Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Preparation: Inventory, menu and shopping list

Inventory, Menu and Shopping List

This picture is before I took inventory of the cupboard. The very top shelf is part of our 30 day supply of food. That is food we don't touch unless there is an emergency situation. Eating from the pantry does not fall into that category so, I won't be using any of that food to prepare meals this month.

This is a picture after I reorganized the cupboard and threw out old stuff that had expired the 'best buy' date. I don't know if you can tell the difference but it went from looking pretty well stocked to pretty bare. It was actually scary how old some of the stuff from the very back was. If we were to eat only on what was in there we would be eating a lot of pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread, pancakes and maybe a meal of kidney beans prepared somehow. Other than that, there was nothing else. Baking staples like flour and sugar but no rice, noodles or sauces.
The freezer is also empty and, except for about a dozen eggs and a couple bags of shredded cheddar cheese, the fridge is pretty bare as well. I desperately need to go grocery shopping. That's on my agenda tomorrow.
Tomorrow is the last day we'll be spending money for at least 2 weeks.

So, you might be is this participating in the Eating from the Pantry Challenge? Well, they said to do what works for your family. Since we dont have a cupboard, fridge and freezer bursting with food I am going to fill it up. Once I've been shopping that's it for the first 2 weeks and except for things like bread, milk and fresh produce that will be it for the month. I figure with the Spending Free 2 weeks we had already decided to do on our own the Eating From The Pantry Challenge would be a fun addition to our own plan!

After I figured out exactly what we have don't have in the food department I sat down and made our menu out for the next 2 weeks.
First, I listed all the meals my family enjoys.
Then, I chose 14 of them to prepare for dinner for the next 2 weeks. Some people choose less and have left-over nights. Derek usually takes all of the left-overs to work the next day for lunch. If there is even more left the girls and I will eat it for lunch as well.
After the menu I made out my shopping list of everything I need to prepare meals along with snacks and drinks.
I'm going to be buying more then usually because I want to make sure we have enough snacky type food one hand so we're not tempted to make a Sonic run during happy hour. Also, this will alow me to pack snacks for when we're away from home.

So, after my shopping trip tomorrow we should be pretty well prepared for the next 2 weeks and the majority of the next month.

Edited to add: I wanted to add that the reason my cupboards are currently so low is because I didn't do much grocery shopping over the past month. We ate a lot of meals away, at other peoples homes, or on the go during the holidays. I also relied a lot on leftovers from family functions to feed us over the past couple weeks. So, this is not how our cupboards, freezer and fridge normally look.This is how they look after a month of not doing much grocery shopping and eating up everything we've had available here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Our Challenge!

Derek and I have talked about this idea off and on before. There was never a time we thought we would be able to do it though. We know its going to be hard.
Probably, really hard.
But, we're setting our minds to it and jumping in with both feet.

What are we doing, you ask? Oh...right.....

We are going 2 weeks without spending any money. With 1 exception, gas. I'll explain that later.
 I have read other blogs about their families doing this but have always thought 'there is no way we could do that'.
I like my Sonic runs too much. What if we run out of diapers? Wait, I know there will be nights when I don't feel like cooking. It just wouldn't work for our family.
Until now.
We decided that once January hits we aren't spending any money for at least 2 weeks. We might get really crazy and see how long we can go. Don't hold me to it. I said, we might. ;)

Then, I was reading over at Money Saving Mom and Life as Mom that they are doing an Eating From the Pantry challenge this month. How perfect is that?! Using up what they have on hand for meals an entire month.
Well, unfortunately, our pantry, or cupboards in our case, are not that well stocked. So, I will be doing major grocery shopping on Thursday and getting everything we need for meals for at least the next 2 weeks. That means no grocery shopping at all during our 2 week spending free time. Yikes! I'll probably push the Eating From the Pantry challenge on through the rest  of the month with a small shopping trip around the 15th.

