. Then, Ms. Nancy got cancer. Her whole world changed – and so did the lives of each of her children. When she passed away, there was no televised funeral, no tweets sent out, no memorials plastered all over Facebook. But the world lost an amazing woman that day.

Ms. Jenny is another example. She had a heart of gold. We watched as cancer slowly ate away at her. Her concern was never for herself, but for those she would leave behind. She was a special woman, and she loved Jesus with all her heart.

Wayne was Ms. Jenny’s son. He was about my age. He had been confined to a wheelchair for years. After losing his mom, the grief was too much to bare, and it wasn’t long before he passed away as well. The two are reunited in heaven now, but there was certainly no media coverage when we lost either of them.

Ms. Liz got up one July morning, went into the bathroom, and collapsed. Moments later, she passed away in her husband’s arms. No explanation, no reason, nothing. Ms. Liz took care of so much at our church. The Christmas plays were always special because she made sure the focus of the Christmas play was on giving people the gospel. She was truly an inspiration, and someone I would want my children to look up to.

And what about the soldiers that die every day defending our country and our freedom? If it happened to be a local soldier, there may be a quick blurb in the newspaper, or a 2 minute segment on the evening news. There aren’t millions of tweets, Facebook status updates, or paparazzi surrounding the families of the fallen.

Wake up, America. With the loss of yet another celebrity, it screams volumes about where our priorities lie. Instead of focusing on those that are truly important – those in the Service, and those sold out for God, we focus on those that don’t really matter. We just want the juicy details: Did she die because of an overdose?

I will have no part in it. You will not see me post a status update anywhere saying that “I will always love you, Whitney.” What did she ever do for me? Not a darn thing. But, I will always love Ms. Nancy, Ms. Jenny, and Ms. Liz. They will forever hold a piece of my heart. They were women of God who put others first. They were gracious, loving, and kind. They were the kind of women that should be admired and put up on a pedestal – although not one of them would allow you to do so. They would rather God get the glory.

That’s the kind of person I want to be.

The @80bites Diet {Try it for Yourself! Ends 3/7}

Recently, I participated in a weight loss challenge against several other mom bloggers. While we all won the competition, I lost almost double what I was “required” to lose.

Since then, I have been working hard to continue on my weight loss journey, but I need some extra motivation. When I heard about the 80bites Diet, I jumped all over it.

80bites dietThe 80bites Diet is a 12 week journey. It’s an online program, and every week, new content will be unlocked. {That means you can’t skip ahead!}

So, how does it work?

It’s **so** easy! There’s no counting calories, no withholding carbs, none of that. You literally count your bites. The fewer bites you take, the less food you take in, which means fewer calories, a smaller stomach, and a journey to becoming a healthy you.

They recommend that you download their app to help you count your bites, but it’s not required. In fact, I heard that one of their success stories lost over 200 pounds, and they simply used a pencil and a piece of paper to count bites. That is awesome!

I’ve only been participating in the program for a few days, but I am absolutely loving it so far. It is so much easier than any diet program I’ve found. I can’t wait to see how much weight I lose through the 12 week program.

Also, I did download the app. While I don’t use my iphone as a phone anymore, I do still have it for games and certain apps. I’ve found it’s so easy to drop my iphone in my lap, and tap each time i take a bite. It’s discreet, and even when I’m out in public, no one has to know that I’m sitting there counting how many bites of food I’ve taken. Love that.

80bites wants to give each of you the chance to join me on the 80bites journey. One of you will win a membership into the 80bites diet program.

If you don’t want to wait until the end of the giveaway, and you’re ready to get started now, 80bites is offering 20% off the cost of a membership for all of my readers. Just use the code BLESSED at checkout. {Offer ends March 13th, so don’t delay!}

A membership typically costs $50. That’s the best price for any 12 week program I’ve found. To get 20% off that and get the program for just $40 is a huge bargain – and worth every penny from what I’ve seen so far.

Are you ready to join me on this journey?

