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.

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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.

coconut_flour

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:

april 165

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.

april 162

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.)

april 161
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.

april 164

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?

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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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Gratituesday: The Decision

gratituesday[2]

I tell you what ~ it has been one wild ride having a senior in high school. I had no idea all that went into this year, not to mention the emotions that would smack me over the head without warning.

God has been so good to love me so gently this school year. As I talk to other moms who have graduated or are graduating their kids, I’m learning that I am quite normal. This is good to know. Home school mom, public school mom, private school mom – it matters not. We are Mom. We are loving our kids through making giant decisions all while preparing to launch them into all that God has planned for them. We cry a lot, not necessarily because we are sad. We cry because we’re happy. Because we’re excited. Because we’re a little bit weary. And because we couldn’t be more proud of our graduates.

Well anyway. That’s been my year in a nutshell. That, along with helping my senior through some very difficult online college courses all while trying in vain to keep up with other aspects of life like dust and laundry.

You know how some kids just know what they are going to do after high school? Our kid wasn’t one of them. He’s been searching for God’s answers all year long, not feeling confident in making a final decision for his immediate future.

The wrestling. That’s been tough to watch. And yet, it’s also been beautiful. For the first time, our 17 (almost 18) year old found himself faced with many great options and four thousand questions about what would be best. Had the answers just fallen into his lap back in September, I don’t believe the he would have experienced God’s work in his life in such a life-changing way. He had to learn to block out all the other voices and only listen to God. Then and only then did the right answers come.

As of last week, the decision has been made. Asa sees it as the one God has laid out for him in a very exciting way. And would you believe, after all the wrestling, everything came around to Asa choosing to go five minutes down the road to our very own York College? (Matt and I met and graduated from this Christian school in the 90′s.)

york college

Indeed. He is YC bound. While doors were closing on the other options, God kept paving the way to YC. The soccer coach recruited him and offered him a scholarship. The choir director recruited him and offered him a scholarship. The admissions director saw his grades and granted him an academic scholarship. In those ways and many more, God just kept making it more clear that this is the school for him.

He plans to pursue a degree in Business Communication. This is a great fit for him as he continues to develop his skills in videography to perhaps run his own video business someday.

soccer picsm

He has decided to be on the soccer team and in the concert choir. He will live in the dorm – and hopefully sometimes he will sleep. While Matt and I loved our YC experience, we were very open to other options God might have for Asa. Now that he’s chosen York College, we’re rather excited that we can be a fly on the wall during some of the events he participates in on campus. We’ll get to meet more of his friends. He can come home to do laundry and raid the fridge.

Yes, we’re all very excited. Most of all, we’re so grateful to see how God worked to pave out the path for Asa and to make it so clear to him that this is the way he should go.

And now, we carry on with the final few weeks of the school year. It’ll be a bittersweet ending this year, full of gorgeous new beginnings. God is faithful through every season of life. How exciting it is to see all He has in store for us all in the tomorrows.

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday?

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Menu Plan for the Week…Now on Mondays

So that I can keep stress down over the weekends while I’m trying to keep up with (and enjoy) my kids’ activities and our church activities – I decided to give myself an extra day to create and share my weekly menu plans. From now on, instead of posting them on Saturday nights, I’ll wait and post them Sunday nights.  Ahh, such a simple change, but one that helps me breathe on the weekends. I like breathing. Breathing is nice.

Last week our crock pot got quite a work out because we had soccer practices or games almost every evening. Man, I love the crock pot. What a time saver! I plan to use it quite a bit during the next few weeks. Between soccer season, a speaking engagement I have early May, and then Asa’s graduation – I won’t have much extra time for silly little things like cooking and feeding my family. The crock pot is going to have to do the work for me. It’s either that, or McDonald’s. That’s not even a funny joke.

