Friday, February 15, 2019

Hiding the Roots

***This post is not a sponsored post.  I am sharing with you a product that I have found and love.  It does contain referral links which means that if you choose to purchase using my link, I get a referral credit for my future purchases and you will get a discount on your first purchase.***

In today's post, I am going to be real and honest with you.  I am sharing some not so great pictures of myself, but it is not about the not so great pictures, it is about the product I want to highlight.  So don't laugh too hard at me and now that I warned you, I can finish sharing.  One of the things I am working on doing better at is self-care.  It doesn't mean that I spend hours each day or week taking care of myself.  It just means that I make the time to do things that make me feel good and boost my spirit.  Some things I do every day - like crochet for 30 minutes and read my Bible (not at the same time) - and other things are things I do occasionally as time allows - paint my nails, go out with a friend, and go to an exercise class.  It is important that I take care of myself so that I can serve my family.
Do you want to hide the gray from your hair?  Check out my post on A Glimpse of Normal where I share about a hair dye that really works without damaging your hair.
One thing that I am not ready for yet is gray hair.  I know quite a few ladies that have GORGEOUS gray hair, but I am personally not ready for that yet.  One day I will be, but my grays come in as stripes in my bangs and at my temples.  So far they aren't coming in well and they do not boost my confidence so they have to go!  Hubby heard advertisements on the radio for Madison Reed and told me to check it out.  Madison Reed is a professional hair color that you can do at home yourself.  Their coloring kits are free from all the harsh chemicals of that are typically in boxed hair dye.  It is easy to order from them and their customer service is amazing. It all starts with their "Color Quiz."  This quiz asks you all about your hair and then recommends a color for you.  You can even see what the color they recommend would look like on you before you purchase it.  Once you find the color you want (I went with the one they recommended for me - Modena Brown), you can add extras like shampoo, styling cream, and other products they carry for your hair coloring experience.  Then it is time to check out and wait for your order to arrive.  The hair color kit they send has everything you need to color your hair except for a towel to cover your shoulders which I didn't even really end up needing.  The kit is SUPER easy to use if you follow the instructions they give you.  I have to tell you that based on the pictures of the color I saw I was a little worried it would be too dark, but once my hair was finished, the color was perfect!  I love it!
Do you want to hide the gray from your hair?  Check out my post on A Glimpse of Normal where I share about a hair dye that really works without damaging your hair.
What I LOVE:
  • NO chemical smell because this hair dye is not full of chemicals.  It actually has ingredients that help your hair instead of harm it.
  • NO tingling scalp while the dye is on your hair.  Again it is not full of chemicals.
  • Colors gray completely and they don't come back as quickly.  With grocery store dye, I had to dye my hair every 4 weeks or have serious gray.  With Madison Reed, gray barely starts to show around 4 1/2 weeks or so.  I can color my hair about every 7 weeks.
  • Everything you need is in the box - gloves, barrier cream so you don't get dye on your face, cleaning wipe to get dye off your skin if you need it, a second pair of gloves for when you rinse your hair, a coloring cap to keep your hair out of the way when you have the dye on it, the coloring, and shampoo and conditioner for washing your hair after you dye it (this is the last step to their system).
  • The dye is a cream dye.  It doesn't run while you put it on and although I had a towel for covering my shoulders while working on my hair, I didn't even need it.
  • Gloves that fit your hands - can I get an Amen!
What I don't LOVE:
  • Nothing - I feel that this Madison Reed hair dye is worth every penny you spend on it.
Do you want to hide the gray from your hair?  Check out my post on A Glimpse of Normal where I share about a hair dye that really works without damaging your hair.
I can't tell you enough good things about Madison Reed hair color.  Before I used their hair color I wasn't sure if I could justify the cost, but after using it and seeing how healthy my hair looks and feels even while being color treated, I am a loyal fan.  I have joined their club and get my color sent to me every 6 weeks (you can choose how often they send it and you can skip shipments if you don't need them).  I hope you check them out and use my referral link for a discount on your first purchase.  I know that this post sounds like a sales pitch, but it isn't.  I haven't been asked to write it nor was I given anything to write it.  I just found a product that I love and want to share with you because I know many of you are like me and not ready for gray yet.

