Freeset + Micah 6:8

Ten years ago, I couldn’t even tell you where the book of Micah was in the Bible. Today, a verse from that Old Testament book is one of the most important in my life and it is being plastered around my home and in my heart.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:8

Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God. Yes, this is what I want for myself and my family. It’s not a hard verse to remember, but visual reminders are always good to spur us on to action. That’s why I love my newest bag from Freeset, the amazing organization rescuing women from slavery in India and giving them jobs with which they can love and support their families!

Freeset Bag Only

This is the Territory bag from Freeset with the words, “Act Love Walk” in the print. It has become my laptop + travel bag because it holds everything so well!

Freeset Bag Open

My laptop fits in its sleeve in the back section, while I can put a steno notepad and my favorite magazines, plus a few other odds + ends, in the front section! The front flap closes with large velcro strips.

Freest Bag Back
And on the back side is a zippered pocket for anything you might want to keep separate and secure!

Freeset bag Full

We use Freeset bags for EVERYTHING, so I’m glad to have this Territory bag for my own personal use now! It fits all my needs for a computer bag with room to spare, it shares a message close to my heart, AND it supports the beautiful women rescued in India, now working jobs they love!

Freeset has TONS of bags of all shapes, sizes, and uses. Check out their whole line, especially leading up to Mother’s Day! The jute gift bags are so cute!

Do you own a Freeset bag yet? Which style is your favorite?

 

I received this bag to review from Freeset. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.

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Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Giveaway!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Giveaway

I was slow to jump on the coconut oil bandwagon, but now it is a staple used in our home every day for reason or another!

Most often, our coconut oil is used in the kitchen. Popcorn cooked in a pan on the stove in coconut oil with just a little salt added afterward is divine. The boys ask for coconut oil popcorn all the time! I throw some in when making this fabulous Slow Cooker Chicken Soup. And I’m always finding new places to substitute it into recipes!

Tropical Traditions is a new discovery for me, but it is a standard online source for the best coconut oil around, especially with their Gold Label products. If you’re like me and have been a little confused about all the differently labeled kinds of coconut oil, this post does a great job explaining virgin coconut oil, the kind sold by Tropical Traditions!

If this coconut oil world is all new to you and you’re wondering just how you might use coconut oil, you’ll find lots of ideas and recipes here!

Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil: http://coconutoil.com

Based on the quality of product, the wealth of knowledge and information, and the high level of customer service, I highly recommend Tropical Traditions for all your coconut oil purchases!

And now to the fun part…

I am giving away a quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions! Just enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

**Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

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What I Wore: Uncommon Goods

I’m a stay-at-home mom. I like fashion. A lot. Getting dressed – a full outfit – each and every day is one of my ways to take care of myself and put my best self out there for my family. But if we’re just going to be home all day, I like to be comfortable. And warm. Wearing something like this…

Uncommon Goods Outfit

Flannel shirt, comfy jeans. Fall + winter perfection. And while I spent the day at home, a little jewelry was in order because I have a new favorite bracelet and I want to wear it all the time…

Uncommon Goods Bracelet

That gorgeous bracelet right there? That’s from the lovely people at Uncommon Goods, a company all about unique gifts at great prices. I could spend hours over there looking through all the beautiful accessories and home pieces, but the handmade items at Uncommon Goods are really where it’s at. And when I scrolled past this bracelet, I didn’t need to look any further.

Uncommon Goods Handmade

The Love Birch Cuff, handmade by Nancy Nelson, is just the right mix of glam and casual for me. This week I wore it church and at home. It works for jeans + a flannel or with a date night dress. And it celebrates the blessing that is my best friend, partner in life, husband. That’s my favorite part about it. Oh yeah, and I’m pretty sure my kids can’t break it. Solid brass for the win! {You can order it with or without personalization}

The handmade section of Uncommon Goods is treasure chest of beautiful gift idea, and even includes a recycled items section! How adorable is this necklace from the recycled collection?!

Mother Nestling BirdsI mean seriously with this Mother Nestling Birds necklace. So gorgeous and meaningful!

You’ll find so many things to love at Uncommon Goods! You HAVE to go look around for yourself! Send a few links to your loved ones for gift ideas – you will get the best, unique presents ever!

Have you had a look around at Uncommon Goods yet? What caught your eye?

 

*I’m linking up with What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy!

*I received this bracelet to review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

 

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Back to School Boot Camp: Home Management Printables

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

We start back up with school in one week, so I’m putting myself through a “Back to School Boot Camp” to get organized and on track before we resume our studies! If I don’t get organized now, it’s definitely going to be harder after school begins, so now is the time to set schedules, make lists, and stick to a plan!

