Swap-Bot: Join up for great exchanges!

I found swap-bot about a month or so ago, and I'm already hooked!  It's a super fun site if you love exchanging handmade crafts or pen-pal type items.  There are a lot of really cool swaps going on and I've already participated in several.  I've done an ATC swap, granny square swaps, new craft info links, stickers, and several more.  Now I'm starting to host my own swaps and would love for you to check it out.  It's newbie friendly ;)

U.S. only version:

Speaking of newbie, if you have not joined the site yet (it's free to join), there is some very useful info you need to read first.  It helps to explain it a bit and get you started.  Newbies are only allowed to join 5 swaps at a time until they have been rated for and sent 5 swaps.  Here is the links for info you should check out:

Even if you're not the crafty type, there are other great swaps too that don't involve making things.  Be sure to check it out and join my swaps. I'm going to be listing more as well, so will put up another post with details on them.  One thing I suggest if you are nervous about getting mail from total strangers:  get a post office box.  I already had one, as that's the only way to get mail delivered in our area.  I'm having lots of fun and hope you join up!  If you have any questions feel free to message or email me or post questions below.

Wordless Wednesday: The Finished Products




Wordless Wednesday: Easy as Pie!




More Blog Giveaways!

This is addicting!  I haven't won anything yet, but I can keep hoping.  Here are some more great blog giveaways going on right now:

Note:  I'm going to be updating this as I go through them.

About A Mom
Prize:  Mertado Plus Blanket

Being MVP
Prize:  Shimmer & Bliss Scarf
Prize:  I See Me!  children's personalized book
Prize:  Magic Green School Bus
Prize:  Gourmet Gift Basket

Granny Loves Gift Baskets
Prize:  Choice of $25 Best Buy E-Gift Card (U.S. Only), or $25 Amazon.com E-Gift Card, or $25 via PayPal (WorldWide)
Also check out:  http://www.tanga.com/ for great daily deals!

Call for Review Bloggers!

Diamond Candles is looking for 100 bloggers to review their product!  Also for giveaways.  These are unique soy candles with a great ring surprise hidden inside.  Be sure to check out all the details here:


Saving Money at the Library?

This post is part of the Frugal Friday Hop hosted by Frugal Experiments

Does your library hold many book sales?  I had forgotten about these till I saw our local libraries have a few books up for sale nearly all the time.  They keep a cart in the main entry way with a small selection of books and magazines for sale.  Our libraries in this area are quite small, but there are several of them.

Library book sales may not give you brand new books, but they can supply your book obsession for very cheap!  If you do have a book obsession like I do that is.  I'm very lucky that my husband loves to read too, so he doesn't complain about my large selection of books!

This past week I stopped by a couple of the libraries here and found a great bunch!  For only $3.00!!  Yes that's right, was $1.00 per bag...as much as you can fit in.  Just in case you're interested here is what I found:

Kaleidoscope by Danielle Steel
Irresistible Forces by Danielle Steel
Granny Dan by Danielle Steel
Mother Earth, Father Sky by Sue Harrison
Zeke and Ned by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana
Scarlett (Sequel to Gone with the Wind) by Alexandra Ripley
Northern Lights by Nora Roberts
Texas! by Dana Fuller Ross
The Wandering Hill by Larry McMurtry
The UnQuiet by J.D. Robb
The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
False Pretenses by Catherine Coulter
The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
Emmy's Equal by Marcia Gruver
The Overlook by Michael Connelly
Meed Me in Venice by Elizabeth Adler
Step on a Crack by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
Shadow Dance by Julie Garwood
Francesca's Kitchen by Peter Pezzelli
The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Talking Walls by Margy Burns Knight, Illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien
5 Craftworks magazines
6 The Cross Stitcher magazine
2 Create & Decorate magazines
3 Crafting Traditions magazines
4 The Quilter magazines
3 PaperWorks magazines
4 Taste of Home magazines
6 Cooking Light magazines

Blogorama Bonanza Sign Ups are OPEN!

