Hello Bar Newsletter Sign up

Floating Social Share buttons

Friday, February 6, 2015

Are you ready for Valentine's day? Affordable stay at home date night idea!

This post may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to purchase through this link I may be compensated. I appreciate your support!

So when I was young and newly married all I could think about was all the time that I would get to spend with my sweet husband. Little did I know that isn't exactly how marriage works once you become a parent! LOL! Did I mention we became parents almost immediately? We conceived our first little blessing on our honeymoon.

My husband and I still love to spend time together but it is a lot of work as the parents of 4 little ones. First of all it is hard to find a baby sitter who is comfortable with multiple kids who are younger. If you do find one they are crazy expensive! Luckily for the first time in 10 years we have plenty of family around willing to help. However we want to be careful and considerate as not to burn them out. In addition to that we can't expect them to watch our kids on holidays that they want to celebrate too. So what do you do for Valentine's?

Well we personally have fallen in love with stay at home date nights. They are super affordable and we have learned we actually enjoy them more! There is no time limit on them and we are more free to be ourselves. We don't have to worry about anyone over hearing our silly antics and thinking we are crazy. 

The secret to an amazing date night at home are the little touches. So here are a few things that I plan to do for our special Valentine's day date at home.

First off I found this adorable custom wine labels website that has some amazing options! They have a lot more than just Valentine's options but here are just a few that I loved for Valentine's day.

This totally fits my husband's sense of humor and he would love it!

I am one of those people who loves chevron!

Ultimately I decided to go with this one. I love it! The pictures don't do it justice. It is shiny and just gorgeous! These wine labels work much like a sticker and are easy to apply. You just peel them off and apply them over the label. They are also very affordable at only $5! Don't forget they also do other holidays and events and you can even have them customized for your personal events too!

Another thing that I found and just love are these white Chinese lanterns. I am sure they will spruce up our not so exciting back yard for just the right romantic touch!

You can really decorate these to fit any theme for any occassion. I will be using the battery operated candle lights in ours for just a touch of ambience. I will probably leave mine white this time around. However You can get a free e-book on how to decorate with these by clicking here.

 I plan to cook a nice meal at home including steak. Steak is pretty much reserved for special occassions around our house, much like wine is! LOL! We have a square folding table that I will put a pretty table cloth on and some pretty candles for a nice romantic table setting. I will most likely use our fine dining china from Noritake that we almost never use.

This year, the gift that I will give my husband will be a part of our date night and will be used for many years to come! A hammock! I have wanted one of these for quite some time but we have never had the yard to do it until now. I know my husband will love it too and I can see us relaxing in it and talking for years to come. I love that this one comes with the tree straps and seems to be big enough for both of us.

We will probably finish off the night with one of my favorite Romanta-Therapy products. This Seduction Soy candle in blissful breeze smells so good! It also burns about 3 times longer than your normal Paraben wax (which is what you find in most retail stores). This wax is all organic and turns into a warm massage oil. It is an actual oil and not a wax. I was so surprised by this! It smells great but not feminine. My husband enjoys it. 

I am so super excited about my plans for Valentine's day this year!!! It is fairly simple and super affordable. I am estimating the cost of everything together to be around $75 to $85 depending on supper. I know it will be a special night that we will remember for years to come. Ofcourse, we plan to put the kids to bed early on date nights so we can truly have our privacy and focus on each other.

Now $75-$85 might sound like a lot to some of you and it is. Please understand we do not normally spend $75 on a date night at home but this is a special occassion. That $75-$85 includes my gift to him. If you need to cut your budget down more you could do a DIY gift and that would reduce the actual date to around $45 to $55. Many of the items I am using can be reused for other date nights as well. If we were to go to a nice supper and hire a sitter for 2-3 hours we would probably spend around $40 on the sitter and an additional $50 just for supper. So our date is already cheaper than what a lot of parents spend just to go to dinner and there is no time limit or rush. We may even watch a movie on netflix or amazon on the laptop in our new hammock!

