I love Christmas. It is absolutely my favorite time of the year. As I type this, I already have Christmas music playing on my stereo~and yes, it drives my family crazy! I thought about changing the music on my blog to Christmas music, too, but didn't want to drive you crazy as well! Don't worry....it soon will be coming!
Last year I read different blogs about getting Christmas presents for free. I wasn't sure it could be done, but I am proud to say that I have gotten, or will be getting many presents for free this year. Let me share with you what I have done.
Swagbucks: I told you about it HERE. Swagbucks is a search engine that you use just as you would use Google or Yahoo. The only difference is that you can earn "Swagbucks" each time you search something online. You can then use these bucks to get prizes. My favorite prizes are gift cards to Amazon or $5 deposited into my Paypal account. I have then used that money to buy presents~free presents!
Pampers Gifts to Grow: I don't use disposable diapers very often, but I do use wipes and Pampers are the only kind I like. There are codes on each of the packages of wipes, and after creating an account, just enter your codes for points to be added to your account. I used those points to "purchase" a gift for our son. There is no charge for shipping, so this gift was entirely free! Also, Freebies 4 Mom is a great resource for promotional codes. I wouldn't have gotten nearly as many points this year if it weren't for Heather!
National Consumer Panel: I told you about it HERE. National Consumer Panel (NCP) is a program where you track your purchases via a scanner they provide and then transmit them to NCP by phone. Each time you transmit your purchases you will earn points. You will also earn points for answering surveys. You then use those points to "purchase" gifts from their catalog. All your equipment is provided by the company, and the gifts are also shipped free. I also "bought" a gift for one of our children this way!
Inbox Dollars: I told you about it HERE. You will get paid to read e-mails and take surveys. It isn't much money and won't make you rich by any means, but you do have the possibility of making a bit through out the year with this company. There are various ways to earn money, and after your account reaches $30, you can request a check. I have never had a problem with them~I've always gotten the money credited to my account, and have received and cashed the checks without problem. I saved the money and purchased gifts with it~it was money I would not have had otherwise. Every little bit helps!
Opinion Outpost: I started with this company in September and I love it. It is a survey company, and the amount you receive is dependant on the length and type of survey you finish. After you have $5 in your account you can request a check. I have made almost $30 in the two months since joining. I have not had any problems with this company either, and have received the checks in less than a week after requesting them. This has been a blessing to our family as well. Again, you won't get rich with this company, but every little bit helps!
My goal in sharing this is to help others out during the Christmas season. I know you may not be able to start these programs and get free presents this year, but what a great way to start the new year! I was unsure at the beginning of the year if I could do any of these things, but I have done it. It is great to be involved in these programs and help out our family. I hope some of this information has helped you out today as well. What have you gotten this year for free??
FOR TODAY~November 22, 2010 Outside my window... cloudy, rainy, cold I am thinking...about my niece and nephew who had a baby last night! I am thankful for... healthy and safe delivery for my niece! From the kitchen...pizza casserole, applesauce I am wearing...jeans and sweater I am creating...idea's for baby quilts for our local hospital I am going...to have a wonderful Thanksgiving week! I am reading...So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore, Bible I am praying...for my niece and nephew and baby Jackson~he will be having surgery this afternoon to repair the complications of his spina-bifida I am hearing...little ones playing and singing Around the house...laundry, starting to get some Christmas decorations out and around One of my favorite things...spending time with my family A few plans for the rest of the week...doctor's appointment, a nice day with family on Thanksgiving, visiting my niece and nephew in the hospital, shopping for our Christmas tree on Saturday. Nope...no black friday shopping here!! Here is picture thought I am sharing...
FOR TODAY~November 17, 2010 Outside my window... cloudy, sprinkles, temps in 40's I am thinking...about relationships God has placed on my heart lately I am thankful for... family, friends, my warm home, God's Grace and provisions From the kitchen...chicken noodle soup, finger jello, bread I am wearing...jeans and black sweater I am creating...idea's for baby quilts for our local hospital I am going...to remember to get my turkey out of the freezer on Friday I am reading...So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore, Bible I am praying...for my niece and nephew who will be going to the hospital this week for induction of their baby~the baby has spina bifida and will require surgery shortly after birth I am hearing...dishwasher-that's it!! The little ones are taking a nap! Around the house...laundry (of course!), vaccuming, I just feel lazy today! One of my favorite things...spending time with my family A few plans for the rest of the week...piano lessons~that's it....How wonderful! Here is picture thought I am sharing...
The quilt I made for my niece~I absolutely LOVE to make these!
