Friday, December 31, 2010

11 in '11

So I've been spending some time in prayer and reading a great devotional called Extracting the Precious from Nehemiah. I've never really understood how the book of Nehemiah could apply to my life but this devotional has really helped me to understand and be able to apply it today to my life. Instead of having resolutions I've decided to have 11 things that I want to work on and change in my life in 2011. So without further adieu here they are!

1.To have quality devotional and prayer time. Many times I have one without the other and I really want to change this and spend time doing both and really listening to what God is saying to me.

2. To have quality devotional and prayer time with J. We do pray every night together but we don't do regular devotions. I would love to set aside time at least each week where we can pray and read and talk about what we've read so we can grow together.

3. To have date nights with J at least once a month. It's been really hard since we moved. We can't find a sitter! So I was thinking we don't always have to go out. We can do something after the kids are in bed like have dessert or play a game or something. Once our fireplace is fixed we can have our own fireside date! So I also want to be more creative in this area as well.

4. To spend individual time with each of my boys. I spend time with them together or 2 or more at a time often but I rarely get to spend one on one time with the older 4 especially. Since the oldest 3 have started public school and M started preschool I have 3 mornings a week with just T. It's been good to have that time.

5. To be present totally when I'm having time with my family. Many times my mind is wondering to the things I need to do or thinking about my dinner menu for the week or just completely zoning out! I want to be there and listening and laughing and having fun and being completely involved mind, body and spirit!

6. To laugh every day and do something fun with J and the boys. Even if it's just doing something silly or telling some cheesy jokes. Laughter and fun are....well.....FUN!

7.To continue to do better at being a wife and mother. I know this is something that will never be complete while I'm on earth, but I know each minute, each, day and each year God is working on me and growing me in this area. Already since we've moved I can see a change in me for the better!

8. To be more intentional in visiting my family. You know, you just don't know when a loved one will be taken from you. I want to visit my family (my dad, my mom, my grandma, my sister, and even my brother who I can go months at a time without talking to!) I'm going to say once a month. In the winter it will be harder because, YOWZA, we get a lot of snow up here!

9. To get more involved in the church. I do Wednesday night preschoolers but I know I need to do more. I need to, YIKES, step out of my comfort zone! Something I totally do not like to do. I know God is calling me to do something with the moms, and also the ladies in general. I'm afraid though. I don't feel like a leader and it's scary for me to do anything in front of a group of people! So I'm praying, a lot, for God's wisdom and guidance in this area.

10. To get more involved in the community. I am calling the pregnancy center next week and will begin volunteering there as soon as I get that squared away. I'm also praying about volunteering for Heartland Hospice. When J's dad died it really affected me in a way I didn't expect. Hospice can be so good for people and families who have a loved one at the end of their life.

11. To keep on my path to good health. I want to get healthier with my eating. I have been doing better but there is always room for improvement! I have been cooking homemade meals from scratch for a few months now 6-7 days a week. (I've been posting my recpies on my food blog HERE) Not only has it been good for our budget, it's better for my family as well. I also want to continue exercising. Sure I'd love to lose about 10 more pounds but if I don't I'm fine with that. I mostly want to be healthy and feel well. My goal is for at least 30min most days of the week. (at least 4) I want to eat more fresh veggies and fruit and start using my juicer to make homemade juice.


So there you have it. My goals for the next year. I hope to improve on each of these things over the next year and revisit them in a year to see how I've done and to plan my new goals for 2012. But this year first....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Free stuff!

OK it's always fun to get free or cheap stuff and I have been getting a lot lately. I am involved in about 8 survey sites and have gotten various free products to try (most aren't on the market yet!) as well as compensation via either paypal cash, gift cards, etc. I thought I'd tell you all about all the deals and free stuff I've gotten in the last few months.

