The gift of Mercy…

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One of my personal weaknesses is that I sometimes get so caught up in stressful situations that I tend to overlook the good things in life.. you know, those small, but ever-so-sweet and treasured moments that make life special. A couple of weeks ago I had one of those moments! My mother came to visit and attend a midweek Church service with us and I was so stretched for time, trying to meet a deadline at work, that I failed to even recognize that she had brought a gift for us.

Later that night, after realizing that I had completely forgotten to show her even an ounce of appreciation, I hurried to the telephone in an attempt to apologize. There was no answer so, recognizing the time, I disappointingly hung up the phone. It was too late. Time had slipped away and it was well past a decent hour. She was asleep for the night. I felt awful! But more importantly, how terrible SHE must have felt to have taken the time (which is the most treasured commodity in life) to pick out this special gift for us and then,to not even receive the slightest “Thank you”.

It was definitely not that we didn’t appreciate the gift or that it wasn’t beautiful. So then, WHY? Why had I not taken the time to stop and express the gratitude that was so deserved. It was BUSYNESS! You see, somehow this little word kept creeping into our lives. Controlling our relationships. Mandating our schedules. It had become our inescapable puppetmaster.

Disappointment set in. I was disappointed in myself for not slowing down to acknowledge the nice gesture of someone so dear to me. I was disappointed for not being able to manage my time better. Why couldn’t I get it together? I had spent hours upon hours trying to create routines that were sure to create an ideal, organized lifestyle. I had tried to focus on being the ideal wife, mom, coworker, employee, homemaker, Christian, and on and on. So then, WHY? Why was it so difficult to find the time to treasure the small things?

The next morning, I continued to ponder these questions. By noon, I had made up my mind. I was going to work extra hard at “getting it together”. If I could get everything caught up, then maybe, just maybe I’d have time to appreciate all of the small, treasurable moments of life. So the journey began. I cleaned house that day like none other! I was in complete overdrive. I wrote out the bills, washed clothes, ran errands, cooked, & even swept the porch. I was ready! Ready for what I thought would be a redemption plan.

Later that day, my mom called. I was excited to finally get to apologize for the terrible way I had overlooked her gift. So there I began.. “Mom, remember when you gave me that gift yesterday? I am really sorry that I didn’t get to thank you for it.” Her response reminded me of the way God must love us. She said “Oh, that is fine. I didn’t think twice about it!”

I knew it was true. She hadn’t even thought another second about it. Forgiveness. Mercy. Grace. That’s what explains it. She had not expected perfection from me at my low point. She seen how exhausted and rushed I was and therefore, not another thought went into me forgetting to say Thank you.

This must be the way God feels about His children as well. We are so undeserving at times, yet He overlooks our flaws. He can see past our stubborn, messy, impatient, pessimistic attitudes and He loves us anyway.

Thank you mom, for being that example & reminding me, once again, that forgiveness and mercy triumphs all.What a true gift you are!

Love you!

 

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How to coupon at Harris Teeter and drastically cut your grocery bill!

Have you ever wished that you knew the secrets of those coupon-binder-carrying shoppers at Harris Teeter? Do the words e-vic, super double, and raincheck seem all too confusing? Well, here’s your opportunity! Here are step-by-step instructions on how to drastically lower your grocery bill at HT and free up some of that grocery money for other neat stuff!

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I couldn’t count on both hands the number of times I’ve been asked by moms “How do you get such great deals?” Couponing, that is. People are always asking, so here it is, a breakdown of the Harris Teeter couponing guidelines and some very useful tips on how to cut your grocery bill drastically!

For starters, let me begin by saying that Harris Teeter is NOT, by any means, the ONLY store that you can find great deals couponing. There are many others, such as: CVS, Rite Aid, Bi-Lo, Food Lion, and Walgreens. However, today we will focus our attention on Harris Teeter.

When shopping Harris Teeter stores, you will need to have a clear understanding of the coupon policy. If not, you will not be able to fully take advantage of your coupons. I will give an overview of what they allow and do not allow a little in this post but for the latest and most updated source, you can click here for their coupon policy.

Here are a few tips to begin with:

  • q is a short-hand term for coupon and will be used throughout this post to refer to coupons
  • HT will double 20 coupons (per household) per day.
  • HT will double 3 like (same) coupons 
  • For items that are out-of-stock, you can visit the service desk to request Rainchecks. These allow you to receive the same sale price at a later date since the item was not available. They NEVER expire therefore it’s most beneficial to wait to use them until you have q’s to match the raincheck.
  • HT offers their evic members electronic store coupons (evic coupons) that can be loaded onto your store evic card. Just visit their site to load them each week before your shopping trip.