Blogorama Bonanza is ALMOST HERE!!! Have you signed up yet?

Another great opportunity to participate in a blog giveaway as a blogger or sponsor!

Event Details 
**Blogorama Bonanza Remix 2012 is being hosted by Jaya's Three of Us GiveawayThe Adventures of J-Man and MillerBug and Generations of Savings!**

- The Blogorama Bonanza Remix 2012 begins at 12:01 am on January 12th and ends at 11:59 pm on January 19th.

- Each participating blog is responsible for securing a prize package valued at $25 or more.  You are welcome to sponsor your own giveaway!  Some great places to find giveaway sponsors are Profnet, Pitchrate, Bloggerdise, and Reporter Connection.

- All blogs will be required to post the linky for the event which allows entrants to "hop" from blog to blog and enter to win great prizes!

- Each blog will have their own theme to make prize packages easily identifiable for entrants!

This is a HUGE event that will consist of up to 200 blogs coming together to bring you great giveaways of fantastic products! Be sure to spread the news about Blogorama Bonanza 2012 on your blog by posting about it, sharing on Facebook and Twitter and inviting your bloggy friends to join!

This event will be heavily promoted by the host blogs!  We are looking forward to a successful event full of fun, friends and fantastic prizes!

Sign up Information
For full information on this event and how to sign up please read the entire original post here:

Bloggers and Sponsors Wanted for Hopping for your Honey Giveaway Blog Hop

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I am quite excited!  This is going to be the first blog hop/giveaway that I'm trying out for.  Please be sure to check it out if you want to participate!

Couponing and Reviewing in TexasIf Only Life Could Be That Simple , Going Crazy, Wanna Go?, and Whirlwind of Surprises will host their first ever “Hopping for your Honey” giveaway blog hop!  They are looking for sponsors and bloggers to participate.  They are also looking for any bloggers who would like to be co-hosts.

If your a blogger, you would want to participate to
  • increase traffic and followers to your blog, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media site
  • increase your exposure
  • meet other bloggers
  • HAVE FUN and win a cash prize!
If your a sponsor, you would want to participate to
  • increase exposure of your product
  • increase traffic to your site and other social media sites

Blog Giveaways ~ My new obsession

My friend, Megan, introduced me to blog giveaways recently and I'm officially hooked.  I haven't won anything yet because I just started them and most of the submission deadlines haven't passed.  But I'm finding all sorts of great things that bloggers are giving away for free!  All you have to do is follow a checklist they supply with things such as:  follow their blog, like their page on facebook, follow them on twitter, tweet their contest on twitter...and other such things.  I'm going on legit sites only that I've found recommended.  I'm sure there are some out there that aren't very trust worthy, so just have to be careful.

Now Megan's site is here:

And the post that introduced me to my first giveway is:

This is a Christmas Treasure Train, that includes a blog giveaway hop and treasure hunt.  You can join all 24 of the giveaways or do as I've done and just join the ones you are interested in.  Here are a few I've submitted to so far:

The Mama Zone
Prize:  My Memories Suite (digital scrapbook software)

Laughter Does the Heart Good
Prize:  Southern Living At Home Hemingway Hurricane

Susan Heim on Parenting
Prize:  Skylanders Spyro's Adventure Starter Pack

About A Mom
Prize:  ReCon 6.0 Programmable Rover

At The Maple Table
Prize:  $25 Amazon Gift Certificate

Couponing Texas
Prize:  Pink Monogram Gift
Prize:  Stampin' Up Sweet Pressed Cookie Stamps

A Gal Needs...
Prize:  Christmas Classic Gourmet Gift Basket

I will add more to this post as I enter more!  Finding some great stuff, even if I only win one thing that would be great!  Of course, one can always hope for more ;)

What I'm Thankful For ~ Thanksgiving 2011

This year for Thanksgiving
So much I'm thankful for.
Sometimes its hard to see past
The rough times we endure.

