Unstoppable: Review & Giveaway

Unstoppable Review & Giveaway
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Most of you probably know Kirk Cameron from the 80’s where he played Mike Seaver on Growing Pains or maybe from his role in the 2008 film Fireproof. Honestly, until I saw Fireproof, I didn’t even realize Kirk Cameron was a Christian.  Recently, Clint, Shaye and I were at the movies and saw this trailer for UNSTOPPABLE.
If you’ll remember, this is the movie that was apparently being “banned” on Facebook. I think that turned out to be some kind of mistake, but anyhow. Sadly, we weren’t able to make it to either of the showings, so when I got the opportunity to receive a copy and review the movie, I was really excited. Here’s a little more information:  
Inspired by the death of Cameron’s close friend who succumbed to cancer at the age of 15, Kirk Cameron takes viewers on an inspiring and hope-filled visual journey to better understand the biggest doubt-raising question in faith: “Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?”

Going back to the beginning—literally—Kirk investigates the origins of good and evil and how they impact our lives … and our eternities. UNSTOPPABLE will prompt audiences to consider the role that pain and suffering has in our lives, as they affirm their personal views on faith, and encourage conversation starters about God, suffering, and hope.

In theaters for only two weeknights (Sept 24th and Oct 3th, 2013), UNSTOPPABLE: A Live Event with Kirk Cameron sold a staggering 260,000 tickets and reached a theatrical gross of over $3.2 million dollars. In just two nights this independent project sent a loud message – audiences want thought-provoking and meaningful entertainment.

Like that says, Kirk Cameron narrates scenes from the “Beginning” giving you some Genesis 101. Because of this, I think Unstoppable is great not only for mature Christians, but new believers and non-believers as well.

I will say though, it didn’t come straight out and answer the questions about why God allows bad things to happen to good people or where He is in the midst of these things. Instead, Kirk Cameron gives numerous instances in the Bible where these type of things happen and pointed out how we view those things today or how they shaped history. 

I’m a skeptic. I ask questions. Maybe it’s a generational thing or maybe it’s because of my upbringing but I don’t like the “Because I believe” answers to hard questions… yeah, you know what I’m talking about. I don’t have faith because my parents told me to and I’ve never thought to think differently — I have faith, because I ask those hard questions and have come to believe through answers that I was confident in and that were biblical, I guess you could say. I explain this because, the main idea I walked away with from this movie is that you have to trust. He knows what He’s doing, and you have to trust Him. That isn’t exactly an “answer” I would normally be satisfied with, but with the way Kirk Cameron presented it (all biblically-based), it makes perfect sense to me.

The film is Dove Approved for those 12 and older. There are a few scenes that probably wouldn’t be appropriate for children younger than that, so I think the 12+ is suitable. The DVD was released this week on January 28, so you can go the the official website http://unstoppablethemovie.com and buy a copy today… or you could scroll to the bottom of this post and enter to win a free copy. 🙂 Giveaway ends February 9, 2014 @ 11:59 PM.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Getting ahead {with a cleaning schedule}

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Hello! Happy Monday to ya! A couple of weeks ago, I told you guys about a (completely unrelated to New Year’s) resolution I was making to manage my time better and get “ahead of the game” so to speak. I thought I’d share with you how that’s going.

So first, we started the year off celebrating. Our weekend getaway was mainly a– we paid off a bunch of money in 2013 so let’s spend some money to celebrate. It worked for us. It was also a chance for me to do absolutely nothing for an entire weekend, and let me tell ya, I’ve still got it. At home, I can’t ever sit still, but I had no problem doing exactly that while we were gone.

But besides that, hopefully you’ve noticed the two easy dinner recipes I’ve posted since then and the one about our weekend getaway. The Mississippi Crockpot Roast and Freezer Pizza Dough are two of our go to recipes around here, and both very easy. They are both ways for me to “get ahead”. I’ve also thrown a few other things in the freezer recently: Macaroni & Cheese, Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken & Sausage Gumbo. I’m happy to say my freezer is getting full. The gumbo was leftovers and for the other two I was already making them for dinner so I just made enough extra to put a dish in the freezer. Two meals with the same amount of effort it would take for the one. That’s definitely staying ahead.

