Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

It’s time for your digital freebie!   I have enjoyed these cute two-page layouts from My Memories.com.  All you have to do is select your pictures and put them in the empty spaces and voila – a beautiful scrapbook page!  I love the colors of this kit, and guess what!?  Next week’s freebie coordinates with it as well!




http://www.mymemories.com/store/share_the_memories_kit_2
 
If you don’t have a digital scrapbooking software program, you can get the newest version of My Memories Suite that was just released!  Use the promo code STMMMS94566 to get $10 off.  It is a great gift idea for yourself or that scrapbooking friend that is so hard to buy for! :)

How is your week going?  I am busy packing and sewing and doing as much preparation for Christmas and the BIG MOVE as I can.  My husband is in a meeting this week in Georgia, so the kids and I are home alone!  Party on! :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To Be, or Not to Be???

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I have broken with tradition.  I always drag out the Christmas decorations the Saturday after Thanksgiving and start beautifying our home.  I love Christmas decorations – there is something about the red and green that just makes me feel festive.  The tree comes a little later, but the rest of it goes up almost as soon as we close the door after our relatives! :)  This year however, I have a dilemma.  We are moving in three weeks ( give or take).  I want to put up just a few things, but I am thinking it might be more trouble than it is worth.  What do you think?  If you were me, what would you do?  Nothing at all until after the move, or just a touch of color here and there (they take possession on Dec. 20th – not much time to decorate after the move)?  I know what my hubby would say… but I will not ask him.  :) 

Dec 25 2010 001

This picture is from last Christmas.  I love the tree and the white lights and the touches of red.  I will definitely miss having a real tree this year.  The little one in the corner will be our main tree again this year.  It has been our “trailer tree” for about eight years now.  It will be fun to decorate the trailer again.  When do you start decorating your home for Christmas?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Did I Really?

I told you I had plans to go Black Friday shopping.  I had planned to leave early Friday morning and go all day, but my plans changed late Thursday evening. I ended up dragging my poor mother out at 9:15pm to start our adventure.  We hit Wal-mart, where it was wall-to-wall people.  There was some serious drama in the towels and sheets department from women who wanted to claim all the towels and sheets, despite the line of customers.  How exciting!  If there had been a fire, we would have all died, because we were so jammed in there.  Insane – that’s all I have to say about that.

IMG_3402
We also went to Kohl’s where there was a huge line(See above). We had to stand out in the freezing cold air for about 35 minutes.  The lines inside were almost as long, but we passed the time chatting with other customers.  After leaving there, we headed to Sears, Penney’s, and the mall stores, where we shopped until about 5:45am.  We headed back across the road to Menard’s and stood in line for another 30 minutes to get the much-coveted Cricut cartridges that were on sale.  Our last stop was Hobby Lobby, which, disappointingly enough, had no special sales.  I hope they do better next year…

I was able to get those last few items on my list, and now I am set for Christmas.  In fact, the sales were so good that I actually got more than I had planned!  (All those garage sale earnings came in handy!)
I will say that I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home.  I pulled into the driveway, parked the truck, reclined the driver’s seat and fell asleep for about an hour before even taking my purchases in the house!  I am not sure that I am fully recovered yet, but at least I can function without falling asleep!  How was your BF?  Did you brave the teeming masses, or did you shop from the comfort of your living room?  Did you find any awesome deals?  What will you do differently next year?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shop ‘Til You Drop!

Yes.  Shameless promotion of materialism coming right up!  I look forward all year to this day -

                        Black Friday
I love shopping for the best deals of the year, planning my strategy, hoarding my pennies, and gathering my coupons.  I am going with my mom again this year.  We always have such a good time!  I am hoping to score some really good bargains this year.  I have been using a lot of Amazon gift cards that I have earned through Swagbucks to buy Christmas gifts.  I love not having to spend out-of pocket money for my gifts!  If you haven’t signed up for Swagbucks yet, start today and start saving!

