Friday, June 17, 2011

$5 for $30 worth of organic dried fruit

 I just learned about a new daily deal site called Little Birdie. Today you can get a $30 voucher to (they sell organic dried fruits) for just $5 if you're a new member. Here's how:

::Go to Little Birdie's site and click "My Account" at the top right hand corner.

::Create an account. If you go through my link, you'll get a $10 credit added to your account.

::On the left side of the page, click on "Today's Deal." Then, click the purple "Buy" button. The $10 credit will automatically be applied to your purchase. You will need to enter credit/debit card information to cover the remaining $5.
After looking through, I decided to go ahead and purchase the voucher. I think I'm going to order a sample pack with several varieties since I have no idea what we'll like the most! It's always nice to have a quick, healthy snack to give Katie (and Ben, and even myself. ha!) on a busy day, or to bring along when we're out. Unfortunately ready-made snacks of the healthy variety are usually waay pricey! But, I think this is a really good deal (good enough to take advantage of it myself), so I wanted to pass it along.

Disclosure: Little Birdie has a referral program. If you sign up through my link, I will get a $10 credit when/if you make your first purchase.

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tropical Traditions Coconut Flour {Review & Giveaway!}

I have been trying to get us a little less dependent on grains lately. Not that we are going grain-free by any stretch, but I just think it's good to have a variety of foods and not eat grains for every meal all the time. And, at our house, if there's one meal of the day that's heavy on grains, it's breakfast. So, I've been trying to change up our breakfast a bit by using potatoes and/or apples as alternatives to grain side dishes (fried apples, hash browns, etc.). When I heard about Tropical Traditions Coconut Flour, I was intrigued. When they offered to let me try some, I jumped on the opportunity, and I'm so glad I did!

Since receiving my coconut flour in the mail, I have made a few dozen coconut flour muffins, and used it for added protein in our fruit and yogurt smoothies. Coconut flour muffins do have a different texture than regular, whole grain muffins--but Katie and I love them (Ben still prefers wheat muffins)! The coconut flavor is surprisingly not overpowering, adding a really nice flavor. And, in the smoothies, you really can't taste it (the texture is very fine), but it definitely helps a smoothie stick to your ribs a little longer. I add 2 tablespoons when I mix up a meal-sized smoothie for all three of us. Eventually, I'm hoping to try out some of the coconut flour recipes Tropical Traditions has on their site.

Coconut flour has several health benefits, too. It is very high in protein and fiber, and for those with gluten sensitivities, it is naturally gluten free! This week, the coconut flour is on sale at Tropical Traditions. At first glance it may seem sort of pricey compared to wheat flour, but you only use 1/2 cup to make a dozen muffins--about 1/4 the amount of wheat flour used for the same dozen muffins. So, I don't think it works out to being all that much more expensive to use--especially if you watch for sales!

Tropical Traditions has offered to give one 2.2lb. bag of their organic coconut flour to one of you! This giveaway will be open until next Wednesday (June 22). To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post. Easy peasy. :)

For bonus entries, subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter, and/or subscribe to the Covenant Homemaking RSS Feed. Also feel free to promote this giveaway on facebook or twitter. Just leave a separate comment for each entry.

Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

This post is linked to Things I Love Thursday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weight Watchers Online

Since childhood, I have had a difficult time staying at a healthy weight (read: I've been at least a little bit overweight since I was a little kid). Before I got pregnant with Katie, I was within 5-10 pounds of an ideal weight. BUT, I gained about 50 pounds while I was pregnant. Though my weight fluctuated some after Katie was born, when I got pregnant with Benjamin I was only 10 pounds below my end-of-pregnancy weight. I lost 10 pounds early in my second pregnancy and then gained a total of 20, putting me at the same end-of-pregnancy weight I was the first time around.

This time, I lost my pregnancy weight by the time Benjamin was 6 weeks old (yay!), but that still put me 30 pounds heavier than I was when I got pregnant with Katie. At the beginning of the year, I decided I was going to make a concerted effort to get back to at least what I weighed when we got married, and hopefully about 5-10 pounds less. So in February, I bit the bullet and signed up for Weight Watchers Online. Since then, I have lost 18 pounds. It works!

For those of you unfamiliar with Weight Watchers here's a quick rundown: You get a daily points allowance based on gender, height, weight, age, activity level, and breastfeeding status (this is part of what attracted me to the program--they make extra allowance for breastfeeding to avoid compromising milk supply). Each food you eat has a points value. Staying within your allowed points should help you lose 1-2lbs. each week. I started off at 50 points per day, and am down to 48 since I've lost some weight.

At first glance, it might seem Weight Watchers has some incompatibilities with a real food diet. They recommended eating low fat/reduced fat dairy (and everything else) and avoiding fat which I am convinced is not healthy even if you want to lose weight. And, they promote artificial sweeteners as a good alternative to high-calorie sugar, which I definitely think is a major no-no! So, here are a few tips I've gathered from four months of following the Weight Watchers PointsPlus system.
::Eat lots of fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables are SO good for you, and the Weight Watchers PointsPlus system allows as many as you want (for the most part--potatoes, corn, coconut, and avocado do count against your daily points allowance). I know my produce consumption has increased quite a bit since I started the program.