One of the other main things I mentioned in the New Year’s Resolution post was about home organization/cleaning. This is definitely somewhere that Clint and I struggle to stay focused. So to help with that, I’ve created a cleaning schedule for us. Cleaning Schedule

We’re going to hang it by the calendar in the kitchen and do our best. It’s mainly a work in progress because I’m sure there are things I forgot to put on here, but I like that there are things on here that we never think about doing, like the baseboards. The baseboards usually get cleaned in one of those panicked house cleanings because we are having some type of event at the house. That’s life people.

Wednesday is going to be my grocery related tasks day.  Clint’s mom keeps Lucas every other Wednesday so I thought that would be a great day for me to do my grocery shopping once I start my new job. Lucas has started eating more than a full grown man in the last week or two, so I’ll probably have to start buying double. I don’t know where he puts it all.

Oh and I cut all my hair off 🙂 I personally hate long hair. Clint and Shaye (my little sister) wanted me to grow it out and with the colder weather it was really driving me insane. It sticks to scarves and jackets and gets caught in them and when you pull it out it’s full of static electricity so it would stick to my face. Not to mention, I don’t like hair touching my neck. Needless to say, we weren’t getting along. I like it MUCH better now.

sara

And since it’s absolutely freezing in most parts of the country.. you should come pick up an arm knitted scarf from me. 😉 My little sister makes them, and they are super cute.. I’ll be listing a bunch more colors this week and if you have any color you don’t see let me know and I will get it.

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Do you use any kind of cleaning schedule in your house, especially for those easy to forget tasks? What works for you?  

 

Freezer Recipe: Pizza Dough

Freezer Recipe Pizza Dough
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Hello ladies! I hope the first half of the week has been treating you well. I’ve got a great recipe for you today that only takes about 15 minutes to put together and can make 4 meals: pizza dough. It can even be frozen– That’s my kinda cooking!

First, I wanted to share some exciting news with you though– I got a new job! I’m extremely excited because it’s part time. I still was not sold on part time or full time so my wonderful husband prayed with me before I went into my interview that I would have peace about whichever was the decision for us and that I would know. I knew! Now I can’t stop being giddy about it. It’s at another bank, but I’ll only be working Monday, Thursday and Friday. I’ll have Tuesdays and every other Wednesday with my little man. Thank you to everyone who gave advice or prayed for me with this decision and hunt!

But back to easy weeknight meals and pizza dough… The only thing you’ll need for this, that you may not already have, is some active dry yeast. To start things off, you’ll need to dissolve the yeast in warm water. The water should be between 105-115 degrees (I do measure it). Then you throw in all of your other ingredients and mix it together.

Pizza Dough Mixed TogetherAt this point, I dump the pizza dough onto my counter that has flour on it to prevent sticking. Knead the dough for about 3 minutes. You can make either 4 pizzas or 2 pizzas with this. Clint likes thinner pizza and I like thicker pizza– we make 4 and are both happy. So either divide the dough in half or in fourths. The ball on the left is 1/4 of the dough and the right is 1/2 of the dough.

Dough After KneadingWhen I make it, we always eat 1 pizza then and freeze the other 3. To go ahead and bake the one, I just roll it out with a rolling pin to try and get as close to a circle shape as possible and pinch the sides over a little. I put mine on parchment paper and cook it on a preheated pizza stone. If you don’t have a pizza stone a greased baking sheet will do the trick. Don’t try to put your toppings on until it’s in/on where ever you are baking it. I’m not sure of how much of anything I use to top our Pepperoni Pizza. It’s probably around 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce but I have no idea how much mozzarella cheese we use. Just top it with whatever you’d like. We bake ours anywhere from 12-15 minutes.

Pizza Dough Mixed TogetherTo freeze the pizza dough, just put each ball of dough into quart sized freezer Ziploc bags (I like Hefty bags, but you get the point). When I do freezer recipes I like to put detailed instructions on the bag so Clint or my little sister can easily cook whatever it is without me giving a million instructions.

Pizza Dough for FreezerI didn’t write so many instructions last time, but the last pizza we had out of the lot wasn’t very good. I’m not sure if it’s because it wasn’t taken out of the bag so it didn’t actually rise or if it were past the 4-6 week period and just wasn’t as fresh. Either way, I’m writing all of these instructions from now on.

