Friday, September 22, 2017

Matthew West's All In Album -- Power! Love! Sound Mind!

I have always loved Matthew West's albums.  They deal with real life.  They give hope, and they have always met or exceeded my expectations.  So when I was given the opportunity to review this album, I immediately was excited about it.

The Album is called All In, but I'm torn between what songs are my favorite.  I believe I have a new "anthem" for my life at the present.  But I'm thinking it's going to be three songs right in a row on this CD.

Track 10:  Power Love Sound Mind
Track 11:  Never Ever Give Up
Track 12:  Dream Again

While I have to admit that one thing that makes these three tracks especially stand out to me is my state is mentioned in Never Ever Give Up.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Use Your Talents for a Christmas Without Debt!

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Do you ever get to the holiday season and panic?  Wonder where the money is going to come from to buy gifts, decorations, cards, and all the foods and candies that in our mind seem to make our December the most costly month of the year?  Do you wonder how you can cut down on the stress of the holiday and do more than just survive but actually do something you haven't done since you were a child -- ENJOY Christmas to the fullest?

The goal of this series is to arrive at Christmas without debt and to be better prepared.  Christmas isn't an emergency, and it's something we can plan for, and planning takes preparation and time.  This month I'm going to focus on homemade gifts.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Money Challenge by Art Rainer

This post contains referral links.

The Money Challenge:  30 Days of Discovering God's Design for You and Your Money by Art Rainer is a short book, but stuffed with content.   At only 148 pages (and in a smaller sized hardcover book, at that!), this book is an easy read to get anyone started on their financial plan.

Being a savings and finance blogger, there was nothing new to me here, but I like to review books like this to let my readers see what is out there as resources.  This book is one that I would highly recommend.

Even though I am good with money, I am not where I would like to be in life with my bank account.  Part of that is because I took care of my sick mother for so long, meaning I couldn't get a job outside the house.  So, I feel like I'm starting again when it comes to money.  I'm sure I'm not the only one in mid-life like this.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

College Then and College Now

This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.  May contain referral links.

School is in full swing at the university town near me.  I'm in the city about once a week and I always see college students with their backpacks full of books, hearts full of dreams and a mobile phone in hand.

As I look at the new generation of students at my Alma Mater, I have to think back to my days of school in a non-tech world.  I not only had to go to a computer lab to check e-mail as no one had computers at that time, but we also had to take a floppy disk with us to be able to access our e-mail.  We were unreachable unless we were in our dorm room, and the only way we could watch a movie was to go out and rent something on VHS.

So how has technology changed how one goes to school?  Many different ways.  I remember taking an off campus class when I was in college.  The lectures were on TV on the public TV station in the early morning hours.  I had to set my VCR to tape them.  (And I waited until near the end of the semester and my VHS tape broke, so I wasn't able to access any lectures!  I still made a C in the class even though I basically didn't go all semester.)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gift Ideas for Missionaries. Overseas Workers, And Other ExPatriots

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links where I earn a small percentage of a sale at no additional cost to you.

Because of shipping times, if you want to send your favorite (or a random!) missionary who is overseas a package for Christmas, you better get the package ready soon.  Don't know what to send? This is an adapted list of things friends of mine who are missionaries would LOVE to receive in a package from home.  Some things are inexpensive and can't be bought overseas, but might be heavy and cost more to ship.  But there are some things that are smaller and light weight that would be less expensive to mail.

Electronic Gifts:
Amazon Gift cards -- most missionaries have a Kindle.  Or they could download a new album.  You can send a gift card in as little as $1, so don't think you have to spend a lot.  If several people sent a small amount, they could get a new book.

Paypal or Money -- send them some cash -- they may live in a place that sounds exotic to us, but they don't always have the resources to do something fun in their host country.  You could even say "Take the kids to McDonalds for dinner" or "treat yourselves to a date night" or just tell them to do something fun.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Planning a Wedding that Honors Christ

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links

Fifteen years ago, I went to what I considered the most Christian wedding I ever experienced.  From the beginning to the end of the ceremony, it honestly felt as if it was a church service.  After that, I always wanted to fashion my wedding after it.  When I was newly engaged, I got advice from lots of people as to what I should do, what books, planners, etc., were most helpful, but believe it or not, the one I used the most was A Christ Centered Wedding.  This book included everything I had hoped to find in a Christian wedding planning book, and also gave my husband to be and I some great discussions as to what we hoped to accomplish at the wedding and reception -- and some things we wanted to leave out -- such as alcohol and dancing -- and how to handle that with people who put those expectations on our wedding.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Book Review: Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner

FTC disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  

Growing up in church I was taught the importance of being meek and mild.  The verse in  First Peter where women should have a gentle and quiet spirit was impressed on me.  I wasn’t the most lady-like girl in the youth group and I always thought I was failing to live up to what God expected from me.  So when I saw that Moody Publishers was offering Fierce Women:  The Power of a Soft Warrior by Kimberly Wagner for review, I couldn’t wait to request it.

