5.25.2016

How I Coupon

This is a sponsored post however all opinions are always my own. 

When we were in the process of purchasing our home our realtor told us something that's proved to be true. He said that the first couple of months in our home we would bleed out money getting all the little things and settling in. Then he said it would be much better after that, and he was right. Actually, pretty much everything our realtor said about our house proved true.

So, since we are apparently "bleeding out money" I've been trying to counter act it a bit by using coupons. And let me tell you, I've turned into loving coupons. 

I've tried to stick to just a few things with couponing so that I don't get overwhelmed. Here is a little insight into what I use. 

Dillons App - This one is a local Kansas app but I bet your local grocery store has it too. Dillons is associated with Kroger so I would assume many of the programs here can be found nationwide. The Dillons app has on-line coupons, which means I can use a coupon from the newspaper and the on-line coupon for double coupons. They also have a free item every Friday that I can download on my app and then pick it up the next week. 

The newest thing they have is that if you shop on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday you get double the fuel points so you can save money on gas too. I think it's awesome! 

Ibotta - I heart Ibotta! If you don't know about Ibotta it is an app where you unlock coupons. Then you purchase your items, scan the barcode and take a picture of the receipt and they give you cash. If you'd like to sign up you can use the code nnptnpj when signing up and we will both get cash after you verify your first rebate. 

Shopkick - Shopkick is an app where you collect points and when you reach so many you can get a gift card. You earn points by walking into a store, scanning select items and purchasing through the app. Basically, it's free money. =) 

Wichita Rain Barrel - The city of Wichita has a program where if you purchase a rain barrel they will credit your water account with $75. The rain barrel and supplies to set it up cost around $150. However, that barrel is already full so when I water my plants and yard the water will be free. 


Groupon Coupons - I've used Groupon before and have been pretty pleased with the deals I get. I recently discovered coupons through them and plan to try them out this weekend to double up with Memorial Day deals plus the Groupon Coupon. Here are a few of the Groupon Coupons that I found to be super helpful: 

*JcPenney  - $10 off of $25 with code 
*Kohl's - Coupon for an extra 20% off 
*Sears Outlet - A page with discounted appliances 

Do you use coupons? 
If so, which ones are your favorite? 

5.23.2016

Maria Water Color Bible Print {Giveaway}


When we moved into our house I knew I wanted a bright, floral print with a Bible verse on it to go in my kitchen. I had a specific image in mind and I went straight to google and searched and searched until a beautiful watercolor print popped up. I clicked on it and it went to Maria Watercolor's website. I instantly knew I wanted a Bible Watercolor Print from her shop.  

Her prints are amazing for so many reasons. The watercolor is beautiful and I'm a firm believer that putting God's Word, in a visual place around my home is important. Her artwork is printed on a KJV Bible page, which I think is really neat because that is the version I read. 

After contacting Maria we soon realized that we had a lot in common. We are both from Kansas, have both attended the same Christian college, and have both served abroad doing mission work. How neat is that? 



Maria's degree in commercial art has brought many opportunities for design work through the years, but she says her passion has always been portrait painting. While living in Paraguay for eight years, she sold more than 150 watercolor portraits of common people, such as street vendors and open-air market ladies. Now back in the States and raising her children in Kansas City, Kansas, Maria started an Etsy shop that features portraits with both hand- and digitally painted details.

"Not even knowing it was a great idea, I started overlaying my watercolors on Bible pages." This new venture has generated significant interest in her shop -- in fact, quadrupling business in a matter of months. "More importantly, I'm spreading the Word of God, who is my first and greatest love," she adds.

Maria maintains that the greatest blessing of this new professional endeavor is "just knowing that all my art experience, all my years teaching the Bible, and even all the hard times I've gone through are being channeled into these Bible Page prints, which are encouraging so many and bringing the Bible into homes in a fresh, lovely way."



Maria also sells her beautifully designed art work in jewelry form as well as various Bible journaling resources. She just launched the sale of her journals and prayer journals and I will be adding one to my birthday list! They are so so beautiful. Her blog shares some helpful tips like how to manage stress or how to encourage and grow your little artist at home. 

Today I'm partnering with Maria to give one of you a beautiful watercolor Bible print . We pray that it will be a blessing to you. 

5.20.2016

A Cookout with Dave's Side of the Family


I know I keep saying this over and over on my blog, and now, I'll say it again: I'm so thankful to be home so Dave and I can spend time with family. It's such a blessing and I hope I never take it for granted. 

