Thursday, September 30, 2010

Always on the Move!


This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PlayStation(R) Move. All opinions are 100% mine.

Many of you know my family personally, and you know that we have three very active young boys! Living in Oklahoma, we tend to get Extreme Weather. Over the past year alone we have had multiple Blizzard, double digit days of +100 degree temperatures over the summer, a very rainy season that included floods, and the always expected wind. What this means is that on several occasions, weather has prohibited the boys from playing outside. Previously, we had season passes to the Zoo and Science Museum where we could take them to indoor activites to expel some of that energy. This year though, I have been plagued with this lingering back issue that has not allowed me to take them on adventures. We have been forced to find creative ways to stay entertained indoors when the weather is bad.

One of the most entertaining things the boys have found that they enjoy is playing video games. They LOVE our Playstion 3. With this unit, they can play the assortment of video games that we have, watch DVD movies, or movies that we have access to through our monthly video rental company via the internet. Yesterday when we got the Sunday paper, Joshua and Aaron saw an advertisement for the Playstation Move in one of the store circulars, and immediately cut out the picture and added it to their Christmas lists that we have already begun to make. Fortunately for us, since we already own a PS3, we can purchase the MOVE Bundle Package for only $99!

Some parents are critical of allowing children to play video games. We have seen great things come from this though. First, we supervise their play, and monitor the amount of time they are allowed to play, and under what circumstances. The two main rules are that their homework and reading time are complete for the day, and that their rooms and other chores are done before they can play. It is AMAZING how quickly these things are accomplished when PS3 time is the reward. We enjoy having one weekend afternoon or evening designated for family PS3 time. Each person gets a specific amount of time to play against opponents on the game of their choice. The boys are learning about good sportsmanship, sharing, and it is improving Aaron's hand eye coordination. His OT and PT actually recommended this as part of his at home therapy, and there are studies that show that children with his issues do show improvement in various areas by playing certain video games.

With the MOVE, exercise also becomes a factor. No longer are kids sitting in front of a monitor playing video games for hours and only exercising their fingers. With the MOVE, their physical movements are picked up by the game. The games we are most excited to try that are listed on the Christmas lists are Sports Champions, Little Big Planet 2, Brunswick Pro Bowling (PERFECT for Aaron that can't lift an actual bowling ball!), and TV Superstars. We really enjoy family based multi-player and age ranged games.

Finally, for those of you that already have PS3's as well, and don't have to purchase a new system, you can also update some of the games you already have to the PS MOVE if they are compatible, once you have purchased the MOVE Bundle Pack, did I mention it's only $99?! PS Move games can only be played on Play Staion Move units or upgraded units. When purchasing PS games, the top right hand corner of each box will tell you if the game is PSM compatible (can be played on normal machines) or required. If you have any other questions about the Play Station Move, their website is  located at PlayStation(R)MOVE



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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chance to Win a Free Year of Pampers!

I just got an email with an offer that was too great to save for later. Pampers.com is now offering a chance to WIN A FREE YEAR'S SUPPLY OF DIAPERS to new registrants for their newsletter! I think you have to follow the specific link to be eligible. Be sure to pass this along to all new and expectant parents!

Just a thought

This morning, the Today Show had "America's Cheapest Family" on, and they were promoting their newest book about cutting your grocery bill in half. Nick and I noticed that I spend much less per person each month than this family, and buy more food than they do. I started this blog to share with family and friends the sites I utilize on a regular basis to reduce our costs, and an assortment of sites I use to add small amounts of income, and for me to use as a reference, having everything in one place. I have always thought that the methods I use were just practical common sense, so I haven't actually shared them. I am thinking maybe I should write a small e-book on those methods. What do y'all think? Would people read it and use it or would it just be a waste of time?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Soy Joy Review and Contest

A few years ago, when I first started getting into the "Drugstore Game" and working their sales and coupon combinations, a product that was frequently part of many deals was SoyJoy bars. When I first purchased them, I was pleased to be able to buy nutritious snacks for the boys at such great prices. But, upon trying them, Aaron and Joshua wouldn't eat them. Logan, however, LOVED them. He always got excited to see these in the cart because he knew he was the only person in our family that liked them. Understandably, it has to be challenging to get so much nutrition packed into a bar, and have it still taste good. Apparently, people have been honest when giving SoyJoy feedback, and they have heard us AND responded! This month, they released the NEW and IMPROVED bars. The company sent me 6 bars, 2 of each flavor, one for us to keep, and the second to pass on to a friend, to test and review. Logan was ecstatic to see this package arrive, and I had to quickly hide the bars we were sharing so that they made it to my friend!

I got each family member to taste the new bars, and we were pleasantly surprised to see that they did in fact have a lighter, texture that was moist and not so dry, and they seemed to have a more noticeable fruit flavor. Good news for most of us (Aaron and his mega calorie count not included) is that each bar contains 140 calories or less! Of the flavors they sent us, Banana, Strawberry and Blueberry seemed to each be the favorite depending on what they were eating at the time. My friend and her kids also really liked them. She said that they didn't care for the original bars, and I had to convince her to try them again, but she is a health food fanatic, and she finally agreed to take just one bite.....which led to the whole bar, HAHA. So I urge you to give them a second chance. I believe I saw a coupon for them in a recent circular, and they are frequently on sale at CVS I know, so be on the lookout for a deal, and pick some of these up and give them a second chance!

Now for the Contest! Sorry, it isn't here on my blog, but it is on the SoyJoy Facebook page. Here are the deltails:

"In celebration of the new SOYJOY and in the spirit of second chances, SOYJOY is also hosting the "Second Chances" contest. Starting September 13, visitors to their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/soyjoy) can enter to win one of three $1,000 prizes by briefly telling their own personal story about a time they did not make the best first impression but, with a second chance, turned it into a joyous ending"

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of SOYJOY and received samples of their nutritional bars to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central also sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate, however all views expressed are true and 100% mine.”

