Mary & Martha Giveaway

11
Sep
2014

mary-martha-win

A few years ago, I was involved with a fun direct selling company called, “Blessings Unlimited” –  you may remember them, they were part of DaySpring and gave moms the opportunity to share products for the home and family through home gatherings.  It was fun and I did it – to be honest to get a lot of cute stuff for my home!!

They recently changed names and are now, Mary & Martha and I was thrilled when a reader of my blog, Jenny wanted to offer me a few products for review and do a giveaway!  

Mary & Martha is a division of Hallmark and Dayspring companies.   They are a Christian company dedicated to empowering women to share their love for God and make a real difference in people’s lives. They provide shared experiences and inspiring products that welcome, serve and connect people while bringing them closer to each other and to God.  Love that mission!

Now, remember, I only ever share products with you that I would buy and I find helpful.  Your time is valuable and your money is too, so know that I do this with a very careful heart. Jenny kindly offered me a few different items – which included some beautiful decor for the home, but I chose two items from their “For Kids” line – the ABC Magnets and “God’s Light in me” for boys.

My 4 year old was very excited when a box arrived for us and I told him the items were all for him!!  

Book-post

Here is what we got:  

ABC MagnetsABC Magnets

Each has a letter and corresponding faith-building word and quote to creatively remind them what God wants them to be. 26 magnets.  These were a hit – he has enjoyed playing with them on our dishwasher and will use them to spell words.  I really love the words that accompany the letters – for example on the letter “C” it has Caring as the word and a definition “Show love in little ways”.  Very fun way to engage and have conversation around characteristics  I would love for us all to have in our home and outside.

God’s Light in Me – for Boys

God's Light in Me BThis board book is made just for boys.  It is full of  biblical principles, captivating illustrations, and rhyming encouragement and we had fun reading it.  It is a great reminder that even the most rough and tumble little boys have God’s light shining through them.   I did think it was a bit on the pricey side for a board book, at $18 – but it certainly was quality and would make a wonderful baby gift from a dear friend.

Here is my guy playing with the ABC Magnets – he really has enjoyed them!

ABC-magnets

Are you interested is having an online party to enjoy and share some Mary & Martha goodies for your home?  You can contact Jenny through her website >>>>  CLICK HERE  – hit the CONTACT ME link, or give her a call, her phone number is listed.  

If you happen to live in the Southwestern Missouri area, she would happily chat with you about the possibility of  doing an in-home gathering for you and your friends.  Perfect for the upcoming Christmas gift giving season – what better way to save some money by hosting a gathering and earning some free products!  They have great hostess benefits – so you’ll want to check that out!

Now, enter to win your choice of ONE copy of one of the three books shown above:  God’s Light in Me (for girls), God’s Light in Me (for boys) or God Made Just One.  Please use the rafflecopter entry below.  Retail giveaway amount $18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given a copy of the board book, “God’s Light in Me – for Boys” and the ABC Magnets for an honest review.  All opinions are my own and were not influenced by the compensation.

Do You Have a Life Verse?

1
Sep
2014

Life-Verse-Motherhood

My morning quiet time is something I really hate to miss.  The peaceful morning, warm cup of coffee just the way I like it, a diffuser running next to me with just the perfect essential oil in it to start my day off right and my iPad – with my YouVersion bible app with my daily devotional picks as well as my Kindle App to read, “Jesus Calling.”

I cherish this time and so love when I am reminded of little things that used to be BIG things, but I have let slip away.

Yesterday I was reading my devotional in my YouVersion App, Simplify a 10 day devotional by Bill Hybels and was reminded of having a life verse.  I honestly really had not considered this, but you know…..I do have a life verse, and I have just forgotten and not really focused on it being my life verse.

Before I was a Christian and understood anything about who Jesus truly was, my kids were enrolled in a Christian school.  This was a particularly difficult season of my life, where I was in the midst of getting a divorce – yet, my children were in a Christian school and I was not a Christian.  I saw the joy in their faces and knew I needed to discover more about this Jesus they were learning about. 

I decided to memorize their school year verse and to me, this is my life verse.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3: 4-5

That is the very first verse I ever memorized – and it was even before I had given my life to Jesus.  

So this is my verse.

I loved what Bill Hybels said in his ‘Simplify’ devotion:

“Having a life verse is one of the most powerful tools I know for simplifying your life.  It keeps you on course and helps you make wise decisions about where to invest your time, energy, and gifts.   It drives you to live each day with fervency and passion.”

