April 29, 2012

Learning to Purge

It seems like the stuff in my house multiplies like rabbits. I'm hoping to clear out some of the clutter and even raise a little bit of money to buy a replacement dishwasher - (I melted mine . . .long story.). I stumbled across this post on A Nation of Moms about a 15 minute purge. I don't have a lot of time during my day to totally re-organize my house, but I'm thinking I can scrape up 15 minutes. I know I definitely have my work cut out for me. I've heard of people using save, donate, trash bins as they go through their stuff. Do you have a system that works well for you? I know that with just a little bit of organization I can help eliminate some of the clutter in my home. What do you do to cut back the clutter? Photobucket

April 27, 2012

I would walk 500 miles . . . well more like 411 - MOPS Convention 2012

I am a huge fan of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I've been on steering team (leadership group) for the past two years and I'll be working as co-coordinator for our local group next year. I'm super duper excited for the MOPS Convention this year which will take place August 9-11 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX. Our church has offered to cover the registration costs for our current coordinator and myself (which is FANTASTIC), but we still lack about $500 to cover our gas to convention and our shared hotel room once we arrive.

 What is MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)?
If you're not familiar with MOPS, here's my explanation. MOPS is a lifeline, a resource, a place where a mom can come with her troubles (and her toddlers) and benefit from the wisdom and friendship of others. It's more than a "playgroup." MOPS gives the mom an opportunity to be refreshed and renewed through meetings with guest speakers, crafts, and (most important in my book) uninterrupted grown-up conversation (the kids play at on-site childcare)- although to be fair, we probably still spend 90% of our time talking about our kids - who got peed on that morning, and who's child dumped an entire box of "Cheese Its" on the floor (that would be my kiddo).  

When I was a new mom in the community and barely knew a soul, MOPS provided an environment where I could form friendships with women sharing the same stage of life.You can find a group in your area by visiting www.mops.orghttp://www.mops.org

And no, I'm not a paid spokesperson. I just really believe in the mission and message of MOPS: "Better Moms Make a Better World."

Why Convention?
Our local chapter is a relatively young group. Next year will mark our 4th year in existence, and I know that we have sooo much that we can learn and put into practice to help our group grow and thrive. Not only will it benefit our local MOPS group, but I am confident that it will help me learn the skills I need to be the best mom I can be - plus to be completely honest, I am absolutely thrilled about the idea of spending an entire weekend without changing a diaper or wiping a bottom.

What I'm doing . . .
I started brainstorming ways that we could raise funds to cover the cost and this is what I came up with: I'll walk/run/bike to the convention, all 411 miles from New Mexico to Grapevine, TX. Before you say "You're out of your ever-loving mind," let me clarify. I'm not going to do it all at once. From April to August I will be logging my miles at the gym and in the neighborhood with the hope that I can reach my destination by August 9th.

Why am I telling you all of this?
This is after I finished running my very FIRST 5K race EVER on March 17th. (When I started in February, I couldn't even run a mile). I'm currently training for my very first half-marathon in November 2012.

I need your help! 

I'm looking for people to adopt some miles and help us reach our goal. I figure if I can raise $1 a mile then we'll have close to everything we need for our trip. I'll be keeping track of my progress on the map and I can list the names of the people who are "running with me" through their support. You can run with me for one mile ($1) or five ($5) or if you really feel up to it you could sponsor 25 or 50. It's totally up to you. Seriously, every bit helps. Secure donations are accepted through PayPal. If you want your donation to be anonymous, just make me a note when you submit. If not, I'm going to celebrate your choice to run with me by listing your name beside the mile(s) you sponsor.

I'll provide a weekly update showing how many miles I've logged that week and let you know how close I am to my destination (both physically and financially).

Week of April 22-28:
*Tuesday - Ran 3 miles
*Wednesday Ran 2 miles
*Thursday - Ran 1 miles, Biked 5.5 miles
*Friday - 2.55 miles at the gym
*Saturday - TBA
Weekly Total: 14.05

Where am I on the map? 

This week, I left Clovis and ran through the towns of Texico, NM and Farwell, TX.

Next week's goal - to pass through Muleshoe, TX (16 miles away).