As with the others in the Eating From the Pantry Challenge I'll be posting our meals and progress along the way. I'm excited to see what I can come up with towards the end of the month and what others do as well! I'm also very excited to see how much money we have saved and not spent through the month! I love that Crystal, over at Money Saving Mom, will be giving the difference of her grocery budget towards Gleaning the Harvest.
Once I checked out that ministry I was super excited to have run across it. Growing up in a single-mother home I know how much this means to these families. My mom wanted to be able to work from home and homeschool me and we had a wonderful church family at the time who tried to help her do that. There were different times if she had to work outside the home I would go to another families house and do school with them during that period. If there had been a ministry like this at the time I know my mom and I would have been even more blessed!
So, through this Eating From the Pantry Challenge and the Spending Free 2 Weeks Derek and I have challenged ourselves to I'm excited to see how much money we waste and how much we really are capable of giving!
There will be 1 exception to our Spending Free time. We have to spend money on gas. We live out in the country and Derek has to fill up his car every 4 days to get to work. So, he'll be getting gas about 3 times. It takes 30 mins to get into town for church or friends and 45 mins to get to my parents. I'll fill up on Thursday and then my goal will to be only to fill up 1 other time.

It would be cool if others joined with us in a Spend Free period and joined in lots of others with the Eating From the Pantry Challenge! If you do, I'd love to know and follow your progress (if you're blogging through it).

So....what now?

Well, Christmas has come and gone.
But, that doesn't mean that the spirit of giving should go away with the day, does it?

We think not.

This month has left us with being more mindful of giving in general.
Be it by buying a coke for a co-worker (in Dereks case), parking at the back or feeding a child for a year. It's left our girls more aware of others needs and with the knowledge that there are many less fortunate in our world.
We, as a family, have come to realize in a much greater way how truly blessed we are.

So...what now?
I've been thinking about what to do with this blog since the Christmas season is ending. My plan is to blog as we journey through continuing to make giving a lifestyle. Not just something we do, or think about, during the holidays. 

One of the best ways that we can give more is by learning to be better stewards of what the Lord has blessed us with. This includes material possessions,  income/money,our health and our time. 
I can think of so many possibilities of ways to give to others if we cut out unnecessary spending. For us its eating out. What if we cut out fast food runs and instead put that money in our giving jar

What about time? If you organized your time would you be able to give more of it to others through....volunteering? Or blessing people with meals? Or babysitting for that couple with lots of littles. (ohh ohh thats us waving our hands to get noticed! LOL just kidding of course) 

How about your health? Eating out less means less money spent on bad for you food. Taking better care of your health, for some, could mean less time off of work or less visits to the Dr and co-pays.  Resulting in more money and energy to be able to give.

The possibilities are endless. 

So, once again...kick back, grab a cup of coffee and journey with us as we make giving a lifestyle and help encourage you in doing the same!

Friday, December 25, 2009

I Stand Amazed

We stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazearene!

We are so honored and blessed to be part of a chosen people. To have a God who gave His Son for us 2000 years ago and welcomed us, sinners, into His family. Thank you, Lord, for the birth of the baby we celebrate today. 

We have had a wonderful Christmas this year. We have made such a strong effort to not lose focus of what the season is really about. We tried so hard to make sure our kids get that it's not about the gift they get but about Him. That instead of focusing on what we get we focus on what we can give.  

When we first started our mission this year I prayed God would provide more than we could give. That He would multiply what we were able to give and turn it into more. This week God miraculously provided a way for us to give more! We literally stand amazed in our Jesus! We were given the opportunity to sit down with our girls and go through different ministries gift catalogs and let them choose different gifts to give. They put thought into each gift and why they felt it was an important one to give away. 
Thank you, Lord, for being you and continuing to amaze us!

Happy Birthday Jesus and Merry Christmas!! 

Monday, December 21, 2009

You Still Have Time!!

You still have time! 
It's not too late! 

For what, you ask? 

Well, to give a goat
Or a fruit tree
Or provide 100 lbs of rice and beans.   
Or...the list goes on. 

It's the last few shopping days before Christmas so how about giving one of those things in someone elses name instead of buying them another sweater that will disappear somewhere in mass of their closet? Or, how about suggesting someone else give something in your name instead of that new pair of earrings or DVD? How much more meaningful would this Christmas be if we gave up our own wants and desires and gave to others instead?

My parents gave us an early Christmas present today. Today they gave a fruit tree to a family in Haiti in our names. I can pretty much gaurantee this will be the best Christmas present we give or receive this year!

This was idea #73.

Bake an Extra Dozen

Giving Day 21
Idea #52-Bake an extra Dozen

Today we were the ones given a gift.
But, I thought it was worth writing about since it kinda went along with the book. In this idea its suggested you go ahead and bake an extra dozen (or two) goodies when you're baking. Then, give them away to a new neighbor or family friend!

