Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Truth Is....

Here in America, it is so easy to fall into "the grass is greener" trap.  It is increasingly difficult for us to ever be content.  We are an instant gratification society.  Everything needs to happen right now, right away.  We are self-centered and self-righteous.  We think we deserve things just because...well....just because we....are. 

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But that couldn't be further from the truth.  In fact, the truth is that "the grass isn't always greener" even though it looks like it might be.  The truth is that delayed gratification (learning to wait) is much better for you.  The truth is that we should be focused on others instead of ourselves.  The truth is that we don't deserve a thing.

Because we get all of that backwards, we tend to grumble and complain because we just aren't thankful for what we do have.

And let me tell you what, we all have much to be thankful for.  Yes, even if we're living on the street, abandoned by every last family member and friend, we still have much to be thankful for.

You see....

The truth is - God shows his lovingkindness toward us every single day.  And, when we accept His gift of salvation, He saves us from the depths of Hell.  And the truth is, we don't deserve it.

David points these things out in Psalm 86:

12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever.
13 For Your lovingkindness toward me is great
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol

This is the reason we should be thankful!

Every.

Single.

Day.

Ever single moment!

Because He loves us so much, God literally snatches ('delivers' Strong's H5337) our souls from the hand of the devil.  Because of that, we never have to see, we never have to live through the eternal destruction of Hell.

It is absolutely beautiful isn't it?

Especially when we have done nothing to deserve it...


Friday, May 22, 2015

Uniquely Daddy: Zoey's Attic Daddy Gear

So far, our unique Father’s Day gifts include camping gear, a ginger beer kit, a daddy diaper bag, antiques, and a few other things.  Today, I’m bringing you an adorable idea for dads of all ages.

Matching t-shirt sets!!


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From Zoey's Attic
And I'm not talking the cheesy kind...I'm talking about t-shirts that Dads will actually want to wear.  Here is our selection:

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Adorable Baby!!  Love her grin here.  :)

We absolutely love this set because we can keep using it after our first baby!!  And it is easily dressed up for a little girl.

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This is my favorite - black and white polka dots! 
Hubby loves this combination so much that he always wants to wear it.  Shortly after it arrived in the mail, we had friends come over.  As soon as he got home from work he changed into his shirt and made sure that I got the baby changed so he could show off.  ;)  And people really do think it's pretty cute!

And if you don't like the grey baby shirt you can also get white, light pink, or light blue.  I love having options!  

These shirts come from a pretty neat little store called Zoey's Attic.  Like a few other shops I have highlighted, this shop was started because there was a lack of unique items for babies.  With a background in graphic design, Erin new she had an opportunity on her hands.  Erin's mom gave her first daughter, Bridget a small zebra names Zoey when she was born.  Since it was a connection between all three generations, Erin used the name for her shop!  And attics, well, to quote the website, "everyone knows that there are wonderful, unexpected treasures to be found in an attic."

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Here are some of our other Father's Day favorites:

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Who doesn't love mustaches these days!?!  Find this set here.

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This is how we stumbled across the Daddy items...since baby girl's name means "oak tree" in Hebrew, we thought this was super cute.  But Hubby really liked the "Adorable Baby" set better... Find this set here.
  
After we have a couple more kiddos, I would love to get this for my dad!  Find this set here.

But they carry more than just items for Dads!  They have all sorts of things for babies and families and much more!  There is something for everyone!

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To Buy: Head on over to the Zoey's Attic Website and take a look around.  Right now you can use the code NOTIES for 10% off for Father's Day!

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To Win: One reader will win a $35 gift code to spend on whatever they like...but don't forget - Father's Day is just around the corner!!  Use the Giveaway Tool below for your chance to win.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Uniquely Daddy: Collapsible Coffee Brewer


Another great Father’s Day gift idea!!  Does your hubby love to camp?  I know mine does.  It’s our chance to get away from the craziness of life, from any kind of screen, and to reconnect with nature as it was intended.  This usually means hiking and kayaking and all sorts of adventures.

But Hubby’s one complaint is that he doesn’t have good coffee.  He loves waking up and getting the fire ready for breakfast but we don’t have a good way to make good coffee.  You see, when I say camping, we mean it.  No electric.  Sleep in a tent.  That’s our kind of camping.  We can’t plug the good old coffee pot into the camper.  ;)  We got a percolator that makes coffee.  But the grinds usually end up the coffee and it is kind of difficult to get it just right

But what if there was another option?  When I stumbled across this genius invention, I knew it would be a great gift idea for my Hubby’s first father’s day.

