Sunday, February 28, 2010

Worth Passing Along

A few links I enjoyed reading this week: Last week, my oldest son turned nine years old, and I realized he is halfway there to becoming an adult. Yikes! How did this happen?? This made me sad. I don't want him to grow up. I want to cherish every millisecond of their childhood.

So, most of these links summed up almost exactly how I have been feeling lately about making the most of every day with my children before they are grown. May they be an inspiration to you as well, to cherish each moment of these quickly passing days.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coupon Database

I came across a pretty cool coupon tool recently. It's a listing of all the current coupons that are available. If I need something in particular, I can enter it into the database & do a search to see if there's a coupon I can use. So cool. Here's a link to the database.

Thanks, Deal Seeking Mom!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Free Magazine Subscriptions

Thriving Family Magazine (from Focus On the Family)--- free 6 month subscription

American Baby--- free 6 month subscription

Baby Talk--- free one year subscription

Worth Passing Along

A few links I enjoyed reading this week:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

JC Penney - $10 off a $25 Purchase

JC Penney did mark-downs this morning on their clearance racks to 80% off. If you go here, you can print a coupon for $10 off a $25 purchase. It's good until 2/27. I just came from there and bought 10 really nice long-sleeve shirts for my son for $18. That's less than $2 per shirt. Those will come in handy since his 9th birthday is only a week away!

Thanks Christina!

Excuse This House

"Some houses try to hide the fact
That children shelter there;

Ours boasts of it quite openly,
The signs are everywhere.

For smears are on the windows,
Little smudges on the doors;

I should apologize, I guess
For toys strewn on the floor.

But I sat down with the children
And we played and laughed and read,
And if the doorbell doesn't shine,
Their eyes will shine instead.
For when I have to choose between
The one job or the other,
Though I need to cook and clean,

First I'll be a Mother."

~Author Unknown

From the book, Who Got Peanut Butter on My Daily Planner?, by Cindy Sigler Dagnan

Monday, February 15, 2010

Birthday Freebies

Here is an extensive list of birthday freebies put together by Hey It's Free. Enjoy!

