6 (Dozen) Ways I’m Going to Keep My Kids Busy This Summer

We usually begin our school year the first week of August and finish the final week of April. Do you know what this means? This means our family has only one week of school left for this year! Summer break, here we come!

schools out

Raise your hand if you feel like I do: Summer break is really for mothers and teachers. The kids think it’s for them. They have no idea.  #lovehomeschooling #needabreather

Our older boys have big plans for several weeks this summer to go on a state-side mission trip and then to attend several weeks of church camp. We’ll go swimming as much as possible (hello, sunshine, I love you so much ~ xoxoxo). We have a family reunion around the 4th of July. We have friends visiting from out of state part of June/July. How is there any time free to do anything other than be on the run (and in the sun ~ xoxoxo)?

Oh trust me. There’s time. See, it’s my 10 year old and my 13 year old that have more downtime than the others. They spend time with friends and help out around the house, but I find it beneficial to…shall we say…put a little routine and creativity into their downtime. Otherwise my 13 year old who shall remain nameless would either:

  • find ways to torture his 10 year old brother which will thus torturing me or
  • try to get away with sitting in a chair with his iPod playing games all the live long day.

The summer break rule is: No electronics until after 3pm and then there is a time limit (which varies depending on the day). What’s to keep the boys from getting on each other’s nerves? Oh just look at the ways…

6 Dozen Ways I Plan to Keep My Kids Busy This Summer

1. Summer Reading Challenge

We did this last summer and the boys loved it. Prizes for reading? What’s not to love? I’m working on another blog post to share all the (very inexpensive) details of this fun challenge. Stay tuned.

2. Service Challenge

With school work set aside, there are more opportunities to look outward. The boys will be serving at church camp with us later this summer, but while we’re home I plan to have them jot ideas and be on the look-out for ways they can help others. Will there be prizes for this like in our Reading Challenge? No. But sometimes “coming up with and executing as many ideas as we can” is incentive enough for my competitive boys. Hey, whatever helps them learn to see other people’s needs.

I got the idea when looking through the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle to have my 10 year old serve by putting together some of the pre-school printable activities for a 3 year-old buddy of his. Since we won’t be using these particular bundle items for ourselves, it’s just fine for us to share them with one friend. My favorites included in the bundle for this are:

  • Preschool Alphabet Packet
  • Pocket Chart Calendar Bundle
  • Animal ABCs Bundle

You can check out the specifics of each of those here. Why not have Malachi print, cut, package, and prepare these fun games and activities for his buddy? Besides, this mama might be a little nostalgic since there are no little boys left in this house to use those great items. So this is a way I could still get my hands on them. (Look at me – making service projects all about myself.)

kids service

3. Host Friends

I love that the boys are old enough to make plans with friends and execute the plans without much help from me. They can come up with activities like Movie Nights, Cook Outs, Flag Football, Watermelon Feed, Blow Up a Bunch of Money in our Yard (otherwise known as come over after church on Wednesday night during 4th of July week and bring whatever fireworks you want to shoot off) – the ideas are endless. We love it when the boys invite their friends over. The more, the merrier. Just keep the door closed so the mosquitoes won’t come in.

4. Get Creative in the Kitchen

I have found that summer break is the perfect time to let my boys tinker around with fun recipe ideas. It’s not always food, either. Sometimes they make non-edibles like homemade modeling clay or flubber. Or they make funky popsicles. Or they do something weird with chocolate bars or cheese sticks. Whatever gets them creative and keeps them busy.

Since I got so many neat new recipe and food eBooks in this year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle (available for only three more days, by the way), I’m printing some out that I know they’ll really like. My top three right now are:

  • Coffee Filters to Cheese Graters
    I am in love with this book. I’m learning tons of tricks for how to creatively use my muffin tins and cookie scoops (and many other kitchen gadgets too). Talk about creative, fun, and easy. Brownie Pops with a cookie scoop? Yes, my boys are going to love this book.
  • Not Just Tacos
    The beauty of this book is that it not only includes many authentic Latin American recipes, it has beautiful pictures and wonderfully laid out and fun to read facts about Latin American countries. My 13 year old loves reading facts like this, and he likes recipes. This book is a win-win for him.
  • Supercharged Food for Kids
    This one has great recipes kids will love. And if your kids are older like mine, they can make many of the recipes on their own.

