Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Artsy Olive Framed Art Print Review & Giveaway

Are you like me and love giving gifts with a personal touch? They always seem to say you thought about that person a bit more for their gift. I had never heard of Artsy Olive before I was offered a framed art print for review! I was so excited when I saw the samples.

Now, I don't know about you, but do you get sucked into looking at pretty much every, single, design just to find the perfect ONE? I'm pretty sure I looked at every option trying to decide who I was going to receive my sample for and which design fit exactly what I wanted to say to them. As I was clicking through the many options, I came across ones for friends and that's when I knew I was going to get one from my bestie, TP.

It wasn't an easy decision to make. Some sites make shopping SO difficult #IWantAllTheCuteThings! hahahaha Ok, let's chat about the site first of all. Since Artsy Olive is brand new, they have a "how it works" section right at the top. Sheesh, if more sites had something like that it would cut down on so much frustration. They even have a quick video to show you how their art works. The rest of the site is pretty straight forward and allows you to search by a variety of options.

As you get started with your creation(s) you have a choice of size from 7.7"x7.7" all the way up to 13.7"x18.7". My review art was a 7.7"x7.7". After you choose the design you want, you get to choose your frame style or if you already have a frame that you want to use again, you can choose a print only.

Next you get to choose a background if the design comes with the option. It's fun to play around with the different back grounds with different frames. Some of the designs come with different size options as well. If you create an account, you can even save your favorites so they're easy to go back to and order. From there you get to personalize your picture!!

The picture I chose for TP gave me the opportunity to tell her in a paragraph how much she means to me. I picked the True Friend Is Family. Now, I followed the example and after I got the package I realized I probably didn't need to add her last name. hahahaha I suppose it's always there in case either of us forgets it. 😀

The check out was quick and easy. As you're reviewing your order you have the opportunity to change your frame. Thankfully you can review it right in the same line item if you make a change. Heck you can even admire your creation one more time before you make your purchase. HA!

Right now, I'm seeing 20% off select signs and Free Shipping. I don't know when it expires so no quoting me on those. Not only that, you can get 15% off until December 30th by using the code "blog15"!

Ready for the giveaway? Here's your chance! Artsy Olive is giving away 5 framed prints! Click on the image above or here for your opportunity to win.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Spending Thanksgiving With The Ex In-Laws

Yes, you read that right. We spent Thanksgiving with my ex in-laws. That might sound crazy, but let me explain more about how this worked.

I've known my in-laws or let's call them in-loves for 20 yrs. I became best friends with my ex's oldest sister, Liz. She had a daughter from her first marriage, I had two daughters from my first marriage. She and I then proceeded to have two boys 6 months apart and two boys 3 months apart. I was in the room taking pictures and videotaping when she had her second daughter! His other sister, Becky, had a daughter almost a year after our first set of boys were born. Then we were all pregnant at the same time with our next kids, but I lost the baby and got pregnant a couple months later. So Liz and Becky both had boys, and then along came my son a few months later. Lastly there was his brother, Dan, whose wife, Maria also had a little girl already from her first marriage, then had a son a year after the first boys were born and then proceeded to have two more girls.

Needless to say our kids grew up pretty close to their cousins, aunts, and uncles. While Becky and Liz lived only about a half an hour from each other, we were 8 hours away up in Minnesota, and Maria was all the way in Virginia. Fourth of July was always spent up at Gram's cabin in Aitkin, MN. Thanksgivings and every other Christmas was spent in Illinois for our family.

Even after the separation and divorce, I still stayed close to my sisters-in-love. When the boys and I moved to the East Coast, we were only 3 hours away from Dan & Maria! While we haven't made it down there as much as we'd like for holidays because my family and Fred's family are here as well, we have had more opportunities to spend with them the past 5 yrs. Not nearly enough as far as I'm concerned.

One of my worries after the divorce was how I'd fit in with the family. Liz and I were close, but she was no longer family by marriage. I had always told her, jokingly, that I'd never divorce my ex because I love her too much. hahahaha Well, life happened and divorce was what needed to happen. Thankfully my sisters-in-love didn't ditch me.

I know there are many families who turn their backs on the in-law who is now divorced from their child/sibling, but this group of people weren't like that! I'm so incredibly blessed by that fact. We've spent holidays together still. The one holiday we haven't spent together in years is Christmas. Being out here with my parents & siblings has made it hard to go anywhere else. Not only that, it's almost a 15 hr drive. Not super easy to get there and back.

