Friday, November 30, 2012

Interested in helping some single soldiers?

In case you didn't know, my husband is deployed. They will be returning shortly and I have to say, I can't wait :-) Of course that's probably not a surprise to any of you out there. Now that the time is coming soon, we're trying to get things together to make it easy on all of the soldiers returning. This includes creating welcome home baskets for all of the single soldiers who might not have family here waiting. The actual date of their return is confidential and can't be released which makes it next to impossible for even extended family to make travel arrangements to be here. Could you imagine coming home from an overseas deployment, spending probably the last 72 hours on a plane and countless months away from family, only to return to an empty barracks room? Most likely in the middle of the night where they can't even go to a store to pick any immediate items up? We don't want our heroes to come home to this.

The USO is kindly donating toiletries but we're still in need of many items. The majority of businesses in the area are completely tapped out to be able to donate due to being located near a mega base (Joint Base Lewis McChord) with constant soldiers coming in and out. Because of this, I'm reaching out to you, my followers.

Ideas for donations:
Welcome home letters/card
Bottled Water
Ramen or cup o'noodles
Easy mac
Coffee and Creamer
Small laundry soap
Dryer sheets
Dish soap
Toilet paper
Paper towels
Bed sheets
Anything that will make a house a home

The day my husband left

 Thank you for any and all donations. You are all amazing and I am always astounded at the support out there. If you're interested in donating (and every little bit helps), here are the addresses of where you can mail them:

If mailing though the post office (USPS):

13712 F St
Box 339500, MS 118
JBLM, WA 98433-9500

If mailing though UPS or FedEx:

5-3 Field Artillery Regiment
ATTN: Charlie Battery Rear Detachment
BLDG 13712 F St
Lewis-North, WA 98433

And please make checks payable to: CHARLIE 5-3 FRG (and send to above address depending on carrier)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Powerball dreams

Have you heard about the Powerball drawing tonight? It's up to $550 MILLION DOLLARS! I don't know about you but I rarely if ever buy lotto tickets of any kind. I purchased a couple when we moved back here from Korea (no lotto there,  lol) and other then that I might pick up a random scratch ticket here and there. But even that is rare and few between. But when the winning amount is THAT high, I have to have at least one shot. As miniscule the possibility is of winning, I have no possibility if I don't have any tickets. 

Image from:
Secret confession time. When i'm laying in bed, trying to fall asleep, I daydream about something specifically. At some point in time in my childhood, someone told me that whatever you were thinking about before you fell asleep, you would dream about it. That's when I started daydreaming at night. I have elaborate fantasies (not like that, dirty bird!) of having kids, buying houses, and when I was younger; my wedding day. With the powerball ticket being in play, my fantasy has turned into what I would do if I won...

I debated this last night, on whether I would tell my husband while he was deployed, or wait till he got home. I'm sure the money gets deposited into your account (a shame, no suitcases of cash to go to the bank with) so then maybe I would just wait and see if he checked the account and freaked out? Or perhaps tell him not to check it until he gets home because I was working on a surprise. I would take my SUV and my hubbies car in for all maintenance, repairs and tires replaced. I bought some tires on black friday that are just a tad too small for my SUV but for the price, i'm going to deal. Well now that i'm rich, I wont need to, so I even think about who to donate the tires to. I take my sister shopping, deposit money into my moms bank account anonymously so she can pay off her house, and I don't tell anyone else that I won. I told you, my dreams are fairly elaborate sometimes. I fell asleep at that point, so we'll see where my mind goes tonight, but what would you do with that kind of money? When you spend it elaborately? Share with friends? Keep it a secret? Buy houses on every continent? Or maybe travel to Africa and help AIDS orphans? 

What would you do?

Woolino Sleep Bag Giveaway Event

Baby blankets don't belong in our babies' beds, so how do we keep them warm? There is no better way than a cozy baby sleep sack. Unfortunately so many of those on the market are made of synthetic materials that can cause the baby to overheat and actually increase the risk factor for SIDS. Woolino comes to the rescue by creating all natural 100% Australian merino wool baby sleep bags that keep baby warm at night in any season.  

