Showing posts with label FAITH ♥ HOPE ♥ LOVE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FAITH ♥ HOPE ♥ LOVE. Show all posts

Monday, May 22, 2017

The 10 Most Effective Ways to Save Money

As a stay at home mom, I know how hard it can be financially. We skimp on things. We plan carefully. We make things homemade. We coupon. We have a budget and we try to stick to it. We appreciate the overtime work that comes our way. The truth is, I don't think only SAHM are the only ones who think about living frugally and saving money.

Saving money is hard when you do not know how to find ways to save. Saving money can be challenging if you do not set your heart and mind to it. We all know that little amounts here and there easily adds up. Different families have tricks and tips. What worked for them, may not necessarily work for you. The good news is that there are tons of ways, effective ways to save money. From food to clothing to prescriptions

1. Cut your grocery bills in half. While this may be hard at first, menu planning will definitely help. If you have time to do so, you can clip coupons or download money saving rebate apps. Most stores nowadays, have their own app and bar code. Some apps, you can accumulate points for rewards. Shop in bulk if it makes sense.

2. Lower your electric or gas bill. We live in Southern California. Inland Empire to be exact and summer season is really a summer season. When it's hot, it gets really hot. I signed up for summer program from SoCal Edison. What it is was, you adjust the thermostat when they notify you of power saving days. You either adjust it to a comfortable setting ( 78 or 80 degrees) or avoid using major appliances at certain hours. I must say that I was pretty happy that we did that. Why? Because of all the credits that we accumulated for the fall season. Those credits reflected on our electric bill. How about a $20 electric bill? Can't complain. ( free) can help you also to lower your electric bills. Or you can personally call your electric / utility  company. They might have some programs that you are not aware of.

3. Review and revisit your car insurance again. It will not hurt if you make some phone calls. Ask for discounts, esp if you have a great driving record. They might even have bundling discounts, where you can bundle your home and car insurance.

4. Cut the cable. You can sign up for Amazon prime ( not just the perks of free shipping but videos/shows too), Hulu or Netflix.

5. Learn a skill/ Baking perhaps, who knows maybe you can turn that hobby into a home base business. Sewing classes, you just don't know how creative you can be and it cam lead to sewing your own clothes, kid's clothes, curtains and more.

6. Have fun with little to no money. Check out one of my popular post : 50 Things To Do with Your Kids Before They Grow Up.

7. Think homemade. Make your own coffee. Pack your own lunch. Try homemade cleaning products.

8. Love to read? Shop second hand books. Shop book sales at your local library.

9. Pack snacks when your out and about. Trips to fast food even though it is a value meal , easily adds up. Besides your body will thank you.

10. Save time and money with SingleCare App. When you have school age kids. I'm sure you can relate to this. When your kids come home sick, then everybody gets sick. Medicines specially prescription drugs are expensive! Most specially if your family does not have a great coverage (health insurance). Luckily , with SingleCare you can save up to 80% on services ( dental, vision) and prescriptions. The app is FREE. That's a great start right?

How does it work?

SingleCare's savings can be both found on their website, Itunes or Google Play store (where you can also register to get a free card). It saves you money by partnering with 35,000 pharmacies nationwide to give consumers up to 80% savings on 50,000 different prescriptions. They also partnered with over 200,000 providers – you can save up to 55% on dental care. Based on my own personal experience, dental expenses are a killer. In a bad way! It is just so expensive. With vision, they partnered with Walmart Vision centers with 1,500 locations nationwide. The prices are all negotiated, so you’ll be paying SingleCare and they will pay the provider directly. Amazing right?

Here's a quick view from my phone.

I need some allergy medicine. Just fill up the needed info on the space provided.

and here was my search results. What I love about this is that not only it saves me time from checking which pharmacy will carry the cheapest medicine but it also saves me travel time.

I even tried a different medicine.

Once you decided on which pharmacy to go, click/select on it and just show your codes to the pharmacist.

I was also looking for a new dentist, I really love that they showed the prices and services. I really do not like surprise charges and amounts. I can prepare and save up for major procedures. Though we know how it goes with dental check ups, so,etimes you really do not what procedures are needed to get done until after the x ray. but at least this way, a rough estimate will be a great help.

Download SingleCare's app HERE : 

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Friday, May 5, 2017

How to Introduce God's Word to your Toddlers

I grew up thinking that I will for sure go to hell. ( no joke!) .  I did not see Jesus as our Savior. I went to a Catholic school all the way through high school. I was pretty much involved in church, went to children's catechism and Legion of Mary as a teenager.  I also grew up watching relatives and family members go to church , attend processions and host prayer meetings.Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with those. I just did not have a relationship with Jesus. I now have a different view of our Jesus.