Friday, September 24, 2010

Reborn to be Wild

I just received my free copy of Reborn to be Wild , courtesy of B&B Media Group in the mail this week. I have not had an opportunity to read the entire book, however, what I have read of it is phenomenal. It warms my heart to know that there is a large portion of fellow Christians out to set the world on FIRE for Jesus! I have read a few books on this topic recently, and I love how passionate and inspiring they are. The synopsis of the book is great, so I have pasted it below for you to read. I strongly urge you to pick up a copy of this book today, and to help this author spread the message. Get yourself, your family, your friends, and your congregations involved. Be the Light!



Underwood wants the world to know that God is calling His people to revival in radical and revolutionary ways. Rather than remaining mired up in the busyness of maintaining a financial portfolio and the chaos of a schedule packed with meetings, rehearsals, and Bible studies, Underwood believes Christians are being called to lay down the things that steal their focus from Christ and commit to a revival spirit that hearkens back to the Jesus Movement of the 60s. Reborn to Be Wild: Reviving Our Radical Pursuit of Jesus presents a unique and compelling challenge to Christians who want to obey the call of Christ and reach the world with the message of the gospel.

518 bk cover_UnderwoodReborn to Be Wild is a message from the heart of the Jesus Movement. Underwood trusted Christ during the early part of the movement, and he feels that the passion and boldness accompanying that period of radical outreach has become ensnared within the abundance of today’s mega-culture. Underwood believes that there are millions from the 60s and 70s embedded in today’s church congregations who are now alarmed at the growing irrelevancy of their lives and their churches. He states that these believers “think they are alone in their discontent with their mega church Christianity and their mediocre, unexceptional, unexciting lives, but they’re not. This is the book that will express their feelings and show them the way to finish, rekindle, and personally experience what the Jesus Movement started forty years ago.” However, this book is not just for the 60s generation. Underwood wants believers old and young to steep their lives in the Word of God and find out what Jesus wants them to do for Him. He is convinced that by doing this one thing God’s people will feel compelled to sacrificially lay down their lives and once again reach out to the world with the love and unity that reflects Christ’s radically transforming power.

Reborn to Be Wild will guide both individuals and small groups to take an in-depth look into their lives and enable them to determine what has sidetracked their passion for following Jesus. Whether it’s church activities, relationships, or theology, Underwood suggests that there are many lies that believers have accepted as truth, and, as a result, they have lost their passion for living lives devoted to serving Jesus. His latest book takes a close and honest look at the reasons an entire generation of spiritual revolutionaries have settled for political safety and the shelter of the suburbs. Reborn to Be Wild is calling the radical believers who started the revival of the 60s back to the fire that once burned within their hearts. “We had a front row seat to the raw power of God,” says Ed Underwood. His book is the call encouraging these believers and others desiring revival to rekindle that fire and renew their passion to change the world for Jesus Christ.


Reborn to Be Wild by Ed Underwood
David C Cook/June 1, 2010/ISBN 978-1-4347-0017-9/318 pages/softcover/$14.99
www.davidccook.com ~ www.jesusmovementblog.com



Although I did receive a free copy of this book for review purposes, all opinions expressed are 100% mine, and they were not influenced by the PR reps for this book in any form or fashion!


Today's Groupon deal for the OKC area is"
$49 for a Dental Exam, X-rays, Cleaning, and Take-Home Whitening Kit from New Image Dentistry in Edmond (Up to $317 Value)" and 203 have been purchased!

I know of at least 30 people living in this area who do not have dental insurance, so this is a steal for the exam, x rays, and cleaning alone! There are restrictions that apply, and details are available on the site for each city!

AMA



We are a family that is directly going to be affected by the new Health Care plans. Yes we will get free "well" visits annually, but that is only saving us $10 per person/$50 per year. Our specialist copays and out of pocket expenses are going up drastically. Please sign up for the Patients Action Network so you can stay informed of changes Congress is making in the medical field. Most will affect you in some form or fashion, be it positively or negatively.

FREE Resource to determine a job path



This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of ATETV.org. All opinions are 100% mine.


There is a website available, ATETV , which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, where parents, teachers, students, or anyone else can watch videos to see what job opportunities exist in high-tech careers, and shows you what educational path to take to enter one of those fields.


In today's job market, many people are not able to find work in their existing field, and need to expand their options. Often times though, frustration sets in, because they see jobs available in other fields, but they don't have the qualifications for those jobs, nor any idea of how to get the qualifications.


The National Science Foundation received a grant to produce the videos on ATETV, so that young adults entering the job market, or older adults looking to change professions, and go into the fields of Math, Science, Technology, or Engineering. The Labor Department predicts growth in these industries, so taking educational classes in these areas should payoff in the long term.


The National Science Foundation wants people to get excited about careers such as Underwater Robotics, Aviation Mechanics, Wind - Farming (HUGE here in OK!), High Tech Agriculture, Laser Technology, and so on. There are vast multitudes of careers and training options available in these industries now, and in the future. The Website ATETV  is free to use, and there is no obligation to register. Be sure to take a look and pass on this information to others you know who are, or will soon be, looking for a career path or change in career!




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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Fall Y'all!

Well, it's Wednesday, and we have another full day ahead of us! I will be out most of the morning with Aaron at his therapy, running carpool, and hitting Homeland to take advantage of some of the great sales I saw in tomorrow's ad. So, I will leave you with some Hops I will be following when we get home. Hopefully cooler weather will be here soon and bring with it some slower schedules, HAHA! I can't begin to tell you how happy I am that today is the FIRST DAY OF FALL! I really think this may be my favorite season. I adore the leaves changing colors, football season, cooler temps, and cold weather food! So let's all say a fond farewell to this heat that doesn't want to leave, and urge some Colder Canadian Air to start blowing in our direction.

I am also doing a Facebook Like You Back to increase my following there, but I can't find the code to paste it here, so if you'd like to join in, just click the previous link!



Blogging Hints Catch a Wave Wednesday

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Let's all take the Do The Reuse Challenge!



This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aladdin. All opinions are 100% mine.


