Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hurrah, Hurray! It's a Giveaway!

Has anyone noticed that Of Such is the Kingdom has been hovering just under 250 followers for about forever? Well yesterday was a most momentous day--the 250th follower joined the ranks. And conveniently, I received a lovely prize pack from Betty Crocker and MyBlogSpark at the same time! 
I was sent this great prize pack so that I could try out Betty Crocker's new Loaded Mashed potatoes. We tried them out last night, and they were just what they claim to be! They received rave reviews from my family; we could truly tell that they were made from 100% russet potatoes along with seasonings and natural flavors like bacon, cheese, chives, and sour cream. I'm a big fan of homemade mashed potatoes, but I too thought they were quite good. They were easy and yummy!
(For more information, visit BettyCrocker.com, and be sure to follow Betty Crocker on Twitter and “Like” the Facebook page to keep up with all of the latest news on your Betty Crocker favorites!)
You too can try these mashed potatoes for free because of the generosity of MyBlogSpark and Betty Crocker! You will also receive the bowl, spatula, pot holder and measuring cup. You can also find a great coupon for these mashed potatoes HERE.
Just leave a comment telling me your family's favorite potato side, and make sure you're a follower of Of Such is the Kingdom.
**For an extra entry, subscribe to Of Such is the Kingdom via email (see the Feedburner square to the right.)
I'll choose a winner next Thursday, April 7 and have ANOTHER GIVEAWAY to share with you then! 
Linked with 

The product, prize pack, information and additional prize pack to give away were all given to me from Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fashion Wednesday #10: Magic Scarf and Mean Momma

I know you've seen some of these pics before, but since our weather has taken a nasty turn in the last few days and my fashion consists of rain coat, rain boots, sweater, jeans and/or sweat pants and pajamas, I think I'll post some pics from way back a month ago when the hubby and I were cruising.
My mom bought this scarf island hopping and graciously passed it on to me when she heard that I was going on a cruise. It definitely came in handy! I found out that you change clothes a lot when you're on a cruise--this scarf made wearing the same thing and changing clothes one and the same. The far right outfit (scarf as shirt with pants) was worn to breakfast because it was a bit chilly and I knew we would want to take a stroll around the ship after breakfast. The outfit on the far left (scarf as shirt tucked into skirt) was what I wore out into Freeport to walk on the beach, and the outfit in the middle (scarf as dress) is what I wore to go lay out and read on the deck of the ship. See? It's a great scarf!
And for your viewing enjoyment:
This is an example of how we handle chilly spring days around here; we try to wear spring dresses with lots of layers. This is a pic of my oldest comforting my youngest because she had to wear that shawl. For some reason the youngest was dead set against it, and her mean momma thought it would be the perfect thing to ward off the chill.


Photo Story Friday and Mom Start. Also linked with Works for Me Wednesday.  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Getting To Know Of Such is the Kingdom

So what does this little blog have to offer? 
Here's a reference to help you 
navigate the vast depths of 
Of Such is the Kingdom! 
(definitely said with a small smirk!)
If you enjoy Of Such is the Kingdom on a regular basis, 
would you be kind enough take a second to leave me a comment? 
(Even if you have to click over from an email; come on, it only takes a second!)
Pretty please?

Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Eating Out for (Nearly) Free!