I always think planning is more fun when it involves cute lists and schedules, so I’m loving the Home Management Printables from Clean Mama Printables that are on sale over at Educents right now!

First of all – do you know about Educents?! It’s a new thing for me, but it’s kind of like the Groupon or Zulily of the education world. You’ll find curriculum and school supplies and books and everything education-related under the sun! Each deal is only for a limited time and is generally 30% off or more from the regular price.

Now, about these Home Management Printables. I know there are lots of options like this out there, so let me tell you some things to love about this particular set…

Home Management Printables

*The Cleaning Kit section includes great ideas for weekly cleaning, once a week cleaning, monthly cleaning, and seasonal cleaning! This isn’t just a place to record what you are doing, but also get ideas for a great cleaning schedule to stay on top of the whole house!

*The Menu Planning Kit portion features weekly and monthly planner sheets, but what I really is love is the inventory checklists for the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. I tend to forget what I have tucked away here and there and end up buying more when I didn’t really need more! The inventory sheets are really helpful to use up what you already have when planning your menu!

*I don’t handle the bills in our household because my husband is amazing at math and budgets and all that {and because he knows my forgetful tendencies too well}, but even the Budget and Bill Pay section of this kit gets me a little excited! You can track receipts, bills to be paid, payments toward debt, and much more with these financial printables.

*My kids love checklists and we all get more done when everything is written on a list! I think it’s the motivation of checking everything off – who doesn’t love that? In the Dockets and Calendars section, you’ll find cute checklists and daily schedules to keep everybody on track and on the same page.

*In addition to everything I’ve already mentioned, there are many more pages to get you organized in the Busy Mom Kit such as…

  • In Case of Emergency
  • Family Medical Information
  • Appliance & Automobile Maintenance Records
  • Insurance Policies

*AND the colors are super fun. I’m such a girl, but I just love the bright colors and coordination of all the different sheets in the pack!

The regular price for this whole set is $40, but through July 31st, you can get everything for just $24 over at Educents!

True confession: I tend to shy away from buying printable packs because once you buy it, you also have to pay to print it. BUT, there are a few money-saving options that make this kind of pack work for me!

The first way to save money is to print the pack and either laminate the pages or put them in a binder with sleeve protectors. Using a dry-erase marker will make these pages ones you can use over and over again without wasting printer ink.

The second is a new favorite discovery to me. Using an app called Notability, I can use these “printables” without ever printing them! Notability allows me to write on the pages with a stylus on my iPad. No printing, no papers to keep organized, and it is always with me! To read more about how to use Notability, please check Amanda’s tutorial – she explains it way better than I ever could!

Don’t miss out on this deal – get it before it expires July 31st!

What kind of forms or lists are essential for planning in your home? Do you use paper or technology to keep you organized?

I received these printables in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

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Summer Tag Banner Tutorial!

Having a mantle to decorate has been such fun for me this past year since we moved into our house! When I took down our winter banner and left the hooks blank for a while, the boys decided they would take a turn at sprucing up the area…

Boys Banner

Not really my style, but they are creative! I did want to get them involved with making our summer banner, and our brand new Cricut from Staples was just the thing to help us!

Cricut

I’ve been wanting this bad boy – the Cricut Expression – for a while now and we are having so much fun using it! I’m really looking forwards to using it for school projects this next school year as well – I have lots of ideas!

But let’s get back to this summer tag banner so you can make your own!

Summer Tag Banner

What you’ll need:

  • Cricut machine {or other die-cut machine or scissors!}
  • Colorful paper – we used construction paper and magazines! Scrapbook paper works really well, but we used what we had!
  • Mod Podge or glue
  • Twine or string – whatever you want to use to string up the tags!

What to do:

Choose a tag shape for the base of your banner. The tag reminded us of travel and we do a lot of that in the summer, so it seemed like a good fit! The boys chose yellow paper because of the summer sun! We used the tags on the Plantin School Book Cartridge and made them 6 inches tall.

Cricut Cartridge

The Cricut Expression came with two cartridges – the basic font one shown above and one with one designs called Accent Essentials. There are tons of other cartridges to buy, but we’re having fun with these for now! With three boys in the house, I might have to get this All Sports cartridge someday!

After cutting out your tags – we made six for the letters of SUMMER and two for decorative tags at each end – do a test letter of your biggest letter to figure out a font size. We used the M as our test letter since it was the widest. This part will take a little experimentation.