So What are your Valentine's plans? Would you love to add your own special touch with a free wine bottle label?  Well you are in luck! Two of my lovely readers will be getting a label to use! Comment below with which one is your favorite and why along with your Valentine's plans to be entered to win! I will choose a winner on 2-9-15 to ensure time for the labels to make it to you by Valentine's day!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Well this should go a long way in ending the Mommy Wars!!! #SisterhoodUnite

So this video has been all over the internet but I just finally found the time to watch it. WOW! That is all I can say. I loved it. Just in case you haven't seen it, here it is:

I have so felt like those Mom's sitting on the bench, how about you? Why do we do this to each other? We are all Mom's and we really do have the same basic goal.....doing what is best for our kids. For me that is homeschooling. I also am fully aware that homeschooling isn't for everyone. This video does such a great job of showing that we are all parents first and that we all love our children. #Sisterhoodunite is definitely a movement I believe in! It would have been so nice as a new Mom to feel encouraged and accepted as opposed to judged. Imagine what a difference that can make. It is ok to have opinions and express them but it has to be loving and not judgemental. We have to realize there is more than one way to achieve that same goal. I am a huge advocate of ending the Mommy Wars! I immediately went and liked Similac's facebook page after watching this video! Good job Similac! Kudos to you! 
Thursday, January 8, 2015

How "The List" can change your life!

This post may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to purchase through them I may be compensated. I appreciate your support. 

I have to be honest and tell you that upon writing this review I am only 70% done with this book. It is not just a book that you read. It is a lot of work. Not the kind of work that you mind doing though. It changes your perspective and gives you a new enthusiasm. This book has you doing work that is both fun and meaningful! Ironically I had already tapped into the power of lists just in a different way as you may remember from this post. Many of my real life friends who are also my reader's have quoted that post as their favorite even though I have written many since then. 

This book has taught me a new way to use the powerful lists. It has taught me to dream big and realize that anything is possible with the right steps. Ironically my New Year's "resolution" (I like to think of them more as ongoing goals) was to be more purposeful and organized. This book fits right into that purpose. He also suggests not to be afraid to ask for help. After all we can't accomplish everything on our own. I'm not sure why society teaches us not to burden other's with our issues. It has not always been that way. There use to be a barter and trade system where we very much relied on each other. Oh how I would love to go back to that time!

At any rate I can tell you this book is life changing! I am only 70 % done but it has definitely changed my thought process. In addition to reminding you to dream big, he helps you to define those dreams and the steps you should take to truly focus them. I am currently working on narrowing down my dreams and coming up with steps to make them a reality. 

Ironically shortly after I started reading this book things started happening for me very quickly. Someone decided to invest in me and one of my dreams which gets me much closer to realizing many of my other dreams! I will go into that more at a later date. Yuval encourages us to shout out our dreams and post it openly. He encourages us to do this so that we can network and share our contacts and time and talents to help each other be successful. So I am going to share with you my broad list that I am working on narrowing down and then I will provide you with the link to where you can get this amazing book!!!

