May 21, 2015

Devotions from the Garden Book Review

Devotions from the Garden
Finding Peace and Rest in Your Busy Life
By Miriam Drennan
Published by Thomas Nelson


Book Description

Come to the garden alone, and fill your soul with His presence.

There's nothing on earth like the peace and loveliness of a magnificent garden. It's the place where Adam and Eve first fellowshipped with God, and where you, too, can escape from this chaotic world into His loving arms of beauty and serenity. Devotions from the Garden takes you to that place where senses are restored as dewdrops settle and butterflies gather to witness the miracles of God's creation bloom and grow. These ninety devotions explore the parallels of life with the elements of the garden to help you see God, to sense His presence, to soothe your soul, and to rest in knowing He is with you throughout each day. Included are striking photographs with a fresh, contemporary design for timeless appeal.

About the Author:  Miriam Drennan is the author of Devotions for the Beach and the Days You Wish You Were There and Soar Above the Madness: Surviving Office Politics Without Losing Your Mind, Your Job, or Your Lunch. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she enjoys gardening and playing with words. Drop her a line at www.that-writer.com.

My Thoughts:  I love devotionals.  They're perfect for daily reflections, always timely and perfect for gift giving.  When I first received this book, I immediately thought of the Master Gardener at our local library.  The garden is where she finds solace among nature and where she connects with Our Heavenly Father.  The reflections throughout Drennan's 
Devotions from the Garden: Finding Peace and Rest in Your Busy Life are sure to lift a downtrodden spirit.

Devotions from the Garden: Finding Peace and Rest in Your Busy Life contains about 100 reflections and scriptural references.  Which is perfect for a season.  Whether it's Summer, Winter, Fall or ... Spring.  Devotions from the Garden: Finding Peace and Rest in Your Busy Life a beautiful reminder of the renewal of the Springtime season.   Like other devotionals each day begins with a scripture and reflection.  However, it is the beautiful pictures that make this devotional special.  Photographs of vividly color plants are featured throughout the devotional.

Devotions from the Garden: Finding Peace and Rest in Your Busy Life would make a wonderful gift for the gardener in your life and is a great coffee table book sure to spark conversation.  Overall an excellent read.

Buy ItDevotions from the Garden: Finding Peace and Rest in Your Busy Life is available at bookstores everywhere and at several online bookstores including Zondervan.




Disclosure: Many thanks to BookLook for the opportunity to review this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. The thoughts expressed above are mine. Visit http://threeboysandanoldlady.blogspot.com/2010/01/advertisecontact.html for the complete Disclosure Policy of Three Boys and an Old Lady blog.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

May 09, 2015

$25 and under Gift Ideas for Mothers Day plus a #GreatGifts4Mom Giveaway

Card  ✔
Flowers  ✔

Now that we've found the perfect Mother's Day card and flowers, it's time to shop for the perfect gift.

Here are a few thoughtful gift ideas sure to make mom's day extra special and won't break your budget.

Be sure to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a pair of earrings from Cost Plus World Market, a $5 Starbucks gift card and a travel size item from Bath and Body Works.
9 Thoughtful Gift Ideas that Won't Cost a Dime

1. Create a coupon book
             Create a coupon book just for mom.  This is a great idea for little ones.  Be sure to include coupons for free hugs because sometimes Mom just needs a hug.
 
2. Relaxing Bath
             Run a nice, warm bath for mom.  Bubbles to the max, if she likes.  A couple drops of her vanilla to scent her bath and a drop or two of baby oil to leave her skin feeling silky smooth.
 
3. Breakfast in Bed
           I am pretty lucky as hubby serves me breakfast in bed practically every Sunday morn.  This Mother's Day is a great day to treat mom to breakfast in bed.  A nice mix of her favorite breakfast items, some fresh fruit, perhaps a breakfast casserole and her favorite beverage.  Don't forget to clean up the kitchen.  After all it's Mother's Day and it's HER day.
                                          
4. Shhh... Don't Wake Mom
           Mom's sure to appreciate a little extra rest on her special day.  Pop in a DVD for the kiddos and let mom sleep in today.
 
5. Hand over the Remote
           NBA Playoffs are in full swing but today is mom's day so let her have reign over the tv just this one day.  Watch her favorite movie with her or let her catch up on some of those DVR recordings. 
 
6. Spruce up the Mom-mobile
           Mom's ride gets an extra workout.  She's in charge of shuttling kids to and fro and she's got little time to wipe up that icky, sticky candy residue stuck to the side of the rear window near the car seat.  Maybe you can find the source of that lingering odor in mom's car.   
 
7. Super clean the house
          Three simple chores sure to put a smile on mom's face: make the bed, vacuum the carpet and sweep the kitchen floor.  Trust me mom will notice and if you spray a little air freshener or light a candle she'll have to do a double take when she enters the house.
 
