Back-to-School Supply Shopping Tips {Thoughtful Thursday}

I am often annoyed that Hobby Lobby has fall decor out before 4th of July or that Christmas decor is everywhere in stores before Halloween BUT I might be in the minority when I get gitty when school supplies show up in stores. Eeeek The smell of sharpened pencils, clean new binders, shelves upon shelves of crayola colorfulness!

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I have been preparing my school supply list for the 2-16/17 school year already. Part of my prep included scouring the internet for the best prices on the items on my list. Here's a quick overview of what I've found that might save you some time and money::

  1. Staples price matches 110% of any {even online} sale price. This is #1 because I feel like it could cut down on shopping time by going to a single store. They will not only match a price but give you 10% off on top of that. example: Staples glue $2, Walmart glue $1, Staples glue now $0.90
  2. 7 ways to save with Staples, stack them all!
  3. Walmart's app has a "Savings Catcher".  This means you scan receipt on the app and if competitor advertises lower price, they'll give you the difference.
  4. Target cartwheel app has tons of great coupon deals AND Target Red Car saves you 5% every time you use it and it connects to your checking account, acting just like a debit card. No more forgetting to pay that store credit card you have just for the discounts.
  5. Walmart vs Target cheat sheet to get the best prices {if you don't have a staples to match their prices 110%}.
  6. Tax Free Weekend! Arkansas' will be Aug 6th through Aug 7th. HERE is the list of qualifying items for Arkansas.
  7. Homeschoolers can register your "school" with Office Depot for their 5% cash back. You can have anyone you know use your school name to put their 5% cash back towards. If you don't have a school you use yet, ROTHACHER ACADEMY of Vilonia Arkansas would love your support. 😉
  8. Homeschool moms can register with Staples for teacher discounts.
  9. Christian Books website has a $1 sale right going on right now through Aug 18th. It includes some books that would be great for homeschool.
  10. Deals from several store that you need to grab up This Week!
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All Things Finding Dory {a review}

When I realized they had beyond earned enough money for our entire family to go to the movies {especially if we did the planned matinee}, I sat the down to talk about how cool all of this was. After several conversations about God's goodness and generosity toward us, we tossed around a lot of ideas about what do do with the left over money. We all decided that our youngest siblings wouldn't handle the movie theater very well, we would still have TONS left over, and wanted foster kids, who might not otherwise have the chance to GO to the movies, to have the chance by sharing what God had blessed us with.

After my kids' extreme efforts to find work-ethic and generosity, we went to see Finding Dory last week. Our local theater has matinee movies on Tuesday for $5.50 each. WINNING! We splurged and bought the kids a big bucket of popcorn {not something we normally do} AND ate out for lunch after the movie. While we sat at lunch, we shared about our $33 gift card with a private group of foster families, offering it to the first person to comment. To my surprise, less than 5 minutes later we had a couple commenters and set up a time to deliver it before we even headed home. The kids got to take it in to the foster mom at her work. So Cool!

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Now that my frugal-self got the excitement out of the way about the price, let me just give my one sentence review of Finding Dory:

The adventure of Finding Dory is as adorable as Finding her buddy Nemo years ago with lots of laughs, great animation {of course}, attention-grabbing story line that stands alone but weaves in well with the original, and heart-warming teachable moments that you and your littles will LOVE so I think it was totally worth the theater pricing, great conversations after we left, and will likely purchase the DVD to add to our collection when it comes out to watch over and over again.

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Now, for the longer review:

Let's start with the possible negative aspects of finding Dory.

Dory's mentions often that she feels her disability, short-term-memory-loss, is THE reason she lost her family. For Dory, this is very much sad but very true. She struggles with being a part of a mixed family and longs to know her "real family." Dory discusses what "home" means, deciding home is where they're from. Nemo and [mainly] Marlin struggle with Dory's need to know about, find, and be a part of her "real family."

If you have a child with a disability of any kind {they may see being special as a bad thing}, are part of a blended family, are trudging through a divorce {their misplaced guilt may be amplified}, or have children in your family as a result of foster-care/adoption {they may have false or unhealthy hopes of reunification}, you may need to make a personal decision to

  1. prescreen the movie without children to know IF your child(ren) should see it
  2. choose not to see this movie if your children already struggles with feeling "responsible" for hardships in your family
  3. see it as a family and plan to use this Discussion Guide to wade through and redirect some of those tough issues

Dory does find herself in a couple fairly scary scenes. One where she is [of course] lost. If your child has separation anxiety or has experienced being lost before, this may be even more intense. There is also a great chase scene similar to the shark one in Finding Nemo but this guy is a bit more savage and doesn't leave with redeeming qualities. At one point, my eldest daughter was so caught up in the movie, a disappointing scene had her leaning into me saying, "Mamma, I really hope this is the middle of the movie and not the end!".