::Eat your fat. Most fats count as 1 point per teaspoon. However, I find that when I am more generous with fat, I end up eating less throughout the course of the day. For example, eggs with buttered toast "lasts" longer than eggs with plain toast. Since your body cannot properly absorb many nutrients without adequate fat intake, it's really important to make sure you get enough!

::Protein, protein, protein. Lean proteins do not usually take up too many points, but they keep you full for a long time. Eggs are only 2 points each, and make for a healthy, filling, and cheap meal anytime of day. :)

::Watch the sweets and empty calories. One thing I love about this program is that there is room for splurges as long as you stay within your points. Hello? I can eat ice cream a couple times a week and still lose weight? Yes, please! ;) But, empty calories really do add up and eat away at your points allowance if you don't watch them carefully.

::Measure everything. I have gotten in the habit of serving most of my food with measuring cups and spoons. That way, I'm not too generous with my portions. You have to stay within your points diligently to lose weight on the program (the little bites do add up even if you don't track them! ;)

I've been really happy with how successful Weight Watchers has been for me so far. It's $18 per month, but since it's helping me get back to a healthy weight, we really think it's worth it. I signed up through ebates and got a $10 rebate (plus an extra $5 just for signing up for ebates), making it even more affordable to begin.

How have y'all gone about losing your baby weight after pregnancy? Have any of you tried Weight Watchers?

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

Disclosure: The ebates link is my referral link. If you sign up through my link, I get a small kick back. Thanks for supporting Covenant Homemaking!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Menu Plan, June 13-19

Summer is in full swing around here. It has been HOT!  I'm trying to use the oven a little less, though I don't think I'll be able to completely go without baking anything. I am planning to try a couple new recipes this week, including cooking fresh fish for the first time since we got married! Wild caught Alaskan salmon is on sale at Kroger this week for a pretty good price, so I'm going to give it a try.

Here's what's on our menu this week. What are y'all eating this week? Are you trying anything new?

Banana bread, scrambled eggs
Potato custard (new recipe)
Pancakes, bacon, fried eggs (x2)
French toast casserole, eggs
Crustless mini-quiches, toast (x2)

Peanut Butter Smoothie
Mango Lassi
Spaghetti alla Ceci
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
leftovers (x2)
Snack lunch

Crock pot beef stroganoff (from this cookbook) over pasta, glazed carrots
Asian Salmon over rice, green beans
Chicken Salad Sandwiches, raw veggies and dip
Italian Roast Beef, mashed potatoes, green beans
Steak, baked potatoes, salad
Pizza, salad
Family dinner at the farm

For more menu plans, head over to OrgJunkie for Menu Plan Monday!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Benjamin, 5 Months

 I'm amazed that my little guy is five months old! Has it really been almost half a year since I first held him in my arms? Benjamin is such a darling baby. He brings so much joy into our family and I am so thankful to be his mama.

Here's some of what he's been up to lately:

::He's still a really easy, laid back baby. He's almost always content and really hardly ever cries.

::He's not sleeping through the night. He had started sleeping 6-7 hours for a week or two but is back to less than 6, often waking up every 4 hours or so through the night. I think he might actually be waking up because he's hungry. I was hoping to exclusively breastfeed for a full six months, but I may end up starting him on solids a little sooner if he keeps waking up for nighttime feeds to see if that helps. I gave him a little taste of banana yesterday. Before he nursed he was thrilled with it, and after his breast milk he looked totally disgusted when I gave him a little more.

::He takes 2-3 naps during the day, and pretty much always goes down without a fuss at all (yay!).

::At present, he's sleeping in the pack-n-play which we have set up in our (really huge but not often used) master bathroom, because I don't want him to be in the room with Katie until he's sleeping longer stretches.

::He wears mostly 3-6 month size clothes, though he's starting to wear more 6-9 month clothes. He's a size 2 in disposable diapers, though we hardly ever use them for him (one small box has lasted us over 3 months. yay!).

::He's been working on a tooth for what seems like forever but it still hasn't come in.

::A week or so ago, he finally figured out how to roll from his tummy to his back, so he can now roll both ways. He's actually rolled himself halfway across the living room! It's so funny to me, as Katie never used rolling as a mode of transportation. He holds himself up with his hands, but doesn't get up on his knees yet, so I don't think he'll be crawling anytime real soon, though he does try to scoot on his belly some.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Heavenly Homemakers eBook sale

Laura at Heavenly Homemakers is having a GREAT sale on her ebooks. You can get 10 eBooks for just $20. I have almost all the ebooks that are part of the sale and I have never tried a recipe of hers that didn't go over really well with my family. A handful of them appear in our kitchen regularly--her tortilla recipe is my absolute favorite of the ones I've tried!