Who's ready to run??
Financial Goal: 0/$500 

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a message on this post, or send an e-mail to Sarah.mommys.minute(at)gmail(dot)com



April 23, 2012

Redeemed! (in)spired Review

Re-deem: To set free; rescue or ransom.

This month's (in)spired deal from Dayspring features the products in the new Redeemed line. Redemption is all about the payment of debts, the transformation of something that was once damaged into something beautiful. 

The make-up bag is just gorgeous. I've actually started using it to store my Kindle Fire in. I think it's cute enough to use as a clutch or small handbag. I've taken it to church with me on more than one occasion. It is quite spacious and would make an excellent travel bag. I don't think I even own enough make-up to fill it up! The zippered pocket and front compartment provide ample storage. The material it's made of is not only beautiful, but seems to be easy to clean.

I love the vintage style of the wallet and make-up bag. The colors are cheery and bright. It reminds me of something that my grandmother might have carried back in the day. I love all things retro, so this wallet is a new favorite of mine. It features slots for your cards and cash to help keep you organized!

With Mother's Day approaching, I think that these would make beautiful gifts (or if you're like me, you skip the "hinting" and just go ahead and buy it for yourself.).


I received a complimentary product to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts of the product. 

April 13, 2012

Myth of the Uber Mom

Somewhere out there, a mother wakes before dawn. Sitting at a darkened kitchen table, she pours herself a cup of coffee and leans over the Bible on the table. After praying for each of her children and all of the orphans in Africa, she grinds fresh grain and begins mixing dough for organic, homemade loaves of bread. While the dough is rising, she puts on her running shoes and gets in a couple of miles. After a shower, she fixes her hair and make-up, puts a fresh coat of polish on her nails and dresses in a freshly pressed button up shirt and a perfectly tailored pair of blue jeans, she even dons a pair of cute ballet flats.

Meanwhile, two sleepy eyed children wander from their beds to have a seat at the kitchen table. Homemade waffles and fruit from the local farmers market is piled onto their little plates.

Her home is meticulous. Her children are well-behaved. She always looks her best. She always does what is best. She is the uber mom, and she is a myth.

I don't know why we do it to ourselves. We set up this impossible to achieve image in our minds and then we beat ourselves up when we're not able to obtain it.

What's the difference between an idol and a role model?
Many of us have heard of the Proverbs 31 woman, the wife of noble character. I think it's godly and good to have a role model - an older, wiser woman whom we can emulate.

A role model encourages and equips us to reach OUR full potential. It's a person that we can look up to and admire, but who also shows us how things work out in the real world. They are real life people in real life situations.

An idol is often a created thing - an illusion. We may look at celeb moms with their flat tummies and their put-together style without realizing that they don't do it on their own. With a staff of nannies, personal trainers, nutritionists and stylists, we too could have those types of results, but ask them if their lives are perfect, and I can just about guarantee that they'd say "It's not what it seems." Idols will always disappoint because they are not real. We may follow a blogger who seems to have it all together, but we may not see the "inside story." We see the image that they put before us, the created thing.

Idols can be dangerous
What happens when you compare yourself to an idol? You're bound to get discouraged and depressed, because as much as we strive for it, perfection (as women, as mothers, as wives) is an unobtainable goal. We should always seek to grow and improve, but if we think that we'll never make a mistake or fall short, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. Idols send the message "You're not good enough."

Role models are helpful
A role model is not so different from you. They may be an ordinary mother in your hometown or community, or perhaps it's an online personality who's vulnerable enough to share the "whole truth," struggles and all. Role models are helpful, not in their perfection, but in their transparency . While an idol says "To be a good mother, you must be just like me," a role model says "This is what worked for me, perhaps it will work for you." They are flawed, but they are trying and they've had some success.

We need role models. We need people to inspire us to be the best that WE can be, not throw us into guilt when we can't reach an impossible standard.

You are exactly the mom your kids need. God gave them YOU because He knew that you have everything these kids need. You don't have to be Martha Stewart or June Cleaver.

