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How We Do Doctors Visits for Free

Doctors visits for free sounds crazy, but it’s true!  Here’s our story:   doctors visits for free

Our Story

My kids have both had strep throat recently.  It has been going around their school and although we were healthy all year, it finally caught us.  The good news is it didn’t cost us anything!  We were able to make an appointment for a phone consultation with MDLive, the company that Medi-Share partners with, each time and consult with a doctor immediately!   No cost for the appointment, or for the amoxicillin that we picked up within the hour from the pharmacy.  Our kids were back to no fevers within a day, and we continued through the antibiotics for 10 days.  Life changing!!  Read below for more details, and for all the ways we are saving on insurance, read HERE.

Virtual Doctor’s Visit

Thankfully, we can do doctors visits for free with Medi-share’s Telehealth program.  With Medi-Share we were able to “see” a doctor immediately virtually with their tele-health program.  You can review the available doctor’s certifications before selecting your preference among those available.  They were able to diagnose and treat our issue and prescribe medication to our local pharmacy…immediately!

For the germaphobe that I am, this was such a nice change.  No germy waiting room.  No waiting.  We didn’t even have to leave the house!  The best part:  it was free!  NO cost to see a doctor; this is included in our membership to Medi-Share.  I am not receiving any kind of commission for sharing this info; I just think it’s too good not to share!  This does not replace our regular doctors, and they will send the records to your doctor’s office if you wish.  This virtual service is very helpful, though, in these situations, and saves us a ton!

Sharing to Help You Live Your Priorities

If you are looking to save money on insurance so you can live your priorities, I highly recommend Medi-Share.  I think it’s a great service that is helping many people when health care is otherwise unaffordable.  We have saved a TON on insurance costs this year (thankfully, and fingers crossed), so I highly recommend you reading this page.   Our auto and home insurance changes have been life-changing as well!  Save money on these expenses, so you can live your priorities!

3 Gift Rule

Christmas Gift Giving

 

When our children were babies, we implemented the 3 gift rule that someone told us about. Just as Jesus received three gifts from the three wise men, you’ll remember from the Bible story, our children receive three gifts from us! This simple rule has simplified Christmas for us! Someone told me about it years ago, and how it gave Christmas deeper meaning to their little children and a chance to share the story of the birth of Jesus. There are still plenty of gifts around the tree, because you buy for others. Likewise, they receive plenty because of extended family Christmas gatherings. But the message that we share around the tree is the story of Jesus and the three gifts of the wise men: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

3 Gifts of the Wise Men

3 Gift Rule

What is the 3 Gift Rule?

So, what are these three gifts, and how do we implement that into our family Christmas tradition?

Gold: Something that they really want

Frankincense: Something that they need (like clothes)

Myrrh: Something to read or to help them grow (a book, devotional, or CD usually)

The message on Christmas morning is not one of extravagant material gifts, but of the most extravagant gift we could ever receive: eternal life because our Savior came and took the punishment we deserve. Our family is far from being holy or un-materialistic. These small steps, though, keep Christmas focused and keep our children from only caring about what they will receive under the tree Christmas morning! Our family time is meaningful and enjoyable. Christmas morning, along with Christmas Eve, is one of my most favorite days. We celebrate family and our Savior. I cannot remember who first told me about the 3 Gift Rule, but I am so thankful they did!

For more posts from Mom’s Priority about Christmas time giving:

Teach Your Kids to Give

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

 

Gratitude: The Cure for Entitlement

The Cure for Entitlement: Gratitude  the cure for entitlement is gratitude

My son has been excitedly asking about our gratitude jar for the past month. Filling the jar with things we are thankful for is a tradition we do every November. Every day in November (ideally… we often have to catch up!), we write down things we are thankful for on slips of paper and add them to the jar. On Thanksgiving Day, we read all of our notes aloud. It is a humbling and gratifying experience to say the least. To hear aloud my family members say things that maybe I never think to be thankful for, this fills my heart! This is what Thanksgiving is all about!