The Aladdin Company has issued a 30 day Challenge to give up disposable paper cups, water bottles, and food containers. I would hope that most of us have already eliminated as much of these products as possible for both "green" and "frugal" reasons. I also hope that at the end of 30 days, most participants will find that it has become a habit to use reusbale products instead of disposables! If you are willing to take the Do The Reuse Challenge and encourage others to take it as well, go visit the Aladdin website and "Like" Aladdin on Facebook today;)


Here are some stats on waste:


● Seven million barrels of oil are used to produce the disposable bottles Americans go through in one year.
● In the United States, 50 billion disposable water bottles are consumed per year; 137,000 per day; 1,585 per second.
● It costs about $165 a year to make drip coffee at home versus $636 to buy drip coffee at your local café.
● Unless we change our habits, 23 billion paper coffee cups will be thrown out in 2010.
● Nine dollars will generally cover a decent lunch out. If you buy rather than pack a lunch five days a week, you shell out about $2,350 a year.


We are a family that takes our lunches when we will not be eating at home. Each family member has their own lunch bag, refillable cup, and we use dishwasher safe reusable containers for our food. Before we began this lifestyle change, Nick would buy his lunch when working at the office, which would cost about $10 per day, which was about $50 per week, or $200 per month. Instead, I wash his containers every night and reuse them. The cost of food is now about $5 per week, or $20 per month. This saves $180 per month. Joshua and Logan both take their lunches to school. If they ate the school lunch, it would be $2.50 per child, per day ($5), which would be $25 per week, or $100 per month. Taking their own lunch costs about $10 per week for both, or about $40 per month. Saving us $60 per month. Aaron and I eat lunch at home, and we use "normal" plates, so we do not have anything to throw out or recycle.


Our family has accepted the challenge, and will continue to find ways that we can reduce our waste, and save money at the same time. Our next step is to eliminate paper towels by using cloth napkins and dishtowels that can be washed. We also are switching to washable plastic tumblers in the bathroom for use when brushing our teeth, and eliminating paper cups. Share with me your ideas on how to save and eliminate waste in the comments!




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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Friday Blog Hop

I found another family friendly Blog Hop to share with you:


Thank you for joining the Friday Blog Hop hosted by myself (Nicole) at Mama to 4 Blessings and Melissa at Home Grown Families! We invite you to join us every Friday to make more blog friends!

Very easy to join in on the fun!

Add your main blog (PLEASE DO NOT LINK UP GIVEAWAYS) link (to our McLinky, follow the hostesses in the first 2 spots (Mama to 4 Blessings & Home Grown Families and then leave us a quick comment letting us know you are following so we follow you back!

Then start blog hopping!

This is a great opportunity for you to visit other blogs on the link up and comment on their blogs! When people comment on your blog please let them know that you are part of Friday Blog Hop then return the favor and follow them back! This way everyone gets blog traffic and followers out of participating! Please feel free to grab our Friday Blog Hop button and add it to your blog and spread the word! The more who link up the the bigger the blog hop! Hope to see you there!

Please only enter your blog link ONE time and G rated links ONLY - NO CURSING please. Home Grown Families and Mama to 3 Blessings are family friendly blogs.

Social Parade Friday

I am going to be away from my computer until late in the day on Friday because my husband will be working from home today. I WILL FOLLOW back anyone that leaves me a comment and link Friday night or this weekend. I apologize that I can't get the linky to actually show up here, but if you want to participate just go to the link for Smart and Trendy Moms and join in. This is a great way to meet other bloggers, and I have found some fascinating blogs on my journey that I now subscribe to and follow on a daily basis.

Social Parade Follow on Friday Blog-Hop is a weekly link-up hosted by Smart and Trendy Moms . We created it for socializing and to get new followers, subscribers, readers without feeling overwhelmed. Every week will be a new link-up that will focus on following blogs.
And don't worry you do not have to carry this button or any button of ours on your side bars. Your blog sidebars are great real estate and we respect that : )   The button needs to be posted in your participation post only.

How it works-Follow this blog and Grab the link-up button and post It's a Social Parade-Follow on Fridays on your blog!. Every Friday a new linky will be posted.






Select All
To participate.
    * Follow the blog in the first spot(That is this one!). I will follow all on the linky as time allows! All blogs participating must post about Social Parade every week.
    * Link-up your blog post for "It's a Social Parade" that you made on your blog. See the F.A.Q and Updates for help
    * Follow as many as you like commenting on their POST as you do so they can follow back!
    * If you do not make a post and link that up, it is unlikely that someone will search around for a post to comment on.



The Rules!
*Absolutely no links to other blog hops or hops like this!
*No Porn!
*No Giveaways!
*No other crap!
*These rules ensure a little bit of fun!

Chili's

Chili's Free Chips and Queso

Chili's is still offering a coupon for Free Chips and Queso when you sign up for their newsletter. I did this last year, and have gotten other offers for free food throughout the year, on my birthday, and my sign up anniversary. Also, sometimes when they offer new items, they will ask you to fill out a survey if you've tried it, and you can be entered to win giftcards. They also do promotions on their facebook page if you "like" them. I participate if I am on and see it, but haven't won any giftcards yet. We only have 3 restaurants in our immediate area, Chili's being one of them, so we are always looking for coupons for there!

**Update: I just got this email from Chili's and thought I'd pass it on:**

Help us fight childhood cancer. For every new email club member,
we'll donate $1* to St. Jude to help fight childhood cancer!
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
ALSAC - Danny Thomas, Founder
Chili's is proud to support St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® through a 10-year commitment to donate $50 million to help fight childhood cancer. But we need your help! Just by sharing you'll be helping... So tell all your friends to join the Chili's email club now!

Nike

Nike Town

Nike has started accepting new email addresses for their newsletter to give you advance notice on their sales, new products, events and promotions. With three growing boys, they outgrow shoes fast, so we need all the help we can get! I signed up for this quick before they stop taking new emails, since I missed out the last time. On my confirmation page, it said you also get FREE SHIPPING with any order for being a newsletter subscriber;)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We got our Mrs Fields treats!

