Posts tagged with: Family

Tough Times, Tough People Giveaway

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People reminds us that tough times won’t last, but tough people will. Tough People is all about overcoming adversity, pulling together, making do with less, facing challenges, and finding new joys in a simpler life. This new collection shares tales of people who have been laid off, lost their homes, and endured wrenching life changes, but discovered the underlying gifts in their new situations. More time at home with family, creative “staycations,” more satisfying job opportunities, and renewed gratitude for health and life are just a few of the silver linings these survivors have learned to cherish.

These 101 stories about overcoming life’s obstacles are encouraging and inspiring. The stories are broken down in sections including Simple Pleasures, Silver Linings, Accepting the New Me, and Tough People. A few of my favorite stories are “Board Game Revival”, “Hair is Overrated” and “Marks on the Heart”.

I am so excited to have this uplifting giveaway to share with my Mommy Babble readers! I am making this giveaway simple without many hoops to jump through since life is tough enough right now.
Mandatory 1st entry leave a comment telling me someone who inspires you and why they have inspired you.
Bonus Entries:

  • Subscribe to this blog (click on the orange button in the address bar) and leave me a comment letting me know you subscribed, current subscribers-let me know you already subscribe 🙂
  • Fave this blog on and leave me a comment letting me know you did

This giveaway runs until 8:00pm on 8/2/09 US residents only.

Summer Memories Video Contest

SanDISK WANTS YOU to capture summer on your mobile phone

Shoot a 60-second video of the sights and sounds that make your summer buzz and post it at for a chance to win cash and prizes each week.

SanDisk Corporation, the global leader in flash memory cards, is holding the SanDisk® 60-Second Summer Mobile Phone Video Contest. SanDisk reminds consumers that your phone isn’t just a phone, it’s a video camera, and it’s the memory that you put in it that makes life unforgettable. More video. More pictures. More songs. You’ll get more of life’s greatest moments with a bigger memory card from SanDisk.


  • One $5,000 Grand Prize Winner will be announced at the end of the contest.
  • Five $1,000 Weekly Prizes go to each week’s best entry
  • Top 25 Weekly Finalists each win a SanDisk mobile memory card, MobileMate™ Micro  Reader, and t-shirt

Anyone eligible can enter*. Just grab your video capable mobile phone** and shoot a video of the sights and sounds that make your summer buzz. An ideal summer afternoon. Your hometown. Vacation spots. Whatever! Make it 60 seconds or less and submit as many times as you wish.

You have until Aug 10 to submit video for the contest. A winning video selection will be judged each week. There is no limit to the number of times any individual can enter, though they cannot re-submit the same video in the same and/or following weeks during the contest period.Entries can be submitted at

The winning videos will be showcased on SanDisk’s YouTube channel and will be available for downloading at

Planning is Key to Staying Within Your Vacation Budget

According to an Auto Club of America survey, almost one-quarter of polled travelers said they plan to spend less money on summer trips this year than they did last year, compared to 20 percent in 2008 who said they planned to spend less than in 2007. For those planning to spend less in summer 2009, 54 percent cited concern about the economy as a reason, 40 percent cited reduced income, 18 percent mentioned concern about their job stability and nine percent cited the loss of a job.

Julie Casserly of says, “Position yourself to be lucky to spend the amount of money you actually have for vacation, instead of going into debt and later on having to pay for past choices. No one likes having what I like to call a “spending hangover”…it takes all the fun out of going on vacation in the first place”.

Ms. Casserly continues, “It’s all about what free cash you have to be able to afford a vacation and about what is right for you and your family, there is no right or wrong, it’s about what you have chosen as your financial priorities and making sure that you create a positive energy flow from your spending (spending on a cash basis) and not a negative energy flow (spending with debt).”

