Saturday, April 26, 2014

Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband {Book Review}

Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband

The book, Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband by Crystal Brothers, reminds me of a cross between The Love Dare and good common sense advice, but specifically for a wife.  And honestly, sometimes we need that common sense to be forced into our lives.  The idea behind the book is that you cannot change your spouse, but you can change yourself. 

"You cannot pout, or argue enough to change your husband.  What you can do is change yourself."

For each of 31 days, Crystal provides a biblically based idea to intentionally love or serve your husband.  After the short devotion and idea for the day, Crystal poses related questions that will engage wives in thinking about how they can love their husbands, how they can have a contented attitude, and how God views their role as a wife.  The questions will engage wives in being intentional about loving their husbands. 

For me, the book really hits home.  I love my husband, but certainly there are days when I allow love to just be a feeling.  I'm not intentional about showing him love.  In fact, sometimes I'm just not willing to change, and I expect him to do all the changing.  Fair, huh?  In Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband, I can see that the problem isn't just what I'm not doing, it's my attitude.  God calls us to give cheerfully, to be filled with grace, to be unselfish.  And I love that this book calls me out on these things and more. 

I look forward to implementing the devotions into my daily life.  The daily action items can be those that go directly to your husband (like making his favorite dinner), but they also include conversations with the Heavenly Father, changes to yourself and your internal attitudes, and examining God's Word in the Bible. 

Not only is Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband a 31 day devotional, it is also a resource guide.  At the end of the book, Crystal includes even more valuable ideas for wives including:

  • 101 Ways to Bless Your Husband
  • 101+ Free or Cheap Date Night Ideas
  • 101+ Conversation Starters

I love the ideas for ways to bless your husband.  There are many things that sometimes we, as wives, just expect our husbands to do for themselves.  What if we took the time every so often to show love by doing the expected (theirs) or the unexpected?

And the date ideas . . . Well you know me, I love being frugal!  One of my favorites is: go geocaching.  I used to think that people going geocaching were crazy, but now I think it sounds like a little adventure! 

And the conversation starters . . . I would say that my husband doesn't have any trouble finding topics of conversation, but there are some great questions in the book!   Everything from deep questions like, "What incident in your life has most shaped your faith?" to humorous questions like "If you were in the circus, what would your job be?"

I believe that Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband is an excellent resource for wives.  You can also find related resources and free printables on Crystal's website.  Click HERE to access them. 

You can purchase the book now until April 28, 2014 as a part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!  The bundle is only $29.97 for over $700 worth of books, printables, and more! 

Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

You can purchase Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband directly for $3.99 HERE.

Check out my review of more books in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle:

·         Healing with God's Earthly Gifts (coming soon)
·         More than a Holiday (coming soon)
·         My Simple Healthy Life (coming soon)
·         How to Build a Strong Christian Home (coming soon)

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Friday, April 25, 2014

April Showers Bring May Flowers {Five on Friday}


It's time again for Five on Friday.  Thanks to the ladies at The Good Life Blog, Hello! Happiness, Carolina Charm, and A. Liz Adventures for hosting this link party!

1. Easter Recap

Baby President's first Easter was officially a success.  He somehow intuitively understood that he was supposed to gather up the eggs we had "hidden" for him, and he loved the Cheerios and grapes that were inside the eggs.  "Finding" the eggs was even more fun than looking at his Easter basket, but now that we are home, his new Care Bear that plays music has become his second favorite nighttime/nap stuffed animal, right after Teddy.

2. Birthday Weekend

My birthday is on Sunday!  Usually, I really look forward to my birthday, but this year, I haven't really thought about it at all.  Hmmm.  

Last year at this time, I was super preggo and my family was in town to celebrate and my amazing hubby surprised us with mani/pedis for my mom, my sister, and me!  

3. Big Love

Have you heard of the HBO series, Big Love?  It revolves around the life of Bill Henderson's family, and what makes his family unique is that he has three wives.  That's some good not-so-old fashioned drama!  

When I first heard about the TV series, Big Love, I was intrigued, but I didn't subscribe to HBO so I was out of luck.  But recently, I discovered the show again.  And I love the show!  I'm almost finished with Season 1, and I can't wait to find out what happens!

4. My Library Expansion

Usually, I would rather have physical books.  But not when it comes to reference books, then I like to have them on my computer to refer back to anytime.  That's just one reason why I'm excited about the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.  Less than $30 for $800 worth of books, printables, and bonuses!  That really sings to my frugal side.  Yesterday, I reviewed one of the books in the bundle, The Homemaker's Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule, and I will be review a few of the other books from the bundle in the next couple of days.  You should check it out!

The bundle includes 87 eBooks on Homemaking, Motherhood, Marriage, Food (recipes!), Self-Care, Faith (for you and for your kids), Work-from-home and Blogging, Pregnancy and babies, Health and Wellness, Homeschooling, Holidays, and Financial Stewardship.  Here are a few of the "shelves" you can fill in your e-library.

