Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Support Handmade for New Baby Gifts

There seem to be a lot of pregnant women (and new moms) in my church these days. I love new babies. :) And gift giving is so much fun!

I always love supporting handmade and artisans who work at home (like moms!). Here are some cute finds from Etsy.

A great way to announce a new little one...Only Child Club t-shirt. So cute!

This is great for daddy's who don't want foo foo things like baby animals. Tractors are manly! And daddy couldn't object to a tractor changing pad!

I love elephants! This would be a great uni-sex shower gift

What a great idea! Marshal had some cool bibs but he was messy and often got stuff everywhere - including his shoulders!

Etsy has all sorts of cool baby gifts - and gifts for a mom to be. From natural teething rings to toys to clothes. You can find pretty much anything!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Etsy Now Offers Gift Cards!

Etsy just keeps adding to the awesomeness that is their site. I've been a seller on Etsy since 2005...that's the year they started. I thought it was great back then, but obviously there were some bumps.

Today it's leaps and bounds above where it was back then. Not only do they accept credit cards directly on the site (as opposed to going through Paypal, which some customers didn't like as it added an extra step to the process) but now you can buy a gift card for someone.

Birthdays? Anniversaries? Graduations? Christmas?

While some people say gift cards are impersonal, I would LOVE a gift card to Etsy. I have so many things I'd love to get but money is tight. A gift card would seriously let me treat myself.

Don't know what to get that hard to shop for person but want to support hand made? This is the solution!

You can customize your card with a graphic and with denominations of $25, $50, $100, or $250. Hopefully someday you'll be able to do a custom amount but those seem like good amounts to start with.

The "card" is electronic and you can have Etsy send it or you can print it at home and hand it to a person life and in person! :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dollar Tree Accepting Manufacturer Coupons

As if shopping at Dollar Tree didn't already provide for great deals...they stepped it up. Starting August 26th they started accepting manufacturer coupons.

If you just started couponing I wouldn't jump right in without really knowing your stuff or you may get pretty frustrated.

I was the very first person to use coupons at my local store (I win!) and my experience was pretty mild compared to some of the horror stories I've read. I used two coupons and got two Soft Soaps for $0.65 each ($1 - $0.35 coupon each). Some places sell it for over $2! So it's a great deal and if I had more of the coupons I'd go back for more.

But here are some things to consider if you are going to coupon at Dollar Tree.

First, read through their coupon policy, which is helpfully posted online. My store had theirs taped up to their register which was great too.

There seems to be some confusion over one of them...
We are unable to accept coupons for “Free” items with no purchase requirements or where the amount for the product is blank.
Apparently some stores are interpreting this as $1 coupon, making an item free plus tax, unacceptable. That is NOT how I read this rule.

I read it that if you have a coupon that says an item is FREE and the cashier has to write in the price that they will not take it. Even if the item is free with purchase, I read the policy as not allowing that either because most of those coupons require the cashier to write in the actual price of the free item.

I haven't tried to use a coupon for an item to get it free yet but I will. Hopefully my cashier will know what she's doing. I think most of the issues people are having are related to untrained cashiers.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Organize Meal Delivery for Times of Need with MealTrain

A facebook friend lost a child suddenly last week. I cannot even comprehend the loss and pain this brings. When a major event happens in a family's life it creates havoc, not just because it throws people into an emotional tailspin (whether death, birth, marriage, or divorce or even a major injury or illness) but it throws off people's schedules. Including their meals!

I know when my dad died, my mom remembers people bringing meals to her and how much it helped.

But what if three people bring dinner one night and then no one brings anything for a few days?

Enter Meal Train.

Organize and help make sure meals are covered for a family or individual during their time of need. If hubby and I ever have another little kiddo I'd sure love something like this. You get to pick a date to delivery a meal and can see where the biggest need is.

I love that they even have an etiquette section with some great tips.

My Facebook friend posted it and I wish they also had an option to pay for a meal because I live so far away I can't exactly drop by with food. And I'm thinking my freezer burritos wouldn't travel cross country very well.

I'd never heard of this website but think it's an outstanding idea. Imagine a church using this to plan meals for people in need. Simply fantastic!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Are We Creating Lazy Parents?

I admit, I'm not the world's best mother. I do my best but I have limits and have snapped at him when he didn't deserve it. I've left him alone to watch TV so I could have "me" time. I've fed him things that weren't very healthy (macaroni and cheese is a favorite meal!).

While he hasn't started school yet, and we're still debating on what direction his schooling will take, as I drove to work the other day I thought about the state of our schools. More specifically, the state of our parents.

At church we had a request from a teacher. She asked for us to donate granola bars and other non perishable food stuff for their elementary school classrooms. The reason? The population of kids there is more transient than most and they do not have a lot of parental participation.

How sad is that? Just because you move around a lot you aren't going to participate in your child's education? And why is that? Do these parents think that it's the schools job to feed as well as educate their kids?

Schools now a days provide breakfasts, lunches, and sometimes even dinners. Why???

