Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Gratitude Project

One word.

That's the concept that has been floating around the blogospohere recently.  Find one word to focus on for the year.  Instead of making lots of different resolutions and goals, grab a word for the year and center your resolutions and goals on that word.  It makes a lot of sense.  It funnels down your thoughts and actions so you can really focus on how you want to live your year.  (You can see it explained a lot more eloquently here.)

As I read about this concept and thought about it, several possible words came to mind to focus on this year: Contentment - satisfaction; ease of mind
Worship - reverent honor and homage paid to God

But the one I chose is:


Gratitude - the quality of being grateful or thankful

Too often I get caught up in the "woe is me" world.  I complain and lament about all the things that go wrong instead of looking around and noticing all the blessings that God has given me.  When I stop and think about all the things that go right and all the wonderful things in my life, I realize that I am a lot more blessed than I realize.  I need to realize it and I need to be aware of my blessings.  But more than that I need to be thankful for all the great things I have and I need to thank the one who gave them to me - God.

How does this play out in real life?  I decided at the end of January to start a Gratitude Journal.  Each day that I write in it (and I don't write in it every day), I find three things to be thankful for.  And it's cheating to write the same three things down over and over again, so I find three unique things to be thankful for.  I write them down along with anything that God has taught me that day.  It's so refreshing to go back and read where I was a month ago and where I am today.

Gratitude in a journal is all well and good but I also need to be accountable to others.  So each Thursday I'm going write out one of my journal entries including my gratitude list.  I would love it if you join me and write me a comment of something that you are thankful for that day.  Let's turn our focus off of what is wrong in our lives and onto what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. And let's think on those things.

(From Jan 29)
I'm thankful that I have access to a lot of books and I can fill my time with reading.
I'm thankful that I have great heat in my house and I feel less pain because I'm warm.
I'm thankful that my computer is portable and I can take it to the chair that feels most comfortable to sit in.

"Whatever our need is, it is met by looking away from ourselves and casting ourselves with abandon on our Savior.  We must run to him.  He is the source of everything we need.  He is the solution." - The One Year Devotional Walk with God

"O, Lord, my God, I take refuge in You." Psalm 7:1

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fun with Family

We started off last week with a trip and we ended the week with a trip.  We're not usually such busy globetrotters (if visiting our state and the next state over even count as globetrotting) but the schedule just worked out that way.

And I'm glad it did.  We got to spend the weekend with my brother and his family.  They are going to be moving overseas soon and we want to cherish all the time with have with them now, while they are still in our country.

I'm chilling with my nephew at the bowling alley.
 We spent the weekend doing lots of fun stuff.  We went on a tour of my brother's current apartment.  Then we decided to get our bowl on at the local bowling alley, the hoppin spot to be (seriously, there were 40 full lanes of bowling and a waiting list to play). I made a 54.  Oh, yeah, baby, I'm that bad at bowling.  Even the 4 year old beat me (he did have gutter guards though, so I should get a handicap for that). We played for a while at the 2 story Barnes and Noble, which was complete with a train table for the kids and hundreds of books to browse through for the adults.

For dinner we went to our first Mongolian Grill.  I was really neat, you choose your own meats and veggies to go in your bowl and they grill it all up for you.  It was so good.  We're going to have to find a place around here that does that.  I ate every bite.
On our mini-hike - the weather was beautiful!
Walking along the mini-waterfall on our mini-hike.
On Sunday after church, we decided to go on a little hike.  My sister-in-law, Desha, had been told there was a waterfall by the lake near their apartment.  So we walked out there.  The waterfall was about 5 minutes away.  It was pretty, but more of a mini-hike.  We kinda thought it was farther away then it really was.  The kids were more adventurous than the adults and walked all over all the rocks, until Julie stepped in the creek, then she was done.  The boys probably would have walked on it all day if we let them.  Us adults?  We mostly watched from the side.

Sadly, we had to say good-bye at around 3 o'clock.  It took us about 6 hours to get home and we didn't want to get home too late because the kids had school the next day.  We enjoyed spending this time with our family.  We're storing up these memories for those times when they are far away and we miss them.  We'll get to see them one more time before they fly off into the world.  