Let's end with why I think this movie is stankin' adorable!

Baby Dory- OMFruitcake she's the best. Giant eyes, sweet dispossession, and that voice! Dory has flashbacks throughout the movie, triggered by all kinds of thing, giving us the chance to find out why Dory is so awesome as a grown-fish.

Dory's parents are those roll-your-eyes, wanna-be-them, amazing parents who are crazy patient, creative, and gentle. Nemo and Marlin have a smaller roll but are just as great with their funny banter and silly predicaments. You get a glimpse at some of the old characters and the new friends you meet along the way are quality as well.

There's fun suspense and ends well; just the way I like movies- all wrapped up with a pretty bow.

If you have a child with a disability of any kind, are part of a blended family, are trudging through a divorce, or have children in your family as a result of foster-care/adoption, you may need to make a personal decision to use this movie for teachable moments like when

  1. Dory remembers the great parts of her history but is able to "just keep swimming" in her new found life
  2. Dory takes responsibility for things, owning it and learning to healthy ways to compensate but is able to see how her entire family [new and original] don't blame her for anything and still love her unconditionally all the while agreeing that we aren't made to do things alone- we need one another's abilities to make it
  3. Dory learns that family is something you build with those you love and love you back

I can't express how much I love Oh Amanda's Family Discussion Guide and review. I am a firm believer that we are meant to "find truth in the secular." Hope you love the movie as much as we did. Tell me you favorite parts!

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Finding Dory teaches us all lots of great lessons if we're looking for them.

Truth in the secular to look for:

  • How to better love those who have disabilities, have lost family, and who long to be apart of family.
  • How clues from our past can shape our future; that's the point of learning history, to learn form the past.
  • How limitations are not a bad thing. It's just one more way God shows us we are supposed to be living in community, giving and taking to form One Body that gives a glimpse at the vastness of our creator.
  • How forgiving and forgetting isn't just a nice thought; it's the idealistic goal to live a healthy life: while Dory's "no memories; no problems"  theory isn't a possibility for most of us, it does show us how letting go of a grudge should feel.
  • How confidence brings JOY and in turn interaction with others becomes fluid; insecurity keeps us from healthy community.
  • How "just keep swimming" is a biblical idea; run the race before you, don't fall asleep, through Christ- all things are possible.
  • How "our hope is that every [foster child] we care for will be ___ and return home.
  • How family is not just a pet-store where we "just pick one" that fits into our American dream or picture perfect family portrait.
  • How God is capable of using "lost ones" not just the already-Christ-followers, and most of the time they have the most to offer; as American Christians if someone doesn't have "christian" morality stamped on them, we don't think they have anything to offer us {as if we have it all together}- Hello!? God used a donkey; get over yourself.

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For more good articles on Finding Dory, check these out:

Exceptional Kids
Animal Safety
Autism & Dory

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DIY Built-In Bookshelf and Desk {Thoughtful Thursday}

Originally, I just wanted something in this awkward corner of my living room. It's the only thing in the room that causes it not to be completely square. This little joint out is created by the master closet and it's kinds fun, adding a little character to the room. Every week when our small group would come to our house, it bothered several friends. "What are you gonna put on that wall?" Ya know, since the rest of the room was covered in pictures and such.

Thoughtful Thursday

Here was my attempt to decorate this space. A cute dresser friends gave me and I painted, my awesome clock I'd been ogling and my hubs got me fr Christmas, and some other random decor items I had around the house. It worked for a while but seemed so minimalism compared to the height of the room and the scale of everything else in the room.  

I always loved the built-in shelves I've seen on Pinterest. But this wall is 12' tall and about 5' wide. I wasn't sure my hubs would be up for such a *big* change. I proposed the idea and when he didn't totally hate the idea, I sketched out what I was thinking and showed him several image ideas on Pinterest. 

At the end of the summer last year, I suggested maybe it could be my birthday present. He agreed 😀

A friend of ours visited from out of town and agreed to help Matt build my monstrosity over the weekend he was staying with us. Eek

There were a couple things that came up throwing a wrench in my plans but we worked around them. The main one was the carpet. We have hardwoods in our living room but the former owner chose to put carpet down with with a tack strip and a one foot of hardwoods showing around the entire room. We had never taken up carpet and discovered the take strip was installed with huge nails leaving big holes in the floor. We weren't ready to deal with holes in the floor every few inches so we chose to build the shelve up to the height of the baseboard. We added [mostly decorative] feet to the front of the shelf that we had intended to use on the bottom of the girls' dresser

In my mind I worked from the top shelves down. I knew I wanted bookshelves up top. Then I wanted a desk-like space for our printer and working on homeschool or other stuff. Below that, I wanted plenty of space to store paper, our laminater, and larger items like completed scrapbooks. Just recently, I caved and bought a cardboard paper divider to keep them sorted and from getting all torn up in a basket. Ideally, I wanted a wooden divider but I was never going to pay for one. After lots of finagling, the cardboard one fit perfect and does a perfect job. 

