Friday, November 28, 2014

2014 Unique Gift Guide

Every year I always search for awesome and unique gifts to give to family and friends. I love the process of picking just the right one. Below I have included two of my favorite for each category:  woman, men, and children. I hope they give you some ideas too!


I wont lie, my theme for the ladies this year is "bling". I am going through a phase right now. If it sparkles, I want it. This notion is pretty clear with my top picks! I am especially fond of the Jewel Scent candles. Basically, its two great gifts in one. First a lovely scented candle, after a piece of jewelry ranging anywhere from $10 to $7000 in value!
Diamond Toothpicks $19.95

Jewel Scent Candles- Candles with jewelry inside! 24.99


Whether the men in your life are geeky or classic, one of my picks will surely fit the bill! Truly, my husband fits somewhere between the two and would love either of these gifts!
Loot Crate- prices range- $13.37

Key Shaped Pocket Knife- $27.90

I am happy to include the NIV adventure Bible this year! I just think it is a super neat gift for children that keeps on giving. These Bibles make the Bible fascinating for young readers with tid bits of fun info, memory verses, and food for thought. I was blessed to be able to provide a few of these great Bibles to kiddos in my church due to the kindness of Family Christian. I highly recommend them! 
NIV Adventure Bible $29.99

Aquatic BioBubble- Prices range-149.99

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Encouraging Contentment Over the Holidays

The Christmas season is a beautiful time. It is a time of giving, imagination, and excitement. However, the holidays can also bring out some of the worst in our children as well as ourselves. If we are not careful it can be a time of “Give me!” and “Get that!,” rather than the very special time its meant to be. In fact, I always think of the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” at this time of year. I think of the little girl who insists on having everything- whenever or however she wants it. The lesson in the movie is clear, that attitude can only hurt you. It especially important to encourage contentment to our kids during the Christmas season.

It can be a difficult but an important lesson for a child to learn that you can’t always get everything you want. As adults we know this all too well, what a gift we can give our children by helping them to learn contentment at a young age! Allowing your kids time to understand this and learn how to find joy and pleasure in other things will give them an edge in life. Wouldn’t it be great if we raised a generation who finds happiness in serving others? What if every child saw Christmas as a time to give rather than receive? How much sweeter would the season be?

As parents it is easy to get caught up in the event. Shopping, wrapping, Santa Claus;  it all adds to craziness. However the best way to teach our children contentment it to live by example. Practically speaking it means behaving and speaking like “gifts” are the not the most important thing about the holiday season. Creating and sticking to a holiday budget is a fabulous way to set boundaries to the spending and make the season more about the event. If your children realize in advance that there are limits set, they will be less likely to disappointed in a smaller Christmas.  In fact, they may  appreciate it more!

Encouraging your children to go along with this foreign thought about the holiday season is not as hard as it may seem. There are so many  great ways to make the season about others. I’ve collected a few things that are easy and  friendly to nearly all aged children. 

  • Random Acts of Kindness. You can join a group on Facebook or do it on your own. The whole point is to nice things for others everyday in December.
  • The Angel Tree- Next time you are at the mall pick up an angel for your entire family to adopt. Make it an event and go out and shop for the child. Making another  local child’s Christmas will be an unforgettable experience for the kiddos.
  • Operation Christmas Child- Doing something similar to The Angel Tree, Operation Christmas Child goes to giving Christmas to kids around the world who may have never had on before! This option is more affordable because you only have to fill up a shoe box. Many local churches are drop off points for these gifts.
  • Retirement and Nursing Homes- Bringing a little joy to people who may  otherwise be alone during the holiday season can open up your children’s eyes to how wonderful it is to spend the season with family. Whether you go to sing, bring cookies, or just chat awhile, it will be a heartwarming event for everyone.
  • Food Pantries- Not every family will have a big Christmas this year. In fact, many don't even have enough food. Donating to a local food pantry could ensure a much merrier holiday for a family in need.
  • Letting Go- Letting go of the old is a refreshing way to teach contentment and  clear the clutter from your home. Before Christmas, give each child a box and ask them to fill it with clothing they no longer wear and toys they no longer use. This activity will allow your children time to realize how blessed they really are. Once they all have full boxes, donate the items appropriately.
  • Work to Shop- Don’t just buy your child’s gifts for others this year. Make them work for it! Allow them to do chores and earn the required money to purchase the gifts they wish to buy. Not only does this teach responsibility, it also teaching budgeting!

