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Merry Christmas! Christ is Born!

Christ is Born

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

This is my absolute favorite Christmas song! It sums up all of creation’s waiting for the one who would and does save us from ourselves.

As we sang this during our worship service on Sunday, I was overcome with tears during the second verse. My heart cried, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”.

And today, it’s a new and glorious morn! Fall on your knees. Christ is the Lord! Praising Him and proclaiming His glory!

Merry Christmas dear readers!

 

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Simple Menu Monday 12/9

Simple Menu Monday - Homemaking Unplugged

Welcome to Simple Menu Monday! I hope my menus help you plan your own by giving you new and frugal meal ideas.

We’re on the tail end of a four-day weekend due to snow days, however, there wasn’t much fun going on. Instead, this mama was helping with a 9th grade research paper that was blown off until the last minute and overseeing numerous math assignments that were lost and needed to be redone.

However, because we’ve all been holed up with no place to go, I was able to get my menus planned and ready to share with your this morning!

Monday – Tator Tot Casserole

Tuesday – Bubble Pizza
My family doesn’t care for Mexican Bubble Pizza, so I’m going to make a variation that’s more like traditional pizza.

WednesdayEasy Chicken Manicotti

Thursday – BBQ Meatballs

Friday – Sausage, Bacon & Swiss Quiche

Saturday – Anniversary Date Night

Sunday – Left Overs/Fend for yourself!

What’s on your meal plan for this week?

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Disney Saving Mr. Banks Free Screening

Disney’s latest venture is “Saving Mr. Banks,” a film inspired by the extraordinary, untold back story of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen.

If you love Mary Poppins, then you’ll enjoy this movie and you can attend a FREE advanced screening! 

The screening takes place this Tuesday, December 10th at 7:30 pm at AMC Quail Springs, located at 2501 W Memorial Road in Oklahoma City.

If you haven’t seen the previews, here’s a brief overview of the movie:

When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation.

To get your free tickets, visit http://www.seeitfirst.net/pin/337724.

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Thankful Thursday: Affirmation from Above

Thankful Thursday - Homemaking Unplugged
It’s been an exhausting and stressful past few weeks. Our family is pressing through a situation that is full of pros and cons. A situation where we have to just trust. Trust that the battle has already been won, even if it doesn’t seem to be so.

In this season, I am thankful for friends who pray. And even more grateful for friends who take the time to write a note of encouragement.

I am praying right now for God’s perfect will and total peace for you and John. Amanda, you have done it all, now just stand. It is for God’s glory when we willingly receive HIS gifts, even the ones that don’t seem wrapped just right and might even appear to have a crooked bow. It is from the nail scarred hand of the One that loves you most!

The amazingly cool thing, is that the night before I received this message, I felt God saying almost those very same words, “Amanda, you work so hard. Now it’s my turn to work. You’ve been obedient. You’ve done what you need to do. Now sit back and let me fight this battle. It has already been won. And no matter what happens, it will be for your good.”

So awesome that my Father uses faithful people to affirm what He has already told me.

God is good, isnt’ He?

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Advent 2013: How We Celebrate Advent Plus Message in the Manger Kindle Book

Three years ago, my family started using an Advent wreath to observe Advent and keep Jesus at the center of our Christmas celebration.

I like using an Advent wreath for a few reasons:

  • I made my own for less than $10 and we reuse it every year (scroll down for more details).
  • My kids love lighting the candles, even though they’re all tween and teens.
  • I can customize Advent each year. No two years are ever the same.

This year I decided to use Message In The Manger which is available on Kindle for just $0.99. It’s an eBook with daily advent texts and devotions specifically for teens and young adults. Message in the Manger relates traditional advent messages to today’s technology in a way that young people can relate to.

We’re really liking it so far.

Make Your Own Advent Wreath

Make Your Own Advent Wreath

I made my own advent wreath and you can too! Mine is really very simple, but you can make yours as elaborate as you want.

What you need:

Artificial Evergreen Wreath – $2.50 (50% off at Hobby Lobby)

Christmas Picks for decoration – $3 (50% off at Hobby Lobby, I used four $1.49 picks)

4 Glass Tealight Holders – $2 (2pks available at Dollar Tree)

Tealight Candles – $1 (huge package available at Dollar Tree)

Pillar Candle – $1 (Dollar Tree)

Total – $9.50

How to make your wreath:

  1. Evenly space the tea light holders around the wreath and secure with a hot glue gun.
  2. Use hot glue gun to attach Christmas picks for decoration
  3. Add tea light candles to the holders and place your pillar candle in the middle.