Yes, I chose to sort our books by color. Most of these books are on the same or very similar topics and have already been read or are only used for reference. Plus, I like color and makes the shelves more decorative since I ended up with more books to fill it than first expected and less room for other cutesy things. 

built in book shelf desk paper divider

A year later, having never posted the original post, I'm still loving this built-in. It adds a decorative aspect to this otherwise odd corner of the living room, stores all our book that would be in the attic if not here, makes them easy to read and or lend, makes printing, laminating, and working on things in general so much more practical.

Recently, I gave up on finding an affordable wooden paper divider the size I wanted and went ahead and bought a cardboard one from Target. With 15 slots, it has enough space for the kids construction paper as well as my printer paper, card-stock, and laminate sheets.

I am a huge fan of when norms are thrown to the wind, thinking up what could make life easier, and doing what works for your family. This giant shelf may not be everyone's design dream but it works so well for us!

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FREE Seeds Family Worship TShirt

Purchase Anything From Seeds Family Worship & Get A Free Seeds Family Worship T-Shirt!

Next Tuesday (May 17th) we are launching an entire new line of Seeds clothing for the entire family! This means we need to clear out all of our existing clothing to make room for our new clothing. If you purchase anything from the Seeds store between today and Sunday- we will give you any Seeds T-Shirt FREE!

1. Add product to cart @ the Seeds Store

2. Add Any T-Shirt to cart

3. Use Coupon Code 'FREESHIRT' when checking out

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She Is Priceless | Mercy House Global

As I sit in my well-organized house, wondering when the next life will intersect ours through foster care in my state, I long for the day that my life intersects with the rest of the globe as part of God's bigger story.

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I like being a small part in a bigger story. Knowing I'm a part of something bigger than myself, that it started before me and will carry on long after, and that God is in control on my most hectic days among it all. When I feel like I'm failing at this motherhood, wife-hood, christian-hood thing I need only to be reminded that what ails me is the rockiest of salts in a wound. Not the fine grit salt that gets in the more piercing slivers, lasting long after the application, creating a lifetime of pain and suffering. No no! My salt just rubs across the wound and in reality, just the anticipation that it might hurt is the worst of my agony. I know nothing of real suffering, me in my American dream world.

Today, May 10th might just seem like a random Tuesday to you but today is the day we need to learn about the women of this world who are Priceless. Those God is seeking to be apart of His story. Alongside you and I are women, created by the same Loving God who desires for their lives to be intersected by care. The kind of care that fosters changed-life in the name of Jesus. The kind of care that can only be explained by gracious love that redeems what has been wrecked.

“She Is Priceless” Is A Campaign To Make A Difference In The Lives Of Oppressed Women.

A pearl is a healed wound.  An oyster protects itself from irritation and suffering and the result is a priceless pearl.  The women these 5 organizations support have endured unthinkable suffering in their lives and often feel forgotten.  We are joining together to remind the world that every woman matters.

She Is Priceless.

This is an opportunity to get to know some of the life-changing organizations that are out there to intersect YOUR LIFE.

  1. Choose an organization from the list on this page
  2. Click learn more and donate to the cause of your choice
  3. Grab a free image to share on social media or take a “selfless selfie” with your favorite pearl jewelry and use the hashtag #putonyourpearls
  4. Link back to "She Is Priceless" directly to let people know how they can join the movement.

You may think that buying a bracelet is superficial, fashionable, or selfish but jewelry purchases made from the right place can be THE intersection where God crosses your life with the life of a women in desperate need on the other side of the globe. Not only do purchases like that feed her and her family, they provide sustainable and reputable jobs that bread confidence, creativity, and entrepreneurship that changes their life, their family's life, the community, and eventually our globe shrinks and you're standing hand-in-hand with world changers across God's big story. Think I'm exaggerating? Read more about the "Have Hope" women of Mercy House Global, OR the gazillions of other But God stories from Beauty For Ashes UgandaCaring For KorahJoyCorps, and Freedom Firm.

My #putonyourpearls selfie was taken with a gorgeous Rahab's Rope pearl necklace from Mercy House Global and Fair Trade Friday. I just joined the Earring Of The Month club.

How will you be a part of this day of giving?

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