Last month, Mrs Fields ran a promotion where if you referred friends to sign up for their free newsletter, they would send you free cookies. The more referrals you sent, the bigger the basket. This is the basket we got. It is the 24 cookie and 12 brownie basket, and also has 2 large cookies in it. The boys in this house are more than excited;)

I hit my SendEarnings Goal




Earlier this month when I wrote my August wrap up about the sites I was testing out to see if they were legitimate or not, I mentioned that I had gone above the minimum payout amount at SendEarnings. (The minimum payout is $30 and I was at $39.72). When I elected to have them mail me a check, I was expecting them to deduct the $3 fee, but was pleasantly surprised to see that they offered me a deal. Get to $50 in 30 days, and we will mail you the $50 check WITH NO FEE! I got nervous when my computer died, AGAIN, and I didn't have access to read the emails or do any daily surveys for over a week. Granted the worse case scenerio was that I'd get the check and pay the $3 fee, but you know I love a challenge and wanted to eliminate that fee, LOL. Well, 15 days in, and despite no access for many days, I have reached the goal with 15 days to spare! So, they will be mailing me my $50 check and I will be happy to cash it without paying the fee;)

On an earlier post, I mentioned that you get a $5 credit for signing up, and that I get a bonus for referring people. I thought the bonus was probably $5, but it is $0.05, LOL! So, not a huge amount, but it does all add up, and I sincerely thank the people that clicked my link and joined! I reached my goal by reading and clicking the links on the emails they sent, doing a couple of cash tasks (these are new, and some are time consuming), getting a couple of referrals, having some coupon redemption's credit to my account (these are pretty delayed), and I took 2 $0.50 surveys.

Get a Water Pitcher and Filter for under $10 shipped.

Clean & Pure Pitcher I just came across a deal where you can get a FREE Water Pitcher and Filter, when you pay S&H (which was $9.95 when I looked). I know we drink a ton of water at our house, and this is much better for the environment than bottles.

As a price comparison to see if this was a good deal or not, I looked up a PUR pitcher from Lowe's and it was priced at  $16.44 before tax, S&H in my zipcode, and a BRITA was $18 in my zipcode, also before tax and S&H. So, this looks like a pretty good deal for under $10 shipped.

Free Coupon ecourse

Free Coupon E Course

I have had several people email me after I posted about some of my shopping trips wanting to know if I could post a tutorial of sorts on how the whole process works. I do plan to do that, but I am thinking about making them into e-books that people could download and save on their computers as a resource instead of having to come search and read posts about it. Since my computer just got back to working order, I haven't had an opportunity to research how to write or produce an e-book just yet. In the meantime, I did see a post about a site that is offering a Free Coupon ecourse, and I thought it might help some of you get started. I have not taken or looked at the course personally, yet, but if you click on the link above, it should take you right to it. If you do take it, please come back and leave me a comment letting me know your thoughts on it. I don't want to forward things that aren't helpful;)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review: William F Buckley by Jeremy Lott

When I first signed up for Booksneeze, this book struck my interest. This is the latest edition of the Christian Encounters Series. I hadn't heard of this series previously, though there are several other very interesting people covered.

The main reason I wanted to read and review this book was that while I had heard the name William F Buckley previously, I had no idea who he was or how he had contributed to our society. It was an honor to read about the positive influences he had on the progress of our country during his lifetime, but a disappointment to see how his theories and beliefs are being misrepresented to advance other people's agenda's in his death.

This was a fairly short book at about 140 pages, and I was able to read it in a single afternoon. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in William F Buckley's life, whether for personal pleasure or perhaps a book report. I did receive a free copy of this book for review purposes only, though all opinions expressed are 100% mine, and I will be keeping it in our home library and encouraging my boys to read it and do book reports on it as they progress through school. The only thing I felt was missing was more focus on the religious beliefs of William F Buckley, seeing as this book is part of a Christian Encounters Series. I will also be looking into getting other books in this series for our own home library. William F. Buckley (Christian Encounters Series) is available today at Amazon for $8.64, though it currently states only 1 copy is available, but more have been ordered.

This is a brief description of the book from the publisher:
Christian Encounters, a series of biographies from Thomas Nelson Publishers, highlights important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Some are familiar faces. Others are unexpected guests. But all, through their relationships, struggles, prayers, and desires, uniquely illuminate our shared experience.
William F. Buckley Jr. was the popular host of one of television’s longest-running programs, “Firing Line,” and the author of more than 50 books, but his greatest achievement was making conservatism—not just electoral Republicanism but conservatism as a system of ideas—respectable in liberal post-World War II America.
Buckley started National Review magazine in 1955 and quickly became known as the standard-bearer of conservatism, promoting the fusion of traditional conservatives and libertarians. He inspired and incited three generations of conservatives—and counting—uniting anti-Communists, traditionalists, constitutionalists, and enthusiasts for free markets under one tent.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

So very sad

This just makes me cry. This is the very reason why we chose to take Aaron out of school and home school him. He was attacked on the playground by another student in Kindergarten, and the teacher's insisted he "fell" on grass, which was NOT consistent with his injury. We went through weeks of meetings with his IEP team, and they would never admit what happened, only that they didn't actually see anything firsthand. His health and anxiety issues amplified, so for his safety and well being, we made the decision to home school him. Videos like this reassure me that we made the right choice for him. ***Note, this is not my son, but it was on the local news and it infuriates me!***

 

Some people may argue that he wasn't physically injured "that bad", but for autistic children, often the harm done goes much deeper and can take years to improve. These children absolutely deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law, as well as by their parents.

This is the response of one of the parents "Take it easy people. Yesterday was National Obesity Awareness month. The boys were simply responding to what they were told to do - "...kick the fat. Get active and exercise."

Some of you people are so quick to judge. My boy isn't a genius himself, he was simply horsing around with the "special needs" boy. So how do we judge different levels of retard? It's not fair to say the other boy is slower than mine. Oh, I forgot, sympathy for similar, right? Just because he weighs twice what my sons does he's automatically an "easy target"? Wrong, Oklahoma. Shame on you. My boy is slower than most.

