Give it Away, Give it Away, Give it Away Now

Making Room In Your Life, So That You Can Have One

Tithing isn't the only way to give stuff away. When you have come to that point where you can say enough, then there are many ways to get rid of stuff. If you need tips on how to declutter your house, check out Flylady.net.
Here are some great outlets for your unloved, or unused goodies:

1. Return It! If it is still new, take it back to the store. Some stores are even relaxing their return policy so that you can return things without a receipt. And store credit to buy something you really want is better than hanging onto something you don't.

2. Regift it. It's really not that ugly of a word. If you know someone who really would like it, then it is not tacky. It seems silly to spend $20 at a store, when the perfect gift is in your declutter pile.

3. Sell it on EBay. This takes more time, and you have to decide if it is worth it. Items have to be in good working condition, and valued at more than a couple dollars. You could end up spending more time and money on fees and maintenance than the item is actually worth. But they have just relaxed their selling costs, so it may be worth a try.

4. Check out Etsy.com This is for antique or handmade items only. Supplies to hand make items also qualify. But listings last longer so the value for your time may be increased.

5. List it on Craigslist This is especially good for large, hard to ship items. It is similar to an online want ad.

6. Consignment Stores A great outlet for kids toys and clothes. Many times they will give you cash on the spot for items that you bring in.

7. Freecycle.org If you just want to get rid of the stuff, people will come to your house and pick it up. The catch is it has to be free, and it is strange people coming to your house, and you have to choose one person out of the many emails to deem worthy of your junk.

8. Goodwill, Salvation Army, NuWay, Etc. Feel good about helping others out with your donated items. You can also claim fair market value on your taxes.

9. Trade your items on Zwaggle or Swaptree Get points for things you give away and then use the points to acquire other items form the site. The big catch is that you have to wait for someone to want your stuff before you can get rid of it.

10. Give it to your extended family There's a good chance that's where most of it came from in the first place

11. Contact your local shelters Women's shelters are often looking for household items or women's clothes. Animal shelters use blankets and towels.

12. Have a yard sale This is usually only worth it if you have a lot of stuff, or you really need the money. trying getting together with friends or neighbors to share the work.

13. Curb it We have had success just putting things out on the curb with a free sign. We have also sold things (cars, table saws, dressers, tomatoes) by placing them in our driveway with a for sale sign. Just be prepared for someone to take it without paying, if you aren't there.

14. Throw it away If it is truly trash, don't try to pawn it off on someone else. recycle what you can, and send the rest on its way!

Spend time each day getting a little bit more room in your house. You will be surprised how much stuff you won't miss. The catch with many of these places: thrift stores, consignment shops, eBay, etc. YOU CAN"T BUY MORE STUFF! Cause other wise, you just have more stuff.

I am hoping my kids see that we don't need to just collect and collect things. I want them to learn that with money, and with things, we are a generous family that can give out of the richness of our hearts.

Do you have other outlets for passing stuff on, leave me a comment. Thank you to Jen for compiling this list.

Feeling Rich #10 Giving Tithe

Technically speaking, tithing is giving 10 percent of earnings.

Whether you believe you were created, or think that you out smarted your past monkey relatives, it is impossible to believe that you could have done it on your own.

Tithing demonstrates an acceptance of life. By only using 90% of what you earn, your are signaling that you are happy with what you have, and therefore do not need to scrounge for every last penny.

Tithing Creates a feeling of thankfulness Giving away a regular percent of your income, makes you appreciate the things that you already have.

Tithing Makes You Generous If you can give away money that you have earned, how much more freely could you give away things that are extra in your life.

Tithing opens Awareness When you are purposefully giving 10% of your income, you are more likely to be mindful of the other 90% of your paycheck.

Tithing makes you Rich If you are willing to voluntarily give up 10% of your income, you have moved from living hand to mouth, to living wealthy. Regardless of what you earn.

Tithing Makes you Feel Better People who give have a more positive outlook in life. A positive outlook will encourage smiling, which is good for your health.

These are all things that I want my kids to learn about money, what about you?


Things I love Thursday - Feeling Rich

Notice I said feeling rich, which is a lot different than being rich. Better. Much better.