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Review of The Better Mom Devotional by Ruth Schwenk

Being a mom is not an easy job, but it is such a rewarding job.  It is easy to get so focused on our to-do lists that we miss the blessings in each day.  This leads to feeling burnt out and feeling down while you are in the depths of motherhood and trying to serve your family.  It doesn't have to be this way though.  Ruth Schwenk teaches that you can give your family your best when you start your day by taking a few minutes to work on shaping your heart in her book The Better Mom Devotional: Shaping Our Hearts as We Shape Our Homes.   I want to give my family my best at all times which is why I was excited to receive this book to review.
Being a mom is not an easy job, but it is such a rewarding job.  If you want to give your best to your family every day, check out my blog, A Glimpse of Normal, to learn more about The Better Mom Devotional from Ruth Schwenk.
The Better Mom Devotional: Shaping Our Hearts as We Shape Our Homes by Ruth Schwenk is a beautiful hardcover book with 212 pages and 100 devotions that are written to encourage your heart and help you become a better mom.  The book I received from BookLook Bloggers features gorgeous feminine, floral pages.  Each day starts with a Bible verse.  Then there is a devotional that relates to the verse.  Some of them tell about the author's own experience and some of them are more generalized.  Each day closes with a written out prayer to God that relates to the verse and devotional and two specific questions for you to reflect on. These questions are deep and are designed for you to think about the things that are working well in your mom life and the things you may need to do differently in your mom-life to become an even better mom.  The devotionals cover the topics of motherhood, friendship, marriage, everyday life, and caring for yourself as a mom.  Each devotional is thought-provoking, but quick and easy to read because the author knows we are busy moms.  The questions are meant to help you take action to make changes that will help you serve your family better.

I really enjoyed this book of 100 devotions.  I liked the way each devotion was tied to a Scripture reference that I could reflect upon throughout my day.  The devotions were easy to read but they really got me thinking about giving my best to my children, my spouse, my friends, my relatives, and others that I come in contact with throughout my days.  This book is a good tool for helping you focus on making small, manageable changes over time instead of making huge, instant changes.  Each day's read felt like a one on one conversation with author Ruth Schwenk who knows motherhood because she is right in the middle of it raising four children with her husband and she has a website dedicated to encouraging moms.  I definitely recommend this book to encourage any mom, at any stage and I will definitely be reading through it again to soak it all in and go in-depth with the questions in the daily devotions.  It is available for you to purchase here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Meatball Pocket Sandwiches

One of our favorite meals in our house is meatball sandwiches.  They are so good, but SO messy and the bun will either get soggy if I don’t toast them or too crunchy if I do toast them.  So I have been experimenting and figuring out a less messy way to have meatball sandwiches.  We’ve tried using different kinds of buns for the sandwiches, using different types of bread (ciabatta rolls, French bread, Italian bread, etc.), and we even ditched the buns and just served meatballs with garlic toast.  Nothing seems to keep the mess down and give us the same ooey, gooey goodness of a true meatball sandwich.  Then one day I got an idea!  What if I created a sandwich with the meatball and cheese so it was ooey and gooey, but served the sauce separately so that we didn’t have an oozing, soggy mess?  I then set out to see if I could create something that would work.  That is how this recipe was born.
Are you looking for a way to make meatball sandwiches less mess?  Check out my latest recipe for Meatball Pocket Sandwiches at A Glimpse of Normal today.
Meatball Pocket Sandwiches
Ingredients:
Meatballs - homemade or premade - the number depends on how many people are in your family.
Pizza Dough - I make my own using this recipe.
8 slices of Provolone Cheese torn into quarters
1 jar of Spaghetti Sauce

