America, Uncategorized

Faith & Freedom Friday 7/10/20 ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

It’s Friday!!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐ŸŽ‰

After last weeks post I am so excited to keep going with this. I loved seeing all the likes, comments and messages we recieved especially those of you who shared some businesses with us. I started a list of all the businesses mentioned and will be sharing them in the weeks ahead, so keep them coming!!

This week I’m sharing a few of my favorite things……

I’m a lover of graphic tees and order them nonstop…. my husband can attest, lol. I know most ladies own their own Cricut machines and make whatever they want, but I have yet to jump on that train. And also I’m the least craftiest person in all the land. So I am constantly ordering them online. Facebook being the stalker that it is constantly shares sponsored posts with me full of graphic tees that are all from China. Which then prompts me to check Amazon and once again – China and also terrible quality. So Etsy has been my go-to lately and the shirt I’m sharing today is my absolute favorite!

This was ordered from SassWithClassCo, it was shipped the next day and arrived super fast. The best part was that I was able to choose size and fit. Most of the time I go to place an order and unisex is the only option and everything runs big, not here. So much to choose from, all of the shirts are so cute, and I love supporting these small businesses! They have so many shirts I love and I’m sure you’ll love them too. https://www.etsy.com/shop/SassWithClassCo

Also, check out my flag necklace made by my girl @bella.beadss #America

https://www.instagram.com/beadssbybella/

Which brings me to my next share for today. I love all things red, white and blue! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ We have flags all over the house…. inside & out, and my husband knows the way to my heart. So for Mother’s Day he surprised me with a large wooden flag for our patio from Buffalo Reclaimed Flag Co. It is so solid and absolutely gorgeous!

They come in all different styles & sizes, we even have a smaller one in our upstairs hall.

All of their items are handmade in the USA, this is a family owned company, they offer a military/first responder discount -AND I noticed on the website they are having a huge sale right now so head there and check it out! https://buffaloreclaimed.com/

Last but not least for today, before the craziness that is 2020 began both my husband and I got our carry permits (Erin’s is in the works as well). We all support the 2nd amendment and plan to head to the range to practice, educate ourselves and protect our families. If you don’t live in a cave you are aware that people filing for gun permits and the number of people purchasing firearms has skyrocketed! It’s truly an amazing thing and says a lot about how Americans are feeling. We’ve made a few purchases in the last few months including a gun safe or two. But this little box I’m sharing is my first!!! https://www.smith-wesson.com/

I’m so excited to practice, find the best holster and maybe add to my collection. Smith & Wesson is of course a well known American manufacturer but I had no idea their corporate office was right around the corner from me in Springfield Mass! So as we embark on this journey feel free to share with us the best products around as we welcome input from those of you who are way more versed than us!

As I said last week, we really want to put America first and make sure our money goes to businesses we believe in, so let us know what’s out there and invite others to do the same!

~Elena โค๏ธ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’™

Uncategorized

Faith & Freedom Friday ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

After months of talk, we’ve decided it was time we put our money where our mouths are!

Being a conservative and a Christian I’m usually good at being quiet, minding my own business, keeping my opinions to myself, buying what I need/want/like and not giving too much thought to where things come from, where my money ends up or what special interests these companies support. I love America with all my heart and anyone that knows me will say that is 100% true. But over the last few months I feel like things need to change. My love for America and conservative values can’t just be seen in my red, white & blue hat and the cross around my neck. I need to be more cognizant about what products I’m buying, what brands I support, and MOST importantly where my money is going. And I will be honest in saying that I will do this across the board and at times I will fail & falter, but I won’t give up and I will share along the way!

When I buy makeup for myself and my daughter I don’t want it to be from a company who’s model is biologically a male. I mean seriously! I want to buy makeup made for women, modeled by โ€ฆ you guessed it WOMEN! When I buy cookies that say USA on them and are red, white & blue I want them to be made in the USA and not Mexico. When my daughter wants a cute new outfit for the beach, I don’t want to have to wait 8-12 weeks for it to arrive from China and it not look at all like what was advertised. You get the gist!

So from here on out, we at this blog are starting ‘Faith and Freedom Fridays’. On Fridays we plan to share one or more products, brands, companies, etc. that are made in America. Products that support local companies. Companies that have Christian values and support Christian & conservative principles rather than cowering to the mobs.