A friend of ours invited us (the kids and me), and some other friends, over to decorate Christmas cookies today.  She made lots and lots of sugar cookies and had a fabulous set up for the kids to decorate their hearts out. They had a blast being creative with the icing and goodies. And, eating a cookie or two in the midst of it all. ;)

Now, with the cookies the girls made they can give them away to someone else here in the next few days!

Sorry we've been absent the past few days. We've been battling sickness off and on for the past week.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Reality Check

Giving Day 17
(posted a day late)
Idea (this isn't in the book)- Give a reality check

Christmas is next week. We've finished our shopping and don't have to worry about the 'holiday rush' in the shopping sense anymore this year. I found myself getting caught up in the frenzy of it all. Worrying over what I had left to get. I was then reminded that one reason we are going through this book this year is to step back away from the madness and embrace the reason.

We only give our kids 3 gifts each at Christmas. Then, there is 1 from Santa (yes, we do Santa. But,we don't focus on that aspect). We set the 3 gift limit about 4 years ago and have felt it was a perfect 'tradition' for our family. Jesus was given 3 gifts at His birth, so this is another way we can tie in the reason we give gifts at all. We also don't go overboard with the 3 gifts. We probably spend on our entire family what most families spend on 1 child. Derek and I don't give each other (material) gifts. Mostly because we usually can't afford to, lol. Maybe someday we will but for now we take joy in giving to our kids.

I got a little frustrated yesterday with my kids. It was time to do chores and they were grumbling. Well, the older 2 were. The babies, well...ya know. It really made me sad. Derek came home and walked into the grumbling spirit of not wanting to clean the house and take care of the things the Lord has blessed us with. This is something Derek and I have really been convicted of. Not being good stewards of what we're given.

So, we decided our kids needed a reality check.

We sat down and showed them some videos of children in Haiti. Haiti is said to be the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. It showed little boys digging in mud, hoping to find a fish or crab buried, for their dinner. The one meal that they might get to eat that day. It showed shacks where they lived in filth, by our American standards. The video showed a little boy who would cry out in hunger everyday. His mother felt helpless because there was no food to ease the boys pain. They might eat 1 time every couple days. That's. It.

Ava, our 5 year old, asked if it was real. In her little mind she couldn't even comprehend people that really live like that.

Here I sit with my 4 kids. Well fed. Well clothed. Well housed. And yet....we complain. We don't appreciate. I know my kids complain because they have seen us complain. They don't take joy in being good stewards because I, often times, have taken that same attitude.

I think we all needed that reality check last night. We gave that reality check to our kids but it was given to us as well.

After the video we sat down and talked about what we watched. Did God really want us to forget these people? What could we do to help? What could we give? We don't have tons of money but there are little things we can do for people in Haiti and people hurting here in the Dallas area. I've already been going through the house and purging it of things to give away. But, surely there's more.

The girls have been saving cans to cash in for some spending money for a trip we're going to take to visit family in Colorado this Spring. They decided instead of using that money to buy themselves more things (they don't need, but only want) they would save cans to cash in for money to add to our Giving Jar.

We thought that was a great start. But, mostly, we're just glad we can do anything. That the Lord has given to us so greatly that we can give to others.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Top 10

Giving Day 16
Idea #98
Compose a Top 10 List

Here's a simple way to let someone know how much you appreciate them by giving them the gift of words. I think words of affirmation are so important but so easily forgotten.
I know, in my life personally, that when I give my children encouragement or let them know they're doing great at something I can see their faces light up and their demeanor change. What power we have in our words!
So, I encourage you, with us, to sit down and choose some people in your life and compose a Top 10 List for them. It can be anything from cheering them on about something they're good at or letting them know you appreciate them because of _______.
Hey, you could even print it on some nice Christmas cardstock and wrap it up pretty and put it under the tree for Christmas morning! I bet this will quickly become a favorite gift for years to come. ;)

Kinds words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Proverbs 25:11

Monday, December 14, 2009

Do it Again

Giving Day 14
Idea 45- Do it Again

Pick one of the ways you've already given and, you guessed it, do it again. Today was a simple day for us. We did school this morning (we homeschool) and then went grocery shopping this afternoon.

