Saturday, March 9, 2013

Simple Sun Candles March Sale!

Stock up on your favorite soy candles or try out a new scent with our March Sale, going on now!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Simple Sun Candles Giveaway of Two Free Candles!

Just stopping in quickly (GAH busy) to announce the Simple Sun Candles giveaway going on now on the Facebook page. The prize is two (!) fabulous candles of your choice from the current in-stock selection, shipped to you (open to U.S. residents only, excludes You Choose the Scent Listings).

How to enter:

1) Like 'Simple Sun Candles' on Facebook if you haven't already, by going here.

2) Visit the Simple Sun Candles Etsy shop here.

3) Leave a comment on the giveaway post on Facebook saying which two candles you would choose if you won.

Bonus entry for those who follow the above steps AND 'share' the giveaway post on Facebook.

Giveaway ends Monday, March 4 at 6pm EST. One winner will be chosen using There are currently NO (zero) entries so you could VERY possibly be the winner!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A whole lotta love

With Valentine's Day looming in the near future, I thought I'd share some of the ways we celebrate, even though they are not anything extreme, I still like to do a few small things to share the love this time of year.

Of course, there is always the class Valentines to hand out. Last year, we took a nod from Pinterest (I believe the idea originated here but who knows).

This year we made these and Dylan is so excited to hand them out to his friends.

I went the inexpensive route for decorating my ledge in honor of the holiday:

Basically, I found a valentine kit at Michael's on clearance for $2.99 that included the felt hearts. They had designs on them but I just flipped them over, and hot-glued to string I had leftover from previous garlands. I got the template for the XO banner from here, (pinned here) and used red cardstock I already had to create that. The 'Love' framed print was free here, and for $2.89 I printed it at Target's photo center. I added in a handmade 'I Toadally love you' clothespin craft Dylan had made years ago, and another touch of red with the Audrey Hepburn quote print, that reads:

The best thing to hold onto in life is eachother.

The print was purchased here earlier in the year, as a fundraiser for Sandy Hook. I loved it and had it for awhile, then realizing it was a perfect sentiment and touch of red for my love-themed display. 

We are looking forward to a simple celebration of the day on Thursday, with heart-shaped pizza, a little surprise treat for Dylan and another surprise I am thinking of doing that involves lots and lots of balloons.. hmm. 

We have another event to celebrate this week, which takes precedence over the Hallmark holiday on Thursday: Justin's birthday! We will be going out with his work friends on Monday (his birthday) and celebrating with family friends by bowling on Saturday. Phew, the pace that January held is not slowing down, but I am thankful the calendar is filled with celebrations in addition to our obligations. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Three things.

This week has been crazy-busy filled. I'm trying not to start off every sentence with "OH It's so busy." But January has been my most-full month since moving this summer and I kinda-sorta-want a break. Despite the chaos fullness of this month, there's not much to write home about but more like a few little going-ons and sweet nothings.

  • We started Financial Peace University, thanks to Sarah a.k.a. Thrifty Decor Chick. She so graciously offered a giveaway on her blog with the prize being enrollment in FPU (as she also has had a wonderful outcome with it) and I was shocked that I won! Justin has been "preaching" the word of debt-free living and Dave Ramsey's ways for a long, long (long) time but I'm very thankful because his financial planning, budgeting and paying-off-debtedness has literally saved our behinds. I don't like to talk about financial specifics, but I would like to say that we both brought a lot of debt to our marriage (and I continued creating debt with my stupid decision to go to grad school [SIDE NOTE: DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH GRAD SCHOOL COSTS? Geeze.]) and we reached a place where there was no way to make the minimum payments on our debt, even after moving back in with my parents, and getting rid of a car which we so desperately needed at the time, and in fact on our salaries today would continue to be unable to make those payments. I'm talking not being able to make loan and credit card payments that did not even touch the principal.  I can't think about that time without being very sad but also extremely thankful that life threw us a few opportunities (cough, Saudi Arabia, cough) and Justin's ability to plan and budget (and basically follow the FPU ideas) that let us climb back from there. I'm not trying to write a sob story here, since uh, the debt was our fault, but rather a success story to let others know there is hope even when you are that in debt. I can't believe this enormous bullet we dodged and will never be stupid with money again. Although I don't espouse Dave's religious views, the beauty of the program is to live debt-free and build wealth so that you can give back, which is where our hearts lie as well. We are so, SO thrilled to be able to take the class and continue to fine-tune our financial planning and hear Dave's entertaining teachings to keep us on track. I don't mean to sound all cult-member-ish, but I'm just excited that this solid and logical financial advice helped bring us back from a very low point to a very, very relieved and enjoyable one. It is truly peaceful living. 
  • This:

          was the temperature Wednesday. And also why I'm okay with the higher cost of living here.  
         (Rest assured, it did snow today).

