Friday, February 27, 2015

Last Call for the Spring Spoolie Swap & Pink Saturday

Hello! It's a beautiful 10º day here in sunny Bella Vista, Arkansas and I'm spending the whole day in fun and relaxing pursuits! Crafting, baking, maybe a little eBay and Etsy listing---whatever I do today, it's going to be because I've chosen to do it and it's going to be fun~~~Ha!

 I've got pulled pork and smoky beans in the crockpots and cole slaw in the fridge. I'm thinking of making some chocolate no bakes too, but before I get another turn in the kitchen, I've got to wait until this little sweetie finishes the cookies he's baking. He made a Minecraft figure for himself and his two older brothers and then designed other colorful cookies in the shapes of fruits, flowers, and more. What a happy day!

Monday is the last day to sign up for the Spring Spoolie Swap. Be sure to check it out and sign up---it's super crafty fun!

It's Pink Saturday at Beverly's today so I thought I'd go around the house and find some pink to show off. This is a pretty wall hanging a swapping friend made me. The only stipulation was to make something with a teacup on it. I love this!

Here are some pretty vintage dishes I'm collecting. Lynzie has an extra long ballet practice tomorrow morning so I'm thinking of hitting up a few estate sales to add to my collection.

I found these sweet vintage ballet baby shoes at one of my favorite local flea markets. So pretty and feminine!

Hope everyone has a beautiful weekend! I'm hoping for some snow!

30% off Kids Department Saturday Only at Family Christian #FCBlogger

I was compensated by Family Christian for promoting this sale. All opinions are honest and are my own. #FCBlogger

Are you a big fan of Family Christian? If so, make sure to check out their Kids Sale this Saturday, February 27th! For one day only, everything in the kids department will be 30% off! This is a great time to pick up some Easter gifts, as well as put a few things away for birthdays and even Christmas.

Selah and I went shopping at Family Christian last weekend and she had a blast picking out fun toys and books. After looking through the great selection, she chose an Action Bible. She said she's always borrowing her big sister's so now she has her own!

Of course, the Veggie Tales line is always a hit with our kids. Selah chose two of the cutest little Laura Carrot plush toys to give to her two baby sisters. With lots of dvds and cds to choose from, this would also be a great sale for children's ministry workers to check out.

Make sure to sign up for a 1:27 Rewards card when you go to check out so you can earn credit on your purchases toward free merchandise. 
Let me know if you take advantage of this great 30% off Kids Sale---remember it's just for one day, this Saturday, so put it on your calendar and have fun shopping!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Living On His Income by Mrs. Sharon White ~ Book Review

I was gifted with a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Today I'm beyond thrilled to be promoting Mrs. Sharon White's book, Living On His Income. I have been a fan of Mrs. White and her blog, The Legacy of Home, for five or six years now. She's been such an inspiration to me in so many areas of Biblical marriage, homemaking and femininity, and I'm really excited that she's chosen to publish her encouraging wisdom in book form!

The book starts out with the short stories of three generations of housewives and how they blessed their families by fulfilling the Biblical calling of the keeper at home. As I read through these, I was encouraged that a simpler life just might lead to a more peaceful one. I was also challenged to see my place at home as a sacred one and cherish the blessing of it, rather than resenting the busyness of it. I love this line from the short stories section: There is something about being taken care of and trusting someone to provide. It brings out a child-like faith and trust in a housewife. It brings gentleness and a sweetness.

The second part of the book is practical advice and encouragement on homemaking on a husband's income. I was especially interested in her practice of recording household expenditures in a ledger. She gives several reasons for doing so---and they're not all budgeting-based. More than the practical though, I was just so blessed by her gentle reminders of the ways that are true and right, according to God's word. I've come away with the same peaceful motivation to love deeper, work more diligently, and smile more often, that I get when I read her blog posts.

I'd really encourage you to order a copy of Living On His Income, and check out her several other books on Amazon. You will be encouraged and blessed!

Now it's time for The {Not Just} Homemaking Party! I can't wait to see what you've all got to share!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The {Not Just} Homemaking Party

Good morning! Welcome to the {Not Just} Homemaking Party! Well, Northwest Arkansas finally got her snow! Woo Hoo! 

I've got a couple fun things going on this week. First, have you seen my Spring Spoolie Swap? I'd love to have you join up!