One way we re-gave something was parking in the back of the parking lot. (Idea #89)

I must make a confession though. I never leave carts in the parking lot. I always take them back. (Think idea #35) Today, though, because we parked in the back of the parking lot I couldn't take my cart back. I was really torn inside. I stood next to the car with the cart for a couple minutes contemplating what to do. The cart return areas were really far away. I had 4 kiddos in the car with it running. To run the cart back up to the front of the parking lot or not? What to do? What to do?
So, I did what I felt was the best, safest option, given the circumstances. I left the cart. Ugh, I cringe even typing that! So, while I gave through parking in back maybe I trumped that giving by not taking my cart back? Oh well...what's there left to do now?

One thing we purposed to do this entire season was never walk past a Salvation Army Kettle without giving some money. Even if it's just a little.
When I got to Wal-Mart this afternoon I realized I didn't have any cash. Yikes! So, instead of fretting over it I explained to the girls that we weren't going to give any money on the way in but instead we'd give on the way out. I got cash back in small bills and gave each of the girls some money for the kettle.

As we were walking out each girl had her turn giving their money. There was a lady behind us walking out at about the same time as us. She stopped and decided to give some money to the kettle as well. She may have had that intention all along but it was a sweet sound to hear Elisa say "wow, mom. We're setting a good example to others by our giving." (They're getting it!!!)

In other words, we're giving Christ this Christmas.

God has given gifts to each of you.....Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you. 1 Peter 4:10

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Save a little. Give a lot.

Giving Day 13
Idea #46 with a twist

Our giving 'jar'

In this idea you're encouraged to open a bank savings account to start saving specifically to give. We really loved this idea because we often don't have a lot of extra money above and beyond our basic needs. But, if we make an effort little by little throughout the year then by the end we'll have a decent amount to give.

Derek was driving in late to work one day and caught a little bit of Glenn Beck's radio show. Because we've made the choice not to have TV here at home we only get to watch Beck when my parents DVR it for us or suggest we go online and youtube a specific day. And, since Derek is at work and we're usually doing school during the morning hours we don't get to catch the radio show very often.
Anyways, on this day Glenn had a guest who's family set a jar aside to put money in over the course of the year and during the Christmas season they would anonymously give it to a family in need. Derek came home and told me the idea and both agreed that was something we would start doing this year.

When we got the book and read the idea of the bank account we decided that was the confirmation we need to get started with our saving to give. (Not that there was any doubt, it was just the extra 'yep, we're supposed to do it!' thing for us)

So, tonight we sat the girls down, told them our plan and made our 'saving to give' jar. In our case its not a jar though, lol. Its an old oatmeal box (not a box...whatever it would be called). We pulled out some Christmas fabric and ribbon and started decorating. We thought having it decorated Christmasy would remind us what we were saving for.
Then, Derek started off our savings by letting the girls put all of the money from his coffee can he throws his change into. So, we're off to a decent start! By this time next year we'll have some money to give. Hopefully, in more then one place!

Unlike the idea from Glenn Beck we have talked about using the money to buy a goat or water filter through Samaritans Purse or World Vision next year.

Here are the kiddos with their completed project. (Ignore how rough they're looking!) Owen wasn't very happy.

Just the girls.

Friday, December 11, 2009

And the Winner Is......

I know everyone who entered is on pins and needles waiting to see who the winner of our giveaway is. Right!??! (har har)

There were 18 comments on that post and we drew the name out of a basket. I wrote out each persons name, for the amount of their entries, on a piece of paper. My 2 big girls (Elisa and Ava) folded them and put them in the basket and Audrey (our 2 year old) had the honor of drawing the winner. (I had to leave it to the 2 year old because the older 2 would have fought over that privilege, lol)

And the winner is.....


I'll email you to get your mailing information and get that sent out to you and your family. We're so excited for you guys to get this book and DVD! We know you'll enjoy and be blessed by both of them!

And guess what...there's more! Tyndale House Publishers found this blog and emailed me yesterday and offered to send 3 additional copies of the book 101 Simple and Thoughtful Way to Give Christmas Away to give away!
Isn't that awesome? Thank you Tyndale!
So, as soon as I receive them I'll draw 3 more winners of the book!