Instructions:
1.  Make the pizza dough and let it rise.
Are you looking for a way to make meatball sandwiches less mess?  Check out my latest recipe for Meatball Pocket Sandwiches at A Glimpse of Normal today.
2.  While the dough is rising, I start my spaghetti sauce simmering.  I add spices to taste and let it cook down to make it thicker.
Are you looking for a way to make meatball sandwiches less mess?  Check out my latest recipe for Meatball Pocket Sandwiches at A Glimpse of Normal today.
3.  Cook the meatballs.
Are you looking for a way to make meatball sandwiches less mess?  Check out my latest recipe for Meatball Pocket Sandwiches at A Glimpse of Normal today.
4.  Tear or cut the provolone cheese into quarters.
Are you looking for a way to make meatball sandwiches less mess?  Check out my latest recipe for Meatball Pocket Sandwiches at A Glimpse of Normal today.
5.  Divide the pizza dough into 12 pieces and flatten each piece into a small round.  I make mine about 3.5 inches across and 1/4" thick.
Are you looking for a way to make meatball sandwiches less mess?  Check out my latest recipe for Meatball Pocket Sandwiches at A Glimpse of Normal today.
6.  Put a piece of cheese on each pizza round.
Are you looking for a way to make meatball sandwiches less mess?  Check out my latest recipe for Meatball Pocket Sandwiches at A Glimpse of Normal today.
7.  Add a meatball on top of the cheese and then wrap the dough around the meatball.  Pinch the dough closed and place in a prepared muffin tin.
Are you looking for a way to make meatball sandwiches less mess?  Check out my latest recipe for Meatball Pocket Sandwiches at A Glimpse of Normal today.
Are you looking for a way to make meatball sandwiches less mess?  Check out my latest recipe for Meatball Pocket Sandwiches at A Glimpse of Normal today.
8.  Bake for 18-20 minutes at 425℉.
Are you looking for a way to make meatball sandwiches less mess?  Check out my latest recipe for Meatball Pocket Sandwiches at A Glimpse of Normal today.
9.  While the pockets are baking, add the sauce to a small dish for dipping (this way the meatball pockets don't get mushy).  Also, prepare your side dishes.  I added a simple side salad.
Are you looking for a way to make meatball sandwiches less mess?  Check out my latest recipe for Meatball Pocket Sandwiches at A Glimpse of Normal today.
10.  Serve and enjoy!!!

I hope you try out this recipe and enjoy it as much as my family did.  It sounds complicated when you write it all out, but really it is pretty quick and easy.  Let me know if you try it and what you think.

Friday, February 1, 2019

February 2019 Menu Plan

Happy February!!!  I am excited that we survived January.  We had a few busy weeks and then we live where the polar vortex hit.  Goodness, it was C-O-L-D.  Anyway, we survived and we are looking forward to all that February has to offer.   It is a short month, but I love February because I can be mushy and my family just writes it off as Valentine's Day mushiness all month long.  They put up with me.  I think it is because I usually make them a special dessert for Valentine's and I usually try out a few before I find what I want to make so they get to be guinea pigs for the real dessert.  Anyway, I wanted to share what we are having for dinner this month.  Use our menu plan as inspiration for your menu or a reminder that you need to plan out a menu. 
Are you struggling to come up with what is for dinner?  Come and check out my blog at A Glimpse of Normal and see what we are having for dinner.  I have February all planned out for you already.  Just follow along.
  1. Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
  2. Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
  3. Crazy Good Beef and Broccoli
  4. Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole
  5. Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie
  6. Mini Lasagnas
  7. Tamale Pie
  8. Sausage Bread
  9. Chicken Broccoli Casserole
  10. Red Beans & Rice
  11. Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
  12. Copycat Carrabba’s Sausage & Lentil Soup
  13. Meatball Parmesan
  14. Creamy Chili Colorado Burritos
  15. Pull Apart Pizza Star
  16. Roast Beef Po’ Boys
  17. One Pot Chili Mac & Cheese
  18. Slow Cooker Cowboy Pot Roast
  19. Pasta e Fagioli Soup
  20. Bacon Lovers Creamy Penne Pasta
  21. Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Beef
  22. Copycat Pizza Hut Pan Pizza
  23. Smoked Meatloaf
  24. Foil Pack Garlic Butter Sausage and Veggies
  25. Chicken & Black Bean Casserole
  26. Crock Pot Cheeseburger Soup
  27. White Beans with Spinach & Sausage
  28. Chimichangas
This is what is for dinner here.  It isn't always easy planning a menu for a whole month, but it does really help me manage my time and stay on budget for groceries.  That is why I menu plan.  What is for dinner at your house this month?  As always you can find recipes for my menu plan on my February Menu Plan Pinterest board.  It has all the recipes for these meals plus more in case you want to make some swaps.  Check it out and while you are there, follow me on Pinterest.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Playin' Dead

