Giving It All Away!

There is a home we love that’s only a few hundred thousand dollars out of our price range. We haven’t counted ourselves out, because a girl can dream. It has acreage. It has trees. It has a river. And the cutest wood fire kitchen stove I have ever laid eyes on.

There are a few ways we could get this home…. one is an outright miracle from God. Another is, well, an outright miracle from God.

Short of a couple of miracles, we’re not getting this house.

But I’m not going to stop dreaming and planning and doing whatever I *can* do to get my family into a home, and onto a property, we long for. It probably won’t be this particular one, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up and settle into this apartment for the long-haul.

Really, though, wouldn’t it be something if someone would give it all away?

I can’t give you a house. Or acreage to put one on. But here’s what I can do!

A while ago, in a total lapse of judgement, I planned a small-scale surprise party for my husband’s birthday.

My husband hates surprises. Like… really, really hates them.

In an attempt to clean house without really cleaning so he wouldn’t catch on to what I was doing, I took a stack of books that was on our countertop, and I shoved them into the back of a bottom kitchen cupboard.

Because…more judgement lapse.

These books sat there for almost two months, because I completely forgot what I did with them. In the meantime, I ordered books from Amazon. And I ordered a book I had already purchased.


There are a few lessons to be learned here.

One: Don’t try to show love to your spouse by doing something they absolutely abhor. It doesn’t go well.

Two: Don’t put books in a kitchen cupboard.

Three: Check your order history once in a while before you click that “checkout” button.

This works really well for YOU, though! Everyone who is on my mailing list (hint: if you get an email from Val’s Mind Mumbles every Saturday, you’re on my list. If you don’t get that email, you are not on my list yet!) will receive an entry in three upcoming giveaways!

I’ll be giving away three books between now and Christmas, and the only way to enter is to be a subscriber to my mailing list. (See at the top left of this page [or bottom, if you’re on your mobile] where it has a form to enter your name and email to get my newsletter? Submit that!)

The first drawing will be held Thursday, December 1st, and I’ll announce the winner then.

And no, I’m not giving away any of our Little House series books. I’ll be giving away the following:

  • The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney
  • Undone by Michelle Cushatt
  • Happy, Happy, Happy by Phil Robertson

They’re all awesome books, and if you’ve already read the one you’re drawn for, it would make a great gift for someone else.

Make sure you’re entered (all it costs is your email address!) and best of luck!

Gifting the Gifts of Giftedness

I haven’t written a post in over a month. Which is really sad and alarming to me. I’ve known for a while I need to get my time under better control, and the fact that I can’t sit down to write – even one post in a month – is testament to that. I have so much to do over the next two weeks before the year ends, and I want to finish strong for the people and entities depending on me to produce for them – so I’ve been tucking myself away in the fetal position to get to work.

I’m carving out time today, though, to help you with some last minute shopping. If you’re stuck on what to get someone – hopefully one of these ideas will help you out.

Gifting the Gifts of Giftedness

Just like army training forces an individual to embrace responsibility and maturity, you can help someone achieve that same discipline and focus by giving them an adult coloring book. Or you can watch them cry while trying to color. Either way – it’s really more of a gift for you than for them. I would simply request you don’t give me one – unless it’s the one my friend tracyfixen[dot]com found for me on Instagram one day. That one looked doable.

I love meaningful, practical gifts and in a world dependent on consumerism, sometimes it can be hard to filter through the “stuff” and find something useful to give. So without further ado, on to the gift ideas and the reasons I’m recommending them!

Stir Crazy Popcorn Popper:

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t really know how to work ours. I’ve made popcorn in it twice, and it turned out both times (deliciously), but it gives me anxiety and I’d much prefer my husband make the popcorn. That said, I can’t go back to microwave popcorn after having my kernels stir-popped. Never again will I have to suffer through that microwave-smoky-singed flavor when a bag was left popping a few seconds too long. We use coconut oil for our popcorn, and while neither my husband or I are fans of coconut, the stir-popped popcorn tastes like a little bit of heaven. We melt butter over the top of it, and I’m so glad I conceded when my husband told me he wanted to buy one. It’s one of my mini-kitchen appliances I’m happy to have around. Plus – we make a lot more popcorn for a lot less money. Win all around. If you have someone who likes to save money, likes to eat popcorn, and doesn’t like setting off their smoke alarms to whip some up – this is the gift for them. Given with a little jar of coconut oil – it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Nespresso [VirtuoLine]:

I have a client who was raving about his coffee every morning and like the real investor-in-people I am, I thought he was full of baloney. It turns out, he’s full of really good coffee. In my meeting with him after Thanksgiving, it was all we drank during our morning meetings. I’m a self-proclaimed latte addict snob. I love the rich, smooth texture of a good vanilla latte, and ones that are sweetened just so are hard to come by sometimes. When I can’t hit the drive through of my favorite coffee shop, I would always brew a standard pot at home and just sip off of it whenever I had a chance. I’ve always been one for pre-ground coffee in bulk, because it’s easy, it’s convenient, and coffee is coffee.

Oh, how wrong I was. There is too much to type about this, so I did a little video (worst ever, but you’ll get the gist) you can watch here. If you know someone who LOVES their coffee and would rather spend $1.10/cup than $5/cup, this is the gift for them. If you ARE that person, and this is a gift for yourself – you really cannot go wrong.


I don’t know about you, but my body is made up of a bunch of muscles. I’m certainly far more than “skin and bones”, anyway.  More often than not, these muscles try to solidify and turn themselves into a knotted pile of concrete. The best way to get me to relax is to pay someone an inordinate amount of money to work these knots into pliable muscle tissue once again. It’s my favorite gift to receive, ever. If you know someone who doesn’t like getting massages, you can give me the one you would have bought for them. I like to help however I can…


If you know someone who does a lot of work at a computer, or needs to spend a lot of time concentrating on their work, this is the gift for them. Focus At Will is an online music streaming service that incorporates the science of certain sounds and songs into the science of concentration. It sounds hokey, but I can personally attest to its effectiveness. I turn this on every time I need to sit and write, or focus on accomplishing a task that needs my undivided attention. It has sounds for everyone – if you like peace and calm or noise and bustle. You can read up about the science behind it when you visit the site. It works, and it’s so worth it. Cross my heart. I’ve linked through my referral link, so they know I’m sending you. I’m not an affiliate, and this is not an affiliate link.

New Socks – and Money:

Nothing feels better on my feet than a brand new pair of socks. I’m one of those weirdos who would write “socks and underwear” on my Christmas list each year, because I needed them, and they’re super cozy. A lot of people feel cheated if they open a package of socks and/or undies for Christmas. It’s unfortunate, because really it’s a great gift. That said, a great way to beat their disappointment is to slip a few presidents in the box as well. Comfortable feet, cheeks, AND money? Best Christmas ever!

So there you have it, my recommendations to help you get a meaningful and unique gift this Christmas. (Or next, if you’ve already got everyone covered this year.) Merry Christmas and happy gifting!