Secondly, make sure to enter to win a copy of Keep It Shut. Super great book---I might be keeping mine around for reference for a long time!

Have you had any snow days this year? How did you spend them? Jamie has worked from home each day this week and the kids have been really productive: rearranging their bedrooms, making pretty cookies, lots of crafting. Me? I've been decluttering. Not so fun---but it is neat to find stuff I haven't seen in awhile! Ha! Hope you're having a beautiful Wednesday!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman -- Book Giveaway & Review #FCBloggers

Many thanks to Family Christian who sent a copy of this book to review. All opinions are honest and are my own. #FCBloggers
I'm just goona be completely real here. I'm goona be so real that you even get a grainy Instagram photo and bad grammar. I need this book. Yes, I've already read it, so I could say, I needed this book. However, I'm a pretty severe case---so I'm going to be needing it for quite awhile.

My problem is not so much opening my physical mouth and speaking out audible words that shouldn't be spoken. My issue is more with my online voice and the attitude that is made manifest through my ten little fingers on this keyboard. I really can be quite snarky, critical, rude, sarcastic---all in the name of "speaking the truth in love".

In Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When To Say Nothing at All, Karen Ehman uses her own struggles with her words getting her into trouble. I told my friend that this book was so convicting that the only thing that keeps me from chucking it across the room is that I can relate to the author so well that I pretend she's me.

This is one of those books that you're going to be tempted to read and insert names of people you know into all the scenarios. You're going to wish you could hand it to so many of your Facebook friends because they need it. Let me just tell you now---you need this book.

My favorite line from the book is this: "Don't say something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off." Oh! How many times have I been both the giver and the receiver in this scenario!

Are you interested in checking out, Keep It Shut? Enter to win a copy on the Rafflecopter widget below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Celebrating the Chinese New Year for Christians -- A Homeschool Lesson Plan #NewYearFortune #ad #cbias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions and theological viewpoints are mine alone and are not necessarily endorsed by my sponsors. #NewYearFortune #CollectiveBias
Yesterday our family held our first Chinese New Year celebration. I love doing culture studies with the kids, but one thing that always hangs us up is the study of other religions. Talking about religious beliefs that are different from ours can sometimes be confusing to the younger ones, so I usually reserve that part of the study for my older kids. For our Chinese New Year lesson, I wanted to find out how Chinese Christians celebrate their New Year, since many of the traditions surrounding the holiday are based in Buddhist and occult theology.

Originally, the Chinese New Year had no religious significance. It marked the beginning of Spring and the signal to farmers to start putting in their crops. Though pagan practices were later added to the celebration, Christian Chinese have also found a way to celebrate this time in the book of 2 Corinthians: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" Farmers often plant new seeds at this time and Chinese Christians see the symbolism of "planting the seeds" of the gospel by sharing it with their neighbors. 

A second way that the Chinese prepare for the new year is by deep cleaning their houses and going to get their hair cut or styled. On New Years Day, they hide their brooms or vacuums in the closet and do no work on that day---similar to celebrating the traditional Jewish Sabbath. Before we set up for our Chinese New Year party, Michael swept the house and the other kids did their chores so our home would be clean and comfortable.

Another tradition associated with Chinese New Year is the giving of ang pows---red packets that contain money and are meant to bring good luck and financial wealth, and to ward off evil spirits. Chinese Christians like to keep this custom, especially for children, but the gift is meant as a blessing of friendship and love and does not carry the other connotations. I found some Joss paper at a local Asian market and made up some red envelopes for the kids. I put a Scripture verse or blessing having to do with "newness" in each one. It would also be fun to use these to play a game of trivia or 20 questions.

A big part of our celebration was, of course, the food! We've enjoyed the delicious egg and spring rolls from Tai Pei® before, so we knew these needed to be the main appetizer at the party. We have a pretty big range of ages here and everyone likes them---especially when dipped in the sweet and sour sauce that comes in each box. One thing I really appreciate about the Tai Pei® products is that there is a good amount of food in each package and there is plenty enough sauce for dipping all the rolls in the package.

Elisha and I went out shopping on Tuesday to gather all of the supplies we needed for the party and stopped by Walmart to grab a good selection of Tai Pei® appetizers. We found these at Walmart in the freezer aisle marked "Convenience Meals". They come in several varieties, including Pork, Chicken, Shrimp, and Vegetable. We bought the Mini Vegetable Spring Rolls and the full size Chicken Egg Rolls and Shrimp Egg Rolls.

