Monday, October 28, 2013

Get Inspired for the Holidays!

This post contains affiliate links.I will receive a portion of each sale made through these links.  
Thank you for supporting It's A Long Story!

Hey there friends!

Can we talk about how the holidays are completely sneaking up on me? Gift displays at Target and that one friend on Facebook that insists on posting countdowns to Christmas. Stop, just STOP!


I am in serious need of some help. If you are too, then I have a pretty sweet deal for you. It's the Inspired Holiday Bundle!

This is a seriously fantastic bundle. Over 25 resources from everything from Halloween to Christmas for $25! 

Here is what I'm looking forward to the most:

  • Be Thankful: Cultivating Year-Round Thankfulness by Amanda Pelser from Kids in the Word
    • We're working very hard over here to teach Abbey thankfulness and gratitude. This should be a big help!

  • November & December Planning Packs for Children by Stephanie Eidson from The Multi Taskin' Mom
    • These are full of meaningful printables like letter templates, prayer lists and ways to be a blessing. Definitely a fantastic way to stay intentional during all the craziness!

  • Homeschooling & the Holidays Giving Thanks by Felice Gerwitz from Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network
    • This is actually a recording of all sorts of homeschooling families and the ways that they handle the holidays with grace and joy. It includes baking ideas, ways to keep the joy in the season, and STRESS BUSTERS! Woot!

  • Extreme Christmas Savings E-Book & BONUS Planner Pages by Alicia Myers from Extreme Christmas Savings
    • I'm always looking for great ways to save for Christmas. This will have some great ideas!
  • Celebrate Jesus: An Advent Celebration for Families by Amy Blevins from Bow of Bronze
    • Abbey is finally old enough to really start embracing Advent and all that comes with it. This should be a lot of fun to go through together as a family!

  • The Sassy Christmas Season Planner by Jill Craft from The Sassy Slow Cooker
    • I am NOT a natural born planner, so anything that can help keep me organized and on track (especially with a new baby coming soon!) sounds good to me! And it's cute, so BONUS!

  • 25 Days of Easy Christmas Crafts for Children by Sarah Robinson from Sidetracked Sarah
    • Abbey LOVES crafts now, and who doesn't need a great list of simple Christmas crafts? I can't wait to dig into these!

  • Everyday Christmas: Helping your kids find Jesus in the everyday moments of the season by Lori Fairchild from Everyday Truth
    • I don't think it's possible to inject enough Jesus into our lives, especially when the chaos of the holidays is upon us. Christmas is about Jesus for heaven's sake, and He still gets lost! I want to teach Abbey to see Jesus every day, and this fits the bill perfectly!

Ok, that's just my list of books to read first. This bundle gets even better! Do not let this holiday season slip by! Make each moment special and gather the inspiration you need from the Inspired Holiday Bundle - 25 products for holiday inspiration at only $25. You save over $125! As if what I already showed you wasn't enough, here is what else is included:
Such an amazing list! This sale only lasts until Nov 3rd, so don't miss it!

Inspired Holiday Bundle - buy it now
Be blessed!
Terms: Sale ends November 3rd at 11:59 PM Eastern. All sales are final. You will receive the encrypted download links by email after purchase. You will have 24 hours to download the links before they will expire. We will not offer refunds for items not downloaded before the links expiration.  Downloads are contained in SIX zipped folders. Please verify that you are able to save the files before downloading as you can only download the links twice before they expire.
Each product is copyrighted to the author as mentioned above and may not be  copied unless otherwise noted in the individual product. Additional terms and conditions may apply to individual products. Please read the copyright information contained in each file.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sun Shine Down Review and Giveaway!

**Giveaway Closed**
Winner: Katie G!

Hi friends!

I want to share something with you today.

This is my friend, Gillian.
Isn't she pretty? She's also pretty amazing. Gillian and I met through work we do with Joni & Friends teaching local churches all about Special Needs Ministry. She is smart, funny, she speaks at MOPS groups all over the Chicagoland Area about life, parenting, imperfection and depression. She is the wife of a pastor at a small neighborhood church in Chicago, and had 4 daughters, 3 biologically, and 1 by way of adoption. Her 2 youngest daughters, Polly and Evie, have Down syndrome. 

