Decorating with Chalkboard Labels in Your Home

Decorating with Chalkboard Labels in Your Home

For Christmas, my husband got me these Chalkboard labels in a variety of sizes (when I wrote this post, they were discounted to only $6.97!). Since I have been really working outside of my comfort zone lately to decorate my house with a gray/white and chalkboard theme – I was elated!

I knew immediately where I wanted to use them!

I had recently organized the shelf in the kids area of our living room. I had painted the shelf white, and organized their art supplies in mason drinking jars that we received as a favor from my cousin’s wedding this summer.

I had wanted to label the jars with a chalkboard type label, so these were perfect!

As I was writing the words on the labels with my white liquid chalk pen, I had a brilliant idea to add a little more snap—polka dot edges!! (If you want other color options, I use these vibrant colore chalk pens on my kitchen menu board and kitchen window. More posts on those coming later!)

I really love how they turned out.

chalkboard stickers on mason jars

It has been a few months, and the stickers have held up well. The sticker on the smaller jelly jar, periodically starts to peel off, but I have no problem at all with the larger drinking jars and their labels.

The chalk is starting to rub off on some of the stickers – but I allude that to the fact that I have young kids who use them all the time. When it gets bad enough, I will just wipe them off and draw them on again.

The pack of chalkboard labels, came with 30 smaller stickers too. I might try using them on spice jars or something in the kitchen. I might also try improving my lettering skills, with this Chalk Lettering book. We’ll see. Let me know if you have any ideas for me!

Do you have a chalkboard theme at your house? I would love to hear about it!

And be sure to check out my chalkboard theme pinterest board, for even more inspiration. That is, if you’re so madly in love with chalkboard decorations, like me. 😉 There are some pretty neat ideas and products that people have come up with!

10 FREE EBooks including Mediterranean Slow Cooker Recipes

10 Free Kindle Books 2-1-16

There are some new FREE ebooks available on Amazon. I am really in to the simplicity of slow cooker meals, so I look forward to learning a few new recipes from the Mediterranean Slow Cooker Recipe Book!

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices or Kindle Cloud Reader on your desktop. When you purchase your book (for FREE), just choose the option to Open in Cloud Reader.

Thank you, See Mom Click!

Own Your Life Part 2: Finding God’s Evidence in My Life through Journaling

Yesterday I shared some of the first part of my Own Your Life talk, and discussed the evidences of God in our life. I mentioned another way that God showed His evidence in my life, which I am happy to share about today!

Something that really helped me see the evidence of Him in my own life, was journaling. When I was in high school and even college, I used to do this, but it took so much time and quiet (in order for me to think) that I didn’t see how I could ever do it with kids. I loved it, but with kids, I just didn’t see how it would happen.

In 2015, I finally started again, but this time with a focus on something called bible journaling that I saw on pinterest.  Has anyone seen or done this?

Only, I’m not that creative. So I kept it simple, intending only I would see it.

It was amazing!

I drew a few verses out that meant something to me, and soon I had a notebook full of them. They were ridiculously simple and I have to laugh when I look at them, but I love them.

Here are just a few (because if I were to show you any more I would be ridiculously embarrassed!) :)

Simple Bible Journaling

When I remember those verses, I think of the images I incorporated with the words, and that helps me to remember them.

And when I flip back through the journal, on days that I’m really struggling, I can just quickly look at the verses that spoke to me and remember how evident God felt in my life at that time.

I am reassured of His love for me.

* * * * *

I started a simple bible journaling pinterest board. If you’re like me, and like to keep it simple, please feel free to share your ideas there!

Are you signed up for my email newsletter? If not, please do now. I would love to stay in touch with you on this journey of being a child of God, a wife and/or a mother!

Marshmallow Peanut Popcorn: Easy Enough to Make With Kids (and toddlers too!)

Marshmallow Peanut Popcorn: Easy Enough to Do With Kids (and toddlers too!)

Get out your popcorn popper and get ready! This is a great recipe, and very flexible if you want to mix and match ingredients.

(Secret tip: I know of a mom who set her popcorn machine on a sheet in the middle of the floor, and then turned on the machine and let the popcorn fly out when it was cooked. The kids of course loved it!)