So perhaps, even if I wasn’t purely intentional with knowing that it was my life verse, I think I knew – there have been many times in my life I have had to just ‘hang-on’ when things seemed so out of control and did not make sense.  But I just trusted and you know……He’s made it all alright.

Not always exactly how I would have done things, but ……perfectly His way.

Making Birthday’s Extra Special

25
Aug
2014

birthday-blessings-pkg

I have to admit, I have been a bit ‘lacking’ in my celebration skills lately.  Birthdays and anniversaries used to be more of a BIG DEAL celebration, but I have kinda lost my motivation.  So, when I was given the opportunity to learn more about the Birthday Blessing, I was thrilled.

I am in a season where I have a little one growing up right before my eyes and if I can find a way that is simple, yet powerful to celebrate his birthday – I am all over it.

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a book that talked all about your child?  A place where you could write down memories and special sentiments that will be kept all together for them to cherish years from now?

The Birthday Blessing is just that – and even better – it’s all done for you!  You purchase a ready made celebration to use year after year.

birthday-blessings-package-2

The Birthday Blessing consists of a 129 page birthday devotional-journal to be used as a 7-day countdown each year through your child’s 18th birthday along with a Birthday Blessing Celebration Cake to be pulled out and used as a centerpiece – to commence and symbolize not only the celebration week, but the birthday child as well!

I love the centerpiece  – isn’t it adorable?  The fun colors and rustic appearance make it look very homey and welcoming.

The journal is truly the best part.  Instead of having the typical birthday routine of only anticipating presents and a big party, why not use a different approach of centering around God’s love and how He fits into daily life?

birthday blessings journal page

In a perfect world (which we do not live in!) you would set the birthday blessing cake out 7 days prior to the child’s birthday.  Then each evening, or other time you can find – you read through the devotional pages, which are clearly directed with a reading section, a talking section – discussing details about the child (who doesn’t like to have nice things said about them!!).  There is also a DO section, where you will have a small activity to complete, something like looking at pictures of the child when they were a baby or filling out pages in the journal.  Then lastly, PRAYING for the child.

I can totally see our family doing this after dinner during birthday week.

birthday blessings journal book

This routine is anticipated each evening for 7 days before your child’s birthday and then on the actual birthday you celebrate and set some goals for the following year.

For each year, you have pages to write details about your child and fill in information which will be unbelievably fun to read years later.  I wish I would have started something like this for my older kids, but you know, I can at least use this one for my 4 year old and start this year!

I was impressed with the quality of the journal and the box. I know it was lovingly hand-made and will be a treasure to keep.  

The Birthday Blessing is available to purchase complete with the Birthday Blessings Celebration Cake centerpiece and the Journal for $60.  If you have multiple children you can purchase additional journals at $45.

When I first considered my review on The Birthday Blessing, I was thinking it was a bit pricey.  But after I looked at the material and what it meant to fill this book out each year and the tradition you would be creating – I totally changed my mind.  

Do you buy a birthday card for your child each year?  Well, instead – replace it with this!  This is a birthday card on steroids – seriously!!!  If you break the cost of the entire package over 18 years, you are down to $3.16 a year – WOW!  That is nothing!  You can easily spend more on a birthday card for sure, which often gets thrown away.

What a great baby shower idea for a new family?  Just think of how they will bless that child each year?  I love this idea and I am always at a loss with what to buy for baby showers – especially when you don’t know the sex!  

And I now know what I will be giving to my kids when they are expecting their first babies!!  I know we’ve started a great family tradition.

How about a chance to win one for you or a loved one in your family??  Follow the instructions in the rafflecopter and GOOD LUCK!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a complete Birthday Blessing Package in exchange for my honest review. 

Sharing My Heart

21
Aug
2014

 Status-of-the-blog

I have felt the desire to share with you all a few transitions that will be happening here on The Confident Mom blog.  As with anything in life there are times of transition.  I felt that leading last year when I shared how I would be using this space to help moms on a variety of areas close to my heart.  My bottom line goal here with this blog space is to:

1.  Glorify God in all that I do.

2.  Help moms by empowering them with practical ideas and strategies.

3.  Use my mistakes, successes and journey to inspire others to a place of hope.

4.  To be generous, authentic and transparent in what I share.

5.  Create a place where relationships can happen, because bottom line, this whole life is all about relationships.

6.  Share my battle with depression, my journey living with Lupus and the different seasons of motherhood experiences I have had.

