August 3, 2015

R.E.A.L. Girls + Sadie Robertson

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and DaySpring, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #DayspringSadieRob http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
    Last weekend I was able to attend a young girls conference that a couple ladies from our sister churches in San Antonio organize every year. This was my second time attending and I had the pleasure of leading a small group this year. These conferences are for young girls in middle school and high school. They talk about issues young girls go through and just lift up and encourage girls. I really wish there was something like this when I was a teen! Just to be able to fellowship with other girls who share your same faith is awesome! In high school you often feel like an outsider when you live out your faith but R.E.A.L girls conferences are made to make you feel like you belong. This year's theme was ANEW and was based off of Romans 12:1-2 

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind; Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Conforming is something we tend to do because it's just easier than living out what we truly believe. I struggle with this even in my late twenties. We tend to slowly blend into the world without even realizing it. That is the beauty of the word of God, it can touch the heart of a young girl and the heart of a mother of three just the same. I was blessed and encouraged by the workshops that weekend even if they were directed towards the girls. 

Sadie Roberton recently teamed up with Dayspring to create a Live Original line of products for young girls full of positive and encouraging messages. So I thought it would be perfect for the girls attending the conference that weekend. I went to my local Hobby Lobby and picked up three journals to giveaway. I really wanted to buy a ton more but it looks like these are pretty popular and these were the last three items I found at Hobby Lobby.
You can also find notebooks and folders which are perfect for back to school. These products are not only cute they also come with encouraging messages such as this one...
... and each page inside includes a bible verse.  I always loved writing when I was younger and I loved keeping journals. My favorite journals where the ones with scripture on each page. The verse I would read seemed to be just what I needed that day.
Here is one of the girls who won a Sadie Robertson journal. I hope that when she sees this journal it can remind her of everything she learned at the conference that weekend and that as she opens that journal she can continue to find encouraging messages. 
Being a teenager is hard enough, even more so when you are a follower of Christ. There's so many distractions for teens out there. So much more than I had back in my high school days so I understand that it's hard living out your faith and values as a teen which is why I'm excited that Sadie Robertson, a girl who lives out her faith, came out with this line for girls to remind them who they are in Christ. 

Find out more about Sadie Robertson's products on the Live Original Website and on the Dayspring Website as well. You can find Sadie's line at your local Wal-mart, Hobby Lobby, and Mardel's. If you've got a teen in your life who is going back to school soon, make sure to pick up a journal or a notebook and give them a little encouragement. You will sure make their day not just by gifting them something but by letting them know you were thinking of them. 
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July 31, 2015

Week One of Whole 30

If you follow me on instagram then you already know that I recently started the Whole30 program. I don't really want to get into what it is because it would take forever so let me just direct you to their lovely website where you can get ALL the info on the Whole30 program. I actually bought the book and read through their website and a couple blogs before I started because I didn't want to just start something without knowing it fully so if you're thinking about starting Whole30 I recommend you do the same, it will only make things easier.

What I want to share with you all is what I ate, how I prepared, and how I felt after week one. I started this journey for a variety of reasons:
-to be healthy
-to loose weight
-to battle my sugar addiction
-to change my eating habits
-to feel better

I have always been a yo-yo dieter. I am pretty good at loosing weight when I have to but just as easily gain it back and I am just so tired of that cycle. Not only that but in the last couple of years I've become lactose intolerant and my gut has just been all kinds of messed up from all of the junk I keep feeding it so I decided enough was enough. I knew that what I ate not only messed me up physically but also emotionally. 

THE FOOD

I love to eat. Food and me have a love/hate relationship and it's been that way since I can remember. I love healthy food, I love greasy food... I don't hate. I love it all! (well not all but almost.) So eating healthy has never been a problem for me, I love salads and I love veggies but my problem is I also love the greasy and the sweet. So week one was tough, it was tough not having that sweet after every meal, not being able to just open my pantry and reach for a bag of chips or lick my fingers when I smeared PB&J on them making my kids sandwiches. It was tough. Here is what I ate though and I enjoyed every single meal. As for drinks I ONLY drink water with each and every meal. That's another tough one because I am addicted to sweet tea and lemonade.