Cricut and Magazine Paper

We also decided to use old magazines for the letters. Honestly, it probably wasn’t the best choice because they didn’t cut well every time, but I had the boys pick colorful outdoor scenes out of the magazines to give the banner another fun dimension! I really like how the letters turned out once they did work! You could pick fun summer scrapbook paper to achieve a similar look without the difficult cutting!

After cutting out the letters, the boys chose a couple of sun patterns from the Accent Essentials cartridge. I think they made cute book ends to the letters! You can spruce yours up however you want!

Cricut Sun

The letters need to be attached to the tags now. I opted for Mod Podge, but glue would work just fine. To make sure the banner would keep well for possible later use, I also laminated each tag, but this is not necessary. I just like to laminate.

The last step is to string those letters up! String, twine, yarn – any of these would work. I have a ball of twine I’ve been using for all of my banners and I like the earthy look, especially for this outdoor-inspired banner!

And voila! Here is our finished project…

Summer Banner Up Close

I loved that we worked on this together – the boys were able to pick out paper and designs and push buttons on the Cricut while I dealt with the actual loading of the machine, Mod Podge, and banner hanging! It makes me smile every time we walk in the room!

A few words about the Cricut:

Easy Cricut

I was actually quite surprised at how EASY it was to get everything set up and running {of course, that button has been pushed to death by the boys – and maybe the adults as well}! I had read some negative reviews, but I’ve loved working with the Cricut Expression! We’ve found lots of different ways to use it and it has performed very well at cutting everything we’ve tried! I’m thinking about ordering some iron-on paper to make some fun t-shirts for the boys!

Staples carries a wide selection of Cricut items – from machines to cartridges to replacement blades and mats! And I’ve been really happy with the customer service I’ve received from them, both in the store and online! They’re fun to tweet with as well at @Staples!

What kind of summer decorating have you done?

Full disclosure: Staples.com provided me with these products for review. The thoughts and opinions expressed are strictly my own. Feel free to shop their entire line of crafting and back to school supplies online.

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What I Wore: Vi Bella Jewelry

Technically, it’s spring, but the weather hasn’t let me put away the long sleeves and boots yet…

ViBella Outfit

I had to bring a little brightness to this gloomy week, so I pulled out some yellow and a couple of lovely new necklaces…

ViBella Necklaces

You probably recognize that top necklace as a KraftyKash design and I’ll be featuring more of her fabulous work really soon, but today I wanted to talk about my other pop of color from Vi Bella!

ViBella Sign

What is Vi Bella? This is their mission:

At the heart of our mission, Vi Bella impacts the lives of at-risk women in Haiti, Mexico, and the United States by providing them jobs which pay good wages in safe, encouraging work environments.  These women serve as our artists and inspiration.  Our Vi Bella artists “up-cycle” discarded plastic and glass bottles, metal bottle caps and paper, transforming them into unique, handmade jewelry that is truly a work of art.  We then invest all of our profit back into the artists’ communities, which brings the transformation full circle.

We had the pleasure of hearing the story of hope straight from Julie, the founder of Vi Bella, at the Jumping Tandem Retreat this weekend! Please take a moment to watch this video to hear the story for yourself!

The jewelry these women are making with their own hands is just as beautiful as their story…

ViBella Beads

Vi Bella has jewelry for all styles and occasions. The bead work is gorgeous and you can find stones and metals of every color! I wandered through the display multiple times over the weekend just trying to decide which piece I loved the most – too many to choose from!

ViBella Necklace

I picked this particular necklace because I love the hand-braided chain. It reminds me of the beautiful hands of women who have now found a trade they love and the love of Jesus.

ViBella Outfit Close

Vi Bella jewelry would make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift for the special women in your life! And it would be a gift to the moms and women who carefully craft each piece! Please take some time to visit their site and do a little life-changing shopping today!
*I’m linking up with What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy today!

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We Choose Virtues {Review & Giveaway}

Let’s be honest: there are a LOT of good ideas and programs out there for teaching our children character and Biblical virtues. I have not gone looking for any program and still I have heard about four to five new-to-me programs since the beginning of 2013.

I actually tend to get overwhelmed when this subject comes up because as soon as I start one method, I hear about something else and want to switch to that!

So, all that to say this post is NOT telling you to switch from something that is already working for your family. This is simply me telling you about a program we have recently started and fallen in love with!

We Choose Virtues Banner

We Choose Virtues caught my attention when a few online friends mentioned it, and as I look around their site, it was statements like this that made me very interested…

It has been said that character is not one more thing to add to your plate, character IS the plate. This system is not a curriculum or a unit study, it is a language that that you rehearse and demonstrate for the first 10-15 minutes every time you get together no matter what else you are teaching!