Tips for Cooking with Kids

I am often fearful to make recipes with kids, but really if I just try it, it is quite simple. Before we start, I find it helpful to . . .

  1. Make sure the kids know your expectations and rules. Explain to them what they can and cannot do and can and can not touch. Depending on their age, you might even want to go into detail on the why – like they might get sick.
  2. Have a completely clean countertop, kitchen island or table workplace. If I have papers or items important to me near where they are working, I start to stress. If you have a clean area, you don’t worry or stress about food landing on something that you don’t want it touching!
  3. Clearly state the plan. How is each child going to help? Think realistically about what a 2 year old will be a good at, before you divvy up the jobs. Let them know what their job is (they love responsibility!).
  4. Define a set time and place for when everyone will enjoy the fruits of what you are making! For instance, you might say, “after we are finished, children who wash their hands and then sit at the table waiting patiently will be served.”

It’s as simple as that! Now go have some fun!!!

Marshmallow Peanut Popcorn: Easy Enough to Make With Kids (and toddlers too!)

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 15 cups popcorn
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 cup broken pretzel pieces

Instructions

  1. Boil sugar, butter and corn syrup on the stove. (This step was much more forgiving than I thought it would be! It was not a problem at all, that I had to turn around and help my kids with the popcorn for a minute.)
  2. Stir into the popcorn, marshmallows, peanuts and pretzels. (I tried stirring but it wasn't for me. I just scooped my hands right down in the big bowl and rolled it all around until the popcorn was covered and sticky!)
http://www.FrugalLancaster.com/2016/01/20/marshmallow-peanut-popcorn-easy-enough-to-do-with-kids/

I’m Trying Something New Today . . . Thoughts on Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson, Part 1

This morning I am trying something new. I will be speaking to a women’s group at my home church. I will be sharing about the book Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson, and what I learned from it as I read through it in 2015. I am so excited to share the truths Sally has taught me, and a little bit about the amazing testimony Sally has lived out in which you can see God evident.

My intention is to encourage others to own their life and live out their part of His story by sharing quotes and stories from Sally’s book. This book has impacted my outlook on life and challenged my purposes as a mom, a wife and a child of God.

I wanted to share a small section of my talk with my readers here on my blog.

God Has Given You by Sally Clarkson

Sally would tell her children,

“I believe God has given you the capacity and the ability to grow strong inside, to live courageously, to have great faith, and to become a person of considerable influence in your lifetime. But I cannot make you strong and good—you will have to choose that for yourself. I will love you, and help you in every way. But I cannot make you a great person. You will have to decide that you want to be excellent of character and then make the  hard decisions to become the best you can be, to follow hard after God, and to live into your potential. You have a choice to make!”

God has created us with the potential to live a purposeful, meaningful life that is spiritually strong and vibrant. But we have to choose to follow Him, to believe Him, to live for Him. If we follow hard after Him, God will make our life count in ways we can’t even yet see.

In the book, Sally commissioned, “may you be blessed in the chasing after Him in your own life, and may you see evidence of His strong support for you.”

And I know that if she would meet us in person, she would commission the same thing to each one of us too.
May you see (1)

Since I read this book in 2015, and really throughout a lot of my life, I can look back and see how God has 100% filled my memories with evidence of Him. (Or as she says in her book, I can see God’s fingerprints.) It seems like in every moment of every day God is showing me something else about Him through an every day happening, whether through mothering . . . or gardening . . . or being a wife . . . or through His nature. I just need to keep watching for it.

I am the type of person where if someone is explaining something to me, I need application. I need to see how it would play out in my own every day life, or what it would look like. Otherwise I usually get in a dead zone and can’t make sense of it. I wanted to share some specific examples of how God has shown His evidence to me, just in case you need personal applications too! Hopefully these stories will spark some memories in your own life!

I was making tea the other week with my 4 and 6 year old. As I put the tea bag in the hot water, and they watched the water change color, I felt God talking to me and I shared with the kids about how when we fill our lives with the Word of God, we are like that tea bag in hot water. The Holy Spirit just flows out of us and colors everything around us.

God is evident in my life.