Well, by the time you read this, I will have been out for several hours, and hopefully I will still have all my skin and will not have been trampled or bitten or stabbed by the frenzied shoppers.  (Usually, the worst incidents seem to happen at Walmart, so be careful!) 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

This will be short and sweet.  We are planning to spend some time with family, eating, fellowshipping, and counting our blessings.

Take some time to thank God for some specific things He has done for you.  These are a few of my personal blessings:

1.  My eternal salvation through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice
2.  An accepted offer on our house
3.  Good health
4.  A wonderful marriage to a godly man
5.  Friends who encourage me

I could go on and on, but my words could never tell all that God has done for me.  One of my favorite verses sums it up rather well.

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they were written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.  Amen.  - John 21:25

And to think that this verse was written 2,000 years ago – think how many more things He has done since then!  What a great God!  Take time to praise and thank Him today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

One of my childhood memories is reading the book Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss.  I seem to have the same problem as the character in the book at times – nothing goes the way I think it should…

However, I am starting a weekly digital freebie for those of you who need a mid-week pick-me-up.  When the going gets tough, it’s time to start scrapping!  Right?!  So walk away from those dirty dishes – they will be there when you get done!  Download this page kit and add another precious memory to your digital album.  nothing could be easier, especially if you have the My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software.  Use the code STMMMS94566 to get $10 off the program, making it only $29.97 – a great deal!  You will also receive a $10 coupon for the online store.  Hurry over and snag this great tool!




http://www.mymemories.com/store/share_the_memories_kit_2
 
“And that’s how Wacky Wednesday began…” – Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pack ‘Em Up…

Move ‘em out!  My days are now consumed, along with all the normal activites of a stay-at-home, home-schooling mother, with packing.  Yes – you read that right!  We have accepted an offer on our house, and will be leaving the perma-frost of Indiana for the balmy breezes of Southaven, MS on December 20th of this year.  Just about four weeks from now.  What ever possessed us to move the week of Christmas, I will never know, but that is how it worked out.  I am already mourning the decorations I won’t be able to put up in our house – some of them will be up in the RV, but not too many, lest I clog up what little living space we have with trees and garlands.  :(  Truly a bummer – I love decorating for Christmas! 

We will not be moving into a new house immediately, so most of our belongings will end up in storage for a few months, it looks like.  We are praying that the Lord will open up the perfect place for our family.  In the meantime, I have to pack up all the junk we have collected over the past few years and put it in some kind of order.  The logistics of this move are a nightmare, so pray for us! 

IMG_3371

I just finished packing up the last of the books – well, except for the kids’ books, which are in everyday use.  All told, there are about 35 boxes of books alone.  That does not include any of our school books, which are stored in the garage and the current year’s school curriculum.  The only drawback to having your own library is moving it! :)  All the pictures are down, knick-knacks are wrapped in paper and gently placed in boxes marked fragile, and the extra sheets and towels are also boxed.  I left the clocks up, so we would have some idea of what time it is, but my living room is so bare and spartan.  I makes me want to cry!  :)

Well, pray for us as we prepare to move and be a part of a new ministry.  I will keep you updated on the move and its particulars.  Stay in touch!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Coming Up in the World

IMG_3374Last week was my birthday, and instead of the usual subscription to my favorite scrapbooking magazine (which, by the way, is a great gift), my thoughtful husband bought me a new phone.  A smartphone.  I have come a long way up in the world of technology.  I can do all kinds of things while on my phone – shop the best deals, calculate how many calories I just ate, surf the web, etc.  What a very thoughtful gift!  So practical, too.  He knows how much time we spend on the road, and figured it would be something I would appreciate.  What a sweet husband he is!  The only flaw in the plan is that I had to change carriers in order to get the best deal.  I am no longer on Verizon, so I can only talk to my mother on nights and weekends…  Come to think of it, maybe that was part of his  plan!  :)   Thanks, Sweetheart!  As we used to say in the dorm, “Good gift!”  You scored some serious brownie points on this one!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

This may be hard to believe, but I do not care for pumpkin pie.  I have tried many so-called wonderful recipes down through the years – “so-and-so makes the BEST pumpkin pie” - and have found myself underwhelmed by my reaction to these culinary delights.  Not even a half container of Cool Whip can mask that pumpkin taste.  Believe me, I’ve tried it. 