8. Laundry Free Day
           Seems like I am doing laundry every single day of the week so a day of no laundry would be an ideal gift for this busy mom.  Just one day sans loading, drying, folding, hanging up, oh the thought makes my heart flutter.  Oh, if the clothes could make it off the floor and into the laundry basket.  OMG!!! What a day!  What a day that'd be!
 
9. A Family Play Day
          Spring is here and what better way to celebrate Mom and the glory of Spring than with a day of play.  Visit your favorite park and snap a few pics of Mom against a backdrop of the beautiful colors of Spring.  Check out an outdoors game kit from your local park and challenge the kids to a game of volleyball.  Grill a few hot dogs and kick back and watch the sunset.
 
These are just a few fab FREE gift ideas for Mother's day.  

Looking for spend a little cash on 
mom without busting your budget?  
Check out these fab Mother's Day gift ideas (see slideshow below) from some of my fave stores Cost Plus World Market, Jonathan Adler, Uncommon Goods and Pottery Barn.  Each is priced below $25.

Win It: One lucky Three Boys and an Old Lady blog reader will win a pair of earrings from Cost Plus World Market, a $5 Starbucks gift card and a travel size item from Bath and Body Works.
* * * G I V E A W A Y * * *
Be patient while page loads or click on words "Entry-Form" below to enter









Disclosure: Many thanks to the sponsor(s) for providing this prize for the giveaway. Opinions are my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. The opinions expressed above are mine. Visit http://threeboysandanoldlady.blogspot.com/2010/01/advertisecontact.html for the Disclosure Policy of Three Boys and an Old Lady blog. The opinions expressed above are 100% my own. I received a product in exchange for this review and post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

    Igniting the Music Within with My Bedphones Headphones

    Los Tres Amigos are in the school band.  It's a joy for me because I have absolutely no musical talent whatsoever beyond an occasional butchered version of "Chopsticks".  The youngest play the clarinet and the eldest plays the baritone.  This school year has been full of competitions and performances which have kept the kids quite busy.  

    Prepping for performances requires reading, listening and studying the pieces to be performed.  It amazes me how their young minds are able to play such complicated pieces.  Los Tres Amigos have mastered the classics by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi and others and even managed to learn a few popular pieces by Brittany Spears, Madonna, Drake and more.  This year's final performance will be like none other.  This year, they're learning Ray Charles. *screams OMG* 

    The kids were headphones while practicing or listening to pieces.  The over the head headphones are heavy and not practical for wearing for long periods of times.  Ear buds often fall while wearing them so we needed another option.  Thanks to the folks at Bedphones for introducing us to a light, soft headphone option.
    http://www.bedphones.com/
    Bedphones are 1/4″ thick, lay flat against your ears and are covered in a soft foam which molds comfortably around the ear to stay put. Bedphones are perfect for late night listening, or in our case, perfect for long hours of wear. 

    Bedphones come packaged in a travel pouch complete with 2 cushions and a sleep mask.  A sleep mask?  That's because Bedphones are marketed as earphones for sleeping and travel.  Truth be told, I kept the sleep mask and use my kids' Bedphones whenever I can because they are much more comfortable than my ear buds and they stay in place better than my other over the ear headphones.

    For more info on Bedphones, check out:


  1. Website:  www.bedphones.com




  2. Facebook: www.facebook.com/bedphones




  3. Twitter: www.twitter.com/bedphones



  4. Bedphones may be purchased online at www.bedphones.com and Amazon







    Disclosure: Many thanks to the Tomoson for providing this product for review. Opinions are my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. The opinions expressed above are mine. Visit http://threeboysandanoldlady.blogspot.com/2010/01/advertisecontact.html for the Disclosure Policy of Three Boys and an Old Lady blog. The opinions expressed above are 100% my own. I received a product in exchange for this review and post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising



    May 07, 2015

    My Path to Motherhood #Nurseisms #ThankANurse

    This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Dignity Health blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

    When asked to share my thoughts of my experience with Dignity Health, I was thrilled.  Finally an opportunity to thank all the nurses I met during my struggles with fertility.  I remember my first appointment.  I was a nervous wreck.  Hubby and I had been trying for months to conceive and nothing was happening.  My doctor referred me to St. Mary's Medical Center for to meet with an endocrinologist.  It was there I heard the words Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  Finally, an explanation for our infertility.

    An explanation helps but when you're nearing 30 and everyone you know who wants kids, has kids, who wants an explanation.  The explanation gave us some hope. Hubby never seemed to lose hope.  I on the other hand, well hope faded at times.  He wasn't the one being subject to bi-monthly blood draws, prodding with vaginal speculums and cold ultrasound gel.  Hope?  Please.

    I remember one particular routine appointment.  A same sex couple I'd seen several times before exited into the waiting room touting their good news.  "We're pregnant", they beamed.

    As much as I wanted to rejoice with them, my heart sank, a huge lump formed in my throat, I hid behind my dark sunglasses trying to conceal the tears slowly streaming down my cheek.