DAY ONE //
breakfast | two fried eggs in coconut oil and sweet potato hash (sweet potatoes + red peppers sauteed in coconut oil topped and fresh cracked pepper). 

lunch | grilled chicken tenders, avocado, brocoli slaw (pre-packaged heb organics) topped with lemon/olive oil mix, cherry tomatoes, carrots, and red peppers.

dinner | stuffed red peppers with ground beef/mushrooms/peppers/onions. 
Followed this recipe for cooking instructions only but the stuffing is my own.

DAY TWO // 
breakfast | boiled egg, avocado, banana, strawberries, blueberries

lunch | leftover pepper, carrots, tomatoes, avocado

dinner | one pot chicken and potatoes (recipe here)


DAY THREE //
breakfast | two eggs fried in coconut oil topped with fresh salsa, sauteed mushrooms/spinach/onion and avocado. 

NO PICTURE
lunch | tuna, onion, jalapeno, tomato and lime juice

dinner | paleo chili topped with avocado (recipe here but I cooked mine in crock pot)

DAY FOUR //
NO PICTURE
breakfast | boiled egg and banana

lunch | leftover chili

dinner | potatoes and tuna 
recipe: 
ingredients: 2 cans of tuna, potatoes (about 2-3), tomato, clove of garlic, onion, salt + pepper, coconut oil
method: blend garlic and tomato with just enough water to blend and set aside. cook potatoes and onions in coconut oil in a pan and season with sat and pepper, once potatoes are soft add drained tuna and also season, once tuna is grilled add tomato blend. Let it simmer for about 4-5mins and enjoy!

DAY FIVE //
breakfast | two fried eggs in coconut oil topped with salsa, sweet potato hash and avocado

NO PICTURE
Lunch was Chipotle and Dinner was a boiled egg and a Larabar

WEEKEND | I went out of town that weekend so I made another batch of chili and took it with me along with fruit and larabars. I ate chipotle again for dinner before returning home. 

HOW I FELT

I felt great physically and emotionally. My stomach felt better than ever. I didn't have to suck in my stomach once. I had no bloating, no gas, no pain. I just felt good. Sure the cravings were strong but I remembered the results of the food I was eating and that kept me from quitting. At the end of the week I lost 5lbs. I know that whole 30 is not about weighing yourself or loosing weight but it is one of my motivations and just the fact that I lost 5lbs in ne week by changing my diet makes me want to keep going. 

HOW I PREPPED 

I write my menu plan for the week on Sunday. I make a list of the meals I want to make everyday, mostly for dinner because eggs and lefotvers are what I usually have for breakfast and lunch. I like going to my pinterest board for recipes. Since I love trying new recipes this keeps me motivated during the week and excited for dinner. I try to make at least 2 of the meals from pinterest recipes. Then based on my menu for the week I write another list with my grocery list. I put things for the kiddos on there. Our kids eat the same thing we do for dinner but their breakfasts and lunches are their own. I always prepare their food first and serve them and then I prepare my own so usually by the time they are eating I'm preparing and then we all sit down for dinner together and eat the same thing. 

I won't be doing a weekly update but I plan to do one at the end of my 30 days. I love the results so far and I can't wait to see more changes by the end of the program. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. This is my very first whole 30 so I am in no way an expert but I'd love to help out in any way I can. 

If you are on instagram make sure to follow me as I love to share photos of my food there!
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July 29, 2015

Texas + Ceiling Fans | Hunter Fan Co. Giveaway

I am not a native Texan. I grew up in the North where a/c units were not a necessity and fans were rare.  I remember one a/c unit in a bedroom was enough because it never got hot enough for you to use it all summer long. 