Get Our Hearts Right

It surprises me that he asks and even remembers! Our gratitude jar simply sits on our kitchen table for one month out of the year. It precedes Christmas, which can become an extremely materialistic time of year if we’re not careful. I love that it makes an impact on him, and I hope we keep this tradition for many years to come. More than anything, in our entitled world, I want our kids to know the source of everything. I want them to know that it comes from God, and not from any work they can do themselves. Sure, hard work is often rewarded, but this gratitude is what separates the entitled from the humble and thankful.

gratitude
Simple Jar or Bucket

Don’t fool yourself into thinking your container has to be Pinterest-worthy to use! A gratitude jar (or gratitude bucket!) can be as crafty as you want, or have time, to make it! It’s the practice, the habit, of daily writing down things we’re thankful for that we’re after. If you have time to make it super-cute, then by all means, do! This year, my usual glass apothecary jar was being used for something else. So, we are using a galvanized bucket with a ribbon tied at the top! Times are busy right now, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to miss this opportunity! Who knows how many more years our kids will want to do this?! I do hope it sticks with them. But regardless, it will be a fulfilling memory to store away for future thanksgivings.

Solutions to Raising Grateful Kids

Beyond this simple idea of a gratitude jar, here are other ways to raise grateful kids in this entitled world:

  • Express thankfulness in prayers and blessings. Thankfulness is a key element of prayer, and in blessings at meals, we bless the food and thank God for providing it. Creating this habit reminds us daily to focus on God, and not on ourselves.
  • Give gifts and serve in the community. When you give generously, you think of the receiver and it forces you to look beyond yourself. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our situation, that we fail to look outward. Giving good gifts to teachers and others in the community helps us to voice our appreciation of their work.
  • Get into nature and experience the awe and beauty around us, given to us by God. How can you look at a sunrise and not be thankful?!
  • Live intentionally. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, focus on what your purpose is and do that well!
  • Keep Christmas about the cross, and not just wanting more “stuff.” We can challenge ourselves to give and not just want. The 3 Gift rule helps our family keep away from all of the “I wants.”

Expressing Gratitude Creates Long Term Impact

Ultimately as parents, when we “teach” our children, we’re really teaching ourselves, right? This reminder every November is good medicine for me AND it’s great for our kids. We’re raising up the next generation, and who wants a bunch of spoiled adults running around! Long term, I believe practicing gratitude creates healthier families. Think of how much better you sleep when you’re not overspent and overworked? When you’re able to focus on living intentionally, grateful for each day. There are even studies pointing to gratitude reducing anxiety and depression in adults. The results of one study are preliminary, but it suggests practicing gratitude actually rewires the brain! Knowing that the future ahead for our children is not going to be any easier, I want to give my kids all the tools to have long, productive and meaningful lives. Gratitude is a simple answer.

For more posts related to family and living intentionally around the holidays, join our newsletter and click to read these posts:

Christmas Giving with Kids
Three Gift Rule
Living Intentionally as a Mom

Freezer Friendly Muffins

These banana chip muffins are perfect for breakfast or a snack, and can be easily frozen for later.  Even better is pulling them out of the freezer later on and having the work already done!  Super easy, kid-friendly, and freezer-friendly, I wanted to share this banana chip muffin recipe to make your life easier!

 

Banana Chip Muffins

This is a wonderful, easy recipe to make when you have leftover bananas. The kids love these banana chip muffins, and they are SO simple to make. Chocolate chips make them irresistible!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Breakfast
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 24 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • tsp ¼salt
  • cup ½butter
  • cup ¾brown sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed over ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with liners.
  2. Mix butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Add mashed bananas.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Mix these dry ingredients in with the rest.
  5. Finally, fold in the mini chocolate chips.
  6. Scoop out into muffin tins, filling 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 15-20 min.
  7. Cool on a wire rack. These are great muffins to freeze for later!

