Saturday, October 30, 2010

a little craftiness

I found this great idea for an easy and inexpensive Fall wreath here and here the other day, and since my doors are completely boring everywhere I look in my house, I couldn't wait to try it!

Too bad I actually found the brown coffee filters (which I had no idea existed), but our Wal-Mart did not have the styrofoam wreath ring that I needed.  Since it was 10 o'clock last night and I had no other options of stores and being crafty was on my mind, I opted for a styrofoam ball and figured that I would attempt a coffee filter floral-like ball.  (Whatever you want to call it!)

Here's how it turned out...

And here's how I did it...

It's not my favorite, but it was pretty easy and I can't wait to make the wreath version of it when I get the styrofoam ring!  I just don't have a great place to hang the ball version of it.

Meanwhile, Justin was working on this...

His pumpkin version of David Crowder, who looks like this: 
I just can't compete with that talent!

But, I made these while I was waiting on Justin to finish:

That's about as good as my pumpkin carving gets!

Yesterday, our little family came up with this:
So now my house is a disaster and I'm off to clean!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

how to get the most out of swagbucks!

If you haven't yet signed up for Swagbucks, you should do it!  Go ahead, just take my word for it - sign up here!

But if you're still skeptical, here's the deal with Swagbucks.  SB is an easy way to earn free stuff.  If you use internet search engines often, then you should definitely sign up with SB as soon as you finish reading this!  By searching through Swagbucks, you will randomly earn Swagbucks' "digital dollars."  These can accumulate quickly in you SB account to allow you to save up for great free stuff (or swag).

So, here's my view on how to get the most out of Swagbucks once you sign up:
  1. Use as your search engine.  You will randomly earn different increments of Swagbucks as you search.
  2. Definitely download the Swagbucks toolbar to make it easier to search through Swagbucks and keep up with your own account.  You get one Swagbuck just for having the toolbar when you first open your browser each day, although this doesn't work in Google Chrome.  
  3. Take the daily poll on Swagbucks to get one extra Swagbuck per day.
  4. Refer people to Swagbucks.  This is the best way to earn more because you will get every Swagbuck your friends get, up to 1,000 SB.  This really helps the SB's add up!
  5. Choose a Swagbucks banner like those here to add to your blog or website so that others can find out about Swagbucks and start helping you earn more.
  6. Search & Win
  7. Become a fan of Swagbucks on Facebook to keep up with current codes to win more SB's.
  8. Watch videos on Swagbucks TV to earn more SB's.
  9. A new feature that I saw today - Sign up to receive 50 SB's every year on your birthday!
  10. Check out the Swagbucks blog for randomly given codes that can be entered to earn more SB's.
  11. Add  a Swagbucks widget to your blog or website in order to refer friends and keep up with new codes to earn more SB's.
There are even more ways to earn that you can read about here.  You can also find answers to frequently asked questions here.  Read more tips about earning SB's here.

If you still aren't convinced that earning SB's is easy and profitable, then check out the possible free stuff you can get here.  I have always bought Amazon gift cards with my Swagbucks, so those are my favorite!

Don't wait, start earning Swagbucks today!

Any other ways I missed?  Any questions? - Just ask me!

Monday, October 25, 2010

musical monday

I've been listening to our choir's Christmas CD nonstop in the car to prepare for our "cantata" coming up in a few weeks.  This is one of my favorite songs, so I'm so glad Justin chose to include it this year.  My favorite part is the repetition of the line, "things will never be the same" into "we will never be the same."

Indeed, Christ came and things were never the same.  I pray that you have experienced Christ's forgiveness through salvation and that things have proven true to never be the same in your life!

Here are the words and music in video form.  Don't worry, the first 30 seconds is a completely black screen!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

commentary in a box

For the longest time, I was completely baffled about how to manage the growing pile of sermon notes I accumulated each Sunday at church.  These 1/2 sheets of paper, full of great biblical wisdom from our pastor, stayed in my bible until I cleaned it out, made their way into various piles around our house, fell out in the car, slipped into drawers, but they were never where I wanted them to be when I wanted to reference them.

Enter a new system which I have dubbed Commentary in a Box:
Bible commentaries can be expensive, especially when wanting a complete set.  If we are in church about 52 Sundays a year, those are basically free commentaries from our pastor!

Our pastor creates fill-in-the-blank notes for us each Sunday that are in our bulletin, so they have very practical information, but are not very practical for putting in a notebook to keep (unless you have a good idea to share with me).  I wanted an easy way to house my sermon notes, including lots that I took when we attended chapel three days a week in seminary.

Just a plain (brown because I love brown) photo box was the answer for me.  It just took a little time to round up my notes from piles around the house and then put them in order according to the Bible.  Now, when I'm studying a specific section in Scripture, I have this extra commentary easily accessible.  This works especially well because our pastor preaches mostly topigetically (somewhere between topically and exegetically for those who care).  I found this fun to say made-up word here!
(Here are the first few in my box!)