kids kitchen

5. Craft Projects

My 13 year-old is very much not into making crafts. However, my 10 year-old very much is – crafts of the boy variety, that is. He tinkers with scraps of wood or cardboard, makes gadgets with clay or pipecleaners – he just likes to build and create. This is why the free Green Kid Crafts kit we got in the homemaking bundle is so perfect for him (and for girls, too). We are considering continuing the subscription if he works through this first one and we feel it is worth it. Beyond that, I’ll keep throwing out the popsicle sticks an duct tape as needed. :)

I may consider starting my 13 year-old on the Craftsy Photography class we got free with the bundle (instead of saving it for the next school year). You should know that you can also pick a cake decorating class, a sewing class, a card making class, a knitting class, and many others you and your kids may be more interested in.

6. Board Games

Our family loves games and has shelves full of them. During the school year, it’s hard to find time to play. I cannot wait to pull out our favorites and make up for lost time.


As you can see, the ideas within each of the ideas are limitless. And if boredom still creeps in, there are always windows to wash and gardens to hoe.

Hopefully you can see, too, how helpful the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is in ways beyond basic homemaking. The resources and bonuses really offer some great opportunities for learning and growth in our kids. It’s only available for three more days. Be sure to get yours by April 27.

Want to see every detail of what is included in this bundle?

Heard enough…ready to buy? (I know you’ll love it. There’s a 30-day money back guarantee to insure this.)



How are you planning to keep your kids busy and productive this summer?

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Low Sugar {Real Food} Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

Taking the Super Moist Chocolate Cake from 6 cups of sugar to just 1/2 cup of sugar worked great. I figured why not play with other cake and cookie recipes to make them lower in sugar? And all the people said, “Amen.”

Low Sugar Chocolate Cake

If you haven’t tried this Low Sugar Super Moist Chocolate Cake yet, I have to ask:
Go make this. For the love of chocolate, people.

Now here’s another low-sugar treat I experimented with. I took my oatmeal cookie from 1 1/2 cups of sugar down to just 1/2 cup. I thought they were great. My kids ate them fine, but were sure to let me know that they would have been much better had I included chocolate chips.

Well duh. Everything is better with chocolate chips. But we’re going for low sugar here. So the boys suggested that maybe next time I could add chocolate chips to half the batch (for them) and leave the other half plain (for me). Apparently I’m the only one who needs to cut back on sugar and the boys still need plenty of it? And I’m not sure where Matt fits into this equation. Does Dad get any cookies, boys?

I’m sure they’d be happy to let me share my plain half with him. They are very nice.

Give these a try – with or without chocolate chips. Hey, you could even add raisins. Or dried cranberries.

Low Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sucanat
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole oats
1 1/2-2 cups whole wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat)

Stir together melted butter and sucanat. Add eggs, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Stir in oats and flour until you reach desired cookie dough consistency. (If you’re using store-bought whole wheat flour, you may need less than 2 cups. Freshly ground may require the full 2 cups.)

Scoop cookie dough onto baking sheet leaving about 2 inches in between. Bake in a 350° oven for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.

Low Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

These are great dipped in milk, and of course, I’ll be having a cup of coffee with my half of the cookies. Not that I’ll eat the entire half-batch at once. That would be a bit counter-productive, wouldn’t you say?

Are you a plain oatmeal cookie fan – or do you prefer them with raisins or chocolate chips?


Four Days and Counting!

The 2015 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is only available through April 27. Get yours before it’s gone.

bundle itty bitty price

You can see my favorite five resources from this bundle here. My favorite, favorite is the Parent’s Guide to Natural Remedies online course worth $99. It’s super well done and informative – and just think: you get it along with all the other resources for less than $30! (Read my review of this course here.) Plus don’t forget the bonuses. I’m lovin’ my freebies!!