Of course, this is a little more work up front than a $5 pizza from the pizza place, but I think it’s better and cheaper. But there ya have it.. 4 meals for the time of 1. 🙂 A printable version of the recipe is at the bottom of this post.

Do you ever make homemade pizza dough? What toppings does your family like one their pizzas? 

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Our Weekend Getaway

Our Weekend Getaway
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This weekend was amazing! This weekend getaway was exactly what I needed to help me slow down a little and it was great for Clint and I as a couple. We basically did absolutely nothing. Except, we did it about an hour and a half away from home at a great Bed & Breakfast called Point Clear Cottages in Fairhope, Alabama.

We both took off Friday so we could head out early. We arrived around 3 PM or so. This was our room, which was called Pelican’s Rest. It is an apartment over the detached garage.

Inside Pelican's Rest at Point Clear CottagesEven in the Winter, the outside of the house was beautiful so I can’t even imagine what it looks like in the Spring and Summer.

Grounds of Point Clear CottagesThe main idea of this weekend getaway was to do nothing, so that’s mainly what we did. Normally there are plans for this and plans for this, so other than eating, we made no plans. Friday night we went to eat at a little Italian restaurant. Clint got a Ribeye and I got Eggplant Parmesan. I wasn’t really impressed with mine. The next morning, we ate in the Sunroom of the main house with 4 other visitors. The housekeeper/cook made Crab Omelets, Homefry Potatoes, Crescents, and Danish Rolls. It was DELICIOUS. That was the best meal we had the entire weekend.

After breakfast, we drove down the street to the Grand Hotel and walked along the boardwalk for a while and through the hotel.

Grand Hotel Boardwalk

Then, we went into Downtown Fairhope for lunch Saturday at Panini Pete’s and walked around a little. The shops were mainly overpriced boutiques and antiques, which as you know, are not my taste. For dinner, we came back to Downtown and ate at a little sushi place that was highly recommended. The wait was about a half an hour and the place was packed. It lived up to the hype. Don’t let the presentation fool you, it was the best sushi we’ve ever had.

Master Joe's SushiSaturday night we rented movies and stayed up late watching them. Couple of party animals we are, huh?

Yesterday, we got up and eventually headed toward home. We stopped in Mobile and had Brunch at Spot of Tea on the way.

Spot of Tea MobileClint and I used to take small trips like this at least once or twice a year, but since we have buckled down on the finances we haven’t been able to justify the cost. The last time we went was when I was around 4 months pregnant with Lucas, which was around 2 years ago.

Oh, and Lucas stayed with his MaMaw and PaPaw so he had lots of fun. They even took him to the little zoo an hour away.

Lucas at Hattiesburg ZooThis weekend was definitely a recharge for myself and for Clint and I. We are about to have some significant changes in our life so it was nice to just enjoy each other, especially since I’m normally a slave-driver. I was actually a little anxious that I wasn’t going to be able to sit still while we were there. Don’t worry– I had no problem 😉

Clint and Sara at Grand Hotel

And nope, we don’t feel one bit guilty about the money we spent this weekend, which was under $1,000. That doesn’t mean we’re getting off-track, but we paid off almost $14,000 last year. We owed it to ourselves!

When was the last time you did something just for you or for your husband and yourself? What are you waiting on?!

 

I have some exciting stuff planned for the next couple of weeks. Subscribe one of the following ways to make sure you don’t miss anything:

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Crockpot Mississippi Roast

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I first started making Mississippi Roast about a year ago and it immediately became a Top 5 recipe in our house. It is the easiest recipe and packs a lot of flavor. You literally dump 5 ingredients in the crockpot, turn it on, and walk away.

I also like this recipe because I can actually remember it. I keep a recipe book with a recipe for almost everything I cook. I just can’t remember recipes for some reason. This one is so easy, there is no need to refer to a recipe.