We just returned from a picnic in the park. This has become our Thursday routine - meeting Daddy for lunch at a park. Even though we have lunch with him at home nearly every day, eating lunch out just makes it more special some how. Plus, Daddy loves an excuse to ride his motorcycle.

Besides loving my family, I also reflected on how rich I feel. So for this things I love Thursday, I want to share with you my top ten.

Top Ten Ways I can feel Rich without Actually Being Rich

1. We actually have a budget that we can live within
2. We live debt free
3. We have extremely generous families
4. We live in a small house in a small town that is paid for
5. We have the best neighbors ever
6. We are easy to entertain. Is it no wonder that many classic American games were invented during the Great Depression?
7. We have cheap friends.
8. We buy museum passes. And we go all the time (did I mention we were easy to entertain?)
9. We only need one car. The only out of home wage earner walks to work ( I mentioned small town already didn't I?)
10. We give Tithe. Something about giving away stuff that makes you feel like you have more than you need.

What does this teach my kids about money?
Being rich is a state of mind. They are so busy doing fun things, that they do not have the time to stop and wish for more. These kids would feel poor, if they thought that they were missing out, but since we feel rich, they feel rich. So I want my kids to learn that you don't need money to feel rich.

What makes you feel rich?

For more Things I Love Thursday fun, hop over to thediaperdiaries.net.


Book of the Week - If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

This book is a follow up to yesterday's port Rich People will Always have cooler Stuff.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Quick Synopsis

A little boy offers a cookie to a mouse which starts a cause and effect adventure all through the house. The mouse asks for one thing after another until finally coming full circle back to the cookie

How to Teach Money to Kids with this Book

Some people like this little mouse will never be satisfied. If you get them one thing, they are going to want something else to go with it. I thought this was a great book to start the discussion about why sometimes I say no to different purchases. I used the example of Mega Blocks. My son received a Mega block dump truck for his birthday, but I took it back to the store. He didn't really notice, but my daughter did, and she wanted to know why, especially since it was free, why didn't we just keep it.

Well, if we keep the dump truck, you are going to want to have the blocks that go with it, and if we get the blocks, then you are going to want the castle set that goes with the blocks. So it makes since to just not get the dump truck in the first place.

If we take the dump truck back, they will give us money back, and we can use the money to buy something that is already on our list. Plus, if we start getting mega blocks, then we would run out of room for the toys that we have, and we would have to get rid of some of those toys.

I think seeing the cause and effect that this book emphasized was a great lesson in the what ifs of accumulating more that you need

While looking for more information, I stumbled on this site that has a whole evening of activities planned around this book. Your family could have a great time playing games together


Do you have other ideas for how this book could be used to teach money to kids?

Check out more ideas at WFMW at We are That Family.

Rich People Will Always Have Cooler Stuff

Its the whole point of Being Rich!

This is why socialism or communism will never work. There will always be someone out there who is willing to work harder, longer or smarter, so that they can have the cool stuff. I don't care if you are trading in Dollars, Yen, or sea shells. Someone is going to be luckier and find more food, or be more desperate and cut a better deal.

Imagine the good ol' days. You know, when everyone lived in caves. That is where it all started. We were all equal then. No trust funds, no stock options passed down from daddy. It was Hunt and Gather, each man for himself.But you know how it goes: one cave man gets bigger than the others, another develops a taste for moose instead of rabbit, and another can run faster than anyone.

This develops into needs, and skills that may determine the future of our earth.The bigger caveman requires more food, so he looks to the man who is faster and they make a trade. The man who likes moose, may be able to catch rabbit, but he needs help to catch a moose. The faster caveman can get whatever he wants, because he can trade for it. But one of these cavemen is going to start having cooler stuff. He might start trading for pretty rocks instead of food. He is going to have a bigger collection of animal skins to wear.

And that is how capitalism works.We work for what we get because we get what we work for. But this is also why national health care, public schools, social security and every other government program is not going to work. Because even though the other guy may be richer, everyone else still wants the cool stuff.

And there will always be cooler stuff. You have seen the gold leaf bathrooms, the pimped out jets, and the personal islands. Are these "needs"? It is a statement. I can have it and you can't.