 

9 Must-Haves for Farmhouse Decor

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Farmhouse Decor is relaxed, inviting, and inexpensive to achieve.  While it started out as a style only seen in rustic, rural farmhouses, the style has evolved to be achievable for anyone.  If you are looking to make small updates to your home, farmhouse decor items are fun and easy to include in your rooms.  Here are 9 must-haves for farmhouse décor.

9 Must haves for farmhouse decor

  1. Inspirational quotes on simple signs

Make your home feel warm and inviting with simple reminders.  This sign from Hobby Lobby is perfect for farmhouse décor.

Love grows best Hobby Lobby wall decor

2.  Monogrammed family name signs

Etsy has a great selection of homemade and custom signs for custom farmhouse décor.

Custom Wood Monogram Etsy

3.  Casual throw pillows

These throw pillow covers were super inexpensive and an easy way to change out décor for the seasons.  If you have the pillow inserts already, you can order this 4-pack on Amazon for cheap and have a new farmhouse look in several days.

                                                         farmhouse decor pillow

4.  Wooden ladder

We were fortunate to have my son and dad build a ladder just like this one for our basement farmhouse bathroom, but you can buy this one on Amazon.  Hang towels or blankets over the rungs to make it useful for your space.

                                      

5.  Galvanized olive bucket

I just love this olive bucket from Hobby Lobby!  It is so versatile and farmhouse style.

Metal Olive Bucket Hobby Lobby

6.  Your family initial

Anything galvanized is perfect for farmhouse décor, and this letter would go great on a collage wall.

galvanized letter B Hobby Lobby

7.  Natural boxwood wreath or magnolia wreath

Natural wreaths are a great way to bring the outdoors in without the mess.  This particular one is made from preserved boxwood, so it needs to be misted every couple of weeks with water to stay looking fresh.  We have this one and it is holding up beautifully.

8.  Buffalo check napkins and tea towels

Buffalo check is so farmhouse chic, and I love the casual style, especially for Spring.

                                                     farmhouse decor buffalo check

9.  Farmhouse Décor Tobacco basket

Perfect for a mantle, hung on the wall, or set on the coffee table, this tobacco basket is definitely farmhouse style.

Tobacco basket Hobby Lobby farmhouse decor                                                    farmhouse decor tobacco basket hobby lobby

Farmhouse décor is about living simply, and more than anything, being grateful for what you have every day.  Make your space beautiful with your own touch.  Add some of these or none at all, but just enjoy your home and time with family.  For special offers from the retailers mentioned above and others, check out our deals page.

Clinique Bonus at Macys

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Clinique Bonus at Macy’s is NOW ~ Don’t Miss it!

Heads up, now is a great time to stock up on your makeup as it’s time for Clinique Bonus at Macys! This is the easiest way to buy your makeup! You don’t even have to find time to go shopping. Spend just $28 and the bonus gift is automatically added to your bag. If you wear Clinique, it is so simple to order online with free shipping and have your makeup delivered to your door! It doesn’t get much simpler! Or faster!
Macys.com
Clinique Choose your FREE 7pc Gift with $28 Clinique Purchase! +GET MORE! (Total Gift Value Over $135!) Created for Macy’s.

 

Clinique Products

Clinique products have been good to my skin for many years, back to the teenage years when my skin needed lots of help! I think many in my generation grew up on Clinique, as our moms used Estee Lauder! I am thankful for the ability to easily purchase my Clinique makeup without making a trip to the mall. Ordering through macys.com is so simple, and your makeup typically arrives at your door within 2 days. If you order other products in other departments, you get free shipping WITH any beauty purchase!

This bonus only runs through April 15, so make sure you order your makeup today!  Choose your FREE 7pc Gift with $28 Clinique Purchase! +GET MORE! (Total Gift Value Over $135!) Created for Macy’s.

