Nails Were Not Enough

Nails Were Not Enough

This quote captures the love of our Savior. As Catherine of Siena (1347 – 1380) once said, “Nails were not enough to hold God and man nailed and fastened on the Cross, had not love held Him there.” On this Good Friday, may we ponder and give thanks for the love that held Christ to the cross – His love for us.

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Disney Movie Rewards: 30 Spring Points

Disney Movie Rewards Logo

Have you heard of Disney Movie Rewards? It is a program where you redeem points from Disney movies, cds and tickets for free Disney merchandise – such as Disney dvds. Whether you own Disney movies or not, you can still earn Disney Movie Rewards and redeem them for free products!

Here’s how it works. Periodically, Disney releases free point codes. I am going to start sharing those here on my site. When the codes are given, simply add them to your account and watch them accumulate. It takes some time, but it is possible to earn free Disney dvds with only your free points. If you have Disney dvds in your movie collection, you may already have some codes that will help you earn a reward even quicker.

In the past two years since I’ve been collecting free codes, I have redeemed them for three free Disney dvds. My favorite reward being the Polly and Polly Comes Home dvd set, featuring Keisha Knight Pulliam, in a musical version of Pollyanna. I have enough points to redeem for another dvd but I haven’t decided which one I want yet. Maybe Enchanted?

To start earning your rewards, sign up for a Disney Movie Rewards account. Then, add these codes (TRAVERS, DOTTIE, RUMBLY, ZARINA, MELTING, CLOVER, CLOVER2) to your account. Each of the codes is worth 5 points f0r a total of 35 points. These codes are good through April 30th.

Update: You can also add the code BEARS for an additional 10 points. The expiration date of this code is currently unknown. 

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Recyclebank: Two New Earns

Since our taxes were due earlier this week, learn how small adjustments can produce big dividends. Earn 10 points along the way!

This 30-point quiz can help you find a bathroom recycling solution based on your answers.

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Free Samples from SampleSource

Sample Source

Sign up for a SampleSource account and answer a short survey to request free samples. The samples are customized to your responses so we all receive different offers. I got offers for Colgate and Garnier, as well as a couple others.

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

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$3/3 Kellogg’s Coupon

$3.00 off any THREE Kellogg's Cereals

There’s a new printable coupon available for $3/3 Kellogg’s Cereals. What a fabulous deal that can be used on any Kellogg’s cereal! This is already a high value coupon, but watch for a good sale to pair it with for an even better deal.

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5 Simple Ways to Be Ready for Freebies

5 Simple Ways to Be Ready for Whatever Freebies Might Come Your Way - A Great Frugal Tip So You Don't Miss Out on Freebies!

Have you ever encountered a freebie deal on a website that you didn’t have time to do? I know I have! Freebies are quite exciting – but it can also be disappointing to miss out on one that you didn’t have time to complete. Freebies will come around again, but I’ve learned five simple things I can do ahead of time to be ready for future freebies. I want to share these with you so you can plan ahead for good free deals, too!

1. Set up a separate email account for all the online offers you will complete. It doesn’t have to be a new account but a separate junk email account is very helpful when you are requesting freebies. I still use my maiden name account for all the freebie offers I register for online. This keeps your regular email account from getting cluttered with various newsletters and offers.

2. Request all the free samples of shampoo, conditioner and other toiletries that you come across. Store them in a basket or bin so you can quickly pack for a trip without the hassle of big containers. This is especially important if you fly regularly, but it’s just as handy for driving vacations. Of course, keep requesting those free laundry products and food samples, too, because who doesn’t like seeing something other than bills in your mailbox?

3. Download the pictures and printables you want to print into one folder on your computer. Yes, you might spend an hour doing this now but it will save you so much time in the future. This way, every time a free 8×10 print offer rolls along, you can easily choose one from this folder to redeem without trying to remember what you wanted to print – and where it was. I keep a board on Pinterest for my favorite printables and periodically download them from the various sites to one folder on my computer. If you are extra ambitious, you can take it a step further and upload the entire folder of pictures to print to the Walgreens site, which is where we get most of the free 8×10 offers. Now you are really ready to redeem free prints in only a minute or two!

