A Stress Relief Set Giveaway for the End of the School Year! (Ends 5/23/17)

Good morning, friends!

I can’t tell you how happy we are that it’s May.  NOT that we don’t love the school year.  But we also love finishing a school year, checking off our to-do lists, and (we’re hoping) taking a bit of a break!  This week is pretty full for us.  We have Teacher Appreciation Week at our coop (which we adore celebrating) and I’m preparing my students’ art display for the semester Art Show.  Plus regular school, plus regular coop, plus some other things…so I think it’s the perfect time for a giveaway that helps with stress relief!

 

 

I do love popping into Bath & Body Works every now and then to enjoy their newest scents in lotions, candles, and body spray.  This week, the finchnwren blog is giving away Bath & Body Works’ aromatherapy duo, Stress Relief.  It’s a eucalyptus spearmint set powered by essential oils.  This set contains a full-sized Body Lotion and Body Wash/Foam Bath.

We’ll be blessing one special reader with this set!

 

To enter:

Simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below.  That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form where you’ll have several different ways to enter.  One winner will be selected to win, and giveaway closes on May 23, 2017.

 

Enter here!

 

Best wishes!

Enjoy!  –Wren

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My New Favorite At-Home Breakfast

Yes, I have done it.  I have jumped on the breakfast salad (sort of) bandwagon.

We’re definitely breakfast people.  A cooked breakfast starts our day every morning (unless we’re getting something from Chick-Fil-A, in which case someone else besides me does the cooking).  We’re fond of eggs, steel-cut oats (with blueberries), hash browns, fruit, whole wheat bread.

In recent years I’ve also focused a lot on being sure my family and I get enough fiber.  That was especially key for me last year when I was going through chemotherapy.  I’m past that now (thank the Lord!) but I still try to major on lots of fresh fruits and veggies every day.  Besides the fact that this is really important for our bodies and digestion, it just makes me feel better overall.  I am still definitely in a place where my body is healing and getting over the events of last year and I’m finding, more and more, that diet really seems to make a difference in this.

So!

I freely admit that this is not for everyone.  (My son and husband for example?  No way.  They’re sticking to our tried-and-true breakfasts.)  But it is so wonderful for me and I can really tell the difference in how I feel.  The solution?   A poached egg with sauteed spinach and mushrooms.

 

 

Does that sound amazing to you or horrifying?  It’s definitely going to depend on whether you like these three foods; they’ve all got strong texture and/or flavors.  But they’re all my favorites.

Here’s how I fit in making something totally different for myself than I make for my guys.  Generally, my son is loving poached eggs for breakfast.  So first, I start heating the water for the poached egg.  At the same time, I start sauteeing mushrooms in a separate pan.  Basically, I just leave the mushrooms cooking on the back of the stove on low heat while I prep the fruit and toast, and stir them occasionally.  By the time the water comes to a boil the mushrooms are close to finished, so I throw in 2-3 handfuls of baby spinach into the pan with the  mushrooms.  (This is also good with fresh spinach.)  By the time I spoon out Jackson’s eggs, the spinach is cooked through and I dump it and the mushrooms into my favorite Calibowl mixing bowl, then add the egg on top of that.  Stir, then ta-da!  A delicious, super-healthy meal.  (IF you like mushrooms and spinach, which I do!)

You can also put a poached egg on top of a regular salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, quinoa, brown rice.  I have loved that as well.  At least until the latest romaine scare.  I do adore a good Caesar salad and really, romaine in any kind of salad.  But I’m avoiding romaine until the CDC gives a go-ahead to start buying it again.

What’s your favorite breakfast?  I’d love to hear about your fun and creative ideas!

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

 

“Gospel-Centered Mom” ~ A Review

Hello friends!

Do you ever have moments of #momfail?  We try to laugh about that here in our house (oh, there are so many!).  But below the silly mistakes or funny mis-speaks (you know, when you put in a syllable that doesn’t belong there or put in the wrong word here and there), I do have questions about my mom ability.

I try not to compare myself with my mom friends.  I have got friends who are AMAZING.  Who have gifts and abilities that, to be honest, I will never have.  And really, God does instruct us in Scripture not to compare ourselves with others.   We have the gifts, the abilities, the moments in time that we have and that He has given to US, not to others.