 

Alert: Walmart Price Increases Online

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After all of my praise of Walmart, I am disappointed to share my experience with Walmart price increases online.  Have you noticed how Walmart offers two prices now on their website for grocery items?  The online price and the in-store price.  I knew it was a great possibility, but was so excited to be able to do the bulk of my shopping online this past year that I tried out Walmart online.  Now that prices are increasing online, I need to review how I shop in order to save money and time for our family.  I share with you today so you can be aware and do the same.

We are all looking to make the best decisions for our family, to make the most of our time and money.  Here is what you need to know about the Walmart price increases online.

Walmart price increases online

Higher Online Grocery Prices

Walmart is testing out different online pricing strategies in order to make their online operations profitable.  Right now, it seems they are charging around 20% more for groceries ordered online and delivered to your door.  A few months ago, you could receive the same products for the same low prices you received in stores.  I’ve confirmed this from a report from the Wall Street Journal.  For example,

This 30 oz box of Pepperidge Farm goldfish is $8.45 for 2 day shipping to your door.  It is $7.18 in the store or if you pick up at the store today.

Pepperidge Farm ® Goldfish ® Cheddar Baked Snack Crackers 30 oz. Carton

 

It makes sense for their business to do this; but, as a customer, I enjoy receiving Walmart packages to my door with no extra expense or effort- who doesn’t?!  Walmart is now pushing sales of items $10 and up through its online site, per this article from cnbc and others.  As 2018 progresses, you can expect to see a shift in affordable items at Walmart.com.  All of the online grocery suppliers are making shifts, though, as this market evolves.  As for us, we have to be aware of these changes and pay attention to prices so we can keep our priorities.

Two Prices to Choose From

While previously the prices were mostly the same in-store and online with delivery, now you can choose to pay the premium to have the item shipped to your house.  The price is significantly more, around 20% more in my experience.  However, you are not also paying shipping, as long as you spend $35 or more, so depending on your needs, you may still choose delivery.
Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

A Third Option for Walmart Grocery

Originally, you shopped in stores for all groceries.  Over this past year, you have been able to shop online and have items delivered to your door.  Now, a third option is becoming more popular:  Online grocery ordering and curbside pickup.  This third option has become more popular (although my location almost always has plenty of availability for pickup times).  You receive the lower in-store price (currently, to my knowledge)  and you can make complete grocery trips including refrigerated items.  Who knows, however, how long this option will keep the lowest prices, though.

More Options with Competition

As we’re all aware, we have many options to order groceries through these days that are convenient for busy moms.  From Amazon’s wide offering, to Publix and other grocers offering the Instacart delivery service, to Kroger’s Clicklist, and others like FarmFresh, we have many options.  Read my review on the best prices for online grocery here.  But, none of these options is perfect or meets all of our needs.  We just have to choose the best option available for us.  According to the WSJ article mentioned above, Walmart is seeking to drive customers to its physical stores.  But, what if we don’t want to go inside?!!  My day is much more peaceful without a Walmart trip!  As I’m sure yours is as well.

With Walmart price increases online, it is difficult to form consistent shopping habits.  What are your thoughts on online grocery?  Is it something that you currently do, or plan to do in the future?

REFRESH for 2018

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Refresh Welcome 2018A word of the year is typically not my style, but starting out 2018, I feel like the word “Refresh” is appropriate.  A new year is not about starting over; its about continuing what you’ve already started, but with refinement.  You take what you have and improve.  You take your habits, skills, mindset, home, body, etc and tweak them to be the best “you” you can be.

Making Yourself A Priority

For me, this year I am focusing more on myself than in years past.  As a mom, it’s easy to neglect ourselves while taking care of the immediate needs of our children.  For a season, it can be necessary.  Babies require so much time and care.  Add in work and other home and family responsibilities and time for yourself is scarce.  But, only for a season!  As my kids continue to grow, I realize that I have to be the one to make myself a priority.