On regular sale weeks, HT will double coupons up to .99. This simply means that if you have a coupon for .75 off you will receive $1.50 off of that item as long as the item’s total cost is equal to (or exceeds) $1.50. In the case that the item DOES NOT equal or exceed $1.50, you will get the item for free but will not receive the leftovers in case. (Ex. An item cost $1.25 and you use a .75 coupon which doubles to $1.50 off. The item will be free but you will not receive the remainder of .25 in cash back)

On super double sale weeks, HT will double coupons up to $2. The same rule applies to items that DO NOT equal or exceed the couple-doubled value. If a q doubles to $4 but the item only cost $3.50, the item will be free, however, you will not receive the $0.50 difference in cash back.

If you have a raincheck for an item that was on sale during a super-double event, and the store restocks that item after the sale ends, you will still be able to purchase that item at the sale price on the raincheck, however, the raincheck does NOT permit you to double a q up to $2 once the super-double sale is over.

The new sales will begin on Wednesday of each week. The deals will be posted earlier in the week on one of my favorite sites, Moolasavingmom.com, which I HIGHLY recommend you follow as well. Jessie, along with her team, does an amazing job matching the sales with the available q’s each week.

For example, here’s an example of a sale item (matched with q’s) during a regular sale:

Hefty paper plates (50 count):

Regular price is $2.39 but they are on sale for 2 for $3. You have TWO q’s for $0.50 off of 1 pack. Each of these will double to $1 off so you will only pay $0.50 for each pack. ($1 total). Here’s the math.

$3 (price for two packs) – $2 in q’s = $1 for both packs

Now, here’s an example of a sale item (matched with q’s) during a super-double event:

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise (30 oz):
Regular price is $5.99 but it is on sale for half-off which makes it $2.99. You have a $1.50 off q which doubles to $3 off. You will get it FREE! 🙂

Getting organized before the trip:

Go through your q’s and clip each one that you will need for the week. Place them in a zipper pouch (you can purchase these for around $1). Now, you will need to sort through the q’s that you will be using for your 1st trip that week. Place those in a separate zipper pouch.  Be sure to bring both pouches along on the trip. This way, you will have a back-up supply to pull from in case any of the items you planned on purchasing are sold out.

You can also sign-up here for Jessi’s e-club to get free access to a neat, editable shopping list template. Having a pre-filled shopping list will ensure that you do not get overcharged on any of the items. Check your list at the register and compare the totals on your list to the totals on the register. If there are any discrepancies, do not hesitate to go to the customer service desk before leaving. That’s what it’s there for. 🙂

You will want to get all of your rainchecks together in a separate pouch. I take them with me on every trip since I never know when I’m going to run across a good q to match them with. 😉

There are many different types of q’s. The main types include:

  • insert q’s (found in the Sunday newspaper),
  • printables (printed from online sources such as www.coupons.com),
  • store coupons (found in various places – sometimes on the back of your receipt)
  • There are also coupons that print off from those little machines beside the register once you have completed your transaction. These are called catalina q’s.

As I mentioned earlier, Harris Teeter will double up to 3 like q’s.

After the 3rd “insert” coupon has been doubled, any remaining insert q’s will be deducted at face-value.

However, after 3 “printable” coupons are doubled, no more of those will be accepted (even at face-value). FYI: I have seen many stores vary on this rule, so you may want to check with your local store to see what their guidelines are on this particular rule.

Things to take with you on your shopping trip:

  • Sales flyer (especially important in case they haven’t marked all of the sales items with tags yet)
  • Cell phone (for taking pics of the out-of-stock items to get your rainchecks and also for checking on moolasavingmom.com to use the “find a coupon” link.
  • Calculator, pen, shopping list, q’s, payment method, paper clips & yes, even scissors! You never know when you’ll need to cut out some last-minute q’s for unexpected sales or clearance items that you may find. 🙂
  • Rainchecks

Be sure to plan to spend at least an hour or so on the first trip since you are still learning & don’t forget to visit the Harris Teeter web site to signup for your evic account. Soon after you’ve done so, you will be allowed to load your evic q’s which are those electronic q’s that Harris Teeter offers to their evic members. (I mentioned this earlier)

These should automatically deduct from your grocery bill when the item is scanned at the register if you have pre-loaded them before your trip. FYI: It may take a couple of weeks for a new cardholder to be able to load them so check your online account regularly to see when they become available.