What about you?  Did you do anything fun or adventurous this weekend?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pinteresting Pins: Pizza & Broccoli/Rice Casserole

Do you pin?  Are you on Pinterest?  If I don't already follow you, leave me a comment with your Pinterest name and I'll come find you.

Time for more Pinterest trials.  This week it was 2-ingredient pizza dough and broccoli/chicken/rice casserole.

When I was a little kid, we lived so far out in the country that the pizza delivery man was not an option.  My mom's solution was to make pizza ourselves from scratch.  My sister, my mom and I would measure out all the ingredients for the dough. We'd mix it up, knead it, and roll it out.  Then we would add sauce, cheese and any toppings.  It was all great fun back then.  We got dirty.  We got the floors dirty.  We loved it.

Fast forward to now.  I decide it will be great fun to make my own pizza dough just like we did back then.  However, since I'm not a big "make it from scratch" kind of person, I thought trying this 2-ingredient recipe (Greek yogurt and flour) would be the perfect solution.



My first mistake was to try this on a school night when we had to be at Cub Scouts at 6.  Second mistake was to let my Greek yogurt expire then make a last second run to the store with two kids after school to get more.  Should have just postponed the experiment at that point and ordered pizza from a pizza place, after all I don't live way out in the country anymore.

But I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess.  Really, it wasn't that bad.  I mixed up the yogurt and flour, and then more flour, and then more flour.  Until it was finally the right doughy consistency.  I kneaded, and let the kids knead, then kneaded it just a little more.

Sorry it's so blurry.
My 7 year old can't seem to hold my phone still.
Then I let the kids roll it out ... and it was tiny.  So I used the last of the yogurt and more flour and made just a little more dough.


I put it all together and got this weird oblong kind of shape.  Stuck it on a large stone and just went with it.

The final product
So I'm sure you're wondering how it tasted.  It was OK.  It was not as good as the pizza we made growing up.  And despite what everyone on Pinterest says, I could taste the yogurt.  The good news was both kids ate it and seemed to like it.  They weren't over the moon about it but it was OK pizza, they said.  I don't think I would make this again.  It was a lot of work for only having 2 ingredients and I was stressed the whole time.  I'm not giving up Little Caesars or Freshetta just yet.



This recipe involved a bit of prep work, but after all the chopping, it was super simple.  Throw it all together in a bowl and mix it up.


I liked the fact that the recipe made me four meals.  I served one that night and put three in the freezer for later.  When I had a friend with the flu this week (and all four of her kids had the flu too!), I could just grab a frozen casserole and send it to her house.  So nice to have enough to keep and enough to share.

  
The bad news?  Making this created a huge mess of dirty dishes in my sink.  Sigh!  No rest for the weary.


The good news?  The kids, including David, both tried it and ate it.  David, who doesn't usually like rice, said it was good.  He didn't eat a lot but he tried it, which is a big deal.  Julie loved it and kept asking for more.  I am excited to add this to our usual menu.  It was great!

Stay tuned for more Pinterest trials.  I might dive into the DIY or organization pins next time, you never know.

Did you try out these recipes?  Let me know what you think in the comments or on my Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Surf's Up

Whew!
My family is very tired today.  No one wanted to get up for school or work after our whirlwind of a weekend.

The weekend started with our nephew, Chase's, third birthday party.  Elmo toys and Thomas the train decorations were like a blast from the not-so-distant past.  They reminded me that my little boy isn't so little anymore.  Those characters that he loved so much at that age are just a blip on his radar now.  Sigh!  But...anyway...little Chase loved his party.  He's growing up too.  Sigh!

Saturday was filled with errands, friends over to play and a day of learning about Engineering with the Girl Scouts.  Catapult making, anyone?

Then came Sunday, the day my kids have been looking forward to all week.  Yes, we did go to church but that wasn't what they were looking forward to.

This was.


Our mini-vaca during their mini-vaca from school.

Wilderness at the Smokies - boasting an indoor water park and an indoor "dry" park.  We went for the water park but were more impressed with the dry park.


Here's how it all played out.

We arrived on Sunday and found out that there is more than one building to this resort and all the buildings are not within inside walking distance to the water park.  And guess what?  Yup.  The cheaper room that I reserved was far, far away.  Um, what?  I'm going to have walk a half mile to the water park in my bathing suit and sandals in the cold, windy February weather?  Luckily, no.  There was a handy dandy shuttle that took us back and forth.  One problem solved.