Now, if you own, work for or know of a company like this PLEASE share with us. We are on a quest to put our money where our values our, put America first and get the word out for others to do the same. It takes hard work and diligence to investigate, but they are out there and it’s time we stop sitting quietly.

So here goes…..

For our first ‘Faith & Freedom Friday’ we have 3 businesses to share. The first is EverBe cosmetics who was recently featured in The Christian Post.

After being fed up with going to makeup counters/stores to be greeted by makeup wearing men and seeing ads for drugstore products featuring male models, I decided to do some research. I found EverBe online and the products are not only gorgeous, but each product has scripture inspired words/verses on it. As the article above notes this is the “first-ever makeup line to affirm a woman’s God-given identity.” AND a quick email to the company assured me that their products are all made in the USA. I’ve got a few things on the way and cannot wait to try it out! https://everbeyou.com/

The second business we’re sharing was posted on our Instagram page a few days ago. Erin got a super-cool new pair of earrings (and yes I am jealous) from KissMyBrassCo.

They have an Instagram and an Etsy page featuring all their products. When I say this is the coolest jewelry I’m not exaggerating in the least bit! This lady designs all her own earrings, bracelets and necklaces from spent bullet casings. How cool is that?!! I’ve got my eyes on 2 items already, just wanted to wait a few days before I copy Erin, lol.

https://instagram.com/kissmybrassco?igshid=1gh5cxm78su46

And the last shoutout for this Friday goes to my girl @Bella.Beadss

Quarantine had us all a little stir crazy, but she used her time to learn how to make some seed bead jewelry and started selling it. Instead of staring at her phone all day or making TikToks nonstop, she’s been a busy bee and I love it! I’m a little biased of course, but I’m super proud of her and have loved everything she’s posted so far. Here she is on Instagram: โฌ‡๏ธ

@Bella.Beadss

Go check out these 3 businesses and let us know what you think! Don’t forget to share with others and fill us in on other businesses you think we’ll love! โค๏ธ๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

~Elena ๐Ÿ’–

Fitness, Uncategorized

30 Day Challenge

We are excited for summer and working out harder to get swimsuit ready! ๐Ÿ‘™ โ˜€๏ธ Elena decided that I should come up with a 30 Day challenge for March three days before March. ๐Ÿ™„ So between working on Friday, basketball on Saturday, and church on Sunday I was finally able to finish it late last night.

We will be working out our abs and booty for the month of March. We pinned a lot of different workouts on Pinterest to help us come up with different things to try to get the best results for those areas.

I went with the Plank and Full Body Extension for the abs. For the Full Body Extension do as many as you can without bending your arms or legs. 3 sets resting 1 minute between sets. For the booty itโ€™s all about the squats and lunges. Below is the 30 Day challenge if you would like to join in with us.

– Erin ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

Uncategorized

Top 10 Best Commercials during Super Bowl 2020

Iโ€™m going to be honest, this year I didnโ€™t care at all who won the Super Bowl. So I was super excited about the food, the commercials and the half time show. The food was the only thing that didnโ€™t disappoint!! The commercials in my opinion werenโ€™t that good and the half time show was terrible! I felt awkward watching it with kids in the room. ๐Ÿ™ˆ It would have been much better with more clothes and less poles! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

With what little we had to work with here are our Top Ten Best Commercials of the 2020 Super Bowl.

1. Doritos

2. Google ๐Ÿ˜ข

3. Cheetos

4. SodaStream

5. Pepsi

6. Snickers

7. Wal-Mart

8. Mt. Dew

9. Hyundai

10. Turbo Tax

Hope yโ€™all had just as much fun as we had watching the Super Bowl! Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs, I think I heard itโ€™s been a while since they were at the Super Bowl.

– Erin ๐Ÿˆ

Uncategorized

The Follow to Unfollow game on Instagram ๐Ÿฅด

Lately Iโ€™ve seen so many people posting irritated about losing followers and I feel their pain for sure. When someone follows us I always check to see their ratio of Followers to Following before I decide if I want to follow back . Listen Iโ€™m all for helping others grow but the selfishness is what gets to me. The game is what ticks me off.

So whatโ€™s the game you say?? Well if youโ€™re trying to build your Instagram youโ€™re fully aware of the game. Those people who seek you out and follow you, you being the kind person you are check out their page and reciprocate-follow them back only to find seven minutes later theyโ€™ve unfollowed you. ๐Ÿ˜กItโ€™s downright nasty. Listen Iโ€™m all about organically getting followers and for sure you may have way more Followers than Following. I mean Iโ€™m always following people because I enjoy their content and have no thought of them following me back. I follow people for recipes, outfits or home decor and will continue to follow them even if theyโ€™ve never even looked at our page. But Iโ€™m specifically talking about those that follow hundreds of people a day just to turn around and unfollow them when they get their follow. Iโ€™m over it.

