January 2015 - My WAHM Plan

Before Amen by Max Lucado stays at the top of my reading list

I was so excited when I was approached by Family Christian Blogger group to write a post and receive a free copy of their 2015 Book of the Year pick: Before Amen by Max Lucado. All opinions expressed are my own.


Before Amen by Max Lucado book MyWAHMPlan.com

Before Amen stays on top of my reading list! 


The idea of a simple prayer, one that would be good enough, powerful enough, dare I say it- Christian enough was intriguing to me.  I am a Christian woman, living smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt, so I have heard my fair share of impassioned prayers. 


In church, in bible study group, in the pick- up line at my kid’s school… and my simple prayers always felt small and somehow less than when compared to others wordy and usually, lengthy prayers. To put it bluntly- I would never be asked to join the Prayer Warriors group! 


After reading and in some parts, re-reading the amazing Before Amen, I now know something that gives me great confidence and helps me stand tall when I feel the need to pray. My simple prayers of “Dear Lord, please help me in this moment”, are perfectly okay to the only one that matters; Christ.  






Before Amen book by Max Lucado MyWAHMPlan.com


“We all pray ... some. We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.

In Before Amen, bestselling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.” 



My Thoughts:

Max Lucado welcomed me into this book, like a dear friend would welcome me into their home. He hit the perfect mix of being an authority on the subject of prayer and the Bible without being overbearing. There wasn’t one single moment in this book where I felt I was being talked down to, or preached to.


I actually learned biblical lessons from reading Before Amen that I somehow hadn’t retained from church sermons or bible study. For instance, did you know the first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance? In fact, the only tutorial they ever requested was on prayer!

There really is something in the delivery of information folks and Max Lucado teaches in a way that I get.


I have leaned heavily on the pocket prayer since first reading because it is such a simple, yet powerful prayer.




The Pocket Prayer:

Father,
You are good.
I need help. Heal me and forgive me.
They need help.
Thank you.
In Jesus’ name, amen.




Now that I know more about Intercessory prayer, I can expand on my prayers without feeling I’m not “Christian” enough. 

As Max says; “Intercessory prayer isn’t rocket science. It acknowledges our inability and God’s ability.”


If you are just entering your walk with Christ, or if you are like me and you feel like your prayers don’t quite measure up, I highly recommend you read Before Amen because the author is a self- professed prayer wimp that gets us!


The best part about reading Before Amen is that the words and teachings are staying with me. I’m praying more in the moment, not just for myself or my family, but for the world at large. 


I’ve shared many passages with my family as well and they have been moved as well. In fact, my youngest daughter who’s 12 asked if she could please read this book next. That’s how impactful this book is.


Family Christian has named Before Amen their 2015 book of the year, so I invite you to visit their website where you can read more thoughts on Before Amen and if you are so moved, purchase a copy for yourself or a loved one. You’ll be able to discover more books and guides from Max Lucado as well.

Please share in comments: How many books do you have started right now?

Kickin’ Chicken Buffalo Blue Cheese Dip recipe #NaturallyFresh #sponsored


My thanks to Naturally Fresh® dressing and The Motherhood for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring our recipe shared below. All opinions and love of wholesomely good dips are 100% my own.


With the Super Bowl just days away, my husband and I were happy to take on the challenge of creating a Big Game recipe to share using Naturally Fresh® dressing.  My family has loved their Classic Ranch salad dressing for some time now. In fact it gets the “Dang-Diggity” seal of approval! The only trouble we had was deciding which Naturally Fresh® dressing we would use. 


Chickin' Chicken Buffalo Blue Cheese Dip #NaturallyFresh #recipe



About Naturally Fresh® dressings and dips:

#NaturallyFresh #giveaway on MyWAHMPlan.com

NaturallyFresh® is a line of high-quality, homemade-tasting salad dressings and dips. Many foods on store shelves today contain artificial flavors and colors that change the way the food tastes and looks, as well as preservatives that extend their shelf life. Naturally Fresh® refrigerated dressings are different. The company creates products that taste great by using wholesome ingredients, and leaving out artificial preservatives and artificial colors.  That's a total win in our book!