All smiles.
Then came problem #2.  After lugging all our stuff down the longest hallway ever to our room (seriously, we had to go by 50 rooms before we got to ours), we found out our room key cards didn't work.  So, I hiked back to the front desk and complained.  They discovered that our key cards had "accidentally" not been activated.  To make up for it, they gave us free passes to the dry park.  That was about a $100 perk just for my room key not working.  I'm back to being impressed by them.


After getting everything in the room and changing into our bathing suits, we hit the water park.

Along with a thousand other people.

It. Was. So. Crowded!  Oh, my.  Bodies and bathing suits everywhere with only one main path for everyone to walk through.  We searched high and low before we finally found a couple of chairs to put our stuff on.  We waited in long lines for the slides then got knocked over by violent waves in the wave pool.  We were not impressed.

Then we found the pool.
And the kids were happy.
We found empty chairs to relax in by the pool and the adults were happy.
Back to the room, relax, sleep, then do it all again.

Monday morning was so much different and so much better.  Why?  There were tons less people.  The lines were shorter.  The people were nicer (no offense to the teenage crowd, but while they were sleeping in on Monday, we enjoyed the water park so much more).  The kids even got to try indoor bodyboarding.  They wanted to the night before but the wait was insane.  We're talking an hour and a half, at least, in line until they would got a 45 second turn.  On Monday morning, however, they only waited about 15 minutes for a turn.  They did so well.  And loved it!



We played at the water park all morning, ate lunch, then changed into our dry clothes.  Then it was time to hit the dry park.  Included in our free vouchers were a ropes course, climbing wall, laser tag, a laser maze, black light miniature golf and a 10 frame bowling game.  There was also a 3 story playhouse area that was free to everyone.

Talk about activity overload.  We. Did. It. All.


Did I mention the ropes course went three stories up as well?


Notice the blue rope hanging down?
That's because he doesn't weigh enough to repel down on his own.
 The attendant had to use the rope to pull him down.
Bowling on their hands and knees.  They were worn out by this time.
And after playing in the water park Sunday evening and Monday morning, then doing all the fun but physically exhausting dry activities on Monday afternoon, we are just plain tired out.

We came home last night and collapsed.  Both kids have told me they want a nap after school!  I want a nap too.

Would we go there again?  Maybe, but it will be a few years.  It's hard not to compare that water park with the one we go to every summer, which is soooooo much better.  But everyone ended up having fun.  Which is all that matters.

What mini-vacations have you taken in the past?  Which ones were your favorite?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Week in Review: Feb 10 - 16

This week seemed like it was all about Valentine's Day.

On Tuesday, David made Valentine's Day cards in Cub Scouts to give to residents of the local nursing home.  He also made me a lovely flower out of tissue paper and called me his Valentine.

We made homemade pizza for dinner.  It brought back great childhood memories of making pizza with my mom and sister.  However, it was a lot of work.  In hindsight, we should have done this on a weekend when we had more time, not on a busy Tuesday when we had to be at Cub Scouts at 6.  I must have been crazy!





After two Wednesdays in a row of being sick, I finally made it to church this week.  It felt so nice being useful back in my Awana commander position.

Thursday was the big day.  Valentine's Day means gifts at breakfast and parties at school.  I might be the bad parent, but I only gave my kids 2 pieces of candy for Valentine's Day.  But I did give them each 3 books with those 2 pieces of candy.  And they loved it!  David got two Fudge books and a book called The Class Clown (hopefully, I'm not giving him any ideas).  Julie got two 39 Clues books and a Judy Blume favorite Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great.  Take that, snow days!  I've got you covered now!

Sadly I didn't get any pictures of the school parties but they were fun.  David's class had an intense game of 3 digit number bingo, where an addition or subtraction problem involving 3 digit numbers was put on the board.  They had to solve the problem and see if the answer was on their bingo sheet.  Whew!  I'm tired even thinking about it, but strangely they seemed to like it.  Julie's class had an ice cream sundae extravaganza.  They each got a big bowl of ice cream and topped it with their choice of items - cherries, bananas, mini oreos, chocolate syrup, etc.  It was fun.  It was easy.  It is a great idea for a class party.