Creator Heather McMillan observed a need for more effective character instruction in her role as a teacher and pastor. Here’s more about why We Choose Virtues came to be…

As her passion continued to grow, she realized that she wanted to teach children how to change. Not just a momentary change of actions, but a more lasting change in their attitudes as well. Her observation is that children needed to be inspired by simple, positive and consistent instructions, and parents and teachers needed an effective language with which to communicate these instructions.

Our boys are very verbal and visual. They love to talk and they love to read. We Choose Virtues utilizes both to help families incorporate the twelve virtues into everyday life!

We Choose Virtues calendar

Simple sentences are used to help children learn what the virtue IS and what it IS NOT. Bible verses are included to reinforce each virtue. Cute illustrations and stories of “Kids of VirtueVille” help make each virtue come to life!

We Choose Virtues Banner close

We’ve been using We Choose Virtues for three weeks now and we are using the phrases we’ve learned so far all the time! For example, I asked the boys to help with a quick full house clean-up before dinner last night, and I heard Little J say, “Ok, whatever you say, I will obey right away!” It was so cute AND he remembered that phrase from our first week!

All of the virtue posters are hung up with clothespins and twine in our school room where the boys can see them often. The Three Rules poster is also hanging in our school room. And the virtue poster of the week is clipped on to the calendar in our kitchen, with the parent card stuck in the pocket behind it!

We Choose Virtues Three Rules

We have been using the homeschool kit, the most comprehensive kit available from We Choose Virtues. It is an investment, but a worthy one as it includes…

Reusable tools
    • Parenting Cards (Teacher cards for families!)
    • Virtue Flash Cards for families
    • Kids Virtue Poster
    • Three Rules Poster
    • Kids of VirtueVille MINI Posters
Consumable tools
    • 100 Days of Virtue Chart and Butterfly Stickers
    • 25ct pad Virtue User Reviews
Downloadable/reproducible PDF tools
    • Teacher’s Handbook (no need to print this handbook. Just read and save for easy reference)
    • Butterfly Awards
    • Family Character Assessment
    • Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Pages

This has seriously been a great experience for us so far! I’ve been working on the virtues along with the boys, particularly the virtues of diligence and self-control! I love that We Choose Virtues emphasizes these virtues are for the whole family, not just the kids! 

To celebrate March as Homeschool Month, We Choose Virtues is offering the code HOME20 which gives you 20% off the homeschool kit! This sale has actually been extended through April as well!

To get more inspiration for how to use this in your home, you MUST check out the We Choose Virtues Pinterest boards! GREAT stuff there! And connect on their Facebook page for lots of discussion and specials!

Today, I have the pleasure of giving away a set of We Choose Virtues Parenting Cards! Just enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was provided the homeschool kit for review purposes. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own.

**This post contains affiliate links.

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What I Wore: Christmas Party Casual & A Super Cute Cuff!

The boys and I went to a playgroup Christmas party this morning, and while I’m not one to get TOO decked out in Christmas attire {I left that behind with my elementary school teaching days!}, I do like to put a little Christmas spirit into my look! And that usually means some sparkle or Christmas colors! Today I went with color…

I have plenty of red in my wardrobe thanks to living in Husker Nation, and I adore this green scarf from Lands’ End! My black skinnies and black riding boots are a can’t-miss combo – I can throw on any top with them and feel great for the day!

And then I added my new favorite accessory…

This beautiful leather cuff was made by my new friend, Amber! Amber is a fellow doctor’s wife whom I connected with in this wonderful blogosphere! She is so sweet AND talented!

Amber recently opened an online shop with a gorgeous line of leather cuffs like mine…

Choisi = Chosen in French.

Such a lovely – and needed – reminder to keep around my wrist, especially on those days I don’t think I can handle it all. God CHOSE me to be The Hubby’s wife, the boys’ mom, a homemaker, writer, and more. And He CHOSE me as His daughter. I’m getting all emotional just pondering it now.

Amber has several other phrases on cuffs, including “REDEEMED” and “BE STILL.” I love the chunky look with a pretty flower to top it off – parallels my life as a girly-girl boy mom, don’t you think?! 

There are two sets of snaps on each cuff, so it will fit any wrist just right!

Each cuff is only $24! You can also get a cuff without a flower for $20 and a petite floral cuff for just $18.50!

