Thursday, January 28, 2010

Free Kashi Sample

I learned about this great deal on a commercial this week. Visit Kashi's website and sign up to receive a free sample in the mail! Choose from GOLEAN Crisp!™ Toasted Berry Crumble cereal, TLC® Dark Chocolate Coconut Fruit & Grain bar, or GOLEAN Crunch!® Honey Almond Flax cereal. I picked the one with dark chocolate, obviously! This offer is good through 2/14/2010 or while supplies last.

Image: Kashi

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Recommended Site: Christian Family Planning Network

Christian Family Planning Network

Observant readers may notice that I have added a new section on the right to feature "Recommended Sites" here. The first badge to be added is for a site called the Christian Family Planning Network. So today, I'd like to talk a little bit about that site and why I have chosen to promote it here on this blog.

In November of last year, I was introduced to the Christian Family Planning Network by a friend. I decided to join it because my husband and I have successfully used and continue to use the same method of family planning which is promoted by the site, FAM, and I was interested in a place that could offer support, answers to questions, and camaraderie with other ladies who use non-hormonal family planning methods. Perhaps at another time I will post more about my personal reasons for using this method, but right now I'd like to focus on the site itself. I want to feature the site here because I believe it fills an important need in promoting from a Christian perspective a safe, reliable, and ethical alternative to hormonal birth control methods. I have asked the site's founder, Stephanie, to answer a few questions about the Christian Family Planning Network to highlight what it is and what is its purpose.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure! As Christi already mentioned, my name is Stephanie. I'm a 24 year old Bible College graduate. I've been a work-at-home-wife since June of 2008. The CFPN is my full-time job! My husband, Daniel, and I have been married for two and a half years. We used the Fertility Awareness Method to avoid pregnancy for our first year of marriage, and have been waiting for child #1 since then.

What is the purpose of the Christian Family Planning Network (CFPN)?
The purpose of the CFPN is to educate engaged and married Christians about their options for birth control beyond artificial or hormonal contraceptives, and hopes to overturn the common misconception that all natural birth control methods are the Rhythm Method of decades past.

How is this purpose accomplished?
This purpose is accomplished through our active message board community, as well as our online courses. On our message board, we have places for women who are interested in using natural methods to avoid or achieve pregnancy. We also have boards for women who are pregnant or parenting. We all know how much women like to chat about their lives and their hobbies outside of their fertility, so we provide space for that as well.

Our first two online courses began in January. The first course is FAM101: Just the Basics, and teaches people how to begin charting their fertility signs so that they can know when to avoid or abstain, or have sex if they're trying to conceive. FAM201: Beyond the Basics covers more advanced charting techniques, like what to do if your temperature or cervical fluid sign is unreliable, if you're not ovulating, or if you're post-partum. FAM201 also covers the effect that exercise, nutrition and lunaception (moonlight) affects your cycle.

Why did you decide to start the CFPN?
Back in summer of 2007, when I was engaged, I joined a secular site that promotes the Fertility Awareness Method. I noticed that there were a few other summer brides asking similar questions to me. We wanted to know what to expect on our wedding night as we were all virgins and new at this whole charting and being married thing! So, I started a "buddy group", which is a small group of women who are all interested in the same thing. This gave us our own place to ask our questions of each other and get answers. Throughout the summer, our group grew in number, as the 2008 brides began to get engaged and research their options, and circumstances of the 2007 brides began to change.

In the spring of 2008, we split the original buddy group into three groups: 2007 brides, 2008 brides and those who were trying to get pregnant, or were already pregnant. By the Christmas of 2008 we had enough babies born that we started a parenting buddy group. About that point, the administration of the website we were on made a decision to support a pro-choice view of emergency contraception. I had been thinking that we needed to move our network of buddy groups (at this point we had about 50 women) to our own website for a few months, and it seemed like a really good time to do it!

January 17, 2009 was the first day we were on our own website. We stayed there for a few months, but we quickly realized that we were no longer the "Engaged & Newlywed Network". In order to change our name, we had to change our URL. So, the moderators decided that we would pay for our own hosting and our own domain, and we became the Christian Family Planning Network on May 15, 2009 at our current URL. As our name changed from one site to the next, so did our purpose, and that's how we got to where we are today!

Who can join the CFPN?
Anyone who is interested in learning about how a woman's natural fertility cycle works! This means men, women, young, old, dating, engaged, married, etc. You do not need to be a Christian or agree to our Statement of Faith to be a member, but all our leaders do hold to our Statement of Faith. Christian values such as marriage between only a man and woman, abstinence before marriage, and the sanctity of life are all upheld by our leaders as well, and we do hold those in high regard on the message board as well.

We have a section of our message board called "Just Curious". This is for people who are not engaged or married, who are "just curious" about what their bodies are doing. We encourage them to participate there, and in the off-topic parts of the board, but ask that they refrain from joining the buddy groups for people who are actively using (or planning to use) the method in a marriage relationship until they are engaged.


Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing with us about the Christian Family Planning Network! I hope that gives everyone a good idea of what the CFPN does and why it exists. Please check their website to learn more. You can also access the site by clicking the banner at the top of this post.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Favorite Taco Meat

We had this for dinner this week, so I thought I'd share. It's not a from-scratch recipe, but much tastier than the typical from-a-seasoning-packet meat. I make it with ground turkey, but this could be made with any meat.

Favorite Taco Meat

2 lbs. ground meat
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 cup salsa
1 packet taco seasoning

In a large frying pan, brown meat until no longer pink. Drain grease and return to pan. Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for several minutes to intensify flavors.

Note: I usually half this recipe since 2 pounds is too much for our little family. Sometimes I still use an entire packet of taco seasoning, which makes it pretty strong but still good. Or if I end up following the recipe and only using half a packet, I use some of the extra seasoning and some salsa to mix into cooked rice. It makes a quick and easy side dish!

Find this recipe and more over at my new blog, Cucina di Christina!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pop-Tarts® Sprinklings™

Last year, Pop-Tarts® introduced an online club called Sprinklings™. According to their site, by joining the club you receive "a smattering of samples and a variety of values." When I first joined in September, I received a printable online coupon. A few weeks later, my Blueberry Muffin sample arrived in the mail (containing a package of two full-size pastries) along with a few more coupons. Then I basically forgot all about it until the end of December when I received another package from Sprinklings™, this time sharing with me their brand new flavor, Wild! Grape. Apparently it hasn't even hit the shelves yet! It tasted pretty good and I'm always excited about getting free snacks in the mail, so I though this was one deal worth sharing. The email address I used to join has not been sold to spammers, though it's always a good idea to use a separate "junk" email address to register for deals like this just in case.