We have never really had room for eating out in our monthly budget. I mean, maybe we catch a $1 chicken sandwich at Wendy's every now and again, but usually we just eat at home. Lately though, we have found ourselves eating out a lot more. Why? Because most of the time we're getting a good bit  of our meal for free.
Here's how:
I've signed up for Chili's emails and get lots of coupons for free stuff (like this one that is running now) as well as a heads up on when they are offering free kid's meals. Since we also often exchange my MyPoints points for Chili's gift cards, we can double up on the freebies and score a (mostly) free meal.
Texas Roadhouse is another restaurant where we've been a couple of times in the last 4 or 5 months. I've signed up to be a VIP Roadie where you receive "free gifts and offers throughout the year." I have a free appetizer in my inbox right now. Since this is one of the restaurants that offered free kids' meals through our library's summer reading program, we have landed nearly free meals there as well. The great thing about Texas Roadhouse is that they provide free bread (with scrumptious cinnamon butter) and free peanuts as soon as you walk in. And with coupons, you can get two free kid's meals with only one adult appetizer. With the bread and the nuts, one adult meal and two kid's meals easily feeds our family of five. So, theoretically we could eat there for about $7 plus tip--way more food and a very fun atmosphere for about the price of getting us all that $1 chicken sandwich at a fast food place!
Register a Qdoba card and receive a free chips and salsa. After swiping your card to buy about 10 etrees, you receive a free etree!
It's the same story for a Panera card: register yours online to receive free offers. I have gotten a free dessert and have $1 off a drink waiting for me right now. It seems that when people give gift cards for small gifts, it's often Panera, so I've usually made my purchases with gift cards and reaped the rewards for free!
And of course there are those free kids' meals deals on different nights of the week. The ones we know about are:
A lot of Steak and Shakes have free kids' meals on the weekends. Sign up for their eClub for free offers as well.
Up to three free kids' meals per adult order on some night's at your local ChickfilA--plus they often have "free fries" nights. Check your local store for dates.
Some O'Charley's locations have free kids' meals on Tuesday nights. "Like" them on Facebook right now and receive a free appetizer as well.
This is a slightly old link, but most of the running deals are listed here.
And of course there is always Restaurant.com where most of the restaurants offer deals where you pay $2-5 for a $25 food voucher (minimum of $40 purchase means you have to spend $17-20 for your $40 meal).
I'm sure there are other tricks and shortcuts out there for free or nearly free meals when eating out! I'd love to hear yours!
Linked with Frugal Friday at Life As Mom and The Shabby Nest. Also linked with Thrilling ThursdayFriday Favorites, Feature Yourself FridayFrugalicious Friday I'm Loving It, Finer Things Friday, Foodie Friday and Cheap Thrills Thursday.
The Girl Creative

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fashion Wednesday #9

This is from a Sunday morning a while ago, and I figured I'd better get it into a Fashion Day before we completely switch over to spring clothes. (Yeah!)
And something I've known before but rediscovered about myself and fashion: I love dresses! I think I could pretty much wear dresses every day. I have ratty old sundresses for summer days and dresses like the one above that can go casual or be dressy, layer for winter or stand alone for warmer days. I used to love dresses because you could put one on and not have to think about style. Now that I'm finding style fun, I see their amazing potential for layering, for accessorizing, and being effortlessly stylish. 
Here are a few dresses that I'm swooning over for the spring season--
find these and more here
find these and more here
find these and more here

Linked with  5 Minutes for Mom, Parenting by Dummies,Go, Graham, Go,Jolly Mom, Look What Mom Found,Two of a Kind,Daily Dose of ToniA Lot of Loves, Live and Love Out LoudHobo MamaMomspective,Momma to 4Blessings, Slice o' HeavenRamblingsA Mom's ChoiceShibley SmilesNatural ParentsLife Down Our LaneNew York Chica,CrazylandHarriet and FriendsMy ThoughtsMrs. MarineA Beautiful MessSeven Clown CircusMy Life in JengaMiss MommyGoodbye Disposable
Photo Story Friday and Mom Start. Also linked with Works for Me Wednesday.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chocolate Cake

If you've read any of my Top 10 Recipe Posts, then you probably know that I love chocolate cake. So today's Top 10 will be ENTIRELY made up of the wonderful, the chocolatey, and most of all the cake!
Recently a friend suggested the Hershey's Kitchens site to me. How could I have missed this? On doing a little bit of exploring, I discovered that they have 100's (maybe even 1000s!) of chocolate cake recipes! Wow! I think it's my dream website!
Here are ten of those hundreds that I can't wait to try.
1. Deep Dark Chocolate Cake--this is a classic, moist dark chocolate cake. The recipe calls for buttercream frosting, but I might serve it with vanilla ice cream and this Deep Dark Fudge topping.
2. Lavish Chocolate Cake--This one calls for both a mousse filling and a ganache and features raspberries. Yum!
3. One Bowl Chocolate Cake--Yeah for easy chocolate cake recipes! This one features an orange frosting. I might try it with that, or go for that buttercream frosting from the Deep Dark Cake above.
4. Celebration Chocolate Cake--With sour cream in the recipe, this one promises to be very moist! It definitely makes me want to celebrate!
5. Chocolate Swirl Cake--This one is a little bit lighter on the chocolate side (hey, even I can understand that some people need a slight break from heavy chocolate every once in a while!) but is heavy on the wow factor.
6. Passover Chocolate Banana Cake--Yes, this might just be a healthy chocolate cake! It looks like snack to me!
7. Black Magic Cake--Here's a little coffee for those coffee lovers out there; I'm not a huge coffee person, but I do love the name!
8. Festive Chocolate Mint Dessert--This one isn't technically listed as a cake, but we've got to get the mint in there, don't we? I LOVE chocolate and mint together, and this dessert looks heavenly!
9. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes--I don't think I have much to say about these except a resounding, "Yum!"
10. Mocha Molten Chocolate Cake--This one fits my highest chocolate cake requirements: lots of chocolate and served warm.
So serve a little chocolate cake, and have a great week!
Linked with Menu Plan Monday and MMMmonday.Linked to Tempt My Tummy TuesdayTuesdays at the TableAnything RelatedDelicious DishesSlightly Indulgent TuesdayTuesday TwisterHearth and Soul HopGraceful Abandon's Blog HopTuesday Tastes, and Tasty Tuesdays over at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Shades of GreenLinked to Top Ten Tuesdayand Lucky Linky Tuesday What's Cooking Wednesday, This Week's Cravings and It's a Keeper

