Saturday, November 30, 2013

Our 2013 Advent Activities

Last year's "Christmas Tree Ball"

The Christmas season is upon us and Advent begins tomorrow.  I love this season for sooooo many reasons. First of all, celebrating my King.  The birth of my Savior, the greatest gift!  

There are many other reasons why I love this season, as well.  The snow, all things peppermint, giving, Christmas music, family traditions, etc.  Finally, the overall cheerfulness of people (observe this, it really is different).

In order to maximize fun and help our children realize the full meaning of the season, we have planned some specific activities for Advent 2013. Check them out:

  1. Have our 3rd annual Christmas Tree Ball (dress up "fancy" and decorate our tree)
  2. Watch Little House on the Prairie: Christmas at Plum Creek
  3. Read The Crippled Lamb
  4. Make a gingerbread house (thank you Ms. Janet)
  5. Make paper snowflakes
  6. Watch Frosty the Snowman
  7. Candlelit bubble bath
  8. Fill Operation Christmas Child boxes
  9. Drink hot chocolate and marshmallows
  10. Watch The King Is Born 
  11. Make cottonball snowmen
  12. Read Truth in the Tinsel
  13. Bake/decorate Christmas cookies
  14. Christmas around the world activities
  15. Attend a Christmas open house party for children at our local library
  16. Make candles (Advent candles)
  17. Take homemade gifts to our elderly neighbors
  18. Minivan Express night
  19. Make Christmas cards for friends and family
  20. Wrap gifts
  21. Act out the Nativity at home
  22. Attend a Christmas service at church
  23. Make a birthday cake for Jesus
  24. Read Luke 1-2 (The Christmas Story)
  25. Merry Christmas!!!

What activities do you have planned that may not be on our list?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sweet(er) deals...while in your pajamas

Ok, so I admit. I can't do the Black Friday shuffle.  It's not good for my nerves ; ) My husband, however, occasionally enjoys the thrill of getting up early and treasure hunting for deals.

I tend to lean towards the convenience of online shopping and several sites that make the deals EVEN SWEETER.  Let me show you how.

Sadly, I dropped my Nikon camera right on the lens and broke it : (

So, that put me in the market for a new lens to capture holiday memories.  I thought, what better time to replace my lens than Black Friday?!  I was happy to find it for a good deal on Amazon.

Here is the breakdown of my purchase:

  • Amazon $99 Nikon Nikkor Zoom Lens  with free shipping
  • Searched through Ebates and received 8% cash back on my Amazon purchase
  • Used $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks 
  • $33 cash back credit from from Discover card
  • 5% cash back using my Discover card
The final outcome - approximately $50 for my brand new lens.  Woo hoo!

So, the moral of this story is.... if you are like me and don't want to face the crowds, but are looking to get the best deals during the holidays, maximize the already amazing Black Friday online deals by also using:

SWAGBUCKS (free digital dollars for searching)

EBATES  (earn free rebates for shopping your favorite stores AND $50 for referring 2 friends and most stores offer double cash back today!)

In case you are in the market, here are my camera and lens.  I highly recommend both. 


Happy Saving and Earning!

*Disclaimer: links in this post may contain my referral links to products.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Get your groove on, momma!

Oh, the ever changing tide of motherhood.  The long sleep deprived nights seem endless until you blink and your child is weaned or moved into a toddler bed.

Teething, toddler tantrums, crawling, potty training.  It seems like there's always a milestone.  Always a new challenge or routine to get into.

It's constantly about getting into a groove.  When you get into one, it seems like your family is running like a well oiled machine. are blessed with possibly another little life and that groove changes, yet again.

Add 1 or 2+ children and it seems like you are constantly finding your groove. 

In raising children, I have really tried to be intentional about enjoying all of the seasons.  Not wishing one away because it is too challenging.  Sadly, it WILL go away all too quickly without even wishing. 

Having nursed all of our children (2 of which would have NOTHING to do with a bottle), this made leaving babies home with daddy a bit of a challenge.  Now that everyone is weaned and growing like little weeds everyday, it's easier for me to get out alone.  

Last night, in fact, I went to my favorite coffee shop to work on some projects while my husband took the girls with him on a few errands.  I nervously asked, "is that going to work OK"?  To which he responded, "I've got this. We're good."

I gave him a perplexed look and said, "wow, we are really in a groove right now, aren't we"?!

My personality would of course have me thinking...
so now what?