We started our party by talking about the welcoming of Spring and the importance of new beginnings. Then we headed for the table to make a family craft. I had drawn a brown branch on a piece of card stock and the kids took turns putting their red and pink fingerprints on the branches as cherry blossoms. 

After that, I talked with them about the tradition of ang pows and let a few kids open them and read their blessings to the family. They really liked this idea and I heard several little voices in the background saying, "I want one of those!" Guess I'd better make up some more!

While I set up our food table, the kids played a game of Chinese-themed 20 Questions. When Elisha and I stopped by the Asian market, we found so many fun treats we wanted to try. We bought green Mung bean cake, coconut candy, fortune cookies, and panda cookies. These were all great compliments to our main appetizers, the egg and spring rolls.

When I went in to tell the kids the food was ready, they were having a debate about Chinese elephants. One of the kids used "elephants" as the word they were thinking of in the game, so we took a few minutes to look up elephants in China and found some neat pictures of painted elephants celebrating Chinese New Year. Some were painted like tigers and others like panda bears.

We all love the taste of the crispy wrappers, especially on the egg rolls. The vegetables are flavorful and each roll is packed full of filling. In the meat varieties, the meat is moist and there is a good amount of it in each roll. These are just great quality rolls all around. (Get it? rolls...around... sorry.)

Our kids love learning about the traditions of other cultures. In fact, Lynzie declared she likes the Chinese New Year celebration better than our own---so we might have to incorporate some of these ideas into our next New Years Eve party. Have you ever done anything to celebrate Chinese New Year? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

For more information on Tai Pei® products, visit them online and make sure to check out the Chinese New Year app on their Facebook page. The Red Envelope tab will open up a coupon while supplies last.

Tai Pei® Website
Tai Pei® on Facebook
Tai Pei® on Twitter
Tai Pei® on Pinterest

Get Health Care Reporting Help from TurboTax #TurboTaxACA #PMedia #ad

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and TurboTax, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TurboTaxACA http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Tax season is here and with it comes varying degrees of emotion. For some, it's overwhelming and scary---for others, it's a long-awaited windfall of returns with which they'll catch up bills and buy new appliances. (Jamie had my new washing machine delivered yesterday. Yay!) No matter how you're feeling about this tax season, something we all have in common is the new requirements regarding health care for 2014. The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to either have health insurance or pay a penalty on their taxes, so TurboTax is making it simple for users to understand the laws and comply with them---no matter where you're at with your health care.  In addition, through February 16th you can file both Federal and State returns for free if you have a simple return (1040A/EZ). 

Almost half of all Americans don't realize they have to report their health care status on their taxes this year. What's more---many of them don't understand the new health care laws at all. I've spent a little time this week on the TurboTaxHealth site and really feel like I've got a pretty good grasp on the requirements for insured and uninsured filers. I like how it helps users understand the new laws and how they affect their taxes. Let me know if this info is helpful to you!

TurboTax offers help to those who are insured, uninsured, or have opted for marketplace insurance. If you're like me and are insured through an employer, all you have to do is check a box and you're done as far as the insurance part of your taxes is concerned. You can check out a short tutorial video to see these steps in action.

Maybe you've chosen not to purchase insurance---that doesn't necessarily mean you'll be given a penalty. About half of all uninsured Americans qualify for an exemption and TurboTax will help you find out if you're one of them. If not, they'll make sure you're paying what you need to with very clear, step-by-step instructions. Just click "I don't have health insurance" and they'll walk you through it. See this tutorial video for details on filing uninsured.

Marketplace Insured Filers will click on "I have my own insurance." A screen will pop up stating that you meet the requirements, and there will also be a link to find out more about the marketplace, how to enroll, and how to meet the qualifications for a special enrollment period, if you're looking for more information on that. If you'd like to see these steps on video, visit this tutorial.

If you are interested in purchasing insurance for your family through a state or Federal marketplace, the next few days are really important. Open enrollment ends on Sunday, February 15th. That will be the last day you can purchase insurance to avoid a penalty on your 2015 taxes. If this concerns you, make sure to check out TurboTaxHealth to find out more about your taxes and health insurance, and to see if you qualify for a penalty exemption. Remember, you can file for free at TurboTax.com now through February 16th if you have a simple return. (1040A/EZ).