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Single Serve Travel Coffee Brewer - great for camping and hiking!

This is perfect for the Dad who camps for soooo many reasons.

First of all, it is BPA free, lead free, and heat resistant up to 500 degrees!  That means that it is dishwasher safe!! 

Our favorite feature is that it is compact!  It is collapsible so it doesn’t even end up being an inch thick.

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Collapsed!

Father's Day, Coffee, Gift Idea, Travel, Hiking, Camping, Micro House, Single Serve, Daddy, Dad, Manly, Gift
A shot for perspective...
  
Plus, it comes with a caribener so easily straps onto a backpack or something of the like. 

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Simple yet very effective.

Father's Day, Coffee, Gift Idea, Travel, Hiking, Camping, Micro House, Single Serve, Daddy, Dad, Manly, Gift
This makes this so very travel friendly!

Then the only other thing I have to pack is coffee and enough filters to last us for our trip.

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Simple system - add a filter, grounds, and hot water...and you have fresh brewed coffee!

Father's Day, Coffee, Gift Idea, Travel, Hiking, Camping, Micro House, Single Serve, Daddy, Dad, Manly, Gift
I do love the smell of coffee....just not the taste.  Ick.

Also, there isn’t any waste!  We don’t have to make a percolator full of coffee where half of it gets dumped out (I don’t drink coffee…so we only need enough for him).  He can make just enough coffee for himself.  Though, to be fair, figuring out that ratio can be a bit difficult.

So how does the coffee turn out?

Better than the percolator.  No grounds.  But still not the best cup of coffee.  Definitely a step up from the percolator.  And maybe once we figure out the coffee ratio it might get better... 

All in all, I think this is a super unique gift for Father’s Day that will actually be used!  I’m not a big fan of giving gifts that will be left in the box or left untouched.  Our first big camping trip is coming up soon and Hubby is so excited to finally have a simple way to make coffee…without having to drink grinds!  It may not be the best, but it is easy and tastes good.  And that's all he asks for...  

Head here to get yours for only $15.95!


Does your hubby enjoy camping?  What are some other camping gift ideas?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Review and Giveaway: "How to Work from Home and Make a Six Figure Income" Udemy Series *CLOSED*

In exchange for an honest review, I was given access to the Udemy course, "How to Work from Home and Make a Six Figure Income" for free.

I was a little unsure if this was something I wanted to review, it sounded a bit...well...scammy.  But as I read over everything, I noticed this little tidbit of information:


Review, Udemy, Work from Home, Six Figure Income, Dave Espino, Affiliate Marketing
There are 5 different ways to make six figures that instructor, Dave Expino, includes.  In order to be included, there were the parameters he set: It must be able to be done from home, must be easy to start, easy to learn, cost nothing or very little, and you must be able to legitimately make six figures.  (Screen shot from Udemy course)

I can honestly say that he did an excellent job of staying within those parameters.  While nothing was super new information for me, I still was able to learn a few things and taking this course gives me access to a lot more as well.

There is plenty of insight given for each topic.  I am willing to bet anyone can learn something from this course.  For instance, did you know that some companies will pay affiliates 100% commission!?!  

I really appreciated that Dave made note of what types of people would be good at each method of monetization:


Review, Udemy, Work from Home, Six Figure Income, Dave Espino, Affiliate Marketing
And he is extremely thorough about this matter. (Screen shot from Udemy course)

It was because of these lists and Dave's thorough explanations of each method that I learned affiliate marketing is simply not for me.  Not as a means of income anyways...

He is perfectly honest about what might be risky and what takes work.  He also gives reasons as to why it might not work for you.

Dave Espino clearly knows what he is talking about and is an expert at each subject he discusses, sharing his experience as well as trials and errors along the way.

My favorite part is that he ends with, "God Bless." While it may seem a simple thing, not very many businessmen include God in anything they do.  I ended the course with a smile.


Review, Udemy, Work from Home, Six Figure Income, Dave Espino, Affiliate Marketing
A Udemy Course
If you are looking for ways to make money from home and aren't afraid of the work that goes along with it, I definitely recommend this Udemy course!  If you follow this link, you can purchase the course now for just $17 (it is usually $97). 

One reader will WIN their own access to the course for FREE (giveaway ends May 11).  For your chance to win, leave me a comment below answering the questions: Why do you want to work from home?


With a little one at home, I am ready to put in the work that I need to so that I can be home with her.  It is so very important to me.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Truth: A Teachable and United Heart

Psalm 86:11
Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.