We love our rescue dog.  She is funny and cracks us up on a daily basis.  She is always doing something.  Mae is very smart and catches on to new tricks fairly quickly for being a little over 2.  Just before Christmas, I started teaching her to play dead.  I didn't think she would catch on so quick and pick up the trick so fast.  She did and then we decided we should teach her to play dead on cue.  So now when we tell her "BANG," she falls over and rolls on to her back.  In order for her trick to be complete and her to get a treat, she knows she must be completely still and not wag her tail.  It cracks us up!
We hope our silly, rescue dog brings a smile to your face.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Slashing the Waste

Happy Thursday friends!!!  I know I have been absent for a little bit but we had some big things going on behind the scenes that I was B-U-S-Y helping with - a family wedding, budget crunching, and more.  Now that all that is behind me, I can come back here and focus on sharing with you again.
Do you need to slash the waste from your budget?  Come over to A Glimpse of Normal and see how I challenged myself to spend only $50 a week to feed a family of 4.
Behind the scenes, I have been working hard on our family budget.  Hubby and I set some big goals for this year.  These goals are so big that we call them our God-sized goals because we know that they are nothing that we can achieve on our own, but we know that if we are faithful, God can achieve anything.  He showed us that a few years ago when we paid off my student loans in one year and again when we moved into our dream barn.  God made each of these things happen because they were part of His plan for us.  This year we set our goals and then started praying about them because they have to be part of His plan for us to be able to achieve them.  While we look for God's leading on our goals we know that we can pitch in and do our part by getting our budget under control.  Getting our budget under control means tracking our spending and keeping it under control.  I had planned on focusing on our budget big time this year because I do want to see if we can meet our goals.  Then I was also encouraged to focus on it when I started following a challenge for the year given out by Jordan Page of Fun Cheap or Free.  Jordan is the queen of frugal and I have been learning a lot by following her blog and social media.  Basically, if I want to meet any kind of budget goals this year, I need to do some slashing.