    I sat there... alone.

    When my name was called, I rose and followed the nurse to the waiting examination room.  I knew the routine:  undress from the bottom down; lie back and wait.  My mind raced as I slowly undressed. 

    "Why did I wear stockings this day" I thought.

    Then all of a sudden I broke down, fell to the floor and started crying hysterically. 

    I was angry.
      I was heartbroken.
         I was a wreck. 

    All these feelings vied for escape.  I must have been crying loudly becuase out of nowhere an angel in scrubs appeared and helped me to my feet. 

    She hugged me and let me cry out my pain.  She told me it'd be okay and preceeded to share why she became a nurse.  She too suffered from infertility.  After years of fertility treatments, she and her husband welcomed a baby boy.  She became a nurse because she wanted to help others who, like her, struggled with fertility. 

    I never got the chance to really thank her for words of encouragement.  I never got her name.  I don't recall her face.  I simply recall a moment we shared.  A moment which gave me enough courage to make it to the next appointment and the next appointment and battery of appointments after that.

    About a year after being treated at St. Mary's I relocated across the Bay and started seeing another group of specialists.  A few years later, Hubby and I received the news we'd waited what seemed like a lifetime to hear.

    CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'RE PREGNANT! 
    I returned to St. Mary's shortly after the birth of the twins to thank the staff and introduce them to our babies but the nursing staff had changed and the nurse who gave me the courage to keep going was no longer there.  I pray she reads this and knows I remember her kind words and appreciate her for helping me pull it together.  I'm a mommy now.  I'm a mom forever!

    How has a nurse changed your life?  Leave a comment below sharing your story.  Be sure to check out the #Nurseisms hashtag on social media for other stories thanking nurses for all they do.
     
    


    Disclosure: This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Dignity Health blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.






    May 02, 2015

    5 Tips for Buying Flowers for Mom Online #MothersDay




    Card  ✔
    Now that we've found the perfect Mother's Day card.  It's time to shop for flowers. 

    Flowers make the perfect Mother's Day gift.  Shop local if you can but if you need to order online don't worry as many online florists partner with local floral shops.  This partnership is great as you can support local florists while taking advantage of the wider selection and discounted pricing of an online florist.  Win-win! 

    There are lots of online florists to choose from so as with any other online purchase, BUYER BEWARE.  


    Here are a few tips to make your online flower shopping a little easier.
    1. Buy from a reputable company.  Google "Mother's Day flowers" and a ton of online florists ads immediately pop up all over your screen.  With so many to choose from it may be difficult to separate quality amidst the quantity from the list on your screen.  There are some great companies.  Check out the company  website and Better Business Reviews and online complaints.  I've used theBouqs.com, FTD.com, 1-800Flowers.com and ProFlowers in the past and have been pleased with their product variety, customer service, overall product and delivery.
    2.  Use the category search.  It's there to help.  These are typically flowers which are in season and therefore the flowers will stay fresher longer and are generally priced lower than other arrangements.  Shopping for Mother's Day flowers, just click the Mother's Day selection.
    3. Make sure the company offers a RETURN POLICY.  A reputable company will have a return policy in place and honor it.  I can attest to seeing this work firsthand.  A friend of mine received flowers from her hubby on Valentine's Day and they were bruised and clearly damaged.  She phoned customer service and a fresh replacement bouquet arrived within hours.  
    4. Compare prices.  Be sure to visit a couple of websites to compare prices to find the best deal.  Some will even match or beat a competitor's price when asked.  Frugal shoppers like moi, want to make sure we are getting our money's worth even when it comes to gifting flowers.
    5. Check delivery dates and rates.  Be sure to check the delivery date.  Make sure there is a phone number so you can call in case mom's flowers don't show up on the expected delivery date.  Mother's Day falls on a Sunday and some vendors may charge a little extra for Sunday delivery.  Consider either having flowers delivered on Saturday or perhaps having them delivered to mom's job a day or two before Mother's Day.  She'll be the envy of the office. ☺ Plan accordingly so she'll be able to enjoy her flowers on Mother's Day.
    Here are a few of my fave online florists.  
    I've used all of these companies and 
    have had positive experiences with each.



    I love theBouqs.com because the company is eco-friendly and prices are a flat $40.
    Selection is minimal but pricepoint makes up for it. 


    FTD is a longstanding trusted florist and ships from local floral shops
    A bit pricier than some of the others but consistent 
     
    1-800-Flowers offers a wide selection of products and the website offers easy ordering.
    Learned power of social media during Valentines 2015 so the company made a lot of changes to their ordering system.  I think they're eager to gain consumer trust after the Valentine's Day fiasco
    .

    ProFlowers partners with radio syndicate DJs to offer huge discounts on flowers. 
    Guarantees your flowers will last 7 days and if not the company honors their Return policy.  I know this from firsthand experience. 
     
     
     
     
    
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