Their product line includes:

  • Classic Ranch- made with Naturally Fresh’s ® own buttermilk.
  • Lite Ranch- made with Naturally Fresh’s® own nonfat buttermilk with half the calories of the original.
  • Bleu Cheese: Made with Naturally Fresh’s® own buttermilk and aged bleu cheese chunks.
  • Lite Bleu Cheese: Made with Naturally Fresh’s® own nonfat buttermilk and aged bleu cheese chunks.


Chickin' Chicken Buffalo Blue Cheese dip party tray #NaturallyFresh


For the big game, we decided to take a classic entrĂ©e and turn it in to a dip that eats like a meal! Our Kickin’ Chicken Buffalo Blue Cheese Dip will have your guy stepping away from the wings to try this yummy dip. He may even pick up a veggie to dip. Score! This “better for you” dip is super easy to make too. Here’s what you’ll need.


Ingredients:

  • 1 Large can of Chicken Breast meat in water
  • ¾ jar of Naturally Fresh® Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) Cayenne based Hot sauce (think Tabasco®, Franks® or Texas Pete®)
  • 1 cup celery, diced small (reserve celery greens for garnish)
  • 1 package Neufchatel Cheese or softened Cream cheese



Directions:

  • In large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together until Chicken breast meat is broken apart and ingredients mixed in.
  • Garnish with celery greens and chill for at least an hour before serving.
  • Serve with your favorite chips, crackers, carrots, celery sticks or any dip-able veggie.
  • Makes 3 cups.

Digging into the Chickin' Chicken Blue Cheese Dip #NaturallyFresh



Are you ready to make our Kickin’ Chicken Buffalo Blue Cheese Dip recipe? Then make a grocery list and head to your nearest Kroger or Publix to pick up a jar of NaturallyFresh® Blue Cheese Dressing found in the refrigerated section. If you aren’t sure which of your local grocery store carries Naturally Fresh®, just use their mobile app to locate them. 




Win It!


#NaturallyFresh dressings #giveaway MyWAHMPlan.com


Thanks to the nice folks at Naturally Fresh®, one lucky reader will win 5 coupons for free 12 oz. #NaturallyFresh dressings! Entering is easy using the Rafflecopter form below. 


Terms:

No purchase necessary to win. Must be 18+ years old and live in the United States. My WAHM Plan is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is in no way endorsed affiliated or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This event will end on 12:00 AM (EST) 2/6/15. 



Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Boredom banished with #PopSecretForts and Chocolate-Caramel Princess crunch recipe #spon

Many thanks to Pop Secret for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to live in the moment with my princesses!



We fell asleep last night to the gently falling snow and awoke to a bright and snowy scene. There wasn’t enough snow to build a proper snow man, but my girls still had to get out there and play in the rare treat that is snow in middle Tennessee.  Soon enough, the magic wore off and in they came, changed their clothes and then announced they were hungry and bored. 



My #tween is bored. #PopSecretForts to the rescue MyWAHMPlan.com


What’s a mom to do? I whipped out the box of Pop Secret popcorn and suggested we make a pillow fort like we used too when they were younger. My teen and tween looked at each other and happily agreed. 


Pop Secret regular butter flavored popcorn MyWAHMPlan.com


First, we decided to make a snack worthy of a princess day, so we invented Chocolate-Caramel Princess crunch! This is super easy to make and you may already have the 3 ingredients on hand. 



Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of regular buttered flavor Pop Secret Popcorn
  • 1 squeeze bottle of chocolate syrup
  • 1 squeeze bottle of caramel syrup


Directions:

Microwave the Pop Secret popcorn according to directions. Place in large bowl and allow to cool until it no longer steams.


Pop Secret Chocolate-Caramel Princess crunch ingredients


Now, let your kids have fun adding as much of the syrups they want to make their own special version of Chocolate-Caramel Princess crunch! Of course, you’ll want to change the name if you have boys. The point is to have fun with this and let the kids sneak bites...


Pop Secret is always a favorite snack MyWAHMPlan.com


and be as loud and as messy as they want. In other words- let you kids be kids! Thankfully, my girls who are a bit older now, decided not to go too overboard with the syrups.


chocolate drizzle on Pop Secret Popcorn MyWAHMPlan.com


We all had such a good time making this easy, yet tasty treat. Even this older princess thoroughly enjoyed letting loose and laughing and eating with them. 


