Day 16 of Give Aways - My Apologies

I apologize for any one looking to win something over the weekend. Unfortunately, I was giving my time on a fund raiser (which turned out awesome by the way, maybe I can post pictures later) and I had nothing more to give. I was exhausted. So let's get down to business.

Sorry for making you move, especially since some of you just got here. But I have been counseled that it makes more sense to do it now, than when there are more followers to lose. I just hope you stick with me.

I am also still feeling my way around WordPress, so it may take a while for me to get the look I want and all the buttons in the right order. Thanks for being patient.


Giving You my Heart - Day 11 of 28 Days of Give Aways

No Valentines blog about money would be complete without an origami heart made out of a dollar bill. I am here to deliver. This makes a great gift, and also an entertaining hobby, for yourself, or those you wish to impress.
The best thing about giving these hearts for valentines day is that you can be as cheap or generous as you want, and it is still cool. It doesn't even have to be money, it could be opened to reveal a sweet note, or directions to a romantic place. But...Everybody Loves Money.

I want to give you my heart this Valentines Day. This Give Away is for FOLLOWERS only. But the catch is you have to not only be a follower, but also leave me a comment so I know how much you love me, too. This GiveAway is open until Sunday, Valentines Day of course.
This is also linked up with Things I love Thursday.


Saving the world one Napkin at a time

Napkins are not exactly a huge expense at our house.
But since we started using cloth napkins about a year ago, we have saved even more.
I found whole box of napkins a yard sale. They only wanted $.10 a piece for them, so I bought the whole box. I sorted out the napkins by color, since they weren't really in sets. And I put the more fallish colors in a box with our fall stuff, Christmas colors, etc.
We have come to where we like the blue, pink, yellow, and green ones the best. They match our vinyl fish table cloth, and everyone gets their own color. We have two of each color, except for blue. We have like ten of the blue, which is handy, because My Pet uses the blue ones, and he needs more than everyone else.
Let me tell you about all of the benefits of using the cloth napkins:
  • We don't have to buy more. Saves money, time, and we don't run out.
  • We can use as many as we want. We don't have to worry about conserving.
  • We just throw them in the wash. Since I do a load of towels, etc. every week anyway, we just throw these in, and they don't take up more laundry space.
  • They clean up great. One napkin can usually take care of most spills, no extra napkins, paper towels or rags needed.
  • We can use them more than once (if this grosses you out, then skip to the next part) but for many meals, a napkin is just needed for touch up. You can easily fold it the other way, and it is good as new. And since we each use a different color, we don't have to worry about cross contamination.
  • They are cute. We don't have to decide between cheap or cute. Ours are both.
  • We aren't living a disposable life. The more I can teach my kids that we don't just buy stuff just to throw it away, the better.
  • Hubby said just last night, "these are one of the finer things." I thought he was talking about the cheese enchiladas I had made, but no. He was talking about the napkins. Apparently he thinks they are classy.

So now that I have taught my kids how to fold them, they are the easiest switch we have made in saving money and being green.

This has been linked in with Works for me Wednesday, Things I love Thursday, and Finer things Friday, and the Penny Pinching Party.

And now.....

For our 28 days of Give Aways...

A set of new cloth napkins! (set of four + 1 that is just slightly a different color) Just leave me a comment to be entered to win. For more entries, you can become a follower, or a subscriber, each would give you another entry. Leave me a comment, so I know. This Give Away will be open until Sunday, when I announce the winners.

Sorry for no pictures, but that computer has been having virus troubles.


How Do We Get So Much Stuff? 28 Days of Give Aways Day 9

People like to give us stuff.
I don't know why.
Do they think we are poor?
Or maybe, because we have a lot of kids, they think we need a lot of stuff.
Must I remind them that we live in a pretty small house. We have 3 kids in one room, and are looking to add a fourth. But then that might make them think we are poor.
So I just say thank you.
But then I spend the rest of the year wondering how we ended up with so much stuff. We give it away, we get more. Should I say no? I hate to sound ungrateful when people are trying to be thoughtful. Is it offensive to say no when someone wants to give you stuff?
Having too much stuff is really a burden. It is more to put away, or more to clean, or find storage for, or put away again after Big G pulls it out of the drawer. Again.
So I have decided to give it all away.
Today's Give Away is a box of baby blankets. I am giving it to our local Community Services, who actually expressed a need for this sort of thing. They are making care packages for families. So I am happy to pass these along to someone who will need them.
Now it is your turn. What do you have that you don't need? Is there someone that might actually need it? Consider what you can give to them. Bless them, and unburden yourself.


Meatless Monday - Kids in the Kitchen - Her Own Recipe

Welcome to Meatless Monday!
Today's recipe is by Miss Love herself. The day after her 5th Birthday she announced that she wanted to make Her Own Recipe. The first attempt was a cross between a crepe and a muffin. It was not bad. Then Friday she announced she wanted to make "Snow Flake Treats." The result this time was more like a chocolate chip lemon bar (without the lemon).
Super sweet, and super yummy.

Her Own Recipe
In 1st bowl:
2 cups of flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg

In 2nd bowl:
1 cup sugar
4 T butter (melted)

Then combine them together and add 1/2 c. chocolate chips
Fill greased cupcake pan 2/3 full, bake at 350* for about 15 min or until golden.
Then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I mentioned these were sweet didn't I?

But Miss Love has been so proud of her treats. She wanted to call her Grandma and tell all about them, and tonight we delivered some to her friends, so that they could try some, too.