Hop on over to her shop to finish up your Christmas shopping and add one for yourself! Use the code HWTB at checkout for free shipping!

OOH! And Amber is giving away one “BE STILL” cuff to one of you! Leave a comment to be entered!

For extra optional entries, “like” The Unconventional Doctor’s Wife on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and leave a separate comment telling me you did so!

This giveaway will go fast – get your entries in before 9:00 p.m. CST Thursday, December, 13th! One winner will be chosen at random and notified by email!

And stop by The Pleated Poppy for all of the What I Wore fun today and every Wednesday!

 

*I received a cuff to review, but I only share because I LOVE! I was not compensated in any other way for this post!

 

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Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 {And a Babies R Us Giveaway!}

Last weekend, I was hosting an event for Graco at Babies R Us and I found myself saying over and over again, “Where was this carseat when I first had kids?!”

{Thanks for the pictures by PJ!}

I was talking about the brand new Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40!

 The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 – the first and only newborn to two-year infant car seat that actually grows with your baby from four pounds all the way up to 40 pounds. The car seat is designed for a parent on the go. The infant car seat can be easily removed from the base and used as a carrier when the infant is small, providing portability and convenience so you can easily move your infant in and out of the car without disturbing them.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, toddlers are up to five times safer rear-facing when riding in the car and the Click Connect 40 was designed for just that reason. And there are so many amazing features to this carseat!

A few of my favorite feautres…

  • The base adjusts with 8 recline positions for most leg room of any rear-facing car seat for baby comfort!
  • The Simply Safe Adjust™ harness systems allows parents to adjust the harness and headrest with just one hand to fit their baby’s height as their baby grows, all without having to rethread the harness for extra convenience. {Totally awesome!}
  • Click Connect™ attachment which allows parents to easily transition their babies from the car seat to the stroller through a simple, but secure, one-step “click.”

The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 is only available at Babies R Us {online and in stores} for $219.99, a great deal for a carseat you can use for two whole years!

I had the most lovely time hosting this event with PJ from Bunny and Dolly. We had never met before that day, but we’re both boy mamas and she is super fashionable so I think we should be friends :) And she can speed Instagram with the best of them!

We also had the privilege of giving away two of the Graco SungRide Click Connect 40 carseats! Talk about a great door prize!

And how about a great prize for YOU today?!

Babies R Us is giving away a $25 gift card right here to celebrate!

To enter, leave a comment here!

For extra entries, tweet about this post using the hashtag #gracosafety and/or post on Facebook! Leave another comment for each way you share!

This giveaway will end Monday, October 29th at 9:00 p.m. CST! The winner will be chosen at random and notified by email.

{More great PJ pictures!}

Thanks to Graco and Babies R Us for a fun event and a great giveaway!

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the recommendation to keep all children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Graco set out to make this product so parents can keep infants rear facing longer while still keeping them comfortable.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Happy Family: Organic Food for Babies and Kids!

We have moved into the solids phase with Double J now and while rice cereal is oh so delicious {where is the sarcasm font when I need it?!}, I was thrilled to learn about Happy Family brand baby and kid foods!

Happy Family offers a complete line of organic foods and snacks for optimal nutrition at various ages and stages. And we are able to buy it at Target! That whole Target thing makes it even better :)

We tried the oatmeal baby cereal with Double J and he seems to be loving it! I am impressed with the quality and much prefer the canister packaging over the annoying, leaking boxes of rice cereal!

I’m also getting ready to travel with Double J in a couple weeks and a friend recommended taking along the squeeze packets of baby food instead of worrying about a spoon! Genius! I tried Happy Family’s mixed carrots with him this week and I think he ate better from the packet than he does from a spoon! He thought it was fun!

20120906-211737.jpg

Messy baby face pictures are always cute, right?!

We were also able to try out several options from the Happy Family snack line for kids!

Little J especially loved these fruit snack-like carrot orange apple chews! I was a big fan of the Sunny Buddies sunflower butter and berry jam bites – yum!

He also loved the spot on the box to draw on…

It’s the little things, isn’t it?!

And if you’re packing these healthy snacks in a lunch, you can add your own little note or drawing for your kiddo…

Good nutrition + happy kids + fun packaging = a VERY happy mama!

Happy Family is giving away one Kid Snack Package worth $25 here today!

Leave a comment here to be entered and, if you’d like, do any of the following and leave a separate comment for extra entries!

This giveaway will be open until Sunday, September 9th at 9:00 p.m. CST. One winner will be chosen at random and notified by email!

*****

*I received these products to review from Happy Family. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and all opinions are 100% my own!

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