Use the rafflecopter gadget below to enter for your chance to win a free membership.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a membership to the 80bites diet program in order to facilitate my review. Over the next 12 weeks, I will post about my progress and share my thoughts with my readers. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. 80bites is sponsoring this giveaway. Please consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program.

Gage at 11 Months Old

Gage 11 Months

I simply cannot believe that Gage is 11 months old today. In exactly one month, we will be celebrating his first birthday. I guess I should get started on some party plans, since I’ve already invited people – just haven’t done much past that. 🙂

Gage is such a fun baby. I’m amazed at how different each of my kids really are. Gage is Mr. Independent. He holds his own bottles, likes to feed himself, {because I just can’t feed him fast enough!}, and would rather crawl where he wants to go than to be held.

He hasn’t eaten baby food in months. He’s strictly on table food now, and he eats everything we eat. You’d never know he only had 8 teeth, because he’ll eat anything you put in his mouth.

He doesn’t talk much yet. Mama, Dada, bye-bye, and ba-ba are about the extent of his vocabulary. But, boy, has he finally caught up with the gross motor skills. He trucks around the house all day long, and he loves trying to walk along anything he can hold onto. {Just don’t try to hold his hands and make him walk. Not Mr. Independent.}

My baby boy is certainly growing up. I wish I could just bottle time – or at least slow it down a little.

@NaturesPath – Love Crunch Granola {Ends March 3}

 

love crunch

I have been searching high and low for wholesome snacks that will help me continue with my weight loss goals. The problem I’ve found with most “wholesome” or “good-for-you” snacks? They taste like tree bark or crunchy dirt.

When I got an email from the folks at Nature’s Path, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give their new Love Crunch line of snacks a try.

I am SO glad I did. I was more than pleasantly surprised with the taste. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

Nature’s Path sent me a bag of each flavor in their Premium Organic Granola line. Here’s what I received:

  • Dark Chocolate & Red Berries
  • Aloha Blend
  • Carrot Cake
  • Apple Crumble

natures path logoWhen the package arrived on my doorstop the other day, I was truly blown away. It was some of the nicest earth-friendly packaging I have ever seen. And I loved that instead of sending me artwork and papers about their product, they included a flash drive. {By the way, the flash drive is made from recycled wood pallets.}

It was right around snack time when the package arrived, so I opened the Carrot Cake granola blend. I gave some to the kids and myself. WOW. Better than any carrot cake I’ve ever had. Over the next few days, we tried all of the flavors. I refused to share the Dark Chocolate & Red Berries or the Aloha Blend. Those are my absolute favorites, and I’ve got them put on the very top pantry shelf, hidden where even my husband cannot find them. 😉

Every morning, Parker will get up and say, “Mom, I need some of that yummy stuff.” The yummy stuff he is referring to, of course, is any flavor of the Love Crunch granola he can find.

Aside from the taste, there are several other things I love about the Love Crunch Organic Granola line:

  • The story behind the product: It was created by Arjan Stephens, {the son of Nature’s Path founder Arran Stephens} and his wife Rimjhim. At their wedding, they offered the granola as a favor to guests who had come to celebrate in their marriage. They also asked that instead of wedding gifts, their guest go out and volunteer in their communities. Thus, “Love Crunch” was born.
  • Each bag of Love Crunch is packed full of Whole Grains, contains low sodium, no cholesterol, and no trans fat. These are truly “good-for-you” foods that really taste good!
  • The granolas are USDA certified organic {which means no artificial preservatives, additives, or synthetic pesticides}. They also have the new Non-GMO Project Verified Seal so that you can trust that these products meet the genetically modified organism {GMO} avoidance practices.
  • The snacks come in bags instead of the Nature’s Path boxes in order to minimize excess cardboard.
  • For every bag of Love Crunch sold, Nature’s Path will donate the equivalent in cash or cereal to food banks through their “Share the Love Project.”