Woolino merino baby sleep bags have a host of amazing features, from being super easy to clean to having a convenient harness slot to use during travel. It is compact and warm, perfect at home or on the go. Snaps on both shoulders and an inverted zipper make dressing and diaper changes easier. Underarm snaps make it adjustable to fit small babies. Your baby will be comfortable in a Woolino 4 Season baby sleep bag in temperatures ranging from 63 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. It comes with a travel bag, room thermometer, and it is in a plastic-free, ready-to-gift package which makes it perfect for a baby shower or Christmas!

Our Favorite Features: 
  • Fits babies 3 to 24 months
  • Seat belt slot for easy transfer from car to crib
  • Naturally anti-microbial, anti-fungal
  • Naturally fire resistant without the use of harsh chemicals
  • Regulates temperature
  • Made with sustainable and 100% natural Australian merino wool
  • GOTS certified organic cotton outer
  • Machine washable
  • Super soft on baby's skin
Purchase: The 2013 Collection Woolino 4 Season Baby Sleep Bags retail for $119.99 each, you can purchase it on the Woolino website. They also make toddler sleep sacks for kids 2 to 4 years old! The Woolino sleep bags are also available on Amazon

Win One! Woolino is blessing two of you with a 2013 Collection Woolino 4 Season Baby Sleep Bag in size 3 to 24 months, one reader will win Sage and another Spring (both gender neutral).

Special thanks to AnaB Social for hosting this giveaway. Huge thanks to all participating bloggers as well! Giveaway ends December 27th at 12:01 am, open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Thank you!

Disclaimer: Kinda Crunchy Mama is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

World Vision Charity Giveaway

Whether it’s for the tax deduction or the warm fuzzy feeling giving to others generates, most Americans plan to make a charitable donation over the holiday season. In fact, nearly 60 percent of Americans say they’ll donate between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to a survey reported in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
With so many worthy causes, it is difficult to know where the gift can best be used. Gifts to the WorldVision Gift Catalog Maximum Impact Fund are used where resources are most desperately needed, to help children and families in struggling communities around the world. With a financial contribution, the gift giver can select one of 36 Maximum Impact items (a few are listed below) that can be given to a loved one and at the same time help a person in need.

Please consider the unique, life-changing items from World Vision’s Gift Catalog as you start, continue or even complete of your holiday shopping. Here are a few suggestions we would like to offer you:
  • Artisan Beaded Necklace: This glass-bead necklace is handmade in Thailand and can be worn several different ways — even as a multi-strand bracelet.
  • Eco Cold Cup: This popular 16 oz. BPA-free tumbler comes in handy when on the run. Every sip is a reminder of those who’ve been helped.
  • Veggie Tales "Incredible Vegetables" DVD: Heroic adventures and veggie fun for the family movie night! This newest Veggie Tale DVD is an action adventure that teaches kids how to conquer fear through a faith-based message.
  • Plush toys - Gertie Goat, Chuma Chick and Pallu Pig: Gertie, Chuma and Pallu are available exclusively through World Vision and represent farm animals that are donated to children and families around the world and provide a steady supply of nutritious food and the surplus can be sold for extra income.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
They serve close to 100 million people in nearly 100 countries around the world. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

Eight lucky readers will receive one of the following: Artisan Beaded Necklace, Eco Cold Cups, Veggie Tales Incredible Vegetables DVD or a set of plush toys (Gertie Goat, Chuma Chick and Pallu Pig)!

Giveaway ends December 9th at 11:59pm, open to US residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Special thank you to Mom Powered Media bloggers for putting this event together.
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Kinda Crunchy Mama is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  

An educational and fun Christmas list

I have seen a lot of different Christmas lists on different blog sites recently and I thought i'd share my two cents. My son is 4 and will be turning 5 in January and tends to be a little behind the learning curve. Don't get my wrong, my son is smart but he seems to need a little extra time grasping certain concepts and ideas sometimes. He does go to the special needs preschool in our local school district which, on a side note, I can't say enough for. So when it comes time to Christmas and then his birthday, I try to find him items that are educational but something he'll enjoy as well. I also try to find things that hopefully wont end up spread out all over or stuffed into his toy box. I have started putting a lot of his items into either shoebox totes or even gallon size totes, depending on what it is and how many he has. They stay stacked in his closet and all he has to do is go grab one and bring it down to his kids table in the living room, and then he can play with it. When he's done, he puts it away and grabs another one. This has helped tremendously in keeping all of the little parts together and letting them actually get played with.

This is my list of top items to purchase including a few items that he already has and plays with often.