One day my 3 year old daughter was being very emotional. Not uncommon in our house, and not something I always knew how to deal with. I still don’t. But one time in particular I remember feeling so lost on how to connect with her. She suddenly blurted out, “Why don’t you just hug me?!” God quickly got my attention.

God is evident in my life.

On an early morning this fall, I heard a hunter shoot a gun and all the birds started flying away together over our house. They were so loud, squawking at each other. So, so, so, so loud (maybe it seemed louder because my kids were still sleeping!!!). I reflected on how they need to communicate with each other in order to work as a team. I thanked God for the geese that interrupted my quiet time.

God is evident in His nature around me.

The Cocalico Creek flows through our backyard. If you are familiar with the Cocalico Creek, you know that it floods very quickly. And after a storm, our backyard looks awful! The creek is muddy. Its flowing fast. Debris is coasting through it. It is OUT OF CONTROL. But after waiting overnight or even just a few sunlight hours, it goes down and in the morning, its a peaceful stream again. How breathtaking it is! Sometimes my life seems out of control but over time, that peaceful creek always comes back again.

Again, God is evident in His nature.

My son learned the song “In the Bulb there is a flower” in his Pre-K class last year. I recently reflected on how God used those words to remind me that mothering toddlers is hard, life struggles are hard, but this is a season. In the cold and snow of winter, there’s a spring that waits to be!

God is evident in my life.

A few weeks ago, the verse in Psalms stood out to me, like I never heard it before . . . “When I am afraid, I trust in You.” I must have talked about it or said it out loud that morning to my daughter who just turned 4 years old. Later in the day, she wanted to dust (oh how I love that girl! Secretly, I think she likes to use my little swiffer duster reach tool, but I’m still thankful!) She was in the corner of the living room using it while I was in the kitchen, and I overheard her say, “Oh spider I am afraid of you . . . but I will trust in God!”

God is evident in my life.

If I am ever tempted to think I am a failure as a mom (which happens so often!), I remember how one time my 5 year old son didn’t want to sit next to great-grandma at the dinner table when she was visiting from Florida. He marched off to the basement.

I didn’t have the time or energy to go after him, as I had a table full of guests, a toddler to help and a baby to feed.

He came back a few minutes later, after we started, and whispered in my ear how he didn’t want to sit there. I whispered to him that sometimes we need to do things we don’t want to do. He marched off again. This happened one more time and I started to worry that Great-Grandma really thought I should make him come NOW.

I’m so glad I didn’t act on that thought, because I would have missed out on a huge opportunity to see God evident in our lives!

The next time he came back to me, he whispered, “mommy I talked to God and I want to do things His way.”

You see, in the weeks before I had been saying a prayer, “Help me God. Fill me with peace. Show me your way.” He had overheard me and we talked about it. A few days later, I helped him to use it with his anger. To my complete shock, he remembered it and put it to use!

I was so humbled.

I smiled, and I asked him if I could serve him some food.

Like Sally tells us, God is evident in our lives, He strongly supports us, and we will be blessed in our chasing after Him!

Tomorrow, I will continue with another way God has helped me to see His evidence in my life since I started reading Sally’s book, Own Your Life.

If you’re not signed up for my email newsletter, please do so now, so you are sure to get the next part of my talk right away!

 

7 Secrets to Enjoying a Trip to Hawaii for less than $1700

7 Secrets To Enjoying a Budget Trip to Hawaii

For our five year anniversary, my husband and I were asked to join our friends for a trip to Hawaii. They were celebrating their 10 year anniversary. How could we say no to that?! Fortunately, they asked us a year in advance—the first step in making it possible for less than $1700!

What were our secrets to enjoying such an exotic vacation for so little?