To learn more about Nature’s Path and their entire line of products, connect with them in the following ways:

This is a product that I am proud to stand behind, to share with my readers, and to feed to my family. Since my husband is a co-manager at a grocery store, I’ve already asked him to promise me that the Love Crunch Granolas will be available to his shoppers.

Nature’s Path has already shared the “Love Crunch” with me. Now, they want to spread the love to one of my readers! One lucky reader will receive one package of each flavor of Love Crunch.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter gadget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received a sample of products from Nature’s Path in order to facilitate my review. I was in no other way compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. Nature’s Path is sponsoring the giveaway and will award one reader with a bag of each flavor of Love Crunch Granola.

Eversave Atlanta – Swedish Massage {Ends 2/9}

eversave atlanta

Today on Eversave Atlanta, you can get a one hour Swedish massage from Salon 1325 in Stockbridge, GA. That’s 58% off the original price of $60!

Eversave Atlanta and I need your help spreading the word about this Save. To sweeten the pot, Eversave Atlanta will give one lucky reader a Save voucher for their very own Swedish Massage.

Here are the Save details:

Save details:

  •  Limit 2 Saves of this type per person. You May purchase additional Saves as gifts.
  • Salon 1325 is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
  • May not be combined with other offers.
  • You must call ahead for an appointment.
  • Total promotional value of the Save must be redeemed during one visit.
  • The Save voucher will be valid starting the day after purchase.
  • Save must be redeemed before July 8, 2012.

This will be a quick giveaway, so be sure to enter right away. Then, be sure to share this save with all your friends! Oh, and you *must* be a member of Eversave Atlanta to enter.

To enter, use the Rafflecopter gadget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for this post in any way. Eversave Atlanta is sponsoring the giveaway and will fulfill the prize as stated above.

Direct Sales – Yay or Nay?

Because I have six children, working outside the home simply isn’t an option for me. I would be paying more in daycare/after school care costs than I could even make in a week. And, honestly? Who would hire a woman with 6 children? Odds are stacked against me that someone would be always be sick, and I would have to call off work. Therefore, going out and actually getting a job right now just isn’t going to work.

You all know that I run my own business offering blog design, website design, graphic design, and social marketing. I love that, but times are tough for everyone, and my income isn’t steady.

I used to be fortunate enough to have a paid blogging gig. But, that went belly up in September, and I wouldn’t return to the company if they decided to bring back the program for personal reasons. {I’m “not allowed” to talk about those personal reasons, either. Just know it wasn’t a healthy situation.}

I need some kind of income, though. My husband has a great job, but we live paycheck to paycheck – as most families do, but there’s no money if the car breaks down, or other unexpected expenses arise. And, I like being able to contribute to our household. I don’t want my husband to feel like he has to kill himself to support the 8 of us.

Over the past several weeks, I have had 2 opportunities arise as a means of generating income. However, they are both in direct sales. I have a history with direct sales, and it’s not a good one. I worked with Discovery Toys for awhile and they still owe me $7.85… the only money I ever made with them. And I’m pretty sure I only made that money because I was the one that bought something. Then, I tried Avon. I lasted a little longer with Avon, but I really never made much at all. My only “clients” were friends that lived in Chicago, and I was living in Ohio at the time.

I have no problem hosting parties or giving parties. Lord knows I am the ultimate hostess. I love getting together with friends and having a good time. But, there are 2 problems I’ve found with direct sales:

  1. I don’t have friends that are willing {or able} to host parties.
  2. I don’t like to push people into buying things. I hate when people do it to me, and I don’t like to do it to others.

I’m sure you can see my dilemma. What’s the point of investing in a direct sales company if I’m just going to flop again?