Unfortunately, it is one of my husband’s favorite desserts.  He actually used to request pumpkin pie for his birthday instead of cake!  Poor man… married to me, he only gets pumpkin pie when we go to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving.  Well, that is, until this week.  Tadahhh!  After eleven and a half years of marriage, I made my first pumpkin pie.

IMG_3276

It was to be for our church-wide thanksgiving fellowship this past week, but he had kind of a crummy day (deer hunting season has begun – any day a hunter doesn’t see or shoot a deer is considered a bad day) and when he saw the pie, his face lit up.  I just couldn’t take it to church and risk him not getting a piece with all those other people there!!  Right?! 

So, being the good wife that I am, I decided that there would probably be more dessert at the fellowship than any of us needed, and we would have the pie that night!  While it was not as good as bagging a deer, it certainly took the edge off the crummy day and put a smile on his face, and subsequently, mine as well.  Here’s to the little things.  The best part was, no-one at church even missed the pie I didn’t bring!  :)

What is your favorite kind of pie? 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Digital Freebies

Well, since one of you has won the My Memories Suite program, you may be hoping to snag a few digital kits.  The good news is – you can get some right here!  Today you can get this page kit absolutely free – right here!  Just click on the link below to download your free pages! 

Those of you who would like to start you own collection of digital kits can also snag it!  No strings attached.  It works best if you have some kind of digital scrapbooking software to support it such as My Memories Suite, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or something along that line.  You can still get the $10 off of My Memories Suite using the code STMMMS94566.  With this code, you will get the software plus a $10 credit for digital kits in the online store!  So why not try something new? 

The kit contains two quick pages (shown below) as well as the papers and embellishments needed to make the pages, so you can experiment with your own look.  These are .png files, so they can be used with any scrapbook/photo software. 
 
http://www.mymemories.com/store/share_the_memories_kit_3
This kit will be available for download for one week, and then will be replaced with another, so if you want to start putting together a digital photo album, now is the time and place to start!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Birthday Boy

Yes – another birthday this week.  I am pleased to announce that it is not mine, though! :)  One is enough for me!  Today is Daniel’s 3rd birthday.  My baby is three!  Here are a few pictures of our little man. 

Nov 16 2008 009

This was taken just a few hours after he was born.  How precious it was to hold him at last! Nine months can seem like forever! :)
These pictures were of his first birthday.  Notice the smeared icing on his face…

Nov 16 2009 069Nov 16 2009 042

That smirky little grin just cracks me up!  It’s almost like he is saying, “Yeah – I know I’m cute – go ahead and take my picture!”
Here is birthday # 2.  He had the cake thing figured out, but the candle-blowing still escaped him.  Thankfully, I had enough breath to blow it out for him! :)

Nov 16 2010 003

This year was a small party with grandparents, Uncle Micah, and our family.  I made a train cake, since he loves trains, trucks, and all loud, moving things.  I got the Wilton cake pan from E-bay several months ago, and couldn’t wait to try it out.  There’s nothing more fun than a cute birthday cake!

IMG_3290 IMG_3289

Meet the Birthday Express!  I thought it turned out rather well for my first time trying anything so difficult.  It took me about three hours to decorate it, and my hand was killing me after squeezing the icing bag for so long.  It was worth the look on his face when he saw it, though.  Priceless!

IMG_3301
IMG_3304

Here we are – both of us are a year older this week.  Cherish every moment!

IMG_3313

This is my Daniel.  Sweet and funny, cute as can be, and ornery as… well, probably as ornery as his mama! :)  Happy birthday, little man!  We love you!