After tonight, the price goes up to $30 (which is still a great deal!) for the rest of the week, so I suggest you hop on over there and order yours before it's over. They are available for download immediately once you pay for them--aah, instant gratification. ;)

Menu Plan, June 6-11

Most of last week's meals didn't even end up getting made! In addition to our Sunday meal with my in-laws and the planned dinner of snacks at the local home school ball, we ate with Ben's family 3 other times (Memorial Day, a going away dinner for two of Ben's brothers who moved away from home into a house together, and Saturday night just for fun) and my sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and I (along with Katie and little Benjamin) went out for dinner one night while Ben was working late. So, I cooked a grand total of one dinner all week (and that was WITH my sister-in-law)! It was certainly a busier-than-normal week around here. That said, most of last week's meals will be on the menu again this week.

I was able to pick up about 7 pounds of organic bananas reduced for quick sale last week (I actually asked the produce guy if he'd mark them down and he did--score!), so my freezer is FULL of ripe bananas. I'll be using those throughout the week.

Easy Banana Nut Bread (without the nuts per Ben's preferences), scrambled eggs--x2, plus freeze a loaf
Peanut Butter Smoothie (we tried this over the weekend and it was delicious!)
Baked oatmeal, scrambled eggs--x4

Hot dogs on whole wheat rolls, fruit
Fruit and yogurt smoothies
Burritos (from the freezer)

Monday~BBQ chicken sandwiches, watermelon, homemade fries, sauteed green beans
Tuesday~Shredded beef tostadas
Wednesday~Chicken Divan
Thursday~ leftovers
Friday~ Creamy Pepper steaks, baked potatoes, sauteed green beans
Saturday~homemade pizza, salad
Sunday~Dinner at the farm

For hundreds more menu plans, check out OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Free Father's Day Card from Tiny Prints


When you like Tiny Prints on facebook, you'll receive a coupon code for a FREE Father's Day card! If you want to send it directly to the recipient, you just have to pay the cost of postage, but if you have it sent to yourself, it's completely free!

If you have more than one person to send a Father's Day card to, here are a couple more codes you can use to get extra (really cute!) photo cards from Tiny Prints for just $0.99:

FDAY99 (good through June 6)
GC99 (good through tomorrow, June 5)

Even $0.99 is a great deal if you're used to paying $4 or so for store-bought cards (like I am!), especially since you can customize them with photos and your own text.

Do you usually buy cards at the store? Do you make your own?

Disclosure: This post contains referral links. Thank you for supporting this site. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Three years of motherhood

Three years ago today, I didn't know it yet, but my journey into motherhood began as the Lord opened my womb for the first time and my sweet Katie came to be.

It's been a wondrous, amazing, blessed three years.

Three years of growing and nurturing new life--in my womb, at my breast, or both.

Three years of sleepless nights.

Three years of growing in patience and selflessness (mostly not by choice!).

Three years of learning even more my complete and utter need for the sustaining grace of a merciful Lord.

Three years of watching precious babes grow, first in my belly and then my arms.

In three years my belly has swelled twice, filled with new life. But these last three years, my heart has swelled so. much. more.

This post is linked to Finer Things Friday.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Great Read: Womanly Dominion

Womanly Dominion: More Than A Gentle and Quiet SpiritEarlier this year I ordered the book Womanly Dominion after hearing good things about it from many people I respect. I have slowly worked my way through it over the past couple months (you know, in all my spare time! {wink}) and I can honestly say it is by far one of the best books I have ever read. I am so glad I read it and I'm sure I'll read it through several more times.

Page after page was filled with encouragement for Christian women. Though it was geared toward women who are married with children, certainly much can be gleaned from its pages by any woman seeking to fulfill the dominion mandate in a feminine way, for the glory of God. As I read through this book, I found myself wanting to high-light or underline just about everything. It really was that good.

As I trudge through each day trying to get everything done that needs to be done, tend to the right-this-second needs of precious babes, love my husband, keep up with friends (and even blog occasionally!), it is easy to lose sight of the big picture--and that's really what this book was all about. Why do I do what I do?
"What is the mightiest strategy for influencing the world unto God-glorifying good? It was unveiled in the Garden of Eden. "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it." Women of dominion who give their lives to the bearing and nurturing of God-fearing offspring are the power brokers of the earth. The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world!"

Oh, yeah. That's why. :)

The biblical role of women is under such severe assault in our society; sadly, even the church seems to have lost her footing in this regard. Regardless of what secularists (even within the confines of the church) say, Scripture is clear. A woman's role is one of submission, not because she is inferior to man, but because God's design for her is different.

"For a woman who rejects the mind of the world and puts on the mind of Christ, it is counted a great honor to follow in the submissive footsteps of the servant-hearted Son of God. For there's no more presigious role in the world than humbly occupying the position, and performing the role assigned by one's heavenly Father. This is what it means to be Christ-like. The way of humility is the road to glory. Dear Christ-loving women of dominion, regardless of what abuse the feminists heap on you, stay at your posts. Regardless of how shrill their screams become, play your position."

It was so hard to pick just a couple quotes to share; I underlined sections on just about every page in the book. I highly encourage you to read it, and would probably recommend it as the best book I know of about the biblical role of women. God's calling on women, though it may seem mundane to many, is a beautiful and fulfilling calling indeed--and Womanly Dominion is such an encouraging reminder of that truth!

What have y'all been reading lately?