The obese have become a new race. Banding together, singling the 40% of us toe touchers out."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

I recently signed up to be a reviewer from BookSneeze, and the first title I selected was Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference. I had no idea what type books they offered, buy was very excited to see this one available because I am a huge fan of Max Lucado's work. I received a complementary copy earlier this week (though all opinions expressed are 100% mine) and sat down to read it yesterday. Needless to say I didn't get much else done around the house, because I was captivated by this book from page 1.

This book is about living the best life possible, since we only have one life to live. You can never get back yesterday, so make sure that the actions you take in the present and future, are the best you have to offer. Max Lucado never fails to inspire, and in this book, he starts with a fable before Chapter 1.

This book was more than interesting, it was captivating. I started out wanting to summarize the fable to share with you, then got the same feeling for every chapter as I read it. The best point he makes in this book, in my opinion, is that anyone, regardless of circumstance can make a difference in the world. Some of the greatest influential people that have ever lived have been from modest or poor means. It isn't about how much money you have or even who you know. It's about how you live your life, the affect you have on others, and the legacy you leave behind. This book absolutely has the potential to rock your world, so be prepared for that when you read it. I would absolutely, unequivocally recommend this book to anyone and everyone who is willing to to make the difference.

On a side note, I noticed on the jacket of the book that 100% of the author's royalties  from this book are being donated to World Vision and other compassionate ministries around the world. He is practicing what he preaches. Literally. You can purchase Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make A Difference today from Amazon.com.

DIVAS of the Divine Book Tour and Contest Info

I am thrilled to present to you the Book Tour for DIVAS of the Divine. This book has something for every woman, and we all have a bit of Diva in us somewhere;) It is a fantastic devotional on a personal or group level. I received a copy from Kathy Carlton Willis Communications (KCWC) for review purposes only (all opinions are 100% mine!) and I love it. The book is larger than most, at the same size as Letter Size paper, and is chock full of positive encouragement and blessings. If you are looking for a gift idea for a close female friend (or a book swap) with the holidays approaching, I highly recommend this one. Divas of the Divine - How to Live as a Designer Original in a Knock-Off World is available now at Amazon by clicking the link.


Also, on Sept 17, KCWC will be selecting one commenter from all of the participating blogs to be entered to win the prize pictured at the end of this post. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post stating why you think you or someone you know would enjoy this book. There are no extra entries or anything complicated, just give these authors some comment love;) Happy Reading!

Hensley Publishing
8.5" x 11" Workbook
ISBN 10: 1-56322-108-X
ISBN 13: 978-156322-108-8
Retail: $19.99

D•I•V•A•S of the Divine
How to Live as a Designer Original in a Knock-Off World
A strategic plan for improving your spiritual walk
gaining a confident outlook on achieving life aspirations
 •steps for discovering purpose 
•intimate prayer time
•goal accountability
•weekly devotions
•group challenges


TOP
10
DIVAS' Top 10 Necessities for a Fulfilled Life  
  1. A Great Bra! (Prayer Foundation)  – Even though many women don’t enjoy wearing this undergarment, it is the most critical aspect of any DIVA’S outfit! Why? It is the foundation—just like a relationship with God that offers support and is always uplifting.
  2. Mirror (Real Beauty) – A DIVA looks into the mirror to check hair and lipstick but more importantly to make sure what she sees is real—to make sure her beauty is reflected from within, transparent and authentic.
  3. Shoes (God’s Purpose) – The perfect designer shoes guide her daily walk with Christ. Must fit her style as an individual and accentuate the relationship that is uniquely hers in order to make every step count. Little steps help her go the distance.
  4. Sunglasses (Priorities) – Oh, how important to filter the harmful rays and the worldly view of the sunlight so she is only exposed to the pure Son and all of His benefits!
  5. Chocolate (Time Out) – Every DIVA’S little piece of heaven! It may be small but it’s sweetness, it’s creamy comfort, and its AHHHH factor, is enough to sustain her until she gets to experience the wonder of heaven. It’s the little pick-me-up that will remind her to sustain her eternal perspective no matter the circumstance.
  6. Wrinkle Cream (Forgiveness) – It is the hottest thing on the market for any DIVA who wants to remove lines and wrinkles. The Spirit-inspired ingredients are key to erasing the fine lines of stress, worry, and bitterness to help her let go of the past. This cream is full of the healing power of forgiveness, grace, and unconditional love.
  7. Watch (Commitment) – Every DIVA has a favorite watch. This piece of bling pulls every outfit together. She feels lost when she forgets to wear it. Time! Time requires commitment and every DIVA chooses wisely how she spends it.
  8. Girlfriend (Accountability) - The most important necessity for all true DIVAS. She’s caring and fun to be with. She is the “speak the truth in love” kind of friend that will hold the DIVA accountable to being the true Designer Original she was created to be.
  9. Purse (Balance) - Whether it’s top-of-the-line or a bargain-deal, the DIVA’S purse must be perfect to keep all her most important things close—flexible to bend when in tight spots but sturdy enough to withstand day-to day-use. Her purse contains the necessary items to stay balanced and “keep it all together.”
  10. Lipstick (Positive Words & Attitude) – Positive words and a polished tone flow from her lips in pretty colors and a high-gloss shine. Her words inspire others.
About the Authors:
Donna
McCrary
    From high top basketball shoes to high heels, each step of Donna’s life has equipped her for a Life Coaching career. She is a challenging facilitator whose “tell it like it is” approach always incorporates a call to action from her participants.
    Donna draws from her background as a recreational therapist to create dynamic outcome-oriented keynotes, retreats, and curriculums. Her greatest passion and deepest joy is to “coach” women in realizing God’s plan for their lives and in discovering for themselves the source of genuine joy.
    Donna is a wife, mother of two, and beloved friend. Donna’s hobbies include hiking, vacationing at the beach, and trying projects from popular HGTV home improvement shows... much to her husband’s dismay!