Ms. Casserly gives these tips for making your vacation memorable without paying for it until next summer:

  • Last Minute Deals – We live in a world where there are so many things to do and many, many options. Many of the travel websites will have last minute trips at a deep discount, particularly today with this economic environment. Decide, OK, we have $2000 to spend on vacation and then search online for an all inclusive trip for the long weekend that falls into that number. The exciting part is that you are leaving yourself open to trying a new adventure or a new place.
  • Look At The End, First – Steven Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind”. I couldn’t agree more. Decide what are your priorities for your vacation, what amount your will choose to spend, then build your plan out from there.
  • Choose the Day – Choose to travel on cheaper air fare days, say Tuesday – Saturday
  • Name Your Price – Rent your car, hotel, or your airfare through where you can name your own price. I have tried a 30% lower price than the market price and most times I am successful.
  • Pack the Snacks – If you’re taking a road trip, pack a cooler!!! No need to spend extra money on those high cost, high calorie snacks.
  • One Stop Shopping – Buy in bulk, get airfare, hotel, and car from one vendor.
  • Locals Know Best – Talk to the locals once you get somewhere, go to the restaurants where the locals eat, they’re not tourist traps with higher costs, and many times better.
  • Set the Plan and Open an Account – If you don’t have a vacation planned, set those financial intentions by opening up a separate savings account that is ONLY to be used for your vacations. If you’ve decided you want to spend $3000 per year on a vacation, then make sure you put $125 per check (if paid twice per month) into that savings account straight from your paycheck. I’ve met so many people who want to go on vacation, but they don’t because they don’t plan on it….this is a really easy thing to do to go have some fun in life!


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Our Fun at Friendly’s

Last week I told you about Free Ice Cream Day at Friendly’s. Today we planned our errands to include a stop at the Friendly’s in Sarasota, FL so that we could be part of Free Ice Cream Day. We were greeted by the store manager when we entered. Friendly’s was very organized for this event. They had special order form pads for the workers where they could check the ice cream flavor, type of cone or bowl and write the customers name on the sheet. Then while you were waiting you could sign up for Friendly’s online BFF club. As the ice cream was scooped the employees came out and called out the person’s name and flavor that was on the order form. the wait was short and of course, well worth it.

Here are some pictures of my family enjoying their ice cream. I ordered Vienna Mocha Chunk, hubby & Jordan got Mint Chocolate Chip and Aaron got Forbidden Chocolate. Yummy!

My Guys

Mom & Dad

Twitter Ice Cream

I like Ice Cream

Birthday Party Ice Cream Sandwiches

I have been a consumer and fan of Blue Bunny Ice cream for years. I have been a part of their iScream Team and received their newsletter and coupons for a while now. Last week I met @blue_bunny on Twitter. We had been chatting about how for our family, Memorial Day weekend means 5 birthdays! Of course, that also means lots of cake and ice cream too.

Well, @blue_bunny started telling me about their Birthday Party Ice Cream Sandwiches.
They are a party in a sandwich! Creamy white birthday cake flavored ice cream with colorful confetti sprinkles and swirls of blue frosting between two vanilla wafers. 10 sandwiches per box. At the time they were also featured on the iScream Team’s coupon. I went to my iScream Team page and printed the coupon. I went to my local Wal-Mart and purchased the last box of Blue Bunny Birthday Party Ice Cream Sandwiches that was in the freezer.

I brought them to the final birthday party of the week. There were 18 people at the party so we cut the ice cream sandwiches in half so everyone could try them. They were a HUGE hit! Everyone from ages 6-60+ loved the unique taste of the Blue Bunny Birthday Party Ice Cream Sandwiches.

They aren’t only for birthday parties either. These will make a great treat to share with the family anytime. When you are craving cake and ice cream this summer don’t heat up the house to bake a cake. Cool off with Blue Bunny Birthday Party Ice Cream Sandwiches.

6 Ways to Keep Christ in Your Easter Celebration

Back at Christmas I did a series of posts on keeping Christ in Christmas. Today I am going to share with you 6 ways to keep Christ in Easter. Without Jesus Christ there would be no Resurrection Sunday or Easter celebration, as we in the Christian faith celebrate it. Unfortunately, Easter has become synonymous with spring, eggs and bunnies instead of Jesus, Resurrection and Salvation. Here are just a few ways you can keep Christ in your Easter celebration.