Last but not least, make the season about more than gifts. Make a point to spend time with the family. Start new traditions and make the season count! Christmas comes only once a year, but the lesson of contentment follows a child through life!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Need to Breath

True inspiration rarely comes in a way that you expect it should. In fact, I sat at my laptop almost daily with a lack of ideas and writing desire. The fact is, my love for writing is hindered by lack of true inspiration. I often wonder want kind of life one must live in order to find that kind of inspiration on a daily basis. I cant imagine an artist or writer who has had that experience and didn't border on insanity. Perhaps it takes insanity to find it, not the other way around. None the less, today I write now due to true inspiration but out of need; a need to write, to breath. Its like I've been going without air these past few weeks.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I am doing well with my personal journey of weight loss. I am down over fifty pounds at this point. That is a drastic change considering I started at the beginning of the school year. However I have found that my strict requirements for food have made eating a chore. I truly get no pleasure from it any longer. I find this incredibly heartbreaking. My Italian, creative, adventurous nature misses the excitement and the exploration that food allowed. Although food and cooking are no longer the enjoyable event they once were, I crave that. I don't really crave food. Its not the food I miss, but the variety.

Beyond food I have attempted to find other ways to fill that ever growing void I am discovering. I wish blogging had been my first response but as I said, inspiration lacks. I have taken back to reading again. If I do not force myself to open my laptop, I can complete nearly an entire book before bed. I have also allowed myself to start the holidays early. I enjoy Christmas more than any other time of the year. I figure that it should bring back some of that passion I lack. Lastly, I am getting worlds more done around the house. This is not my idea of a good time, but my family surely appreciates it.

Ive done tons of laundry!

I laugh at myself for writing such a random and unusual post. I do promise that in the very near future I will have a few Christmas related posts. I really want to work on my gift guide before black Friday rolls around I also hope to get in a post about thankfulness, since Thanksgiving is only a week away.

I would love to hear your tips and thoughts on inspiration. It would be soothing to know that I am not alone or get advice from those who have perfected the art!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

I Don't Like Green Beans Anymore


As I continue on my weight-loss journey, I realize why it is so important for people who lose weight to make a lifestyle change. I also realize how hard this is for me. Although I am doing well and don't "cheat," my mind is still making this  phase. Somewhere deep down, my brain is saying "a little longer and you can eat all the bread you want!" Which is far from the truth. I will spend the rest of my life from here on out being careful.

I don't think I was fully prepared when I took all this on. I also didn't know how boring food can become with so many restrictions. I have come to a point now that I don't want to even look at cauliflower and I don't like green beans much anymore. Its not that either are bad, I just have had SO much that I don't find them appealing.

However, out of this food darkness comes a silver lining. I am happy to report that I am down over 40lbs and I have gone down about three pants sizes. I feel like that is all worth celebrating. I know all this will be worth it in the end. I will be glad to put my daily life of pain aside for a more active one. Although I do not really mind my size, I have been made aware how important it is for my severe arthritis that  lose it weight quickly.

I would love to start sharing and collecting a few healthy recipes. Please feel free to share or link up below to some of your favorites! Help me get out of my boredom rut!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thinking of Christmas

I wont lie, I've kind of been consumed with thinking about Christmas over the past week or so. I have plans to post a gift giving guide this month. I am also hoping to share my guide to making it an awesome Christmas with kids. I also want to write a post on teaching contentment over the holidays! I have already started to listen to Christmas music. Its pretty crazy.

I was recently given Guy Penrod's Christmas CD for review and I love it. As I listened to it, it brings back tons of great memories of my childhood. I have always loved the holiday season. I love the sights. I love the sounds. Its a whole experience for me. I really feel like this CD gives me these feelings again. It has a great variety of classic Christmas songs. The range of musical styles make for an enjoyable listening experience. I definitely recommend this one! I would love for you to have a chance to listen to it too. Here's your chance! If you just cant wait, you can check it out on

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