Tyndale Rewards- FREE books

Today I received the books I ordered from Tyndale Publishers. They have a rewards program where you can sign up for free and after completing simple tasks, surveys and/or reviews you receive points towards free books.

One of the books I got today in the mail was “My Mama & Me”.

This is a devotional for young children that speaks about God in cute, short rhymes. It includes a prayer with each devotion and an activity idea you can easily do with your child. Although I’m waiting to give this gift to my son as a Christmas present, I’m anxious to start reading it with him.

If you’re interested in signing up for Tyndale Rewards as well you can use my link and get 25 points automatically added to your account. Just go here.

A Whole Book in One Sitting

This morning my day began with a “ring, ring” and some cries from Elijah as I realized that my wonderful husband had set an alarm on his phone and then lovingly left it at home with me. Thanks hun. Good prank. I’m awake!

And what do you do when your day starts early?

Make coffee.

And the day of homeschooling in the country-land of Morrill begins.

I’m reluctant to let Elijah use crayons lately but he is seriously getting a whole lot of (sometimes) hands on learning that he wasn’t getting in city life. Almost every day we get to watch the deer eating apples in our neighbors field. Several times our backyard has been overcome with turkeys. Elijah has enjoyed seeing a turtle, dragonflies, grasshoppers, caterpillars, crickets, ants, etc. and of course, our lovely hens. He is especially fond of all the big trucks and tractors that go by on a regular basis. I really think he likes the country life. He even helped me pull weeds and stack wood at our fire-pit today. I was so impressed.

As much as I love my son when he is awake, today I was especially happy that he took a really long nap.

And I disciplined myself to sit outside in the sunshine to read a book. And I ended up finishing it too. That never happens!!

I read Corrie ten Boom’s book called “He sets the Captive Free”.

I need to discipline myself more for this much needed encouragement. And I was so encouraged by her words. The summer does not last forever and winter will soon be here. While I think of my comfort, the needed extra blanket on the bed and an attempt to soak up the last of summers rays, Ten Boom shared a little of her experiences in prison. And then how she took those experiences to use them for the glory of God. In this book she shares mostly about conversations and speaking engagements she was able to have because she was willing to obey God and share her story.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.” -Proverbs 27:1

A good reminder as I head off to bed.

Morrill, you say?

It’s been awhile, ok, a long while, since my last post so I thought that I should take a few moments to send an update.

So, where in the world is that Oakes family? You may be asking. I’ve been told I must feel like I’ve had mental whiplash and I’d say that’s pretty close to the truth. In short, a decision to move to Florida was hit with a very last minute change of mind and consequently a house in an incredibly small town called Morrill has now become the new home of our little family. The town boasts a post office, general store, town office and volunteer fire station, and of course, some friendly neighbors.

We have decided to stay in Maine and have been spending the last 3 1/2 weeks not really making our home the best decorated on the block; and how could I when my son decided to make his artistic debut today by plastering green crayon on my kitchen cupboard? (And the worst part is he did it right under my nose while I got lunch ready. Mom fail? And for the record- I did not teach him to do that!! And p.s. how do I get it off?) Overall, our goal has been to make things functional. We have had a steady stream of to-do and to-buy lists and slowly but surely we have been making progress and feeling settled. We are hoping that the move here will allow us to be in closer fellowship to the believers at the church we had been commuting to for over the past almost 2 years (Christ the King).

I know some of you have been asking about Elijah’s lead levels and, unfortunately, I do not have an update regarding this. We are hoping that the move will result in further improvement by decreased exposure and will try to update if/when he gets tested again. As of yesterday he has officially been described as a “pistol” and continues to be very talkative, smart, active, and happy.

Mom- “How old are you Elijah?”

Elijah- “One” (Holds finger up)

He has also graduated to two-word sentences. “Sit down.” “Don’t touch.” “Be careful.” Hmm… I wonder why??