Items we have:
1) Playskool Mr. Potato Head Silly Suitcase (35pcs.) - He loves putting this guy together. We purchased the Silly Suitcase set last Christmas but he has just recently started really playing with it. I actually lucked out and found a Potato Head lot on Craigslist that has 4 potatoes and a ton of pieces including a bunch of Disney character pieces. His only request this year was lots of little presents so I will be wrapping these up into smaller pieces so he has a bunch of presents to open.

2) Melissa & Doug Joey Magnetic Dress-Up He's a boy (obviously) so I got him the Joey set to play with. I don't have an issue with him playing with girl dolls, it just makes it easier for him to relate to since he is a boy after all. I then found a lot of two more girl sets at a local thrift sale and added those to his collection too. He has a lot of fun playing with these. He dresses them up, talks to them, has them talk to each other. It's cute to watch. Did I mention he has a very wild and creative imagination?

3) Melissa & Doug 100-Piece Wood Blocks SetEvery kid needs blocks to play with. These ones are great because they're colored too so you can match up colors with them as well. Adds an extra dimension to play. We did have some issue with my dogs trying to eat them so these really have to stay in their respective tote. lol. 100 blocks easily fits into a shoebox tote.

4) Hexbug - Nano and Hexbug Nano Habitat Set Gideon has one of these but but still needs a habitat. This little bug guy is so much fun to watch run around. He really enjoys it.

Top Items that we don't have but want:
1) K'NEX Lincoln Logs Double T Ranch This is like the blocks above. Every kid needs Lincoln Logs. While they are more expensive then I would like to spend, they're one of those things that last for ever. And nowadays, what doesn't cost more then it should? A great toy for creation and imagination.

2) LEGO Bricks & More I think a lot of things on my list this year are classics. But then again, doesn't that mean that they're the best toys? Gideon has a huge tote of Megabloks and a small container of DUPLO but now that he's getting older, I think it's time to start investing in real legos. There are so may collections out there to purchase but he's not quite to the point of creating a star wars ship or anything crazy. He's more of making cars, ships, and houses. Just the basic stuff.

3) MindWare Imaginets There are a lot of different styles of these out there so find what fits your budget and child but these are great for improving fine motor and visual skills. Gideon has these in his classroom at school and likes to play with them.

4) Marble Run Gideon was recently at a friend's house and his friend had a set of these. He LOVED them. The child figures out how to put them together and then gets to watch his hard work pay off and see the marble travel down. Helps with reasoning skills as the child manipulates his project and learns about basic physics.

5) Gears! Gears! Gears! Super Set Like the marble set above, the child manipulates the gears to create a working project. Uses imagination and creativity for some wholesome fun that I bet even mom & dad will be interested in.

6) Haba Dancing Eggs Game You've probably never heard of this game. I'll have to admit i've never actually seen it played. I came across it while searching for kid games that adults would find fun too and it sounds like a blast. Some of the reviews I read did say it might be a good idea to get two sets though, especially if you have a lot of family members.

7) The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game A really cute game about some squirrels. What else do you need to know? LOL. In case you're wondering though, it helps to develop matching, counting, and fine motor skills.

I do have a few other gifts, specific to my son (he's obsessed with pirates). But that is the majority of his Christmas list. I hope this helps you in finding some great gifts for the kiddos in your life and maybe introduces you to something you hadn't heard of before!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Skincare Giveaway