There are four candles for the four weeks of Advent (beginning on the first Sunday in December). You can observe Advent each day or choose to only do it on Sundays. Whatever works for your family’s schedule.

The first day or week, you light one candle before you begin and leave it burning while you do your devotional. The second day or week, you light two candles, and so on. By your fourth day or week, all four candles will be burning during your devotional.

The pillar candle is for Christmas Eve and represents Jesus, the Light of the World.

There are lots of devotional ideas online. Here are a few of my favorites:

How does your family observe Advent?

If you haven’t started your Advent observance, that’s ok! It’s not too late. Just jump right in.

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Nix Holiday Stress: Set Spending Boundaries

Nix Holiday Stress: Set Spending Boundaries

The last thing the holiday season should be is stressful, but let’s face it, most times it’s just that, stress-FULL. This series will give you tips to NIX that stress right out of your celebration. We’ll talk about how to lighten your load in areas like gift-giving, entertaining, holiday travel and your Christmas budget. Not necessarily in that order.

If you missed yesterday’s post about time saving, frugal gift giving, you can read it here.

I used to hate the “b” word. Budget.

I say “used to” because over the past few years I’ve changed the way I define this word. Instead of reminding me of all the things I can’t have, I choose to let the budget symbolize all the things I CAN have, within boundaries.

The budget shouldn’t and doesn’t go away during the Christmas season. Having one plays a crucial part in eliminating holiday stress. I know so many families who break the bank and max out their credit cards when buying Christmas presents. Bottom line? Overspending brings stress. There’s no way around it.

Here are a few tips to help you stay within your budget:

Make a list.

This includes not only making a list of the people you want to buy for, but also how much you plan on spending for each one and a few gift ideas that fall in that range.

When you make your list, go back over it and ask yourself “why am I buying a gift for this person?”. If you’re buying for them under compulsion or impulse, remove them from the list. If they’re not a close relative, someone you share a close friendship with or part of a gift exchange you’re involved in, reconsider whether you need to give a gift at all.

Draw Names.

If you are part of a large family or a large group of friends, consider drawing names for gift giving. This allows you to pool more resources into just one gift instead of something for everyone.

If you can’t afford it, put it back.

If you’re running up credit cards or taking out loans to buy Christmas, then you’re spending outside of your healthy boundaries. You don’t have to overspend to give special gifts for Christmas. Be creative and think of less expensive but expressive gifts to give.

Baked items are wonderful for the working mom who doesn’t have time or energy to bake.

Watch the Daily Deal Sites to save big on vouchers to local restaurants or specialty retailers.

Give a gift basket of items you can purchase from several different places so you can hunt for the best deals.

Give a gift of services such as “free babysitting” for the couple who has no family close by or “free laundry services” for a college student.This is also where shopping all year comes in. It allows you to take advantage of the very best deals a little at a time. Or if you know you’d like to spend a little more on a gift, you can plan for it all year. This will give you time to look for deals, use coupon codes, etc.

Focus on what really matters

Christmas isn’t about buying everyone a present. It isn’t about going into debt. It’s not about appearing to have it altogether. And it’s most definitely not about keeping up with the Jones’. It’s about Jesus. It’s about sharing the blessed hope He offers with our family, friends and those who don’t know Him.

Budgeting Tip

Determine NOW what your Christmas budget for NEXT year will be. Consider a reasonable amount according to your income and financial responsibilities and divide by twelve. Set aside this amount each month in cash. This is your Christmas spending money. Either let it accumulate throughout the year and do all your shopping in December, or spend a little each month as you discover great deals on the perfect gifts for friends and family.

Now that you’ve got your Christmas budget and gift giving under control, let’s talk about entertaining…tomorrow.

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My CVS Black Friday Deals 11/28 – 11/30

CVS DealsHere are the best CVS Black Friday deals.

