Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dr. Seuss Cakes

I haven't posted one of my cakes in ages. And, even though it has been a while since I made these, I thought I would post them for fun. I made these for my BFF's birthday. She LOVES Dr. Seuss.

So, with out further adieu...
Sam I Am


Horton Hears a Who

Giving Challenge ~ Send a Stocking to a College Student

Do you have any college students in your life? I do! I'm going to take a few minutes to put together a fun gift to send them for the holidays. Last year, before Christmas, I found cutie patootie stockings on clearance at Old Navy for $1. I've filled those with some of my freebies and a few small items from my gift closet. The cost for each one is less than $5 (not including shipping), and will make two very special young ladies that I've been privileged to mentor smile. What's more fun than getting a package when you're in college. Want another fun idea for a college student? Check THIS out!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Giving Challenge ~ Love Without Boundaries

If you have read much of my blog, you know that we recently added a precious daughter to our family through adoption. Our baby girl is a joy and fits right into this crazy household. While waiting to meet our daughter, I became aware of an organization that was working to improve conditions in many orphanages in China, including the one that our daughter spent the first 17 months of her life in.

Love Without Boundaries provides medical help, including life-saving surgeries, more nutritious food, and much more to orphans throughout China. There is a way that you can help without spending one dime extra. Whenever you shop on Amazon, just start at the Love Without Boundaries website. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Amazon Associates". This link will take you straight to Amazon, and LWB will receive a percentage back from all of your purchases. I use Amazon for a lot of things from Christmas and Birthday gifts to groceries. This is a wonderful no-cost way to positively impact the lives of those who are helpless and fatherless.

Also, this year, jewelry designer Renee' Gibson has put together a beautiful bracelet for LWB. The proceeds from this bracelet will fund Love Without Boundaries' wonderful work. Find out more HERE.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving Challenge ~ Salvation Army

You know those dedicated, slightly crazy people who stand outside this time of year with the little red buckets? I have been amazed at the nasty weather through which they will ring their bells to raise money for people in need. I have discovered that it takes a concerted effort on my part to be able to drop some change in those red buckets. See, I am a full participant in the digital age...meaning I never carry cash...ever. One day someone is going to try to mug me and be greatly disappointed. :) So, this time of year, I make the extra effort to have some change on hand so that I or my kiddos can contribute to the Salvation Army's work.

And here's a bonus thought for the day...the next time you see one of those kind-hearted folks ringing a bell in below-freezing temperatures...stop by with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and thank them for their sacrifice!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Challenge ~ Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is not a new organizations, by any means. But, it is one that has been so publicized that it could be easily overlooked or forgotten. Through the year, as I find good deals on standard toys, I pick them up and save them for holiday toy drives. I just received a note from my son's preschool that they will be a collection center for Toys for Tots this year.

As with so many charities, no one person can meet all of the need. But, if everyone helps in some small way, many lives can be touched.

Toys for Tots donations can be dropped off at Toys'R Us and Babies'R Us stores nationwide. Or, find a donation center in your area.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Challenge ~ Extra Groceries

I know many of us are stockpilers. And, I know that many of us take the opportunity this time of year to share from our stockpiles with worthy organizations. Even as a stockpiler, I found the following to be a great and inexpensive way to give.

Recently, while in one of the grocery stores that I frequent, I noticed a stack of boxes near the register that contained a good supply of dry goods, like rice and baking mix, all neatly packaged and ready to purchase for $4.99. The boxes that are purchased are collected by the store and then delivered to local food banks that are a part of Feeding America.

There were several things that I loved about this opportunity. First, the boxes were well-thought out and nicely packaged. The price point is reasonable and easily "paid for" with my savings from a couple of coupons. The food is going to people in my community. And, Feeding America is "the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity".

I would encourage you to keep an eye out for these boxes in your own grocery stores. It really is a painless way to help someone in need.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Challenge ~ Operation Christmas Child

I have personally been involved with supporting Operation Christmas Child for over 13 years now. It is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse which is a Christian international relief organization founded by Franklin Graham. It has been my privilege to work in many areas of this ministry on a volunteer basis and I have always been impressed by the amazing heart of the OCC staff.

Each year, OCC collects shoe boxes filled with small gifts and then distributes them to children all over the world who are victims of poverty, war, and disease. Each child who receives a shoe box gift also receives a story book, in their own language, that shares the story of Jesus. Millions of shoe boxes have been delivered over the years, and countless families have come to know Jesus as a result of this ministry.

National Collection Week for OCC has already passed. But, this year they have an awesome new online "Build a Shoe Box" opportunity. It is easy to choose the gender and age of the child that you wish to send a shoe box to, then choose a few basic items to include in your box. OCC staff will assemble a shoe box to your specifications (with extra items beyond the few that you choose), including if you wish, a note and photo that you you have uploaded to personalize your box. You will also be notified via email when and where your shoe box is delivered.

The cost to send a shoe box online is $35. I usually spend about $20 packing a shoe box myself, and then add $7 to help cover delivery to the child. So, for only $8 more, this is a great opportunity to send a box if you didn't have time to pack one before the collection date passed.

Operation Christmas Child is a worthy organization with the most important task in the world, sharing the message of Christ. Packing a shoe box is an inexpensive and tangible way to touch the life of a child you would never otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Challenge

Last year I attempted to find some way to give, large or small, every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. My intention was to, in a more intentional way, create a culture of giving within our family.

I still think this is a good idea, and I intend to do it again this year. The one thing that I want to avoid, though, is reserving this activity to the holiday season. I know that realistically I won't be able to find something new to do every day of the year. But, it takes 21 days of repetitive action to create a habit. If we keep giving at the forefront of our minds during the holidays, we should start the new year with a habit of giving.

I hope to post a new idea for giving every day between the Holidays, and then continue posting occassional ideas throught 2011. So, be looking for my first giving post on Thursday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Great Deal On Printer Ink!

I just had to share the amazing deal that I just got on ink! Through tomorrow, 11/17, you can receive 10% of remanufactured ink cartridges from 123inkjets.com. But, that's not all. This offer also includes free shipping. And, if you start out at *Ebates, you will receive 16% cash back on your purchase!

This is the order that I just placed:
3 ink cartridges @ $13.95 = $41.85
- 10% = $37.67 shipped
- $6.03 cash back = $31.64
That's only $10.55 per cartridge!

The same cartridge (not remanufactured) at Walmart is $14.97, plus I would have to pay tax, making them $15.87. I saved $15.97 (or $5.32 per cartridge!) by ordering from 123inkjets.

I have ordered from this company before and been very pleased with their speedy shipping and the quality of their product. I honestly can't tell a difference in the remanufactured cartridges.

Use code GIVETEN to receive your 10% off and free shipping...and don't forget about *Ebates">Ebates!

**Ebates is a cash back program for online orders. I have earned over $230 cash back on purchases through them. Yes it really works! They deposit my savings in my paypal account every few months. If you sign up through the link above, I will receive a $5 bonus to my account. You will receive a $5 bonus whether you use my link or not. If you prefer not to connect through me, simply visit www.ebates.com. If you ever make purchases online, you should be using a reputable cash back site.
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