My current list of dreams in no certain order which is being refined ( and will be reshared at some point ) :
1. New Shower curtain for kids bathroom
2. Curtains for kids bathroom
3.Shelves and baskets for both bathrooms
4. New boxspring
5. Fence in yard
6. Buy dishwasher
7. Get a Credit card for my new business venture to build credit in business name
8. Take Zoe to clown conference
9. Get kids back in sports
10. Leave a debt free lifestyle continually but maintain good credit as well
11. Help Kevin start Skewer Shields and patent it
12. Buy a Toyota Sienna
13. Buy a truck
14. Donate car
15. Get Amazon Fire Phones
16. Take kids to Disney for luck
17. Take a cruise with my sister
18 .Take my Step-Dad on vacation to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, Tn.
19. Get a chicken coop
20. Get chickens
21. Get Goats
22. Build a storage shed house with a loft area, each kid has their own room, an office, a large living area w/ a fireplace, master bedroom sharing a 2 sided fireplace to the master bathroom with a jetted garden tub, and with solar power panels and do it debt free!
23. Clear some more of the land but leave a tree line around the entire property as it is now for privacy
24. Get kids a wooden play place
25. Get 4-wheelers
26. Get a few hammocks in the yard
27. Learn to crochet more patterns
28. Go to Hawaii
29. Open a boutique store
30. Help Kevin and my sister start a rental business and flip houses
31. Homeschool the kids through graduation
32. Help all 4 kids go to college, start their own businesses, etc. 
33. Buy kid's first homes on our land, tiny houses possibly
34. start a tanning bed business
35. Open a YMCA
36. Go to Australia
37. Visit all 50 states with the kids. 
38. See the 7 Wonder's of the world with all 4 kids
39. Take a whale watching watching cruise in Alaska
40. Make $ with my Photography ( I have accomplished this in the past but would like to do more)
41. Have 1000 followers  on all social media for my blog (Click on those adorable social media icons for me and follow me, please. :) )
42. Have 1000 visitors on my blog monthly (please share my blog with all of your friends as often as you can. I appreciate it!)
43. Start tiny house villages for homeless vets
44. Own a custom fish tank like on tanked
45. Learn to Scuba Dive
46. Work at an animal reserve like Noah's Ark
47. Study Zoo-ology
48. Study CSI
49. Have a consistent family game night
50. Learn to play Chess and Checkers with the kids
51. Go Kayaking with my sister
52. Learn to start a fire naturally
53. Learn to cook on an open fire
54. Learn survivalist techniques
55. Learn Korean (In progress)
56. Visit South Korea
57. Own a Thomas Kincaid painting
58. Learn to Garden
59. Get Horse Riding lessons for kids (again)
60. Help with Animal rescue (In progress on a small scale)
61. Do Birth Photography as a business (will have to be on hold until the kids are older)
62. Have an Inground pool
63. Become a Mgr. with Lilla Rose
64. Buy a riding lawnmower
65. New Rainbow
66. Buy a storage building for the property
67. Buy an outside dog kennel 
69. Be more organized (use time more wisely to accomplish my goals)
70. Have a Daily schedule (to go with the above)
71. Get Fringe bangs
72. Get nails done every 2 weeks
73. Get a pedicure every 2 weeks
74. Help Kids achieve their goals and dreams
75. Read the Bible cover to cover
76. Have Filmstrip panels of Kids done from 2 years ago as planned
77. Catch up on Scrapbooks 
78. Have all the photo's framed that I sorted from last year
79. Go on Missions trips
80. Teach the kids to have servant's hearts and help when and how they can while also being cautious
81. Teach kids to love to learn, or rather help them continue to love to learn as they naturally do (why I homeschool!)
82. Help kids discover their purpose
83. Go to a Murder Mystery dinner (have done a few period era parties and loved them!)
84. Build a tree house
85. Get the tire swing put up
86. Visit Jamaica and swim with the Dolphins again
87. Have a pet Parrot
88. Lose 30 lbs
89. Take Kevin to the Melting Pot
90. Get all the supplies for tent camping that my heart desires!
91. Camp more often
92. Learn to shoot better/hunt
93. Buy a gun
94. Learn to hunt as a family
95. Teach kids to shoot (suppose it could go with above)
96. Get Zoe a bow & arrow and lessons
97. Encourage Justice's fashion designer dream (the boys don't have a certain focus just yet)
98. Raise Happy, loving kids with good morals and good hearts
99. Adopt 
100. Save for retirement ( be very financially secure and live debt free)

When he instructed to make a list of 100 dreams, big and small, I didn't think I would be able to. In fact my husband said good luck! LOL! Once I started though it was interesting how easily they came. Now it did take a few hours but I enjoyed it! Now looking back I do see where some of the goals are really just smaller goals within a bigger goal but he said not to analyze it while you wrote it. The next step is to narrow it down and come up with exact steps to accomplish them. I have only shared with you the very basic ideal of the book. The way that he leads you along this journey is amazing. The goals he has accomplished with this method is amazing!

You can see more on my Good Reads account as well as keep up with my thoughts on my progress. I really can't encourage you enough to get this book for yourself! You can find it on Amazon below for only $2.99! It is definitely worth $2.99 to invest in yourself and your dreams! It is also the perfect time to read it as we are starting the new year with a fresh start for 2015!
Click on the link below to get yours. 

The List: Shout Out Your Dreams! (Motivation & Inspiration For Success & Happy Life)
Saturday, January 3, 2015

Our Talk to Santa video conference experience & some tips!

I know Christmas is over but we had some great moments that I am still wanting to share. One of those great moments was our video conference with Santa. My kids loved this! They were in awe!

The customer service at Talk to Santa is great and they stay in contact very well. They start out by sending you an email with instructions on how to get on to your live video chat with a reminder of the date. 

Next I received an email with these wonderful invitations to give to the kids to get them excited!

Now here was the part that really surprised me. They actually call just a few minutes before our video chat time! I was very impressed. I also love that you can add other locations in case your family lives far apart. It is a great way to share something special and feel close! Then after the video you can download the video to keep it always! Below is our video!

After the video I received these adorable certified nice list certificates for the kids!

Over all it was a very positive experience! I would do it again. However there was a few things I wish I had known before hand.

For one my kids were so in awe that they were so quiet. LOL! They were not at all there normal talkative selves. So I would suggest sitting them down and asking them what questions they would like to ask Santa. That way they would have a list and could remember all the things they wanted to ask him.