As if all that wasn't enough to keep her busy. Gillian has written a book. It chronicles Polly's birth in Ukraine where Gillian and her husband were missionaries, her diagnosis, and the emotional roller coaster that followed. The care and treatment of people with disabilities is drastically different in Ukraine than here in the states, so the book also follows their move back, and the transitions that came with it.

 You guys, this book is the real deal. It is raw, and truthful, and lays it all out there. Although He certainly plays a role, this is not your typical "and then Jesus made it all better" Christian memoir. I was blessed to be able to read this book before it was published, and while I was expecting to enjoy it, I was not expecting to relate to it so much. I have no idea what it is like to deal with an unexpected disability (or an expected one for that matter). However, I do know what it is like to struggle to bond with my child.

 I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but I struggled to bond with Abbey when she was born. Between a very long induction with a lot of intervention, a 2 day stay in the NICU, and some undiagnosed Post Partum Depression, I didn't really experience that "ooey-gooey" love that so many new mother's talk about about until Abbey was about 3 months old. People would say things like "don't you just want to sit and hold her all day and just stare at that little face?!" and I would smile back at them, all the while thinking "No, I just want to put her down and crawl into bed!" I remember the moment that I "fell in love" with my daughter, and it took my breath away. I remember thinking "Oh, THERE it is!"  Reading about how Sergei, Gillian's husband, latched on to this little baby girl of theirs so intensely and immediately brought back memories of my own husband's attachment to our daughter. Those memories hurt and heal all at the same time.

If you are, or know a mama of a child with special needs, this book is for you. If you aren't a mama of a child with special needs, this book is for you, too.

It is available in print, on Kindle, and on Nook.

There is also one  copy available for you here! That's right, I'm so in love with this book that I'm giving away a copy. Just leave a comment down below about why you want to read this book and I will randomly choose a winner. The winner will be announced on Thursday!

Oh, and go follow Gillian. You definitely want to!

Be blessed!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Be A Blessing with Project7

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Project 7 but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #chewforchange

Hey there friends!

How often do you have the chance to be a blessing to someone else? I feel like it's something that I don't get to do often enough, even in small ways. It's certainly something I don't work hard enough at in the major ways. That's why I love it when I have the chance to bless someone else. It brings them joy, which brings me joy.

Growing up, one of the most common ways I saw people blessing others was through giving meals. There is just something about bringing someone else a meal that speaks love. I've seen meals shared in times of grief and crisis, and I've seen them shared in times of joy. In both situations the meals, and the people who lovingly prepared them were a tremendous blessing. Just this week I got the chance to be one of those blessings!

Just this past weekend I was a leader of the team that puts on our annual women's overnight retreat at my church. My friend, Hilary, was also part of the team, and was 37 weeks pregnant. Yes, she's a saint! We had this crazy, meticulous, minute-by-minute schedule and would joke about the fact that somewhere in there we should tuck in "Hilary leaves to have a baby."

Well guess what? That's just what she did!

At about 9pm Hilary decided that she wasn't feeling well and was going home to get a good night's sleep. By 9am sweet Cora was here! 3 weeks early, but healthy and beautiful. Such a miracle!

Of course, my brain went into meal mode. This is their first baby, and I know how overwhelming that can be. I wanted to bring them something that was simple, but didn't need to be eaten right away. Something that could go in the freezer until after the wave of new baby meals subsides if they wanted it to. I immediately went to my all time favorite meal to share, Baked Ziti. A quick trip to Meijer and I had all that I needed!

I love this meal because it's easy, affordable, quick to throw together and freezes beautifully. It's even something you could make a few batches of and keep in the freezer just in case a crisis pops up (like they tend to do) in your neighborhood or family. Add a salad mix and some garlic bread and you are good to go!