I absolutely love when one verse of the Bible, one single verse, can teach you so much.  This verse is one of those.  And I think it is absolutely beautiful.  As the Expositor's Commentary states, this verse "culminates in one of the sweetest & deepest prayers of the Psalter."

In verses 1-10 of this Psalm, David is crying out to God for help.  He wants the Lord to deliver him from his troubles.  Yet, "The thought of God's power carries [him] beyond remembrance of his immediate outward needs, and stirs high desires in him" (Expositor's).  David knows that, even though his physical and emotional life may be in danger, his spiritual life remains the number one priority.

So, first, David asks the Lord to teach him His ways.  Why?  So that he can walk in the Lord's truth.  David knows that he can't trust his own judgment.  We have too much of our own stuff that gets in the way.  We can't see the whole picture sometimes.  David was wise enough to know he needed guidance beyond himself.  If we rephrase it, it might sound something like this: "When I am in doubt concerning [my duty], make it plain to me what I should do; let me hear the voice saying, 'This is the way'" (Henry).  Does that plea sound familiar to you?  I know I've said something similar a few times in my prayers.  There are many times in my life that I am completely unsure of what to do, of what the right path is.  So I pray that God will guide me, and often ask for a neon sign.  ;) I don't want to miss what He has to say!  

Thankfully, He has given us His word to guide us through this life.  If we want to learn His ways, we need only spend time in His word and in prayer.  Then, we are able to walk in truth.  For what is truth?  His word is truth (John 17:17).  

David also asks the Lord to unite his heart so that he may fear the Lord's name.  That phrase struck me as unique.  And I was right!  The Hebrew word for "unite" is only used 3 times in the Old Testament!  And each time is very similar to our understanding of the word.  When you think of the word 'unite,' what do you think of? Bringing things together? Working together for a cause?  

That is exactly what the Hebrew word for unite entails.  David did not want his heart, his desires and affections, to be split between the Lord and the world.  He wanted everything he was to be focused on the Lord: "Let my heart be fixed for God, and firm and faithful to Him, and fervent in serving Him; that is a united heart" (Henry).  

Think about it this way - if you spouse loved another person romantically, would you feel very loved?  No - "Divided love is no love.".  Just as "the river that breaks into a multitude of channels is sucked up by the sand without reaching the ocean, and has no force in its current to scour away obstructions," so are our affections when it comes to the Lord (Expositor's).  If our affections lie in a number of different places, by the time they get to the Lord there is little left!  If our affections are going in a multitude of directions, there is not a strong force to push away obstructions, to get rid of things blocking the path to the Lord.  


We already know that the road leading to Christ is a narrow one.  So why would we put the full force of our affections anywhere but on that path.  Our affections cannot be divided!!  They must be fully aligned to that narrow road, headed to the ocean of our Lord's will.  

Only then can we fully fear His name.  Only then can we respect Him and revere Him in a way that He deserves.  

In conclusion, "There is no peace nor blessedness, neither is any nobility of life possible, without wholehearted devotion to one great object; and there is no object capable of evoking such devotion or worthy to receive it, except Him who is 'God alone'...The very conception of [Christianity] requires that it should be exclusive, and should dominate the whole nature" (Expositor's).  Christianity isn't something that only comes along on Sunday mornings.  It is the definition of who you are.  And if it isn't, well then, it's something else....

Win a Daddy Diaper Bag: For the Love of Dad Giveaway Hop *CLOSED*

If you haven't noticed, I was MIA last week.  My grandad, or Pap-Pap passed away and I was only home a few days.  Hoping to get back in the swing of things but I have three very full weeks of work ahead before I have a break for the summer, so posts may be a bit sparse.  Please hang in there until June - I will be back full force with some fun things in store!!

Today, I've got an awesome giveaway!!  Remember my review of the Daddy & Co Diaper Messenger Bag???  Now YOU have the chance to WIN one as a part of the For the Love of Dad giveaway hop!



Welcome to the "For the Love of Dad" Giveaway Hop hosted by Mama's Baby Cupcakes & Mommy's Favorite Things. The theme of this event is great gifts for dads, and each blog participating has a prize valued at $25+. This hop is May 4-18 and your winnings arrive just in time for Father's Day! Heather at Mommy's Favorite Things is hosting the Grand Prize from Kore Essentials valued at $140. You can read Heather's full review on her blog to learn more about the company as well before entering. 