Let me share the two opportunities that have been presented to me and see what you think:

  • Scentsy – I have a friend that is a Scentsy consultant and she is doing quite well with it. In fact, I have had several people approach me and tell me I would be great as a Scentsy consultant, and should consider joining the company. I have had the opportunity to do several reviews with Scentsy products, and I am always impressed. I do not know of anyone in the local area that is a Scentsy consultant, so that may be an advantage. And the one thing I love about Scentsy is that all of their items are wickless. With kids, that is definitely a plus.
  • Pink Zebra Home – Now, just the name of this company is enough to make me giggle with glee. And if you look at the consultant’s package, the products are totally me. I could have a lot of fun with it. I don’t know anyone in the local area that sells Pink Zebra, so that’s another bonus. BUT, if people don’t know the company, will they be willing to buy?

I just don’t know what to do. I have prayed and prayed about this, and the answer still isn’t clear. So, I figured I’d come to my readers and ask for your opinions. Have you worked in direct sales? What have you experiences been? Have you worked {or do you currently work} for either of the companies listed above? And tell me honestly, can a mom of 6 even do direct sales or is it just one more thing I’d be taking on?

I would love to hear your opinions on this.

Would You Consider Lap Band Surgery?

You are all aware that I have made some major life changes lately. I am eating better, exercising daily, and doing my best to live a healthy, active lifestyle. After all, I have 6 sets of eyes watching every move I make. Do I really want them to see me sitting on the couch all day drinking can after can of diet soda? Not at all. I want to be able to play with them, take long walks, and enjoy every moment I have here on Earth. My hope is that they will learn from my experiences, and maybe they can prevent ever becoming overweight in the first place.

Last week, I had someone ask me if I would ever consider having lap band surgery. Honestly? If I were having a harder time losing weight, or if I were still morbidly obese, then yes, I probably would consider such a surgery. I know several people that have had the lap band surgery, and each one of them are well on their way to healthier lifestyles. I admire the steps they have taken in their lives and hope this is exactly what they need to succeed.

I understand that lap band surgery isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok. Every individual has to do what’s right for them. But, if you’re struggling with losing weight, or if you are having health complications because of your weight, I hope you’ll consider speaking with your doctor about options that are right for you.

Disclaimer: I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and have been compensated for this post. However, the views and opinions are 100% my own.

Shabby Apple Bali Ha’i Dress {Ends 2/26}

I love browsing the Shabby Apple website and discovering the beautiful women’s dresses they have available. So, when the fabulous online boutique contacted me and asked if I would like to host a giveaway, there was no way I could turn them down!

Shabby Apple Bali Ha'i dressAfter much debate, I’ve selected the Bali Ha’i Dress to give away to one lucky reader. I love the beautiful purple color as well as the accents along the neckline. It’s simple, elegant, and can definitely be considered a dress that will never go out of style.

Not only does Shabby Apple offer women’s dresses, they offer so much more… jewelry, swimwear, even a clothing line for children. Please take some time to browse the Shabby Apple website and see all they have to offer.

And please remember that you can follow Shabby Apple on Facebook, Twitter, and their Blog for all the latest Shabby Apple news, updates, events, and more.

To enter the giveaway for a Shabby Apple Bali Ha’i Dress, use the Rafflecopter gadget below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for this post in any way. Shabby Apple is sponsoring this giveaway and will fulfill the prize {Bali Ha’i dress in winner’s size} to one Blessed Beyond Words reader. Opinions expressed are not based on a review product, but simply by the images and products available on their website. All opinions are still 100% my own.

Our Favorite Cookbook – Cooking with Mickey & Friends by Pat Baird

My favorite room in our new house is the kitchen. We have a great big island in the center of the kitchen which gives me plenty of room to prepare dinner – and there’s even room for all the kids to help me.

Since we finally have cupboard space again, the first thing I did was reserve one gigantic cupboard for my cookbooks. {I’m not the world’s best cook, but I sure pretend to be!}

Cooking with Mickey & FriendsWhile organizing the cookbooks, I happened across our favorite book: Cooking with Mickey & Friends by Pat Baird. It’s no secret that we love Mickey Mouse. We are all dreaming of the day when we can take the kids to Disney World so they can meet Mickey & all their favorite Disney characters. For now, though, we have to bring Mickey into our home, and this cookbook is the perfect way to do just that. I am SOOOO excited to have this book in easy reach again!

