Tuesday, December 28, 2010

This Is Why I Read Christian Fiction

I recently had the privilege of reading and reviewing Sigmund Brouwer's book Flight of Shadows. I honestly haven't had much time to read fiction lately and what I have managed to pick up I have found poorly written but this book was excellent.

From the beginning it was fast paced and drew me in. I didn't know when I began reading that the book was a sequel so I wasn't fully sure of what was happening but the author did a fabulous job of describing the surroundings and getting me engaged in the story.

The book made me think about the future and what could happen while caring about the characters in the book and how they would survive. My favorite character was Razor - he was quite fascinating and gave the reader hope in a dark world.

It was fast-paced and gritty. It's not for the faint of heart but if you are even remotely interested in sci-fi, thrillers or suspense novels you will enjoy this book.

I had not read the prequel (Broken Angel) before this but have already downloaded it to my Nook in order to catch up - yes I liked Flight of Shadows that much!

Disclaimer: I have recently joined Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group's Blogging for Books program and this is the first book I received free to review - all the opinions are mine.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Review of Fisher-Price iXL Learning System - Blue

Originally submitted at Toys R Us

Fisher-Price iXL Learning System. iXL is the ultimate and coolest handheld learning system designed for kids. The iXL Learning System is as a child's Digital Book Reader, Game Player, Digital Art Book, MP3 Music Player, Notepad and Photo Viewer. The base device comes with pre-loaded software fo...

Awesome toy but HUGE battery user.

By Mom to triplets. from Gainesville, VA on 12/27/2010


2out of 5

Pros: Interactive, Educational, Engaging, Lots of Fun

Cons: Huge battery eater

Best Uses: Young Children, Entertainment

Describe Yourself: Stay At Home Parent, Parent Of Two Or More Children, Parent Of Multiples (Twins etc)

Was this a gift?: Yes

I bought three iXLs for my triplets for Christmas and they love them. Other than running into high traffic on Christmas we didn't have a problem downloading the software or setting the systems. I did purchase 4 games and was disappointed to find that the system could only hold 3 due to lack of space but we got a full 3 games on and my girls were happy.

My biggest disappointment is how fast the system goes through batteries. It's AWFUL!! With 3 systems I had already used 12 batteries on Christmas but just hours after they started using them they all died and we had to replace them. Two days later I have already gone through 28 batteries and one of them has just died again and that one was 2 hours after we put new batteries in!!

I thought this would be good for car trips and playing at home but now unless I want to invest a fortune in batteries - whether buying new or reusable - my girls can't use them often.

Very frustrated.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas To All!

Forgive my absence I have been busy celebrating Christmas with my family. I hope you had a wonderful holiday as well as a blessed new year.

I will return to blogging in the New Year. For the next few days I will be spending time with my family!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

CVS Trip - My Slight Glade Candle Addiction

Sad, but true. If there's a sale on Glade candles I'm there. The French Vanilla just smells so good :) And then there's the two scents in one: creamy custard and apple - LOVE it! Plus, our church is sponsoring a missionary family and they have given us a list of items that they do not have readily available in the country they are going to. Candles are on their list so even though I do have a huge addiction I'm donating at least half of the candles I've picked up in the last few weeks to this family.

Here's what I got:

I spent: $36.07
And saved: $57.54 (including a $5.00 ECB that I had)
And earned: $17.00 in ECB's!!

What I got:

Duracell Batteries
- regular price: $5.48
- sale price: $2.99
- used 6 $1.50 off coupons from RP 11/14 and RP 12/12
- after spending $15 I earned a $5.00 ECB
- so my total after sales, coupons and ECB's is $3.94 or $0.66/each!!

Oral-B Satin Floss
- regular price: $4.39
- sale price: $2.99
- used $1.00 off coupon from PG 11/28
- earned $2.00 back in ECB's
- final price: FREE

And my Glade candles :) I got diffusers as well.
- regular price: $10.99 for the diffusers; $4.29 for the candles
- sale price: $6.00 for the diffusers; $2.50 for the candles
- used Buy 1 Get 1 free diffusers from SS 11/17
- used $1.00/2 Glade candles from Coupons.com - for this one I recommend going through Swagbucks and printing a coupon that way - then you will earn another 10 Swagbucks just for using your coupon!
- I earned $3.00 for every $10.00 spent on Glade - for the diffusers I spent $3.00 for 2 after coupons and ECB's; and for the candles I spent $6.00 for 4 after coupons - certainly makes it easy to donate them!