And don't forget to go here and donate a dollar or 2 to our Salvation Army online kettle!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pray for our Troops

Giving Day 10-
Idea #16
Pray for our soldiers on active duty

This one is pretty self explanatory. But, when when we read it I thought rather then praying a general prayer for our soldiers it would be nice to pray specifically.

So, on a mission I went. I googled some different keywords and finally found what I was looking for. A site dedicated to paring you with a member of the armed services to pray for. Pretty cool, huh? So, head on over to Adopt Our Troops in Prayer and find your service person.
them the gift of knowing they're being covered in prayer.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Over the past 9 days

Over the past 9 days we've also given in other little ways that I haven't highlighted through an entire post. I thought I'd go ahead and pass those ways on to maybe encourage someone else to do them as well. These are easy ones. Ones that really should already be in our lifestyle. Some have already been in our daily living while others haven't. Here are some more ways to give to others not just during the Christmas season but all year round. Add them into a lifestyle of giving.
  • Park in the back. Leave the 'good' parking spots in the front for people who really need them. So you're thinking...yeah but thats not going to be who actually parks in the good spots. So, God knows your heart and intentions and thats what really matters. Plus, as an added bonus the extra walking is good for you. Think of it as also helping walk off those extra holiday pounds. ;)
  • Give away this book. Obviously, we're doing that one.
  • Brown bag it. To work that is. Take the money you would have used eating out and put that towards giving it away instead. Blessed are those who are generous, because the feed the poor. Proverbs 22:9
  • Hug a grinch. 'Nuff said.
  • Smile. You never know who might need that smile today. A cheerful look brings joy to the heart. Proverbs 15:30
  • Collect a cart. Take your grocery cart back along with someone else's while you're at it. (My girls did this at Wal-Mart the other day!)

Let it go...

Giving Day 9-
Idea #11
Give your stuff to Goodwill. With the tags still on them.

I don't know about you, but we have a house full.of.stuff. Lots of stuff. Too much stuff.

Our big issue is clothing. We live in a small house with 4 small children. They each have nice going out clothes, church clothes, play clothes, sleep clothes, under clothes....lots of clothes! Then Derek and I have an entire wardrobe from our adulthood to add to the mix. Add that all together and its a recipe for disaster. At least in our small house it is.

Clothing is a huge issue for me to let go of. I think because when I was growing up we didn't have a lot of money for nice, stylish clothes. I always had what I needed just not always how much and what I wanted. My mom always made sure I looked cute with what we had though ( I have the pictures to prove it ;) ). But, I really do believe that is the root of my problem. I still have stuff I wore in high school almost 10 years ago. Sad, I know. I don't ever wear it. It just hangs there, taking up closet space.

Even though we have more than enough clothing I have a really hard time letting go of any of it. I always think what if ______ happens and we can't afford new clothes when this child is that size. So, I just keep it all. The problem is...I still buy more when the next child reaches that size. And, then, don't give any away. So, we're overflowing with clothes around here.

But, this year I took on this challenge of giving and have spent most of the past 2 days going through clothes to donate. A few things even still have tags. ;)

I know there are plenty of people out there who would be thrilled with the clothes we don't, or won't, wear anymore. And, I love the idea of giving them to someone else who will appreciate them more than we do.

I wont be donating them to Goodwill though. Instead, they're going to a local place that helps women in need.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the opportunity to bless others with the things you've blessed us with.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6:19-20

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Make a Joyful Noise

Giving Day 8- Make a Joyful Noise
Idea #8

With this idea you are encouraged to give the gift of a joyful noise.
Our oldest 2 girls are in a girls club with some of our friends from our local homeschool group. Its a rough version of the Keepers of the Home clubs. When I say a rough version I mean we're going through the Handbook but our leader is putting her own twist to things and making it a little more relaxed.

As a group the girls went to an assisted living home today and sang to the residents. The girls also made Christmas card,over our past 2 meetings, to give to them. It was a wonderful way to let the girls give their love for Jesus and His birth away to others. They enjoyed giving this treat to the older people and the older people enjoyed receiving it!

I will say, I was pretty proud of my girls because they gave hugs, smiles and Merry Christmases out freely even though they felt a little awkward.

The group of girls how were able to make it today.

Ava (on the right) and her friend had just given a card to an older lady and were a bit excited about it.

My camera was messing up but here is Elisa (on the right) handing out her cards with her friend.