What we need to do is to lead the way to know God. They say, the first five years of life is very important when it comes to the development of reading and speaking. The first five years are also important for them to know that God's word..the Bible is not a set of rules.  We need to write in their hearts and minds that they do not have to be good so God will love them and that if they misbehave, God will stop loving them.

I always believe that you can never start to early when it comes to teaching young ones about God's word. About His love and unending mercy. His amazing grace. I take this very seriously. Our children belong to Him, entrusted to us. We hope that one day they will become the citizen that our Heavenly Father called them to be. We just can not teach them how to behave properly in the church. We can not just pack our bags with "busy bags", hoping that they will be occupied for the rest of the service. We need to equip them starting at an early age.

       Image Source

Can a toddler really grasp it? Will they be able to absorb God's word?  YES !  Let's first discuss the cognitive development of a toddler .When your child was an infant they  learned about the world around them by touching, looking, manipulating, and listening. As a toddler, the learning process is more  thoughtful. His grasp of language is increasing. His memory and intellectual abilities develop. Their learning is through imitation as well. Toddlers can choose a book , can repeat words , can tell what the story of the book is ( in their own words and understanding).

Invest in a great Beginners Bible.

At this stage, they love to see pictures! Make sure that it is age appropriate. If you are not decided on which Bible to get, you can first check it out at your local library. We use The Beginner's Bible Book.

Perfect Bible for Young Kids

 Simple crafts

Do some fun and simple crafts with them. Pinterest is such a wonderful tool for this kind of stuff. Not just recipes! I saw this cute and fun activity for Noah's Ark . See It HERE. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive.

Devotional night

Start a nightly devotional with your family. You can involve toddlers! It doesn't have to be formal or at night. We prefer to do it at night before we go to bed because everybody is relaxed and calm after a shower or bath.Our mornings are usually busy and we do not want to hurry this very important time of ours together. If mornings work for it and be consistent as much as possible. If you still do not know how to do family devotional with a toddler, READ THIS from Intentional by Grace.

How to do devotionals with a toddler

Worship Songs

Our girls love worship songs. It makes my heart happy and I can't help to smile everytime they sing a worship song. You can listen to Spotify or you tube. Here in our area , we listen to radio station 89.7 KSGN .Here's a few songs that our family loves!

10 Worship Songs that will Lift your Spirit

 Simple Lesson at Home

Again, I will give credit to Pinterest. There are tons and tons of Bible base lessons and activities. Some are free , and some are complete curriculum that you can purchase. I suggest to just start with the free ones, to see what works for you and your toddler.  Just look at this fun lessons from Steadfast Family. Just poke around her blog and I am sure that you will be inspired!

Reading- Board Books

Both of our girls, love board books. Through reading you are not only helping them to love reading and speaking but  it also strengthens your relationship with  them. It helps develop their cognitive skills. It open up a whole new world to them. It matters what we read to them too, so why not add Bible base board books to your collection.

We got these books and even though our youngest is already 5 yrs old, she still loves it! Pages are very sturdy for babies and toddlers! Colorful, modern and cute illustrations will keep them entertained. I also love that the illustrations are right on point and not too busy! Simple words yet straight to the point--the truth.

About the book:
Retail price: 6.99
Children will learn that God asked Noah to build a big boat; that it rained and rained for days; and that God saved Noah and the animals, placing a rainbow in the sky. They will learn to count the animals two by two and will discover the many colors of the rainbow. Both books feature the vibrant artwork of Susana Gay. Uncluttered pages make animals and objects stand out, helping to build a child’s vocabulary as the parent or child names zebras, fish, bears, and more. These board book keepsakes are fresh, simple, and uniquely crafted for today’s families.

About the book:
Retail Price 6.99
In the Beginning, tells the story of Creation in just one hundred words, highlighting key moments for little ones. Children will learn that in the beginning, everything was dark. Then God said, “Let there be light.” He created the seas and the land, the sun and the moon, all the creatures on the earth . . . and us! And then God rested.

About the Authors: 
Susana Gay is an award-winning graphic designer and the owner of Threehaus, a branding and design studio in Winter Park, Florida. Susana collaborated with her seven-year-old son, Owen, to create Noah’s Ark as a gift for a family baptism. Owen retold the story and sketched some of the fun and friendly scenes. Working with Owen, Susana polished the text and created the art. They followed Noah’s Ark with In the Beginning, resulting in a series of unique and beautiful introductions to favorite childhood Bible stories.

DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products/services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it in my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this is in accordance with FTC guidelines.

 G I V E A W A Y   T I M E 

 ------> GIVEAWAY ENDED<------

 Maria Dizon
Fontana, CA 

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Friday, April 21, 2017

How Moms Can Inspire Their Heart and Soul

Sometimes I think it was much easier to raise kids back in the day. I often wonder how less complicated it was to be a mother sans social media..Facebook and Pinterest to highlight. Before I had kids, I have a whole lot of things to say on how I will raise our perfect kids in a perfectly clean house. I've day dreamed about my now husband, coming home to a perfectly groomed , nicely dressed wife and a warm home cooked meal from scratch. I had a vision of me, always patient and kind to our kids. I was in a reverie of a perfect me.

Guess what? With one child , I was NOT perfect ( ugh..and will never be!) BUT I was still able to catch up with everything. I still have a whole lot of opinion on being a mom and a wife. Life is still good! It looked like I was cutout for motherhood. All I think about was how to baby proof our house, how can I be an advocate of breastfeeding ( without shoving it down people's throat), how can I make that project I just saw on Pinterest ( and even make it better) , how can I perfectly orchestrate my post on Facebook ( and thank goodness, I was not on Instagram yet at that time).

Life happens. Life can suck. We were financially challenged during those recession times  back in 2008. It took a while to recover. We had our second child. A lot of things happened in between too. We recovered and we were blessed in so many ways. I gave my life to Christ. While being faithful does not give you immunity to stress and problems.  Life also has a way of teaching you lessons. Though life can suck , it is not about how bad your situation is. It should be about how you will handle it. My walk with the Lord is not always splendid. Truthfully, there are Sundays that I was just too tired to go to service. I am not consistent with my devotional and bible reading...and the most challenging of to walk the talk. It is hard to gracefully raise kids.

Carpools, work, appointments , school events/home works , community events, after school events/practices , meals , school lunches, bills , sickness , chores and making sure to raise a responsible and decent human being --- That is too much right? I am sure I have forgotten some responsibilities!  I am only a mother of two..two young girls and I was worn out. Lost sometimes, I would cry to my husband when I didn't know how to discipline my girls. I got so busy working on my own. I was too tired , depleted and I just know that heart is NOT in the right place. I have lost my drive on motherhood. I suddenly thought, "I am not cut for being a great mom".

I forgot that even if life can suck, I can choose to live life more abundantly. I have forgotten to ask my Heavenly Father for help! I am pulled into many different directions and I have forgotten to realize that I have a choice. I have neglected the fact that I can rest on God's love. I had let my soul dry up.

Here's 7 ways how moms can inspire their heart and soul.

1. Rest into Christ.

As moms, we are performance driven. I bet you do have one of those nice and fancy planners so we can always fill it up with our "To Do's" and check it off when we have successfully done the task. I sometimes do more planning than doing.  It feels like a hamster on a wheel. We need to rest in God. Fall in love with God. Whatever it is that the season of motherhood is calling you to, rest in His Word.

Read: Matthew 11:28

2. Be proactive in guarding your heart.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 that prayer will guard our hearts. Through praying and communicating with God , comes peace from God. Peace that comes from trusting God that He is in control. You got this mom because God is for YOU. Guard your heart from anger and criticism. Guard your heart from what is coming in. Our mind will always be a battlefield but our hearts can be our shield.

3. Unlpug

Unplug for a while. Set a specific day or time. The enemy has it's ways in our mind. When we scroll into our feeds looking into people's curated and staged posts/photos..we unconsciously and silently compare our lives to theirs. It can wear you down. Sometimes, instead of being happy for others we tend to forget what could be the story behind every photo.  

4. Use Social Media wisely.

While I suggested to unplug, I also like to add..following the right people. I do love Instagram! Most especially those IG accounts that proudly displays their mouthwatering healthy meal plans and meal preps. I honestly wonder how do they do it! BUT I love that part of Instagram because it gives me a whole lot of ideas and inspiration.

Follow , Christian and Godly women or account too. Here's a few of my favorite Inspiring Instagram accounts:

LifeWay Women ( @lifewaywomen)
Thrive Moms (@thrivemoms)
She Reads Truth ( @shereadstruth)
Focus On the Family (@focusonthefamily)
Women of Faith (@womenoffaith)
Women Living Well ( @womenlivingwell)

5. Read  the Bible.

So how do we rest and trust in the Lord if we do not know God. To know Him is to love Him. Know Him through the Bible. Set a specific time and a day to do Bible reading. I specifically love it in the morning while the girls are sleeping. If that does not happen in the morning, find a way to make it happen in that day. You can also journal and write Bible passages that you can memorize and know by heart. Reflect on those verses , not just on difficult days or when your soul needs feeding..reflect on good days too. Praise Him with awe!