Iโ€™ve heard there are Apps people use, some are unreliable, some cost money and Instagram claims to be totally against them. We started just doing it on our own naturally. As we scroll through feed if we see a post before we go to โค๏ธ it, I just quickly click to the profile and see if the user is following us . If they are then great, theyโ€™re a decent human…if not then buh-bye. Unfollowed back at ya. Sometimes Insta gets mad ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ #itiswhatitis

Iโ€™m disappointed to see how many users do this. I guess it surprised me how many totally self serving people there are in the world. Apparently it didnโ€™t surprise Erin ๐Ÿ˜‚ This was our text the other day when I was getting fed up ๐Ÿ˜ฌ


Well thatโ€™s that! I would love to hear how others deal with it. We are all about helping others grow and will try our best to always reciprocate, we certainly donโ€™t want to be shitty people ๐Ÿคฃ!!

~Elena ๐Ÿ’•

Family, Uncategorized

Managing the TikTok craze ๐Ÿ˜–

We are both raising girls, quite a few between us actually! I have two girls with a good amount of years and one brother in between them. Erin has 3 girls…… 3 girls ๐Ÿ˜ณ….ALL girls and fairly close in age. I pray for her often ๐Ÿคฃ. And whether you want to admit to it or not, it’s definitely different raising boys and girls. And I’ll be honest, I am for sure stricter and more protective in many ways of my girls. Don’t misunderstand, I am still very strict with my son and no doubt he would back me up on that. I expect good behavior, manners and have rules for all of them. But danger seems to be lurking around every corner for girls these days, which is why I feel setting boundaries and ground rules from the get-go is so important. But this social media stuff is crazy hard to manage and stay on top of. It takes a lot of time and management which is why I think most parents don’t pay much attention to it. Unfortunately for my kids I’m not most parents lol!

The newest App on the scene around here these days is TikTok. It started out as kinda cute. All of our girls (kids really because my son even made an appearance in a few) were doing dances whenever they were together and my daughter would have to show me all of the videos before she could share them on her private account. After a while it just sort of took off and somewhere along the way I feel like I lost the reigns. (I think Erin can probably say the same with her girls.) Life just got so busy that we didn’t monitor it the way we had originally planned to. Since our kids are so close in age and spend a good amount of time together going back and forth to each others houses, we thought it would be best for us to be on the same page. And me in all my over-organized obsessiveness decided we needed rules…..in hard copy of course! I did a quick search and couldn’t find much online from a parents perspective. There are tons of rules and contracts out there that parents have made and shared for cell phone usage, video games, texting, etc. but I didn’t find anything specific to this App. So I decided to make my own. Rules are my favorite ๐Ÿค— so it was a piece of cake!!

Here are the rules:

Rule #1. Accounts must be private. ~No exceptions.

Rule #2. Users can only follow you if they allow you to follow them. ~Meaning no nosy bodies and it will be checked regularly so that if somebody continues to follow but changes it so you can’t follow them then buh bye! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿป

Rule #3. Anyone commenting inappropriately must be removed and unfollowed.

Rule #4. Parents can access your account at any time and must have login info & password.

Rule #5. ALL videos must be parent approved before posting.

Rule #6. Songs with foul language, explicit or inappropriate contact can not be used. ~Even if you’re not saying the words the songs are still not to be used.

Rule #7. Dancing and gestures must be appropriate.

Rule #8. Clothing worn must be appropriate for all videos.

Rule #9. If any of the above rules are broken you will lose use of the App for 1 week. ~That means no posting and no viewing!

Rule #10. Three strikes you’re out and the App must be removed.

Wellllll, the kids didn’t love my rules. Some felt a little stronger about them than others ๐Ÿ˜ฌ We gave them time to go through their accounts and tidy it up so we can move forward and really stick to it. The funny thing is when my daughter can’t post immediately… she rethinks a lot of her video or song choices. When that initial moment passes there isn’t an urgency to share the videos anymore, which is really the point any way right?! It’s often the case that when we take a moment and don’t say or do what we feel so strongly about in that particular moment, it doesn’t seem to be so important later. It’s also making her filter what she puts out there, because once it’s out there there’s no taking it back!