But then someone invented government. And together they came up with a Mission Statement: That's Not Fair! If you ever hear anyone making this statement run, run far far away.

Of course its not fair. It will never be fair.Was it fair that one caveman could run faster, or another was bigger? No, or Yes.Public Schools are great, but they don't score as high as private schools, so we need to make our schools better. We have social security, but when it is time to retire, are we going to be able to buy the condo in Florida on the golf course? We have health care, and we even have access to amazing advances in technology. But there are new and even more expensive treatments, and we want those, too.

We all want the Cool Stuff.Unfortunately, if everyone had it, it wouldn't be cool anymore. Owning a car used to be only for the rich, but now anyone can have one and expects to have one.It almost makes you dream of the glory days, when we were all living in caves. but then you might want my cave because it is closer to the creek. Or I might want your cave because it has more space. So we could trade. I will give you my cave if you give me yours, but I also want those extra furs to go with it...

Party Like It's 1999

This weekend is our 10th Wedding Anniversary.
We took a special trip earlier this spring to celebrate (when my folks could watch the kids), but at the last minute we decided to have a party.
We sent out some evites to our friends, and gave invites to our neighbors and started planing.
We were able to do a simple dessert buffet for less than $50. and we have quite a bit of left overs. The hardest part was getting our house ready, or I guess I should say, keeping our house ready. We just called it an open house, and literally opened our house up, to let the cooler evening air in, and let people wander through our house.
This summer also marks 10 years that we have lived in this house, so it was fun to give ours and tell about all of the changes that we have done over the years.
We felt blessed the whole evening. It was fun what a great mix of people came. We had three people who were actually in our wedding come by, plus some that my husband had known in grade school. There were friends that we see all the time, because our kids play together, and friend that we rarely see, and even some neighbors that we met for the first time.
There is a book out there Your Money or Your Life. The first couple chapters encourages you to take inventory of all you have. Their intention was for you to see how much you have worked, and what you have gained in the process. This celebration helped us do that, and take it even further:
We have a great house that is paid for, with a awesome front porch
We live in a great neighborhood with neighbors that we actually like and trust
We have 3 kids and one dog
We have 1 mini van, a motorcycle, and a lawn mower
4 bikes, a bike trailer, and two tricycles
A nice yard, a fence, a sand box, play house, swing, garden and flowers, a paved driveway
A refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, toaster, mixer, washing machine and dryer
We even have two computers, a keyboard and a projector, plus a stereo and all the goodies that go with it.
We have couches and beds and dressers and a great table and chairs.
And that is just the big stuff. We have so much other little stuff that I could go on and on.
Some of the stuff was gifts, and some of it we bought. But all of it is so much more than so many other people have. Compared to families living in the '70's we would be considered upper class to be able to afford so many luxuries. But our society has changed its thinking and now we are near the bottom.
So this is what we want to be teaching our kids about money: We have so many things for which to be thankful, we likely have way more than we need. And I haven't even mentioned the most important part. We have a collection of great friends. These are friends that we couldn't replace, that have been with us during the different parts of our lives: new jobs, newlyweds, church, neighbors, they are all special. And it doesn't matter how much money we make.

Cheesy Money Joke

Okay, here's a classic

Where did the penguin put her money?

In the snow BANK...

This could be a great way to kick off a silly conversation about money:
1. How would a penguin make money?
2. What do you think a penguin would buy?
3. Do you think Penguins ever retire?


Hide this verse in Your Heart- Psalms 23:1

Psalm 23:1

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

What a great verse to teach kids! If they keep the Lord as their shepherd, they shall not want. This is true in many ways:
1. They will desire God, first and foremost, and God will comply.
2. God will take care of their needs.
3. We will stop looking for greener pastures, and wanting more, and more and more...
4. When God blesses, He blesses until our cup runneth over.

Practice this verse, so that you can share it with your kids, and help them memorize it, too.

Things I Love Thursday - Sandwich Boxes

My Tupperware Sandwich Boxes
We brought our lunches this morning to our local kids museum. After a full morning of playing, we took our group to the lunch room. I love that my husband works so close that he can join us for trips like this. He eats lunch with us everyday, but it seems somehow more special when he can meet us for lunch. Plus, I know he loves any excuse to ride his motorcycle.
While the other mommies were passing out sandwiches, and baggies of fruit and other goodies, I was able to just hand my kids their sandwich boxes and sit down to enjoy my own lunch.