Thursday was also exciting because I got a new haircut.  It's sooooo much shorter than I thought it would be.  I asked my stylist to make it choppier.  She made it shorter.  I'm still getting used to it but I think I'll like it.


What I'm watching:  I'm all about my reality shows.  American Idol just finished Hollywood week and is about to get to the good stuff.  Survivor started back up this week.  It's fans versus favorites this time.  I love to hate the returning survivors and to pick a favorite new one that never, ever wins.

What I'm reading:  I'm reading 3 books at the same time which is starting to confuse me.  I need to finish one and limit myself to 2 books at a time.  This week it's 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters, When the Snow Comes, They Will Take You Away, and No More Perfect Moms.  All good books.

What I'm listening to:  We just downloaded Third Day's newest album.  We are going to their concert in March and I want to make sure I know all the songs first.  I've got that album on a playlist along with Toby Mac's newest album.  I love jamming out in the van to both of those groups.

Hope you had a wonderful, love-filled Valentine's week.  Let me know.  What is your favorite part of Valentine's Day?

Just thought I'd leave you with Tim's picture for the week.  Wouldn't want to leave him out.


Friday, February 15, 2013

If life gives you lemons...

Pop quiz: What is the cheapest medicine you can get?

Water

Yup, water does so much good for your body that it's sad that most people do not drink enough of it.  Since the beginning of the year, I have been trying hard to drink more water.  Not only does it just generally do my body good, it's also been known to help lower pain levels when the pain is in your fascia.

My goal to begin with was to drink 2 quarts of water a day.  But that didn't happen - ever.  So, I lowered my goal to 1.5 quarts a day.  That is very doable.  According to Ming Chew (the author of the Permanent Pain Cure), 1.5 quarts is the least amount anyone should be drinking.  Yay for squeaking by at the bottom of the pack!

But, like most people, I do get tired of drinking just plain water all the time.  It's boring.
How do you get it all down when you are bored of drinking it?  Here are a few tips I've found that help.

1)  Always carry a water bottle with you.  You take sips of this all day without even thinking about it.  Personally, I don't carry the disposable water bottles that you buy at the store with water already in them.  Why, you ask?  World Vision published a statistic one time that said if only half the people who bought bottled water took that money and gave it to water relief programs, everyone in the world would be able to have access to clean water.  It really struck me and I decided to stop buying bottled water.  I use this Nalgene bottle (I took out the valve).  It's the perfect size and there's nothing to open up on the lid in order to drink the water.  Since I'm usually driving when I drink out of it, I wanted that hands-free feature.

2)  Add ice.  Water is much easier to drink when it's cold and not room temperature.  When I fill up my water bottle, I fill it almost all the way with ice, then put water in on top.  Unless it's a really hot day, this keeps my water cold for hours.

3)  Drink through a straw.  You drink more per sip when you drink through a straw which helps you drink water faster.  If you drink it faster, you can drink more per day.  I heard this on the radio the other day and tested it out.  It's totally true!  When I stick a straw in my cup or drink through a spout, I go through that cup of water much faster.

4)  Add a (sugar-free) flavoring to the water.  There are a lot of flavorings out there that you can add to water (and, yes, you can easily add them to a reusable water bottle too).  I have tried the powdered packets and I've tried the liquid drops and I don't like either of them very much.  I think I just don't like artificial sweeteners.  But what I do like is lemons.  I bought fresh lemons and cut them into slices and put them in my fridge.  Now, I can squeeze a slice or two into my water to make it a little more interesting.


Lemons in the fridge also keep life interesting in other ways.  Like when your kids ask to try a slice.  And, being a good mother, I grabbed my camera first and said "sure."





At least I know my lemons will be safe from any would-be lemon thieves.  Drink an extra glass of water today and start reaping the benefits of the cheapest medicine around.

What about you?  Do you like lemons in your water?


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Review: Echoes

Echoes by Robin Jones Gunn

Lauren Phillips seems to attract disaster - falling into tables full of food, getting a bad perm - but she wasn't expecting her fiancee, Jeff, to leave her.  She wasn't expecting her "happily ever after" to not even start.  Depressed and lonely, Lauren turns to her new computer and starts up an email pen-pal relationship with a man she only knows as KC.