IMG_3293

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Drum roll, please... :)  Congratulations to Terri, the winner of the birthday giveaway!  I know she will enjoy using the My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software.  The rest of you can get $10 off the program using the code STMMMS94566.  It really is a great deal for only $29.97, plus you will get a $10 coupon for all those neat kits in the online store at My Memories!  A savings of $20!  Well, I had a wonderful birthday, and thanks to all of you who called, texted, and e-mailed birthday greetings to me!  I was also surprised by the incredibly beautiful weather. I don't think it has ever been that nice on my birthday - at least not in this hemisphere! :)

 

Christmas List

In years past, I have asked each of my children what one thing they would most like to have for Christmas.  While some people might condemn this as materialistic, I do not see it that way.  There are no guarantees that they will get the desired item, and it is subject to my approval (and my budget)!

My dilemma is this – Josiah wants nothing but to give each member of the family a gift.  This is typical of him – sweet and selfless.  However, it is difficult to gift wrap. :)  He also mentioned a set of handcuffs.  I’m afraid to think about that too much!

Abigail has a list with lots of dollar signs on it.  It is so easy to buy for her – she loves all things girly – clothes, shoes, hairbows, dolls, among other things.  I have a ton of things for her already stashed away in my closet!

Daniel needs nothing.  All the toys have been passed down to him, and the ones that have not been passed down he has commandeered for his own use.  He could use clothes, though, so it may not be a very exciting Christmas for him.  What does he care, anyway?  Kids under the age of five should all be given a box full of hangers and crumpled up wrapping paper.  It would occupy them for weeks!

Esther stalled when I asked what she wanted.  Said she needed some time to think about it.  Okay – I can handle that.  Not that she needs anything anyway.  We have so much junk around our house that it is positively criminal to think of getting more.  Her Sunday school teacher told me that Esther finally decided what she wanted and announced it in class last week.  She wants a statue… of God!  I thought I would die laughing when I heard this!  Leave it to Esther to think of something like that!  I hope she isn’t too disappointed when it doesn’t show up under the tree this year!

What are your plans for Christmas?  Do you celebrate with family, friends, or not at all?  Do you exchange gifts or give to others in need?  Do you have any special traditions?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  I have been dreading this particular birthday because when it hits, I will officially be middle-aged!  Doesn’t that sound just awful?  Of course, they say old is a state of mind, and in that case, I still think of myself as quite young… in spite of those numbers! :)

birthday giveaway_2-002

This card was made using the My Memories Suite scrapbooking software.  It give you an idea of the kind of things you can make – even without photos!  All of the page elements were freebies, either from MMS, or one of my other favorite free digital scrapbooking websites!  Fun!  In honor of my birthday, I am doing a giveaway of the My Memories Suite.  This program (which I mentioned last week) is a good tool for  digital scrapbooking.  It comes with a ton of digital papers, elements and photo layout templates.  It can also be used to make cards, calendars, photo pages, and all kinds of other paper craft projects.  If you would like to be entered into the drawing, please do the following:

1.  Go to My Memories and look around a little bit.

2.  Leave a comment on my blog telling me which of their digital paper packs or layouts you like best.

3.  Sit back and see who is the lucky birthday giveaway winner!  The winner will be notified by e-mail later this week.  Entries will be accepted until 12 midnight EST today!

For those of you who do not win the giveaway, you can still get a great deal on this scrapbooking software by using the code STMMMS94566 to get $10 off your purchase of My Memories Suite and receive another $10 coupon for the online store – a savings of $20!

So, any way you slice it, you can have a piece of my cake and eat it, too!  Happy Birthday to you!  :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Still Thankful #4

I am thankful for our Veterans.  Those brave men and women who have given their lives to serve and protect our country deserve a special day of honor.  I have never served in the military, but I have a lot of friends and relatives who have.  These people know the meaning of sacrifice, and sadly, too many people take them for granted.  I have the highest respect for those men and women in uniform.  The freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis would not be except for the efforts of others.