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law recently purchased some land that they plan to eventually build a house on. From time to time we go out to the land with them and walk the property. This past weekend we went out there for a hotdog & s'mores cookout. 

There is a fire pit area and we gathered sticks from around the area and built a huge bon fire. We ate and visited and it was so much fun! Their land also has a big peony bush that they let me take and I split that with my other sister-in-law. 

It's also amazing how much fun the little things in life can be when kids are around. Aidan was a lot of fun at the cookout too. 


I had no idea my husband was a pyro maniac but apparently he is...


Hopefully Aidan will just enjoy from a distance and not follow in Uncle Dave's pyro footsteps. ;)


I have no idea why Dave did this but it cracks me up. 


Yes, I do realize hotdogs are supposedly unhealthy for you but who can say no to an all beef one filled with cheese? So good!

   

We think this picture of Static is funny. She isn't supposed to beg nor does she like pictures so she refused to look at the camera.


We tried to re-create the picture that we took of Aidan as a newborn.



5.18.2016

My First Family Photo Shoot That Wasn't My Family


If I could tell you one of the main reason I wanted to move back to Wichita, it would be for this friend right here. 

I met Kirsten back in 2008 through our jobs at the Hyatt. We hit it off right away and have been really good friends since then. I met her before she started dating Daniel and it has been fun to see her get married and now become a Mom. She has also gone through some deep trials this past year and still manages to smile and take the time to care for her family and friends, and I admire that a lot in her. 

This was my first time officially taking family portraits for anyone other than family. I am used to landscape and floral photography so I was a bit nervous but it turned out so well. Daniel and Kirsten like to smile and laugh a lot. They were naturals in front of the camera. Their baby, although he didn't nap that day, was super smiley and happy. He did a great job and I think his pictures are pretty cute. 

It's been really fun to be able to share the gift of photography with friends and I'm thankful for the opportunity to do that.

If you are a photographer, any positive feedback or constructive criticism would be much appreciated.


When was the last time you had your family pictures taken? 

Which photo was your favorite? Why? 

5.16.2016

What I'm Doing with my Time

Photo credit to my good friend Melissa Dinsmore

It's been a little quiet around the blog, as I'm sure you know. I don't really have a specific reason except that life is happening and I just haven't carved out time to be consistent with writing. And honestly, I think that's okay. 

Dave and I have been back for 6 months now. I can hardly believe it has been that long but it indeed has. It's weird to think that one year ago we were on the other side of the world living a completely different life. 

I haven't share on the blog about what I am doing now so today, I want to give you an update of what I'm doing with my time. 

I really do believe that time is a gift from God and I want to use it well. I also firmly believe that using my time well doesn't mean I have to fill it by doing things or by being super busy. I think that intentional rest and 'still time' is important. 

So here is a little list of how I believe I'm supposed to be spending my time 

Work

Let me start by telling you that my dream job was to work in a floral shop that does events. That's something I always thought would be fun but that door just didn't open for me in this season of my life and I'm okay with that. 

I am working though! I got a job at the YMCA as a swim instructor. I used to do this in high school and I really enjoyed it. Wichita has some of the best Y's in the nation and our city alone has 8 facilities. It's been really fun to work with kids and to work with their families too. 

I'm also in the process of getting piano students. I recently got my mother-in-laws piano and I hope to start teaching at the beginning of June. I had no idea how I was going to get students but God seems to be working everything out. I'll have to share more about that some other time. 

I'm only working part time because I want to make sure I have time for Dave and for family and friends. I am thankful to be working again and I'm thankful for the structure it provides. 

Photography

I actually haven't been as active in photography but I'm about to be again. One of my friends has a photography business and I'll be the 2nd photographer at weddings. I'm really looking forward to this because I get to do all the candid shots, which I love. 

I hope it can be a chance to grow in that hobby and I'm thankful for the opportunity. 

Family and Friends

One of the big reasons we wanted to come back to Wichita was for family and friends. I can't tell you how thankful I am to be near family and our close friends again. I've tried to be intentional (and hope to be even more intentional) in spending time with my family and friends. I should also mention that while I love just spending time with family and friends, I've tried to be available to help friends and family as opportunities allow. I feel like this season of life allows me flexibility to help out and I want to do that while I can. 