Sermon notes could also be kept topically, though that might be a little more work to organize.  Or they could possibly be ordered chronologically, especially if you write the date in your bible when your pastor preaches on a specific passage, like I have seen some people do.

I just wanted to share what I have found to work after years of keeping sermon notes but never fully utilizing them as an ongoing resource.  Do you have any differently sermon note systems that have worked for you?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

pumpkin decorating for a toddler

I found this great idea in Family Fun magazine yesterday and couldn't wait to make it!  Elijah has enjoyed a pumpkin decorating activity we found online here, so I knew he would like this magnetic version.  It hardly took any time to make and so far he's loved it.  I can't wait to make a snowman...and maybe a turkey?!  This is a great activity for focusing on shapes and faces!

Here's all you need:

  • 2 adhesive magnetic sheets (mine were about 5x7 that I already had and I think they're pretty cheap)
  • orange paper (I raided my scrapbook paper!)
  • black paper
  • scissors

Here's what you do:
  • Attach the orange paper to the magnetic sheet and cut the paper down to size.  Cut out a pumpkin shape!
  • Attach the black paper to a magnetic sheet and cut out several shapes for eyes, noses, mouths, and anything else you want!
  • Put it on the fridge and see how long it takes your child to find it!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

online shopping

I just love shopping online...when we have money to shop with!

Heading into this Christmas season, I know shopping is on the minds of those who may be (the only one!) in charge of finding gifts for loved ones, so I thought I would share a tip that I have learned in the last year.

I love to read blogs about good deals and every once in a while there is a really good deal that I just can't pass up!  For instance, yesterday, I bought a $100 Picaboo gift certificate for $35!  And since I already have a photo book in the making on their website, I couldn't turn it down.  (This was from Groupon....check it out!).

And again last night I saw on this blog that the Fisher Price Nativity set was 25% off at Family Christian Stores.  I knew this was something I have wanted for Elijah, so it was a great time to snatch it up!

Here's my tip to possibly increase your savings even more when you are shopping online:

Google a coupon code for that specific store/website before you check out.  This has paid off several times for me and last night it worked again!  I just Googled "Family Christian Stores coupon code" and several websites came up.

My favorite website that consistently has working coupon codes is  Last night, I found an additional 25% off code for my entire order at Family Christian Stores!  The codes aren't always this good, but sometimes you can find free shipping codes or other percentage off codes to help with saving money.  Any little bit helps!  If you're interested, the code is 122501301.

I hope this helps to make your gift money go a little bit further this Christmas season!

And don't forget Swagbucks to make your purchases even sweeter!  If you still havn't is definitely the time.  If you're signing up for the first time, you can enter code SBTVisOnTheAir to start off with 30 swagbucks!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

musical monday

There are some songs that I hear on the radio and just sing along with without even really knowing them.  Today's song is an example of that.  I was checking out another blog and ran across the live version of a song called "Your Hands" by JJ Heller.  I had never heard of her, but I remember hearing this song on the radio.

The effortless of her voice in this live version captivated me and the words are so encouraging.  I pray that you will be encouraged as well!

Monday, October 11, 2010

musical monday

I don't think we can ever be reminded of God's love for us too much.  His love reminds us that He chose us, He seeks a relationship with us, and we can have a relationship with Him because He sent His Son to die for us.  His love is so great it is really indescribable.  There is nothing we can go through where we aren't surrounded by His love, whether or not we are able to see it at the time.  

God's love is amazingly limitless.  With no limit.  It's not going to run out.  So no matter what you are going through, never think that God's love isn't big enough to carry you through.  We can't exhaust His love, so we can have complete peace in that.

Great songs have been written about God's love.  This song was one I first heard at Centrifuge camp in high school and I love it.  I pray that it will encourage you today, as a reminder of God's great love for you!

In what ways have you been experiencing God's great love?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

...back from vacation...

We finally got a chance to enjoy some time away as a family this past week.

And part of me is still there.

And part of me was already there before we went.

It wasn't long enough.

But it doesn't matter how I feel, we're back.  But along with the crazy change of seasons came another cold for me this year (more than I can ever remember having!) that is all my excuse of not blogging.  My brain has been at the beach and now still feels "swimmy."

We didn't have the best of weather at the beach, but it was such a great time to get away and I went crazy trying to photograph our trip well.  And that was so much fun!  We stumbled across Fort Macon, which was an amazing place to take pictures! I LOVE taking pictures of Elijah, so I'll use any excuse to do so. And my husband surprisingly let me get some of him and he got in on the fun, taking pictures of me! Here's a taste of our trip through photos.

Thanks for being forgiving blog readers!

I know it's a gazillion pictures...but I just can't choose!