Feb 112013

We are well into February now. I know a lot of people’s New Year’s resolutions included things like healthier eating, losing weight and being healthier from a holistic perspective. And I know that by this time of the year, a lot of people have fallen off the wagon (or just decided to take a flying leap) for healthy living.

Let me introduce you to something that may make you jump back on the wagon.

Black background, NuNaturals logo

NuNaturals Stevia is a great way to get back on to the healthy living wagon.

2 oz bottle of lemon flavored liquid stevia

NuNaturals is a liquid stevia blend (they also have powder packets) that is non bitter, disolves well in cold beverages, mixes beautifully in yogurt and can be used where ever you would want to add a bit of sweetness. The liquid stevia is all alcohol free and even comes in orange, lemon, peppermint, vanilla and even chocolate along with unflavored. They also sell baking blend stevia, stevia packets, and a prebiotic blend.

2 oz bottle orange liquid stevia

Stevia is much, much, much sweeter than regular sugar. In fact, you only use about an eighth of stevia versus sugar to get the same amount of sweetness. So while the initial cost of NuNaturals may seem steep at first, you use so little at a time that the price is comparable.

2 oz bottle of peppermint liquid stevia

Stevia also doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar, so those who have conditions where it is advised to avoid eating sweets and carbohydrates that do raise the blood sugar can use stevia safely in place of sugar.

I received the orange, lemon, vanilla, peppermint and regular liquid from NuNaturals along with their stevia packets and a container of their prebiotic blend. The prebiotic blend works great when adding it to plain yogurt, cookies, anyplace where you would use sugar (unless the amount of sugar called for is to also help increase the bulk of what you are making. If you substitute, you could end up with a bit less of what you are making).

My husband liked adding the peppermint liquid stevia to his bottle of water that he takes to work. Peppermint works as a nice natural stimulant and it helped to keep his mind clear as he stared at a computer screen all day (he works in IT…) He also is a fan of orange cream, so a large glass of water mixed with a few drops of the orange and vanilla liquid blends made an orange cream flavored drink for him whenever he wanted it.

I added the peppermint to homemade hot chocolate. It felt so decadent drinking it on the cold morning I first made it.

The packets are terrific for stashing in your purse or the glove box of your car to add to tea while you are out and about. I’ve noticed recently that the sweet tea at a lot of places is just too sweet tasting any more for me, but I like my tea with some sweet to it, so if I get the unsweetened, I can add the NuNaturals stevia packet to it and make it taste just the way I want it to. And they are great in making chia seed pudding! (soak chia seeds in milk, add some cocoa powder and stevia to taste. I love it)

You can find out more about NuStevia by visiting their WEBSITE or FACEBOOK page.

NuNaturals is currently offering a discount code available until June 30, 2013 for 15% off your entire order! How’s that for taking care of their customers? Just enter BLG0613 at checkout for the discount to be applied.

AND wait, there’s more! NuNaturals hasa been so kind to offer a giveaway for my readers! Four winners will each receive a bottle of Lemon, Orange, Peppermint and Chocolate Liquid Stevia! Just fill out the Rafflecopter below and good luck! If you don’t win, trust me, you will want to purchase some of this wonderful stuff yourself! Contest ends on February 18, 2013 at 11:59 p.m.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given a bottle each of the peppermint, orange, vanilla, lemon and regular liquid, stevia packets and prebiotic blend from NuNaturals as a part of the Christian Woman Affiliate Review Crew for the purposes of this review. All opinions are mine and mine alone, no other compensation was received. NuNaturals also provided the prizes for the giveaway. Created for Home in not responsible for lost, misdirected entries or for prize fulfillment.

And Finally, My Word for the Year

 Decluttering, Faith, family, Homekeeping, Marriage  Comments Off on And Finally, My Word for the Year
Jan 122013

Last year I had a word for the year. It took me a few days of thinking and praying but I came up with the word Discipline to be my focus for last year. And while I didn’t hit all of my goals (when setting goals I have a tendency to think I can get more done than feasible), I did have a lot of progress. I am more regular in my workout routines, my house is cleaner than it had been…I am more disciplined with our daily life in regards to school, chores and getting up on time. We are more purposeful in our spending (normally), our food choices and activities. It will always be a process to become more self-disciplined, but it is getting easier.

This year’s word took tons of thought and prayer. I didn’t come up with one until this afternoon. We’ve been blessed by a friend giving us her old couch (bigger than our love seat), end tables and a set of bunk beds for the girls. As I was moving a few things to prepare for the arrival of our new-to-us furniture (delayed now for a week due to the weather, but that is ok and actually helps me out a bit) I was struck with the word for our focus this year. The word for me this year is going to be Sanctuary.

I want to strive to be disciplined to cultivate (last year’s and the year’s before words, see!) our home into a Sanctuary. I want our home to be a refuge from the world not just for my family, but for anyone who crosses our threshold. I want our home to exude peace, calm, joy, hope, love. I want people who come through our doors to feel safe.