Time at Home

You would think with all the traveling we have done that I wouldn't be able to sit still but I really do like being at home. In a way I'm home body but still have the travel bug at the same time, which I know is weird.  

Dave has a really weird work schedule and his weird hours have given me time at home by myself. I really try and use this time to tidy up, spend time in Bible study, pray or play my piano. 

I really don't want to sound braggy when I say this but I really feel like God has impressed on my heart to pray more and I'm trying to be intentional in spending time in prayer. There is power in prayer and power in humbling myself before God. It's a privilege to bring our requests before God and I hope to use the time He has given me to pray. And honestly, this sinner saved by grace needs some prayers!




How do you spend your time?

What's the easiest part of your time? What's the hardest? 

How can you be more intentional with your time? 

5.06.2016

Currently - May



Today I'm linking up with Jenna and Anne for the Currently link up where we get a peek into everyone's lives. 

Currently in May


Celebrating

The warmer weather. The blooming flowers. I love this time of year. After Burma I have tried to not complain about weather but I do admit I love the warmer weather more and I'm glad it is here. 

Reading

I've been a slacker lately. I'm currently, at a turtle's pace, reading the 6th book in The Zion Chronicles series. It's really good. 

I did listen to an amazing audio book about Jake DeShazer that had me on the edge of my seat, crying laughing and just in awe of his story and what God did through him. Long story short but Jake was taken captive during WWII by the Japanese. He was treated terribly but ended up becoming a Christian in prison and went back to Japan to share Christ with many many people. One man he worked with in Japan, who also became a Christian, was one of the men who was in charge of leading the raid on Pearl Harbor. It was really neat to hear all the things God did through Jake. 

Pondering

Jesus. I'm trying to keep my eyes on Him and not on circumstances that are sometimes hard. 

Sipping

I have a confession. Burma somehow changed my love for coffee and I blame that on their amazing teas!!! It's so weird though because I've never not loved and craved coffee all the time. When I first got back to the US I couldn't even drink coffee because all I wanted was tea. Now, after having drank really good tea, I'm a tea snob. 

Thankfully I have some jasmine tea from Burma and there is a tea shop in town that sells good teas as well. I bought jasmine tea from there so I could compare the Burmese tea to the one I purchased here. Just in case you are wondering the tea from Burma is better but the one sold here is a pretty close runner up. So, pretty much I've been sipping on Jasmine tea a lot! I like it hot or cold and at night I add in local honey (for allergies). During the day I'll add in some fresh mint and it's just so good! 

To my coffee friends, I still drink coffee. It's just more like 3-5 times a week instead of 2-3 times daily. 

Going

On a road trip with my sister and two of my good friends. We have talked about this trip while I was still in Asia so it will be really fun to go and have some girl time. We are headed to KC and plan to eat and shop our hearts out. 


What has been your favorite part about May? 

Do you love tea? If so, what is your favorite? 

What are you reading right now? Do you have any good recommendations?

5.04.2016

A walk around our Neighborhood


A couple of weeks ago a dear friend of mine came over to my house and we took our cameras and walked the neighborhood where I live in. We took lots of pictures of the houses in the area and just had a good time walking, until the rain came, then we bolted home because of our cameras. 

Let me tell you why I love this neighborhood: it's super old and charming and there are no two houses alike. There are small bungalows in the area to million dollar mansions. 

I've lived in this neighborhood before but I've spent more time walking the blocks and getting to know this area more now that we have a home here. 

Something else I recently discovered is that there are miniature library boxes sprinkled throughout the neighborhood. I can take a book for free and put one of my old books in there. It's fun. 

Here are a few of the pictures that I took in this area. 

I have always loved this house because, can you see that amazing library behind those two big windows? I've never seen anyone reading in there, and yes, every time I walk or drive by I look. It looks so cozy though. 


I call this the KU house. It's a KU blue and they have a big KU flag. I went to take a picture of the flag but the owners drove up and it was awkward. ha ha!


I've nicknamed this house The Great Expectations house. I don't think anyone lives here but they do have a sad looking Golden Retriever that sleeps there with a sign that says 'beware of dog'. I kind of want to steal the dog but I'm sure Dave wouldn't allow it ;) .


I love the yard in this house. The landscaping is super pretty and I love the monogramed letter on their door. 


The dinosaur house... 


The 1920's mansion.

Have you ever walked your neighborhood and taken pictures?
Which house was your favorite?
Do you prefer older homes or newer ones?
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