Using the online name of "Wren," Lauren and KC quickly find many things in common and almost as quickly fall in love.  When the chance to meet "ILR" (in real life) comes up, can Lauren overcome her fear of abandonment and take the leap?  Or will her trepidation take over and force her to lose the love of her life?

My Thoughts:

I'll start out by saying that once I got half-way through this book, I couldn't put it down.  I had to find out if they got together in the end.  Echoes reminded me of a Karen Kingsbury kind of book where you can predict what's going to happen but you want to keep reading just to make sure it does happen.

That being said, I had a few annoyances with Echoes.  The book is centered on Lauren's e-mail relationship with KC, but the computer terminology used is ancient.  Instead of saying "email address", Lauren talks about finding KC's "number" to send him messages.  That confused me.  I don't even remember using that term when I first heard about email.  After reading conversations in the book about how new email and the Internet were, I went to the front and checked the copyright date -1996.  Yup, the Internet and email were new then.  Knowing that put things in a little better context.

Also there were characters introduced in the book that just kind of disappeared part way through the story and I really didn't know why they were brought in there.  I'm sure the author had a reason; I just couldn't figure it out.

I'd also like to point out that this is the 3rd book in an eight book series called The Glenbrooke Series.  I have not read any of the other books in the series.  Because of that I didn't know the back story of some of the characters but it didn't detract from this story in any way.  This book could definitely be read on its own without reading other books in the series.

I would categorize this as is a cute, romantic book, something that doesn't make you think too hard to read it.  These kinds of books are great to read when you just want to escape.  If you are looking for something current or deep, I would look elsewhere.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

I received a complementary copy of this book for review while participating in the Blogging for Books program.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Saving for Christmas: Swagbucks

Christmas should be a blessing, not a debt nightmare.  In this series, I will show you how to earn extra money all year long to help you save for Christmas.

Christmas is now only 11 short months away.  You've made your Christmas budget and started setting aside money for Christmas.  But maybe you don't feel like the amount you can save up from your paycheck is enough.  Or maybe, you just want to earn some money from other places to use towards Christmas.  Where do you start?

I'm glad you asked.
There are several ways that Tim and I earn extra money to put towards our Christmas budget.  In fact, this year we earned about $500 in FREE Amazon gift card money that we used to pay for Christmas gifts.

How did we do it?
Using reward sites.  A reward site is basically a website that rewards you for interacting with companies or brands.  This could be in the form of watching advertising, ordering through their website or giving your opinion on their brand through surveys.  Most reward sites have multiple ways to earn rewards.  Rewards can be given as gift cards to websites or brick and mortar stores, they could be a check in the mail or cash in a paypal account.  The reward site could only give you one option of how to receive your rewards or they could give you many options.  It all depends on the site.

Our favorite reward site and, in my opinion, the easiest to use is Swagbucks.  By far, the majority of the free money we earned was from Swagbucks.

Search & Win

So how does Swagbucks work?
When you visit the site, you earn "points" called "swagbucks" by doing different ad-related things.  For instance, if you watch 10 videos on the website, with an ad at the beginning of each, you earn 3 swagbucks.  If you answer a daily poll question, you earn 1 swagbuck.  Participating in a survey can earn you 100-250 swagbucks.

What is a swagbuck and how do I earn money with them?
A swagbuck is approximately equal to a penny.  You can earn a $5 Amazon gift card for 450 swagbucks.  A $10 Target card is 1000 swagbucks.  Tim and I tend to stick with Amazon gift cards but there are many more you could choose from: Target, Walmart, CVS, Paypal, Starbucks, itunes, etc.  Each store also offers a variety of gift card denominations: $5, $10, $15, etc.  As you can see, the reward options are many.

Starting out at any reward site is intimidating.  It's hard to know how to earn rewards and what all the "rules" are.  I'm here to help you.