  1. We planned ahead. Knowing you are going to do something a year in advance allows you to research the cheapest time to travel, the best local restaurants, and other secrets. Creating a pinterest board for our trip was a huge lifesaver!
  2. We signed up for FREE credit card offers earning us 60,000 airline points! We used these cards to pay our regular bills for three months and then we set them aside. Because we purchased our tickets several months in advance, we were able to find extra-saver award tickets for only 20,000 points each way! Our only airline cost was taxes.
  3. We paid a very discounted rate to our friends for a portion of their timeshare. They had an extra guest pass they were not going to use, so this saved us a lot of money.
  4. We were smart when we ate out. It would have saved more to make our own food, but one of our favorite experiences when it comes to traveling is trying new and local foods. We implemented the following strategies for eating out:
    • Water was our beverage of choice.
    • We often ate two meals a day, taking advantage of early dinner discounts.
    • We found small towns to eat at instead of tourist areas.
    • We shared larger entrees.
    • We enjoyed dessert as an after meal snack.
  5. We listened to timeshare presentations which earned us free (or really inexpensive) excursions. We were able to experience a helicopter ride over the island and a snorkeling excursion for very little money! Each presentation lasted about 2-3 hours. We felt we probably would not have used time for this if our trip was shorter than a week.
  6. We enjoyed free excursions including hiking at State Parks, driving the Road to Hana ourselves, exploring local beaches and finding a bay where we swam with turtles for free (this initially nerve-wracking but ultimately was my highlight of the trip!)
  7. Since we were traveling with another couple, we were able to save by splitting the cost of a car rental and gas. For most excursions and day trips we were traveling together anyway, so it was not a hindrance to our time.

We loved that we did not go into debt on our Hawaii trip and when we returned home, we did not feel like we had to work hard to pay off what we just enjoyed!

10 FREE eBooks including Upcycling 31 Crafts to Decorate Your Living Space and a Crepe Cookbook

10 Free Kindle Books 1-15-16

There are some new FREE ebooks available on Amazon. I am thinking I am going to try some of the upcycling crafts as I continue to make my house more of a home this year! Candy Making Made Easy book!

The Crepes Cookbook is also tempting me to try some new recipes . . oh I love crepes!

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices or Kindle Cloud Reader on your desktop. When you purchase your book (for FREE), just choose the option to Open in Cloud Reader.

Thank you, See Mom Click!

The Ins-and-Outs of LocalFlavor Deals

Eat like a local. Save like an expert.

We are long time supporters of LocalFlavor.com (used to be Double Take Deals). We love to use them to save on emergency backup meals, date nights and family outings. I’ve even scored some amazing deals at garden supply centers to places like Esbenshades and Farmstead Flowers!

If you are not familiar with the company, LocalFlavor.com offers gift certificates to local restaurants, entertainment places and other stores for half off. For instance, you can get a $30 gift certificate for only $15. It is a great way to save 50% at any restaurant or place you often frequent anyway. Some of the most popular ones are for The Works in Wyomissing, and TJ Rockwells in Elizabethtown.

I have been benefiting from the savings they offer for a few years now, and I have found a few secret tips that I think you should know about.

  1. Midnight Madness. Localflavor offers this special regularly and it is often when some of their best deals are released (like The Works, TJ Rockwells, El Serano and Johnny’s Bar & Steakhouse). These deals sell quickly, and often don’t last a full 24 hours before they are sold out! Sign up for their emails, so you are sure to know when a Midnight Madness will be happening. (P.S. It is not necessary to log in at midnight, but I would check it first thing in the morning!)
  2. $5 off any purchase. On several holidays throughout the year (i.e. Labor Day, Black Friday weekend, Memorial Day and others), they offer a special $5 off any deal. Look for deals to your local pizza shop that might still be available when this coupon is offered. You might get a $20 gift certificate for only $5!!
  3. GiftBucks. You can buy these for yourself or gift them to others. If someone gifts you some of these, save them up and use them in combination with one of their $5 off coupon codes to get the best bang for your buck!

Tonight is the start of another one of their midnight madness specials. Look for deals on these places and others . . .

LocalFlavor DoubleTake Deals Midnight MadnessStay tuned for another upcoming post I am writing on Unique Ways to Use LocalFlavor Deals.

3 Secrets to Surviving Christmas Break with Kids

Surviving Christmas Break With Kids

Last Friday, at my son’s school Christmas party, I realized it was his last day of school until the new year! I don’t know how I messed that up, but for some reason I thought he had school until this Wednesday, like most other schools do.

With a toddler and a preschooler at home too, I knew I needed to come up with a plan and course of action for surviving Christmas break!