Food & Restaurants

Abuelo’s Mexican Food Embassy – Get a coupon for a free dinner entree with the purchase of an equally priced entree.
Acapulco – You’ll get a 100% free entree plus a free Guacamole right when you sign up.
Amato’s Sandwich Shop – Join the Tamatos Club and get a free birthday sandwich.
Applebees – Free dessert. They also have a newsletter, but no word if it sends out a birthday coupon or not.
Arby’s – As of 02/10, they’re offering coupons for a free Swirl Shake with any Roastburger purchase.
Atlanta Bread Company – They have a VIP eClub that you can sign up for, gaining you a free cookie on your birthday.
Auntie Anne’s Pretzels – They’ll send you monthly coupons all year long if you sign up for their newsletter, so it’s pretty safe to guess you’ll get a birthday treat.
Austin Grill – Sign up and get a free meal.
Bakers Square – Sign up for the eClub and get a free pie.
Baskin Robbins – Get a free ice cream treat if you sign up for their Birthday Club.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s – They’ll send you a coupon for a free appetizer.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream – Become a Chunk Spelunker and you can get some free ice cream!
Benihana’s Japanese Restaurant – They’ll send you a $30 gift certificate valid during the month of your birthday.
BD’s – Join Club Mongo and get a little something something on your birthday!
BJ’s Restaurants – Free Pazookie!! (otherwise known as a delicious dessert.)
Black Angus Steakhouse – Receive a complimentary dessert for joining the BA Prime Club and a free steak dinner for your birthday!
Bob Evans – Free kids meal for anybody under the age of 12.
Boston Market – Free kids B-Day meal coupon for kids under 12 and coupons online for their various entrees.
Bonanza Steakhouse – Yet another free birthday surprise that I can’t figure out what exactly is! Oh well, just join their club and find out when they e-mail you.
Bruegger’s – Get a free cookie and an e-mail with a goofy looking mascot.
Bruster’s – Free waffle cone when you buy a waffle cone of of equal or greater value.
Buca di Beppo – Sign up for their eClub and get a free dessert.
Buffalo Wild Wings – You either get a Free dessert with a $5 purchase.
Burger King – Free kids meal to all kids club members.
California Pizza Kitchen – Free kids meal during the month of their birthday if you register first.
Captain D’s – Join their D’s Club and get a coupon for $3 off any meal, among other freebies.
Caribou Coffee – They’ll send you a coupon for a free drink on your birthday.
Carrows – Free cake plus a free dessert now just for signing up.
Cattlemen’s – Free dessert and cowboy hat (I’d go just for the cowboy hat!)
Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse – Sign up and get a free dessert plus points for every dollar spent.
Chevy’s – Free dessert and sombrero (First a cowboy hat, then a sombrero…heck yeah!)
Chicken of the Sea – Join their Mermaid Club and they’ll send you a free birthday gift. I’m just hoping it’s not a tuna-flavored cake or anything…
Chili’s – Free dessert if you join their club.
Claim Jumper – Free dessert if you join now.
Coldstone Creamery – Join now and get a free creation on your birthday. (My…God…Is…This…Delicious…)
Country Buffet – Join the Mega Bar Meal club and get not only a free meal on your birthday, but a free meal just for signing up!
Country Kitchen – As long as you have valid ID, you get a free dinner entree up to $8 in value.
Culvers – Free sundae as well as a few printable coupons when you first sign up.
Dairy Queen – Free ice cream coupon via e-mail for kids 16 and under. They also have a Blizzard Club for adults with the same offer.
Damon’s Steakhouse – Here’s a little trick. All you have to do is make a new email address, sign up, and within 24 hours they will send you 10 bucks off your meal, with the purchase of another comparably priced meal. So every time you and a friend go, you can get $10 off no matter what. Plus, they send you a few coupons for your birthday!
Daphne’s Greek Cafe – Free entree on your birthday when you join their ePita club.
Del Taco – Get two free soft tacos now and a free premium milkshake on your birthday.
Denny’s – Free original Grand Slam breakfast, but only on your birthday!
Don Pablos – Free $10 gift certificate after joining the Don Pablo Habanero Club.
Einstein Bros Bagels – Not sure what their eClub will send you, but it’s probably a coupon for a free bagel.
El Chicos – I’m told you get a free dessert, but I haven’t been able to confirm this.
El Torito – Have a coupon for a free meal e-mailed to you during your bday week.
Famous Dave’s Barbeque – Free meal with advance signup.
Fazoli’s – Join their eFamily and get a coupon for a free desert.
Fire Mountain – Join the Mega Bar Meal club and get a free meal on your birthday.
Firehouse Subs – Sign up and get an email for a free sub.
Flat Top Grill – Join their E-mail Club and get a coupon for a free stir fry on your birthday.
Friendly’s – Free ice cream cone if you join their birthday club.
Fuddruckers – They have a Fudd Club which will w-mail you a coupon for a free 1/3 pound burger.
Glory Days Grill – Free sundae on your birthday if you sign up in advance.
Gold Star Chili – Get a free dessert on your birthday, plus a free treat on your anniversary of joining up AND a free appetizer just for joining.
Gordon Biersch – They say you get a special “e-gift” on your birthday, which is a Buy One Get One coupon for an entree.
Hard Rock Cafe – Free dessert
Hometown Buffet – Join the Mega Bar Meal club and get not only a free meal on your birthday, but a free meal just for signing up!
Hooters – Free song & T-shirt (Pretty soon here I’m going to have an entire outfit!) If you live on the west coast, there’s even a Hooters Club for you to join up with.
Houlihan’s – Free coupon for an entree during your next visit up to a week after b-day (Kinda complicated…but free!)
Jack in the Box – They have a printable coupon for a free dessert valid only on your birthday.
Joe’s Crab Shack – Free cake if you join their club.