6. Music

Quiet your mind too by listening to good and relaxing music. You can listen to yoga music , nature sounds or whatever hits your fancy. I personally love listening to yoga music, Enya , Etta James , some Indie music and worship songs!! See my favorite worship songs HERE.

 Berthold Auerbach
"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life "

7. Find an activity that clears your mind.

Find that simple activity that lifts your mood. That activity that you certainly love to do. I love to read and journal. I also find coloring and doodling pleasing. I love to use gel highlighters on my Bible and I doodle and draw too using colored pencils. Keeps my mind off of unnecessary things. It quiets the mind.

I am a fan of Inkspirations Series:

The Most Inspiring Coloring Books

To purchase the coloring books: SEE HERE

Product Highlight :  

Inkspirations The Art of Grace 
Creative Coloring Designs to Inspire Christian Hearts 
Artist:  Erin Leigh 

As a Christian woman, the grace of God adds nuances to the portrait of who you are — be it a wife, a sister, a mom, or friend. A full life with meaningful relationships, supporting those you love and care for, can often leave you feeling depleted. With Inkspirations The Art of Grace, you can renew your heart and soul by spending quiet, creative time with yourself and with God.

Creative Coloring Design to Inspire Christian Moms
Artist: Lorrie Bennett

Guided by the Spirit, as a Christian mom, you strive to raise your children in a world of constant change, with God’s wisdom as your constant guidepost. But when you are pulled in many different directions, sometimes you feel depleted. With Inkspirations Fruit of the Spirit for Moms, you can restore and renew your spirit by spending creative, reflective time with God. With perforated pages for framing or sharing, this is a perfect way to relax and unwind as you create beautiful works of art while rejoicing in the blessings of the Holy Spirit.


Follow Inkspirations on

 G  I  V  E  A  W  A  Y    T  I  M  E
DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products/services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it in my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this is in accordance with FTC guidelines.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

40 Non Candy Easter Egg Fillers

One of the things I enjoy about Easter is the Easter Egg-hunt that we do for our girls. While we enjoy attending Easter egg hunting activities in our community and church , we love to do our very own Easter egg hunt. I remember when Lucy was younger , we prepared an Easter egg hunt for her in the park.  We also did a couple here at home , both of our girls enjoyed it! We filled their eggs with candy treats and non candy treats. Giving treats may be an issue with parents of kids with allergies. Some parents just prefer to NOT give candies to their kids.

Truthfully, I really do not mind filling the eggs with candies. Some of it. Moderation.. so to speak. Luckily , there are tons of small things and toys that you can use to fill the eggs up. You can buy it in bulk ( amazon or oriental trading) , you can also pick them up at your local party store! Most of the items below can also be found at Dollar Tree . If you do not have a Dollar Tree store  or .99 cents store near you , I have provided links through Amazon. You can sign up for Amazon prime , free 30 day trial to get free two day shipping. If you wish to not continue the subscription, you can cancel it anytime. You can read why I love Amazon Prime subscription, HERE.

If you are looking into not filling their Easter Eggs with treats or thinking of what to mix in with the treats, here's 40 things that you can use to fill up those Easter eggs.

Disclaimer :  Some of the items in this list are not suitable for kids 3 yrs old and younger...they are too small and could pose a choking hazard.

1. stickers
2. stamps
3. small beads for accessory making crafts
4. small playdough
5. loom rubber band

6. washi or fun tapes
7. hair bows
8. hair clips
9. expandable washcloths
10. grow toys

 11. non toxic nail polish

12. small hand sanitizers
13. kid coupons ( ex. 1 hr of tablet time , ice cream date with mom/dad)
14. lip glosses
15. seeds - you can both plant them together.
16. small fun erasers
17. small slinky
18. Toy soldiers
19. light up gem rings

20. small car toys
21. Shopkins
22. socks - fun socks!
23. Band-aids - their favorite characters
24. Barbie doll clothes - you can find these at dollar stores too!
25. Tops that spin
26. Pokemon

27. Sticky hands

28. snap bracelets

29. small construction truck toys

30. puppet fingers

31. wind up toys
32. small bubbles
33. key-chains
34. small cookie cutters - for their playdough
35. small puzzle pieces
36. pom poms
37. legos
38. tsum tsums
39. ugly pets

40. marbles

How about you? What do you usually put in your Easter eggs?  

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