But this year I have come
To appreciate the things
That may seem so small
But happiness they bring.

I'm thankful for my family
Without whom I'd be lost;
For the times they've stood beside me
When grey hairs it did them cost.

I'm thankful for a husband
Who loves me more than I can say.
And is there for me always
In each and every way.

I'm thankful for our son
And all the joy he brings.
Along with all the silly things
He says and funny songs he sings.

I'm thankful for the blessings
That God has given us
Even when we don't deserve it
He sees beyond our fuss.

I'm thankful for so many things
I don't know where to start
But if you're on my friends list
Know I'm thankful for your part!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Couponing & Comparison Shopping - Realistic or Absurd?

For us it has become a necessity.  Luckily I my inner dweeb enjoys the challenge of figuring out which store has the best deals every 2 weeks on grocery day and finding coupons around the internet and in store ads that I can use to help lower the cost even more.

Two weeks ago began my official start of couponing and comparison shopping.  I was desperate to save money somewhere and have seen and heard about all these people that save TONS of money with extreme couponing. While I know I don't have the time or the resources to go the extreme route I figured surely I could at least save a little!  The first thing I did was call all the grocery stores in the area asking several questions:  Did they take manufacturer coupons (all did), if they price matched (only Walmart does that), if they double coupons (no one does that anymore I guess), and if they had a store discount card (only Smith's and Alco have it).

Next I compared normal every day prices between all the stores in the area.  Walmart has gone up on everything lately and isn't the cheapest anymore on many things, at least in this area.  But that varies from item to item and week to week.  So now what I've started doing is to gather up the store newspaper ads every other week on pay day and go through them comparing prices.

I make a lit of things we HAVE to have first...toilet paper, milk, etc.  Then I go through all the store ads and find if any of them are on sale and where I can get them cheapest.  Then I look at other things on sale and write down what is cheapest and where so I know where to buy all the other food to stock us up as much as possible for the next two weeks.

After that I start browsing internet coupon sites.  A few of my favorites:

Now some of these direct you to other coupon sites too.  Also many repeat coupons but that is a good thing because some only allow you to print a certain coupon once.  So if you want two of an item you can typically print the similar coupon from two different sites.  Its not "allowed" to copy or make several copies of the exact same coupon but from what I can tell, printing a similar coupon from two different sites is ok.  I could be wrong on that though.

After finding and printing all the coupons I need, typically for items I already have on my shopping list or some other good deals I find that I think we need, I cut all the coupons out and sort them by coupon type.   Like I said:  inner dweeb.

At this point I have my grocery shopping list for the stores in the area, considering I don't want to waste more gas by driving to several than I'll save in coupons, I keep my shopping trips to stores near each other.  I pack up my grocery lists and coupons and I'm ready to go.  How long does all this take me to this point?  Only about 2 hours total.

So, that's what I've been doing so far.  I'm sure I'll learn more tricks and tips as I go along.  I'm not an extreme coupon-er by any means.  As I said above, I don't have time for that, nor do I live in an area where I could really take advantage of it.  However, I have been able to save quite a bit!  I was going to show that in this post but I think I'll write a separate one as this is getting lengthy already.

Maybe this will help some of you with some ideas on how to comparison shop and find good coupons.  Or maybe some of you have some great tips I could benefit from!  If so please leave a comment!  I'm officially addicted!!

Operation Organize Week 2

So I have to say the tips from the first week were actually quite helpful!  I've been keeping a checklist on the fridge, right where I"ll see it every time I walk through the kitchen.

Week 2 is Organize Your Priorities

Goodness knows I don't do a very good job of that.  One very important Priority will always come first, although I certainly struggle with that on a day to day basis.