Sherri
Holbert
    Sherri invested many years with companies such as Biltmore Estate, Chick-fil-A, and Chimney Rock Park in developing new and creative programs to excel these corporations to higher levels of success.
    Sherri is founder and CEO of Power-Up!, a coaching company whose mission is to take individuals and corporations to the next level of success. She works as a coach, facilitator, and speaker for a variety of clients ranging from corporate executives to stay-at-home moms. Sherri’s passion is unlocking the untapped potential within others to help them gain fresh perspectives, develop clear vision, and establish action steps that will make their dreams reality.
    Sherri is a wife, aunt, and friend to many. She has a self-proclaimed addiction to shoes, purses, and Starbuck’s coffee. One of her life goals is to be on Survivor (her favorite TV reality show!).

Blog Tour
Grand Prize!
A PRIZE FOR ONE DIVA!
• Turquoise purse/tote
• Silver flip-flops
• Purse and shoe picture frames
• Box of Godiva truffles
DIVAS of the Divine book & journal
ADVICE FOR ALL DIVAS!
 Sherri: If life for you is like driving 100 mph in a convertible, make sure you have a map to your dream destination and a friend to keep you focused on the plan so you don’t get sucked into the tourist traps along the way. Don’t be Thelma and Louise!  Allow your passion to drive you to the mountain top of success instead of driving you off the cliff with no purpose.

Donna: The shopping mall is full of new shoes but they can only be enjoyed if you take off the old,
try on the new, and then commit to pay the price.
For more information visit the DIVAS website: www.walkofpurpose.com
or view their information at Docstoc or Google Docs.
 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Deals around the web

I have tons of deals in my inbox to pass along to you, so without further adieu, here they are!

I am not a coffee or tea drinker myself,but I have heard from others that this is really great coffee that breaks down to less than a quarter a cup, and you get the coffee maker plus samples for under $15 with free shipping. I have no idea what coffee makers cost, but I am guessing that is a pretty good deal.


Cheaptoday.com is a newsletter that I have been getting for years I think.If you know me in real life, you know that I do not buy anything without searching online for either coupons/codes if they are available, or price comparisons to see where and how I can get the best deal possible. As per my blog description, I firmly believe that being a good steward is making the most of what you have to work with. Many variables are involved in determining what the best deal is (i.e. time and travel distance, etc), but a few minutes of research has often saved considerable amounts of money. Money that would essentially be wasted if no research was done. This is one of many sites I utilize to save myself some leg work in researching deals.

***Sorry, Offer is no longer valid. If I see it again, I will repost it:)*** This is one I finally looked into. My aunt and her family often go camping in an RV. Honestly, that is the only way I would go camping, I am not a tent person. We are wanting to be able to take our kids on educational road trips. While we won't be buying an RV because of the expense and lack of a storage facility, we have talked about renting one. Since we are centrally located in OK, there are many places aren't excessively far to drive to see the glorious natural wonders God has given to us. With three boys who want to explore nature, we think this would be a great way to afford-ably travel to some National and State parks. We are considering this idea for the upcoming 2011 summer.

Home Depot Improver's Club Our local Home Depot is only 2 miles away, and since Nick is on days now (YAY) this is something I have signed up for and hope to get to do. I will be the first to tell you that I am NOT handy with tools, in any form or fashion. In fact, I often do more harm than good when I try to fix things. However, that is all the more reason why DIH Workshops are a perfect fit for me personally.

Inbox Dollars I can't recall if I shared this one with you already or not. If so, my apologies for the duplication.I just signed up for this one in August. I had done it years ago, but I think the old account got deleted for inactivity, or just because I don't have that email address any more. It is the sister site to Send Earnings (see sidebar) and works pretty much the same way. I have already accumulated several dollars in just reading emails, and some under 5 minute surveys. I was paid from them years and years ago, so it is a long standing, legitimate site.

I am out of time for now, Aaron has completed his writing assignment, and it's time to go get his brothers from school. I will try and get some of the other deals posted tonight after the kids go to bed, if I am not exhausted, LOL!

Chapter Books for Beginning Readers

I am back! After more computer issues in which my Hard Drive decided to corrupt, and I lost everything I had saved on it:( I am back online, YAY! (Note to self, learn to back up items, LOL).

I have some book reviews coming up that I think you will enjoy over the next couple of days. We have also been busy reading here every afternoon after school with the boys. Joshua has observed me teaching and working with Aaron on his reading for quite a while, and is now reading far above the first grade level. He is bored with the "baby books" as he calls them that the librarian wants him to check out at school that are on his grade level. I am interested to know if anyone has any suggestions on beginner chapter books for boys. I had two on hand that were Captain Underpants and a Magic Tree House book, and he read those in one day. The only other chapter books for kids we have are Little House on the Prairie, which are my personal favorite, but he isn't really taking to those, haha.

I came across a post today where someone linked up their favorite children's books, such as the Ramona books,  Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, etc. but I am not sure if they are too advanced or not? I also remember enjoying Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but I thought I was older when I read those? At any rate, we will be searching the libraries friends sale, thrift store, and garage sales looking to increase our chapter book library! With three boys, items tend to take some damage over time, and it works out best for us to have several here on hand, and then supplement with specific items checked out from the library.

Please leave your suggestions, thoughts, comments, etc. I need some ideas;)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's Saturday!

I cannot begin to tell you how excited we are that College Football begins today for our team, GO GATORS!!! The game starts in 30 mins, and we are ready;) Here is a quick recap of our shopping adventure from yesterday for your reading enjoyment, LOL:)

I did pretty good at the grocery store yesterday. Especially considering I discovered I had a blinker and taillight out on the car on the way (when a man flipped out and started screaming at Aaron and I on the road because he couldn't see my blinker on when I was turning. I had no idea it was out, but as soon as traffic cleared I sped away, LOL!) and I worked those into my list.

The people behind me in the line at Walmart weren't all that happy to see all of those coupons and circulars for other stores for price matching, but it saved me a significant amount.

