Recyclebank: Travel Sized Tips

Here are a few tips to carry your better bathroom recycling habits through the holiday. Earn 25 points along the way.

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CVS: Free Body Wash

CVS Body Wash

If you have Facebook, “Like” the CVS Minute Clinic page and you can fill out a form for a free container of body wash. The coupon will come via email. You have until December 31st to redeem your coupon.

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One More Week Till Christmas

Oh my. Really? Already? As much as I always look forward to Christmas, it’s hard to believe it’s only one more week away. One week from today is Christmas Eve! It makes me think of my pregnancy. As excited as I was to welcome Nathan into our lives, I couldn’t believe it when our due date actually arrived. Time spent in joyful expectation can pass so quickly. It doesn’t always, but sometimes, we blink and entire days (or weeks!) seem to have passed.

We’ve been keeping busy in our home getting ready for Christmas – and Nathan’s first one at that. The tree is set up as are our Christmas nativities and other decorations. It’s nice to eat breakfast when it’s still dark by the light of the Christmas tree. Nathan smiles and sighs every time we turn on the Christmas tree lights. It makes me smile to see his simple delight.

I’ve been baking but still have more to do. I’ve made a batch of caramel corn, peanut clusters, spritz cookies and two batches of buckeyes. More buckeyes are on the list as well as another batch of caramel corn. I also need to finish my menu planning for all our upcoming Christmas parties.

My piano students had their annual Christmas recital last Sunday after late church. They did a nice job. It’s a slightly smaller group (8 students) but they all played well. I was most proud that even with mistakes, they kept playing. I also was pleased that we had an audience that included non-family members this year.

Yesterday, I took advantage of a good coupon and an open afternoon to get Nathan’s (almost) 9 month pictures taken. He showed off his nice smiles although some of my favorites were his more serious ones. He’s changed so much since we last had his pictures taken at 3 months.

Nathan at 9 Months Collage

Tonight is the school children’s Christmas service. We are leading our final Advent service revolving around the theme, “O Christmas Tree: Reveal to Us the Savior.” We sing 8 different verses of “O Christmas Tree.” To help us remember all of them, I taught the children how to sign the verses in ASL so we’ll be singing and signing tonight. Last year, I was sick with the flu and missed the service so I’m thankful to be back and directing. I’m also thankful for a wonderful organist who will do all the accompanying.

Tomorrow is my final music class before our Christmas vacation begins. Andy still has to teach through the 23rd but I will done for this year. It will be a fun music class since our service will be over.

This weekend starts the Christmas parties. My faculty party is this Friday, although we missed Andy’s due to scheduling conflicts. Then, we have his Mom’s family party this Saturday and his Dad’s family get together next Saturday. Also, we’re excited to have good friends from Houston staying with us this weekend while they visit their family in town. I’m sure we’ll be up late visiting (as late as we can be with two babies between us).

Yes, there is still (a tiny bit) of shopping to do and presents to wrap. My house needs cleaned and menus prepared. In spite of my to-do list, I’m focusing on taking time to savor this Christmas season with Nathan. I’ll be posting sporadically on this blog as I enjoy this time with my boys. The to-do lists will get done. (And what doesn’t get done probably didn’t need to be done in the first place!) Celebrate CHRISTmas with your loved ones. Rejoice in our Savior’s birthday! That is on the top of our list!

More of Nathan at 9 Months

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Oven Baked Caramel Corn

Simple and Delicious Oven Baked Caramel Corn

Yum. Caramel corn! Along with our famous buckeyes, this was one of the Christmas treats that my mother baked each year. Now, I do the same because it is such a delicious treat – and really, very simple. I’ve tried other caramel corns but unless the popcorn is coated in caramel (like this recipe), it’s not caramel corn to me! With this recipe you can make your own batch of delicious caramel corn. This recipe can be made in advance of your festivities because as long as it is stored in an airtight container, it will keep. It will keep quite awhile although I think it’s safe to say you’ll eat it before too long goes by. It really is that good!


8 or 9 quarts plain popped corn
1 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


Pop corn on the stove. Do not salt or butter. Pour popcorn in a larger roaster. (I fill the roaster with popcorn, rather than measuring out the exact quarts.)

Boil all ingredients in saucepan except popcorn and baking soda for 5 minutes, mixing well and stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Stir quickly. Pour caramel over popcorn, mixing well.

Place roaster with popcorn in 250 degree oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool. Store in a tightly closed container.

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Top 5 Deals: 12/14 – 12/17

Top 5 Deals of the Week

This week, the best deals are found at Kroger again! They are still running their “Buy 4, Save $4″ promotion from last week so be sure to pick up your $0.99 bags of sugar while you can! Here are a couple of the other great items to pick up at Kroger while you are there.

1. Kroger brand butter at $1.99
Final price: $1.99

2. Holiday M&Ms at $2
Use $1/2 printable coupon
Final price: $1.50 each

3. Del Monte canned vegetables at $0.50
Final price: $0.50

4. Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chips at $2
Final price: $2

5. Kroger spices at 50% off
Final price: Varies

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Mary’s Magnificant

I find Mary’s Magnificant beautiful. It seemed fitting to pair this beautiful verse with this beautiful picture of the sun shining through our Christmas tree.

I find Mary’s Magnificant beautiful because of her humble faith. Here is a young girl who’s just been told by an angel that she’s going to have God’s son – and this is her faithful response.

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. 

For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:46-55

My Advent prayer is that I, too, may be as faithful as young Mary.

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Pampers: 15 More Points

Pampers Rewards

Stopping in with another Pampers code for you. Enter the code CM89CCKDWJKLO14 to add 15 more points to your Gifts to Grow account

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One Small Shopping Trip to Start December

I didn’t shop at all last week and didn’t shop much this week either. I picked up just a couple things at Meijer when I stopped by to pick up velcro for the school Christmas program. Here’s what I bought this week.

Meijer - 12/9/14 - $7.55

I picked up more applesauce and bananas for Nathan. I also picked up yogurt. The organic yogurt was on sale for cheaper than the Meijer version. I meant to buy plain for Nathan but bought vanilla so I’ll eat it myself and pick up another for Nathan. Margarine was for baking. My best deal came on the dips. They were on sale for $0.99 each and I had two Mperks coupons for the dips in my account. I was for $1/1 and another $0.75/1. That meant I got two containers of dip for only $0.24. At Meijer, I spent $7.55.

I still have almost all of my $180 monthly budget left. After going over last month, I’m going to try to say under this month. We’ll see how I do!

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Pampers: 10 New Points

Pampers Rewards

There are 10 new points available at Pampers when you enter the code FBHIL8884999414 in your Pampers Gifts to Grow account.

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Hot: $16.99 for a Great Laminator

Today only, Amazon has their Scotch Thermal Laminator on sale for only $16.99! Normally priced at $80, this is a bargain! I requested this for Christmas last year and my brother kindly gave it to me. (I told him when it was marked down last year.) This laminator is the perfect gift for teachers, homeschooling Moms or anyone who does projects at home that they want to preserve. I speak from experience when I say that it works great. I recommend the Scotch Thermal Laminating Pouches 8.9 x 11.4 Inches 3 mil, 100-Pack (TP3854-100) to go with it. They are also marked down to $9.94 for a 100 pack. These pouches give you a nice firm lamination and you can trim them down as needed. This sale generally only comes once a year so if you are interested in a personal lamintor, buy it now!

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