But how can I make sure that my core identity–the person I am under those gifts/abilities/personality–is healthy, and bringing health to my family?  And I’m not talking about healthy meals here (though I do think those are important).  I’m talking about being a woman who lives in the truth.  And that is a hard thing to do sometimes.  The media tells us their “truths” about a woman’s appearance, beauty, worth, importance.  We can accept as “truth” the actions that others have toward us, whether positive or negative.  We can even use our mirrors as truth-tellers.  But in every interaction we have with the people or things on that list, our minds and hearts are going to make interpretations.  And those are shaped by our own experiences, relationships, successes, and sadly, our hurts.

I have been on a journey recently where I have seen more and more the importance of living in and dwelling on the truth as God defines it.  I am trying to take my experiences and emotions and line them up with what the Bible says before I just take them on.  (It’s definitely a skill I am learning, and not always automatic.)  But, I’m also looking for other resources that will aid me in that journey.  And when I saw the title of Brooke McGlothlin’s new book, Gospel-Centered Mom, I was immediately interested.

 

http://images.randomhouse.com/cover/9780735289635?width=450&alt=no_cover_b4b.gif

Gospel-Centered Mom

Author Brooke McGlothlin heads and cofounded Raising Boys Ministries.  She writes for an online boy mom community, on LifeWay’s ParentLife blog and on the Proverbs 31 Devotional website.  Perhaps most importantly in terms of this book, she is a  mother who wanted to be a great mom for her kids.  But how do we do that, when culture and media tell us how to be the “perfect” family, or our own hearts compare our families with others and we feel we come up short?

Instead of pursuing those unhealthy ideals, Brooke went back to God. She learned that just trying harder was not enough.  But turning to God first and foremost was.  I love the subtitle of this book, which reads:  “The freeing truth about what your kids really need.”  Because that’s really the bottom line, isn’t it?  Not what I am feeling forced by my culture to make, but what my child needs from me to become the amazing young man that God wants him to be.  That changes my focus pretty dramatically.

In Gospel-Centered Mom, Brooke discusses:

  • The difference between the ME Gospel and the True Gospel
  • Living my life as part of God’s enormous, amazing Story instead of my own, self-focused story
  • Living in the truth (I’ve mentioned already how important that is for me at this moment in time)
  • Practical things I can do every day to live in that truth
  • How God meets us in the wilderness, shows us Himself, and loves us…even while He’s showing us the truth about ourselves
  • And one topic that is so useful but is even hard for me to write down here:  Why is God letting me suffer?

My thoughts

Brooke McGlothlin is a woman who writes the truth.  When we live in a culture that is so focused on the newest amazing beauty product that will change your life; or shows you pictures of the “perfect” family life that you should be living; or tells you unrealistic ways that you can “be your best self”—we need people who will boil down truth to its essence and share that truth with us.

In Gospel-Centered Mom, Brooke shares honestly from her own struggles as a mom and a woman who believes in God…and shares hope with those of us who are in similar struggles.  Sometimes the answer really is as simple as coming to God.  But Brooke’s words also tell us how to come to God; how to work out our lives and relationships, and even our own weaknesses as mothers–by living in love with God and in His truth.

This book is worth reading.  Check it out.

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

Disclosure:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 

A Mother’s Day Giveaway for You…or Your Mom! (Ends 4/18/18)

Hello!

 

 

It’s a little early, but I wanted to get this giveaway up in time for both a winner to be selected and for some shipping time.  Today, FINCHNWREN is hosting a Mother’s Day Giveaway for you….OR for your mom!

There are three gifts in this Mother’s Day giveaway.  First, there’s a little shadow box with a sweet mom greeting!

 

The other two are some beauty goodies from Ulta:

  • Ulta Beauty Tinted Eye Primer Mini in Satin Blush.  This is a pinky shimmer eye primer that can also be used as eye shadow or a neutral-ish color for your other shadows or creams.  It contains no parabens and helps your eye shadow look great all day.
  • Ulta Beauty Lip Primer Color Enhancing Mini.  Both paraben- and sulfate-free, this lip primer helps your lipstick color to wear long and helps create a smooth foundation for your lipstick.

How to enter:

Just click on the “Enter Here!” pink link below.  That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form where you can enter to win in a variety of ways.  Giveaway closes on 4/18/18; one winner will be selected from all entries.  Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

Catching You Up~ Update from FINCHNWREN

Hi darlings!