I guess we’ll see how this works from here on out. I’m always welcome to advice on how to handle all the social media stuff. Message us if you would like a printable copy or if you have any rules we should add….I love a good rule! ๐Ÿ˜œ

~Elena ๐Ÿ’–

Books

Young Adult Books ๐Ÿ“–

Ever since my first born started reading chapter books I read whatever she read. It started out so that I could help her prepare for her quizzes. At her old school they did AR and had to take a short computerized quiz after finishing every book. So I would read her books to help her with comprehension. I would get emails throughout the day with her scores on those quizzes and she was doing great! Then it turned into more of a parental control…. as her reading flourished the levels she advanced to included a lot of books I wasn’t ok with my elementary student reading. Therefore I would read many of the books before her or try to stay a chapter ahead of her. This way I could steer her clear of inappropriate books or be prepared to have to explain some iffy content. By the end of elementary school her reading level included books that I definitely didn’t approve of, often times sending books back to school with a note to the teacher saying I wasn’t ok with this particular book choice. Last year when she started middle school we went to the school library during summer hours to stock up for summer. I came to realize there were no more levels and many of the books there were books I had read myself and wasn’t quite ready for her to read. At this point she’s pretty good about weeding out the junk and we both can do a quick google search to find age appropriate levels. But she’s 13 now and many young adult books nowadays are read by adults as well…. i.e. The Hunger Games Series, Divergent Trilogy and The Fault In Our Stars just to name a few.

Recently I heard about Book of The Month Young Adult and I was super interested. I love that you get to choose which book you receive from new reads every month. I decided to be an affiliate and logged in to get my September choice. I was able to read a little synopsis of each book that way I can choose something I know my daughter (and myself ๐Ÿ˜œ) would like and what would be appropriate. The choices were great across the board and included books for younger teens to college/adult age. Honestly I would’ve enjoyed all of them myself!

Here’s our first box:

I chose the book Frankly in Love by David Yoon. No spoilers, but it’s about a Korean American boy who’s parents are insistent he find a nice Korean girl. Needless to say he has other plans but comes up with a plan to appease his parents. I’ll definitely post a little review after finishing!

And let’s not forget the goodies that came in the box ๐Ÿ˜ My girls devoured the cookie immediately! I haven’t decided if I plan to share those bookmoji pins yet ๐Ÿค” we’ll see.

I’m really excited for future boxes. I know my daughter is looking forward to it and already has plans to pass the books along to friends. Here’s my link below โ†™๏ธ if you’re interested in giving it a try, I think you’ll love it!!

Book of the Month YA

~Elena ๐Ÿ“š

Home

Super Easy Stain Trick!!! ๐Ÿงบ

My oldest has started cooking more these days and especially enjoys making breakfast for everyone. It really does make mornings easier so I can workout early and when I’m finished breakfast is ready, as opposed to the usual begging for food the moment I walk into the kitchen…before I’ve even had coffee โ˜•๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ณ And she’s even getting better at cleaning up after herself which is a definite win!

Last week after she finished cooking she realized she had this round stain on the front of a new Vineyard Vines T-shirt she had just gotten a week or so before. After much thought we figured the stain was from closing the Pam spray by pushing the can against her stomach to pop the lid in place. And we all know how nearly impossible it is to get grease or oil stains out of clothing!!! ๐Ÿ˜ณ And this stain was super noticeable!

Here’s what we were dealing with:

And this was after I had spot treated and washed the shirt twice with laundry stain removers. At this point I figured we were out of luck and she can just wear the shirt around the house, but she was pretty upset about it. Then I decided to give a quick online search and see what other stain remedies I can find as a final attempt. I read articles and watched videos, and I was overwhelmed. I read about everything from aloe vera to baking soda with vinegar and even WD40. I wasn’t looking for a big ordeal with seventeen steps, just an easy cleaning hack with products I already had at hand.

A few articles I read mentioned plain old Dawn soap. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. So I rubbed Dawn dish soap (which by the way I get at the dollar store because the small container is perfect size for filling up the pump by my kitchen sink!) all over the stain and let it sit for about 3 hours.

After a few hours I did a quick warm wash cycle in the washer and then hung the shirt to dry. At this point it was too wet to tell if it had worked. But later that evening when it was mostly dry….๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿคฉ success!!! Totally gone!