Batteries are a must for our Christmas Day and the candles make every holiday celebration smell better so I was thrilled to get such a great deal this week!!

Coupon match-ups are from Southern Savers and the Swagbucks link does take you to Swagbucks but if you sign up it will be under my account. I earn Swagbucks for that - just so everyone knows!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

I certainly didn't mean to go a whole week without posting but life gets so incredibly crazy this time of year. I will be sure and update soon about shopping adventures but for now here's my weekly menu plan!

Monday: Chicken Taco Bake

Tuesday: Turkey-Biscuit Pot Pie - will have to use chicken but I still think it will be good

Wednesday: Chicken Noodle Soup - it's certainly cold enough for good soup!

Thursday: Spaghetti and Meatballs - have a kids Christmas performance that night - dinner must be simple!!

Friday: Easy Pleasing Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli

Saturday: Ground Beef and Twice-Baked Potato Pie - calls for different mashed potatoes but I think I will just use the leftovers from Tuesday

Sunday: Barbecue Chili with Corn

Monday, December 6, 2010

Menu Planning Monday

The past two weeks I haven't made up much of a menu plan. I did use the recipes that I had planned for the month but nothing stayed where it was and everything changed :) Plus we ate out a time or two more than I had expected. But now it's the first of the month and I'm back on track once again. At least till next week...

Monday: Christmas Chicken Burrito Bundles with Rice

Tuesday: Angel Chicken

Wednesday: Creamy Baked Ziti

Thursday: Easy Slow-Cooker Beef Stew

Friday: Slow Cooker Cheesy Potato Soup

Saturday: Burger 'N Fries Pot Pie - This just sounds too interesting to pass up :) I think I will add some veggies to the mix to give it just a little something more! We'll see if the kids eat it...

Sunday: Church Women's Christmas Tea (yummy dinner out for me!!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas, Only Cheaper

I haven't had a ton of time to read and catch-up on blogs but I did get a chance to check out one of my favorites: Moneywise Moms and she had a post on Making Holiday Money so while I wasn't looking to make money per se it did get me thinking about how I could get christmas gifts cheaper or even free.

Before the Christmas season begins we already set a budget for ourselves - how much we will spend on each child and ourselves and I'm pretty strict about it. But I love Christmas and I love having lots of wrapped gifts under the tree :) Even if it's a small stocking stuffer I'll wrap it. Hey, Christmas comes just once a year and it's a day for fun!! So I do like to get what I can for the kids without going over budget.

How do I save?

Get items FREE! Yep, FREE!

2 Ways I do this:

1. Swagbucks. I know I mentioned this recently but this has really helped my holiday shopping. Most recently I was able to get free books for my kids from Amazon for a multiples holiday party that we had this evening. Every year at the party Santa gives each kid a wrapped book (purchased by mom and dad of course). By combining a sale at Amazon (buy 3 get 1 free) and my Swagbucks I got the kids books FREE!!

Search & Win

2. Paper Back Swap. I love Paper Back Swap! You set up an account and then list books in your home that you wish to get rid of. When people ask for your books you ship them - simple as that. You pay for postage going out but when the person receives the book they indicate that they have and you receive a credit. Every credit is a free book for you. I was just able to order 3 books FREE for my daughter for Christmas. All three were on her list and I didn't have to pay a penny for them!! And I have 8 credits left from books I mailed months ago - gives me 8 more free books to come!

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

Other ways to save:

3. Shop places that give gift cards back for what you spend. We all know this works with CVS and Rite Aid but other places are giving gift cards when you spend. On Black Friday I spent money at Target earning me a $10 gift card allowing me to pick up a gift for my daughter for free. When you're price checking look for places that give you rewards :)

4. If you're already shopping Rite Aid consider picking up a few toy items for the kids in your life (or other items) at great prices - some even earn +Up Rewards but better yet Rite Aid is giving you money back when you spend money in their store! Go HERE for details.

5. Use coupons! I'm sure you all know this already :) Whenever I possibly can I use a money off coupon even if it's just a coupon for free shipping. Every dollar counts.

I may be a tightwad but I love to give. I love to celebrate. Hey, I love getting gifts too! I just don't want to spend a fortune to do it.

What ways are you saving this Christmas season?