This past fall, we bought an elliptical machine (that I love!).  As a family, we are not fitness buffs;  exercise, outside of household chores that had to be done and playing sports and being outdoors for fun, just wasn’t a priority.  We bought the elliptical for me, primarily.  It sounds ridiculous, but when I first started exercising on the elliptical, I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest!  I’m not what you would call overweight, and I couldn’t believe how difficult it was!  But, as time has gone on, it’s become easier.  Believe it or not, I actually look forward to that time on the machine now!  I do cardio, either on the elliptical, out walk/jogging with a friend, or to a video, and then toning exercises, at least 5 days a week.  We get this one life and one body, and how we take care of it matters.  Refreshing my routine this year is a priority for me.

Refresh Your Routine, Your Mind, and Your Wardrobe

At some point, you have to make yourself a priority.  I encourage you to carve that time out for yourself each day; don’t give up, and in time, you will appreciate it.  This  year, my health focus is just refreshing my routine to make sure it doesn’t get stale and eating healthier.  Mentally and spiritually, my quiet times and time to read books is important.  Also, how we dress is also important.  As moms, we can neglect ourselves, but this year, I will be refreshing the wardrobe more than usual!  Clothes can make you feel good about yourself, as cliche as it sounds.  I am frugal to a fault, but I value looking nice when I’m out.  Cleaning out the closet and making good investment clothing purchases… this is a priority this year.

Refresh Your Home

Finally, refreshing the home is on my mind this new year.  As we take down Christmas decor, the simplicity and lack of clutter is refreshing in itself.  But this year, we plan to give our well-loved home of 14 years a refresh!  I believe having inspiring decor and items you love around you make life richer.  While frugality is my default (evidence: saving money), now is time for us, personally, to make a few investments and refresh our home.  I plan to take this one room at a time and post pictures on here as we make changes.  This year for me, welcoming 2018 means to refresh, inside and out.  So, I’m investing in myself and my home, to best live my priorities.  What are your plans for 2018?

Last Minute and After Christmas Deals

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Looking for last minute and after Christmas deals?  I am updating the Mom’s Priority Deals page with good deals as I find them.  For example, Vera Bradley has Free Shipping on orders of $75 or more! Valid 12/22-12/30, as well as Holiday Sale! 50% off select patterns! Valid 12/8-12/25.  Today is the last day for Amazon Prime 2 day free shipping. Walmart Pickup is also a great option for pickup today- just order online and pick up in the store to save time and money!

Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

After Christmas Deals

DaySpring is starting their After Christmas Sale with deep discounts on Christmas decor and other items.

DaySpring:  beautiful, inspirational cards and gifts 

Janie and Jack is also starting their End of the Season Sale.

Janie and Jack: Heirloom quality clothes that you can pass down.  Trendy, stylish, and on sale!

Today is the last day for Amazon Prime 2 day free shipping. Walmart Pickup is also a great option for pickup today- just order online and pick up in the store to save time and money!  Find these last minute deals and after Christmas deals on the Deals page of Mom’s Priority.

Teach Your Kids to Give

Christmas Giving with Kids

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Tis the Season…for giving, and sharing the Love of Christmas with others. Your kids are never too young to start- it’s up to you to teach your kids to give and look out for others. Even though we do some of these things,  I want our family to be more intentional at Christmas-time, and throughout the year.  Looking for needs, meeting them, and showing appreciation: these are habits I want to have and instill in our kids.  Here are 33 Ways Kids can Give this Christmas (without much money spent!):

Teach Your Kids to Give This Christmas

Teach Your Kids to Give

Christmas Giving for Kids

1. Give a warm blanket to the homeless
2. Leave a thank you note and small gift card for the mail carrier  

thank you postal worker
3. Thank your bus driver with a note, gift card, and big hug!
4. Sing and play Christmas carols at the local assisted living center
5. Pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas child


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