I love super easy remedies like this!! And the best part is it even works after the garment had been washed multiple times, because sometimes you don’t notice those stains right away.

๐Ÿ“Another good one is boiling hot water for berry stains. And yes it absolutely works! My daughter had gotten blueberry stains on a white dress once when she was dressed for a special occasion. A quick google search and I read to just pour boiling hot water right into the stain and poof ๐Ÿ’จ it disappears right before your eyes!!

I would love to know what other simple stain removing hacks people have tried! Comment or message us and let us know!

~Elena ๐Ÿ’–

Books

2019 Reading Challenge Update ๐Ÿ“š

Summer has been way busier than I imagined it would be. I pictured lots of quiet time relaxing & reading poolside, finishing books left and right …. but it hasn’t worked out that way yet. I’ve had some time here and there, but otherwise we’ve been doing a lot of running around with camps, swim lessons, summer baseball, errands, workers at the house and a recent 13th birthday that took up quite a bit of time as well!

Needless to say I’m averaging about a book a week -give or take a few days.

So here’s my most recent dozen:

I can honestly say I really liked them all!! I’m not going to spoil anything but here are some thoughts of mine on just a few of the books:

The Looker was a quick and easy read if you’re looking for something speedy. But left me with a lot of questions.

The Silent Patient definitely surprised me. It was one of those books that has an amazing twist in the end that you never saw coming, sooo good!

My Lovely Wife was not at all what I expected!! I try not to read too much about books beforehand because I don’t want to read spoilers by accident, so this was disturbing and intriguing all at the same time. The story was so different than anything I’ve read before.

No Exit was intense because there is not much back and forth time wise. Most everything pretty much takes place in a day or two period of time. So this one was really hard for me to put down once I got in to it.

The First Mistake I was sent as a prerelease and this one is definitely a good summer read. I thought I knew where the book was going but I had it all wrong. Can’t wait for her next book!

Honestly, We Meant Well- I was sent through an Instagram giveaway and had to put on hold for a bit because I had a few library books that were only 2 week holds. But once I got started I loved it! I love seeing the points of view of all the family members and the fact that everyone has secrets, thoughts, memories and hidden agendas that the others aren’t privy to. This is my first Grant Grinder book so now I really want to go read the others!

I have a long queue at the library, about two dozen screenshots in my phone and a Barnes & Noble order coming this week, but if there is something you’ve read lately that I must read please let me know!!

I’m at about 50 books so far for my 2019 Reading Challenge, not too bad. ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ“–

Happy Reading! ๐Ÿค“

~Elena ๐Ÿ’–

Food

French Toast Casserole- with buns ๐Ÿคช

Last weekend we decided kind of last minute Friday afternoon that we were going to grill up some hot dogs for dinner with friends. So when my husband got home from work I quickly ran out to get hot dogs, buns, sides and toppings. Hot dog buns were on sale 3 packs for $4. Does anyone else struggle with these deals the way I do? I mean I know I might not need the amount offered but I can’t seem to say no to a good deal ๐Ÿ˜–. Needless to say we had so much food that I wound up with 2 full bags of buns leftover.I hate freezing and thawing buns, I just don’t ever feel like they come out the same so I never do it and then they just go bad before I think of using them for something else.

The next morning I had a totally unconventional idea to make hot dog bun French toast casserole! Sounds crazy and my kids thought I was pretty nuts when I told them, but it turned out pretty amazing.

I sprayed a pan with nonstick spray and just broke up all the buns into pieces. In a large bowl I mixed 2 cups of milk and 6 eggs (because I only had 6 eggs ๐Ÿ˜ฌ), a little bit of vanilla, about 2 tablespoons of sugar and some cinnamon. I poured the liquid over the pan and mixed really well until each piece was covered. Then I made sure it was evenly spread out in the dish, sprinkled the top with more cinnamon and then some brown sugar.

I baked at 350 ยฐ for about 30 minutes. I used a larger casserole dish but would probably use an 8×8 or similar in the future so it’s a bit thicker. When it was done I sprinkled with some powdered sugar and drizzled with syrup!

It was seriously so good! I love a quick & easy breakfast idea that doesn’t require me standing over the stove forever. A simple and easy way to use up extra bread and you can probably do this with pretty much any type.

Sometimes you just have to think outside the box. I hate wasting food and I also can’t turn down a good deal๐Ÿ˜ฌ

~Elena ๐Ÿ’–