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Heart and Health

This past week has been a little crazy and unpredictable, hence, lack of post. Last Monday we received Elijah’s blood test results to check lead and iron levels since the home we live in is very old. His lead levels had skyrocketed from 9 on his previous test all the way up to 36 micrograms per deciliter (in a very short time-frame). Of course this caused great concern for myself and my husband, both because of the immediate health problems and long term implications that can be caused by lead poisoning. We knew that the home we (had been) staying in was a major source of the problem and that we had to do something quickly. So to make a story shorter, on Friday we decided that we would move out for the hopeful benefit this would be to his health. We moved out on Saturday and in with my in-laws who graciously provided us a place to stay. Thankfully, it was a long (memorial) weekend which afforded us a little more time to wash, pack and transport our belongings.

I thought I had a little more time to prepare for our move. For those of you who don’t know, our little family is about to pile our stuff into a car and make for Florida State. My husband was accepted to go to school and we have an apartment approved to move in on August 1st. Needless to say, this weekend took me a little off guard and has been heavy, emotional and stressful. And God keeps bringing this verse to mind, “do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.’ (Proverbs 27:1) And I have realized it is a kindness of the Lord that He would see fit to break me, and I mean BREAK me. God is concerned about my HEART. And His grace is shining through. I am reminded yet again that I am not primarily a mother, a wife or a homemaker, though tending to those roles is what I spend most of my day doing. What I am first and foremost, is a child of God. And He is showing me that He is taking care of me, and will take care of my son as well. All of this is outside of my control.

And the lyrics of a children’s song I often sing to Elijah come to mind.

Faith is trusting in a great, BIG God. He can move the mountains, He can calm the seas. Faith is trusting in a great , big God. He takes care of you and me. Do not be afraid. No! No! No! God is with you! God is with you! Do not be afraid. God is with you everyday!

Friend, please pray for us.



Big, Scary, Exciting

Doing something new for the first time is sometimes scary-exciting isn’t it?

Our little family is about to do some of these big scary new things and we’re looking to the Lord.

Sometimes a new thing is a little thing. Like, today for example, I ordered coupons on a clipping site for the first time ever. Paying for coupons? Seems silly doesn’t it? Well, I used to think so. But paying cents when you can save dollars is actually not a bad idea. I used Klip2save for the first time today using money from my paypal account that I earned through rebate apps such as Checkout 51, Ibotta, and Snap by Groupon. I’m calling it “using my savings to grow my savings”. And I’ll actually be using a few of the coupons to get stuff FREE.

A lot of couponers do this because they have a big secret. They view the flyer early! Who knew??? Let me introduce you to DealsbyDarlene!!! If you are a Shaw’s shopper, she will become your new best friend. Getting a sneak pre-view of next weeks ad has been wonderful. And many people use this tool to buy their coupons on Monday for use on Friday’s sale. Or like what I have been doing… holding off on purchases this week when next weeks deal is BETTER. Corn is on sale Friday, why buy it today? Check it out and see for yourself!

Sometimes doing a new thing is a little bigger. Yesterday, my husband got me set up for an etsy account. Not much in stock yet, nor do I have a shop name, but you’ll see some cute new baby booties eventually and we’ll see where business goes from there.

IMG_8237Knitting and crocheting is mostly a fun hobby for me and helps me to feel productive while I’m doing other things.

Sometimes doing something new is BIG. What have you done? Or what do you want to do that is big, scary, exciting? Please share. I’d love to hear it.

I’m encouraged by this verse:

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”  (Hebrews 11:8)


This is a True Story

When it is simply too gorgeous outside to not spend any time in the sunshine, I must admit that some days I wander aimlessly around town. I am frequently forced to resist the temptation to buy ‘Rock City’ coffee or yarn I see on sale at ‘Over the Rainbow’ while I enjoy my dose of Vitamin D and exercise. Today had started out to be one of those wandering days where I was itching to get outside. As I was heading to Dunkin Donuts for a free any size beverage (that I managed to obtain enough points for) my loving husband called and said that we would be needing hamburger buns for this evening. I think to myself, they are on sale at Shaw’s. This is one of the blessings of living so close to town. I could be my husband’s helper and go get them! Well, let the secret be known, I went to Hannafords, which I’ve recently discovered is nicknamed “cantaffords”. It was a closer walk than Shaw’s. I’d have fun with this, I thought. I will look around the store for coupons 🙂 So on I went.