I hope this helps you to better understand the couponing policy at Harris Teeter! My advice would be to pair up with a couple of couponing buddies each week! This adds to the fun tremendously! I personally enjoy my HT shopping trips with my mother & uncle. What better way to enjoy family time than to save money while doing so?  🙂

Happy Couponing! ♥

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FREE Father’s Day Printables!

Just in time for Father’s Day!

Here are some awesome Father’s day printables for those of you that are still looking for that perfect card… Head on over to swishprintables.com and begin printing yours now.

free subway art

And if you’re looking for an even craftier idea, check out this post from mysuburbankitchen.com where Shannah turns the printable into a creative plaque!

subway art plaque

Don’t forget to comment below and share all of the cute ideas you’ve created!

Hope you enjoy! ♥

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The 3 biggest lies the devil uses to deceive us…

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

 

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The devil’s primary goal is to prevent us from having a personal relationship with the Father. His biggest fear is that we’ll enter into that relationship and overcome his cruel destination for our souls. He fears Salvation. So, what does he do to prevent that relationship?

His first plot is to try to convince us that we can delay in having a relationship with God until we’re older or that we have “all the time in the World” to commit our lives to God. The mentality that “We can always get Saved when we’re older” or “I’m just not ready yet” is a trick from the devil.

We are deceived if we think that way. The reality is, we don’t have plenty of time. We are NOT promised tomorrow. However, if he can keep us convinced that we are, he can prevent us from entering into a strong relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Once he realizes that we’ve overcome his first plot and we have formed that relationship with God, he moves on to his next attempt. He attacks our time to make us believe that we do not have time for God’s Word. By stealing our time and distracting us from the unique plan that God has for each of our lives, he can not only prevent our relationship with the Lord from getting deeper, but he can also hinder us from finding the time to spend with our family unit which leads to even greater disaster in our lives.

Ask yourself, “Am I stuck at this point? Do I believe in God but find that I do not commit the time necessary to strengthen our relationship?” Every day that we are not living for the Lord is another day that our “purpose” is not being fulfilled. Our Kingdom work goes undone and we are simply not living up to our full potential.

Have you ever reviewed your weekly schedule and wondered how the time slipped away? How is it Friday already? All those little things in our schedules really add up, don’t they? It’s true and if the devil can use this against us, he will. He knows our weaknesses. He acknowledges that we have a hard time saying “No” when asked to commit to things, even though we know we do not have the extra time for them.

If he can persuade us to feel like our daily schedules leave no room for ANYTHING, he can prevent us from ever reaching our Kingdom goals. The enemy’s attempt to distract our time can sometimes be very difficult to decipher. We often have a hard time realizing what’s important and what’s not, therefore, it all begins to seem important. We get consumed by each task and eventually we become overwhelmed.

The distractions may include cell phones, computers, social media, work, a new hobby, a relationship, or even Kingdom work. We need to stay Prayed up and focused so that when these things begin to take the front seat in our lives, we can recognize it and readjust our priorities.

On the contrary, when we are diligent about building a solid relationship with Jesus & doing God’s work, the devil notices. He becomes worried. He begins to use stronger strategies to hinder us. He begins to attack us in mind, body, and spirit. This is his most crucial attack because he knows he has little time left. Our relationship with the Lord has strengthened and it makes the enemy feel threatened.

He attempts to put thoughts in our minds that convince us that we are unworthy and that we are not capable of doing the Works that God has made us passionate about. He begins to work through others if he has to. He may use friends, co-workers, family, etc. to come against us. We acknowledge the attacks but do not always realize their source. We must be aware of these attacks that he uses to work against us. If not, they can cause us to lose our Joy, Peace, and most importantly, Love for others.

We also risk being overwhelmed by the struggles we face through these trials. Once we become overwhelmed, our health is at stake. Stress settles in and our immune systems begin to cave. This allows the devil to convince us, more than ever before, that we do not have the time or energy to do God’s work.

Even though we know that all sickness does not originate from this, many times it can. The enemy knows that if he can convince us that things are hopeless & constantly make us feel beat down, depressed, sick, anxious, and worried, he has the victory. This can eventually lead to a broken Spirit. At this stage we will begin to pull away from family & friends.

It is a very critical stage. That’s why it is so important for us to recognize the attacks from the enemy BEFORE we get to this point. We must stop him in his tracks and allow no room for him in our thoughts. We must not fall prey to his lies!