Juice It Up – They promise to give you a “birthday gift” but their website doesn’t say what it is. Might be worth signing up for though.
Keg Steakhouse and Bar – They’ll give you a 10oz. prime rib dinner with Caesar salad during your birthday month, Sun-Thurs only. You might want to call ahead to confirm this though.
Keva Juice – Their Keva Klub sent me a free 24oz regular blend smoothie coupon.
Krispy Kreme – Free half dozen glazed donuts and a coffee mug with either coffee or soda in it! You might want to sign up ahead of time.
Logan’s Roadhouse – Join their Nut Club and get a coupon for a free slice of cheesecake. Sometimes they’ll sing for you as well.
Macaroni Grill – Free dessert plus an OPERA-style “Happy Birthday” song, which is always…fun?
la Madeleine – Yet another on-line birthday club that will send you coupons for free food around your birthday.
Maggianos – $10 off purchase of $20 if you sign up in advance.
Mainstreet Ventures (Large chain of different restaurants, click to see if any are near you.) – Up to 50% off your meal. It’s based on the number of people in your party. For example, 2 people dining = 50% off. 3 People dining = 33% off, 4 people dining = 25%, etc.
Marble Slab Creamery – Kids can join the Marble Slab Kids Club and get a free ice cream cone on their birthday up to age 12.
Marie Calenders – Join their eClub and get free offers not only on your birthday, but anniversary as well!
Memphis BBQ – Coupon good for a free Rack of Ribs & strawberry shortcake, but you must sign up on their website 24 hours in advance.
Mimis Cafe – A coupon for $10 off your next purchase of $20 or more.
Moe’s Southwest Grill – Signup for their newsletter and get a coupon for a free burrito. They also have a birthday club for kids under 10.
Mongolian’s B.B.Q. – Signup for their Club Mongo and you’ll get a coupon for a free birthday meal.
Noodles & Company – Signup for their newsletter and they’ll send ya a coupon for a free meal right around our birthday!
Not Your Average Joe’s – Sign up for their e-mail club and get a coupon sent to you for a free entree on your birthday!
O’Charley’s – Get $5 off any $20 food purchase.
Old Country Buffet – Join the Mega Bar Meal club and get not only a free meal on your birthday, but a free meal just for signing up!
Olive Garden – Free dessert if you sign up?
On The Border – Free appetizer if you sign up.
P.B. Loco – Sign up for their newsletters and you’ll receive coupons periodically for free stuff, as well as coupons for free stuff when your B-day rolls around.
P.F. Chang’s – Free cake or cheesecake via their e-mail list.
Papa Murphy’s – Sign up for their e-club and get a coupon for a free cookie dough on your birthday.
Perkin’s – Free bakery goodie on birthdays for kids under 12.
Ponderosa – No idea what the birthday freebie is, but they promise to send you something.
Qdoba Mexican Grill – Join their eClub and get a free burrito on your birthday, as well as free chips n’ salsa just for joining up..
Quizno’s – Join their mailing list and get a free cookie. You’ll also get a coupon for a free Sammie when you sign up.
Red Lobster – Their Overboard Club will send you a coupon for $5 off two adult entrees.
Red Robin – Free Gourmet Burger if you sign up for Eclub. You have to bring in the e-mail coupon they send you.
Rock Bottom – Free appetizer for Mug Club members.
Round Table Pizza – Register with your local restaurant and get a coupon for a free personal pizza.
Ruby Tuesday – Free handcrafted burger of your choice.
Ryan’s – Join the Mega Bar Meal club and get not only a free meal on your birthday, but a free meal just for signing up!
San Francisco Over – Sign up in advance and you’ll get a coupon for a free birthday treat.
Schlotzsky’s – Get a free sandwich if you sign up ahead of time.
Smoky Bones – Members of the Bones Club get a free meal or appetizer, not sure which.
Spaghetti Warehouse – Signup for a free meal & possibly free appetizer?
Spicy Pickle – One free entree via their pickle club.
Sonic – An advertising company for Sonic, they’ll send you coupons for free Sonic goodies if you sign up. Also, get a free Wacky Pack Kid’s Meal on children’s birthdays if you register here.
Souper Salad – Join their Souper Salad Club and they’ll e-mail you a coupon for one free birthday meal which can be used within a week or your birthday.
Starbucks – If you have a giftcard to their store, register it and receive a free coffee on your birthday. If you shop there often, it might be worth simply buying a card for yourself just to get the free coffee!
Swiss Chalet – Get a free appetizer just for joining the Rotisserie-mail plus a free birthday surprise.
Taco Del Mar – They sent me a coupon for a free Grilled Chicken Taco Salad that was valid for the month of my birthday.
Taco John’s – Get a free order of Cini-Sopapilla Bites. I’ve never had these before, but if they’re as delicious as they are hard to spell, I’m excited.
Texas De Brazil – Sign up for their e-club and they’ll send you a $40 gift certificate! This place can be pricey, but it’s so worth it.
Texas Roadhouse – They send a coupon for one free appetizer or sidekick of ribs.
TGI Friday’s – Free birthday dessert plus free appetizer just for signing up!
The Fox and Hound – Free appetizer just for joining plus free entree on your birthday.
The Old Spaghetti Factory – Kids 12 and under get a free meal.
The Palm – 3lb lobster, but you must be a member first and follow a few rules.
Tony Roma’s – Free dessert if you sign up for Romo Rib Expert Club first.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe – They’ll e-mail you a coupon for a free smoothie.
Uno’s Pizza – Sign up and get a free personal pizza on your birthday.
Waffle House – Join their Regulars Club and get a special coupon.
Wendy’s – Free kids meal for the little ones and a free frosty for us adults.
Wingstop – Get 5 free buffalo wings on your birthday.
Zaxby’s – Join their Z-Mail club and you’ll get a coupon for a free meal, whether or not it’s your birthday! Kids can sign up here for their Kid Club and get not only a free meal, but a free cookie on their birthday!
Z’ Tejas – $15 coupon for the month of your birthday if you register first.

