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?


A Warm Bed - 28 Days of Give Aways Day 5

I love our bed.
We have a great mattress. And a big feather comforter that is just the thing to snuggle down into on cold winter nights. I love the look of the dark wood and the sleigh bed style (although in a couple months I know I will be too pregnant climb in easily). I love the feeling of relaxation that comes every time my head hits the pillow.
Our bed is a finer thing.
Which is why for day 5, I am giving one away.

What? Giving a bed away? How rich are these people? I can hear you thinking it from here.
I'm not giving it to you.
I am giving it to the people of Haiti.
And you are going to help me. I want you to spend some time in prayer, maybe a bit of time with your budget. Spend some time with your kids, talking about what you can give up, so that somebody else can have a bed. And then come back tomorrow and help me give a bed to the people of Haiti.

This post has been linked in to Finer Things Friday.


Things I Love - Giving Things Away Day 4

I love giving things away.
Which is probably the only thing I got from my grandma on my dad's side.
I love the feeling of having more than I need, and wanting other people to benefit.

Maybe I just don't want to feel the opposite.
I don't want to feel like I don't have enough. And that I need to hold onto everything I have, just in case.
My Grandma on my mom's side is kinda like that. She grew up during the Great Depression, so we give her a little slack.

But when I am teaching my kids about money, I don't want them to feel like scrooge. I don't want them to hoard their things and their money. I want them to feel rich. Like they have enough to share.

I want to be an example to my kids about the joys of giving things away, rather than emphasizing the joy of having stuff.

So I am having another Give Away as part of my 28 days of Give Aways. Today's prize is a pair of bath and shower gloves. Just slip these babies on, add some soap, and enjoy your shower. "These bath & shower gloves gently scrub your body squeaky clean. Enjoy a quick lather, plus the textured nylon helps stimulate circulation for healthier skin."

So, to enter this Give Away you just have to leave me a comment. Pretty easy. To get more entries, sign up to be a follower, and then leave another comment saying that you now follow (if you are already a follower you can get the bonus entry if you let me know).

This Give Away will be open Thursday, February 4 only. (Although really I am not going to check until sometime Friday so you have a bit of extra time). But if you miss this one come back, because there will be new Give Aways every day. Although truthfully some of the prizes are reserved for charities, and local places, like the library and Good will.

Tell me what you love, and then find out more at the Diaper Diaries Things I Love Thursday.


WFMW - Giving it away {Give Away} Day 3

Welcome to Day 3 of 28 days of Give Aways. I am linking up with We Are That Family this week.
I am giving away a free book today. A classic: The Very Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. This prize will be taken from my list of followers. So if you want to be included in this drawing, make sure you sign up as a follower.
Also, followers are eligible for many of the prizes this month, so even if you don't want to win this prize, you will be automatically entered in many of the future drawings.

So today's Give Away is all about books. We have a lot, and we seem to just get more. I used to buy books at yard sales, because that is the only price that makes sense to me. I am not sure if I have ever paid full price for a book before.

But I can't even buy them at yard sales anymore, because we somehow still end up with LOTS of books. Unfortunately we love them all. We read them all of the time. I cannot imagine not having books. Which is why as part of my Give Away today I want to encourage you to also give something away.

You see, there are so many kids out there who don't have so many books. They can't go to bed hearing the same story read to them over and over and over again until their parents can read it by memory. And yet, it is this repetition that creates a love of literature in a young reader. In fact, if you have ever read Freakonomics by Dubner and Levitt, they did a study about kids and having books at home. Having books at home was a higher indicator of future success in school than how many times you went to the library.

I want to challenge you today to go through your books (not just your kids books) and find books in good shape that can be given away. You don't even have to look for an official program, just get a box and take it to your local public school. Say, "I have a box of books I would like to give to kids who need them." Smile, and then go home.

Or you can get more involved, and offer to come and read some of the books to the kids at school, and then let them keep them. I will let you decide.

But know, that whatever you decide, you will be giving your kids a powerful lesson about money.
  • We never have so little that we can't share with someone who has less
  • There is always someone who is thankful for having books
  • Learning how to read is more important than having the best toys
  • You don't have to have money to give some thing somebody needs

Thank you for joining me for this Give Away. And that is how giving things away Works For Me.

28 Days of GiveAways!

Sorry for not posting about this sooner. Especially since it is Day 2 of the great Give Away.
Every day this month I will post about a new give away. Some give aways will be for followers only. Other give aways will be for new followers, most frequent commenters, and I have one or two things set aside for local charities. (Sorry guys, you don't get to win everything.)
Giving things away makes me feel rich.
And I want you to have that same feeling. So I am asking you to join me this week in the Great Give Away. You may not have prizes, but I am sure you have things that can go to Goodwill, or other charities. Look around and I am sure you will find some things that you, too, can give away.
Leave a comment each time you give something away, and maybe we can have a prize for that,too.
The give away today is actually for a local school looking for donations for a Silent Auction. Even though my kids are not yet in school, I like to support the schools. Volunteering, or donating to local schools is a great way to show your school and your kids that you value education. Even if you are planning on Home Schooling, your presence in a school will still have a positive impact. Schools need you.
And to announce the winner of yesterdays Great Give Away:
Katie at Kitchen Stewardship has one a $25 Portrait Certificate for Picture Me Portrait Studios (usually found in Walmart Stores)! Thank you Katie for participating in the Meatless Monday Carnival yesterday.