1 lb ground meat
1 bag shredded cheese
1 box pasta
1 jar pasta sauce

Here's how it comes together:

1. Brown your meat. Once it is cooked, simmer it with your pasta sauce. Cook your pasta about half way, as this will eventually go into the oven and no one likes soggy pasta! I like to use whole wheat pasta for this recipe since it tends to hold up better.

2. Add your pasta, sauce, meat, and about half the cheese into a tray. I like foil for sharing meals. No worries about getting pans back to where they belong!

3. Mix it all up and top with the rest of the cheese.

4. Write reheating instructions on some foil and wrap everything up tight.

See? I told you it was easy!

I wasn't able to get this meal to their house, but I was able to bring it to church on Sunday. It went into the fridge in the kitchen and Hilary's Mother-In-Law was able to grab it and take it over. That's what I love about being in community! When one person can only make it so far, another person is there to finish the job. Amazing!

Being a blessing doesn't have to be complicated. Changing the world starts one small action at a time. What if that action could be as easy as buying a different pack of gum?

Project 7 makes it that easy! Their vision is simple. Use products that people are already buying to make a difference around the world. Here is what they have to say about it. I don't think I could say it better!

“If people are going to buy things. Lots of things. Then let’s use those things they purchase to help change the world around us. Let’s make everyday products for everyday people to solve everyday problems around the globe.”

Easy, right? I grabbed these packs at Meijer while I was grabbing the ingredients for dinner. I often feel like because our budget is so tight that I can't contribute in any significant way. But you know what? I can buy a pack of gum. Lots of people doing little things can be just as effective, if not more, than a few people doing big things. Do we need the big things? Of course! But don't discredit the little things you can do every day!

Take a moment to learn a bit more about Project 7 and their mission:

Keep up with Project 7 here:

Be blessed, and be a blessing!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Family Movie Night with The Little Mermaid

Hi there friends!

What do you do to make family dinners special? Obviously dinner can't be an event every night, but sometimes it's nice to do something a little special. With a new baby coming soon, I really want to find great ways to spend time as a family before the newborn chaos kicks in!

We decided that family movie night was just what we needed!

First, Abbey and I went shopping for some Disney Princess goodies. We ended up with a new Ariel costume, since what little redhead doesn't want to dress up like Ariel?

At our house we do something we call "Snicky Snack Dinner". It's basically things like cheese, crackers, fruit...whatever we have on hand. This seemed like the perfect dinner for a movie night, but it needed a little bit of oomph. Bring on the Under The Sea themed Snicky Snacks!

Starfish quesadillas, goldfish crackers...

And, of course, fishy Jello! 

We pulled out the couch and spread out some beach towels. Of course there was an Ariel in the mix.

And of course, that new costume just had to make an appearance!

Dinner is served!

We had a lot of fun snuggling up on the couch and watching The Little Mermaid. It's been one of my favorites since I was little, and I love that Abbey loves it too! I hope that we're creating memories in the process!

We certainly created a lot of smiles!

Don't own The Little Mermaid yet? The Collector's Edition BluRay/DVD is coming out on October 1st! Yippee!!

Thanks Disney!!

Want to keep up with the Disney Princess fun? You can follow them here:
Twitter: @Disney

Looking for more Under The Sea fun? Check out this Pinterest Board for all sorts of goodness!

Be blessed!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

BOGO at Melissa & Doug!

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the fun things we do here!

Hey friends!

Are you as big a fan of Melissa & Doug toys as I am? We've loved everything we have from them, from sticker pads to puzzles. I love knowing that I can count on their quality. However, the toys that always get me are their classic toys. And guess what? Now through 9/16, they're Buy One Get One half off! Woohoo!!

I mean, who doesn't love a good set of Classic Blocks?

Abbey loves her Nina Ballerina Magnetic Dress Up Doll.
The learning toys make this new homeschooling mama's heart go pitter patter, and I think this Chore Chart will be making an appearance in our house soon!

And, of course, we can't forget Little Man on his way. There is something so good about classic baby toys! This Pound And Roll Tower looks adorable!
Now, go score some great deals!