4. Create a 8×8 Shutterfly photo book. We often see deals that need to be redeemed in a day or two for free 8×8 books. Shutterfly photo books are absolutely beautiful and since they are normally $29.99, this is a fantastic freebie deal! If you create the book ahead of time, you won’t have the pressure of hurrying to create a book before the offer expires. I like to create a book for each of our family vacations. It is a nice keepsake of our time away and looks so professional. I create the books when I come home from vacation and leave them in my Shutterfly account until I see a free deal. You could create some beautiful Christmas presents for others, too, simply by creating a book early in the year and watching for a free deal.

5. Start searching on Bing and / or Swagbucks today. Don’t wait any longer to take advantage of the free money you could be earning. It’s easy to say I’ll start searching next month or even next year, but why wait to earn free money? Even at the most basic level, you can easily earn $5 a month in Amazon gift cards by spending a couple of minutes each day searching on Bing and / or Swagbucks. Who wouldn’t like an extra $60 to spend this year at Amazon? While Bing is my current favorite, if you use both Bing and Swagbucks, you could quickly double that amount to $120. That is quite a few presents you can purchase for free! No more excuses. Go get started so the free money will continue to grow.

These five ideas all take varying amounts of time, but as you can see, doing these simple things ahead of time will help you to be ready for future freebie deals. To me, being prepared for the Shutterfly freebies is where I get the most savings. Which one of these tips will you start doing?

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Rejoicing in God’s Gift of Baptism

1 Peter 3:21

Today, our family rejoices as Nathan Reagan becomes God’s child in baptism. What a precious gift! God gave us this child and now we give him back to a Heavenly Father who loves Nathan even more than his earthly parents do.

Many of my school children are singing today, teaching our congregation at Ascension the beautiful truths found in the hymn, “God’s Own Child I Gladly Say It.” It is found in our Lutheran Service Book 594, for those of you wondering. This beautiful hymn shares the theology of baptism more eloquently than I ever could.

God’s own child I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ! He because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price. Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any, that brought me salvation free – lasting to eternity.

Sin disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ! I have comfort even stronger, Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice. Should a guilty conscience seize me, since my baptism did realize me in a dear forgiving flood – sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?

Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ! Drop your ugly accusation, I am not so soon enticed. Now that to the font I’ve traveled, all your might has come unraveled, and against your tyranny, God, my Lord unites with me. 

Again, it a special day for our family. We are thankful to have Nathan’s sponsors, Joel and Saydi Rempfer, here with us today. His other sponsors, Jose and Liesl Beaton, are represented by proxy today since they are still in Okinawa. We are thankful that Nathan has 3 of his 4 Grandparents here on this special day as well as 6 of his 8 Aunt and Uncles present. We are also thankful for many of our Whirrett, Schiffli, Barz and Lehenbauer family who are rejoicing with us in person – and from long distances – today.

Rejoice in your baptism! Remember the day God wrote His name on your heart!

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At Home with Nathan

I know my last update was from the hospital so I wanted to stop by with the joyful news that we brought Nathan home from the hospital last Friday. My discharge and his actually were on the same day which was wonderful, because I didn’t want to leave him there alone. It is so good to have Nathan home with us!

Coming Home from the Hospital

As I mentioned before, Nathan’s stay in the NICU was necessary due to respiratory issues. The hospital ran lots of tests on Nathan and feel confident there will be no lasting effects from this rocky start. We are very thankful for the care Nathan received from Dr. Pebble and his nurses. It’s amazing to think that a week ago, this was our first view of Nathan.

Nathan in the NICU

Now, this is the how our sweet baby boy looks only one week later. God is indeed good!

One Week Old Nathan

We thank God for covering Nathan with his healing touch. There were so many other precious babies in the NICU that were smaller than Nathan, and will not be leaving nearly as quickly. My heart goes out to all mothers and fathers – but especially those who sit beside the hospital bed of their babies. Nathan’s story didn’t begin as we planned – in so many ways – but God’s way continues to teach us that He is with us through it all.