  • Dylan and I are reading the Harry Potter series together (Hey- I'm only a decade behind the times here, and in my defense, I have seen and enjoyed all of the movies). It has become a really enjoyable bonding experience for us- each night Dylan will ask, "Are you going to read with me tonight?" and asks me not to stop when we conclude a chapter. Last night, he decided he was going to write a story entitled, Mama and the Chamber of Reading. I love that boy, and our nightly reading sessions. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's not you, it's me

I would like to start off by stating, for the record, that I am fully aware that I am the type of person who learns best from her mistakes, from doing something and then seeing if it works and if not, reflecting and tweaking from there. I see this whole process play out in my day job, other pursuits, and my parenting.

I am a big advocate for kids having chores, i.e., responsibility. I think we've always had Dylan help with chores but I wanted to make a more organized system for him. Being a list-maker, I sought out to create a carefully-thought-out and planned but what ended up being a not-quite-effective system for him to do so. I even have the laminated chore chart to prove it:

The system seemed okay, with my original intent to teach self-monitoring (re: checking off what he had done) and delayed gratification (re: receiving reinforcement a.k.a. allowance at the end of the week). However, we everyone else realized quickly that this was not going to work. It took me awhile to come to this conclusion, being the stubborn "LET'S JUST KEEP TRYING" person I am, and a little bit of ego over the whole "LOOK HOW CAREFULLY PLANNED OUT THIS SYSTEM WAS!" Wow there's a lot of self-disclosure and introspection going on in this discussion. Anyway,  the process of checking off each day's worth of chores and waiting the entire week for money was not teaching my intended lessons, and leaving everyone frustrated when I was nagging reminding Dylan to do chores, and checking them off, and then he would forget and end the week with an empty chore chart and of course be frustrated that he didn't earn his allowance DESPITE DOING HIS CHORES. Which is SO not the intended lesson here.

I wanted to do something much simpler, that would actually motivate Dylan to do chores and help out without me nagging reminding him, and would not require a complicated system of checking-off and completing 3 chores from the above column while also completing everyday chores (as I'm typing this out, I'm hearing myself and how complicated I made it.. geeze).

 We talked to Dylan and decided on having him complete his expected chores everyday, without any type of allowance or reward, because they were expected as part of our family and helping out with household chores. These 'everyday chores' are pretty straightforward- making his bed and feeding the cats. He must do them before going out to play with friends, and if not, he will lose 30 minutes of his weekend video-game time (he has a timer and allotted time for videogames on weekends... a system which has actually worked very well for us).

Additionally, I post tasks and chores around the house that he can complete, along with the money he will earn for completing, on post-its on the fridge. These have included, cleaning his room, vacuuming the rug in the living room, dusting shelves, cleaning the bathroom mirrors or windows in the living room, and so on. Dylan can take a post-it with the chore, complete it, hand it to me and instantly receive his money. These come and go- for instance, the other day I had 'vacuum the rug' posted, which he chose not to do, and I decided to vacuum the whole apartment myself so I took that one down. There's no arguing, fighting, or nagging anymore, which I like. Dylan has chosen to do a few of the chores, and skipped others, but I suspect he will be more motivated once his holiday cash runs out.

Lesson learned: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. BUT IF IT IS FACT BROKE, by all means fix it. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta- Dylan's favorite dish

Whew. It has been a hectic week getting back into the 'normal' schedule after break, and break itself was a whirlwind. So, yeah, busy! But not complaining.

I wanted to wish ya'll a happy new year with one of my go-to dinners, which is Dylan's personal favorite and not only his most-requested dish but also what he asked for his birthday dinner. Yes, I am truly blessed with a child with good taste.

This dish is something I make so often I kinda sorta don't remember the exact measurements, so play around with it to your liking (particularly the spices). I've made it with lemon-garlic seasoning, adding garlic powder, and so on and it always comes out delicious.

First, start off by boiling some water and throwing 1/4 box of angel hair pasta in there until done, about 8-9 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add in 2 cloves chopped garlic, and sauté until fragrant. Then, add 1 tsp. of red Chile pepper flakes.

Add 1 lb. deveined and de-shelled (is that a term?) shrimp (if using frozen, make sure it is thawed, and I like to leave the tails on).

Cook until the shrimp is pink.

Add in drained, cooked pasta and mix together. Turn off heat, then squeeze the juice of one lemon over the pasta and shrimp.

Serve! I typically will garnish with fresh chopped parsley but forgot to pick some up from the store.

So, you caught me: the pictures were taken at Christmastime. OR did I not yet put away my Christmas stuff? Bwahaha you'll never know!

A very simple yet crave-worthy dish. I like to enjoy with some white zinfandel. Not that I'm a wine pairing expert or anything... I just like white zin and would recommend it with everything (burgers? WHITE ZIN). I digress...

Lemon-garlic shrimp pasta
Recipe from: I can't remember...
Serves: 3

1/4 of 1 box angel hair pasta (I use whole wheat)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon red Chile pepper flakes
1 pound shrimp, deveined and thawed, with tails on
1 lemon
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Boil water and cook pasta until done, about 8-9 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and saute until fragrant. Sprinkle garlic with red Chile pepper flakes and add in shrimp. Cook until shrimp is pink.

Add cooked and drained pasta to pan, and stir together for a few moments. Turn heat off, and squeeze the juice from one lemon over pasta and shrimp.

Serve, garnished with fresh parsley.