I use Swagbucks to search with all the time and you will get points every so often that you can use in their rewards area. I was trying to save up but decided to use them this month. I got four $5 gift codes to amazon.com as well as $5 cash put into my paypal account. They also post codes in various places every day but to be honest I don't always look because I'm too lazy. I still had a lot of points accumlated though. And I recently got another set of 2 $5 gift codes.

I also just got a $25 amazon.com gift code from Viewpoints. You have to look for what they are offering and sign up for that and then you write your reviews and get your incentive! It was easy mostly because I have a lot to say about products I use. And recently completed reviews to get another $10 amazon gift code and a $50 restaurant.com gift card!
I am saving my points from My Points to get a big gift card. You can get points for shopping and all that but I simply just click on links in the bonus emails they send and get anywhere from 20-100 points a day just from doing that. Right now I'm right around 3000 points.

I also got 2, $10 amazon.com gift cards from Lightspeed Panel. It's a survey company. I do as many as I can. Sometimes I go weeks without doing them depending on how busy I am. And if I feel like the reward is too small for the length of the survey I won't do it. I'm going to save my points again for this one, I think. I've already made enough for another $10 amazon gift card.

Another survey company I use is Mindfield Online. I currently have $30 in that account. you can get a check or money into your paypal starting at $5 but I'm trying to build mine up.
I also take surveys for valued opinions. Right now I have $30 to use and they pay in gift cards to different places. The only one I can really use is amazon.com but that is ok for me!

One of my favorites is Pinecone research. When they send  you a survey you have already qualified for it. (for the ones listed so far you don't always qualify) and they pay $3 per survey (although I just had one that was $10) and they pay within 24hrs usually by paypal. And I have gotten TONS of free paid trials where I tried a product and took a survey about it and earned another $3.They aren't always accepting new people though so you have to keep trying.
I also use bzzagent.com. You sign up (for free) for campaigns and they send you free stuff to try and talk about to other people. Recently I did Welch's Healthy Start juices. Due to my activity in that campaign I was entered to win free Welch's juice for a year and I won!!! That is the equivalent to $197.08 of free juice! (Average price of their juice is $3.79x52 coupons=$197.08) This could actually equal out to more if I find more expensive Welch's product that are eligible for me to get for free! I've also gotten free body wash, craft supplies,  toothpaste, hair serum, starbucks coffee, aveeno baby products, make up, cleaning supplies and more!

Right now, with all my free gift cards I've earned I have $75.90 in amazon gift card credits. That doesn't include $40 I've already spent!

I have gotten so many free full sized products to try through survey companies like coffee, lotions, baby wipes, candy, drinkable yogurts, razors, office products, and much more! ( so much I don't remember over the past 4 yrs!)
If I can think of anything else I'll update this post as necessary.

Savings December 27, 2010

Week 5 savings. I know it's been awhile but we had some snow storms (and I don't drive in the snow) and then I was very sick with the flu so I haven't posted at all, really. I did get to go and get a few things on sale this week.
Green=Free Red=$1 or under Q=coupon
 If there is a number before the product that's how many I bought.


Walgreens
Pampers cruisers=9.99 (on sale for 8.99-$1 register reward-$2 manufact Q=6.99)

Original Total: $9.99
Total out of pocket after coupons/sales: $6.99
Total savings: $3

Walgreens 5 week total savings= $142.76

Giant Eagle:
Welch's Healthy Start=$3.79 ($3.79-$3.79 manufact Q = FREE) (I won Welch's juice for a year!)
Cocoa Pebbles=$2.79 (on sale 4/$10 so 1=$2.50-.75 manufact Q-.75 coupon doubled=$1)
Crest Toothpaste=$2.49 (on sale 2/$3 so 1=$1.50 - .75 manufact Q -.75 coupon doubled=FREE)
2 Bailey's Creamer=$2.09x2=$4.18 (On sale 2/$3 so $3-$1 manufact Q-$1 manufact Q=$1 for both or .50 each)

Original Total: $13.25
Total out of pocket after coupons/sales: $2
Total savings:$11.25
Week 5 Giant Eagle Total Savings: $182.52