Pretty Mommies Safe Skincare for Pregnant and Nursing Moms
Did you know it's important to use safe skincare while you're pregnant and breastfeeding?
The Blogging Mamas Network and Pretty Mommies have come together to bring you important information about safe skincare during these special times AND to offer you a chance to win 1 of 4 sets of Pretty Mommies Skincare!
Pretty Mommies Skin Care is an all-natural, physician-based maternity skin care line that has raised the bar to become the new standard in safety and efficacy for pregnant and nursing women.
Pretty Mommies Safe Skincare for Pregnant and Nursing Moms
  • Pretty Mommies not only addresses the challenges due to the hormonal changes associated with motherhood, but also sets a new standard of safety for you and your baby.
  • Contains ingredients such as Rose Hip, Vitamin C, Aloe, Green Tea, Red Tea, Squalane (derived from Olives) and Trichloma Matsutake Singer Extract (Japanese Mushroom).
  • Each ingredient has a specific natural skin care benefit.
All Pretty Mommies Products Are:
  • Formaldehyde FREE
  • Paraben FREE
  • Artificial Fragrance FREE
  • Phthalate FREE
  • Dimethicone FREE
  • Petroleum FREE
  • Ammonium FREE
  • Sulfate FREE
  • Phenoxyethanol FREE
  • Oxybenzone FREE
  • Colorant (Coal Tar Dye) FREE
  • Idebenone FREE
  • Imidazalidol Urea FREE
  • Mineral Oil FREE
  • Methylisothiazolinone FREE
  • Aluminum FREE
  • BHA and BHT FREE
  • DMAE Dimethylaminoethanol FREE
  • Phenonip FREE
  • Talc FREE
  • Triclosan FREE
  • Hydroquinone FREE
Pretty Mommies is a 3 step skin care line - including a cleanser, a skin brightener, and a sunscreen. Although it's specifically formulated to deal with the hormonal imbalances of pregnancy and nursing, EVERYONE can benefit from it's natural ingredients.
To learn even more about each of the 3 products, read the detailed Pretty Mommies Review on According to Jenny.
The Pretty Mommies Skincare Line is available on the Pretty Mommies Website and through selected Physicians Offices. The set retails for $158 or each product can be purchased separately.
Pretty Mommies has recently partnered up with the BabyLove Project - a subscription sampling service that gives new and expecting mothers access to healthy beauty and skincare products in an innovative way. They're currently surveying new and expectant moms, so if that's you - they would love your feedback on this survey!
Pretty Mommies Safe Skincare for Pregnant and Nursing Moms


Pretty Mommies Safe Skincare for Pregnant and Nursing Moms Giveaway
This giveaway is open to US/CAN residents, 18+ only. Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 10th.
To enter, please use the Rafflecopter Form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: Special thanks to Hosts According to Jenny, So Easy Being Green, An Ordinary Housewife, and other Pretty Mommy Bloggers! Event bloggers are not responsible for Sponsor Prize Shipment.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Cards

It's that time of the year again. Where we need to start sending out cards to all of our friends and family. In my case, I need to make them as well as send them. When we lived in Korea, I got hooked on Stampin' Up and now I don't buy cards any more. I'm determined to only make them. Of course, i'm the queen of procrastination so actually doing that of course takes time. Even when I do create them I still have to mail them out. Do you know how hard it is to go to a post office and actually mail out cards? Ha ha. I guess it's really not that hard, now is it. Well, for whatever reason it is for me. This year i'm trying to prepare ahead of time though. I already bought stamps so now all I have to do is put them in the mail box. Oh, and get everyone's addresses... Last year, we had just gotten back here from Korea so I made some and handed them out to family at Christmas. I may end up doing that again this year too but i'm hoping to actually mail them ahead of time.

My friend Sheila just moved here this last week or so and she sells Stampin' up. I don't have any paper crafters around here as all my ladies were in Korea, so now I have someone to make Christmas cards with! It's always more fun with someone else around creating too. Now we just need to figure out what kind of cards to make. This sounds easy but it's really not. At least not for me. I'm not creative in the slightest (well, maybe a little bit) but I pretty much always have to copy other people ideas. Copying is the highest form of flattery right?

Previous Christmas cards that i've made:

What do you do for Christmas? Do you send our cards that you buy or make? Do you send them out early, on time, late, or never.  Do you do something else instead?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

IPad Mini Giveaway just in time for the holidays!

iPad Mini Giveaway Event

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Needing a job...

We PCS'd back to Ft Lewis, end of December/January time frame. I've been looking for a job since then. For the last 6 months or so i've been babysitting so I at least have some income coming in. Not that it's a lot, but at least it was something. Last night (Sunday) I find out that the lady I babysit for, contract is up and no longer has a job. A  month before Christmas I loose my only little bit of income that I had coming in besides my husband's deployment check which basically covers bills.

I have to admit, it's kind of hard not getting depressed here. Up until we moved to Korea I worked 45 hours a week and made pretty decent money. Considering I don't have a college degree and worked at a retail store, really good money. Of course I worked long days and random shifts to accomplish that, but at least we had money for Christmas presents and other things that we needed/wanted. Now i'm struggling to figure out what to get the kids for Christmas this year that is actually worth buying but affordable. Not to mention i'm still needing to buy tires for my vehicle which is stored away in our shop because I can't safely drive it anymore...