Thank you to all our servicemen and women.  Happy Veteran’s Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Still Thankful #3

One of the hardest things to be thankful for is a trial or hardship.  Too many times we tend to thing of those as something less than a blessing.  I was talking with a friend earlier this year who survived breast cancer.  I asked her how it affected her, and without hesitation she answered, “It was the best thing that ever happened to me!”  While that may sound strange at first, I knew exactly what she meant by that statement.  The cancer was not the best thing – the process of dealing with the cancer was the best thing.

Sometimes it takes tremendous personal hardship to come to grips with who we are and, more importantly, who our God is.  If life was just a bowl of cherries or a bed of roses, we would never have any depth to our being.  It is the difficult times that stretch us, teach us, and help us to grow.  I am thankful that my own personal tragedy has allowed me to become stronger as a person, as well as more sensitive to those who are hurting.  I am thankful for a loving God who extends His comfort and peace in my darkest hour.  I am thankful for the promise that one day all tears will be wiped away from my eyes.  Those trials really are blessings in disguise.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Still Thankful #2

One of the things I treasure most is my family.  My children are so precious to me.  They are not perfect – far from it, in fact, just like their mother – but I love them in spite of their imperfections.  They are the ones who can aggravate me by leaving a mess in their room and bring a smile to my face with a handful of dandelions.  They are the ones who step on my feet and hug my neck.  They are the ones who tell me I am pretty when I get out of bed in the morning.  They are the ones for whom I have given up a career.  They are the ones for whom I would give my life to protect.  These are my blessings.

Sep 27 2011 021

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Still Thankful

I am thankful for the right to vote.  This is a privilege not to be take lightly.  Each of us has the opportunity to affect our country by electing the people who we believe best support our ideas and freedoms.
While it has been abused and misused by some, the political system allows me to cast my vote, have my say, and put my two cents’ worth into the ballot box.

Our local elections are being held today, and I plan to help make history.  Get out and exercise the power of the polls!

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. " – Edmund Burke

Monday, November 7, 2011

So Thankful

Thanksgiving is approaching, and while I am thankful for many things the whole year through, this is the time when we focus on those blessings that seem to get taken for granted.  In the next few posts, I would like to mention some things for which I am thankful.

Today’s blessing is my salvation.  I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior many years ago, and His love for me has changed my life in so many ways.  I am thankful that He considered me worth the cost.  I am thankful that I live in a country where the Gospel is freely accessible.  I am thankful that my parents taught me the Word of God from an early age and prepared my heart to seek the Lord.  So much of my life is affected by this decision that it is hard to draw the line at where to stop.  Eternal salvation is the most precious thing that was ever given to me, and I want to publicly express my gratitude for this life-changing gift.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Photo Deals

Now is the time of year when we begin to spend more time indoors, and as the nights get longer, I tend so take a little more time to look at my pictures and even to scrapbook, if I get a spare minute.  (I am hoping for one of those in the next few weeks, but I am not holding my breath!)

Right now, Snapfish is having some great sales on photos.  You can get 300 prints for $3 with the code SPOOKY300, and if you can’t come up with that many pictures, then get 100 prints for $1 with the promo code SPOOKY100.  You will have to pay shipping, but the final cost of the prints is about $.05 per print – better than you can get it anywhere else, and it is delivered right to your mailbox, so you don’t have to bundle up all the kids to pick up your pictures!  That is definitely a plus for this busy mama!  This deal is only through Nov. 6, so hurry and upload those pictures.

Snapfish is also having a sale on their photo books – Buy 1, get 2 free!  What a deal!  If you want great gifts for the grandparents, or a nice book of that summer vacation, now is the time to act!  You can use the promo code MYFALLBKS to get three of the same book, or three different books of the same value.  I have seen their books, and they are excellent quality.  They make good gifts and nice coffee table books, too.  This sale is through Nov. 8, so act quickly!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Digital Scrapbooking

As you may have noticed, I enjoy scrapbooking.  In fact, I love getting out all my papers, pictures, and embellishments and doing “Kindergarten for adults” as my husband so fondly calls it.  There is a drawback, though – it makes such a mess, and then I have to clean it up, lest my ever-so-crafty children decide to help themselves to my scrapbook supplies.