There are so many reasons why I love these sandwich boxes, that I am going to incorporate the Thursday 13.
1. They were free. I usually have a Tupperware party each fall, just in time for holiday shopping. As a host, I often earn many free products, like these great boxes.
2. They are reusable. I love that I can just stick them in the dishwasher, and they are ready for the next trip out.
3. They double as plates. When we eat at a park or in the car, we don't have to worry about dirty tables, or messy laps.
4. Our food is not squished. When we are out, our lunches are often stuffed in a backpack. With our boxes, we can even get through airport security with sandwiches in tact.
5. They hold so much. I can fit a whole sandwich (cut in half and stacked), string cheese, and fruit, such as strawberries, grapes, or apple slices. I can even put an apple sauce pack or baby food in with the sandwich.
6. I don't have to keep buying them. I don't have to clip coupons or look for sales on zip lock baggies, because I rarely need them. I feel that they have actually saved me money.
7. They are compact. I can still fit this box in a regular lunch bag, or tuck it into a diaper bag without taking up too much space.
8. I don't throw it away. I like that I am reducing our waste by using something that is convenient.
9. It has a Lifetime Warranty. I don't want to sound like a Tupperware commercial, but a great benefit to all their products is their easy replacement policy. This adds value to an already great purchase.
10. They are already personalized. I don't have to keep track of which sandwich is which. Everybody has their own box.
11. They are good for all ages. I like that my one year old can use it as well as my husband. I dislike, having to get rid of perfectly good baby stuff, because it no longer serves our purposes. These are versatile for all ages.
12. These work for more than just sandwiches. I have taken all sorts of food packed in these boxes, salads, pastas, chips, etc.
13. I don't have to hunt for a lid. The lid is attached, and allows you to spread out while eating.
But, more than anything, I like what I can teach my kids about money. They learn that buying quality products is like an investment. It is better financially, and environmentally, to not just buy things and then throw them away. The more we reduce and reuse, the more we save, both our planet and our money.
What do you like to use over and over?
For more Things I Love Thursday fun, hop over to thediaperdiaries.net.


Book of the Week - Pigs Will Be Pigs

This weeks book selection Pigs Will Be Pigs is written by Amy Axelrod. This book can be found at any major book store or library.
Quick Synopsis
The Pig family want to go out to eat, but they have no money. So they go running around the house looking for loose change or bills. When they find enough, they take it to their favorite restaurant. The book even includes a menu, so you can help the pigs decide what to eat.
Using this book with Kids
This book seems to have been written with teaching money to kids in mind. Each pig calls out which coins or bills that they find, so that you can do the calculations on your own. The included menu gives you so many choices, that you could role play many options for the pigs. At the end of the story their are even application questions to help you figure out how much money the pigs would have left over.
I found it useful to have real, or play money with you while reading the story, so that you could have a visual way of keeping track of each pigs money, and the final tally.
This is an excellent story for practicing money counting.
You could also talk other issues of money, like having a menu and grocery list so that they wouldn't have to run out to a restaurant in the first place, but that may just be a side note.
Do you have other ideas on how you may have talked money to your kids using this book?
Please share your experience
Check out more ideas at WFMW at We are That Family.


Cheesy Money Joke

Thank You to the Cracker Barrel Kids Cup for this Money Joke:

How did the Baker get so wealthy?

He made lots of dough...

Actually jokes are a great way to teach kids vocabulary and double meaning, so if you have any great money jokes, I would love to share them. Every Sunday, I hope to post a new one.