One more thing:

Paula just emailed to let me know that Lilla Rose is having a 3-Day Sale through April 25. 10% off the early-released May Flexi-of-the-Month, 10% off a lovely newly released style, “Elegant Flower,” 10% totally redesigned and improved hair bands, and 20% off select items! Check these out here. :)

The new hair bands have tons of new features, like coming in two sizes, being able to choose the color of the adjustable comfort strap to match your hair, being able to wear up to three beaded bands at once, and being able to swap the comfort strap for a chain to convert from a hair band to a necklace!

Mother's Day Sale paula
So cake, cookies, the bundle, and Lilla Rose. I believe we covered it all today. :)


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A Surrendered Heart: Why Did I Marry This Guy?

Welcome to A Surrendered Heart: A Wife’s Journey to Love the Jesus Way. I will be sharing my thoughts here each Thursday during this 6-week class, offering printable journal pages for you to pray through on your own time, and providing discussion questions for us to talk though together. How will this work? Simply click on the “Leave a Comment” button on each post to add your thoughts, experiences, and suggestions to the discussion. If you are a newsletter subscriber, please click through to this post on my website to add your comments to the discussion to be read by everyone. I look forward to hearing what you have to say! God be praised for the gift of marriage and for allowing us to grow in Him.

Surrendered Heart Lesson 1
Matt and I have been blessed to mentor quite a few young engaged or newlywed couples during the past few years. One of the joys of this is looking across our living room at a couple – seeing how excited they are to be marrying each other. They are beaming at each other – even as we talk through some difficult topics.

After 20 years of marriage, I rarely beam at Matt anymore. Why? Is it so hard to beam, have I forgotten how to beam, or do I feel silly beaming at the age of 41? Might it be that after 20 years I’ve learned more about his weaknesses and those sometimes overshadow his strengths – making me not even feel like beaming? I remember beaming. I remember being completely enamored. I remember.

So here I am, practically beamless. Matt doesn’t seem to miss it, or at least he doesn’t say anything about it. It’s funny (not funny) how the logistics of life, parenting, running businesses, and changing toilet paper rolls can take over a couple’s mind, keeping them from taking time to even stop and look at each other.

Wait. I just thought of a time I beam. This might be more information than you wanted to know. Should I still say it? I’m going to say it. During soccer season when I’m sitting in a chair across the field from Matt, who is coaching one of our boys’ teams, and I am cheering for our team – and then I look over at Matt, who is so very good at coaching and also looks very good in athletic gear – it makes me all melty and I think to myself, “Man he’s hot.” Okay, there. I said it. I beam on the soccer field.

I bring up the beaming and the hot soccer coach (he’s mine. back off.) for this reason: It’s good for us to think back to the time before we were married.

What were we looking for in a husband? What attracted us to our man? Why did we marry this guy? The reasons were many, and at that time the strengths outweighed the weaknesses. The weaknesses are real – they are. But I’ve found it beneficial as of late to reflect on that guy that made me so crazy I couldn’t see straight. The guy that I couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle toward. That guy. 

Scripture to Consider

Anytime you find your heart focusing on the negative (about your husband or life in general), it might just be because you aren’t spending enough time in the Word. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more easily our hearts find a kingdom focus. I can’t encourage this enough: Be in the Word. Daily. Not with a check-list mentality but with a surrendered heart, open to hear what God needs to teach you.

Each week of this class, I will be offering us a scripture focus that I have found to be helpful with the topic at hand. But one or two scriptures isn’t enough. Take this scripture focus and run with it. Read. Pray. Meditate. Listen.

I chose Luke 6:45 for us to focus on together this week. Why? Because if your heart is focused on your husband’s weaknesses instead of his strengths (aka the reasons you married him and the ways he’s grown during the time you’ve been married) – the outpouring of your heart is going to be ugly. Focus on the good, and good will pour out of you toward your husband. Having trouble finding the good? God’s right there waiting to show you. Pray. Listen. Fill your heart with good.

Luke 645
Download the Overflow of the Heart Printable Here

This week, take time to consider why you married your man. Print the following sheet to add to your Surrendered Heart Journal and write down the reasons. Write what made you beam. Write the strengths he had/has that attracted you to him in the first place. It’s so good to look back and remember.

