Posts Tagged ‘Gifts’


(Living Love) Winter Warmth

coffee1Warm up your spouse inside and out by surprising him with a steaming cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Drop it off to him at work or pick up a cup for him on your way home from the store.

Large tokens of affection make for lifelong memories, but those little tokens of affection breathe life into our relationships during the day-to-day.


(Money-Saving Tips) Christmas Shopping Tips

We make a lot more purchases than normal during the holiday season and, after awhile, they can all blend together into a mess of expenditures. As you make your gift purchases, here are a few ideas on how to keep costs down and your purchases intentional:

1. Set a Christmas budget on a large scale as well as an approximate amount to be spent on each person.

2. Keep a running total of how much has been spent on each person.

3. Set up a separate checking account to manage Christmas purchases. I guarantee that you will spend less money on your holiday purchases when you have a limited and defined amount of money to spend.

4. Purchase kids’ toys earlier rather an later. Especially when ordering from places like Ebay, prices tend to rise as the number of people shopping increases. Make your purchases before the rush.

5.  Most stores are already running great sales to attract early holiday shopping. For stores that you know you will be making purchase from, sign up for their promotional emails. You can often get additional discount coupons or certificates.

6. Plan out your purchases at each store. If you are ordering online, this can save you on shipping. For in-store and online purchases, there are often promotional discounts that you can get for spending larger amounts of money (compared to multiple smaller purchases).

7. Keep all of your Christmas receipts in a designated envelope. That way if you need to make a return or find a better deal, you know right where they are.

Happy shopping!

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(Parenting) Quality Toys

As our thoughts turn towards holidays, many of us start to think about gift ideas for our kids. Yet as we look around at our full closets and overflowing toy boxes, we see piles of cheap and broken toys and the much-coveted, yet short-lived toy wonders. Most of us parents would agree that we would rather have quality over quantity when it comes to toys, but the application of that ideal often gets lost between the pleading eyes, the desire to shower our kids with with everything good, and well-meaning grandparents. But ultimately, quality does trump quantity. Most fad toys and almost anything with batteries won’t make it through the year, let alone turn into an treasured toy that lasts through the rest of the children or even grandchildren. As adults, we look back lovingly on what we refer to as “classic toys” because they come from an era where quality did prevail over quantity. They are from a time when children had fewer toys.

Here are a few tips to help direct your steps as you try to gradually build your supply of high-quality toys:

1. Lay out a long term vision for your toy collection.

2. Buy toy collections that can be added onto such as Legos, Playmobil, Little People, dollhouses, dress-up, etc. This gives gift-givers a general guide for purchases. It also allows the child to develop more focused play. By expanding their options within an already-existing collection, they will return more frequently to that toy set to expand, grow, and tweak their previous play experiences. This ultimately enhances creative play.

3. Find a couple of websites that sell toys of the more classic nature and forward those to extended family gift-givers. Additionally, you can usually request a free catalog from the company and pass those on to your children to look through. This helps direct your child’s thoughts away from the advertisements of this year’s popular toys and towards more classic toys.

4. Select toy collections that can be used across multiple age groups and can grow with the child.

5. Ask yourself if the toy requires the child to create something (mentally or physically) and move away from toys that simply entertain.

As you focus more on building a collection of quality toys, you will probably find that it grows more slowly, but look around you again. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.


(Breath of Life) In His Presence

When you look over your life and your interactions with God, what are some of the moments that stand out to you? What are some of the times when you most clearly felt God’s presence or that you most clearly heard from Him. Was it when you were singing? Writing? Hiking? Painting? Driving? Playing the Piano? Cooking? Making flower arrangements? Jogging?

Sometimes interaction with God flows the most easily when you are being active; doing something that you love or something creative. It is in those moments that we step outside of our expectations and rules, and we move past our critical thinking skills and our own knowledge.

Don’t assume that your time with God is limited to a quiet time. While time in the Word is so important, He has given you passions and gifts so that He may be glorified in your life. When you are using those gifts, you are in His presence. Find Him there.

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(Living Love) Gift Budget

 Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be significant. Small token gifts can hold so much value. It is all about the presentation and the thought that is put into the gift. However, making these types of purchases for our spouse is usually not a part of our routine.

When you are planning your budget, give yourself (or both of you) a small cash budget for these gift purchases. This provides you with the opportunity, and even the challenge, to show love to your spouse in these little, yet significant, ways.


*Tip – Keeping this money in cash will help prevent it from being spent on something else and will be a physical reminder to buy the gift.


(Living Love) Sweet Nothings

lindtVery few people in your life know that you get midnight cravings for peanut butter M&Ms, have a weakness for extra dark chocolate, or adore those powdered donuts packets from the gas station. But on those rare occasions when somebody has noted that sweet treat that you love and then surprised you with it, it means a lot. Not just because they gave you the coveted item, but because they made the effort to learn what it is that you love and went out of their way to surprise you with it.

What is a sugary treat that your spouse loves? Surprise him with it! Leave it on his pillow, in his briefcase, or in the box of cereal (…or not…you don’t want the kids to find it first). It is a simple way of turning a sweet treat into a sweet nothing.

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(Money Saving Tips) The Gift Tote

Once you enter the world of kid birthday parties and baby showers, it can feel like you are buying a gift every time you turn around.  Those last minute, mad-dash trips to the store are unduly stressful and costly.  All too often you settle for paying retail (because the party is in two hours) even though you saw that same item 50% off two weeks ago.

Enter the gift tote.

Go buy a large storage tote to stick in your closet. Be sure to avoid the clear totes so that your little ones can remain unaware of the goodies inside. Then, as a part of your normal errands and online purchasing, start to watch for deals on toys, baby items, gadgets and other gift potentials. Sometime you will have a gift recipient in mind and other times the purchase will be more general. Then store the purchased items in your tote. When you are in need of a gift,  simply go shopping in your own little gift stash. This idea has the potential to save you at least 25-50%.

*Tip – If you keep a budget, add a small category for these types of purchases. Plan to come upon these unplanned deals. $20 this month could save you $40 next month.