This week we’ll be enjoying the surprises we received in our Bountiful Basket order. It’s always fun to see what comes with each order! I also ordered two packs of whole wheat pizza crusts. Don’t I usually make my own pizza crusts? Aren’t homemade pizza crusts healthier and less expensive? Yes and yes. But need I remind you of the aforementioned soccer/speaking/graduation? I am very excited about my purchased (and still inexpensive and quite healthy) pizza crusts.

bountiful baskets 411

The boys chuckled when they saw the miniature watermelon that came in our order. They are all such big eaters, so they were like, “Oh look. It’s one bite of watermelon for each of us.” Those poor little deprived boys of mine.

And now, our menu – which is a lovely mixture of crock pot meals and meals one of us can quickly throw on the grill. It’s real food made easy, this menu. Don’t make me start preaching that sermon again. You know it’s possible. ;)

Breakfast (I’m going to try baking our breakfast foods the night before if possible, and/or doubling some recipes to throw into the freezer for graduation week)

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes (I serve 1-4 with each meal)

  • Mango
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Tangelos
  • Applesauce
  • Homemade Dill Pickles
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Mixed Greens
  • Spinach
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Clementines
  • Pineapple Mango Smoothies

Hey, don’t forget that today is the last day you can purchase our 227 Healthy Snacks eBook for just $5.00!

227 Healthy Snacks 2

227 Healthy Snacks eBook
$7.95
$5.00

Add to Cart

Care to share some easy food you throw in the crock pot or on the grill?

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Need {healthy} Snacks? No Problem. 227 Delicious and Healthy Snack Ideas.

I’m diving into a full weekend of trying to keep up with my boys and soccer games. Before I do, I wanted to let you know that we knocked the price of our 227 Healthy Snacks eBook down to just $5.00 for the next three days. This book is one of our most popular…because SNACKS. We all need ‘em.

227 Healthy Snacks 2

Grab your copy of 227 Healthy Snacks for just $5.00 through Monday, April 13. Enjoy recipes like…

227 Healthy Snacks

…100% Fruit Snacks, Oyster Crackers, Snickerdoodle Bars, Dark Chocolate Almond Granola Bars and yes, 223 other ideas and recipes. I reference this book all the time for ideas to keep my family nourished and full between meals. Get the full details and recipe list from this eBook here.

Have a great weekend, and happy snacking!

227 Healthy Snacks eBook
$7.95
$5.00

Add to Cart

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Build a Simple Veggie Flower (Great for Showers and Holidays!)

I just came across a picture on Pinterest showing me how to carve a swan out of a melon. I highly considered giving it a try for about negative .8 seconds – mostly because I knew for sure mine would turn out looking like a melon that fell out of my cart at the store and got ran over by a minivan.

Art and food? It’s not my thing. I think life’s too short to design owls out of kiwi, grapes, peaches, and blueberries when there are so many other important ways to spend time - like looking for lost shoes and sweeping up glass after a ball has been kicked through the kitchen (details not included). Also – I stink at art. Like, I draw a picture of a bunny and my kids say, “why did you draw a picture of our mailbox?”

But. Two weeks ago I saw a picture of veggies displayed in the shape of a flower and thought to myself: I can totally do that and I should do it for Easter. And so I did. It took less than 10 minutes (no joke) and people were like, “oh look it’s a flower.”  Score one for me.

Build a Simple Veggie Flower

I think this is a great idea for a springtime wedding or baby shower, and it was definitely perfect for our Easter buffet. On a regular day, however? I will be throwing down the veggies and dip like my normal non-artist self.

What You Need to Build a Veggie Flower

  • Broccoli
  • Baby Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Grape Tomatoes

Putting it all together is self explanatory – if you can do it I can do it. Just look at the picture above for the “how to.” Serve with these great dips:

Ranch Dressing and Dip Mix

Easy Veggie Dip 1

Have you done much mixing of art and food? I draw the line at this veggie flower. :)

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The Pyrex You Shouldn’t Live Without

I keep finding this Pyrex set on sale, so it must be a sign: You need these in your kitchen.