Entertainment / Services / Other

Academy Sports & Outdoors – Sign up in advance and you’ll get a $5 gift card on your bday.
Aveda – Sign up at least 28 days before your bday and get a free Personal Blends Pure-Fume
Boz, the Green Bear – You can join Boz’s Birthday Club in advance and your child will receive a personalized postcard in the mail as well as links to download special birthday coloring pages and other random stuff that small kids seem to enjoy.
Brunswick Bowling – Join the Bonus Zone and get a free game of bowling on your birthday.
Chuck E. Cheese’s – Their website promises a birthday special as well, which many people have said is 20 free tokens.
Dave & Buster’s – $10 game card credit when you sign up and $5 credit on your bday.
Disney Theme Parks – Free admission to either Disney Land or Disney World on your birthday in 2009.
Frosty Paws – Ok, so what if this freebie is for dogs. Pets like free stuff on their birthday too! Sign up for their Birthday Club and Fido will get a tasty frozen treat come his special time of the year.
Hallmark – 20% off coupon for one item.
Harkins – Free movie (Some say they got free movie, others only got free popcorn)
Hollywood Video – Free video rental if you sign up in advance.
Hot Topic – $10 off coupon on a minimum purchase of $20.
Medieval Times – Sign up in advance and they’ll send you a free ticket (worth $53!) to one of their feast and tournaments.
Movie Gallery – Get a free movie rental.
Proctor & Gamble – They’ll send you a batch of BOGO coupons for various products.
Ringling Brothers Circus – Sign your newborn up for a free ticket to the circus that never expires. Then just save it until your little one has a birthday later on and give it to them!
Ten Ren – Hiffer Bethany sent in a tip that her local Ten Ren has a sign offering a free Bubble Tea on your birthday with photo identification.
The Children’s Place – Register for their Birthday Club and receive 15% off on yours and your child’s birthday.
Toys R Us – Sign up ahead of time and once your child’s birthday rolls around, they’ll get a personalized letter in the mail. Plus, bring your child into any Toys R Us and they’ll get a hat & balloon before having their birthday announced over the loudspeaker. You’ll also get a $3 gift card in mail.

The Family Manager's Creed

"I oversee a small organization---
Where hundreds of decisions are made daily,

Where property and resources are managed,

Where health and nutritional needs are determined,

Where finances and futures are discussed and debated,

Where projects are planned and events are arranged,

Where transportation and scheduling are critical,

Where team-building is a priority,

Where careers begin and end.

... I am a Family Manager.

From the book, The Family Manager, by Kathy Peel

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Encouraging Words

Encouraging Quotes from A Cup of Hope by Emilie Barnes...

"I learned a long time ago that we as God's children have no guarantee that we will not experience trouble. God never promised we would never have to walk through the pain of this life alone. He has promised He will never leave us or forsake us, and we can depend on that." --Marilyn Heavilin

"God is like a chair always there to hold you. God is like a pair of arms always ready to wrap you in a hug. God is like anything you can think of, only much better and sweeter." --Suzie Godrew

"Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent." --Mignon McLaughlin

"When you give up all hope, you're probably only giving up the hope of getting your own outcome to happen." --Anne Lamott

"Sometimes what you get turns out to be better than what you wanted in the first place." --Eve Bunting

"God is already working on Plan B even as Plan A lies in shambles around our feet." --John Claypool

"The past is history, the future is a mystery and the moment is a gift. That is why it is called, the present." --Author Unkown

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where Have I Been??