5.  Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover

I'm excited and a little terrified to report that the hubs and I are going to start the Dave Ramsey plan to get ready for getting new jobs and moving (and hopefully buying a house) in then next couple of years.  

Have any of you tried it?  Good experiences?  Bad experiences?  Please comment and tell me!

Photo Sources 1, 2
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Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Homemaker's Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule {Book Review}

I've been drafting posts about routines and scheduling for a couple of months, but nothing I haven't gotten anywhere with it.  And I need a schedule.  Desperately.

There truly are many resources and printables out there, and I've found several that I like, but usually I don't even get around to printing them.  Forget about actually implementing them.

So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review Amy Roberts' The Homemaker's Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule.  

Like I said,
I need a schedule.

Amy from Raising Arrows, is a homemaker AND homeschooler to 6 children.  Six!  If she can do it with six, then surely I can do it with one.  Right?

The amazing thing about this book is that Amy outlines steps to follow in creating a schedule.  And instead of starting from scratch, she encourages you to work from where you are.  I always had the mindset that my schedule should be the perfect ideal, and that I should just make up what I thought would be ideal.  Well, Amy takes a different approach, and I like it.

No creating drastic changes.

No adherence to specific times if that doesn't work for you.

No one size fits all mentality.

This book outlines your organizational type, the schedule creation process, example schedules, how to involve children in homemaking, and tips on how to stick with it.  The second part of the book covers scheduling for homeschooling.  Baby Prez isn't old enough to even think about schooling, but more on that later. 

As soon as I opened my review copy, I literally sat down and read the book cover to cover.  I didn't even intend to, but I couldn't stop reading!  And now I am following the steps outlined in the book.  I will admit that it has only been a few days, but already I am feeling better about my schedule/routine.  Now, unlike any time before, I am truly convinced that this will work. 

The first question the book asks is: Are you a schedule person or a routine person? 

My honest answer: I have no clue.  But I want to be a schedule person.  I've tried to be a routine person, and that hasn't worked particularly well (not that I really stuck to my routines anyways).  The good news is that both types can have an effective, but different schedule.

So I'm working on the steps and plan for a schedule person.  Since weekdays are not alike at my house, I have my handy-dandy notebook for recording my activities and drafting my tentative "I'm already doing that" schedule in Step 1.  Today was my first day to record my activities for the two days a week that my little guy is in daycare.  So, I won't be able to put the tentative daycare-day schedule into place until next week, but it felt like a good exercise to keep track of what I'm actually doing each day.  The exercise was beneficial not only in terms of creating a schedule, but also in terms of understanding where and when I'm wasting time.  I don't know about you, but too often, I get to the end of the day and wonder what I even did during all my waking hours.

Not only are the steps and exercises in the book useful, I was also struck by this quote at the beginning of the book:

"Let me entreat you to consider the God you serve and His attributes in this respect (remember, we are created in HIS image).  God set forth timing and order to nearly everything.  Our day is 24 hours, with a sunrise and a sunset.  We have a 7 day week, with a day set aside for worship.  The tides, the seasons, the revolutions and rotations of the planets are all in a set order.  Even God’s plan for mankind’s salvation and reconciliation to Himself was set forth in a certain order.  God is not a God of chaos." - Amy Roberts, The Homemaker's Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule

Isn't that an amazing thought?

That God created the first schedule.

And it is incredibly inspiring to me.

These are a few of my favorite tips from the book:
  • Daddy's Comin' Dash - Implement a 15 minute mad dash around the house at 4:30pm to get the house ready for Daddy to come home.
  • Age-appropriate children's chores - It's time to start teaching my 10 month old to put his toys away and to turn lights on and off!
  • Start with what you've got - And tweak, tweak, tweak.
  • Chore cards - Hoping to get Baby President in on these as soon as he is old enough!
  • And Prayer - praying for the right attitude about homemaking really can make a difference.  How did I not think of that before?

I also want to mention a bit about the homeschooling portion of the book. . .

Baby Prez is obviously not old enough for us to start any kind of schooling, but the idea of homeschooling has come up a time or two. . . or three.  If we decide that homeschooling is right for us, I will most certainly be referring back to The Homemaker's Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule.  Probably every day.

Amy gives incredible advice, at least in my own inexperienced opinion.  She includes example schedules and resources for when family dynamics change.  My favorite piece of advice is this,

"I believe every homeschool parent should be working themselves out of a job.  When children are young, it is so vital we teach them to love learning so much they seek it with every inch of their little bodies! " - Amy Roberts, The Homemaker's Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule

To finish up, I want to point out one more time, the incredible benefits I've found in reading The Homemaker's Guide to Creating a Perfect Schedule:
  • The actual schedule-making process is provided
  • Example schedules from the author's own life are available as resources
  • Multiple scheduling methods are presented with each being unique and valuable
  • Advice on how to make the schedule stick is right there!  (And I tell you what, that has always been a missing piece for me.)