See Here has a great sale on Christmas Cards right now. You can get 50% off of all photo cards with the code cards-39. Plus if you order 60 cards, you will also get free shipping. I just made two different 4 x 8 cards for Christmas and the total for my order was $14.40 for 60 cards. This offer expires on November 18. Get a head start on your cards!!
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
We all have people in our lives that make an impact on us. That make a difference in our lives. That you can't imagine life without. In my life that person was my grandmother.
This week I want to express my gratitude to my grandmother. She is my dads mother. She passed away 8 years ago this week. I am very thankful that she was a part of my life, and for the things that she has taught me. She was one of the kindest women I know. I just want to share something with you that I shared at my bible study this week.
Today is the 8th anniversary of my grandmothers death. I still miss her greatly, and think of her often. I have had her on my mind a lot the past several months. I didn't understand why, but certain sounds, smells, or sights would trigger a memory of her. I have been thinking of the legacy she left behind. She loved her family deeply and showed it in both words and actions. I realized only recently that in my childhood, she was Christ to me. She didn't speak to me of God's love. She didn't pray with me or read the bible with me. Her and grandpa did take me to church with them occasionally, but there was no discussion of the message or service~at least that I can remember. But she showed me about God's love through her actions. I don't remember a harsh word from her, although I do remember correction at times. I saw her bring food to people many times for many different reasons. I heard her call friends on the phone to see how they were doing. I saw her help others when they needed it. I saw the love she had for her family in everything she did for us. She loved to bake and would always send us home with some of her goodies. She and grandpa would keep us grandkids at her house for a week at a time, in order to spend time devoted to each grandchild. Those are some of my best memories. She treated each one of us as though we were special, because we were special to her! She wasn't perfect, but to me she was the perfect grandma~just the one God knew I would need in my life.
My grandpa turned 82 this summer and still lives in the house he and grandma built 30 years earlier. So much in my life still reminds me of her, and how I wish she were still here. She never held 3 of our children (in fact, since she passed there have been 10 more great grandchildren born), and has been missing from countless family gatherings. But I rest in the knowledge that we will be together again some day. And until we meet again, I have lots of great memories of her~and for that I am very thankful.
For more thankful posts, please visit this months host, Laurie, at Women Taking A Stand. Have a great week!
Happy Birthday to my husband today! He turns 43 years old (young?). At our house when it is your birthday you get to choose your favorite meal for supper and it gets served to you on the "special plate". Tonight my husband choose meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans for supper. We also go around the table and say what makes that person special by using the letters of their name. Since we haven't done it yet today, I'll just give you my list....
D dear, delightful, daring (you have to be in our house!!) A attractive, apple of my eye V very good to us, very gifted and talented E exciting, endearing
Wow, I didn't realize it until now, but he has a difficult name for this. It will be interesting to see what our kids come up with!
FOR TODAY~November 8, 2010 Outside my window... beautiful! Highs near 60, sunny, what more could I ask for? I am thinking...about some meals I want to make for several friends who have different things going on I am thankful for... only 1 child getting head lice! My house had never gotten so clean in one day! From the kitchen...grilled hamburgers, seasoned potatoes, corn I am wearing...kahki's and brown sweater I am creating...idea's for baby quilts for our local hospital I am going...to keep the windows open as long as I can to let the fresh air in! I am reading...So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore, Bible I am praying...for so many friends who are struggling with health concerns, my mom who just found out she is loosing her job at the end of the year I am hearing...neighbors working on their roof, another neighbor working outside (I love having the windows open in November!) Around the house...not much, the house was cleaned on Friday, laundry done! One of my favorite things...enjoying the beautiful weather outside with the kids A few plans for the rest of the week...my husbands birthday is tomorrow, youth group Wednesday, guitar and piano lessons on Thursday, family movie nite on Friday~a full but good week! Here is picture thought I am sharing...
This has not been a good week for my blog. I feel that I have neglected it this week. But as we all know, motherhood has that effect on a person (or blog!). This has just been "one of those weeks".
It started off good, but somewhere along the way it turned crazy. Oh, yeah....now I remember.....it was when my 2 middle school children came home and said that 27 middle schoolers were sent home with head lice!
My kids go to a small school. Twenty seven middle schoolers is about 1/3 of the middle school! So I started checking heads.....often! My 8 year old keeps telling me that his teacher checks their heads every morning and he doesn't need me to check him. Hey, it's not like I don't trust his teacher. I'm just a control freak....who does NOT want lice in the house. Our 20 month old can't figure out why mom is always trying to get him to sit still to play with his head. Then you have my 13 year old daughter who is convinced that she has lice and is asking me to check her head 3-4 times a day.