That being said. Dan & Maria have been hosting Thanksgiving for the past 6-5 yrs. We have only made it a couple times, but those times have been such a blessing. This year, when we were invited, I wasn't sure if we'd be able to make it. I called my father-in-law, Fred "Sr", to see how he'd feel about spending the holiday with my ex's family. It would've been completely understandable if he'd said I was crazy and he'd never consider such a thing. Shockingly, he didn't respond that way. All he said was, "Whatever you guys decide to do, I'll go along." Isn't that amazing?

On a side note, my ex wasn't there. I won't ever celebrate a holiday with him. So, that's something we'll never have to run into. Of course that means limited holidays spent with the extended family since he's at most of them these days.

I think it helped that Pap met Liz and her daughter, Renae at Brieanne's wedding in July and they absolutely loved him. For my hubby it's still really awkward for him. I totally get it. It's my ex's family. They are warm and welcoming, but it's still my ex's family. lol Since he wasn't welcomed and well loved by his ex's family he isn't used to having a wonderful relationship with in-laws, except now he gets to experience it with MY family, his new in-laws.

We played games, walked around Williamsburg, ate a Thanksgiving dinner together, and family photos. The boy cousins built a fort out of the bamboo that grows in the yard. The girls tried building one, but I don't know how well it turned out. We watched the Tech vs UVA game and that was pretty exciting. Then the girls had a good time trying out a "golden" mask.

One of the bummers of this trip was my oldest son wasn't able to go down with us because he had to work Friday and Saturday morning. I know as he gets older it's going to be harder and harder to have him at family gatherings. Whether it's with my parents, Fred's dad, or the boys' extended family, the boys are getting older and have more responsibilities.

We also missed having Liz, her husband, John, and their youngest son there. Their son had a basketball tournament, which he missed last year, and he didn't want to miss another one. Totally understandable, but they sure were missed.

I know it's an unconventional way to spend a major holiday, but a wonderful time was had by everyone. I don't know if we'll ever do that again, but it was a very special few days with some very lovely people.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Precious Moments Holiday Ornament

I can't believe it's December! Shouldn't it only be August?! Time flies and I have no idea how to slow it down. Along with time flying, I'm at least a week behind getting all of our Christmas stuff out. I have one table decorated. ONE!

Some of my most treasured Christmas pieces are our holiday Precious Moments ornaments and figurines. Of course when they asked me if I'd review & share about one of their 2018, I said, "yes" since it's such a natural part of our holiday tradition.

The "Have A Magical Holiday Season" 2018 Dated Ball Ornament is only $30.99, which you can find on the Precious Moments website. It's about 4.5" high and is made of fine bisque porcelain, which is hand painted. What I love about this ornament is that it also comes with a porcelain base in case you'd rather display it on a mantle or tabletop.

If you love traditions as much as I do, make this the year you start collecting the Precious Moments Ornament. It makes a wonderful gift for a loved one. When we went to Williamsburg for Thanksgiving, I brought mine down and gave it as a gift to my sister-in-love. I wanted to find a special way to thank her for hosting all of the extended families in her home for several days. They've made it a tradition, and I felt like the "Have A Magical Holiday Season" ornament was the perfect way to show her how much it meant to me.

I'm not sure about you, but I'm all about the dates on holiday gifts. I love remember when I received a gift or got a new ornament. This one has dates in spades. lol There's a date on her scarf, on the back of the ornament, and on the base! No way anyone will forget when you got this. There's still plenty of time to get more of your Christmas shopping done so be sure to include Precious Moments in your holiday gifting!

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Minimalist Home By Joshua Becker

The Minimalist Home
by Joshua Becker
Publisher: WaterBrook
ISBN: 9781601427991

I was so thrilled when I was chosen to review this book for WaterBrook. I'm an accumulator and as my old boss refers to it as a "surface abuser". If there's a surface somewhere, you can pretty much bet your bottom dollar I'll plop something down and it'll be come a pile so that you can't see the surface in a matter of time. I had a lot of hope that this might help me turn a corner.


A popular minimalist blogger and author of The More of Less shows you how to methodically turn your home into a place of peace, contentment, and purposeful living.