It's been hard trying to find a job... I've had a few interviews. Even had one that I really thought I had gotten hired for. But no. With Gideon being in school now I also have to make sure whatever job I have is something I can have childcare that works around his school and bus schedule. Which leaves me to working a day job and finding a babysitter in the school district so his bus can pick him up, or an evening/weekend job so that I can find a sitter to take him nights. Of course that's lame too cause I hate to have him out past his bed time, but i'll do what I have to.

I know there's nothing I can do except to keep applying. But it's hard and depressing. Hopefully something will turn up here soon...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

World Vision Holiday Event

World Vision Holiday Event

Sponsored by World Vision and hosted by Mom Powered Media
Prizes: 2 Artisan Beaded Necklaces, 2 Eco Cold Cups, 2 Veggie Tales "Incredible Vegetables" DVD and 2 sets of plush toys including Gertie Goat, Chuma Chick and Pallu Pig.
Most importantly, we are part of the bloggers united team at Mom Powered Media doing work for a good cause!
Event dates: 11/18 - 12/9

Free Blog Event! Sign-up here, BLOGGERS WANTED


EDIT: This is being postponed till 11/26 due to a family emergency

Advent Calendar Part 2

So i'm a little behind, but i'm also a little ahead. If you're just catching up, this is what we're doing: HERE. Of course I should have read the directions better of what we're doing cause I didn't really follow along right. lol.

All ready to be sewed!
I cut out the tree, the backing, and embroidered my pockets and I found what I thought was this fabulous idea to go all blues and silvers for my pockets as I just love that Christmas combo. I found this really pretty silver embroidery floss at Joann's and set to work. I don't know if it's because I don't know how to do embroidery very well or what, but that silver floss sucks. BIG TIME. Now my numbers started off kind of terrible as well but I figured out my style was a little off and did fix that. I still couldn't get the silver to work though. The silver ones looked so bad even though the silver was still so pretty. I really wanted to love it... I ended up adding in two different colors of blues and thought if I just used the few silvers I had, it would be mixed in and still show the color... Well, they still just looked bad.  In case you're wondering, the silver kept fraying really easily. I had to use tape to keep it together to even thread it on the needle in the first place. And it just looked bad. I ended up redoing them with some white floss. I still have this blue and white thing going on but no silver :(

The silver embroidery

                     I also sewed my pockets together since I have two layers to them. I layed all of this out on my backing and I started sewing it on yesterday. I put it up on my sewing machine and realized, hey, I can't sew this. lol. For one, I lent out my walking foot to someone, and for two, I don't know how to use it anyways. I'm meeting up to get my walking foot back tonight as well as a quick tutorial on how to use it, but i'm still not for sure that I can figure it out... So I started hand stitching... OMG, this is taking forever! It looks nice, but FOREVER.

My tree

This is what I have done:
Backing cut
Pockets sewn together and numbers embroidered
Tree cut and started sewing onto backing.

Now based off the tutorial that we are following, HERE, this is what I need to accomplish this week:
Finish sewing all my tree and pockets to backing
Make 8 ornaments

If you're following along, the total of that is what we need to finish this week. I'm getting so excited for this by the way. I'm can't wait to see it done! Since we're starting ornaments, I thought i'd share a few sites where I found some really cute ones to attempt to recreate. Hopefully this will help you with some ideas at least.

How About Orange
Big K, Little G

P.S. Don't forget! Please post pics on my Facebook page if you're creating as well!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Little Tikes Cook 'n Grow Kitchen Giveaway

Little Tikes Cook 'n Grow Kitchen Giveaway
Sponsored by Little Tikes

Are you looking for a fantastic Christmas present for your child? Do you have a child that wants to help in the kitchen?With the Little Tikes Cook 'n Grow Kitchen, you will help out an inspiring little chef with this realistic kid's playset that grows with your child.  When this Little Tikes kitchen is opened it is the perfect height for toddlers.  When the kitchen is compacted it is now the perfect size for your preschooler to cook your dinner.  There are 50+ accessories included!