  1. Instead of filling Easter baskets with just candy and trinkets add something to enhance your child’s spiritual education. A new Bible, devotional, prayer journal, cross necklace, or Scripture bookmark are just a few ideas of gifts you could include.
  2. Focus on reaching out to an unchurched neighbor, friend or family member. Invite another family to attend church with you on Easter Sunday. Also invite them to your home for dinner afterwards. Tangibly share the love of Christ.
  3. Get some colored cellophane or plastic wrap, a few bags of jelly beans, some cardstock and ribbon and make gifts for neighbors, shut-ins, and friends. Here is the poem to put on the cardstock.
  4. Watch the movie “An Easter Carol” by Veggie Tales
  5. Review the Easter story and then use Resurrection Eggs to see if the children can recall the story. You can buy the Resurrection Eggs at your local christian bookstore or here is a link to a website that tells you how to make your own. Home made Resurrection Eggs.
  6. Make Resurrection Cookies (these are so cool)
    Tools & Ingredients

1- cup whole pecans
1-teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
a pinch of salt
1-cup sugar
a zipper baggie
a wooden spoon
a Bible
Preheat the oven to 300 (this is important-don’t wait ’til you’re half-done with the recipe)

1. Place the pecans in the baggie and let the kids beat them with the wooden spoon to break them into pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19:1-3
2. Put the vinegar into a mixing bowl. Let each child smell the vinegar. Explain that when Jesus was on the cross and He became thirsty, He was offered vinegar to drink.
Read John 19:28-30
3. Add the egg whites to the vinegar. The eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life so that we could have life.
Read John 10:10-11
4. Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand and let them taste it. Put the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read Luke 23:27
5. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup of sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16
6. Beat the egg whites with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isa.1:18 and John 3:1-3
7. Fold in the broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto a wax paper cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus body was laid to rest.
Read Matt. 27:57-60
8. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off.
9. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the door. Explain that Jesus tomb was sealed.
Read Matt. 27:65-66
10. Go to bed. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight and that Jesus followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read John 16:20-22
11. On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. the cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find His tomb empty.
Read Matt. 28: 1-9
recipe by Wanda Long originally published in Home Life Magazine
Have a Jesus filled Easter!

Pocket Change

Parenting is tough enough without worrying about cutting costs. Whether it’s your day to carpool, pick up groceries, pay the bills or call your college kid studying abroad, thinking about pocket change rarely makes the “TO DO LIST”.
Here are the top “TIPS” that’ll payoff big for you and will keep your family safe, connected, and even bring extra abundance so that you’ll have money saved to splurge on that much needed family vacation …

TIP #1: Use your Costco, Sam’s Club or other bargain store membership and create family outings at home. Purchase snacks in bulk, and do movie night in your living room. And while you’re at the store, purchase other bulk items you use regularly to cut down on expenses (toilet paper, plastic bags, snacks for lunches etc.).

Tip #2: Don’t blink when you open your monthly bills! Reduce every one of your utility bills by 10%. Automatically save 3% on your energy bill by lowering your thermostat by one degree. You’ll never notice the difference in your house, but you will notice the difference on your bill. Change your calling plan or get rid of your landline unless it’s a must have.

Tip #3: Purchase a Telestial ( Passport SIM card and unlocked GSM phone for your child studying abroad. Not only will you have the peace of mind knowing your child has access to a phone anytime, their calls won’t have international roaming rates associated with using an American cell overseas, which can range up to $5 per minute. In many popular study-abroad locations (Italy, Spain, France, Ireland, UK) incoming calls are free and outgoing calls start at $0.49 per minute.

Tip #4: Spend five minutes a day looking for online coupons. There are a bundle of sites out there that can save you lots on everyday purchases. Make a list of the stores you need to hit and use Google to look for coupons.

Tip #5: Play a money game. Whether you choose a quarter, a nickel or even a penny – put that spare change into the piggybank. You’ll have more money saved before you miss a dime.

Bonus: Vacation Rentals like a partner of Orbitz provides thousands of properties at a fraction of the cost of hotels. Additional key benefits include dining and entertaining in, whether at spacious villas, ski chalets or cozy cabins with luxurious amenities such as hot tubs and fireplaces – perfect for family fun!