One of today's most influential minimalist advocates takes us on a decluttering tour of our own houses and apartments, showing us how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. He both offers practical guidelines for simplifying our lifestyle at home and addresses underlying issues that contribute to over-accumulation in the first place. The purpose is not just to create a more inviting living space. It's also to turn our life's HQ--our home--into a launching pad for a more fulfilling and productive life in the world.

My Review:

Living a minimalist lifestyle has been popping up quite a bit in my life for just over a year. Our friends in Peru started living more intentionally and each day for 30 days they would get rid of a number of items that went with the day of the month. 1 item on the first, 2 items on the second, 3 items on the third and so on. That seemed scary to me! lol

Then we went back to Peru in October for our 5th mission trip, and you can't walk away from what you see there and not be affected by it! It certainly made me want to come back and evaluate the "too much" that we have. After we got back I received The Minimalist Home and was hesitantly excited about learning more.

We were so busy I didn't have a chance to get started reading right away because we were so busy with life.

A couple weeks later the pastor at a church we were visiting was talking about how we accumulate so much unnecessary stuff. It was pretty amusing, but really a great way to get us to look at what we really do in our homes and how we spend our money. He pulled out a bunch of his family's coffee cups as he talked about how they "need" this cup and "need" that cup. All I could think of was, "please don't ever come to my house where you'll see my intentional Starbucks coffee cup collection that I have displayed!" hahahaha

Living like a minimalist was coming at me from every direction.

So, let's talk about the book.

This was a no-nonsense, but gentle approach to living life with intention and spending your money & time more wisely. The author, Joshua Becker, understands how our minds and our hearts work. We attach so much to "things" that shouldn't have those attachments. For me, the things that I don't attach a value to are easy to toss, I just never get around to it. Well, over the past couple of weeks I've gotten around to it!

He also encourages us to determine the kind of life we want to live. How do we want to spend it with family? Where do we want to spend it? What do we want to enjoy? What do we want our home to feel like as we live in it and have people come over to spend time with us?

I want to have a home that looks crisp, clutter, free, and like it belongs in a magazine during every season and in every room. For me, that's sort of a pipe dream. I might be able to make a dent in my clutter, but I'll never be a decorator. lol I'd have to have someone stage my home for it lo look that way. HA!

  • I would love to learn Spanish to be able to translate, speak to Spanish speaking people, and be able to communicate when we go to Peru
  • I'd love to own a hobby farm in Minnesota
  • I'd love to take my kids to Disney World & some day grandkids as well as travel

The author goes room by room explaining how to look at each of the spaces in the room and what we tend to keep in those rooms. Some times I got ahead of the author because I'd have a spark of energy to go through something and just get rid of whatever the stuff was. I got rid of so many sheets and towels in both linen closets. I went through some of the kitchen cupboards and got rid of so many things we just never use but I hold onto "just in case".

One thing I'm thankful for is that in The Minimalist home, nothing is pushed on us. In fact, Joshua encourages us to be very mindful of what we're doing. He encourages the reader to not throw out someone else's items and to include the kids at their own pace. The reader is also encouraged to talk the changes over with the family before going gang busters. Words of wisdom right there!

Something that I've learned about myself over the past years is that I have a fear of not enough (FONE) or fear of running out (FORO). I grew up without a lot. My parents didn't have a lot of money and I always knew about the money issues. So, as I became an adult I started keeping things. Not lots of things, but a little here and there. It began to turn into tubs and tubs of stuff. Now, although I've gotten rid of a lot of things over the years, I still have tubs. That may never change, but reading this book sure has made me want to make changes.

While this book isn't necessarily Christian, there aren't scriptures or references to faith, it's a good  book that's practical. It'll help you either take the plunge or baby steps towards living a less cluttered life. I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking to make a change!

About the Author:

JOSHUA BECKER is the founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist, a website dedicated to inspiring others to find more life by owning less. The website welcomes over 1,000,000 readers each month and has inspired millions around the world to consider the practical benefits of owning fewer possessions and given them the practical help to get started. He is the best-selling (Wall Street JournalUSA TodayPublisher's Weekly, Amazon, Audible) author of The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own. Joshua's writing has led to speaking opportunities all across America and internationally. He is a contributing writer to Forbes and has made media appearances in the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post Live, and the CBS Evening News. Joshua and his young family live in Peoria, AZ. In many ways, they are just your typical middle-class, suburban family--minus the dog and relentless pursuit of physical possessions.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Baby Essentials For The First Year Giveaway

As a new mom, there will be many things that you will want or need. Here are a few of our favorite items for the Baby's First Year.