Blogs can either stay just the same or change over time.  I could certainly look to keep things just as they have been for years, or desire to change when I feel like I am being led.  I am and have been in that space for quite some time, a feeling of change.  I know God has big things in store and has already shown me BIG things with what I’ve shared here on these pages and those I have touched.  :-)

Being true and authentic can be scary – it can be frightening revealing the times that I am human and make mistakes or yell at my little one 0r talk about my issues with pride.  But you all have been gracious and kind and I feel comforted knowing you are on the other side with an open heart. I  am encouraged all the more to share deeper.

I began this journey blogging as a method to coach other moms in parenting as well as managing their homes.  To be quite honest, I have felt very unsatisfied with coaching in the past year and felt God was leading me out of that season.  I have chosen to only take a few individual coaching slots and am doing no more personal coaching outside of those.  I am relieved and feel at peace knowing that something that was so exhausting for me can be put to rest for awhile.  I love helping, but truly feel the coaching I was doing was not helping as many as it could.

So what will be here on the blog?  What will be my focus for the next year or so?

I will be sharing what I am passionate about and what I feel God is leading me to talk about in an effort to Glorify Him in it all.

Compassion Child Sponsorship

We have three girls that we are sponsoring through the amazon affiliate commission that comes in from YOU, right here on the blog.  Yep, this is a passion of mine. I have been blessed with this space, so let’s do something to make a difference together.  Every little penny makes a difference in their lives, just remember to click on the banner graphic located on my bottom right side bar on the home page before you shop on amazon.

290x250TCM-sponsorchild1

Natural Living and Health

It is no secret that I am in love with Young Living essential oils – my life has been forever changed because I chose to step out of my comfort zone and try something completely new.  I was a skeptic and am not afraid to admit it, but oh, how I my eyes were opened.  

I cannot even begin to express how blessed I am with how I’ve learned to manage my chronic depression with prayer and the use of essential oils, as well as my Lupus symptoms that were very debilitating.  I plan to share more on what Lupus is, what I do to help myself keep going and how others might find help too.  Lupus is a fairly mysterious disease to so many, and I feel God is leading me to share my journey in hope of helping others.

I have so enjoyed learning together on my Private Facebook Page for my oily community and seeing so many other lives changed.  In addition, many moms who just began using the oils for their own personal use {ahem,… like me!} shared their story with friends and now have a little income coming it to bless their family.  I love supporting these moms and mentoring them, taking a passion of mine and using to HIS GLORY!

 Remember, it is all about relationships for me and my heart feels so full in so many ways with this new journey the Lord has me on helping others live better.

Online Book Studies

This all began last fall, after I came back from attending She Speaks, a writing and speaking conference.  I knew I was to lead online book studies, but not sure how to do it or what it looked like.  Well, we’ve done three so far and I am still learning!  I want to create a space to share and learn from each other.  I love the conversations on the Facebook pages and the relationships that develop.   I have made some incredible relationships all over the country with some amazing moms, and even in the world – which still amazes me!   I plan to facilitate three studies a year and see how it goes.

Healthy Eating

I have transitioned over the past two and a half years to a more ‘real’ food diet with less stuff I don’t need in my diet.  I am in no way a dietary pro or a chef.  But I will be sharing things that have helped me, short cuts and be sharing meals and recipes that my family enjoy.  Making motherhood a bit easier is a big deal to me and when I can share something that helps me – it’s all good!

My Personal Story

There are so many good things I am experiencing that I want to share with you.  I am so thrilled I could finally share my entire story of our foster care and adoption journey – God is amazing and I would never in a million years thought I would ever have an adopted little boy – but I do!  I also would have never guessed in a bajillion years that I would be mentoring and leading a group of fabulous ladies on their own journey of growth and passion by sharing Young Living.  I have an amazing team that I am being called to lead and I love the challenge.

God is amazing and each time I turn around there is another blessing just waiting.  I thought I gave up traveling when I left my 20 year career as a flight attendant, but this year alone I have been fortunate enough to travel to Hawaii, Salt Lake City, Spokane and in November – Ecuador all expenses paid because of my obedience in following His lead and stretching outside my comfort zone.  I want to share and include you all in it – God has amazing plans for you too, sometimes we just can’t even fathom it.