If you think that you're the only mom who doesn't have it together, you're not. The uber mom is a myth, an idol, one that needs to be thrown away and replaced with a better model. A mom who loves her children with all her heart, and does her best.

Next time you're tempted to plunge yourself back in the mommy guilt pool, ask yourself these questions.

  • Does this really matter? In 20 years, what do I want my kids/friends/spouse to remember about me?
  • Is this practical? Is it realistic?  Is it obtainable?
  • Why do I want to do this? Is it important to me and my family or am I doing it because I want people to think I'm something that I'm not? 
  • Does this (idea, plan, article, etc.) inspire me to be a better mom (role model - a worthy goal) or does this make me feel like a failure as a mom (idol - unrealistic expectation)
Keep up the good work mamas! What you do is important, and who you are is important! There's no such thing as a perfect mom. Do your best and forget the rest!



April 9, 2012

Kindle Fire Giveaway!

I won a Kindle Fire through a blog giveaway last month and I L-O-V-E it! I've partnered with several other fabulous blogs and some awesome sponsors to give away, not ONE but FOUR Kindle Fires. I hope that you win one!!!

Here we go everybody! Are you ready for this? Freebie Shark, American Family, Coupon Pro, and Mark Your Savings have teamed up with Acadiana's Thrifty Mom and a group of AWESOME bloggers to bring you 1, no 2, no 3, NO 4 CHANCES to win a Kindle Fire! You read it right, there are 4, yes 4, Kindle Fires up for grabs in this colossal giveaway! We have taken all the work out of the rafflecopter and made this as easy peasy as possible ♥ So what are you waiting for? GO!!!! Good luck!

*This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest in any way. You must be 18 years of age to enter to win. This giveaway will be open worldwide. Freebie Shark, American Family, Coupon Pro, and Mark Your Savings with E are responsible for the distribution of the prizes. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of your prize.

April 6, 2012

What's So Good About Good Friday?

There's something tragic about a good man dying. I think back over this past year about the number of beautiful young people who have passed away and are no longer with us: children who battled cancer, young fathers and mothers taken from their young children, babies who never lived to see their first birthdays, and you can't help but wonder, where is the good in that? How can a good God allow the innocent to suffer?

There is no easy answer to that question. It's due in part to the broken world we live in. A world where even the cells of our own bodies rebel against their designed purpose. This is not the way the world was intended to be, and yet, for now, this is the world we live in.

Sometimes the innocent suffer. A while back, there lived a man, a good man. In fact, he never messed up. He showed love to those society overlooked. He fed the poor and made sure that even the young children knew how very special they were. Of course, he confronted people when they needed to be confronted. He was bold like that. He wasn't afraid to speak the truth, even though the truth made people angry.

It made the people so angry, in fact, that they decided to silence him the only way they knew how. One of the people closest to him accepted a bribe to reveal his location. They got a mob together and had him arrested. Since they couldn't find any actual charges to bring against them, they brought in some people to testify falsely, and even though their stories didn't agree, they found him guilty and sentenced him to death.

He was betrayed, mocked, beaten beyond recognition, humiliated in every way possible by a group of angry men. All of his friends ran away in fear, and if I'm honest I probably would have fled as well. It must have been absolutely terrifying.

Sentenced to death and publicly executed in front of his mother and a crowd of spectators. It seemed like justice had been thwarted, and yet, he didn't curse God. He didn't call down fire from heaven. He didn't even ask to be rescued (although he could have). An innocent man suffered, and God allowed it.

What's so good about Good Friday? The answer is not only in what happened on Good Friday two thousand years ago, but in WHY it happened. Jesus gave his life up willingly as a sacrifice. It's one thing to have your life taken; it's a completely different thing to offer yourself for someone else. As a mom, I would offer my life for my children, but the Scripture says that "while we were yet sinners (enemies of God) Christ died for us." That means that Jesus didn't just die for the people who loved and supported him while he walked on Earth. He died for the man who ripped out his beard, and for the soldiers who gambled for his clothes while he slowly died. He died for mankind at its ugliest - not because we deserved it, but because he knew that if mankind ever had hope for a restored relationship with a holy God, it had to be done. He knew that a relationship with God was worth that level of sacrifice. We were created to live in fellowship with God, and even before humanity mangled that opportunity, God had already put together a rescue plan - knowing that even in spite of our choice to walk away from him (a freedom of choice He gave us), He would provide an opportunity for us to return.