Why I Married Him

Download Why I Married Him Journal Page Here

I found that opening my heart while reading through different passages, including Luke 6:45 – and then writing my Why I Married Him journal page gently turned my focus toward a prayer for strength in letting God fill my heart with His goodness and the truth about my husband’s strengths. Wouldn’t you know it, I have found more reasons to beam. God’s good like that.

Up For Discussion…Share with us:

  • What is one of the reasons you chose to marry your man?
  • What ways do you find it helpful to store up good in your heart regarding your husband?
  • What thoughts come to mind when you hear the words of Jesus, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks?”
  • What makes you beam? Go ahead. Tell us.  ;)


In the midst of my journaling and reflection while preparing for this class last week, I also took some time to listen to the audio download included in this week’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, “Marriage, Intimacy, and Sex: Moving from Blah to Blazing in the Bedroom.”  I was so encouraged by it, I cried. (It doesn’t take much.) There are other marriage resources in the bundle. Just more reasons to be blessed by the bundle. (The bundle goes away after Monday, April 27 so get it now.)

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What I’m Learning About Natural Home Remedies

I’m currently taking the Parent’s Guide to Natural Remedies online course. You guys. I can’t tell you how good this is. I really don’t have time right now to get wrapped up in this course (because hello graduation party, speaking engagement, end of the school year, everyday life, and many summer plans staring me right in the face). But every day or so, I pull up the course and click on another module to listen to – and I can’t stop listening. This information is incredibly helpful to me.

parent guide

I’ve been trying to take some notes as I go. This is a crack up because I can’t write and listen at the same time because I’m afraid I’m going to miss more good information. Thankfully, I can go back and listen to and read the info over and over in this course.

I love being empowered to try home remedies first – before heading straight to the doctor. As the creators of Natural Home Remedies say, we know our kids better than any doctor. BUT, I also love that these ladies share information about when we DO need to take our kids in for doctor’s help. That’s always one of my biggest question marks. How much to treat at home…when to take them in. This course answers that. I’m loving this.

Here are some of the notes I’ve been scratching down. (But I can’t share all the specifics because the information in the Online Course isn’t mine to give out freely.)

~ Fever is Your Friend

I knew some of this already, but I didn’t know how much a fever kicks those healing white blood cells into gear. We should watch our kids’ energy level more than their temperature. Caution flags should go up with babies and when kids get dehydrated. Many more details are given in the course about what to watch for and how to treat.

~ There Are Many Reasons to Avoid Tylenol

Throw out the tylenol. Throw it out, throw it out, throw it out. I knew it wasn’t good, but I had no idea how bad it was. Wow. I’m so glad to know all this information from someone so studied and knowledgeable. Tylenol keeps the body from doing what it needs to do. It’s too easy to overdose, which really hurts the liver.

~ Everything we put on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream.

It’s just like eating food. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. What a great way to help determine the safety of skin products and treatments. (Although I think an exception to this is essential oils. I don’t take them orally, but they are wonderful to put on the skin so they can absorb and get to work.)

~ A Urinary Tract Infection does not automatically mean you need an antibiotic.

There are natural ways to treat these at home first like unsweetened cranberry juice and chamomile tea, plus essential oils and more.

~ Be empowered to know the right questions to ask if/when you take your children to the pediatrician. 

Yes. Thank you. The information shared in these modules helps so much with this.

~ There are many, many options for helping treat ear infections that do not involve antibiotics.

But you might begin with these two ideas before trying anything else: chiropractic care and cutting out dairy. If your child continues to have trouble, then try the many homeopathic remedies mentioned or treatments from a natural doctor.

~ Homeopathy is treatment that works with the body to help the body do what it is already trying to do to heal itself.

I guess I never heard a definition before. I know our bodies were made to heal themselves, and that sometimes when we’re sick we need a little help. I love knowing that homeopathic treatments simply give the body a boost of what it needs so that healing can occur when our bodies are weak.

