Budget Shopping: After-Christmas Sales

Confession: The majority of the presents under our tree this year were not bought in 2010.

Yes, they were brand new.

No, I didn’t pay a lot of money for them.

Want me to reveal my budget Christmas secrets?

I thought you would!

The key to being a Smart Budget Shopper is to always be on the lookout for great deals and steals. I often take advantage of After-Christmas Sales and start buying for the next year.  I don’t limit myself to just Christmas gifts. I often buy for birthday parties I know we’ll get invited to, teacher gifts for Parent’s Day Out, etc.

By purchasing gifts ahead of time…

  • I avoid the crowds of the mall
  • I eliminate impulse buying to meet the gift deadline
  • I always have something tucked away for an unexpected gift that I might need
  • Most importantly, I save my family money in the long run!

It’s the only way I shop.

One of my favorite After-Christmas Sales I’ll be taking advantage of….

I love Dayspring products! The Clearance section is incredible right now!

I love the Jesus is the Gift – Metal Tray. It’s only $7.49!

Jesus is the Gift - Metal TrayI have the 13.5″ Serving Platter – Jesus Is The Gift – John 3:16 and love it! It’s sitting on my mantle this very second! It’s only $8.49!

13.5And the Jesus is the Gift – Ribbon and Cross Ornament is only $1.75!  (75% off)

Jesus is the Gift - Ribbon and Cross OrnamentIf I had extra money to spend on a gift just for me, I would purchase the Nativity Hurricane Candle Holder Trio. Just look at it…it’s on sale too!

Nativity Hurricane Candle Holder Trio

While I was checking out the Dayspring site, I noticed they have FREE SHIPPING on orders of $50 or more (For US Residents only).

Enjoy the After-Christmas Sales!

Disclosure: This post does contain affiliate links. By purchasing through these links, you help support our family’s adoption. I only promote products I personally use and love.

WFMW: Updating Passwords Online

I’ve learned this tip the hard way this week—my personal email was hacked. There are seriously crazy circumstances….some you wouldn’t believe if I told you. I won’t go into details publicly for the safety of everyone involved, but let’s just say a hacker is richer somewhere in the world and I’ve talked to the FBI. (A note to my email hacker: Shame on you! How dare you!)

And now a public service announcement….

Update your online passwords…often! (And a whole bunch of other online password safety tips we’ve all heard a million times, but never allow to sink in because it seems like such a hassle.)

If you use Google Calendar, you can set up reminders for recurring tasks. Decide how often you want to update your passwords and set the reminder!

If you don’t use Google Calendar, do this task with another of recurring event in your life to automatically remind yourself….like when paying bills or making the budget. Write it on your calendar, your mirror, your forehead. Heck, get a tattoo if that will help. Do something…anything to help you remember!

Thanks for listening to my public service announcement….back to our regularly scheduled programming :)

Linked to: Works For Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family my friends starting The Mercy House in Kenya.

WFMW: Toddler Chores

What I didn’t show you during my Mommy & Me:Rainbow Rice post

The easy way to clean-up: give your child the dustbuster and let them go to town!

Yep, works for me!


Mommy & Me: Rainbow Rice

Rainbow Rice

Jonah and I had some rainbow fun! We used the same method we used last year for dying pasta to mix up a batch of Rainbow Rice. Jonah has been having loads of fun moving rainbow rice with his little bulldozer from his Nana. We’ve even had a treasure hunt in the rice!

Mixing Blue Rice

Why rainbow rice?

  • It’s a Sensory Integration Activity. To put it plainly, it’s using your senses to explore and help your brain process the world around you. This particular activity is a tactile activity because it involves textures. Some children have trouble processing in this area and need sensory integration therapy. I think most “normal” children (and adults, too!) fluctuate between different ends of the sensory processing spectrum depending on the day. I know I do!
  • It’s fun!
  • It’s soothing (kinda like letting sand pass through your fingers)
  • It’s less messy than sand. (Plus, Jonah hates sand. I’m hoping we can work ourselves up to using sand eventually.) 
  • It’s exploring! Here are a handful of skills involved: Cause/Effect, pouring, scooping, using funnels, and many more!


Are you ready for another link-up?

Let’s link up and highlight the fun things we’re doing to teach our little ones their “ABC’s and 123’s”. It doesn’t need to be fancy, sometimes the simplest of things make the biggest impact with our children!