Elijah and I were on an adventure. We were told he looked so at least. And we were also told he looked like a cowboy three separate times. That hat though!! It’s just too cute. WP_20150515_13_28_42_ProSo since I was not just killing time but on a hunt for coupons we went up and down the aisles of the grocery store. Not many were to be found, and most were peelies (which are meant to be kept on the product until time of purchase-not saved and used when it goes on sale). I took note that a few items were cheaper including bananas. But cheaper “nana’s” as Elijah calls them makes no difference to me since I get them for free at Shaw’s each week with my free fruit card. But before I call this an unsuccessful trip, sure enough, there at the back of the store was a freebie guy! My fave! A friendly man handing out samples of yogurt and coffee. Interesting combination? And I interrupt this story for a fun fact- Freebies they hand out in the grocery store cause the sale of that product to go up by approximately 650%. Some say steer clear if you’re trying to save money. I say, hello coupons! Score. If it’s not something I would normally buy, I will still take a coupon just in case I could make money with it later (yes, that does happen sometimes). I was happy to see yogurt and coffee. Mmmm.

There are several places in a grocery store to find hamburger buns so it really was a fun scavenger hunt for us, especially since admittedly I don’t frequently shop at Hannaford. Thankfully, I did find some that weren’t jaw-droppingly expensive. And I added a tomato (as requested by my husband) and 3 avocados (which happened to be cheaper than Shaw’s) to my purchase. They do have nice produce and the shelves are well stocked.. And as I checked out I could not believe what had just happened. The cashier asked me if I had any coupons and I had to say no, in fact, I did not. What? Well, more correctly, I had a purse full of them but not for anything I was buying. I honestly wouldn’t have believed it if I had not been there myself. That did happen. And I find out when I get home that I could have received .20 cents back on my tomato through ibotta* if I had shown them ‘myhannaford’ number (loyalty program). There is a lesson to be learned here but I will save that for another time.

*Ibotta is a great program to use for cash back on your purchases. If you have not already signed up now is a great time to do so as they have many “any brand” offers available right now such bacon, peanut butter, coffee, pasta, shredded cheese and many more. Be sure to use my code “uncyma” when you sign up so you can join my team.

Thanks for sharing in my adventure. And now I’m going to read an article a friend sent me called ‘What to Eat When You’re Broke”.

Encouragement to Nurture

This post is a little late but I still wanted to share. After having officially celebrated my second Mother’s Day since the birth of my little man, I have concluded that it should be Mother’s Day every day! However, I do believe Elijah missed the memo that he was supposed to sleep in on Sunday (and every day). Sigh. It was a 6 am rise for us. And I made him breakfast! Now that is work! photo91So yes, as every mother knows, I still had to change dirty diapers on my “vacation” day. A mother’s job is certainly never done.

I am so thankful to be called momma by this adorable little prince whether it’s Mother’s Day or any day.


In all seriousness, it was a wonderful mother’s day for me. Our family spent the morning on an enjoyable walk by the water, spent much time in fellowship at church, and then ended the day with moms eat FREE frozen yogurt at Sweet Frog.

This is such a sweet time in Elijah’s life to be his mother as I watch him learning to walk and imitate sounds. I am convinced that he has said banana, cracker, car, among many other words including his own name and I am impressed at how smart he is.

Yesterday I was listening to a talk by Gloria Furman about nurturing according to Christ’s pattern by His power and looking to God’s promises that He purchased for us. Whether you’re a mom or not we need encouragement to nurture others- to be hospitable, serving, making disciples, etc. with a strength from God that endures through the various trials of your circumstances. I encourage you to take a listen here and be reminded of the big picture and the greatness of your calling if you are a believer in Christ.

The temptation to make the day about me doesn’t only happen when I wake up on Mother’s Day. The battle is there every morning when my eyes struggle to open and tend to baby cries and I wish I could sleep just five minutes longer.

Thank you, Lord, that you are doing a good work in me, as you have promised!

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)