What I'm Learning About Natural Home Remedies

This Course is incredibly professional, completely thorough, and wonderfully helpful for parents. I am so grateful to have all this information available. The cost for A Parent Guide to Natural Home Remedies is regularly $99, and is well worth that price because of all it includes. I can’t imagine how much money we can all save by practicing all of these home remedies and avoiding doctor bills. Plus, having all this information at our fingertips??  Priceless.

The wonderfully fun news for this week is that you can get this course for just $29.97 because it’s in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. Of course, then you’ll get all the other 98 items and all the freebies too. This news is beyond fun.


The bundle is only available through April 27. Don’t miss it. Join me in learning more about natural home remedies in this online course for a super low price. Plus enjoy everything else included in the bundle!

What are your favorite home remedies to use? 

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Gratituesday: Spring Formal ~ Fabulous Friends


Today I am overcome with thankfulness when I think of the teenagers (and their families) God has put in our lives to be a blessing to our children. This is no small thing. That my teenage sons have so many in their church community and homeschool community to encourage them in their spiritual walk is a tremendous joy to me. This past weekend was once again a great reminder of how wonderful it is that my boys have such great friends and opportunities to grow.

On Saturday night, high school aged homeschoolers all over our part Nebraska were invited to attend the annual Spring Formal (similar to prom). Asa (a senior) and Justus (a freshman) got all fancied up and headed out for the evening.

asa justus spring formal 2015

Asa’s friend joined them. (Yes, she is gorgeous. Her heart is beautiful as well.)

asa brittany spring formal

They met up with a group several miles down the road, then all drove together to meet up at “The Barn” for the Formal. They had sooooo much fun. We keep hearing more and more details of the night. They loved it.

spring formal 2015
Most of the kids in this picture are a part of our homeschool basketball team.
I loved seeing these kids who are usually in uniforms on the basketball court all dressed up posing for a picture together.

I’m so thankful for opportunities like this for my boys. I’m thankful for their friends. And I’m thankful for how God is working in these kids’ lives to grown them up His way.

What about you? What are you thankful for this Gratituesday?


Just a quick note (okay, three notes):

  1. Today is the final day to grab a free case of diapers. Use these to bless your family or someone else!
  2. Don’t forget to join us on Thursday for Day 1 of our six-week Surrendered Heart class. It’s free! We’ll all grow together.
  3. Read more about this year’s Ultimate Homemaking Bundle being offered this week. I love this.
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Menu Plan for the Week ~ And Blah, Blah, Blah…FREE STUFF!!!!

groceries apr16 (1)

Above is a picture of my grocery store purchase for this week. So blah, blah, blah…fruits and veggies. Eat them. Now let me tell you about all the free stuff I just got. (Then I’ll share my menu plan below.)

A new Ultimate Homemaking Bundle just came out. As always, it comes with wonderful eBooks, terrific eCourses, and several freebies – all for an amazing price and all packaged together to bless our homemaking efforts.

It’s not that I don’t love the eBooks they include (for a teeny-tiny 30¢ each, oh my) – I do. The eCourses included are fabulous (especially the Home Remedies one worth $99.00 that we all get for a teeny-tiny 30¢, oh my). But I have a confession. Don’t tell. Here it is:

As soon as the new bundle was revealed, I skipped right over the list of eBooks, the list of eCourses, the list of printables – and I was like: What do we get for free? What are the bonuses? What do we get??!!

This is me as I skim over a new bundle: ”Blah, blah, blah, BONUSES!!” Once I take in all the freebies, oohing and aahing and forgetting to breathe - then I go back and look through all the included eBooks and eCourses. As always, I can’t believe all the goodness included for such a low price. The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is wonderful – and the bonuses make it even better. That’s just how it works.

So now you know the truth about bundles, freebies, and Laura. Here are some of my favorite bonuses. If you buy the bundle this week, you can get them too.  (We do have to pay for shipping on some of these. It’s only fair. And it’s minimal.)