And for a little incentive…
There’s a prize for someone that links up this week!
One winner will receive a copy of the new Really Woolly Kids DVD “Trusting In The Shepherd” from Dayspring. (I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow! It’s great!)
A few link-up guidelines:
  • Please link to your post’s permalink, not your blog’s url. (To find the permalink of your post, click on the title of your post. This will make the url point to your specific post. Copy and paste this new link to place in the link sign-up form.)
  • If you do not link to your specific post, your link will be deleted. Sorry, but we don’t want to search for your activities when visiting your blog. I’m just sayin’….
  • Try not to post and run. The whole point to a party is to mingle, comment, and make new friends. Comments make people smile and feel all happy inside. Who knows, you may just find your new favorite blog this way. I know I do!
  • Place the button or a link here in your post. Thanks!

What if I don’t have a blog?

Post something on our Facebook Page and leave a comment on this post telling us you did to be entered into the giveaway!

Ok, let’s see what you’ve got!
Here is the button code for you to grab for today’s linky:

Thoughts On Canning…

Ball Canning Jar 2

{photo credit: Susan Liepa via flickr}

  1.  Wear tennis shoes. Your feet and back will thank you.
  2. Drink lots of water. I got lost in the task at hand and realized I was soooooo thirsty. Plus, if you drink lots of water, you’ll have a built-in break :)
  3. Bring in the reinforcements! It’s always more fun to have an extra hand or two to stir something. Even if it’s someone to stand to the side and make you laugh. (Right, Lori?)
  4. Canning is hard work, but so worth it! In one day we had 30 quarts of homemade applesauce and 20 pint jars of Apple Jelly. The applesauce should last us over a year! Since this is the first time I’ve canned jelly, I’m not sure how long it will last us…from the taste of it, not too long! Not too shabby if I do say so myself.
  5. Share the bounty. People love homemade things. To know that you thought enough about them to share your hard-earned results speaks volumes. Take the time to make it pretty and attach a handwritten note…warm fuzzies.
  6. Learn from a pro. I am gleaning all of the tips and tricks I can from my Granny-in-law about canning. In the meantime, God has illuminated some of the secret places of my heart that I thought were decorated so nicely and is rearranging my heart spaces, like only He can. Funny how He can shine a flashlight into the dark corners of your heart and point out the “cobwebs” lurking in the corners, huh?

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
       test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,
       and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139: 23-24

A Canning Girl’s Best Friend…

Tennis Shoes.
Running Shoes

(Photo Credit: Sarowen...Because I'm too tired to take a picture of my own shoes.)

10 Ideas for Frugal Fall Fun

  1. Go Apple Picking! Last year, we canned homemade applesauce. We’re still enjoying last year’s bounty! You can find local orchards at by searching on pickyourown.org
  2. Go Pumpkin Picking! Most places have hayrides and other fun things going on. You can also search for this on pickyourown.org
  3. Visit the local Farmer’s Market or Craft Fair! This weekend our Sunday newspaper had a list of the area’s Fairs & Festivals from September to December. I’ve highlighted the ones I want to try to visit and wrote them on the calendar. Most are free or cheap! Sometimes it’s just fun to get out and look around!
  4. Take a scenic drive! We live in East Tennessee and love to drive through the mountains. In just a few weeks the leaves will be turning and I can’t wait!
  5. Take a picnic to a local park. Now that the weather will be cooling off (fingers crossed), you’ll be able to enjoy staying outside longer!
  6. Try geocaching! This is something I’ve been wanting to try out. The only equipment you need is a GPS. If you have boys, they would definitely get into this treasure hunting experience!
  7. Be a “tourist in your own town” and explore! Chattanooga (where we live) has all sorts of fun things to do, it’s just a matter of seeking them out.
  8. Rake leaves…and jump in them! Better yet, rake leaves for an elderly person and teach your children about serving others!
  9. Go camping! Even if it’s only in your backyard, it would be so much fun and makes memories!
  10. Go to a drive-in movie! We’ve got one in the area, but it was just too hot during the summer time. Now that it is cooling off, we’ll head on over.

oops…I had a few more ideas!
11. Take advantage of Fall Carnivals put on schools or churches! Kids & Carnival Games…need I say more?
12. Community Football Games! If you don’t have a player in your family, maybe someone you know has a kid in a football league you could go watch.
13. Get a head start on homemade Christmas gifts! So many of us vow to make gifts, but then wait till the last minute to get started. Why not start early and breath easier during the over-scheduled holiday season? Here’s a tutorial to help get you started: Handprint Snowmen Ornament