The author believes that God has instilled a fierceness within every woman.  I have always been a go-getter and this really interested me -- what if my personality isn’t something to always squelch but to embrace as God-given?  The thought really intrigued me.

Yet, this was a book much about marriage.   I’m not married, but I am dating a wonderful man.  Learning about what works and doesn’t work in marriage is something that I find helpful at this stage because I feel like what I learn now is preparation.  Sort of like studying for an exam.  Yet, even with this being a book about marriage, I still gleaned a lot of wisdom from this volume especially since I wanted to see how to be godly and fierce at the same time.

I loved the list of how humility affects a fierce woman.  I think the defining one for me is she’s a soft warrior.  Not harsh.  She gets the job done in her own kind way.   Other advice she gives through the book is to watch how we give advice to men (I’m learning that already.  I might be excited about a completed project and rattle on about that, but instead of it sounding like I’m just looking forward to completion, it might be interpreted differently by a man.)  I also loved how she described how the marriage relationship parallels Christ and the Church.  This is something I think hasn’t been taught on enough in Christianity. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Get Outside Geocaching-- With Your Phone!

This is a sponsored post from U.S. Cellular.  All opinions are my own.

Did you know it's American Adventures month?  In celebration of it, the National Park Service is waving admittance fees on August 25.  That's right, you can visit a national park for FREE!  Many of the apps I mention in this post are fantastic for helping to explore anywhere outdoors.

One hobby my husband and I enjoy which is NOT allowed in a national park is geocaching.  (Many states allow it in state parks, and some states actually set up geocaches in their parks.) It's a fun app for everyone for your phone.  Geocaches are rated from 1/1 (the easiest) to 5/5 (the most difficult)  Kids really love the adventure as it's like an outdoor  treasure hunt.  All 1/1 geocaches are free on the app, but you need to pay a fee to have access to others.  In addition, all the 1/? caches are wheelchair accessible! Because I have U.S. Cellular as my service provider, their "in the middle of anywhere" service makes it super easy to stay connected to loved ones or to my Geocaching app!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Great Deal on Hamburger Helper and Milk 8/19/17

This post contains affiliate links.

This is certainly a your milage may vary offer, but I just did this deal and I wanted to share it.

I had a $5 off $25 coupon for Dollar General, so I stopped in.  (I'm not even going to mention the savings from that in this offer.)

I found Hamburger Helper on sale for $1 each.
There were $1 off 2 coupons on the boxes.

Buying 4, that cost $2. I bought a gallon of milk for $2.75

Total cost at store was $4.75 for four boxes of Helper and a gallon of milk.

When I got home, I submitted my receipt to to receive $2.75 back on the milk.

Then I went into my SavingStar app and redeemed the rebate for $1 back on 4 Tuna or Hamburger Helpers.

I went into Ibotta and redeemed for 25 cents back on any purchase.

Finally, I went into the Boxtops for Education App and snapped a photo of my receipt for an extra 8 boxtops for the school of my choice.

Final breakdown:
4 Hamburger Helpers = $4
gallon of milk = $2.75
Total:  $6.75

Minus in store coupon of $1 off 2 (use two) $2     $4.75
Minus SavingStar money back = $1                      $3.75
Minus Ibotta money back  = .25                            $3.50
Minus milk refund  = $2.75                                   $0.75

So for 75 cents I bought 4 boxes of Helper, a gallon of milk, and between the Boxtops on the boxes and the ones I collected extra, I earned  $1.20 for the school of my choice.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pizza Hut Rewards & Travel Hack for App Ordering

I received no compensation for this post.  I just wanted to make everyone aware of the points program and the app!

Did you know about the new Pizza Hut "Hut Rewards" program?  Since I love to earn points on all kinds of things, I signed up when I heard about it.  Unfortunately, you can't earn rewards unless you order on the app or online.  (So there goes points for my occasional lunch buffet purchase.) But it's super easy to sign up.  The rewards seem reasonable, too.  I hate "rewards" programs where you have to earn for years to earn anything.  It only takes 200 points to get a free medium pizza, and last night, our $10 order yielded us 36 points.  (Too bad this didn't exist a few months ago when we ordered 4 pizzas to take a a work crew of teenagers who were volunteering time to help repair homes in our area for people who couldn't afford to hire it done, but next year, when I order online, I'll be happy to know our order counts for points!)