• Kitchen has 2 age grade configurations
     1) Kitchen is expanded and the height is just right for toddlers
     2) Compacting the kitchen makes it just right for preschoolers
  • Electronic cooking sounds
  • Hooks for hanging cups
  • Molded in slots to hold plates
  • Oven, refrigerator and microwave doors all open and close
  • Shape-sorting lid for pot helps develop fine motor skills
  • 50+ accessories included
  • Requires 2 "AA" batteries (not included)

Read Coupon Gator Mommy's Little Tikes Cook 'n Grow Kitchen Review.

Want to enter more Giveaways including an iTikes Piano and other toys, click HERE

One lucky winner will receive a 
Little Tikes Cook 'n Grow Kitchen. 
This giveaway ends Dec. 3, 2012 at 11:59pm EST. 
Open to US residents.
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A special thanks to all the amazing bloggers who are participating in this giveaway!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Kinda Crunchy Mama is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  ------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pinterest Popular Pins

I don't know why sometimes I get an email from Pinterest and other times I don't. But I received one this week that told me what my most popular pins from last week were. I know I don't get this email weekly, although I wish I did. Either way, I thought i'd share with YOU what my popular pins were for this last week!

By the way, if you are not obsessed with Pinterest yet, you're missing out!

Pin 1 Home Design Pins Create a picture with wood
Pin 2 ABC's of Crazy Homemade Game Pieces
Pin 3 Memetales 15 Thanksgiving Acitivities for Kids
Pin 4 Clearly Candace Hilarious Christmas Elf ideas
Pin 5 Badskirt Cute fabric boots
Pin 6 Adorable Decor DIY Tub Cleaner
Pin 7 How About Orange Felt gingerbread ornaments
Pin 8 Shelterness 50 DIY Felt Christmas Tree Ornaments
Pin 9 Cutesy Crafts Halloween Countdown Calendar

Pin 10 Better Homes and Garden Felt Poinsettia Christmas Ornament
Pin 11 Christie Chase Felt Advent Tree
Pin 12 Baby Rabies Turkey Tulle Wreath Tutorial


Monday, November 12, 2012

Blogger sign ups! $200 Cloth Diaper Stash

Bloggers can choose 2 free links option or a paid option as well. This is a one week giveaway with high traffic! Event dates: 12/01/2012 – 12/08/2012
Blogger referral prize? No
Last day to sign-up: 11/28/2012

Sign up for this event at Mama Papa Barn

Bloggers Wanted!

iPad Mini Holiday Event

Hosted by Mom to Bed by 8
Prizes: iPad Mini
Event dates: 11/21 - 12/5

Free Blog Event! Sign-up here, BLOGGERS WANTED

Please let them know I sent you! Kinda Crunchy Mama

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Paperback Swap

Have you heard of PaperBack Swap? I just heard about it today and i'm already hooked!

If you like to read a lot and have books all over the place, then this site is for you!

The basic premise is that you post any books you have that you're willing to part with. Someone else tells you that they would like your book, so you mail it to them. You do pay postage which is typically around $2-$2.50 a book, but when you pick out a book, the other person mails it to you for free.

To initially start, please click this paperback swap link HERE and I will get a referral credit for you (Yah!). Then post 10 books and you will receive 2 book credits to get you started. You have to have a book credit to order a book. Every time one of your books get mailed out and received, you get another book credit! I initially put in 13 books and I already have 3 requests for book! I cashed in my two credits and will be cashing in the other 3 as soon as I can ship my books off.

Right now, this couldn't have come at a better time for me. I'm looking to start the tradition with Gideon of opening a Christmas book every night until Christmas. I currently have 9 books so will be needing a bit more to achieve this. I've already been hitting up Goodwill for Christmas books but this will be one more way for me to gather for cheap. I also will start looking for books for me because I LOVE to read! Of course I never want to give my books away when I do read them :) he he.

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.
Click me to sign up!

Elf on the Shelf

Have you ever wondered how Santa Claus knows if you're being naughty or nice? One of the ways he knows, is his special elves come and visit you and then reports back to Santa on what you're doing. In comes the Elf on the Shelf.

I heard about this last year either right after Christmas or during Christmas. I slowly started pinning ideas on Pinterest and I couldn't wait for this next year to start a new tradition! Now that we're here, I made sure I picked up my elf with plenty of time for Christmas.

You can purchase the elf in a box set online or from any Hallmark store. The set includes the elf itself and also a book that explains the tradition. There is also a page in the back of the book so that you can document what year your family received your elf and what you named him. Don't forget to go online and tell Santa what his name is! Your specific elf will come back every year to spend time with your family.