Chocolate-Caramel Princess Crunch MyWAHMPlan.com

This super yummy creation was way to hard to resist. You have to try it if you love sweet and salty treats!



Then it was pillow fort time for the princesses!


Outside our princess pillow fort #PopSecretForts


This sheet has served as our fort door and roof for a lot of years, so it was fun getting it back out of the linen closet and borrowing clamps from their Daddy. The girls and I added lots of soft, comfy blankets and pillows and transformed a corner of our living room into princess headquarters; complete with their Pop Secret Chocolate-Caramel Princess crunch!


My princesses inside their pillow fort #PopSecretForts MyWAHMPlan.com


The girls had so much fun in their fort, they asked if it could stay up all weekend- just like when they were little and I happily agreed.


Make your own #PopSecretForts and join the fun!

Pop Secret knows that fun, like popcorn, is better when it’s shared. Send Pop Secret your pillow fort stories and pictures on Facebook. You can upload them right to the Pop Secret timeline and tag them #PopSecretForts. They might just share a little something back! And when you visit the Pop Secret Facebook page you can download a coupon for $1 off, along with a customizable flag to name and claim your pillow fort! 


I look over at my not so little princesses and take in their smiling faces, storing this happy moment in my mind for later, when life gets crazy busy again. 

Why not take time out this weekend to get in touch with your inner kid again and build a pillow fort with your kids too? And make it super special by serving up Pop Secret!


Please share in comments: 

What fun, kid activity do you enjoy doing with you kids? Are you a pillow fort builder? A push me higher on the swinger? Share you happy moments!

January gardening middle Tennessee style

Admittedly, there isn’t a whole lot to do in our winter garden, but when the mercury starting rising to a high of 60 yesterday in middle Tennessee, I had to get out there and do something!


I started raking leaves out of the front flower beds again. That was a nice little job, since we have several large pin Oaks and Maple trees in our front yard. Actually, it was a good workout, even though I know I’ll never win the battle of the leaves.  Some of the trees are already showing signs of new growth. 


buds on trees in January #Nashville area MyWAHMPlan.com



Next, I swept the front porch and noticed some new growth coming up in my succulent. I never over winter this plant, she prefers to live year round on the front porch. She’ll be stunning by April again.


new growth in succulent planter MyWAHMPlan.com



Since I had out the broom, I cleared the corner of the flower bed that the rake never works in and swept the walkway.   I know this is another thankless task as the leaves are just going to blow over it again and right back into my flower beds, but it made me feel good knowing I’d done it.


swept walkway MyWAHMPlan.com


After I’d raked and swept up, I had played a nice round of pick up sticks. Some I walked to the burn pile, some I dragged, but I got them there, working up a nice, healthy sweat along the way and loving the feel of the warm sunshine on my face. 



I couldn’t help but notice on my many trips back and forth to a centralized spot in our vast back yard known as the burn pile, that our hedge line was teaming with birds.  I tried to capture the birds playing, but after a few failed attempts, I gave up stalking them and just stood and admired their beauty. It didn’t take much of a walk along the fence line to find the bird’s lunch spot.


berries for birds MyWAHMPlan.com



A few steps more and I was at our pond, which had lots of air bubbles on the top, letting me know our frog population hasn’t diminished by much in winter.



our pond in January MyWAHMPlan.com


Standing there feeling the sun on my face, the wind lightly blowing through the trees and bushes, the birds chatting at the berries, all was right in my world. This gardening ladies soul saw and felt the New Year in the best possible way. 



I knew I might be tempting fate, because the weather man assured us our warm weather wouldn’t last, but as I walked past the corner where my heirloom Iris’ bed is, I took a peak to see if there was any signs of life- and sure enough, there was Iris fronds staring back at me.


Iris fronds in January MyWAHMPlan.com


My stomach growled, letting me know my gardening time was done, so I stood up and  headed back towards my beautiful, perfectly imperfect red ranch house content.



Please share in comments:

How does your January garden look? What planting region do you live in? We are in a nice, temperate 7. Don’t know your planting zone? Reading my post here can help you find out. And hang in there, spring begins in just 58 days!