Well....guess what! Yep, last night we found eggs and 1 louse in her hair. She was mortified. I wanted to cry! I have never had to deal with lice before, but have had many conversations with other moms this week about it~so I was ready. One problem.....you can't get the shampoo in our little town. It is spreading pretty quickly around our town, both the public school and our private school have it. It is also spreading around neighboring communities, so it has become a hot seller. I finally found a Walgreens in the next town that had it, so I ran over there this morning to get it. It was the last one on the shelf! We kept all the kids home today, shampoo'd and combed our girl, spent the day washing everything in hot water, and vacuumed anything with fabric in the house. We are praying that it stops with her and no one else gets it!
Hopefully now things will settle down and next week will be smoother. It is always something around here....and it isn't always fun!
Nielsen/National Consumer Panel is accepting applications for select groups again! This has been such an EASY and fun opportunity for myself and my family. Even our kids think it is interesting to scan products we buy with our scanner!
If you are not familiar with National Consumer Panel, it is a way to make your buying habits known to manufacturers and retailers. If you are accepted into the panel, you will receive a scanner in the mail. After setting up your scanner, you are all set. All you have to do is scan each item you purchase. You can then transmit your scans via phone each week. It is that easy!
You will receive points for each transmission you send in. You can also earn points taking surveys through their website. You can then use those points to "purchase" gifts from their catalog. Some examples of gifts are electronics, children's toys, home furnishings, kitchen gadgets, and so much more. I have been saving my points through this year and will be "purchasing" some free Christmas gifts for our children. I am sooo excited about FREE gifts!
To see if you qualify to be a participant, click on the following link:
I can't believe that it is November already. I know that I probably say that about every month, but it really is hard to believe that winter will soon be here. Although, all I had to do was go outside this morning to believe that it's coming! It is soo cold out!
This time of year makes me want to start a fire in the fireplace, cuddle up under a quilt with a good book, and a cup of hot chocolate! One of the nice things about the weather getting colder is that we stay inside much more and (hopefully) things start a slower pace in our life. That is the plan anyway!
One of the areas of our life that my family struggles is with time. We have 5 children and there always seems to be something going on. One of our children has special needs and has quite a few appointments each month. Another of our children has a medical condition (which has finally been sorted out-Praise God!) and we were sorting through that. One of our children likes sports. We have piano lessons, and soon guitar lessons. We are busy with church activities like small group and youth group. Then there are the school obligations as well. Our calendar fills up very quickly!
My husband and I have been trying to figure out what we could leave behind, and what is truely important to our family. I heard someone say "Think if it will be important in 5 or 10 years from now. If you think it will, keep it....if it isn't important, it can be let go." So we've been trying to think things through. One of the things we kept coming to was our daughters basketball schedule. She just got done with volleyball. She loves volleyball. She is good at volleyball. She plans to play all through high school. It is a joy to go to her volleyball games and see the progress she has made, and the joy that the game brings her. It is different with basketball. She doesn't truely enjoy the game. She doesn't completely understand the plays. She is just not that good at it. She rarely plays during the games. Her heart isn't completely into the game. But she likes the socialization of it, and she likes being a part of something almost every other girl in her class is a part of.
Basketball runs from November through February. Between practices and games, it consumes 4-5 days of her week. Of OUR week. When we look at our calendar, it makes me cringe. Especially during the holidays. Last year we could hardly find time in the week to do our annual drive to look at Christmas lights. We certainly didn't do much reflection on the meaning of Christmas as a family. This was NOT OK with me. I was very distressed about that last year, and told my husband that we needed to do something different for this year. He agreed and after much discussion, thought and prayer, we decided that basketball must go. We discussed it with our daughter and although she wasn't happy about it, we didn't have any fighting about it.
This was a hard decision for us. We didn't want to have to tell one child that she can't do something she wants to. None of our other children play sports. But adding to the difficulty of this decision is that sports is a big deal in our school. Seriously, when we've told different parents that we decided not to have our daughter participate in this sport, we've gotten a lot of hurtful responses. It is sometimes hard not to go along with what the world says is important.
But we are looking forward to the next few months. Basketball practice starts tonight, and our daughter just mentioned it to us in a conversation. Just a casual mention. She is past the decision, has accepted it and moved on. It was great validation that we made the right choice. We are looking forward to the cold winter nights where our entire family is at home together. We are looking forward to celebrating the holidays uninterupted. To have the flexibility to choose what we want to do with our children and when we want to do it. It is going to be a great winter!