So, I started looking at our budget and since I can't slash paying the bills...apparently if you stop paying the bills they stop supplying the services...don't worry I haven't actually tried that, I just kind of made a logical conclusion.  All jokes aside, I decided I would slash what I could.  I decided to get serious and slash the waste in our grocery budget.  In the past, we have had a pretty cushy grocery budget.  It allows for extras and in reality, now that I don't buy much meat (we bought a side of beef last fall), I don't need as big of a grocery budget.  I had lots of canned and dried goods stocked up and well-stocked freezers (we have a deep freeze and the refrigerator freezer).  I am also stocked up on other items we use (shampoo, conditioner, cleaning products, etc.) thanks to good sales at the end of last year.  So this month, I decided to slash waste in our grocery budget and see if I could get everything for our household (a family of 4, 1 dog, and 3 outside cats) for just $50 a week.  This was a challenge to myself that I wasn't even sure I could complete.  But I have and I have learned a lot.  I know that the month isn't quite over yet, but I have already spent our $50 for this week and we are good until next week.  I am pretty sure that I will only need $50 worth of groceries next week too.  We haven't had super fancy meals, but we have eaten well and no one has gone hungry.  I have even stuck to pretty close to my menu plan for the month.  We have even had dinner guests a few times this month.  I have just focused on stretching my $50 each week as far as I could and using up what is in my pantry and freezers.  Spending only $50 a week on groceries has forced me to cut out the extras that I was wasting money on, stick to my menu plan, and make sure that I use everything that I buy.  Limiting how much I spend on groceries has also reduced the waste out of my refrigerator too.  I am not buying a bunch of extra that goes to waste before we can use it.  I have been getting creative with side dishes so that I can use up the veggies we buy rather than let them go to waste.  We have been eating all the leftovers too whether they go to work for lunch for hubby or we use them for lunch the next day here at home.  It has also kept us from wasting canned goods by just continuing to stock up and not use them and from wasting freezer food by keeping it too long and letting it get freezer burned. 

Limiting the grocery budget has forced us to slash waste all the way around.  It was a challenge to me as well as the family (who until I told them what I was doing, didn't even realize I was limiting the grocery budget) because they to help me use the food I was buying wisely.  Slashing waste in the budget lead to slashing food waste which was eye-opening for me.  I didn't realize how much food we were wasting and I needed to see that.  I will continue to minimize my grocery budget so that we can save up money for our goals.  Next month I will up my weekly grocery budget a little so that I can stock up on canned goods again.  We are getting pretty close to having canned fruit soup here...that is our family joke this month as we have used up many canned beans, tomatoes, etc. throughout the month.  Then in March, I will challenge myself again.  I will say that if you have to buy all of your meat at the store, you may have to up your reduced budget some.  I only had to buy sausage and a pack of chicken since we have a freezer full of beef.  Now that I know I can slash my grocery budget waste, I will be looking for other budget areas I can slash. 
Do you need to slash the waste from your budget?  Come over to A Glimpse of Normal and see how I challenged myself to spend only $50 a week to feed a family of 4.
I challenge you to slash your grocery budget and see if you can make it.  Even if you can only slash it for a week, it will save you some money.  The money I saved this month from our normal grocery budget will go toward the goals that we are working on.  I have already moved the money to where it will be used so that way I can't spend waste it on buying extras.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Elephants and Unicorns

The end of 2018 was a whirlwind of yarn for me and I am not complaining one bit.  I was given the opportunity to put my crochet skills to use and create for people.  This is something I only dreamed of doing, but one request last year led to another and I was so blessed by each order that came in.  I ended up crocheting a total of 3 unicorn pillows, 2 elephants, and 4 teacups for others last year.  You can see the first 2 unicorns, the teacups, and an elephant in this post.  Today I thought I would share with you the other unicorn and elephant I made last year. 
This sweet unicorn pillow was crocheted for a little girl's birthday.  I can customize orders for you.  Check it out on my blog A Glimpse of Normal.
This pattern is from Yali's & Yabo's on Etsy.  I love how the unicorn changes by personalizing the colors of hair and roses.  Each one that I have worked up has been unique based on the colors chosen.  
This sweet elephant lovey is a great gift for baby showers.  See more on my blog, A Glimpse of Normal.
This sweet elephant lovey is a great gift for baby showers.  See more on my blog, A Glimpse of Normal.
I got the pattern from Tikva Patterns on Etsy.  I love how easy it is to adapt this pattern to either a boy or girl.  There are so many color combinations that you could do to make this little elephant lovey unique.  

I am blessed to have already gotten some orders for this year and I am steadily working on those.  I would love to get more orders and crochet some other items too, but for now, it is all elephants and unicorns.

If you would like to contact me about creating something for you, feel free to message me, email me, or put a comment here.  I will get back to you about it and we can work out the details.