Children are told that the elf can not be touched or it will take away his magic. They are encouraged to talk to him but he is on a gag order from Santa not to talk back. Every morning the elf moves to a different place of your house and he/she is sometimes doing something a little naughty. This is where the ideas come in for you, mom and/or dad. What should your elf be doing? He can be hanging from the Christmas tree, spending time in the freezer (it's as cold as the North Pole) or you can find something fun for him to do! Of course, the better ideas you have, the more fun your elf is. Not to mention the better memories for your children.

There has also been talk about a great side-effect of having the elf in your house. The kids behave better! Hahaha.

I thought I would share the collection of all the websites i've found that have different ideas for Elf on the Shelf. I hope this helps you in planning for your upcoming holiday.

Kinda Crunchy Mama - I added this in on 1/3/12. This is what we did this last year.
Diary of a Wannabe Domestic Diva - Includes a calendar of daily activities already figured out.
Clearly Candace  - A list of ideas including pictures. Either ideas for older kids or adults that want to laugh. A few are jokes that you need to be a little older to understand. i.e. YMCA with barbies, planking on the tree, "I miss snow" elf watching tv on fuzz station). Cute though, pics are great.
Enza's Bargains - 30 or so ideas with pictures. Most ideas are easy to do with things around the house.
Elf on the Shelf Forum - This is a random forum with ideas for Elf on the Shelf. There are some creative ideas, not all include pictures.
Blossom Bunkhouse - 101 ideas - long list of ideas but no pictures.
The Elf on a Shelf Pool - Flickr group of 791 photos (as of today).
Living Locurto - 25 pictures in an e-book that the author created from her readers
Little Pumpkin Grace - cute idea on how to start the holiday season with your elf. They had a North Pole  Breakfast. Includes pictures.
Less cake more frosting - Great idea when the elf has to go home. Create a photo of the elf with Santa in front of your Christmas tree. On the front of the picture write a goodbye note. Need photoshop or any other editing program that lets you layer. (I like picmonkey). *edit* I wasn't able to get a cut out of Santa to use to layer but I did find a site that does it all for you. I then added the text with picmonkey later. Check out my post on iCaughtSanta for more info!
Shelf The Elf - Pictures of the Elf caught on camera. Also a name generator to help with name choices.
DIY Elf on the Shelf @ The EcoFriendlyFamily I added this on 11/29/12 How to make your own Elf if you're creative Could be fun to personalize it yourself.

P.S. This is my first year so I will definitely be posting pictures of what our special elf is doing. Feel free to post on my Facebook page what your little elf has been doing! And if you don't have one yet, go on over to Amazon and order one in time for the holidays :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Upcoming December Giveaway

How many of you cloth diaper? I don't but my son is 4 yrs old. Ha ha. Did I when he was a baby? No. The thought went through my head for maybe 2 seconds then I thought it would be too difficult and there was no way I was doing that. When I lived in Korea I met quite a few moms that cloth diapered though and I realized how easy it really was. Not only that, how cute! One more way to make your baby cute and i'm all over it! My son always hung out in just a diaper since he would get hot so easily and this would have been a great way to keep him still looking cute! And considering my son didn't potty train till about a month ago (grrr) it would have been a lot cheaper that's for sure. I don't even want to think about how much I spent on disposable diapers...

*Disclaimer - these are not the diapers for the giveaway. This is a general picture of Kawaii one size snap diapers

So when I saw this sign up for a stash of Kawaii one size diapers and a wet bag, I signed up! What a great way to help someone who's just starting out or someone who is rotating the same 12 diapers every day to get started/some more! Now that i've gone "official" with my blog (oops, did I not mention that) this would be a great way to get some new readers too!

If you're interested in signing up too, stop on by Kerrific Online and sign up!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Operation Christmas Child

I don't know if you've heard of it before, but it's something that Samaritan's Purse does every year. The basics of it is that you take a shoe box, fill it up for a child based off a specific age range and sex (you pick) and then the organization sends it to children in other countries that will probably only receive this box for Christmas. Honestly this is probably the only new thing they'll get this year.

Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts bring smiles to the faces of hundreds of Haitian children in December 2011 by Samaritan's Purse. Operations Christmas Child relay teams in Reno and Sparks will send similar gifts to children overseas this year.