What is the best way to earn Swagbucks?
  • As mentioned above, you can earn 1 swagbuck a day by doing a daily poll.  
  • Going through the NOSO (no obligation, special offers) and clicking on the "No Thanks" for each offer will earn you 2 swagbucks a day.
  • You can earn 50 a day using the Swagbucks app for your smartphone.  For that, you watch videos with an ad in front of each.  Every 5 videos is worth 2 swagbucks.  
  • Swagbucks TV through their website can earn you up to 150 SB a day (however, you would have to be on your computer the entire day to earn that many, 30 - 50 a day is a much more doable amount).
  • Surveys are also a great way to earn swagbucks.  One caveat of surveys are that you must qualify to take the survey before you can earn SB.  I don't qualify for many, but, if you are unique in some way in terms of your demographics, you may qualify for a lot.  
  • Many online stores offer incentives if you go through the Swagbucks site to shop.  You can earn 2-8 SB per dollar spent, depending on the site.  
  • You can also earn Swagbucks by using their site to search the web.  (This can be annoying, though, because they randomly decide to award swagbucks for searching and they randomly decide how much to give you for that search.  For example, you could do 25 searches and only earn 7 swagbucks, or you could do 1 search and earn 25 swagbucks.)
  • There are several other ways to earn swagbucks.  They are all available under the "Earn" tab on the Swagbucks website.

If you decide to start using Swagbucks, keep in mind the time you want to put into this.  Remember, a SB is basically a penny.  A survey might earn you 100 SB, but if it takes you an hour to do, it might not be worth it.  Is your time worth more than $1 an hour?  If you are doing the survey while you are watching TV at night, it might not matter that it takes an hour.  If you are doing it during the workday instead of doing work, than it probably matters.

Other Tips

  • You can only request 2 gift cards a day and you can only request 5 of the exact same gift card each month.  For example, you can only request 5 $5 Amazon cards a month.  You can also request 5 $15 Amazon cards a month, because they are a different denomination.  Depending on the time you put into it, you could earn a significant amount of money.
  • The $5 Amazon card is the best value on the site.  It is 450 SB to redeem.  Every other reward is at least a SB per penny (i.e. $15 card is 1500 SB).
  • Usually Tim and I make it our goal to earn enough SB to get our 5 $5 cards.  That means you have to earn 75 SB a day.
  • You can have one Swagbucks account per person.  It is not limited to one per household.
We love being able to earn some extra cash through Swagbucks.  Check out the website, earn some money and let me know if you have any questions.  

This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Let's talk Christmas

Let's talk Christmas.
Yes, Christmas is a distant memory now, but in just 11 short months, it will be knocking on our doorsteps once again.

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas!
The lights, the tree, the family get togethers...

And the gifts.

I love getting gifts and I love giving gifts.

christmas-gift
Source
But what no one loves is the price tag on all those gifts, especially if you put them on credit and have to pay for them all year long.

That's why Tim and I resolved a long time ago not to put Christmas on a credit card but to save up for it all year long.  That's right.  When Christmas is over for the year, we start saving for the next Christmas.

All. Year. Long.

This is how we chose to tackle that large Christmas bill:

1)  We opened a second savings account at our bank (thankfully, our bank lets you open up multiple savings accounts without any additional charge).

2)  We created a spreadsheet and budgeted for every Christmas gift that we anticipated buying. Our budget includes gifts for all our family members, gift exchange gifts, teacher gifts, "white elephant" Christmas party gifts, stocking stuffers, Christmas movie box items plus extra for "miscellaneous" expenses.

3)  We took that number, to total amount that we anticipate spending on Christmas that year, and we divided it by the number of paychecks we get a year.  That's our magic number.

4)  Every two weeks when we get paid, we transfer that amount from our checking account to our Christmas account.

That's it.  By Christmas of the next year, we should have enough to cover all of those gifts on our handy, dandy Christmas budgeting spreadsheet.

Some banks (ours included) offer a Christmas account option.  They automatically take part of your paycheck and transfer it over to a Christmas account.  You are then not allowed to touch that money until after Nov. 1.  These kinds of accounts are great for those who have trouble remembering to transfer money, or for those who are tempted to take that money out and use it for other things (hence, the "not getting to touch it until Nov. 1" part of the rule).

We have not chosen to do that but, instead, to transfer and save the money ourselves.  Why?  I prefer to have access to the money all year long.  That way if I see a great deal on something in August that I know someone on my list will love, I can go ahead and get the money out and buy it.

Our Christmas account works for us. Find what works for you and start saving for Christmas now.

In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing some other ways that we've earned extra money to help pay for Christmas and other expenses.

I'd love to know:  How do you handle Christmas expenses?  Do you have a Christmas budget?
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