New blog series! Color of the month Jan. 2015 Ice Blue


Colors play such an important role in our daily lives. I thought this would be a fun and creative way to share my love of colors with you. Each month, I'll choose a color that reflects the month's mood or theme as I see it. I'll set up a monthly Pinterest board and share it here with you, my awesome readers. 



This months color pick is Ice Blue.


Jan. 2015 color of the month #iceblue MyWAHMPlan.com



I've started the board and will add more pictures of this color all month. Got a pin or picture, you'd like me to add? Let me know in comments or catch up with me on Pinterest! 






Please share in comments: Look at my 4 photo collage above and tell me which photo you would most likely re-pin and why.

The #FrostyVoxBox from Influenster has beauty and taste


One of the things I love about receiving a complimentary box of goodies to review from Influenster is you never know exactly what products will be included in your box. They like to keep things fresh and exciting and they did just that with my most recent box. While I did receive the products mentioned below free of charge, all opinions and love of beauty products are my own.


#FrostyVoxBox #beauty #snacks #herbs


As you can see, there are several beauty items in my Influenster VoxBox (yay!) plus a Celestial green tea, fruit Vine bites and some Thyme. Yes, Thyme! See what I mean about Influenster keeping things fresh? Since there’s no thyme like the present (sorry, I couldn’t resist!), to share some product reviews with you, I’ll start with the kitchen staple:



McCormick Gourmet Thyme:




McCormick has updated the packaging on their herbs and spices, but you can rest assured, all the great flavor and quality you’ve come to expect from this brand is still there. I love adding Thyme to oven roasted chicken dishes, shaking it into soups, marinara sauces, stews and on sauteed vegetables. To learn more about McCormick Gourmet, visit them on Facebook @ #McCormickGourmet.




Fruit Vine Bites:


Fruit Vines #cherry #sweetside


Fruit Vines are a new, soft chewy fruit candy from the Red Vines family. They are available in two fruit flavors: strawberry and cherry. We received the cherry and my kids loved them! I'll be keeping these in the house for snacking when the kids have sleep-overs and parties.To learn more about Fruit Vines, visit them on Facebook.  #Sweetside.




Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea:


Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane green tea


I love Celestial Seasonings teas! I love the very idea of a holiday inspired flavored tea, full of pepper-minty goodness!  I will keep this one in the house for myself and my kids! You can learn more about Celestial Seasonings by visiting them on Twitter – hashtag #CelestialTea. 



Now let’s move on to the beauty products in my #FrostyVoxBox. I love trying new makeup, skincare and beauty tools, so I was in my element with these products!



#7 Boots Beauty USA Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum:


#7 Boots Beauty USA Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum


Oh, how I wish I’d received a full size product instead of just a sample packet because this serum is nice. It’s got a light scent, goes on smooth on your face and really moisturizes. I like it a lot and will use the savings coupon I received to buy more, so I can decide where it helps with my fine lines.  You can learn more about #7 Boots products by visiting them on Facebook  #GetADVANCED .



EcoTools Brush:


EcoTools Brush


At our house, we all have different hair types and styles requiring different tools for the job. Ecotools says this brush is designed to leave your head and your hair happy. We agree! We can use this on dry or wet hair with great results. You can learn more about the EcoTools brush by following them on Twitter – hashtag #LoveMyEcoHairBrush .



NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum:


NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum


I love lipsticks, but most confess that I probably would have looked past this color while shopping in a store thinking it would be too orange-brown for me.  But, upon using it; I was pleasantly surprised how well Sugar Plum goes with my skin tone.  This lipstick glides on smoothly, and lasts about 6 hours on me. At only $1.99 this is a frugal ladies dream lipstick and I will be buying more NYC colors soon! You can learn more about NYC Color Cosmetics by following them on Twitter – hashtag #Sugarplum.


Last, but certainly not least or two products from Rimmel.  First up is their eyeliner.



Rimmel Scandal eyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner:


Rimmel Scandal eyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner:


Confession- I don’t wear a lot of Kohl eyeliner, finding it to be too dark on my eyes no matter how light I apply it. Such was the case with this eyeliner too. While I did like how it glides on with no pulling, I didn’t like the look on me. If you like a thicker, darker line on your eyes, you should give this one a try! You can learn more about Rimmel London US products by visiting them on Facebook  #Rimmel.


Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover:


Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

I like using eye makeup removers that don’t sting or leave a greasy residue, so this Rimmel gets high marks from me there, but can it truly get off long lasting and waterproof makeup (like the above eyeliner) like Rimmel claims? 

Not really. 

Sorry, Rimmel, but your eye makeup remover was no match for your eyeliner. Nor was it a match for my waterproof mascara. And ladies, I only put on one light coat.  Still, you may want to give it a go yourself because it is reasonably priced and did take off some of my  eye makeup.  You can learn more about Rimmel London US products by  following them on Twitter hashtag #Rimmel.



As always, I hope you’ve found these reviews helpful and will keep them in mind the next time you’re shopping.


Please share in comments: Which product or brand are you most familiar with?


The Little Mermaid turns 25, honored with #disneymusic legacy CD #enmnetwork

I received the Little Mermaid Legacy Collection CD as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network.  No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own.  This post may also contain affiliate links.



I can hardly believe that The Little Mermaid, that beloved Ariel, and all the under the sea characters are 25! I’ll admit it, 25 years ago; I wasn’t in to seeing a Disney animated movie at the theater because I was young and my kids were but day-dream’s. My love of this beautiful movie came years later when my oldest daughter was a toddler. She saw a commercial for The Little Mermaid on TV; and the rest, as they say, was history!


#Disney The Little Mermaid CD #Giveaway MyWAHMPlan.com
CD Front Cover

My daughters love of Ariel and Sebastian was immediate and permanent. Watching our daughter delight in this movie at such a young age holds precious memories for us; so when I got selected to review the Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection CD honoring The Little Mermaid, I was thrilled! As were both my daughters.


#Disney The Little Mermaid CD #Giveaway MyWAHMPlan.com
CD back cover

About The Legacy Collection The Little Mermaid CD with collectible book:

"The label honors one of the most beloved soundtracks of all time with the 25th anniversary release of Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection The Little Mermaid available today. The Little Mermaid collection features the songs and score from the film by Oscar®-winning composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman on Disc One, twelve work tapes and song demos performed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman on Disc Two, and a collectible 20-page booklet. Also included are liner notes by Alan Menken, John Musker (Co-writer, Director and Producer, “The Little Mermaid”), and Chris Montan (President of Walt Disney Music)."



Isn’t the CD cover beautiful? The CD and the artwork in the collectible book are lovingly drawn by Lorelay Bove, a visual development artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios. If you watch Disney animated movies, you might recognize her style from movies like Tangled, Winnie the Pooh or Wreck- It Ralph. 

I will treasure this book filled with insights, ideas and facts on the making of The Little Mermaid, including the film, animation and musical scores!  


#Disney The Little Mermaid collectible book #Giveaway MyWAHMPlan.com
Sneak Peek inside the collectible book

Here’s a cool fact I learned: The Little Mermaid was a milestone in Disney animation, being the first princess musical to be made at Disney since the 1959’s Sleeping Beauty! The book is filled with animation and includes lyrics so you can sing along with songs like Part of your World and Kiss the Girl. 



#Disney The Little Mermaid CD #Giveaway MyWAHMPlan.com
The Little Mermaid 2 disc CD set

My daughters and I loved listening to the sweeping musical numbers on the CD and singing along to our beloved favorite songs. Now that my oldest is 15; we found it a little challenging to visualize where the musical scores aligned with the movie. We thought it would be fun to buy The Little Mermaid on Blu-Ray, turn down the volume and listen to the CD while watching the movie. 



We loved this beautiful Legacy Collection and invite you to learn more about it and all the Disney music located at the new Disney Music Emporium. You can visit them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter as well. 



The Legacy Collection The Little Mermaid CD with collectible booklet is also available to purchase on Amazon if you’d like to add it to your collection it now.




Win It!
Thanks to the generosity of Disney music and New Media Entertainment Network, one lucky reader will receive one The Legacy Collection The Little Mermaid CD with collectible booklet.  Entering is easy using the Rafflecopter form below. 


Terms:
No purchase necessary to win. Must be 18+ years old and live in the United States. My WAHM Plan is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is in no way endorsed affiliated or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This event will end on 12:00 AM (EST) 1/17/15. 
If it comes to this blogger’s attention that the winner of this giveaway has won on an additional blog for this same prize, this blog reserves the right to choose another winner.