You want to buy her book immediately, right?  Trust me, you won't regret it!

The Homemaker's Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule is available right now as part of an 87-book homemaking bundle that you can purchase for just $29.97!  The book is $4.99 if you purchase it separately, so why not buy the bundle?

It is one of 8 books and 2 sets of printables on homemaking.

You can find more information about the bundle HERE or purchase it now:
Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle Bundle

The book is also available to buy separately at, but if you purchase the bundle, you'll save nearly $700, plus receive bonuses worth $200!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Five Things I'd Hire Someone to Do for Me {My Life in Lists}

This week's prompt for the My Life in Lists link-up is "If money were no object, list five things you wish you could hire someone to do for you."  Thanks to If These Walls Could Speak and Team Gilbert for hosting!

So here we go . . .

1. Plan my days (and make sure I stick to the schedule).

I used to always have a plan and a schedule.  Sometimes the schedule was just a mental note in my head, but it was there nonetheless.  Now, I feel scatterbrained.  Pretty much all the time.  I don't know if it's being a mom or being overwhelmed with all of the roles I play or what, but I seriously need someone to help me out on this.  Seriously.  I want to try out the strategy from The Homemaker's Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

2. Clean my house.

Let's face it, who doesn't want a housekeeper?  No matter how much I enjoy cleaning (sometimes), it's still a chore.  And if I had to pick just a few parts of housekeeping, I'd definitely pick laundry and mopping.  Laundry is never ending, literally.

3. Fill up my car.

It's not that I run out of gas or forget to pump gas, but it just always seems like my empty light comes on at the most inconvenient times.

4. Organize my paper clutter.

I don't even want to show you a picture of all my paper clutter.  It is my nemesis.  But this is what I wish I paper looked like...

5.  Be my personal shopper.

I swear since I got pregnant and had a baby, I'm not sure what to wear.  I can't tell you how many dresses I pulled out of my closet and tried on before Easter last weekend before I finally decided.  Everything was too short, too long, the wrong color........

I'd love for someone to come in every day and tell me what to wear and what to buy.  I love doing it myself, but I just don't feel as confident doing it as I did before.  I've thought about trying Stitch Fix.  Have you had any experiences with it?  Good?  Bad?

P.S. If I were adding one more, it would definitely be hiring someone to walk my dogs. 

What would you hire someone to do if money were no object?

Photo Sources 1, 2, 3, 456
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Resources for Homemakers, Wives, & Moms

Get The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle--Hurry: Sale 6 Days Only!
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  • Work-from-home and blogging
  • Pregnancy and babies
  • Health and wellness
  • Homeschooling
  • Holidays and special events
  • Financial stewardship
See the full list of 80+ eBooks, audio files, eCourses and printable packs included in the sale.  Want more information?  Check back each day of the sale for a new review of eBooks from the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

You will also receive $200 of freebies from our 10 awesome partners!

In addition to all the amazing eResources, this bundle includes the best bonus offers it's ever had, including:
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When? 8 a.m. EST Wednesday, April 23 until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, April 28
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Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, April 23 to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, April 28th.

This post may include affiliate links. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Air Travel Tips for Pumping Moms: Part 3

Welcome back to Air Travel Tips for Pumping Moms!  This is Part 3 of a three part series on how to travel as a breastfeeding or pumping mom while traveling via flight.  Check out the Part 1 on going through security with your breast pump and breast milk and Part 2 on where and when to pump while flying.

There are so many gadgets and accessories that make life more convenient these days.  Here are my recommendations for gadgets that will make pumping while traveling easier and less of a hassle.

1. Battery Operated Breast Pump

If you often travel as a pumping mom, I would highly recommend investing in a battery operated breast pump.  Even if it's a relatively inexpensive one that you just use when you travel, it would be worth it to not need an outlet every time you pump.  This one from The First Years is just $72.

Travel Breast Pump

2. Nursing Covers

A blanket would work too, but I love these options for covering up while pumping.

Nursing Cover for Pumping while Traveling
Bizzy Bee: $42.49 at

Nursing Cover for Pumping while Traveling
Abbie Grace Infinity Nursing Scarf: $24.99 at

Nursing Cover for Pumping while Traveling
Find the directions for this DIY version here.

3. Freemie flanges

These flanges are compatible with most Medela pumps along with a few others, and they would be perfect for pumping on the airplane because they slip under your bra so that you can pump discretely.  You can find them on for $49.95.  They are a bit spendy if you ask me, but they are definitely on my wish list.  

4. Pumping bras

There are so many options out there for pumping bras, and I think this is must for when traveling.  You can go for the traditional pumping bra, a bustier version, and even a racerback version, but personally, I'm a fan of this pumping tank from Rumina Nursingwear.  Or a tutorial for a DIY pumping tank is available here

Rumina Nursingwear: $48.00 at

What other gadgets have made your life easier as a pumping mom?

Don't forget to check out the rest of this series on Air Travel Tips for Pumping Moms.

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