In order to do this, I will continue on our decluttering journey. I want our home to not be so filled with stuff that it feels confining and suffocating to those inside. I don’t want the focus of our home on what all we have accumulated, but on the people within. I will also continue to be disciplined and really work on a good cleaning schedule that works for our family. The cleaning gets done, but I have yet to find the right routine for us. I will also put together and USE a homekeeping binder. A homekeeping binder will help to cement the schedules, my family’s important information, ideas for how to better decorate our home. It will become a good extra brain. I also intend to get back to monthly meal planning.

I also want the atmosphere of our home to point to God. I want Him glorified through our home, our family and hospitality. I want people to know from Whom we get our joy, Who sustains us in all things and for Him to get the glory.

My goal is to cultivate a more peaceful experience for myself, my family and friends. I want people glad to come in, to feel relaxed and welcomed as soon as they arrive, and make them glad to return after they’ve left.

Sanctuary, my word for the year. What is yours?

A Few Thoughts on Decluttering

 Decluttering, Homekeeping  Comments Off on A Few Thoughts on Decluttering
Jan 032013

We are into the third day of the new year now. I am in the slow process of decluttering and deep cleaning our living room. I’m not as far ahead as I wish to be, mainly because I totally over did it yesterday by restarting my exercise program back at full strength after a month and a half or so totally off, and then deep cleaning and moving heavy stuff the rest of the day after that in the living room. Yeah, that was genius… Believe me, I’m paying for it today. And add to that my sinuses are backed up from stirring up dust and such. I got the area around the DVDs cleaned up a bit. Have to sit down with HubbaHubba and decide which ones can go before I get it totally organized. I’m sure I would sell off more than he would, so I will be nice and wait for his input ­čśë

I cleaned out my homeschool shelves yesterday. What a freeing feeling it was to sort out things that didn’t work for us and things that we ended up not using. There is a ton more room in the shelves now. I saved a few things to put up for record keeping purposes (filled workbooks) and a few things that we will cycle through again, but also got rid of a bunch of stuff that we won’t be using at all. It is wasteful to have shelves of unused materials that would bless someone else to have. I am so looking forward to working through the rest of our bookshelves and getting rid of things (which says a lot since I am quite the bibliophile).

The half of the living room that has been deep cleaned and purged through, decluttered and better organized feels wonderful to be in. It feels freerer to sit over there than the area that needs finished. I can think better in that area than in the other. It exudes some serenity and peace. I have big plans on this massive decluttering and purge of my house over the coming months.

I’m thinking I can work through the inside of our house over this next year (I would say six months, however it is looking like we will be having some changing family dynamics coming in that amount of time and I don’t want to over-commit or over-work myself during that time. No, to my knowledge, we aren’t expecting. More on the transitions later when a few more things are hammered out). I do desire to have a garage sale before June though. I meant to have one last year but it didn’t work out to do so. I have a pile of stuff in the garage and stuff sitting around this house that we can get rid of in one.

I keep finding a few things and I wonder why in the world we’ve hung onto them for so long? Are we living in the past that we can’t let go? Or are the things holding you hostage to your past? I’ve found in the past that am reminded each time I get rid of something that shouldn’t have been hung onto for so long that I can’t live today if I am constantly living or being reminded of the past with the stuff hanging around the house. I’m not saying to not cherish the memories and great times, more like, I have late Aunt Hazel’s hideous lamp that always sat in her living room that you somehow inherited that you have had in your house for six years now even though you’ve never really liked it. Just because a beloved relative had it doesn’t mean that you have to keep it. Same for gifts that you don’t want or use. Don’t be shackled by them because you might offend someone by getting rid of it. There is no law that says you have to hang on to everything you’ve ever been given. If it isn’t useful and being used, or something us absolutely love, get rid of it. I realize that getting to the point of being able to shed this stuff can take awhile. Start small, donate or sell one item. Just one and see how it feels. And don’t let yourself feel guilty with getting rid of it.

Next week I’m starting Renee Metzler’s Total Home Makeover. After I’m done with that, I will see where we stand and decide what else needs to be done from there in the decluttering realm. Less really is more I’ve discovered.

Looking Back and Looking Ahead, Goals and Dreams

 family, Fitness, Homekeeping, Motherhood  Comments Off on Looking Back and Looking Ahead, Goals and Dreams
Jan 022013

Ah, I meant to have a great New Year’s post up yesterday. Well, let’s say that I got busy. I woke up yesterday morning and decided that I had to start some deep cleaning…So I started tackling the kitchen. Plus the fact that HubbaHubba has been home since the week before Christmas on his break and all schedules and my version of “normal” went crazy. Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time with HubbaHubba being home, and the girls really enjoyed their daddy time, but I’m ready for our routine to begin again.

Last year didn’t go exactly how I envisioned it to be. I dreamt of having a meme each Friday here on the blog, I was convinced I was going to post more often than I did. I was going to lose a whole lot of weight and keep my home more spotless. I even chose the word discipline for my word of the year.