You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately.  I apologize!  I am continuing to heal from the chemotherapy (for new readers, the short story is I had an ovarian cancer tumor removed and a summer/fall of chemo).  I am really feeling better each month as my body heals from everything.  But I haven’t done much on the blog in the past few weeks.  I haven’t forgotten it, though, or you!

So, since it’s spring break (yay!) and I have a moment to share with you, I wanted to update you on some happenings in our lives for the past couple of months.

 

Our weekend getaway

 

 

We don’t have a LEGO store near us (well, yes, we can shop for LEGO at Walmart/Target but we don’t have the full-blown experience of an actual LEGO store).  But earlier this month, we went on an overnight trip to a bigger city that does!  And of course we had to visit a mall that has a LEGO store.  We wandered around happily there for (seriously) about an hour, then my son spent some birthday money on some new sets.

 

 

 

I even got to do a little girly shopping at a cute boutique!  Even though it’s definitely still winter-ish here, I picked up this top for spring and summer.  I love empire waists in both dresses and shirts and I fell in love with this one.  Can’t wait to wear it with some jeans or shorts.

 

 

We also took our son to Dave & Buster’s.  I have to admit; I am not the huge gamer in the family.  So there wasn’t a lot that I did while we were there besides Skee-Ball.  The guys played Star Wars games, racing games, etc.  But!  I happened to discover a Donkey Kong game!  That was my favorite game to play in college.  So I got to play a few rounds on that.  Sadly my skills have hugely declined over the years.  But it was fun.  🙂

 

In homeschool

Homeschool in high school looks a lot different than it did during our elementary years.  We’re focusing on making sure that Jackson gets the courses completed for his high school transcript that he needs for college applications.  So this year we’re working on history, literature, grammar, foreign language, math, biology/lab, Bible, and some computer programming.

I am SO thankful that Jackson has been able to take his high school biology and lab from Bridgeway Academy.  His teacher is fantastic, we’re using the Apologia biology textbook and I love that he gets to interact online with fellow students.  We have gotten to the portion of the textbook that focuses on the animal kingdom (from microscopic on up).

And that means…dissection.

I have to tell you that my high school biology course (also in 10th grade, in public school in a great school system) did ONE dissection.  Jackson has already done THREE.  And there are at least 4 more to go; perch, cow eye, frog, fetal pig.  (I wish I could tell you that the last two didn’t horrify me…but they do.  But I’m not telling Jackson!  I’ll just be there standing by supportively while he does the dissecting while keeping my opinions to myself.)  He has already dissected the earthworm, the crayfish, and the grasshopper.  We are learning a LOT.

Here’s a picture of some of the tools from his dissection kit.  Check back in May for pictures of the actual dissections!

 

 

Jackson and I also participate in our local homeschool coop.  He takes a drama class and I teach an art class for elementary students.  It has been a good semester.  There have been some different types of challenges for me as a teacher but some wonderful experiences as well.

 

 

I was planning to share with you about what I’m eating these days; about my new drawing adventure; and about a neat blogging event I got to attend last week.  But I think that this post is already long enough.  So perhaps I’ll get to mention those a little later!  🙂

I hope you are all having a wonderful spring break/end of March.  Thank you for reading!

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

Hair Care Goodies Giveaway! (Ends 3/21/18)

Hey, everyone!

I have a fun little giveaway to share with you today!

 

 

Is it spring where you are living?  This week we’re expecting temps in the 60-degree range!  It’s the perfect moment to take a few minutes to pamper your hair and get it ready for spring and summer.  Today, I have a set of 7 luxe beauty samples for you to try out on your hair!  (Many of these are 2-part samples with both shampoo and conditioner.)

My giveaway includes samples of:

  • Deva Curl No-Poo and One Condition
  • Surf Foam Wash Shampoo and Surf Creme Rinse Conditioner
  • Texas Tea Volumizing Shampoo and Volumizing Conditioner
  • Phyto Paris Phytokeratine Ultra-Repairing Mask
  • Alterna Haircare CC Caviar Creme Leave-In Hair Perfector
  • Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask
  • Marula Pure Beauty Oil Light Hair Treatment and Styling Oil

One winner will receive this entire sample collection.

 

How to enter

To enter, simply click on the pink link below.  That will take you to the Giveaway Tools entry form.  Giveaway closes 3/21/18.  One winner will be selected from all entries.  Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

Enjoy!  –Wren