God, by his very nature and essence, is good. If he allowed things to go unpunished he would be going against his very nature. You would not consider a judge to be good if he allowed a criminal to walk out of the courtroom without paying the penalty for his crimes. God is a good judge, and the fact is, we've all done things that have hurt others and that have hurt ourselves. Justice demands that a punishment be conveyed and a sentence be carried out.

What's so good about Good Friday? Someone volunteered to take your punishment. To a person who didn't know the purpose behind it, the violent death of an innocent young man would certainly be a tragedy, but little more. As Christians, Good Friday is good because it allows us access to God - something that we could never earn or deserve on our own. To the outsider, it might not make sense why we would take a day to honor an executed man, but to those of us who believe, we can't help but rejoice. Hallelujah, what a savior. Our hero has come and paid the debt that we could never have paid on our own. THAT is why Good Friday is so good and one day, I'll have the opportunity to thank Him in person.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Phillipians 2: 5-11

To read more about the events of Good Friday check out these passages: Matthew 26, Mark 14,  Luke 22, John 18.


April 3, 2012

"The Money Saving Mom's Budget" by Crystal Paine - Blog Tour

As a full-time stay-at-home mom, I've always felt that it is my job to save my family money. I may not bring home a paycheck, but I do my best to make my husband's paycheck stretch as far as possible. I'm always looking for new ways to save money and help my family save for the future.

In 2011 my husband and I attended Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, and we're super excited to say that we are now debt free. We were able to pay off $10,500 in debt (medical bills, tuition, a student loan, and a car loan) in just over twelve months. The principals that we used in FPU are the same types of principals taught in "The Money Saving Mom's Budget."

In the audio book "The Money Saving Mom's Budget," Crystal Paine provides the listener with practical, hands-on advice for reaching financial freedom. Her common sense wisdom provides even the financially illiterate an easy way to get started on a strong financial path.

Paine covers fundamentals like goal setting, budgeting, saving.  I liked that her advice is very reasonable. And although she admits that reducing your spending is not always easy, I agree with her that it's definitely a worthwhile endeavor.

This audio book would be a great resource for a busy mom on the go. I was able to listen to mine on my computer at night after the kiddos went to bed, because if I'm honest, sometimes by the end of a busy day, even concentrating on the words on the page can feel like a challenge. I think it's pretty handy that the author can just read it to me. The MP3 set also comes with a PDF file full of resources that go along with the book. 

I've been a follower of www.moneysavingmom.com and I've loved learning her tips and reading about her success stories. I sure wish I could have paid cash for a house . . . maybe one day. I like that these are practical, sometimes even common sense tips that anyone can put into practice. If you're looking for inspiration to turn your finances around or just a good kick in the tail refresher course, then I think you would benefit from this audio book.

"What I love about the audio edition of The Money Saving Mom'®s Budget is that I
can listen to it on the go - on my run, in the car, or while I'm folding laundry. AND ... I
love that it comes with the downloadable worksheets. I am able to work through those
while listening to Crystal speak. So helpful. Perfect for my busy schedule."
blogger (and reformed budget breaker!)

Celebrate with Crystal by entering her iPad2 Giveaway (a GREAT tool to keep track of
your budget!) and RSVPing to the Live Webcast Event on 4/5!

One savvy winner will receive:

  • A Brand new iPad2
  • The Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine, audio
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends
Winner will be announced at The Money Saving Mom's Live Webcast Event on 4/5.
Crystal will be hosting an evening of chat, laughter and encouragement - bring your
friends! She'll share tips and advice and her husband will be joining her to share how the principles Crystal outlines in her book have dramatically impacted their family life.
She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and
much more!

So grab your copy of The Money Saving Mom®'s Budget and join Crystal
and friends on the evening of April 5th for an evening of fun of learning, sharing and

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to
see you on the 5th!

Want more info about the MSM?

Click here!


I received a complimentary copy of the audio book to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts of the book.