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Peaceful

lighthouse at the harbor in Nassau
Remember that 
gratefulness, joyfulness, and prayerfulness 
that I wanted our family to be defined by? 
Well, I'd like to add peacefulness to that mix as well.
And by peacefulness I don't mean la-la humming through life with nothing ever bothering me! 
I want to be a peacemaker. Our pastor spoke on Matthew 5:9 this morning
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God. 
 Peacemaker Ministries tells us that we must 
not be "peace breakers" attacking peace
nor "peace fakers" avoiding conflict
nor "peace keepers" appeasing others
but true peace makers.
True peace comes only when someone dies. 
Our ultimate peace comes because Jesus died.
Guess who has to die if you want to be restored to and reconciled with those who are estranged?
Yep, you guessed it, you do.
I must die to myself if I hope to have true peace with others.
I must die to myself if there is to be true peace in our household. 
And I do not mean the appeasing kind of peace that says, 
"Okay I'll do whatever you want, just give me some peace!"
I mean the kind of peace making that stops whatever I'm doing to
discipline
or kiss the scratch
or hear the story
or read the book
or make a little love note
or pour a cup of water
... 
This is going to be something I am learning my whole life long, but I would love for it to be in our list of defining qualities as a family. 
Lord, let us be
grateful
joyful
prayerful
and
peaceful.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Songs for Saplings 123

Remember how I've mentioned the wonderful music for Songs for Saplings before? (Here and Here and even did my first giveaway with their cds here!) Well, they've put out a new cd and I'm excited to introduce it! Everyone out there, please meet Songs for Saplings 123!
Would you like to get more up close and personal? Well, how about being able to download the first three songs for free? You won't even get through listening to the first song before you're clicking over to buy the whole album (for only $9!), I guarantee you!
Why do I love them so much?
Well, to tell you the truth, I am skeptical of all children's scripture music because well, frankly, it's written for children. It's simple and sometimes contrived and it works well to help children memorize scripture, but if it wasn't helping them do that, I wouldn't listen to it. But this music is folksy and well-written and has me singing along even when the children are doing other things! And oh, when I hear my 2yo walking around the house singing, "Who are the three persons of God? The three persons of God are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!" (from their Questions with Answers cds) my heart swells with wonder and gratefulness!
So jump right over to the Songs for Saplings shop and look around. You'll be impressed, I promise you! And don't forget to download your free music!
(All of the opinions are 100% mine. I'm receiving nothing from promoting these guys; I just really, really appreciate what they do!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fashion Wednesday #8

I NEVER would have put these colors together before the ideas of "fashion" and "remixing" came to my attention. Cream, tan, and blue with brown? Never! And yet, I think it works. I was even confident enough of the mix to add in a scarf with even more colors--just because it had the same feel and texture as the skirt. This outfit helped me feel springy and warm, which is what these early spring days have been calling for lately.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Patio Re-do With Pier One