Things I Love Thursday - Flylady or our morning routine

Now if we are going to talk about teaching money to kids, I have to give credit to Flyladyhttp://www.flylady.net/. I have found so many daily, weekly, and monthly tips from this site.
Each month has a different habit to work on, and each week has a different zone to clean in. I am sure that I will share more tips from Fly lady in the future, but today I want to share how creating our routine helps me teach my kids about money.
This chart is our before bed routine, on the flip side is our morning routine. These are not chores. Our kids do not get an allowance based on whether or not they are completed. This is just their checklist of what they need to do in order to be ready for the day or the night.
Having this checklist has streamlined our mornings and evenings. Babysitters can easily see what to expect, and with the little pictures, even my non-readers know what to do.
So this is what they are learning:
1. Independence. They can see for themselves what needs to be done next
2. Responsibility. Everybody has a job to do.
3. Work before play. Play is so much more fun this way
4. Being prepared. Being ready for the day opens up so many possibilities for spontaneous fun
5. Being organized. Having a plan for your time, means not wasting it.
6. Following directions. Success in school and in the work place is often directly related to whether or not a person can follow directions
I know it would be fun to stay in our jammies all day, but I also know how many opportunities we would miss out on. We wouldn't be able to just cart off to a last minute notice dog show at the library if we had 3 kids to dress, brush hair, or teeth, and nobodies had breakfast.
So thank you Flylady for giving us more fun in our day.


Book of the Week: The Best Nest

The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman, part of the I can read it all by myself series with many other Dr. Seuss books. This book can be found at your local library, or any major bookstore. Many of you may have read this story when you were little.

Quick Synopsis

Mrs. Bird decided that she does not like her old nest and wants to upgrade. They look everywhere for a better nest. They finally find what they think is perfect and then they have to fill it with new stuff. The nest is not perfect and they end up back at the old nest, but with a new attitude.

Using this book with kids

This is a great book to jump start a discussion about being happy with what you have. Lead the discussion with questions like: Why didn't Mrs. Bird like her first house? What was Mrs. Birds attitude about her house? Why did she like the house at the church?

When they had to make a new nest, why didn't they just bring the old nest? What happened to that new nest? Where did they end up? How is this like people buying stuff?


Some of the points that you may want to bring out:

1. Sometimes new things mean you have to buy more and more things, which makes them extra expensive

2. Fixing up something that you already have may be better than finding something new

3. your attitude changes the way you look at things

4. Check everything very thoroughly before you buy it. You may have an unexpected surprise

Check out other summer reading ideas at the Happy Housewife.

Money and Dogs Part II: The Language of Love

One concern that we had about getting a dog was our kids. Well, they actually created many concerns.

1. Would our kids be afraid of Shadow?

Our kids were so excited to have a dog. they really felt like they had saved him, especially after we told them the story of where he was living, and the BIG dog we heard behind the door.

Right away Shadow started following our kids all through the house. This is how he came to be named Shadow (we thought marshmallow was a silly name for a boy dog).

2. Would our kids take care of our dog?

There is something about giving responsibility to kids, that just makes them flourish. Miss Love gets to let him in and out of his kennel in the morning and whenever we have to go somewhere. She knows that she earned this job because she is the only one that can open the latch, which is a skill that she practiced so that the job could be hers. (Shadow gets a little paranoid if he is left alone, so we have to put him in the kennel, even if we just run down to the basement for minute)

The Frog Prince got the job of giving Shadow his food. He earned this job by being the one that was the most careful to not spill the food when putting it into the bowl.

3. Would our kids treat him nice?

This one I was the most worried about. Our neighbors have a big, hyper dog (one of the reasons I was worried our kids might be afraid of having a dog). This dog has knocked them over numerous times. Our thoughtful neighbor knows that my kids are wary about Molly (the golden retriever) and tries to calm her down right away.

Well really I think it makes the whole thing worse, because they both yell at the dog like it might kill something, which only adds to the fear factor. They also talk so mean to the dog, that I worried our kids would copy.

I am grateful to say that the power of our influence as parents has overridden the power of the bad example. Our kids talk nicely to Shadow (and Molly for that matter). They use a firm but friendly tone of voice and even say encouraging things when our dog listens.

As a parent this gives me great hope. I know that there are so many bad examples out there: people wanting it all, spending more than they make, stealing or cheating. It would be easy to think that our kids are going to want to be like that, too. But I know that our influence as parents has a huge impact on the choices that they make. Kids can filter out bad choices and make good ones.

Money and Dogs Part I: Finding Shadow

Meet our dog Shadow. We didn't have a dog, and we had a whole list of reasons why we couldn't get one.