Our first stop was Walgreens to get the free after rewards deals. They were out of everything but the carmex, so we got just that for $2 with a $2RR back, so it was FREE! Then I got rainchecks for the other items.

Then we headed to Walmart for the majority of items. I do prefer Homeland, but pretty much only for meat and sale items with double coupons. If it is a do not double coupon I typically get the item at Walmart. Several other stores around had some good deals also, but not enough to drive all the way there, so I just price matched at Walmart.

Then to CVS to get milk (cheaper than Walmart, and the 2 gallons met the Buy 3 gallons, get $3 ECB deal.) Had a $4 off $20 purchase coupon, so we got enough ECB items to meet that. I spent $7 in ECB and got $8 back. $0.78 spent out of pocket.

At this point we had to get the two youngest from school and then stop off at home and put away the frozen/refrigerated items, and then head back out to Homeland.

Here we got some meat with the $2 RRR meat coupon, and then just matched up some sale/coupon items such as the Libby's fruit and veggies $2/1 and $3/1 respectively, and some Sara Lee bread for $0.50 per loaf after my coupon;)

I hope you all had a great week of shopping as well. Today you can find me hopping at ”Debbie

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Friday, September 3, 2010

September Grocery Challenge

Today is grocery day in our house, and I want to remind you all of our September Challenge to spend 10% less on your grocery budget this month. If you are just getting started or don't have a set budget, just look back through last month's receipts or bank statements to get an idea of what you spent on groceries/household items.

Get yourself a Sunday paper this week, its the first Sunday of the month and should have great coupon inserts. Match up your local grocer's deals with the coupons you have. Google your store's name plus deals (ex Homeland Deals) and the date to try and find match-ups others have done. Visit the coupon savings sites in my sidebars for internet printables. I will try to add more when I come across them.

Most important, MAKE A LIST and stick to it. Granted sometimes you forget items you truly need and have to get (milk, bread, etc) but try to keep as close to it as possible. If you make a meal plan for the week, it is easier to do this, not to mention no last minute store trips because you don't have an ingredient you need. It also saves time and stress mid-week because you don't have to wonder what's for dinner. You already know. If you want to take it a step further, do prep work ahead of time (cooking/freezing meat, chopping fruits/veggies, etc).

Post a comment with how much below your target budget you were able to go each week.

Today you can find me hopping at Smart and Trendy Moms

charity:water

Posted: 02 Sep 2010 07:34 AM PDT
As I mentioned briefly in my August Wrap Up post, Crowdtap is a new social community I signed up for in August to check out. It offers you cash and/or points for answering mostly one-click "quick hit" questions, and offers opportunities to answer topics more in depth. Some from August were about what your favorite summer movie was, about 5 really intriguing questions about music (i.e. do you pay for downloads or look for free, do you use sites like Pandora, etc), and discussing non-profits among others. You get points for your first response, points for your first comment per topic daily, and points for votes others give your comments. The most active and insightful participants as judged by moderators, are paid a pre-stated dollar amount at the end of the campaign.

I also mentioned that 5% of your earnings are donated to one of the charities they sponsor, and Crowdtap matches your donation. You can choose to cash out your earnings at $10, and either take the money in an Amazon gift card (less the 5%) or donate it all to the charity you have selected. I chose charity:water as my charity.

I received the Crowdtap newsletter today, and it was focusing on telling us more about this charity. I truly believe that this type of charity is one of the most important out there. Food, medical assistance, etc are also important, don't get me wrong, but if people don't have clean drinking water, the rest of it really won't matter.

charity: water is the "brainchild of Scott Harrison, a former NYC club promoter turned Mercy Ship volunteer, charity: water is not in the business of “grand solutions.” Instead, this organization focuses on tangible ideas that work—combating the world’s clean water problems one project at a time. Just how big is this battle? 1 in 8 people in the world don’t have access to clean water. That’s nearly 1 billion men, women, and children that must struggle to find life’s most basic necessity. And because 80% of disease is caused by contaminated water, these same people often have their burdens compounded with illnesses that could have easily been prevented."

"Since its founding in 2006, charity:water has funded 2906 projects in 17 countries, helping 1,277,430 people get clean water. Crowdtap dollars have helped drill wells, build rainwater catchments, filter pond sand, and teach hundreds of villagers how to maintain their water systems across the globe."

"Interested in doing more? Check out http://www.charitywater.org/getinvolved/ for more opportunities to get involved and make a difference. You can also watch the video below on charity: water‘s September Birthday 2010 Campaign:

September is here. from charity: water on Vimeo."

***This is NOT a sponsored post. I am a member of Crowdtap, and really appreciate that they are actively trying to make a difference in the quality of life around the world. If anyone decides they want to sign up, it is  invite only at the moment, as it is still in Beta. Referring members get 100 points per referral, which breaks down to $0.05 I think, so it isn't about the money, it's about helping people. If you can't sign up via the link, let me know and I will send you an email invite. My email address is in my profile, so just email me with any questions.***

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Homeland Deal and Savings sites

Aaron and I made a quick stop into Homeland today (in and out in 5 mins before carpool rush) and scored some great deals that I will post below. I also came across some savings sites to pass along. Don't forget the coupons from Coupons.com and Redplum reset yesterday, so happy printing!

Sign up for Colgate® SmileTalk® and gain access to over $8 in coupons, special offers, product previews and feedback opportunities.

Become a member of Right@Home and get great offers, time-saving tips and recipes. They offer, usually quartlerly, some excellent coupon books mailed to your home. This is where I got the coupons for the free detergent mentioned earlier this week in my CVS post. Also, right now you can register for a free Ziplock pack, available to the first 10,000 people that sign up. These things go FAST so it really helps to enter your email to get newsletters so you can enter quickly.

Don't forget you can get a Free Chili's Appetizer when you join Chili's Email Club.

Sign up for up to $10.50 in coupons from Arm & Hammer. I have not signed up for these recently, but I have tried it in the past and had trouble printing them. I wrote them an email and they said they were sorry but couldn't do anything. Hopefully they have it fixed now, but make sure your printer has paper, is turned on and ready to go before you try printing these!



I signed up for this one last week and forgot to pass it along. I would love to go to Colorado!

Home Depot Garden ClubI am not much of a gardener, and we even mowed over all my flowers this year since I developed asthma and was having trouble breathing outdoors, but I have been getting this newsletter for years and it always has some good coupons in it. Besides, even men will usually be willing to redeem these, LOL:)

JCPenneyYou all probably already get this one since most everyone I know shops at JcPenney, but if you don't, you will want to sign up for this. They send great coupons in email and online, especially around the holidays. Just last month I got one for $10 off a $10 purchase, and they typically send that one in Nov/Dec as well.

Now for the Homeland score.
New York Texas Toast on sale for $2.29. Found an in-store display with coupons in it for various items including this for $1.00 off, doubled. Total  paid $0.29

Libby's canned  Vegetables on sale for $0.99 each. Used coupon from Sunday Parade magazine for $1 off 3, doubled. Total paid for 3 $0.98

Libby's canned fruits on sale for $0.99 each. Used coupon from Sunday Parade magazine for $1 off 2, doubled. Total paid for 2 $0.98

Chinet Napkins $2.09. Used $1 on 1 coupon from Sunday paper, doubled.  Total paid $0.09.

John Morell lunch meat on sale for $2.89. Used $1 on 1 coupon from Sunday paper, doubled. Total paid $0.89.

Bought about 1lb of preseasoned ribs priced at $4.38 on sale B1G1 free, which means it rings up half price of $2.19. Then used the Save $2 on any Red River Ranch beef product. Total paid $0.19.

Bought 1 can of Campbell's Harvest select on clearance for $1.31. Used a $1 on 1 coupon, doubled up to amount paid, bringing price to FREE

Grand Total: $5.42. Then used 2 Save $1 on next purchase coupons from all the soup I bought on Tuesday, making the pre-tax total $3.42. With tax, I paid $4.03.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August Wrap Up

I just finished compiling my list of sites I tried out for the month of August to see if they were legitimate ways to earn small amounts of extra cash, and how much work was involved with each of them. Unfortunately my PC decided to Blue Screen on me mid-month and leaving me with very limited access for almost two weeks, combined with Joshua going back to school, Logan starting kindergarten (and his birthday), Aaron starting the homeschool year, my back procedure followed by PT and all of Aaron's specialist visits thrown in. Which means that these numbers aren't exactly a true month's representation, though it does show more income than I thought with this crazy schedule. Also, some of these sites take time to build on. As with anything, the more time and effort you are able to put in, the better the results will be.

This is going to be a very long list, and I am going to *attempt* to link to all of them in case anyone wants to try it, to save you some time and effort in looking it up. In the essence of disclosure, some, not all, give bonus points or some other various reward to the referrer and bonus points, etc to the new participant. There are too many companies to break it down, but every company listed is one I have found to be legitimate.

Swagbucks $20 in Amazon Gift Cards. My current total is always listed on the widget in my sidebar, but does not reflect the amount of bucks I have redeemed. I also have a post on the service HERE. You DO NOT have to do everything listed, I just tried to put all the options out there so people would know what they were. I currently redeem about $20 per month in gift cards there.

SendEarnings I was going to cash out my $39.72 balance today and request a check, and they made me an offer. Continue to earn up to $50 in the next 30 days and they will waive the $3 check processing fee. Since I have been clicking all the daily emails, doing about 1-2 surveys per week, getting my coupons there, and some other odds and ends offers of around $0.50-$1 daily that shouldn't take long so I accepted the deal and that is my balance as of now. Worse case scenerio is I don't hit it and they mail the check and charge the $3 fee. I also wrote a post on this service HERE.

Ebates. I only occasionally use this service when shopping online. It is one of many services I use, depending on where I can get the best deal. This month I purchased just a few needed back to school items and earned $2.81 in rewards. I wrote a post on the site HERE.

MyPoints. I have previously used this service and earned tons of great gift cars. It is similar to Send Earnings in that they reward you for reading emails and such. I plan to write a post on it soon. I just re-joined this week since my other account is long since expired, and I have not filled out all the "About Me" surveys that pay points, but I have accumulated 135 points just in reading emails. Referrals have to be done via email I think, so if you are interested in signing up, just email me (it's in my profile) and I will be more than happy to send you the referral.

YouData. I was really excited when I signed up for this. It was fun, fast, easy, and pays out every Friday. I made $3.40 into my paypal account in the 2 weeks I participated.

CrowdTap. This is another fun site, and I hate I had to miss 2 weeks of participation. You log in daily and get points for logging in. Periodically you get "Quick Hits" which are one click polls that usually pay cash and points. Then there are Opportunities and Message Boards where you get points for responding to questions, points for 1st comment, etc. There are higher dollar rewards for most active and insightful participation. I made it to level 4 in 2 weeks of participating. The higher the level the more opportunities and better rewards you get. It's fun and takes about 5 minutes or less per day. I earned $6.20. Also, 5% of what you make goes to charity and I believe they match it. They pay out at $10, and you can accept an Amazon GC or donate it all to charity.

Instant Cash Sweepstakes. This one is my absolute favorite due to the fun factor alone. It pays very little for the amount of time, but it has potential for more, and did I mention it is FUN? I just found a swidget to put in the sidebar so y'all can see how fun it is. The pay is $0.01-$0.10 from my experience per session, and you can play a new session every 3 hours. You can set an email reminder at the end of each session. You also earn sweeps tickets and coins that turn into tickets for the chance to win $50 per day. I haven't won that, but know someone who has, and it is legit. I requested my payout of $2.84 to my paypal account and got it in minutes.

There are several more, but it's late and I have to be up early, so I will lump them all into one amount and try to post them all at a later date. The remaining total is $20.38 in cash/paypal, and an anticipated $10 in Amazon Gift Cards.

Grand Total: $105.35. Not too bad for what was basically 2 weeks of effort, and about an hour a day invested.

Wednesday Follows

Hopping again during short breaks today at:











Let's Just Give It Away
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