Perhaps you are also looking for a plan. Here is what worked for us.

Kids Sweeping Kitchen Floor

1. Clean the house on the first day. What is better than having a clean house for the week of Christmas and New Year’s? It eliminates extra stress and just the smell of a clean house brings warmth to my soul.

My kids are 2, 4 and 6, so I didn’t go crazy for this step. We started out simple. Doing something they love. And cleaning something that makes a HUGE impact on the house, but I don’t get done often enough.

Have you guessed it yet?

Yep, we washed the kitchen floor!

We like to make this fun at our house. I started by having the kids move the table into the living room. At this point, they didn’t know what we were doing yet. Surprises can work for your good! They soon caught on to my plan, as I had them run down to the basement to get a pile of rag towels and a bucket.

Then I changed things up a bit.

As I said, we like to have fun – especially when it comes to work and chores! In an effort to minimize my own clean up and stress, I decided to allow them to do this task with nothing on but their underwear.

I don’t know what you think of me now, but hopefully I haven’t ruined this post! 😉

They LOVED it! I set some clear rules defining what they could do and could not do, and then we got to work. I let each of them dip their towel in the bucket of warm soapy water. And they started to scrub. And glide. And slide.

The house was filled with laughter and brilliant new ideas and teamwork on how to clean the floor and have fun with a wet towel.

Next, I gave them each a dry towel. This was just as much fun as the wet towel for them. It didn’t take long for them to figure out how to pull each other on the towel and give rides. They even pulled me into it. You should have seen their faces when I was pulling them all on the same towel and they were hanging on for dear life. The sparkle in their eyes said it all!

Afterwards, they needed to calm down of course, so I had planned a short twenty minute episode for them to watch, while I set all the furniture back in place and admired our hard work.

We then loaded up in the van and headed on to the next secret tip!

2. Visit your local public library. Look for story times, toddler times, or just go and visit the library. Here is a list of local Lancaster libraries. My two year old loves to move the soft little kids chairs around if he’s not looking at books. And children always love to bring a new book to read home with them. We ended up filling a bag of over two dozen books for us to read over the holiday break!

If you’re not normally one to venture to the library because you don’t think your kids can be quiet enough or behave well enough. . . here are my tips. Limit your time there. And set specific guidelines before you go in. Get them excited to find just three books. Let them carry their own books home too! This gives them ownership and responsibility.

My trips to the library are not always ideal, but on Monday, we went after we cleaned our floor and each of my kids picked out books and sat and looked at them quietly for almost 15 minutes. A 2, 4 and 6 year old!! While they were happily reading their books, I was able to find several kids books in the biography section like this one (my new favorite place to pick books, because I learn when I read them too!), and even audiobook for the next secret step.

herrs snack factory

3. Plan field trips. Kids love to get out and see new things, and its good for moms too! (Plus, it keeps your house clean if you’re not there all day.) Getting out of the house is good for everyone, not to mention having your kids strapped in a carseat can mean less work for you, especially if you have an active little two year old boy like I do.

Read your local newspaper, do Google searches on things to do in your area, find facebook groups and talk to other moms. We did the FREE Herr’s Snack Factory Tour on our second day of vacation. It was an hour drive there, an hour tour, and then on the way home we stopped for a little fun at a McDonald’s play area. By the time we were home it was naptime!

Plan ahead and use your travel time wisely. It makes a big difference in your kids behavior when they know you’ve given them attention on the way there. We started with a guessing game—they didn’t know until half way there where we were going! I explained what we would be doing and answered questions.

We listened to an audio book we got from the library, and on the way home, one of the Adventures in Odyssey audiobooks my kids got from their aunt for Christmas!

I found it helpful while we were on the tour to give the kids responsibility and make them feel important and needed. My son was the gentleman for the group, and always held the doors open for everyone as we walked from building to building! Reminding them that everyone got a FREE bag of chips at the end of the tour, helped them too.

These secrets have made a huge difference to the start of our vacation break and have definitely helped me to be able to choose joy more often than not. My sincerest hope is that these secrets will fill your hearts with inspiration and finding joy in your kids in these last few days of 2015!