We have the authority to do this! Recall that in Scripture, God tells us to “put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11) and it is also in Scripture that we have authority over the enemy. “Behold, I have given you AUTHORITY to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over ALL the power of the enemy, and NOTHING will injure you.” (Luke 10:19)

Let’s challenge ourselves this week to scope out those areas of our lives that we may be falling short and allowing the devil to creep into. Let’s Pray hard with determination to put our relationship with God first. Spend some time with Him when you first wake up in the morning, whether it’s while you’re getting ready for work or on the car ride to work, make sure to converse with Him before you begin your day! ♥

Live with Peace & Purpose,

Tasha

 

How using a Planner can Free your Mind!

Today’s Verse comes from the lovely Psalms. ♥

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As busy moms, we sometimes (OK, maybe A LOT of times) find ourselves not having adequate time to complete all the tasks we had originally planned out for the week. We have our planners full with all of our “Oh, such good intent”, but then what happens? LIFE!

We can all relate to busy schedules, hectic days, and fast food dinner nights. This has become the sad norm in our society lately. It always saddens me to think about all the time I’m losing when it comes to my children. They grow up entirely too fast!

Therefore, my new year’s resolution this year was to manage my time better. After all, time is the one thing that cannot be replaced, right? I decided to purchase my very first Timesmart monthly/weekly planner in which I ended up falling head-over-heels in LOVE with!

I began to write every single appointment down including: school meetings, Dr. appointments, work-related commitments, I even wrote down phone calls that had to be made. The key is to write EVERYTHING down in that one planner. This way, you are literally creating a brain-dump station for all 100 things that are running through your mind at any given point during the day. This has been proven, by many, to help free your mind and lead to a more productive mind-set. Besides, who doesn’t need that, right?

I love having the peace of knowing that I can clear my thoughts but yet they are still with me, right there in my little planner, waiting until I am ready to pick them back up! So go for it! Carry it with you at all times! I take mine EVERYWHERE!

Once you make it a habit, you will see how much time you can save by merely organizing all of those to-do’s into one single place. Then, you can begin to prioritize those daily tasks that so often make us feel overwhelmed.

I place the more important items on the monthly calendar pages and any others go into the weekly section. There is also a section for contacts, so each time I make a new appointment I add the contact info for that particular person or office in this section for easy access to it later.

Since we have focused on time management this week, I thought it would be nice to include some amazing, free printables for you today! Hope you enjoy!

You can find them in the 3 links below on some of my favorite blogs. Happy Organizing!

Free Printable Calendars for Your Filofax, Household Binder, Arc Notebook, etc…

31-days-of-free-printables by www.iheartplanners.com

Planner printables by www.thesarahjohnson.com

I hope this helps you to discover many more hours in your week. Remember, the goal is not to clutter the calendar but instead, to use it in a way that organizes your days, weeks, and months which will in return create excess free-time to enjoy many precious moments with your family.

Live with Peace & Purpose,

♥ Tasha Grant

The moment that motivated me to declutter my schedule!

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

livingwithpeaceandpurpose.com

This month marked a huge milestone for our oldest son, Ethan! He graduated High School! It seems like just yesterday I was carrying him around swaddled in a baby blanket. As I sat and watched him walk across the stage, a flood of memories captured my mind. It was as if he was growing up all over again, right before my very eyes, in that one, single moment. And the very elaborate “birth to present” slideshow didn’t help either! I know all of you moms out there understand exactly what I mean. It’s as if we have a very short time with our babies and that time literally flies by. I have seen it said before that we only have 18 summers to spend with them. Wow! That really puts things into perspective!

So, I began thinking about the importance of our “time”. We value many things in life. Of all these things, time is one of the ONLY things that we cannot replenish. How crazy is it then that we go about our days wasting it on little things that will not amount to anything in the end. When we begin to prioritize the minutes in our days, we realize just how many are wasted on unimportant tasks.

As mothers, it is easy to get wrapped up in the everyday “chores” of taking such great care of our families that we tend to overlook the ONE THING that they need the most from us. Our Time.

So today’s post is more of a Challenge to all of you moms out there. Let’s commit to decluttering our schedules. Regaining our precious moments! After all, we can never get these moments back once they’re gone.