Purex Laundry Detergent – Buy One, Get TWO Free
Liquid 24-33 loads
UltraPacks 18ct
- $0.50 off Any One (1) Purex Laundry Detergent
- $1.50 off Any Two (2) Purex Laundry Detergents
Pepsi Products 2-liter $0.69
Wet n Wild Nail Polish Set $3.99
Get $2 ExtraBucks
Final Cost: $1.99
Cheerios & Chex Cereals $2.87
Get $2 ExtraBucks
- $1/2 Cheerios Cereals, exp. 12/14/13 (SS 11/03/13 #2)
- $1.00 off TWO BOXES Chex cereals
- $1.10/2 Chex Cereals: Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Wheat Chex, Honey Nut Chex, Chocolate Chex, Cinnamon Chex, Apple Cinnamon Chex, Vanilla Chex printable
Final Cost: as low as $0.32 each wyb two
Mars Chocolate Singles $0.75
Get $0.75 ExtraBucks
Final Cost: FREE
Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter or Super Lustrous Lip Color $6.99
Get $4 ExtraBucks – limit 6
- $2.00 off any one (1) Revlon Lip Product
Final Cost: $0.99
GUM Toothbrush 2pk $2
Get $2 ExtraBucks
Final Cost: FREE


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My Walgreens Black Friday Deals 11/28 – 11/30

Walgreens Deals
There are quite a few great deals at Walgreens from 11/28 – 11/30.

Plan on shopping Friday, 11/29 and you’ll save an additional 25% off regular priced items. Use code TURKEY25 to shop online or print coupon to use in-store.

Here are the best advertised deals:

Walgreens Black Friday Spend $50 on iTunes Gift Card, Get $15 Walgreens Gift Card

Get a $15 Walgreens Gift Card wyb (2) Apple $25 Gift Cards

Walgreens Black Friday 8x10 Collage 99 Cents

Get 8×10 Collage Print for just $0.99 with card and coupon code: COLLAGEIT.
Colgate Max Fresh or Clean Toothpaste 4-6oz  $3.49
Get $2.50 Register Rewards
- $0.50/1 Colgate Toothpaste, exp. 12/7/13 (SS 11/24/13 R)
Final Cost: $0.49
Colgate Toothbrush (several varieties, 360 showing) $2.99
Get $2 Register Rewards
- $0.50/1 Colgate Manual Toothbrush, exp. 12/14/13 (SS 11/24/13)
Final Cost: $0.49
Mitchum Deodorant 2/$6
Get $4 Register Rewards wyb two
- two $1/1 Mitchum Product, exp. 12/8/13 (SS 11/03/13 #2)
Final Cost: two for FREE
Almay Intense iColor Cosmetics $6.99
Get $4.50 Register Rewards
- $1/1 Almay Cosmetic Item, exp. 12/21/13 (SS 11/17/13 R)
Final Cost: $1.49
Playtex Sport or Gentle Glide Tampons 18ct $3.99
Get $2 Register Rewards
- $1/1 Playtex Gentle Glide 360 Tampons printable OR
- $1/1 Playtex Sport Tampons printable
Final Cost: $0.99
Stopain Gel $7.99
Get $7 Register Rewards
Final Cost: $0.99
Tums Refreshers 50ct (spearmint or cool mint) $4.50
Get $4.50 Register Rewards
- $1.00/1 Tums 24ct+
- $1.00/1 Tums Freshers Cool Mint or Spearmint, 50 ct from RP 10/13 (exp 12/1)
- $1.00/1 Tums Freshers or Chewy Delights from RP 11/10 (exp 1/12/14)
Final Cost: FREE plus $1 Money Maker
Gelusil Antacid/Anti-Gas 20ct $3
Get $3 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Sleep Sheets Honey Dreams Sheets 10ct $4.99
Get $4.99 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Dreamwater Sleep Shot $2.50
Get $2.50 Register Rewards
Final Cost:FREE
Cepacol Sensations Lozenges 4ct $1
Get $1 Register Rewards
Final Cost:FREE
Got 2B Oil-icious Shampoo or Conditioner $4.99
Get $4.99 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Walgreens Ultra-thin Maxi Pads with FlexWings $1.99
Get $1.99 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Revlon Lipstick or Gloss (Excludes Colorstay, Colorburst Crayons and Lip Butter) $7.99
Get $5 Register Rewards
- $2.00 off any one (1) Revlon Lip Product
Final Cost: $0.99
Pssssst! Dry Shampoo $4.99
Get $4.99 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Reach Toothbrush 2pk $3
Get $3 Register Rewards
- $1/1 Reach 2-pk Toothbrush (previously available)
Final Cost: FREE plus Money Maker
Blistex Nurture & Nourish Lip Protectant $2
Get $2 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Swisse Multivitamins $10
Get $10 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Herbal Essence $2.99
Get $2.99 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Scunci No Damage Elastics 2/$3
Get $3 Register Rewards wyb two
Final Cost: two for FREE
Crest 3D White Artic Fresh or Vivid Toothpaste 4oz $3
Get $3 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Pro-NRG Protein Water 4oz $1.99
Get $1.99 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Opti-Free Pure Moist Multipurpose Solutin 2oz $2
Get $2 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
NeilMed Sinufrin Nasal Decongestant Spray .5 $5
Get $5 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Welch’s Sparkling Juice Cocktail 2/$4
- $1/2 Welch’s Sparkling Juice Cocktail printable
Stack w/ $1/2 Welch’s Sparkling Juice Cocktail Walgreens November Coupon Book
Final Cost: two for $2 ($1 each!)