1. We needed a fence

2. We needed a small dog

3. He couldn't be yappy

4. We had to make sure our kids were not allergic

5. He had to be good with kids

6. He couldn't shed

7. He would have to be pretty cheap

8. Our kids couldn't be afraid of him

I think my husband felt pretty comfortable with this list, because even though he had just finished the fence, what are the chances that a perfect dog like this would exist. And then we met Shadow.

He was a rescue dog. Someone from our church was losing their house. They found a new place, but they couldn't take their dog, could we think of anyone? They had just rescued this dog from someone who wasn't taking care of it, and he had been at the pound before that only a number of months ago.

So we tried to think of "someone" who could take their dog. We quizzed them down, and he was a Bichon Frise, hypo allergenic, not a barker, or a shedder. He was good with kids, small, and he was free.

So I took her number and we said we would ask around. We told our kids about the dog. How he needed a home. How the place that he was being held for now had a big dog that was trying to fight him. Our kids melted. Hubby wanted to just see the dog.

We tracked down the house, and a very gruff man opened the door. Before we could say anything Shadow came through the door and sat on my feet. I didn't even have to look at my husband. I knew we were keeping this dog.

There are of course new expenses that come with having a dog: vet check ups, grooming, food, and accessories. But sometimes your heart makes better choices than your wallet. We were already a family of five living on one income that made for a tight budget, but there was no way were going to send that dog back to fend for himself against a loud bully dog in a dirty duplex.

So we made room in hearts, our home and our budget for a great little dog.



This post was the first of the month call to offering for the Niles Westside church.

I love strawberries. No, I mean, I LOVE strawberries. We have this great patch in our backyard that we can pick from. This time of year is my favorite, because we can pick bowls and bowls of strawberries. Did I mention that I love strawberries?
I love to eat them fresh, just bite them right off the stem. Or sliced up on a bowl of vanilla ice cream. And they are so good dipped in chocolate, or cool whip or with vanilla pudding. They are great in green salads or fruit salads. I love to put them on top of waffles or pancakes or French toast, or even just cheerios. I cannot get enough strawberries.
Even though we get so many from our little patch, I still go and pick more. That way I can make strawberry jam or we can freeze them to put in smoothies for the rest of the year.
And still it is not enough strawberries. When I see strawberries on sale at the market, I cannot resist them. Because wouldn’t it be great to have strawberry shortcake or strawberry pie? So I buy even more strawberries. Because I cannot get enough.

Which is why I have set aside these strawberries. If I waited until I had enough strawberries, I would never be willing to let go of them. So I have brought my first fruits, as a thank you for the way that God has provided for our family. I am able to give these away, not because they are extra and I have enough already. I am giving these because it was God that gave them to me in the first place.
So as you prepare to give your offerings, don’t worry about whether or not you will have enough, God has promised to provide. And all He asks is that you bring your first fruits or offerings.


Things I love Thursday -Swivel Sweeper

First, I have to give some love to my neighbors who gave us the swivel sweeper in the first place. I would never have bought this on my own. Why would you need a battery powered thing, when a regular broom does the same thing. Well thanks to wonderfully generous neighbors, and a buy one get one free sale on QVC, we got a free swivel sweeper. And I love it!
It has an easy on/off switch, it picks up all sorts of crumbs (especially cheerios or dog food), and it reaches under our table. It comes with a rechargeable battery pack, and an easy to empty collection bin underneath.
But really, I am saving the best feature for last. My two year old can use it by himself! I am so proud of him. Especially since most of the under the table messes come from his end of the table. He eagerly turns the sweeper on and will clean the whole kitchen floor.
Aaahhhhh....This is why we had kids, wasn't it? To teach them how to do all the work around here.
Well maybe not ALL the work.
But when it comes to money, this is what I want them to learn:
1. Everyone contributes big or small, financially or physically
2. Basic skills so that they can eventually work for a living or
2b. Not have to hire someone to do these basic skills
3. Being aware that eventually someone has to clean up that mess
4. Sometimes a cool tool turns a chore into a game (this makes me want to sing like Mary Poppins)
What are some of your favorite cool tools?