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
We have an amazing patio. It was one of the reasons we fell in love with our house. There's a tree growing in the middle of it, the beautiful old stone bordered by brick gives it a very natural feel, and it overlooks a wooded back yard! We don't use it near enough, and when I saw the latest Pier 1 outdoor furniture and decor on-line, I just had to play around with my "what-ifs" for the patio.
Here's what I came up with:
Clockwise from the largest:
1. This colorful, scrolling wall art would set the tone and the colors for the rest of the patio. The yellow color in it would match our house's outside paint color, and the reddish color would match the cushions that we already have. I would put this lovely wooden art on the wall facing the patio.
2. The amazing new Swingasan chair from Pier1 would be a unique and comfortable addition to my patio's seating.
3. This cushion would work in the Swingasan chair and in the chairs around the table we already have. It would pull the moss tones out of the wall art and reflect all the greenery I would include in the patio (and the greenery from the woods beyond as well).
4. Add these Crisp Bamboo Candles and you definitely have style and ambiance!
5. I don't have these pictured (so you'll just have to click through and see how awesome they are!) but these Hammered Iron Floor Hurricanes would add sophisticated light to the whole patio.
 6. I'm in love with this beautiful Kalika Folding Table. I like it because it's versatile--it would work for extra seating or for setting out food or drinks but if you need extra space, it can easily be folded up and put aside.
7.  For a rug, I wanted something more than the usual indoor/outdoor jute, and this Brown Scroll Rug definitely fits the bill! It's so beautiful I could easily see it in our dining room (maybe during the winter months?) but it would take the scroll work of the wall art and magnify and simplify it as it adds a very comfortable feel to the patio.
8.  Can you believe this Scroll Burst Wall Decor is only $19.99? It's 31" wide and I could either use it on another wall or turn it parallel to the ground, hang it from a tree and hang candles from it as a beautiful chandelier! 
9. These Distressed Wooden Candleholders match the feel of the wall art and would be the perfect thing to scatter on our outdoor dining table.
10. Last but not least, I love the elegance and fun of this Outdoor Kaeden Pillow. I could see about five of them scattered around giving subtle pops of color. It's hard to believe a pillow this pretty is made for the outdoors!
If you like what you see here, you should definitely sign up for the Pier 1 Outdoor newsletter so that you can be in on the great sales and celebrations they're having for spring! (The first one is March 18-20, so don't be late!)
And if you're in to Tweeting, another way to keep up with Pier 1 is the Pier 1 Tweetups.

Visit Sponsor's Site
Linked to Motivate Me Monday, Makes My Monday, Homemaker Monday, Tools Are For WomenMaking the World CuterTop Ten TuesdayLucky Linky Tuesday, Anything Related, Transformation Thursday, Show Off Your Stuff, Strut Your Stuff, Hookin' Up with HOH


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rejoice!

"These words that I command you today shall be on your heart...You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
Deut. 6:6 and 9
Seeing this verse in my Bible reading this morning (find it here) reminded me of a decorating idea I've been meaning to work on.
I would love the word 
find it here
to sit above the entrance to our living room. This would sit on the door frame (does that count as a doorpost?) to that room and be the very first thing that we or anyone else sees when we walk in the door.
We need this reminder! It is sad that we do--we have so much to rejoice about, but we still need to be reminded. We need to be reminded to rejoice when dinner is not our favorite or when our friends are sick and can't come out to play or when plans get cancelled or we have to wake up early or...
You get the picture. We need a reminder!

May you have a week of rejoicing!

"Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD,
   exulting in his salvation."
Psalm 35:9

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What To Do On A(nother) Rainy Day

Yesterday was our school at home day. I love to spend the time teaching and learning with my kids on Wednesdays, but rainy, stay-inside-all-day kind of days can sometimes get long.
So yesterday, we tried out learning stations. I used to do this in the classroom to break up the monotony of seat work. Spreading the work around the room and having students move from one place to another to do the work, made everything completely different. It worked the same way for us yesterday--just in our living room instead of a classroom.
This took very little setup time and thought, and really made our day fly by! We finished our math and school homework at the table and then "dove into" the stations. We spent probably 30 minutes in the tent where the boy read to me and put his ice cream cones (short and long vowel words) together. I read a book to the youngest, and the oldest read a whole Magic Tree House book! Then we moved onto coloring where the boy stayed for longer than the rest of us. The oldest was able to handle the science station mostly by herself--she loves to look at her slides and draw out what she sees.
We played Jenga, and put our U.S. puzzle together as well. I loved how relaxed it was because everything was already out and ready to go. 
Our stations took us around an hour and a half, but stations could work for any age group and take just about any amount of time! I'd love to know what you would use for your kiddos for stations if you were going to do (or have already done) them with your kids!