Moving to Texas was not only an adjustment for me as a pre-teen entering middle school but climate wise as well. I quickly learned ceiling fans in every bedroom are a must! So as we were getting ready to purchase our new (older) home, I knew we would have to install ceiling fans in every room. To be honest with you I wasn't all that excited about ceiling fan shopping because I honestly thought ceiling fans weren't all that pretty... I was wrong. I had never actually shopped for a ceiling fan before because we never updated the ones our previous home came with. Well I was pleasantly surprised to find such modern fans out there, I had no idea! 

Hunter Fan Company generously sent us not just one but THREE ceiling fans for our new home. One for each of our bedrooms. We got to choose all three of our ceiling fans and chose each of them to match each room's style. We are still working on finishing our bedrooms so stay tuned for some room reveals featuring our new Hunter Fans! Our master bedroom is bright and white so I wanted something that would stand out. We chose the Hunter Windemere for our master bedroom. 
It is modern and beautiful and looks perfect in our new master bedroom. It doesn't give very much light but I suspect that has more to do with the size of our bedroom and our vaulted ceilings more than it does the fan itself but it does it's job in keeping us cool and it looks great too! 
We chose the same ceiling fan for both Joshua and Sarah's rooms. Except Sarah got the white option. The Hunter Sonic ceiling fan is another modern fan. They come with four blades at an angle and work well to keep air circulated and the entire room cool. 
Each of the fans come with their own remote which the kids LOVE. You can screw the remote holder on the wall but Sarah likes to keep hers next to her bed. 
Joshua got the stainless steel/dark blades version which I think goes better with his bedroom.
Now let me tell you about the SUPER COOL technology that I had no idea existed. Hunter sent me their new SIMPLEconnect feature which lets me control my fan with my smart phone. It was easy to set up and now I don't have to get up to turn my fan on/off. You can also schedule your fan to turn on or off at a certain time of day or when you are on vacation as a safety feature. You can program it to fit your schedule. I LOVE this feature! It's more likely for me to loose the fan remote than it is to loose my phone so having the app is pretty handy!
I love my Hunter fans so much and I know you will too so Hunter Fan Co. has so graciously agreed to give one of my readers a ceiling fan of their choice. That's right you have a chance to win your very own ceiling fan! I'm excited for you! Just enter through rafflecopter below. 

The winner will be chosen and e-mailed Friday August 7th. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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June 29, 2015

How we Sold our Home without a Realtor

This is NOT a sponsored post, I wasn't paid to write this post. I wanted to write it to share how 
AWESOME Creekview Realty was with the sale of our Home. We love them that much!
I've been meaning to write this post but life has been crazy since we sold our first home and moved into our current. We sold our house without the use of a realtor. We thought about doing For Sale by Owner but wanted to sell our home as quickly as possible and be able to list it on MLS so we used a flat fee realty service that I HIGHLY recommend. This was the first time we've ever sold a home so naturally we were nervous but we didn't want to pay the full 6% to sell our home.

So I searched online for options and ended up finding Creekview Realty.  Of course purchasing anything online has its risks but I checked out their reviews and we decided to jump in and give them a try. We ended up purchasing their Package B one night. There is A TON of helpful info on their website for those inexperience first time sellers like ourselves. 

We got a call the very next day to confirm our purchase, they explained the process and made sure we understood everything. I printed some paper work, filled it out and scanned it and sent it their way. I also took pictures of our home and sent it to them so that they could list our home on MLS. We received a lockbox and a professional sign a day or two later and we were ready for business! Our home went officially on the market on a Wednesday night and by Saturday we had three asking price offers. We were overwhelmed with Joy! Creekview called/emailed everytime we received an offer and went over each offer with us. They were available 24/7, seriously! We were on the phone with them at 10pm one night going over an offer. Creekview suggested we do a high and best offer and we ended up getting more than asking price for our home. They were EXTREMELY helpful throughout the whole process! We spoke to various different people on their team throughout the whole process but they were all up to date with our situation and they were all extremely helpful and kind. 

We are extremely happy with Creekview! They seriously went above and beyond! If you are in the Texas area and are thinking about using a realtor, do consider Creekview. We are so glad we did, we saved money but felt like we got way more than what we paid. If we ever need any realty services (which I hope we don't because we LOVE it here!) we would use Creekview again and again! 