I got this free (with free shipping) book from Tyndale Rewards. I haven’t sat down and read a Christian fiction book just for fun in ages. I cannot wait.

homemaking bundle freebie 20151

I ordered a free Kids Discovery Box from Green Kid Crafts. Malachi is super excited because he loves this sort of thing. I love it because it combines art, science, and creativity.

homemaking bundle 20153

I picked out three 8×10 prints from Hope Ink - two to decorate my new bathroom walls and one for Asa’s dorm room. I paid a little overage on this to go with the credit they gave for free. Two words: worth it. The picture of my picture below is pitiful, but once our bathroom is completely done – that is going to look marvelous on the wall.

homemaking bundle 20152

Speaking of taking pitiful pictures – I am very excited about the  freebie I chose from Craftsy. They offer each person who purchases the bundle a free online class (Select from 24 of Their Most Popular Classes – some wonderful cooking classes – up to a $60 Value). It was super had to choose, but this one won out:

ultimate homemaking 20155

I actually got it with my kids in mind. I’ll assign this photography course as part of their school curriculum. They are quite excited. I’ll get to learn too. It’s a win-win. And it was free. Sweet!

And maybe my favorite of all the freebies is this beautiful free scarf from Deborah & Co. There were many to pick from, but I couldn’t take my eyes off this one. Gorgeous. And free.

free scarf

We call this portrait “Mom in a Scarf.”
Or should we say, “Mom in a FREE Scarf.” 

There are more freebies where that came from. Those were just my favorites. And really – let’s not discredit all the great eBooks and eCourses included in the bundle. I have especially enjoyed A Parents Guide to Natural Remedieswhich as I mentioned above, is worth $99.00. It is included in this bundle that costs a grand total of $29.97 for the Natural Remedies course plus 98 more items.  That course alone makes this purchase an amazing deal. I am so pleased with this.

So is it worth spending $29.97 on this bundle? I can’t tell you how worth it. I have had access to this bundle for about three weeks (because I’m one of the authors with a book included) and I am enjoying this so, so much. I’ve barely scratched the surface with all that’s included. I feel that if you can swing the $30 – get this.

See everything that is included in the
2015 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle here.

And now here’s my blah, blah, blah menu plan. What?! It’s just that there’s FREE STUFF and loads of wonderful resources to bless your family. This week, that is more exciting than my muffins and casseroles. You know it’s true. But still, the people need to eat. So here’s what’s on our menu:




Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes

  • Monkey Salad (found the recipe in The Healthy Breakfast Book  - one of the eBooks included in the bundle)
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Mixed Greens
  • Spinach
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Raspberries
  • Apples
  • Applesauce
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Mushrooms
  • Clementines
  • Cantaloupe

Have anything yummy on your menu this week?

To learn more about the 2015 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, click here.

Enjoy this wonderful package and be blessed by all it includes. Hope you love it as much as I do!

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Bless Some Mama ~ How to Get a Huge Package of Free Diapers Whether You Need Them Or Not

huggies 2

Those of you who have signed up for TopCashBack know how great their offers are for new sign-ups. This one may be the best yet. I especially love this one because it offers such a blessing to mamas. If you need diapers at your house – yay for you – you get FREE DIAPERS!!!!  Or if you’re like me and have no need for diapers at your house, do this anyway. This will make a great (free!) gift. Love someone by putting a big box of diapers on their doorstep! Think and pray now – who can you bless with this? (I’d love to hear from you, by the way. Do you need this freebie for your own baby, or have you thought of someone you can bless with this?)

I’ve been using my TopCashBack account for over a year and love that they give refunds on most of my online purchases. You can trust this site. I do. They’ve paid me every refund they’ve ever promised. They are legit.

If you have already signed up and used your account, this freebie won’t apply to you (although you can refer others).  But if you’re new or haven’t used your account yet, take advantage of this, and then continue earning cash back on future purchases too.

Here’s how to get a FREE case of Huggies diapers:

  1. Click this link or on the orange “Get Cashback” button below. (This offer is good for new sign-ups only, and that is my referral link.)huggies 1
  2. Sign up for a TopCashBack account.
  3. You will be redirected to a purchase page for Huggies Snug and Dry Ultra diapers at Walmart.com.
  4. Add to your cart one box of the diapers offered on that page. You may purchase any size – but only purchase one box, otherwise your purchase price will not be refunded to you.
  5. Click on “Free Pick-up” so that you won’t have to pay shipping.
  6. Don’t put anything else in your cart!! Proceed to check out. You’ll pay $18.97 plus tax.
  7. Pick up your diapers at Walmart once they let you know they are available for pick-up.
  8. Within 7 days, TopCashBack will refund $21.00 to your account to cover the cost of the diapers plus tax.
  9. Within 14 days the $21.00 will become payable and you can transfer it to your checking account, your paypal account, or turn it into an Amazon gift card.