Stuck On You:

Australia based Stuck On You was founded in 1995 by Carrie Felton, a mom of three boys. A global leader in personalized products for baby & beyond, Stuck On You products are available in more than 15 countries. Felton created Stuck On You to celebrate the individuality of every name, bring joy to new parents with unique, timeless products for every child, save families time, energy and money and help them to lead a more organized life. In addition to a broad offering of labels, the Stuck On You collection includes activity and personalized books, durable and stylish bags, lunchboxes and drink bottles, stationery, bag tags and gorgeous gifts for all ages.



WeWarriors is a reusable product created for all women with mild to moderate incontinence. With an innovative design (patent pending) and ultra-absorbent technology, WeWarriors EcoPads provide a unique solution for mild or moderate urinary incontinence. With WeWarriors, you no longer need to worry about incontinence leaks when you run, jump or laugh. WeWarriors is safe to use daily—simply wear, wash and wear again. WeWarriors hold up to 5 teaspoons of liquid. This is comparable to most incontinence panties that are designed to be worn all day.



For the first time a person can get a simple 20 minute relaxing, foot pain busting and beautifying portable foot soak by slipping on a pair of the new Soakees "Slip-On and Tie" Foot Bath Booties - the only "Slip-On and Tie" Foot Bath that needs only 2 cups of water (vs the heavy messy gallons of a floor foot-bath tub) - and can be used absolutely anywhere - anytime and anyplace."

Motif Medical

Nurturing your little one is about so much more than simple nourishment. Our motto is if it matter to you, it matters to us. We know that your baby’s health, hygiene, and comfort matters – and that’s why we created the Maylilly Collection. These products are about helping you to be the best parent you can be; allowing you to nurture and protect your baby quickly and conveniently, so you have more time to enjoy this precious and fleeting time in your child’s life.


Australia based b.box was founded in 2007 by Dannielle Michaels and Monique Filer. b.box products are fun and functional to make parent’s lives that little bit easier with a touch of cool thrown in. The award-winning b.box collection of innovative designed everyday baby essentials includes the Travel Drying Rack, Sippy Cups, Feeding gift sets, silicone drink tops, Diaper Wallet, Baby Bottle + Dispenser, Diaper Caddy, bibs, Snack Pack, Mesh Feeder, Baby Spoon, Bowl + Straw, Toddler Cutlery Set, Divided Plates, gift sets and universal fit drink lids.

Covered Goods Nursing Cover

San Clemente, CA-based Covered Goods was founded in 2012 by mom Jamie Yetter. The original multi-use nursing cover, Covered Goods covers provide true all over coverage and can also be used as a scarf, car seat cover and shopping cart cover. Covered Goods covers are manufactured in the USA.


UnbuckleMe uses a type II lever to reduce the force required to unbuckle by more than 50% (Note: this has been tested and confirmed). Leverage is critical to creating a mechanical advantage, and thereby lowering the amount of force needed to unbuckle.

Infantino Musical Soother &https://infantino.com/products/2-in-1-musical-soother-night-light-projector Night Light Projector

Babies will go gaga for this soothing fox night light that plays lullaby music while projecting a colorful, moving light display. Features 20 minutes of music or nature sounds, including 5 songs and 3 nature sounds. The gentle movement of the fox’s tail brings motion to the light projection, creating visual interest and promoting eye tracking and focus. The baby fox is removable, for a night light little ones can hold. Adjustable light and music settings, to use with or without audio.

One lucky Winner will receive the Baby Essentials Giveaway Package Including:

WeWarriors Cloth pads for mamas Soakees Motif Duo pump Motif bottle Sterilizer Motif baby nail kit Stuck on You Personalized Onesie b.box Sippy Cup and Travel Bib Covered Goods Nursing Cover Unbuckle Me Clip

Disclosure: A no purchase is necessary. Will Run 11/26 -12/9/2018. Open to US Residents 18 and older. Winners will be selected by random using the Giveaway Tools Form. You have 48 hours to claim your prize. This Mamas Life, and any participating bloggers are not responsible for prize shipment unless otherwise noted. The promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.