Good question. The last six months, I haven't posted a single thing on this blog, have I? What have I been doing? Well, for one, I've been busy enjoying this little guy...

Except now he looks more like this...

Isn't he a cutie? He just turned three months old and I can hardly believe it. I've also been trying to keep up with these two as well...
This boy is like the energizer bunny that just keeps on going.

And this one never runs out of things to say. But they are all a joy in my life, and I am enjoying being their mom.

We've also had some struggles, the scariest being that when my little guy was two weeks old, he was life-flighted to a children's hospital with a bacterial infection. We had very little warning that he was sick and several times, he stopped breathing. I cried almost that entire day... it was definitely the worst day of my life. He spent six days there over Thanksgiving weekend & we are so thankful the Lord healed him and he has made a full recovery.

I have a few friends who have lost their unborn babies recently, & my heart goes out to them, making me even more thankful for my family. Things certainly could have turned out much differently that day.

The other thing we've been dealing with is that my husband has spent the past three years building an amazing 3000 square foot home, doing a lot of the work himself. He finished in October, a month before the baby came, so we've been living in the house for about four months now. In the next few weeks, though, we will be putting this house on the market.

When we first started building, we thought we would live here for a few years before selling it & then build again, but that was before the wonderful housing market crashed in 2008. With this economy, my husband's ongoing health issues, and his current unemployment, we have decided to sell our home and move on.

It is a bittersweet time, but we are looking forward to what God has in store for our family. We only want His best and it has been made quite obvious that it isn't for us to stay in this house. Hopefully, our house will sell quickly and we will be able to find a new place to call home for these busy boys.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Booking It...

Since reading books is something I really enjoy doing, I decided to join Life As Mom in her quest to read more in 2010. I'm more into the non-fiction books and rarely read anything fiction. The categories I like to read have to do with my relationship with God & others, family life, home management, money management, and probably a million other topics. I guess it just depends on what I'm interested in at the moment.

I have a good supply of books at home that have been given to me, and I also check out books from the public library as well as our church library. I rarely ever buy any books, but I am hoping to buy a few Dave Ramsey books this year.

On the sidebar is a list with links to all the books I've read so far this year. I'll hopefully be adding lots more to that list.
Here are the books that I've read so far. All three were really great books, by the way.

A Cup of Hope (Resting in the Promise of God's Faithfulness) by Emilie Barnes..... This was a really encouraging book by one of my favorite authors, packed with scripture and quotes. Great for when you have anything heavy weighing on your heart and you just need to be reminded of God's promises and faithfulness. It can help lighten your load and get your focus back on where it should be, trusting the Lord, instead of spending your time worrying about things that are beyond your control & feeling like things are hopeless. God does keep His promises. We can rest in that.

Who Got Peanut Butter on My Daily Planner? (Organizing and LOVING Your Days as a Mom) by Cindy Sigler Dagnan..... I love to organize things, but sometimes organizing my day can be a bit overwhelming to me. It can be hard to figure out what to do first when you're being pulled in so many directions. This book is filled with ideas on ways to organize your home & maximize your day in order to get the most out of your time with your family, but was also a good reminder of why I have chosen to stay home with my children in the first place.

Living Well on One Income (In a Two-Income World) by Cynthia Yates..... Yet another book on organizing your life, but also packed with tips on money management, ideas to save money, using up what you have, and taking care of what you plan to keep. I enjoy the author's humor sprinkled throughout the book.

At this point, I'm not planning out what I'm reading in advance. I usually just pick out a book that deals with a topic that's on my mind at the time.

What about you? What good books have you read lately?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saving Money by Buying Less

This month, I am focusing on buying less and using up what I already have. Here are a few articles from Money Saving Mom with some great ideas and inspiration:

How Buying Less Can Set You Free

The Pantry Challenge

Using What You Have

I'm looking forward to the challenge of coming up with creative ways to use up what I already have!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Family Manager's Creed

"I don't want to be a tightwad or a spendthrift.
I want to be smart.
I want to celebrate life,
to surround myself with beauty,
and to be content in whatever state I am in.
I want to manage my finances,
to organize my routine,
and to use my possessions wisely.
I want to budget resources and time,
to help others,
and to bring glory to God."

From the book, Living Well on One Income in a Two-Income World, by Cynthia Yates
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