It’s as easy as that!

This offer ends Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 11:59 pm PT – or earlier if supplies run out.


Because great deals are such blessings to us all as we run our homes, I wanted to also share these:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars are only $10.88 right now for a pack of 16. Use the 15% off coupon plus the 15% off with subscribe and save, and you can get this case for only $7.62! That’s just 48¢ per bar!

larabar coupon

Also, Tropical Traditions is offering free shipping this weekend. Their Organic Coconut Flour is only $9.99 for 2.2 pounds right now. Plus, their Organic Palm Shortening is only $30.65. Take advantage of those sale prices with free shipping! Use the code 20154 at check-out for free shipping to apply.


Okeedokee. Enjoy the freebies and great prices! Tell me how you’ll use the free diapers. It’s fun for me to hear.

Have a great weekend. I’m off to do some cleaning, then spend the day Saturday watching my boys play soccer.

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5 Things You Probably Want to Know About My Week ~ Especially the Part About the Chicken

I have taken several pictures this week, knowing most certainly that you would want to see them and learn what’s been going on at our house. Haven’t you just been wondering if possibly I came across a new chicken recipe that was delicious? Yes, that’s exactly what you’ve been wondering. Let’s start with that picture then:

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That, my dear ones, is called Chicken Lazone. A friend of mine posted the recipe to Facebook, and since I saw that it had both butter and cream in it (and sure, chicken too, but whatever), I knew it was a “must try.” We had it for lunch today. It was awesome (and easy too). Find the recipe here.

In other news not at all related to chicken – flowers are popping up all over our yard. On Wednesday, my husband sent me a picture of 2lips while he was working outside. What? That’s what he called them in the email he sent me. I thought it was cute.

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I had already taken the following pictures of my very favorite purple wild flowers that spring up all over the yard.

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They are so very pretty to me. Sometimes when I am singing worship songs, I pretend I’m dancing in a field full of these purple flowers. Alone. Just me and Jesus. No one else wants to see me dance. No one.

One day this week was especially sunshiny and lovely. I made myself my first iced coffee of the season, then sat outside shivering while I drank it. Apparently it was still not warm enough to drink iced coffee. Oh well. At least it tasted delicious.

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Arm yourself for iced coffee this summer. Learn to make Coffee Ice Cubes. Learn to Cold Brew Coffee. I do both of these, then add just a little bit of cream to my glass. It is iced coffee perfection.

What else? Well, my Amazon Subscribe and Save order came in on Monday. It was a fun one: two cases of Izze Sodas that I got for less than $9 each. A case of organic corn starch. A box of Larabars to take to soccer games. A big box of Bearitos Organic Tortilla Chips. We love Amazon Subscribe and Save deals paired with online coupons. (I just updated our Amazon Deals page with the latest and greatest.)

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Tuesday we made homemade pizza for lunch. Well…it was mostly homemade. I’d ordered the crusts from Bountiful Baskets to give myself a little bit of healthy convenience. It was worth it. The boys did most of the work putting the pizzas together. We added fruit to the meal and had a delicious lunch.

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Yes, I just buy pepperoni from the store. Not the greatest, for sure. I do usually buy turkey pepperoni – which is really only a little bit better. Is it possible that if you don’t read the list of ingredients before eating something then it won’t hurt you? If only.

Many soccer games and practices, too many loads of laundry, hours of school work, and many other blessings filled the week too. And how about you? What are some of the highlights of your week? Have any flowers blooming in your yard? Tried any great new recipes?

This post contains affiliate links.