Don't let the new health care law intimidate you. TurboTax is still as easy to use as ever and can help you with all of your questions and calculations. Have you used TurboTax in the past? I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Spring Swap and A New Button

Welcome to the {Not Just} Homemaking Party! 

I'd like to invite everyone to the Spring Spoolie Swap. I did this last year with great participation and am excited to offer it again this year! Please don't be intimidated if you've never made a spoolie before. It's super simple. Just grab a wooden spool and embellish it in your own creative way! Head over to the Spring Spoolie Swap 2015 post for information and inspiration.

Hope everyone is having a great week! All's well in the Coller house as we've been doing a little (pre)Spring cleaning and organizing. All my Christmas is finally put away and my pink pretties are back on display. Maybe I'll do a home tour update here in the future. Actually, maybe we should make a blog hop out of it? What do you all think? Let me know in the comments below and have a blessed week!

Cinnamon Rolls for Valentine's Day

This post was compensated by Wilton Armetale. All opinions are honest and are my own.
It's almost Valentine's Day and we're all thinking of sweet things to do for the ones we love.  Something special I do for my family on holidays is make homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. With nine sweet voices to cheer whenever they discover what I've made, it's rewarding for me, too! This year, I'll make our rolls in this pretty Flutes & Pearls Heart Dish I got from Wilton Armetale. Do you want one too? Make sure to check out the giveaway at the end of this post to enter to win one.

I love this pan because it's heavy and sturdy---but still very pretty. It looks gorgeous next to my hobnail plate. Don't you think so? I love the shiny finish on the pan, and I really love that cooking won't damage it. What will damage it, though, is the harsh chemicals and hard water of the dishwasher, so this one is hand wash only.

This line of cooking and serving dishes is made from a food-safe metal alloy that was originally designed for the heavy demands of restaurant use. Because the dishes can withstand temps of up to 1000º, they're great for the oven, stove, or grill and they retain heat nicely to keep your food hot longer than others.

They're also great for cold dishes. Just chill your potato salad or dessert in the pan and serve at your summer BBQ. The heart pan would be cute for serving a Valentine's Day dip, too. 

Let me know if you try out my recipe and be sure to check out the whole line of servingware from Wilton Armetale.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
1 c. warm milk
2 eggs (room temperature)
1/3 c. melted butter
4 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. yeast

Place items in bread machine in order listed and run on the dough cycle. Alternately, you can mix the milk and yeast together. Then add eggs and melted butter. Mix dry ingredients together and mix with a dough hook until the dough is gummy. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with oil and then a towel. Let rise one hour or until doubled in size.

When dough has risen, roll out dough in a large rectangle and spread filling evenly over dough.

1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbs. + 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. softened butter

Roll up into a long "snake" and slice off rolls to desired thickness.  Place in well-buttered baking pan. Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and allow rolls to rise for 30 min.  Remove wrap and bake on 375º for 12-15 minutes.  Mix frosting ingredients with an electric mixer until well blended and fluffy.  Before serving, cover rolls with frosting or melt frosting to drizzle over as icing.

(alternately, check out my post on creme drops and use half the filling recipe for frosting these rolls. That way, you'll have a dessert for later, too!)
6 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 c. softened butter
3 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Will You Take the #LISTERINE 21 Day Challenge?

I was compensated by Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. and The Motherhood as part of my participation in the LISTERINE® 21-Day Challenge. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. 
Have you heard about the LISTERINE® 21-Day Challenge? LISTERINE wants to help you improve your oral health, as well as help you reach more healthy habit goals this year, and they're kicking it off with encouragement at Listerine.com/21DayChallenge. Check out all the fun goodies they sent me to help start my own 21-Day Challenge! Having fun new products is a great motivation. You can find everything you'll need for the challenge at Walgreens. I know I'll be able to replenish my stock there when I run out. (With all these kiddos and Jamie participating too, I'm going to run out fast!) I'm especially looking forward to trying out the whitening toothpaste as all this sweet tea I've been sipping on the past year doesn't make for the whitest teeth in the South!