Owen ready to play the tambourine while the girls sang ;)

Getting ready to sing. (Elisa is the second from the left in the front row. Ava is right next to her with the bow and black, pink and green shirt. Audrey was at home with Mimi)

Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!
Psalm 98:4

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Give?

Why are we finding ways to give this year? Check this out.

Ring a Bell

Giving Day 7
Idea- Well, this isnt in the book ;)
*edited to add: actually this was in the book. I could have sworn it was when I was writing this post but I couldn't find it anywhere at the time. Then, last night I found it. Idea #30.

Ring a Bell

I'm sure you see themoutside every store you enter during this time of year. You know, the ones wearing Santa hats and a red apron with a ringing bell in hand. Often they're in bitter cold weather but still wearing a smile on their faces. Have you guessed who I'm talking about?

That's right, Salvation Army Bell Ringers. (Is that their "official" title??) This year I've made it a goal to never pass one without giving something. No matter how small, any amount makes a difference. I think the Salvation Army is one of the few charities that is still doing good things with its original roots; doing it in Jesus' name. That in itself makes me want to give.

I was on a hunt for a picture for this update and visited the Salvation Army website and discovered something really cool. Not only can you donate in the red kettles at stores during this season but now you can give online via virtual kettles! So, I decided to set one up for this blog.

Would you consider giving $1, $5 or even $20? How about sacrificing your Starbucks today and give instead?? C'mon thats not too much to ask! :) All of it goes directly to the Salvation Army. All I did was set it up to give people an easy way to donate!

So, heres another way to click and give!

Click above or go to

I set up the goal amount as $150 and I'm trying to figure out how to put the kettle on here to show constant updates. Until then, click and give!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Giving Forgivness

Giving Day 5
Idea 7
Forgive before they ask for it

Well, I must admit, when we first read through this book I didn't really think I would have a need to be challenged to give this gift. Sure, there are people you forgive, probably on a daily basis, but as far as the hard to forgive issues, I didn't think it would happen. But, has presented itself the perfect situation. Unfortunately.

Today is my birthday. My husband and kiddos, mom and step dad have made my day really special. (As have all you FB friends who wished me a happy birthday *wink*) But, a few pretty significant family members didn't even acknowledge my birthday this year. No card, no call, nothin'. A few really aren't surprising, as sad as it is. Others, though, there is a twinge of hurt. Who am I kidding? More than a twinge.

But, instead of letting it fester inside me, like my flesh would like to do, I'm going to give the gift of forgiveness. These people won't even know they're being forgiven because, well, I don't think they'll bother asking. I have to say this won't be very easy but I'm going to take this as an opportunity that has presented itself for one more way that I can give this year. Thank you, Lord, for that opportunity.

Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:32

Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" 22Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21-23

Friday, December 4, 2009

Give Traditions

I think one of the funnest things about the Christmas season is looking forward to the traditions you've put into place every year. Sometimes you carry traditions on from growing up and sometimes you create new ones with your own family. Either way, you're giving your children something to look forward to each year! Money Saving Mom linked to a site that is giving away an ebook full of kid friendly crafts, recipes and most importantly Christmas traditions centered around Christs birth. So, go here to get your very own 63 page Christmas Adventure book! Place the book in your cart and enter moneysavingmom as the promo code. Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Give Some Coffee

Giving Day 4
Give a Cup of Coffee
Idea 25

In this idea Matthew suggests you pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line at Starbucks. He tells a story of woman who decided to do it and the trend then continued for most of the day. Each person would be blessed by the person in front of them and decide to give the person behind them a cup.

This actually happened to me once. Although, it wasn't a cup of coffee. It was Chick-fil-a. What a nice surprise it was to pull up to the window and have the worker tell me the lady in front of us had just bought our meal! The lady had left the card from her church that was doing a whole 'pay if forward' campaign all in Jesus' name. Pretty cool.

Its 27 degrees here in the Dallas area this morning. That's very cold for us. Let me reiterate that, that is very cold for us Texans! :) So, I'm thinking this is the perfect day for a nice, warm cup of Starbucks. And what better a day then to put into practice idea 25 and give someone behind me a cup of coffee!

I encourage you to do the same next time you're in line at your favorite coffee shop. Or Chick-fil-a or McDonalds....wherever! Maybe you'll start a trend of giving that day.

Let us think of way to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
Hebrews 10:24

Giving your family well organized time

Here is another giveaway from one of my favorite blogs, Money Saving Mom.