Resources for Moms

I love creating pin-pointed products that can help you in your everyday life.  The Weekly Household Planner is a huge hit and because of some of the other things I do here on the blog I can offer it for FREE and will continue to offer it for FREE in 2015!!  I love providing the Summer Survival Calendar and other ebook resources to help tackle struggles you face day in and day out.  I hope I can create more in the near future.

I also love sharing resources outside of what I make – more of items and systems that I use that I find very helpful. You will find that here as well and you can always know that I will never recommend something I do not use already.  Things like Stitch-Fix, Emeals and other things I think moms will find handy and not just a waste of money.  Remember I am frugal at heart and watch our money too!

Simplifying

So to be quite honest, all this takes a lot of time!!! I can be passionate and blessed, but I also have to know my limits – which can be really hard for this gal full of tenacity!  I am driven and stubborn, but I know that I must cut back in a few areas and learn to guard my time.  {Yeah, I wrote a bit about this on Monday!}  So with that being said, I am going to begin posting only two days a week here on the blog, unless I have something special going on that needs to be posted or we are in the midst of a book study.  

I also will be cutting back on social media positing, mainly Facebook.  To be honest, it is hard to say that, but I know that I need to be careful with my time and posting there to get a few “likes” just doesn’t seem to matter in the big picture.  God doesn’t really care about the likes or the statistics of my Facebook page – so just know I am still here, but just not focusing on being there as much as I once was.  I much prefer Pinterest and doing a few Instagram pictures here and there – so you can find me there as well.

I pray that you will continue to find refreshment here on the blog and ideas to help you everyday.  That is my desire and my heart and always welcome your suggestions too!  Feel free to contact me and share your heart.

5 Fun Family Vacation Games

24
Jul
2014

Fun-Family-Games

Our family is enjoying a week away from home on vacation.  Sun, good snacks, swimming, some golf (our new family sport, which I am learning!) and family games.  We picked up a few new ones for our trip this year and I wanted to share with you, as I know everyone loves new games to create fun family time.

Richard Scarry Busy TownRichard-scarry

When I was looking for some new games, especially for my 4 year old, this one caught my attention.  Richard Scarry Busy Town has a rating of 5 stars out of 430 reviews on amazon.  That is awesome!  My little guy also loves watching Busy Town, so this was a must have game.  

It is a little larger game for traveling, but it was super fun.  The theme of the game is cooperation and helping each other get to the finish line, which is not always the main idea behind playing a game.  You spin, move your marker and then wait for someone to draw a GoldBug card so you all can work together to find clues.  Even the bigger kids played along and we had fun.

spot-itSpot It

Spot It was another one we just had to get.  I have seen others post about this fun game and it also had outstanding ratings on amazon –  5 stars out of over 1500 reviews.  

We played a S.L.O.W. version with our 4 year old involved to get the idea of how to play one of the matching games, and I can see that even though it states it is for ages 7 and up, he could play a slower version that would be very helpful for memory and creating quick reactions.  The directions state you can play with 2-8 players, I would say 4-5 players would be the maximum, in my opinion.

Wizardwizard

My older kids had played the Wizard card game before with some family while camping and they said we “had to get it.”  So for just a little over $7 it was a winner. Plus it was compact – perfect for traveling.

This game is certainly for the older kids, but a great family game none the less.  It is a game of bidding, strategizing and learning – fun for everyone.

banana-gramsBananagrams

This was another game I have heard others talk about, so we put it in our list to get.  Even though Bananagrams is too advanced for my 4 year old, he loves playing with the tiles, doing letter recognition and stacking the tiles up.  I can see that this game will be perfect for traveling, as it comes in it’s own zipper case and is very compact.  I also love that you do not need any paper, pencil or board to play.

The instructions say you can play with up to 8 players, I find that to be quite a stretch!  I would say 1-4 is more realistic.  You race against each other to build crossword grids of words – it is recommended for ages 7 and up.

Phase 10 Card Gamephase-10

To be honest, our family has had Phase 10 for years – but it is a great one and we love playing it.  Compact and easy to learn, it makes for perfect family fun while camping, waiting at the airport or sitting around the pool.  

From the makers of UNO Phase 10 is a rummy-type card game with a challenging and exciting twist.  You need to be the first player to complete 10 phase sequences but the twist is that each phase to be completed is specific for each hand dealt.  It is perfect for 2-6 players.

 
What is your favorite family game?