Okay, now that the formal stuff is out of the way, back to the Daddy & Co Diaper Bag - this diaper bag is the perfect gift for the new dad or the dad-to-be.  It isn't girly at all, holds a ton of stuff (enough cloth diapers to last a whole day) and can easily be used after baby to carry a lap top, books, or for an over night trip.  Hubby loves to tell people that it is made of ballistic material (...and yes, my husband loves this diaper bag so much that he shows it off to anyone he can!).

If you didn't catch the review, head here to see some of the other awesome features plus a few other fantastic Father's Day gift ideas (including a vintage hoodie and a travel mug).

Use code BLOG14 for 10% off on the Daddy & Co website!



Enter to win using the Giveaway Tools below:

Disclosure: Mama's Baby Cupcakes, Mommy's Favorite Things and the "Love for Dad" participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations Linky:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Aelah Grace: 6 Months!!

Can you believe it!?!  Our little lady is already 6 months old!!  I cannot believe it has already been half of a year!!


Chunky little legs & cheeks!
I'll keep using this basket until I can't anymore....
Oh.  My.

How am I growing?

Obviously growing by leaps and bounds!!  She is 17 pounds and 6 ounces - 75th percentile.  And she is 27 inches long, the 90th percentile.  I do think she is a bit longer.  The nurses always have such a hard time getting her to lie still to measure.  haha.  But we have another appointment next Friday so we shall see!! 

How am I sleeping?

SO much better!!  It did get worse for a bit for awhile.  She wanted to be up every couple of hours to nurse.  I was beside myself.  But then I just refused to nurse.  We would rock or bounce until she settled.  And if it lasted more than an hour I would nurse for just a few minutes.  We also moved her bedtime back from 8 to 9.  In just a weeks time she went from waking every two hours to sleeping 9 hours straight!!  Occasionally she will wake once, but I only have to wake her fully, hold her for a minute, lay her back down, and give her a binky and she goes right back to sleep.  She never liked pacifiers but I tried one night on a whim.  All she does in the middle of the night is play with it or chew on it.  She never sucks on it.  But it helps!  I also don't let her nurse until after 6 in the morning.  Which never seems to be an issue.  We are just trying to form good habits.  She usually wakes between 6 and 630 and then sleeps until I wake her around 8.  I am overwhelmingly pleased with where we are now.  But, knowing how babies are, I'm sure it may change again soon.  ;)

How am I eating?

We did decide to do our own version of Baby Led Weaning (or Baby Led Solids, here on out referred to as blw).  Instead of relying on purees, her main source of food is still breast-milk.  At dinner, we give her chunks or 'sticks' of food to help her experience food.  It is more about learning.  Blw is supposed to lead to less allergies, help her determine when she is actually full (vs. finishing a whole jar of baby food), and help her be less picky later on in life.  There are other benefits, one of which is the ease.  We generally just give her a bit of what we're having, no carting around jars of baby food, no buying baby food, no making baby food.  

This was her first 'meal' outside of breast-milk:


video

She has done phenomenal with everything we've given her.  She hasn't really disliked anything except sweet potatoes but I think that was a texture thing.  We're going to try them again soon.  We have done a more modified version of blw and included a few purees.  She really likes bread and bananas which can lead to...well...issues...so I try to give her a bit of pureed prunes every once in awhile just to keep things moving.  So far we haven't had any problems!  Along with the purees we got her Num Num Dips so she can feed herself (they are amazing!).  But since she is still a bit uncoordinated in that department, this is how that usually ends up:


Haha.  So sober.

What else is new?

Oh my.  Again, what isn't new?  This girl is growing and changing every single day.  She rolls all over the living room.  Laughs at random things (like feet), sits up all on her own, chews on anything she can get her hands on, and SO much more.  She also recently the discovered that she can drop things....so that's fun.  ;)  Another big deal is that she has learned how to rotate her body while she is on her belly by pulling with her arms.  So I know it is only a matter of time before she figures out how to pull herself forward or push backward.  Yikes!!  Our whole world is about to change!!

Here are some of my favorite pics from the last month:


Our little ballerina.
<3
Playing with Daddy
Helping Grammy put away the dishes.  This was a *super* cute moment!
Her Easter gift from her Uncle Luke & Aunt Laisa
This is how she decided to "rest" while we were shopping at Walmart.  Sometimes she would lay her head on its side instead.  Too cute!

**You may have noticed my new watermark.  After reading a few articles like this one, I realized that while I usually tend to take precautions on most of my social media, I neglect thinking about the implications of posting pics of my precious little one on my blog.  So a small change was in order.  I don't mind it actually...now that it has a bit more of my own flair.  :)  I realize that this won't stop bad people from using pictures BUT, it will at least deter them a bit....one can hope right??