Buy One Get One Half Price On All Classic Toys Now At! Click Here! Use Code: CLASSICBOGO At Checkout!

Be blessed!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Shop Update!

Hey there friends!

Did you all know that I have an Etsy shop? I don't talk about it much here, but I wanted to update you on some exciting new things!

A little history: After the crazy success of THIS post, I decided to take the plunge and open up a shop. A little over a year ago, I became The Flannel Lamb.

Since then I've seen slow, but steady sales. I love having the opportunity to help families potty train, especially with an eco-friendly option.

So, now that you're up to speed, here is the new update!

I have added a couple new sections to the shop! Up until now I have simply listed all the available combinations I make in the shop, and made them to order.

Now I have a Ready To Ship section, which has pre-made sets that can ship next day.

I've also added Value Bundles to the shop. These allow you to order more than one set, plus save money on product and shipping! Great deals are to be had! I definitely recommend having more than one set if you are actively potty training, so these Value Bundles are wonderful.

If you have already purchased a set of trainers, I can't tell you how grateful I am! You help this Mama stay home! I would love to hear any feedback you have!

Interested in ordering? I've added a little shop widget to my sidebar right here on the blog which will take you right to my shop!

Are there any other products you would like to see in the shop? Wet bags? Potty training charts? Let me hear those ideas!

Be blessed!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Easy Water Play

Hey there friends,

I don't know about you, but around here it is that great part of the year when we still have some great weather a head of us, but I am out. of. ideas! Don't get me wrong, I love themed play ideas and activities, but at this point I just need something easy to get Abbey out into the backyard and kept busy.

It doesn't get any easier than water play. Grab a few large plastic containers or bowls (the bigger the better, otherwise you're refilling every 2 minutes!), a cup or two, some bath toys, whatever. Fill 'em up, put 'em outside, and let the littles go at it.

 Abbey stays busy with this little set up, and it takes no planning whatsoever. She finds things that sink and things that float, she scoops and pours, and her favorite thing is "painting" the deck. I threw an $.88 paint brush in with her toys and it was the best addition ever!

Keep on playing, little girl!

What are you doing to enjoy the nice weather you have left? We've still got trips to the zoo and all sorts of good things planned!

What are your go to easy play ideas?

Be blessed!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fun New Goodies from LeapFrog!

Hi friends!

Have I told you lately how much I love partnering with LeapFrog? They are beyond generous, and have showered us in goodies once again! I have all sorts of fun things to share with you today!

The first thing we got to try out was the new Monster's University book and game for the Leapster Explorer.

These are so much fun! I mean, come on...the book comes with its own 3-D glasses! It works on logic and reasoning, all while developing word recognition skills, vocabulary and reading comprehension. The game focuses on problem solving, and has all sorts of great mini games. Abbey loves the Create Your Own Monster game! Who doesn't want to train with Mike and Sully? My one complaint? Since you are training to collect screams, the happen in the game...a lot. Not so fun while driving, let me tell you! Other than that, it's golden!

I am WAY excited about our next batch of goodies. We were lucky enough to be able to experience the brand new Leap Reader  reading and writing system

The Leap Reader is like an upgrade to the Tag Reader. Not only does it have all the reading capabilities of the Tag, but it also has writing and audio capabilities! That's works like a pen and an audio book/music player too! We're in love!

The great thing about the Leap Reader is that it is backwards compatible, meaning that all of our Tag books still work with it. Yay! However, it is the writing component that I especially love. Our goodie box came with the Mr Pencil writing book and practice paper. The book is full of chances to learn and practice letter writing, as well as hear a fun story and make silly noises. 

The practice paper is super cool! Abbey already knows how to write most of her letters, but this lets her practice with her new favorite pen! The paper responds to pressure, and leaves what looks like pencil marks behind. This would be great for reluctant writers!

I don't think it could get any more official...WE LOVE LEAPFROG!!

I was compensated for this post by way of receiving free product. All opinions are 100% my own

Be blessed!


Like it? Share it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...