Inside the book you’ll find over 30 recipes – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks & sides, desserts, and even beverages. The recipes are easy to follow, easy to read, and list absolutely everything you will need including utensils and ingredients. You get step-by-step instructions, and if there’s a step that requires an adult’s help, it’s clearly marked. My 7 year old loves reading the recipes out loud and everyone gets to help.

The recipes are actually really good. Our favorites include The Sultan’s Hummis Dip with Fresh Vegetables, Abu’s Baked Apples {heaven!}, Alice’s Cheesy Rice, Mufasa’s Mouthwatering Chops {made with Wendy’s Honey of a Peach topping!}, and Peter Pan’s Sparkling Pink Punch.

I’ve scoured the internet trying to find the best price for you all because I *highly* recommend this cookbook to anyone with kids. Unfortunately, the only copies I can find are used copies, but at least the price is right! Amazon has several used copies available, and so does AbeBooks.com.

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated for this post in any way, nor have I been contacted by anyone and asked to post a review. The thoughts expressed in this post are 100% my own and have only been influenced by how much we use this cookbook.

The Results are In for the #DietBet Mom Bloggers Challenge

It’s official: All 7 Moms in the Mom Bloggers DietBet Challenge have met their goals! That means we will all be splitting the $5,000 pot. Each person and/or charity will receive $715.

I want to congratulate each of the other bloggers:

dietbet I also wanted to share my experience with the DietBet challenge with each of you and give you my honest input.

First, I love a good dose of friendly competition. I am one that does NOT like to lose. {Unless I’m losing weight – that I like.} Competing against other people – even if they were complete strangers gave me a sense of desire to eat right the entire time and not stray off my diet and exercise routine. I do kind of wish it had been a winner-take-all sort of deal, because I did so well in the competition by almost doubling the 4% goal that DietBet set for me.

Second, I *love* that I can donate my winnings to charity. If I had been in it to just win the money for myself, I know I wouldn’t have done as well. Knowing that DietBet is sending a check to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in my name for the amount of $715 makes every second of the challenge worth it. I never could have donated that much money to them otherwise.

Third, I loved actually going to my local Curves office and weighing in once a week. Now the ladies at Curves know me by name, and they have been *such* an encouragement the entire time. I still don’t own a scale here at home, so I’ll probably have to drop in there every so often to see if I’ve lost more weight.

The only thing I wish had been different is that I wish DietBet would calculate pounds in decimal increments. For example, the second week, I lost 1.5 pounds, but DietBet didn’t round it up, it said I only lost 1 pound. {Boy, was that depressing! At least give me that half a pound!} I guess if you don’t have much to lose, that really isn’t a big deal, but honestly? It’s a really big deal to me. I worked hard to lose every pound – and half a pound – over these 4 weeks.

So, would I do another DietBet again? ABSOLUTELY. I found it to be exactly the motivation I needed to jumpstart my weight loss. Now, all I want to do is keep on the same track and keep losing until I’ve met ALL my goals.

I plan to keep the weight loss section up on my blog. It’s a great way to keep myself motivated and accountable. I have a very long way to go, but I’m hoping to be at my goal weight by the end of this year. I know I can do it. {Although, I have to say I’m a little jealous of the other bloggers who have been contacted by large weight loss companies. Wishing one of them would find my blog and help support me in meeting my goals.} But, even without them, I’ve proven that I can make the changes necessary to lose weight, and I can do it all on my own. I’m not giving up – no matter what.

Will you continue to support me through my weight loss journey?

Disclaimer: DietBet gave me the opportunity to participate in a Mom Blogger’s Challenge and compete for $5,000. Since each blogger won, $715 will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I am not a doctor. Any steps I take to lose weight are my own, and individuals should seek their doctor’s opinion before starting a weight loss program of any kind.