Again, I wad NOT paid to write this post. I just wanted to share because I know how hard the whole selling process can be but we had such a great experience so I had to share it! :)
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June 22, 2015

Decorating on a Thrift Store Budget

My goal this year is to decorate our new (older) home with thrift store finds. We spent a lot of money on remodeling some of our home and appliances already so we can't really afford to spend tons of money on new furniture and home decor. So I've been visiting my local goodwill these past couple of weeks and I've been able to find home decor items for dirt cheap. I want to share some of these finds with you and also offer some tips that have worked for me when it comes to thrifting.

I am very into mid century furniture right now. In fact I would sometimes rather browse through my local craigslist page looking at beautiful credenzas and dressers on my free time than be on netflix and I love netflix! So when I spotted the piece of furniture you see up there, I knew I had to have it. At just $14.99 it was a no brainer. I was debating whether to paint it or not and as much as it would look beautiful painted, I'm scared to mess it up so I am thinking of just changing the hardware for now. 
This vintage trunk is my most recent find. It was dusty and dirty and I didn't really want it at first because I couldn't think of an excuse to buy it a place to put it but I just imagined it all cleaned up and storing all of Joshua's legos and toys and the decision was made. Of course the price made it easy as well at $6.99. 

TIP #1: Make sure you have space and a purpose for what you buy. You don't want to end up with a bunch of thrifty finds in your garage. I should be the one to speak, I've got two items that I've been wanting to make over but haven't had the time. Also don't let a little dust and dirt scare you away from a great find but do make sure to check your piece really well for any chips, tears, or broken pieces. 
Here's another example of taking a chance on dirty items. These glass jars were dirty and the top of one of the jars was starting to accumulate some rust but thankfully my mother in law was with me at the time and told me how she could clean them up really well with some vinegar and I took them home and here they are now, nice and clean! The basket tray I found on another trip. I LOVE baskets but again if I don't think of a place or purpose I don't want to buy it. My mom was with me on this trip and actually gave me this idea to use it for the glass bottles I already had. 

TIP #2: Take a friend/family member with you when you shop! They can offer a different perspective and can help you make those not so tough decisions when it comes to a certain piece. I don't think I would have bought the jars or the tray if it wouldn't have been for my mother in law and my mom with me on those two trips. 
I love white ceramic pieces. These are both meant to be for the kitchen but I decided to use them for my jewelry instead.  They were each $1.99! 

TIP #3: You don't have to use a piece for what it's meant for. Think outside the box! The more uses you can think for a certain piece, the more reason to buy it! I like to move my things around and repurpose them once in a while. 
This frame was a Target clearance frame. It's obviously chipped but at $1 I couldn't leave it behind. I'm going to paint that chip white and it will look good as new. 

TIP #4: Check your local goodwill for those Target clearance items. Our local goodwill gets most of Target's clearance items. I actually went to Target one day and saw a bunch of iphone cases and was thinking of getting one but decided I would come back. Two days later I found them all at Goodwill. It's kind of hard to tell when they donate items to goodwill but chances are if you see something on clearance at Target and it's been sitting there for a while, it will end up at goodwill.
This globe and planter are some of my most favorite finds! I absolutely LOVE globes! I don't know why but it's kind of an obsession that began not too long ago. I see one and I buy it. It's one of those things that it doesn't matter if I have a place for it or not, I will make a place just for it. This globe was in one of those little blue bins, you know the ones that goodwill workers use to bring stuff out from the back to sort into shelves. It was fresh out of the back and I ran (ok I walked fast) to it and put it in my cart. I got a couple stares but I didn't care because I felt like I had found gold. lol 

TIP #5: My most favorite tip of all: Visit often and at the right times. I have visited my local goodwill every week and sometimes 2-3 times a week and every single time I go, I find new things. Summer + Spring are the BEST times to shop. It's when people clean out their homes and donate. It's also garage sale time and what doesn't get sold almost always ends up at goodwill. Out of all of the days of the week I've found Sundays to be the best day to shop, especially early in the morning. 