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Join Me In This Free 6-Week Class! A Surrendered Heart: A Wife’s Journey to Love the Jesus Way

The world tells us what love is, which is clearly working out very well for no one. Good people tell us what love is, which might work okay for a time. The church tells us how to love, which works well when we listen. The Bible tells us how to love, which only works when we surrender self.

After 41 years of life and 20 years of marriage, this is what I’ve just discovered: I don’t really know what it means to truly love others. Much of the way I’ve loved people has been self-seeking. I want them to like me. I want to keep the peace. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

I. I. I. There is no I in love. Not if I want to love the Jesus way.

The past several months, I’ve been searching scripture and listening as God teaches me that loving others has nothing to do with what I think and everything to do with who God is. These love lessons can be applied in friendship and in parenting, but most importantly, they should be applied in marriage.

I invite you to join me in this journey. This class will not be provided to you by a teacher who has mastered the art of loving her husband perfectly (right, Matt?). Nope, it’s just me. Hi! {waving} I’m just your crazy butter-loving friend – learning to listen, learning to seek Jesus, learning to surrender my heart so I can love the Jesus way.

A Surrendered Heart Invitation

Women can be…shall we say ~ emotional? (God help us. No really.) This class is brought to you by a girl who appears strong to many but is a mess quite frequently. Emotional much, Laura? Mercy.

How do you sign up to be a part of this class? I’ll make it easy. Simply show up right here every Thursday for the next 6 weeks. Come as you are. You don’t even have to brush your hair. Shoot, I don’t even have to brush my hair. {high fives all around}

God loves our messy, seeking selves. He loves our desire to love and to be loved. He rejoices over our surrendered heart.

Join me!!  Who’s in?

A bit of housekeeping:

  • If you want to be sure to avoid missing a class, sign up here to receive our free daily newsletter.
  • If you prefer reading straight from the blog, and you miss stopping by on a Thursday, you are fresh out of luck. Just kidding. Simply find the following button over on our side bar, click, and catch up on all you missed.

A Surrendered Heart - Join Our Class! sidebar

We’ll be journaling our way through this class, taking time to reflect, and examining scripture. There will be printables. There will be a test (not really). Click on the link below to download the cover page for your journal.

Download A Surrendered Heart Journal Cover Here.

You’ll get new printables each class to add to your journal. I recommend spending 33¢ on a folder like this:

surrendered heart folder 1

Then glue your cover on the front like this:

surrendered heart folder 2

Then each week you’ll get printables to add to your folder like this:

surrendered heart folder 3

I’m keeping this journal right by my Bible to work through as I can – and as I need to refocus my heart to love my husband the Jesus way.

Alrighty? Have any questions? Invite your friends, invite your neighbors, invite people you’ve never met. This class is free, no strings attached. I’m excited to explore A Surrendered Heart with you!

Leave a comment here letting us know you’ll be joining our class! We’ll officially begin with Class #1 on April 23. In the meantime, prepare your journal and be praying for God to help you surrender your heart to love the Jesus way.

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Easy Dessert to WOW Your Guests: Build a Brownie Sundae Bar

I didn’t have time to make a fancy dessert for our Easter guests two weeks ago. We’d been out of town, arriving home late the night before. Knowing this ahead of time, I’d bought ice cream. Boring and not very Eastery.  But…

Sunday morning before church, I baked some Brownies and sliced some strawberries. Once we arrived home, I made some Homemade Hot Fudge and whipped some cream. Thus (I like saying “thus”) – after we cleared the table of the wonderful (and also simple) Easter dinner, the boys helped me carry the following out to the table:

As each item appeared on the table, our guests (5 college students) gasped – especially when the hot fudge came out. It was like I had spent hours on a fancy dessert and presented them with a one-of-a-kind treat. Dude, it was just brownies and ice cream. But hey, when you put all these simple treats together, they really do make something special.

Build a Brownie Sundae Bar

So the moral of this story is this: If you need a special dessert for company, but you don’t have a lot of time, consider preparing a Brownie Sundae Bar. Your guests will love it and you will too.

What else would you add to your Brownie Sundae Bar? I’m thinking nuts, other fruit, chocolate chips….

P.S. This is not a low sugar dessert. ;)

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