I have dabbled in digital scrapbooking from time to time, and found it to be really neat.  There is no mess, and you can reuse your favorite products over and over again.  With the advent of digital cameras, almost everyone can edit their own photos and these can be resized with no cost to you on your program!  Pages can be printed out, or just kept on file, so they do not take up that precious storage space (I have a closet full of scrapbook albums).

I have just come across www.mymemories.com, a site for digital scrapbooking that has some really neat kits.  They also sell My Memories Suite v2, a photo editing program that is simple and easy to use.  Right now, the coupon code STMMMS94566 will get you $10 off the program, making it only $30, which is a great deal!  I paid way more than that for my simple editing program several years ago.  :(  Copy and paste this code into your cart purchase, and you will not only get $10 off of the My Memories Suite v2, but the software comes with another $10 code for downloads, making a total of $20 in savings!
Rain boots copy
The site also has freebies and tutorials for using the program, making it a great resource for the beginning digi scrapper.   The page above is one of the freebies – a quick page designed by K Studio entitled The Sweet Life.  All you have to do is download it and plop your pictures into the template!  How much easier can it get?  This is a picture of my girls wearing their rain boots in, of all places, the desert.  Try your hand at something new and fun!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More Savings

Recently I began using the Saving Star program in addition to my coupons.  It is a tremendous way to save money!  All you have to do is set up an account at www.savingstar.com and register your grocery store loyalty cards.  I have about ten cards on my account for stores all over the nation! :)  Each week they post new digital coupons that you activate to your account.  Instead of the money coming off at the register, the savings will post to your account.  For each $5 in savings that you earn, you can redeem it for Pay Pal gift cards, Amazon gift cards, or cash back! 

This is a great way to “double dip” on coupons, as I call it.  For instance, right now, one of the coupons is for $.40 off of No Yolk egg noodles.  There is also a printable coupon for $.40 off.  If I take my coupon to Kroger, they will double it, and I will get $.80 off of my purchase, and Saving Star will add another $.40 to my account.  In total, I have saved $1.20 on my egg noodles!  Get it?!  Right now, there are over 30 different coupons available on Saving Star.  It costs nothing to set up an account, and the savings are great!  Try is out today.  Even if you don’t use regular coupons, this is a no-hassle way to save money!

                                                                       Savingstar_logo

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day of Deals

Some days I just get on a roll with the whole saving/coupon/deal thing.  I fell off the coupon wagon this past summer, much to my chagrin, and was spending too much at the grocery store and everywhere else, as a matter of fact. 
Last week, I paid my girls to cut out all my coupons (20 inserts – that’s how far behind I was).  After paying them per insert, I knew I had to save some serious bucks to make up for my generosity.  A lot of my coupons were about to expire on the 31st, so I had to move quickly.  CVS was my first stop, and boy, did I ever have a good time making my deals!  I bought enough shampoo and conditioner to keep us all clean for several months, some lotion, and quite a bit of makeup.  I used a ton of coupons and earned three $10 Visa gift cards, too!  It was definitely worth the time spent figuring out my deals.  I came home, fed the family lunch, and then headed off to my next favorite store – Kroger!
Kroger is having a Mega Event this week, so I grabbed my binder and started systematically going through the aisles.  I had been praying that some of the items we needed would be on sale, and my prayers were answered!  I had a cart so full I could barely steer it, and I ended up saving 50% of my entire bill by using coupons along with my store savings card!  Woo hoo!  My family always enjoys it when we have plenty of food in the house.  I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, as I call it.  I didn’t take pictures this time, because I was in a hurry to get it put away before dinner. 
What has been your best coupon deal lately? I love hearing about good deals, even when they eclipse mine at times (sigh – I saw an awesome CVS deal posted right after I got home from the store.  I could have done better had I seen if before going, but, that’s okay – I think!).