I think it’s probably a love it or hate it type of recipe though. The Ranch and Au Jus will give your roast lots of flavor. I don’t know if I could eat it without rice or mashed potatoes. I would probably prefer mashed potatoes with mine, but Clint doesn’t like them, so rice it is. We love rice and corn with ours and a drizzle of the gravy over top << that’s how we do it down here in Mississippi. 🙂

Chuck Roast isn’t the cheapest cut of meat, so I try to keep an eye out for sales and stock up on them when they’re about 2.75/lb. We generally buy at least 5 and they eventually all become a Mississippi Roast.

I hope your family enjoy this quick and simple recipe as much as my family does.

LucaseatingMississippiRoast

Have you ever made a Mississippi Roast? Well have it for dinner tonight, I’d love to hear how y’all like it!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:3]

I Dislike New Year’s Resolutions

I Dislike New Year's Resolutions
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If you make them, fine. But I don’t think I have ever made one and probably never will. Sometimes just because I’m stubborn, if I think of a “resolution” and it’s around the first of the year, I put it off so that it doesn’t seem like a New Year’s resolution. Isn’t that silly?

Anyhow, I’m making a resolution. Completely unrelated to New Year’s, I might add. We just need some change around this house. Now that the Christmas rush is over for my Etsy shop, you would think I’d be “caught up” with things around here, but I’m still not. Besides announcing the giveaway winner, I didn’t even get a chance to post anything here at Not Your Mainstream Mama last week.

I used to be really lazy, especially with things around the house and I envied those women that actually had the drive to keep a spotless house. Now that I’ve had Lucas (I guess I could blame it on the hormonal changes lol) I have that drive, but not enough time to get it done.

And– since I know I can’t add any time into my day, I’ve just got to manage it better. This is where Clint would pipe in that I should not be working so I could have time for these sorts of things.

The other problem is, I’m also ambitious. So not only do I want to be “caught up” with things, I really would like to be ahead. I like working that way, one step ahead of the game.

For instance:

  • I would like to have more of my Etsy orders either ready to ship or halfway made so each order doesn’t take quite as long.
  • I’d also like to have the house more presentable. It doesn’t have to be spotless for me to be happy, but I would like it to visitor ready, at least most of the time.
  • Last, I really want to start managing my kitchen better. I’d like to start meal planning better, shopping grocery sales more frequently, and cooking more freezer/crockpot meals.

By doing all of those things, I’m hoping I will have the “time” to kick my feet up and watch an episode of Mickey with Lucas or snuggle up with Clint and watch a movie.

Do you successfully stay ahead of the game in your household? What tips would you have for me and others?  

Winner Winner!

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Hello ladies (and guys?)!! I hope you are having a wonderful week!

But today – I wanted to announce a winner for the Aqua Anchor Designs giveaway that ended last night. First, let me say thank you thank you thank you for all of the entries!

But now, what you’ve all been waiting for…

AND– THE WINNER IS:

Carolyn

Winner is picked randomly through Rafflecopter and Random.org. I have emailed winner and they have 48 hours to respond. If I have no response within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner through Rafflecopter and Random.org. 

Thanks again to everyone who participated! Since the giveaway is for items I personally make, it really made me feel great to see so many people who wanted them.

So, what are some things you would be interested in seeing at Aqua Anchor Designs in 2014? Any special requests?   

 

See ya Friday.

Month 12 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: December 2013

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This is the 13th post in Our Journey to Become Debt Free. If you would like to read the others, you can find them here

We made it through a whole year! I’m so glad we did not lose steam and kept trucking every month on this journey to become debt free. Clint and I both have pretty short attention spans unless we’re doing something very rewarding.. and this definitely has been rewarding. Of course, it was our hard work that has made it rewarding 😉

I want to do things a little bit differently this month. Instead of posting the “where we stood” at the end of November, I want to tell you about December and all that we’ve accomplished this year.

We did really good in some areas and really bad in some areas in December. I guess that’s life. We spent $516.33 in groceries. We had a few special things with the holidays. I also bought a bunch of Lucas friendly stuff in an attempt to get him to eat more throughout the day. We’re having a hard time getting him to eat food over his milk, so it’s worth it.

We also ate out a lot in December. I mean, a lot! My Etsy store Aqua Anchor Designs was really busy around Christmas so rather than try to cook and make earrings, we just picked up something. We’re bad, I know!