Her "recipe" experiments may seem like a waste of ingredients and money to some people, but I would rather her test her independence with a measuring cup in the safety of my kitchen, then to want to rebel, because her mommy is always telling her what to do.

Also, I like to see the way she has learned about different ingredients from recipes that we have done together. She is starting to get a feel for what flavors go good together.

And now for a bit of business:
Mondays Winner $25 Gift Certificate to Picture me Studios: Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship
Tuesday: Our Local School
Wednesday: Amie @ Adventures with Audrie wins The Grouchy Ladybug
Thursday: Olivia @ Of Such is the Kingdom wins a pair of bath mittens
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: The people of Haiti

And announcing the new Give Away for today:
in honor of Meatless Monday I am giving away a Veggie Tales movie! Duke and the Great Pie War by Big Idea Productions (DVD).
In order to win you have to leave a comment. To get more entries, you have to link up a recipe. And to get even more entries, you can visit the links posted, and then leave a comment about those blogs you visited. I will leave this give away open all week, to give you a chance to visit and leave lots of comments.

Now it is your turn: Please link up with a tip or recipe for our Meatless Monday Carnival. (if you don't have a blog, but would like to participate, you can always leave your tip or recipe in the comment section.) We would love to hear from you.

What is your Story? Haiti Give Away Weekend

We get to talking about Heaven around our place. What’s it going to be like? What are we going to be able to do? Who are we going to see? And won’t it be fun to hear the stories from the Bible from the people themselves.

Can you imagine hearing about the inside of a whale from Jonah himself?

Or listening to David talking about how big Goliath was?

Or maybe we can find the little boy that gave his lunch away and have him tell us all about eating with Jesus.

But what amazes my kids more than anything is when I tell them that those people from the Bible are going to come looking for them to tell a story. Can you imagine that ?

Getting a tap on the should from Queen Esther, and then she asks, "Tell me your story." And then a crowd gathers at their feet, the feet of my little children. And there is Samuel and Zaccheus sitting next to Ruth and Moses. And they are asking them, "How did God use you to be a blessing?" And maybe Joshua raises his hand to say "Tell us about the walls God tore down for you." And maybe Noah will want to know about when it was the hardest to trust.

Miss Love especially gets wide eyed at the thought of all her favorite friends from the Bible wanting to find her and ask her about her story. 'Cause to me, that is what Heaven will be like. Everyone sharing their stories.

What will your story be like? Will it be like the widow who shared her last meal with Elijah? Or maybe like Peter pulling blessings out of the sea with a net. Maybe God will use your gift to Haiti like He did when he fed the 5,000.

Today is our last day of the Giving to Haiti Weekend. I hope this opportunity has blessed your family.

Tomorrow I will announce the winners from last week Give Aways, plus Give Away even more.

Tomorrow is also Meatless Monday, so get your recipes or tips ready. We would love to have you join us.


Choosing a Place to Support - Give Away Day 6

There are so many agencies out there looking for money. Each of them have a different spin and a different name. It is hard to know which places to trust, who can do the best job, and what your money really goes to.

Large groups have somehow gotten a bad repetition in some circles. Like somehow if you get too big, you lose sight of the cause. And in the midst of a crisis, like what we are seeing in Haiti right now, you will see a lot of small groups popping up, taking advantage of the circumstances.

I recently got a letter from one of the large groups (so of course there was a bit of bias) outlining why giving to an established organization may be a better way of giving your money. Now it is true that a bigger organization has more employees, and therefore more overhead, I felt like the pros really out weighed the cons.

Here are some things an established organization is more likely to have:

  • Credibility here - all of the top names in Disaster relief have to go through regular auditing, publishing, etc. to prove to their donors (and the government) that they are doing a good job.

  • Credibility there - many of the established groups have already been working in the countries, like Haiti, and are familiar with their needs.

  • Streamlined Resources - The groups that do this for a living are actually pretty good at what they do, because they have been doing it for years. They know how to get through the red tape, the delays, and the politics.

  • Training - part of the overhead costs, that seem like such a negative in a larger group, actually go toward training their people. Before there is an emergency.

  • Quicker Response Time - They already have the people to help, many times in the region, plus they can have resources en route within hours of a tragedy, while others are still waiting for volunteers and pledges to come in.

  • Seeing the Bigger Picture - Because these larger groups have often been in the country before the crisis, are there helping during the crisis, they usually are invested in the lives of these people to see them through to the next step. Beyond living in temporary shelters, these groups are often there for years afterward, helping them build infrastructure, find jobs and get decent medical help and education.

If you want more information, a great site is Charity Navigator. They list the top charities providing relief, and great reasons for not giving to the Government, or smaller groups in the area.

We have decided to give our money to ADRA. Our reasons may be different from what you are looking for, so I will explain our decision.

  1. ADRA has been working in Haiti for a number of years already.

  2. We have friends that have been field directors (in other countries) for ADRA that have testified to their belief in the ministry that ADRA provides.

  3. My sister was an ADRA volunteer in Sri Lanka after the tsunami.

  4. We have given to them in the past. They have a great online donation center, ADRA's really useful Gift Catalog. The catalog lets you see where your gift is going, and you can choose small and large donations. This was my daughter's charity of choice for her Birthday Giving this year.

  5. We believe that they will be there for the long haul, to make sure that the Haitians have clean water, good food, a chance at employment and education, and of course a warm bed.

Thank you for your help in this Give Away. Tell me what your thoughts are on the different charities. Who did you choose, and why?