I’m sure there’s more. You can check out all the Walgreens Black Friday deals and let me know if I missed any.

 

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Simple Menu Monday Thanksgiving Edition 2013

Simple Menu Monday - Homemaking Unplugged

Welcome to Simple Menu Monday! I hope my menus help you plan your own by giving you new and frugal meal ideas.
I’m keeping things easy since it’s Thanksgiving week. I’ll be in the kitchen pretty much all day Wednesday and part of the day on turkey day sooooo….crock pot and easy dinners it is!
Wednesday – Dinner Out with Family
Thursday – Turkey, Spiral Ham, Green Bean Casserole (without canned soup!), Amanda’s Sweet Potato Pie, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Pumpkin Pie, Better Than Shoe Shopping Dessert, Cookies, Cookies and more Cookies!
Friday – Left Overs cuz Mama ain’t cookin’!
Saturday – Ham & Beans (making use of the ham bone from Thanksgiving dinner)
SundayBBQ Meatballs over egg noodles
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My Walgreens Deals 11/24 11/27

Walgreens Deals

You can snag these deals at Walgreens through Wednesday, November 27.

walgreens-scope

***Deal Idea***
Scope Dual Blast or Outlast 25.4 oz $3
Get $2 Register Rewards
- $1.50/1 Scope Mouthwash 750 mL+ PG 10/27 (exp 11/30)
$1 off any one Scope Outlast 750 mL or larger (ETS)
- $1 off any one Scope Dual Blast Rinse 750 ml or Larger
- $1 off any one Scope Classic Rinse 1L or larger
Final Cost: FREE plus Money Maker if you use $1.50 coupon

walgreens-gladwrap

***Deal Idea***
Glad Cling Wrap 200 sqft. 2/$4
- two $1 off any one Glad Food Protection Product (previously available)
Final Cost: two for $2 ($1 each)

Walgreens: FREE Nexxus Product thru 11/27/13

***Deal Idea***
Nexxus Products psa $9.99
Get 10,000 Balance Rewards Points wyb two (like earning $10)
- two $5/1 Nexxus Printable Coupons ($4 if you don’t share)
OOP: $9.98
Get 10,000 points ($10)
Final Cost: two for FREE
Nice! Eggs (dozen) $0.99
Butterball Turkey Bacon, 6 oz $0.99
- $1.00/1 – Butterball Product
Final Cost: FREE

You might also consider these free after rewards deals if you’re headed in that direction:

Post Cereal 11-24 oz $1.99
- $1.00/1 Post Grape-Nuts or Raisin Bran Cereal, 15oz+ SS 11/17 (exp 12/29)
Final Cost: $0.99
Ghirardelli Chocolate $3 wyb two
- two $2.00/1 – Ghirardelli Squares, stand-up bag, 4 oz or larger
Final Cost: $1 each wyb two
Swisse Multivitamins $10
Get $10 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Tums Refreshers 50ct (spearmint or cool mint) $4.50
Get $4.50 Register Rewards
- $1.00/1 Tums 24ct+
- $1.00/1 Tums Freshers Cool Mint or Spearmint, 50 ct from RP 10/13 (exp 12/1)
- $1.00/1 Tums Freshers or Chewy Delights from RP 11/10 (exp 1/12/14)
Final Cost: FREE plus $1 Money Maker
Gelusil Antacid/Anti-Gas 20ct $3
Get $3 Register Rewards
Final Cost: FREE
Schiff Digestive Advantage Gas Defense Formula 32ct $8
Get $8 Register Rewards
Final Cost:FREE

****Gosh, I think they think we’re gonna be totally bloated and gassy after Thanksgiving dinner!!!****

Be sure to check out all the free stuff you can get at CVS through Wednesday, November 26!!

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