How about giving your family the gift of well organized time this Christmas season? I know that organizing my time is a big issue for me. Something like this organizer would be such a blessing to my husband and my kids! Plus, it might help me be a little less stressed out by everything that needs to get done around here.
So, I'll be entering this giveaway. But, this time, if I were to win, I think I'll be keeping it for myself. The gift being received will ultimately be given to my family through well organized time.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Box of Macaroni and Cheese

I came across another 'click to give' site. This time its Kraft. One simple click and Kraft will donate a box of Macaroni and Cheese to Feeding America. This is another one you can click everyday and they'll donate up to 1,000,000 boxes!

Don't Forget

Dont forget to enter our giveaway!

Give a shoebox

Giving Day 3
We've never done the Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift before. I'm sure alot of people reading this have so this is nothing new to you. But, it is to us. I've heard about it in the past but never knew more about it until this year. You pack a shoe box full of little things from toys to school supplies to necessities like toothbrushes. Then, you drop it off at a designated location and its sent across the world to a child in need. All in Jesus name!
Its too late this year, in most parts of the country, to drop off any shoe boxes at local locations. But, they ask with each shoe box that you donate $7 to help cover the costs of actually getting the shoe box to that child across the world. Not every box comes with that $7 donation though. So, instead of packing shoe boxes this year we'll be donating some money to help cover the costs associated with getting the shoe boxes into the hands of that needy child somewhere else in the world.
We have far less money that we are able to give then we would actually like to give but we know that the little money we do have to give to others, God will multiply! Elisa, the oldest, just saw me writing this and said 'yeah, just like the story where the boy gave his lunch and Jesus multiplied it and fed thousands.' (John 6:1-15) Yep, just like that!

Here is a video about how one of those shoe boxes affected the life of a child across the world. Derek and I watched this the other night and I just watched it again with the girls. Just a warning, grab a tissue. God is good!

Give the gift of freedom...

...financially speaking. We've been Dave Ramsey fans for a few years now. We love what he teaches about debt and credit use, actually the lack of it. Our goal is to eventually be debt free. We're doing good on not acquiring new debt...its the working on the old stuff that is sluggish!
Dave is doing 24 days of Giving this year and today he's giving away $2000! Wouldn't that be awesome to win that and set up your $1000 emergency fund and then be able to give the rest away!? I'm currently thinking of a ton of different ways we could give to others. No matter how enticing that money would be to spend on ourselves it sure feels great knowing you've bless someone else!
So, check out Dave's site and make sure you enter the giveaway today and begin planning on how you could use the money to bless someone else this Christmas! Also, check out all the stuff he has on sale for $10. They would make a great present teaching someone how to be debt free.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Give a cup of food with one click

I just ran across a way you can help give 1 cup of food to a hungry person around the world.

The Hunger Site

All you have to do is click the link above. Your simple click will donate that cup of food. We so easily click links to online celebrity gossip or the most current sale at our favorite store. So, I don't think its too much to ask you to click the link to help give food to the hungry. You can click everyday and make sure give that hungry mouth a meal.

For a special little girl....

I promise I wont fill this blog with only links to giveaways. Although, who doesn't like the chance of getting something for free?! But, I thought this was another one worth posting.

Growing up I was raised by a wonderful single mom. We didn't have much and we certainly didn't have the money to decorate my bedroom with nice things. Now that I have 3 girls I remember how much I always wished I had a pretty room. Our girls room (yes, they all 3 share 1 room) is currently in the process of being decorated in a 'theme'. We don't have lots of money to pour into it constantly but we do little bits here and there.

This is another giveaway that, if I won, would be a perfect thing to give away since we won't need it. It would be nice to keep of course because the 2 choices are just beautiful but since my girls aren't in need...why not bless another little girl, who doesn't have pretty things in her bedroom, with it. (I don't know who that is yet, but if I win...I'll pray the Lord leads me to her!)
Hop on over there and enter for yourself. And make sure to let them know who sent you! (It'll get us both more entries ;) )

Win something to give

A friend of mine is hosting a giveaway over at her sewing blog. Shes giving away some adorable New-Mommy warming slippers and matching baby booties.