I was introduced to it a few years back at a church that I was attending but haven't done one since. I kind of forgot all about them, honestly. Then this year came and I came across shoe box ideas on Pinterest of all places. That's when I decided I wanted to do it again. I was hoping my local MOPS group would be doing it so had been waiting but I asked about it yesterday and found out they didn't have it planned, but someone was willing to get it going. Then we realized next week is collection dates! *EEK! I guess i'm going to have to get my butt in gear with this. Luckily it's pretty easy to figure out from the website and you can just look up a collection site to drop it off at. You can even "follow along" with your shoe box now to find out where it goes, which is pretty cool.

Here are some FAQ's from the Samaritan's Purse website:


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions we hear frequently about Operation Christmas Child. Call 1-800-353-5949 for more information.


A. We have put together a list of suggestions and things to avoid when packing your box. Please watch the video here and go to our page, "How to Pack A Shoe Box".


A. No, you may also use a similarly sized plastic storage container with a removable lid or other similarly sized box.


A. Yes, but please remember to wrap the lid separately.


A. We have drop-off locations around the nation. Find the center closest to you here.


A. National Collection Week is November 12-19, 2012, but you
may send completed boxes year-round to our headquarters:

Operation Christmas Child
Samaritan's Purse
P.O. Box 3000
801 Bamboo Road
Boone, NC 28607


A. Shoe box destination countries vary from year to year. If you make your donation online, you can follow your shoe box with  Follow Your Box Donation.


A. We need volunteers during the months of November and December. For more information, check out our volunteer opportunities page.


A. A donation of $7 or more helps us cover project expenses like shipping the boxes. We prefer that these donations be made by check or by using our new online donation option (called "Follow Your Box Donation").


A. Yes, you may write one check for them all and place it in any one of your boxes.


A. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.


A. Samaritan's Purse is a Christian relief and evangelism organization led by Franklin Graham. Read about our history here.

Some young girls excited about their shoe box

Watch Ralph's story

Wanting to participate but need ideas? Check out these blogs:

100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls: OCC Gifts

100 Shoebox ideas for Boys

 And don't forget Pinterest for ideas:



There's lots more ideas out there but that will help you to get started! I'm personally working on an older girls box. I found a cute sewing kit at Ross and i'm going to buy 2 yards of fabric. I also found a cute little bead set too.  Please share if you plan on making a box and I would love to see pictures on my facebook page! Click the Contact Me button at the top of the page to find my facebook page. Then post away!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Working on my tree

Here is the start of my tree. I'm trying to sketch it out first. My bottom right doesn't come down quite as far as it should though so I need to fix that but overall I think it works. Now let's see if I can actually transfer that to felt. lol. In case you missed it, this is what we're doing: Sew along advent calendar

Here is what i'm attempting to recreate courtesy of So Happy:

Have any of you started yet? I would love to see!

I still need to sew it together on my backing
EDIT - Here's the tree after I cut it out :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Advent Calendar

I'm sure most of you have heard about an advent calendar. We always had the little cardboard ones with chocolate behind the cut outs. I remember my brother used to sneak ahead and eat all the chocolate then close them back up. lol.

Photo from Stitch Craft Creations

Recently while looking around Pinterest I came across a felt advent calendar. I personally think they're gorgeous and I really want to make one. So after searching around online, I found a few bloggers who made some and got the general idea of how it goes. There's one blog in particular, Homemade by Jill, where she did a sew along and made an advent calendar with her readers. She did this 2 years ago but it started at the beginning of Nov and since it's now the beginning of Nov, i'm going to attempt to do this also! Now i'm going to warn you. I have very beginner sewing skills, and no embroidery knowledge (I think I used to embroider with my grandma when I was little?) but i'm going to try anyways. These are the sort of crafts that you can use every year and get passed down to your kids when they're adults.

So the question is, do you want to do this with me? I will post the link to her weekly challenge every week along with listing what i'm doing, and of course pictures!

So here's week 1!
Here is her assignment for the week:
  • Cut your main backing piece (I am cutting mine to 20x30 inches)
  • Cut your felt pockets and embroider them with numbers 1-24 (my pockets are cut 2 1/2 inches square).  She used a tight chain stitch to embroider her numbers.
  • Sew the pockets to the backing piece (Great pocket tutorial from The Purl Bee)
Good luck! And please post if you're participating and picture if you have any :D