I can totally understand if people are super, super poor and can't afford fancy foods. But if you are that poor there is state assistance - food stamps, welfare, etc. There's really no excuse for any child to go to school without a peanut butter sandwich at a minimum. Or a cheese sandwich. Something.

Are parents who can provide simply defaulting to the schools to take over their parenting responsibilities?

I donated several bags of granola bars - because it's not the kids' faults that their parents aren't participating. But then we are passing on that message to kids - don't have personal responsibility because the government will take care of you no matter what.

And I find that sad.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

People Are Sheep

At last week's bible study we talked a lot about sheep.

Yes. Sheep.

We learned all kinds of fun facts about sheep - and some of those facts can describe humans too.

  • Sheep are social animals
  • Sheep are stubborn - hence the necessary herding by the Shepherd.
  • Sheep can't sleep if hungry - they will continuously search until they find contentment.
  • Sheep are creatures of habit - to the point of eating grass in the same area until it is bad and destroying the land.
  • Sheep are followers - mass minded - and will follow the crowd, preferring to stay together.
  • Sheep have no natural defenses and rely on the Shepherd to protect them.

There were a lot of other facts but these were the ones that stood out to me most.

The one that I related to the most was that sheep will search continuously until they find contentment.

Doesn't that describe us all? We are constantly looking for something...something to fill that voice, sadness, loneliness, desperation...whatever it is in our lives that we find lacking. We don't stop looking for contentment. Some people look for it in alcohol. Others, like me, try to find it in food. Some use their work to define their lives.

What is it we all really need in our lives to be content? I certainly do not have the answer to that as I can't describe myself as content. I have moments of contentedness. Is that a word? But not an overall feeling of being content at all times.

Just like sheep, we need a strong Shepherd that protects and watches over us to give us the opportunity to be content...and full. Full in the spirit. Full in His word. Content.

"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep will follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." John 10:1-5

How many things come into our lives as thieves? Alcoholism robs us of families, friends, jobs. Compulsive eating robs us of our health (and money). These things come into our lives as enticing - with the promise of fulfillment, but they are thieves sneaking into our lives - not coming through the front door - or the gate - where Jesus stands watch for us.

"All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen tot hem. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved." John 10:9

Only through Christ can we find true fulfillment in life. Nothing else will substitute. It's a difficult thing to wrap my mind around and one that, honestly, I struggle with constantly. But it doesn't make it any less true.

It just makes me a stubborn sheep.

Save and Stock Up - Video Games at Target

Great deals at Target (have I mentioned that I'm a Target addict?!?)...and just in time to get shopping for Christmas out of the way - Buy two video games and get one FREE. Yup. Free.

If you have a big gamer on your list for Christmas, buy them today and don't worry about standing in line on Black Friday. They have over 150 titles available for this deal.

This sale ends 10/20/12 so hurry!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

This is News? Men and Women are...DIFFERENT!

I've always been fascinated by some people's stubborn determination to believe that men and women are identical...the same...interchangeable.

I realize the whole women's liberation movement wanted to even the playing field for women, and I'm pretty sure it succeeded...and then some.

But the idea that men and women are exactly the same...can do all the same illogical.

Sure there are some women outside the norm who can bench press a cow - but they are few and far between. There are some men who prefer designing jewelry or their favorite color is pink. But again, they aren't going to be considered the norm for men.

You can call it sexist...I call it logic. And some people call it science!
""As with other senses, such as hearing and the olfactory system, there are marked sex differences in vision between men and women. "
It makes sense. We are created by a wonderful God who designed us specifically to be together - man and woman. We're made differently but we work together. Like two puzzle pieces.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Gen. 2:24

We aren't meant to be the same. How boring if men and women were all the same!

Yes, there will always be those on the outer edges of the standard deviation. It doesn't make them evil or bad or weird. It also doesn't mean that we should revamp our entire society to make abnormal the new normal.

Buy One Get One 50% off - Until 10/13/12

When did rain boots get so cute? 

Even better, they are Buy One Get One Half off...along with other shoes AND purses. Seriously! What could be better!

Hurry though...this sale ends 10/13/12. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - 50% off at Target 10/2/12

Have a Tom Cruise fan on your Christmas list? How about Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 50% off at Target! Today's daily deal.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Freezer Cooking - Planning

My goal this week is to make a list.

Sad, right?

Not a real lofty goal, but a necessary one. I want to do a marathon of freezer cooking this weekend. To do a good job, and be the most effective, I need to plan and make a list.

Thankfully there are a lot of resources out there to help. I already downloaded a couple of forms from Money Saving Mom to help me make my lists. She also has some recipes that do great in the freezer.

My biggest issue right now...fear. I am a planner and kind of a control freak. I worry about not having every single aspect planned out ahead of time before going to the store or starting to cook. Since this will be my first real freezer cooking marathon attempt, I've been stressing about it for a good two weeks already!

But my goal is to have at least seven meals prepared this weekend to put in our freezer to have throughout the month. I'll do my best to take photos as I'm preparing...if I haven't lost my mind yet!