As I said before, we are thankful to be home together! Nathan and I were sad to see Andy return to school on Monday, but Nathan saved lots of cuddles for his Daddy when he returned. My mom is here to help us for the next week, and my mother-in-law is only a phone call away. It’s lovely to have their help! For now, we are adjusting to new sleeping and feeding schedules and planning for company this weekend as we celebrate Nathan’s baptism. I pray all is well with you and your families!

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My 5 Favorite Freezer Meals

My 5 Favorite Freezer Meals

It’s so lovely to have a freezer full of meals for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking. Since I’m at home on maternity leave with the baby, it’s been especially nice to rely on frozen meals so I can focus on the baby without worrying about what’s for dinner. I’m such a believer in freezer cooking that I spent an entire month focusing on 31 Days of Freezer Cooking where I shared some of my favorites. Today, I want to revisit that series and share my five favorite freezer meals with you.

Baked Oatmeal

For breakfast, I love having baked oatmeal in the freezer. This recipe can be cooked in a pan but I prefer to make it muffin tins so I can remove one or two for breakfast. I microwave them for 30 seconds and I have a filling breakfast almost faster than I can pour a bowl of cereal.

Best Ever Homemade Crescent Rolls - Joyfully Thriving

These homemade crescent rolls are simple to make and a great bread to serve at any meal. I like to make a double batch before storing them in the freezer. Once again, you can remove as many as you like and reheat them in the oven. If you’re intimidated by the thought of baking bread, don’t be! This is a simple recipe with which to start.

Poppy Seed Chicken - Joyfully Thriving

Poppy seed chicken is a delicious recipe to serve for your family or for company. I dice the chicken ahead of time which makes it even easier to prepare. Then, I can quickly pull a pan of poppy seed chicken out of the freezer and bake it while the rice is cooking. Yum! I do love poppy seed chicken.

A basic meatball recipe for your freezer cooking - Lots of flexibility for future recipes with this one!

This recipe for basic freezer meatballs is adaptable to so many different recipes which is why I like to keep a batch of cooked meatballs in my freezer. If the meatballs are already cooked, two of my favorite meals to use them in are meatball sandwiches or sweet and sour meatballs. You can add the meatballs to spaghetti or make appetizers out of them, too. There are so many uses for a basic meatball!

Apple Pie Kits for the Freezer - Joyfully Thriving

Finally, every Fall I stock my freezer with apple pie kits. I make the crusts ahead of time as well as diced, seasoned apple filling and the crumb topping. When we have the craving for an apple pie, I can have one in the oven within 5 minutes. I love making a homemade pie so quickly!

Those are my top 5 favorite freezer meals…so far! I’m always adding new ones to my freezer and list. Do you have a favorite freezer meal?

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Start of April Shopping

After church on Sunday, I went grocery shopping. I figured I wouldn’t have time to grocery shop later – and I was right! Even though it was still March, I’m counting this as my first shopping trip of April.

Meijer - 3/30/14 - $19.83

There were two main deals that I wanted to pick up at Meijer. First was the 10 for 10, with the 11th free. I went through a regular check-out lane and the cashier scanned my juice last. For that reason, one of my juices was free and she wouldn’t use my coupon. She tried to tell me it was a better deal this way, but it really wasn’t. I was just too tired to fight it. If she would have scanned my items in the order I placed them on the cart, it wouldn’t have been an issue. Sigh. Still, juice for $0.90 each is a great deal!

The second deal I wanted was on the Pillsbury flour and Crisco oil. The Crisco oil was $1.98 each, and I had a coupon for $0.75/1 of the Crisco sticks. The Pillsbury flour was only $0.99 for a 5 pound bag. Both of these were great stock-up prices!

Finally, I used a $5 electronic Mperks reward to pick up another package of diapers. Meijer diapers are normally $6.47 so I paid only $1.47 for 36 diapers. This is how I like to stock-up at low prices like these!

At Meijer, I spent $19.83 and saved $25.45. That was my first shopping trip of April – and my last one without the baby along! :-)

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