I failed miserably with my 52 Fridays thing. I mean miserably. I apologize. I should have planned that one out better than I did. I should have followed through on my commitment to it. I didn’t.

I didn’t lose the amount of weight I was wanting to lose. I would start an exercise program, ditch it, not be careful with what I ate. I got to review a great exercise program back last October and I did very well with that. I lost six inches off my girth that month, and believe me, I was so excited. I could notice a difference in how I looked in pictures that had been taken in the last year or so from then. However, I have not kept up with the step aerobics or even the Praise Moves my husband let me buy. I know I need to get started back on the exercise routine. I do actually enjoy the step aerobics and I am really liking the Praise Moves. I love how I feel after I have done them, especially┬áconsistently. I find that when I take the time to exercise in the mornings, I get more done during the day, I feel better physically and emotionally and I am more┬ápleasant┬áto be around.

I’m still working on finding a good routine for the exercising and the housework. I did finally settle on laundry days being Mondays and Fridays. That works best for me. I tried doing a little every day, but I always felt like I had never finished it and it was constantly hanging over my head. This way I know it is all done twice a week, plus the kitchen towels and other extras like curtains and bedding on their days. I am still tweaking out the cleaning rotation for the rest of the house though. I tried floors all on one day, dusting all on one day, etc. Then I tried one room a day and it always seemed like when I was working in that one room, the rest would go and explode random stuff out. So, first I am going to start a massive decluttering rampage I suppose you could say. The less stuff you have, the less you have to clean. It also helps that I found out that Hoarders has a few episodes on Hulu at the moment and my husband and I watched a few last evening. Yes, I realize that there are psychological reasons behind hoarding, I don’t think I am that bad, but I am going to do everything in my power to keep from having too much stuff. Having too many things is wasteful anyway the way my husband and I have been thinking anyway and it is time for us to downsize.

So this year, as I’m still contemplating my word or theme for the year I do know I need to incorporate more routine, more exercising and healthy/clean eating, managing the home better, more writing on the blog and being more intentional about taking the time to have fun. I’ll let you know the plan when I have one….

What are you going to do to better yourself this coming year?

Dec 032012

Ah, the holidays.

Time to savor time with family. Enjoy food we only make or indulge in at this time of year. Time to focus on why we celebrate Christmas. And join in the massive frenzy of shopping and gift giving and ending up with way more stuff in our homes than what we started with at the beginning of the month.

I don’t know about you, but my house is full. We have extras of everything hiding in cupboards, knick knacks and kitsch sitting around because someone gave them to us and we are afraid to offend them if we get rid of them. We have an excess of entertainment waiting to entertain us in our DVD shelves, game closets, toy boxes. Our garages, attics and basements are full of boxes of things we’ve not seen in years, things we are “saving for later” or things that we have no use for any longer but can’t find a way to part from them.

Why are our homes and subsequently our lives crammed so full of stuff? This stuff is stealing our time. We have to clean it up, dust it, move it, put it away. Time that we could be spending with our husbands, children, friends, ministering to others.

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the excess I have in my own home. I read and reviewed Amy Bayliss’ Pursuit of Proverbs 31 and in it she asked by hanging on to un-needed stuff, if we were truly trusting God to provide for the future? Are we planning to be poor so we are hanging on to all this stuff, just in case we will need it? Isn’t that a slap in the face to our Lord who is the Provider for all things? Has He not come through in the past? Will He not come through in the future?

And then, while pondering that question, it struck me, are we sinning by hanging onto all of this clutter? Are we hoarding it and basically engaging in gluttony? This is similar like the eating-too-much gluttony, as we are hanging on to too much. Then, my thoughts went even further down this path. Is it possible that we are stealing by holding on to so much of what we don’t need? Are we withholding things that others need and could use because we just can’t part with them because we “might” need them again someday? So are we stealing from those who don’t have by having too much? Are we denying being a blessing to those who need what we have and don’t? Those are hard thoughts to consider, I know. I mulled over them for two days while the girls and I emptied their room of nearly everything and then sorted and put things back in. We put a lot of things into a box to give away, and their room was much cleaner and neater. It felt more peaceful and calm.

I’m not advocating a mandatory spartan lifestyle of having nothing at all but the most utilitarian items. I want our homes to be warm and welcoming and inviting. We should seek to have our homes as a haven from the stresses of life, a safe place for family and friends and strangers to receive hospitality. But please consider if having all of the stuff you do is a help or a hindrance to that end. For me, currently, it is a hindrance. I don’t want people to stop over because my home isn’t easily kept clean. I don’t feel calm and at peace with all of the clutter.

Now is the time to fix that. Why not during Advent, the time of preparation for the coming of the Christ child, purge your home of the clutter and stuff. Find people who need what you don’t and be a blessing to them by just giving it to them. Or donate it to a good local ministry who may have need for extra clothes, books, dishes or whatever it is you need to get rid of. By purposefully purging your home, you will find peace, time, and order. Are you with me in finding calm from the chaos this season?