I made payments on Lucas’ hospital bills from back in October of $727.24, all of which were budgeted for. That left $625.68 for us to use as our Snowball. And we most certainly used it!

The $625.68, along with the usual payment of $178, paid off the CR-V!! We made our goal for 2013!! We are SO happy about it!
Now, our only debt left is Clint’s Civic, which is $9,523.59.

So here are our monthly Snowball totals:

Debt Payoff Progress through December 2013

We paid almost $14,000 in debt off just this year! Last December, if you would have told me that we were going to be able to do this well, I would have laughed at you.

Here are are debt balances at the end of 2013:

Debt Totals through December 2013

The bad thing though, is that I have some stuff going on with my job. The position I was in was eliminated so now I’m doing something I don’t particularly want to do. I’ve been trying to decide if I want to just stick it out until we pay off the Civic (which would probably take around a year), get a part time job somewhere (which would take us about 1.5 to 2 years to pay off the Civic) or just go full time somewhere else and pay the Civic off even sooner. If I can get another position, I will probably make more money than I’m currently making. I just don’t want to get something just to keep it temporarily, so if I went full time it would be for the long haul. What would you do? Decisions, decisions!

Clint and I are celebrating the progress we made in 2013 this month. I’ll tell you more about that towards the end of January.

Reaching your goals feels absolutely amazing! Were you able to fulfill your goals in 2013?

 

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chunky scarf or pair of shotgun shell earrings! Deadline to enter is January 7 at 11:59 PM CST. You can find it here.

Happy New Year + A Giveaway!!

Christmas 2013
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This post contains affiliate links.

Hello 2014!! I can’t believe we’re already starting a new year. I keep thinking we haven’t even had our wedding anniversary or Lucas’ birthday yet this year. Time flies when you’re having fun, isn’t that what they say?

Watching Lucas grow through 2013 has been such a blessing, but boy do I wish I had a pause button. He started giggling, crawling, playing with toys, standing, laughing, walking, playing peek a boo, blowing kisses, saying bye bye, and just recently giving the sweetest little baby kisses — sometimes with puckered lips and sometimes with a tongue sticking out. This Mama enjoys both 😉

Lucas Sleeping

Clint and I have made tremendous progress on the Finance front this year. (I won’t be posting December’s recap until Friday to give all our transactions time to clear so my numbers are right.) Clint has become so much more involved in our finances and budgeting and I am very grateful for that. Having all of the responsibility of the budget on my shoulders is daunting. Clint never actually “budgets” but he does look at the budget, usually on his phone using the YNAB app and helps to keep us reigned in. And I plan to tell you guys a little more about YNAB in the coming weeks too, as I’ve had lots of questions about it lately. If you’re ready to go ahead and get it now though, here’s the link for the $6 off. I’m excited to see how much more we can get paid down in 2014 and can’t wait to be #debtfree!

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In September, I started Not Your Mainstream Mama and sharing my life with all of you. I really enjoy it– gives me the chance to get out all of my opinionated thoughts without shoving them down anyone’s throat. Haha! It is very time consuming though so I’m thinking about dropping down to 2 posts a week in 2014. I haven’t completely decided yet.

Christmas 2013

Last, but not least, I started Aqua Anchor Designs at the end of November and have REALLY enjoyed making things and sharing them with people. I got my first repeat customer this week and I was so excited about it. As far as Etsy shops go, I believe I had a really good first 30 days and can’t wait to see what this year will look like. I have garnet crystals (January birthstone) in stock that look great in shotgun shell earrings, by the way 😉 I have several ideas of things to add to my store throughout the year so keep your eyes peeled.

Speaking of Aqua Anchor Designs, what better time than now to do a giveaway!! I am about to start carrying scarves so I couldn’t decide if I wanted to give away a scarf or a pair of earrings, so I decided to just let you decide. It’s your choice between the earrings OR scarf pictured. I hope that you will share it across all of your social media networks for more entries. The more traffic this creates for Aqua Anchor Designs, the more likely I am to do more giveaways in the future. 😉 The winner will be announced next Wednesday here at Not Your Mainstream Mama and on my Instagram, Facebook page, and Twitter.

Giveaway

Which one would YOU like to win in this giveaway?

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