These would be a PERFECT 'welcome baby' gift to give to a new mommy. I entered specifically with the intention that if I win...I'll be giving them away! As cute as they are and as much as I would love to keep them for myself I think they would make a wonderful gift for a new mommy. Since we have at least 5 pregnant women at church right now....I dont think I'll have a hard time finding the perfect new mommy to receive them. Thats if I were to win them of course, lol. So, stop on by her blog and enter for yourself and think of the perfect new mommy to give these too!

Give the Gift of Prayer

Giving Day 2- Idea 50
Have an Advent-ure.

Don't worry I'm not going to write what the books says word for word. That could get lengthy and isn't that like plagiarism or something? ;)

In this suggestion your told to pick a different person to pray for as a family every day. Just like you have an Advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas now you can give the gift of prayer and intercession on someone else's behalf.

Doesn't it make you feel good to know when someone is praying for you? Think about when you haven't even passed on a need and you find out they were praying for you. I can remember I was having a really hard time, on many different levels, right after Owen, baby #4, was born. I was tired from just having had a baby, tired from getting less sleep and nursing constantly, tired from having 3 older children to take care of, tired of all the responsibilities here on the home front get the point. I took my need to our small group at church, which was kind of a hard thing for me to do...admitting you're suffering from the baby blues and admitting life is hard at the moment, and they prayed for me that night. That was a Monday night. As the week went on its like the haze I was living in was lifted. It was amazing. What a different mindset I had after they had prayed for me that night and knowing some of them were storming the gates of Heaven on my behalf throughout the week.

So, every night now through Christmas our family will pick a new person to pray for. We'll let the girls take turns picking along with Derek and me. Anyone goes. We'll spend the next day praying specifically for that person. As a family and individually.

If you join in this one with your family make sure and let you kids in on it too. Let them help pick the person and let them pray as well. This is another great way to teach them a new way in giving to others. Giving isn't always in material possessions; there are many other ways we can give without it being material.

Don't forget to enter our giveaway of the Saint Nicholas DVD and 101 Ways to Give Christmas Away.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Technically not us giving...but....

I thought this was a link worth posting since Whataburger is joining in the spirit of giving with this promotion. Just submit your email address and zip code and they'll email you coupons for free stuff every other day until December 24th. Cant beat free!!

Giving Day 1- a Giveaway!

To kick off our families month of giving we're starting with a giveaway! Aren't you excited? ;)Whether 3 or 100 people actually participate we're thrilled to share this giveaway with you!

Since our month of giving was inspired by

we're giving them away to 1 lucky reader! I pray that this book and DVD help change your families traditions and priorities this Christmas season and for years to come. I know it has ours.
You can get up to 3 entries. A winner will be drawn randomly. Heres how to enter to win:
  1. Leave a comment on this post.
  2. Blog about our blog and link it back to us. Leave me a comment linking us to your blog entry.
  3. Link to us in a status entry on Facebook. If we're not friends on Facebook yet, friend me and let me know you linked back here. (search me by my email address found at 'contact us' in the upper right colum)

Its as simple as that! I'll end the comments on December 10th and draw a winner on the 11th. That way you'll *hopefully* (you know the USPS at Christmas...) get these goodies by Christmas. Happy Advent!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Giving Christmas Away This Year

Inspired by the new book 101 Simple & Thoughtful Ways to Give This Christmas Away by Matthew West and the new Veggie Tales movie Saint Nicholas we have decided we're going to give Christmas away this year. The book lists 101 ideas to give to others over the Christmas holidays. While I dont know if we'll be able to do all 101 things there are plenty of them we can do. We'll start with the simple goal of 25 things. There are 25 days until Christmas so 25 ways of giving seem pretty doable.
I'll update this blog everyday with the ways we've given the Christmas spirit away that day.
Why is it important that we do this you ask? Well, because we have a Savior, the reason we celebrate Christmas this time every year, who gave His all for us.
We are so bombarded this time of year with the 'I want!' attitude that it is so easy to lose sight of what this season is really about. We have a God who gave His son to us over 2000 years ago. We have a Son who gave His life so that we can live forever with Him. With such love given to us, should we not give it away also?
So, we have our family mission for the Christmas season, 2009. Pull up a chair, grab your favorite cup of coffee and join us as we give this Christmas away! Hopefully, we'll inspire you to give Christmas away this year too!
Check back tomorrow as I kick off this blog with a giveaway!
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