What are some things in your schedule that you could minimize? If you’re like me, you sometimes feel like there is nowhere to begin. Everything seems important. However, I encourage you today to think about the big picture. How do you want your kids to remember you? Children rarely grow up to say, “We had the cleanest home on the block”. Instead, wouldn’t you rather them remember you for the relaxing golf cart rides, park trips, picnics, book reads, and brownie-baking moments! So, let’s get started today! We can do it!

Today’s Challenge: Free up at least one hour today to spend some good, quality time with the Fam! 🙂 Don’t forget to comment below to share stories of all of your awesome, fond memories!

Live with Peace & Purpose,

♥ Tasha Grant ♥

How to Make Sweet Teacher Gifts for School Christmas Parties!

We have FINALLY completed our “teacher gifts” for the kids’ school Christmas party! It is always exciting to see our kid’s faces before school when they know they have an Awesome gift to share with their teacher! Especially when there is Chocolate involved! Besides, who doesn’t LOVE Chocolate? I’m lucky that they don’t eat it on the way to school when chocolate is involved? 🙂

Well, I know you’re ready to see what we chose this year so here they are, along with the complete details on how to make them!

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First, we had to prepare the jam.  The recipe for the strawberry jam was courtesy of thepioneerwoman.com. You can find that recipe here… http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/08/canning-101-and-strawberry-jam-part-1/ 

Thanks to fivehearthome.com for their sweet printable notecards and also afamilyfeast.com for their jam & circle printables!

If you’d like to make these fun & sweet treats, feel free to visit these sites.

Free Live Parenting Webinar Tomorrow!!! 2/3/15

“Families with Purpose” is sponsoring a FREE Webinar on “How to Get Your Kids to Listen without Nagging, YELLING, or Reminding!”

You can sign up at the link below to join the free Webinar on 2/3/2015 but HURRY, seats are limited!! :)

Here’s what you’ll learn…
  • WHY kids REALLY misbehave (and why it’s probably NOT what you think!)
  • How YOUR personality may be actually FUELING the misbehavior (Yikes!)
  • The 5 R’s of Fair & Effective Consequences so your kids will listen to you the FIRST TIME you ask!
  • A powerful resource of training tools that help de-stress your life, stop the nagging and whining, create happier, healthier kids – and a YOU that never has to YELL again!

Speakers

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Positive Parenting Solutions

Nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions. As a “recovering yeller,” Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Her Toolbox strategies have empowered parents worldwide to correct their kids’ misbehaviors without nagging, yelling or punishing. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. She is a certified Positive Discipline instructor and sought after keynote speaker and trusted spokesperson for family-friendly brands. In her most important role, she plays mom to two teenage boys.

http://www.positiveparentingsolutions.com/webinars/purpose

Surviving a High-Risk Pregnancy

Hebrews 11:11 new living translation

It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise.

Have you ever reached a point in your life when you were required to have the kind of Faith that Sarah had? The kind of Faith that leans not on your own understanding? We found ourselves at that point with our last pregnancy. It took everything in us to Believe for a Healthy son.

As if 9 months of pregnancy is not already difficult enough, we had some extra obstacles to face this time around. It was my third pregnancy and around 19 weeks I was put on strict bed-rest. Now for those of you who know me, you will automatically understand how absolutely challenging this was for me. I am not typically a “lay-around-the-house” type of person by any means. I could have probably counted the1-month-pic times that I had relaxed on my couch in the previous 2 years on one hand!

So, needless to say, I was NOT a happy camper to hear that I was going to be “held hostage” for the next 20 weeks. However, I knew that it was necessary in order to bring this special little boy to full-term.

Over the next few months we experienced many trials & mixed emotions of worry, stress, joy, etc. etc. Dr. visits were scheduled EVERY week for the remainder of the pregnancy and it was definitely a challenging time. 100% of the housework was left up to my kids & husband (who was already managing his dad’s farm as well as work). What an experience for us all!! I still to this day do not know what I would’ve done had it not been for the help of my husband, children, and our family & friends. Meals were prepared, chores were taken care of, the kids were driven to school & back, errands were completed, and the list goes on & on. We even had friends in the community offering to paint and decorate the nursery for us!! We were truly Blessed!

I was admitted into the hospital for preterm labor more times than I’d like to remember.  We consistently Prayed and were Blessed to have many prayer warriors Praying & Believing with us. We experienced many ups & downs with the pregnancy (emotionally as well as physically) but in the end ALL was worth it. We delivered our third happy, healthy son on July 28th, 2014 weighing in at 8.4 pounds. What a Blessing it was to finally get him here!!! Baby Paxton is now 5 months old & as precious as ever. ♥

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