Secondly, use the notes section! Put as much information in there as you can. If you have seen Santa somewhere be sure to note that. If there is anything you would prefer Santa not to say make a note of that too! The only part of the video I wasn't thrilled with was the fact he told the kids that the mall Santa's aren't real. :/ We have a great Santa that we go to see every year at Santa's Wonderland. He looks very much like Santa and is just wonderful. Now I am wondering if next year that visit will still be as magical. No-one asked me about it and I haven't elaborated on it. He did say he sneaks in sometimes so atleast I have that in my back pocket if it comes up next year. 

My Faux mantle. My solution for hanging stockings

My original plan was to use a shelf similar to this one upside down and to attach hangers to the bottom.

John Sterling KT-0148-818WT Wood Shelf Kit, White, 8-Inch by 18-Inch

First I headed off to Hobby Lobby to get some inspiration. While I was there I noticed they were having a huge sale. In addition to that I found a piece that I loved but found that it was slightly damaged. It had drawers that had little ceramic numbers on them. One of the numbers had broken off. I thought to myself that would be such an easy fix. My husband is the king of deals so I knew damaged items are additionally discounted. So I found an associate and asked about it. She told me that it would be an additional discount. So I scored this shelf for $24.95!!! It was originally over $80!!! I couldn't turn that price down. I knew that my idea would run about that so I snatched it up right away! So here is my new faux mantle!

In this photo you can see the little chalkboards above. I absolutely love it!

So don't be afraid to ask for those discounts! Don't even be afraid to leave the house and go looking for them! I know I am going to get a ton of use out of my faux mantle! I am planning to add two small shelves next to it at some point. I would love to hear what you think!

How our Liztek Bluetooth speaker added nice ambience to our Christmas morning!

This post may contain affiliate links. Should you decide to purchase through them I may be compensated. I appreciate your support. 

We love listening to Christmas music while we watch the kids play on Christmas morning. We don't rush to get anywhere or worry about to do lists. It is pure bliss. There is just something so calming and peaceful about it. Well before we had to stop and look it up on the computer or set up a cd player. Well now we have access to music right in our hands via our Iphones. Let's face it though, they are not very loud and would probably not be heard over the giggles and squeals of excited children. We bought a bluetooth speaker back in August. I was not happy with it. My husband uses it. For me I found it hard to get it to connect. Not to mention it just wasn't as loud as I expected either. I think we spent about $100 on it but I am not certain. When I heard from Liztek I was excited to give another speaker a try. 

Christmas morning is not the only time we listen to music. I enjoy listening to it on family game nights, picnics, and even just relaxing in a bath. There is just something about music that connects to my soul. It can bring back memories in an instant. I love how there is music to connect to every emotion. I found the Liztek speaker to be very easy to connect to my phone. It literally took me two seconds to connect to it! It definitely added that something special to our Christmas morning and I am sure it will be attending many more of our events and even be used on a daily basis! I highly suggest it! Judge for yourself:

It is much more affordable than the others that I have seen at only $34.95! Get yours below:

Liztek PSS-60 Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker,Powerful Sound with build in Microphone, Works for Iphone, Ipad Mini, Ipad 4/3/2, Itouch, Blackberry, Nexus, Samsung and other Smart Phones and Mp3 Players (Black)

My last minute Christmas DIY gift! Peppermint Body Scrub!

This post may contain affiliate  links. Should you decide to purchase through them I may be compensated. I appreciate your support!

I was trying to think of something else affordable to add to my extended family's gifts this year when my friend Liz called me. She had posted this sugar scrub on her page that she had learned to make. I told her that I wanted to buy a few jars. She said to me "Oh it is so easy to make!". As it turned out I had just received some peppermint oil and was trying different ways to use it. So I went to work! Here is what you will need to make this sugar scrub for yourself. 

You can also reuse jelly, jam, or spaghetti sauce jars to keep the cost down. You ca use any sugar that you prefer. After making this I still had  a practically full bottle of Peppermint oil. This bottle will last a good long time! Do be cautious when you use any essential oil and understand how it works and the risks associated. Not all oils are good to apply to your skin and some can even burn you if not diluted. 

These scrubs were a big hit with the family members that I gave it to! Here is a video on how to make it. 

By the way, one goal that I have for 2015 is to learn more about video editing and youtube so that I can make these videos better for you and grow my youtube channel! :) I would greatly appreciate it if you would follow me on youtube. :)