I have two complete sets of these and use them all day long, every day, all the time. The lids make these invaluable because they allow me to prep fruits, veggies, and salads ahead of time and stash them in my fridge for quick side dishes. I LOVE THESE.

pyrex bowls 2

 

Amazon has them marked down to only $14.97 again, which is an amazing price. You will love these. The price can’t be beat. Buy one (or two) set(s) for yourself and one for a bridal shower this spring. Then fill them with fruits and veggies (for yourself, not for the bridal shower).

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Low Sugar Super Moist Chocolate Cake (That Doesn’t Taste Low Sugar)

Low Sugar Chocolate Cake

There’s a Texas Sheet Cake recipe (like this one) our family has been making for years. It’s one of our favorite cakes – mostly because it’s not dry like many homemade cakes can be.

But – you know how my body won’t let me eat much sugar anymore? I mostly don’t even want it – but sometimes I just get a hankering for something chocolaty. That’s what inspired the invention of Chocolate Whipped Cream, Coconut Fudge Bars – and now this – a Low Sugar Chocolate Cake. I decided to try making our favorite chocolate Texas Sheet Cake recipe with less sugar to see how it would turn out.

You guys!!!!!! Why in the name of a diabetic coma do recipes (including many of mine) call for so much sugar???!?! Originally, this recipe includes 6 cups of sugar. SIX. That’s 2 cups in the cake and 4 cups in the frosting and none of us can possibly imagine that cutting out so much of the sugar would still produce a cake that actually tastes good.

Well neener, neener to all of us. I just recreated this cake to include a grand total of 1/2 cup of sugar. Yes, that is one-half cup. Total. Neener. 

I love this cake like nobody’s business. But what do I know? I’m the one who can no longer tolerate much sugar, so even the barely sweet stuff tastes quite sweet to me. The true test was serving this to my children. They still love their sugar (what kid doesn’t?) and they are used the “the regular way” we’ve always made the Texas Sheet Cake. Would they feel like the cake wasn’t sweet enough? I mean, going from 6 cups to just 1/2 cup of sugar – that’s a big drop.

Two things:

  1. Yes, they could tell.
  2. No, they didn’t care.

They ate the cake, they liked the cake, they had seconds on the cake (which was only allowed because of the low sugar content). This makes me think that we could likely drastically cut the sugar in most cake and cookie recipes and everyone would still enjoy the treats. Why yes I will be testing this theory. And I will share my results with you – one recipe at a time.

One thing to note: The brand of stevia you use in the frosting really does make a difference. Some stevia has a stronger, more bitter taste than others. My family prefers NuNaturals Alcohol-Free Stevia. It’s much less bitter. But no matter what brand you use – if you overdo it, the taste goes from sweet to bitter. A little goes a long way – don’t forget! (More info on stevia here.)

Low Sugar Super Moist Chocolate Cake

1 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup water
4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sucanat
dash of sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sucanat, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a saucepan, bring oil, water, and cocoa to a boil. Pour liquid mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredient mixture. Stir well. Add sour cream and eggs, mixing well. Pour batter into a 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

Stevia-Sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons softened butter
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Liquid stevia to taste (I use about 20 drops)

In a large bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Add softened butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and stevia – whipping until well combined and smooth. Spread over cooled cake. Store in refrigerator. Makes about 20 servings.

Low Sugar Super Moist Chocolate Cake

Part of what makes this cake so moist is the use of sour cream. It doesn’t hurt that we use an entire cup of coconut oil. Bring on the healthy fat! You can use regular whole wheat flour if you like, but whole wheat pastry flour (ground from soft white wheat berries) really helps make this cake less dense.

So here’s to this amazing Low Sugar Chocolate Cake. Now we can have our cake and eat it too and not even have a sugar crash afterward. Of course, we will also still be eating our veggies with this lovely side of chocolate. Amen and amen.

Have you tried cutting back on sugar in your diet? Have you found recipes to turn out successfully when you cut the sugar? 

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