Week 2 Goals:

  • Schedule priorities into planner
  • Learn to say no!
Learn to say no...hmmm...now there's a thought.  I have all these fantastic ideas and things I want to do.  I may even get started on a few, but then...thats as far as  it gets.

Here's to another week of getting more organized!

Operation Organize Week 1

Yes I know, I haven't updated in months!  I keep wanting to and get sidetracked, but that's how life is right?  I have tons of things I have wanted to blog about but just haven't done it!  Anyhow, better late than never and besides I'm not supposed to be beating myself up over not blogging...

Sometimes I can be so very organized.  Most of the time I am a complete pack rat and can't find anything I need.  Just ask my husband.  I found this book I've been wanting to buy for some time at Barnes & Noble bookstore last week:  "Organize Now!" by Jennifer Ford Berry.  It gives you a week by week system to help clear up clutter.  Now I'm a bit of a dork (ok a big HUGE dork) so this book has me all excited.  For some reason I sometimes need a step by step guide because otherwise my poor brain just runs in circles and can't figure out where to start.

You can find the book online here by the way:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/organize-now-jennifer-ford-berry/1100081564?ean=9781440308635&itm=1&usri=organize%2bnow%2ba%2bweek%2bby%2bweek%2bguide%2bto%2bsimplify

I bought it in the store for $5 more than I could have got it for online, but saved shipping so I guess its all good.

So week 1 is all about organizing "your mind and life vision".  Good luck with that right?  Part of the suggestions, just like most "self help" books, is to start a journal and I figured I'd just use my blog as a journal.  Not that I think everyone wants to read my crazy ramblings, but because this way I'm a bit more motivated to stick with it.  Hopefully this will help.  I get all these grand ideas and things I want to do and usually don't get past the planning stage.  Its rather frustrating but I have no one to blame but myself for that.

There are several goals for this first week and I don't want to list them all but here I'll list a few that I think I'll have particular trouble with and want to work on especially.  Just getting home from visiting in Ohio and having a wonderful time at Yellow Springs, these goals seem a bit trivial to the greater goals I have but certainly important in their own way, even if not near as important!

Week 1 Goals:

  • Write a To Do list each morning about what I need or want to get done that day.
  • Schedule time to exercise.  (This one won't be easy but can use it as time to play outside with Jordan)
  • Set goals and break them down into smaller, achievable daily To Do's.
Sounds pretty easy right?  All about getting in a routine and sticking with it.  Something I usually start out ok with but quickly get out of.  So, dear readers, that is why I've decided to share this with you...makes me a bit more responsible, at least in my own mind, than I would be if I just kept it all to myself.

Thank you for reading my rather dorky, long post.  Now wish me luck :P

Let it Grow, Let it Grow, Let it Grow!

This time of year is so nice, when its warming up and we can start spending more time outside.  I've always wanted to have my own flower garden, and now that I finally have a place of my own I can actually work on planning one.  My dream is to have lots of big, gorgeous flower beds eventually, but that takes time and money so I'm starting small.

Flower Starts #1

A couple of weeks ago we went to the nursery/greenhouse on the edge of town and picked up some perennials, not much just a few, but enough to get me started.  Then last week we bought some seeds at Walmart along with a couple great little "greenhouse" flower/plant starter.  I love using these things out here because its still snowing through April, so we can start our gardens inside and then move them out in May or June when the weather finally stays warmer.  Of course thats a bit of a shock to their system as they go from inside temps to broiling outside in the summer.

Flower Starts #2

So this year in addition to our vegi garden, I finally decided to get some flowers going.  I am clueless when it comes to growing and raising flowers but I've always wanted to learn because I love flower gardens!  My Aunt Charlotte's is amazing if you  know who I'm talking about and have been to see it!  Maybe one day I'll have one that gorgeous.  In the mean time I have a lot of reading & research to do.  