The whole family is getting excited about trying out our new products and participating in the challenge. Growing up, I brushed and flossed, but mouthwash was not a part of my routine. Therefore, it's been difficult to start that habit with my own kids. I think this bottle of Disney's FROZEN rinse is going to be plenty of motivation for this little girl! 

LISTERINE antiseptic is the most dentist-recommended brand in the world of antimicrobial mouthwash and it's stamped with the American Dental Association's seal of acceptance. When you use LISTERINE for 30 seconds, twice a day, you can get up to 5 times healthier gums in 2 weeks, and you'll be reaching all those places that brushing and flossing can't reach.

As a mom, I feel it's my responsibility to make sure the kids have the instruction and resources they need to take care of their oral health. Oral disease is the most common chronic childhood illness in the U.S. with some kids experiencing such severe pain that they can't eat, sleep, or learn well, and more than half of American adults have some form of gum disease---many without even knowing it. I don't want this legacy for my kids, but it's not enough to just brush and floss. Brushing and flossing misses 75% of your mouth, but rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash twice a day reaches pretty much all of it.

Lynzie is also looking forward to experimenting with the whitening toothpaste. She's tried other brands and hasn't been super thrilled with the results. I think a full routine of brushing, flossing, and rinsing is going to give her the brighter smile she's looking for.

Are you ready to take the challenge? Just head to Listerine.com/21DayChallenge and commit to rinsing morning and night for 21 days. In addition, you can choose an expert in nutrition, fitness, or home organization to help you establish healthy home habits, and can receive emails reminding you of your challenge goals. By signing up for the challenge and staying with your rinsing routine, you will have the daily chance to win awesome prizes like a Fitbit®, a $100 Container Store® gift card, or an Amazon Fire TV! 

Let me know if you've joined the challenge---we can encourage each other, and our families, toward a healthier lifestyle with good oral care!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Spring Spoolie Swap 2015

It's cold and windy outside and other cities have been blanketed with snow. I think a little spring-thinking is in order! Last year, I hosted my first Spoolie Swap and it was a hit! I think it's time to work on another one. By the time we all get our spoolies, it will be spring! 

So what is a spoolie? Basically, it's a prettily decorated wooden spool that can be used as a base for any kind of little scene---big or small! Click on over to last year's reveal post for more ideas.

It's super easy to join the Spring Spoolie Swap. Just follow these steps:

*Send your name, mailing address, and blog address to sarah (at) hopeineveryseason (dot) com. (You don't have to have a blog to participate.)

*Please place the swap button on your blog somewhere so your friends can join in too! 

*Partners will be assigned on March 2nd. Please send your gift package by April 6th.

*Reveal party (blog posts) will be held April 23rd. (Participation is optional.)

*Spools must be wooden. Don't have a spool? Shop Etsy for some inexpensive ones!

*I know some of you are new to bloggy swaps so please feel free to ask me any questions!

{*swap is open to US mailing addresses only*}
Hope In Every Season

Linking with:
Beverly's Pink Saturday @ How Sweet the Sound

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mom's Reward
Some women say it doesn't pay
to bake in the old fashioned way.
To fuss with recipes for cake,
to beat, to measure and to bake.
They say it's just a waste of time
when you can buy it for a dime.
Perhaps they're right, but heres the why
that I bake cookies, bread, and pie.
If they could watch a boys bright eyes,
and thrill at his unfeigned surprise.
If they could see that knowing look
that says, "Gee mom, you sure can cook!"
They'd know that I get double pay 
for all my time on baking day!

Welcome to the {Not Just} Homemaking Party! This poem is from my mom's collection. Please welcome her as she shares her thoughts and a favorite recipe. 

     Some of my favorite memories are the happy smiles on my children's faces when they walked into my kitchen full of sweet smells after a long day at school.
     My grandchildren have that same delighted look when they see my full cookie jar. 
     Today I decided that I would try to keep my cookie supply stocked even though my kids and grandkids have moved away. I can still get that same unfeigned reaction from my husband when he walks in from work after a long day. 
     I changed up my traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe a little to make a more cake-like cookie. Life is always changing and so are my cookies!

Christy's Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. butter

1 c. brown sugar
3 eggs
1 TB. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat butter and sugar till creamy and add eggs. Continue beating till fluffy and then beat in milk and vanilla. Stir in flour, soda, salt and chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake in a 375º degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes.

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