Do you love to thrift shop? What are some of your favorite finds? Any tips you'd like to share with me?You can follow me on my thrifty journey and check out my finds on instagram with #cinsarahthrifts 
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May 19, 2015

Our Kitchen Remodel Plans

Our kitchen layout is one I've always wanted. I have always wanted a kitchen island and having the stove and range hood in the island just makes things even better. Other than that our kitchen is is very outdated. The cabinets are orangey and they smell old. Our counters are tile and our backsplash is some ugly green plastic. We changed a couple things like flooring, popcorn ceilings removed, and updated lighting but we didn't plan on remodeling it until maybe next year. Here is what our kitchen looks like now.  
The flooring and lighting make a big difference, don't they? We removed the old vent hood and I have our new one in the garage along with our new stove top but we haven't had time to install yet. Here is another before shot...
and a currently...
We do plan on keeping the stone wall as is. It is one of my favorite features about this kitchen. You don't find those in new homes anymore. I am both excited and nervous because as you all remember we've already been through one kitchen remodel before with our first home and it was chaotic. I remember having to wash dishes in our bathtub. I'm not looking forward to that but I'm keeping my mind on the outcome because that is what makes the craziness so worth it. 

In our first kitchen we chose maple shaker style cabinets, matching granite countertops, and a tan subway travertine tile. 
I loved our kitchen but I also love white kitchens and I told Omar that if we ever moved our next kitchen would be white. So we are planning on getting white shaker style cabinets with a blue/gray island. Here is my inspiration kitchen (found on pinterest of course). I love it so much, I think I pinned it twice.
I think the white cabinets will make the kitchen look so much brighter. The current cabinets compete with our dark floors and just make everything look dark and dingy. For our backsplash, I really want to do a white subway tile with gray grout. 
 A stainless farmhouse sink so it can stand out from all of the white.
and white/gray granite for our countertops.
I'd also like to extend our island to create a little bar for more sitting/eating area. We are having my husband's cousins (they created our cabinets in our first home) create our new cabinets. They are coming to measure and then we can get rolling on the kitchen remodel. I will be posting updates on instagram so make sure to follow so you can see our progress. 

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May 18, 2015

Pizza To The Rescue - Tony's Pizza

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

As you all know we just recently moved in to our new home about three weeks ago. It's been chaotic moving with the kiddos, especially with one of them being a toddler. With all of the work to be done around the house, I haven't been cooking much. I actually like to cook, especially when trying new recipes but lately I've had not time or energy to do it. So the other day I picked up some TONY’S® Pizza at Wal-mart and decided to take a break from unpacking and organizing to just enjoy some good quality family time and have a pizza night. I even made brownies and popped some popcorn. I've never seen my kids more excited about dinner!
I remember eating Tony's pizza growing up but I really hadn't had it since. I do remember it being smaller which basically meant one pizza per person in our home. I was pleasantly surprised to find Tony's pizza to be 30% larger now and it's made with real cheese and sauce from real tomatoes. It is both inexpensive and yummy! We all loved it! For less than $7 (two pizzas) our complete family of five ate! Who doesn't love that? Especially when eating out is so expensive nowadays. I've got a tip for those of you who don't own a pizza cutter (I still haven't found mine): I just used kitchen scissors to cut the pizza, so easy! I don't think I'll ever need a pizza cutter again.
We all loved Tony's pizza so much, I ended up buying more later that week and we had another pizza night. I think we will make this a weekly thing, the kids love it and I get to take a break from cooking and just enjoy spending time with my family. Little man is usually a picky eater but not when it comes to pizza.
I'd love for you to try Tony's pizza for yourself! There's an awesome Wal-mart coupon for Tony's pizza right now. You can SAVE $.75 off of any TWO (2) Tony’s Pizza (14.14 oz. or larger). That is a GREAT deal considering Tony's pizza is already inexpensive! The Walmart digital coupon is available until 6/30/15. So make sure to print it out and plan a pizza night with your family!
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