Let it Grown #2

At the greenhouse, I picked up:
  • Snapdragons - a Rocket Mix and a Red Bicolour
  • Apple Blossom New Guinea Impatiens
  • Pansies in Matrix Amethyst Mix
  • Hydrangea
  • and a couple starts of Baby Tears
The Baby's Tears are quite small right now but they grow into this gorgeous green bushing ball, full of teeny tiny little green leaves.  Here is one I saw at the nursery that the lady told me has been growing for 3 years.  I hope I can grow mine this big!

Let it Grown #1

The seeds I bought at Walmart and planted in my little minature greenhouse containers today all look gorgeous, so hopefully I can manage to get a few of them to grow.  I've never heard of half of these lol, but they looked beautiful  They are:
  • Alyssum
  • Forget-Me-Not
  • Impatiens (white ones)
  • Convolvulus
  • Sweat Pea
  • Canterbury Bells
  • Larkspur
And to satisfy my need for lots of herb flavors I also planted some Cilantro (my favorite!) and Rosemary.  So!  I have lots of growing ahead of me, not to mention the vegi garden my hubby was tilling up for us today.  Can't wait to get growing!

Potential Convention Projects


There is this beautiful book I found on amazon.com a while back with fun sewing projects.  Its called Sew & Stow by Betty Oppenheimer, and you can find it here.  As if I needed more projects, I've been trying to teach myself to sew and this book is filled with fun storage-useful projects.  Last night I was flipping through it and found a few things I think would be useful to make for convention.  So thought I'd share them here.


I saw this "Hobo Bandana Bundle" and thought it was adorable but I'm not exactly sure yet what I'd use it for, convention wise...maybe snacks or Jordan's toys.  The book suggests making it with two bandannas which is a great idea but I might make it from scratch with fabric squares instead.


When I saw this "Load-it-Up Laundry Bag", I thought it would be perfect for a shower bag to take to and from the showers.  I used to have a nice bag for that but not sure what happened to it and I love this one.  Might even add some sort of water-resistant liner on the inside and a pocket or two on the outside for toothbrushes and such.


This "Carry-Along Seat" would be great for some cushioning!  I usually just use a pillow and sheet, but this looks fun to make so adding it to my "possible-to-do" list.  Will probably make one for me and Jordan both.


I LOVE this "Best Bedroll Ever"!!  I've been in dire need for a new sleeping bag and while this one isn't anything fancy in the way of warmth or water-proofing, it would be great to sleep along with some blankets if its as cold this year as it was last year at Riverton!

So...I tend to get a lot of ideas and start about half of them, finishing only a few, we'll see how far I get with these!  Not enough time in the day is there?

Jumping In Feet First

Writing is a passion of mine.  Has been for as long as I can remember.  Not that I am that great at it or have anything of importance to say but I do enjoy it and don't do it as much as I'd like.  Reading others blogs for a while now has had me in the mood to start one of my own.  Not exactly sure why other than my love of writing...or maybe I should say rambling.  I tend to do that a lot.  Just ask my hubby.

Anyhow...so I finally decided to sit down and do this.  I don't have a specific topic that I plan to blog about.  Mostly just things going on with our family, projects I'm working on, useful tips or interesting info I stumble across.  Ramblings basically.  Hence the obvious name of the blog.

If I do this like I tend to do every other project I start...I'll go gung-ho at first, then slack off for a bit, then start blogging a bunch again.  But thats ok.  This is meant to be relaxing and stree-free.

I'd love to add others blogs to my blogroll, friends and family who keep a blog.  I'm considering making this blog private so only people I allow can read it, but haven't decided yet.  I'm one of those paranoid people that doesn't like to share my life with the whole world, but rather only with those I know & love.  So we'll see what happens.

Please feel free to comment, ignore, share anything here.  I love interaction but not sure that I'll necessarily post anything worth interacting with.  Thanks for visiting and hope you at least find my nonsensical ramblings somewhat entertaining.

And finally, just because I don't like to read things without any pictures whatsoever (yes thats bad)...here is a random photo: