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A Heart For Home: December 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fabric ala Carte Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Mama Lusco, you've won a set of four fat quarters from Fabric ala Carte. We'll be contacting you shortly.

Be sure to check out all the beautiful fabrics and great prices at Fabric ala Carte! Right now you can get up to 25% OFF of Clearance Items.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Nutcracker Tradition


Grand-daddy & Maw get every member of the family their own Christmas Nutcracker. This is our rapidly growing collection :)

For more Wordless Wednesday posts head over to 5 Minutes for Mom.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Designer Fabric Scrap Pack Winner

Congratulations to Kati who's won a beautiful Designer Fabric Scrap Pack from Down Shadow Lane.

Remember you can order your own 6 oz. Scrap Pack from Down Shadow Lane for only $7 (plus s&h) or a 12 oz Scrap Pack for only $13 (plus s&h).

Here's a sampling of the types of fabrics that are included in these Designer Fabric Scrap Packs.

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Songs for Saplings: ABCc CD Winner

Congratulations to Anonymous (dredrush@...), writer of comment #41.

We'll be emailing you shortly for your mailing address so we can get this wonderful CD shipped to you.

Remember, Songs for Saplings is offering 25% OFF of all their CDs until Christmas, so take advantage of this great deal before it's gone.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Giveaways Ending Today & Tomorrow

We have two wonderful giveaways ending today (Monday, 12/21) at midnight.
Click on the following links to enter.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Wooden Block Nativity Set


I can't wait to make one of these with our children when they get a bit older. Head over to Pioneer Woman for some inspiration and to see close ups of all the blocks.

Do you have any links to great Christmas craft to make with little ones? If so, please leave the link in your comment.

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Amazing Grace Christmas Lights Display

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Names of Jesus Garland

From the Archives: Originally Posted December 2008

This year, I've been looking for a way to help keep our family focused on Jesus during the Christmas season. I thought it would be a great idea to display some of the names of Jesus in our decorations to help remind us of how wonderful a gift he is.

As I search for inspiration, I came across this Names of Jesus Garland, Monica (from The Homespun Heart) made for her open house at The Rusty Robin.

So, I decided to make my own garland. I sat down and made a list of 13 names of Jesus and 2 verses about his birth. Then I typed them up in a pretty font, being sure to leave enough room to cut a circle around each one. I'm using my scrapbook circle cutter to cut out each circle, but you could also just trace a circle from a cup or small bowl. I still need to buy some red & green paper and get it all put together, but I thought I'd go ahead and post the idea in case anyone wanted to start their own Names of Jesus Garland.


This garland will look wonderful decorating your home and will help remind you of the amazing gift God sent--his son Jesus.

This would also make a great teacher, neighbor, or hostess gift this Christmas season.

*Edited to Add: Unfortunately in our move I can't find our garland from last year, but here is a photo of Kristin's using the PDF file I sent her last year.

If you'd like the names already typed, just leave me a comment with your email address and I'll send you a PDF file of the names.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review & Giveaway: Songs for Saplings: ABCs CD

Last week I posted about my excitement to receive a set of CDs from Songs for Saplings.

Well, they have arrived and I am even more excited now that I have begun listening to them.

Songs for Saplings creates music CDs to help teach children about the Bible and about God. The catchy melodies make these songs easy for children to sing along and memorize scripture and important truths about the God who loves them so much.

As parents who strive to lead our children to a relationship with God, it is so important that we begin early hiding his word and his truths in their young hearts. Song for Saplings helps us do just that.

"Songs for Saplings: ABCs" is designed to teach your little ones the word of God as they study their ABCs. This CD contains 38 songs, one for each letter of the alphabet plus 12 additional verses that correspond to events throughout the year. Click on the link above to listen to sample tracks, to view all of the song titles, or to purchase this CD.


"Questions with Answers, Vol. 1: God & Creation" contains the truths about God and His creation, including what God did, why he did it, who we are, and how we should think and act. this CD contains 22 songs. Click on the link above to listen to sample tracks, to view all of the song titles, or to purchase this CD.

"Questions with Answers, Vol. 2: the Fall & Salvation" talks about what went wrong with the world, and what God did to fix it. This CD contains 30 songs. Click on the link above to listen to sample tracks, to view all of the song titles, or to purchase this CD.

"Questions with Answers, Vol. 3: Christ & His Work" explains why God sent Jesus, what work Jesus did to accomplish our salvation, and what He does still today. This CD contains 12 songs. Click on the link above to listen to sample tracks, to view all of the song titles, or to purchase this CD.We've been listening to Songs for Saplings: ABCs quite a bit and Emahry has already memorized a couple of scriptures in just the few short days we've had these CDs. (I've also memorized quite a few myself.)

Buy It:
Head over to Songs for Saplings and check out their wonderful CDs. Remember, they are all 25% OFF until Christmas. that makes each CD only $9 (plus s&h).

What a wonderful gift these CDs would make for any young family who is striving to teach their children to love God.


Win It:
Songs for Saplings is offering their "Songs for Saplings:ABCs" CD to one of our readers.

To Enter This Giveaway:

1. Head over to Songs for Sapling's ABCs CD page and browse through the song titles (scroll down). Then come back here and leave a comment telling us which song you'd really like your children to learn.

For additional entries you may do any (or all) of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each entry. Make sure you leave an email address if it is not posted in your profile. (If we don't have your email address we will have to chose a new winner.)

~ We're always looking for ways to help our children grow closer to God. Leave a comment telling us how you train your children to love God and the Bible.

~ Subscribe to A Heart For Home (let us know if you've already subscribed)

~ Follow Our Blog (let us know if you already follow)

~ Place our button on your blog (include the link in your comment). Simply copy the code under the button and paste it into the text box for an Html Gadget on your blog's layout.

~ Post about and link to this giveaway on your blog (leave the link in your comment)

~ Tweet about this giveaway (leave us the link in your comment). You can use this tweet: Win a ABCs Scripture CD from Songs for Saplings! @heart4home #Giveaway http://bit.ly/54I294 (Ends 12/21)

~ or Share about this giveaway on Facebook.

The giveaway will end Monday, December 21st at 12 Midnight EST. We will pick the winner through random.org.

Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you.
Photo Credit: Songs for Saplings

(While the Songs for Saplings CD pack was provided to A Heart for Home for review, no other compensation was given. All remarks are the personal and honest opinions of A Heart for Home)

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Easy Grasp Baby Block



I've had this idea floating around in my mind for a while now. I finally whipped one up this afternoon while the little ones were napping. The block is about 3 1/2 inches square. It is stuffed and a small bell is hidden inside which makes a very soft jingle sound.

*In response to kpmattingly's comment, all of the ribbons are reinforced (stitched twice) so they are very secure.

This Easy Grasp Baby Block is a Christmas gift for an extended family member who's first baby should be arriving any day now.

Please, let me know what you think. I need constructive feedback because I hope to start making these to sell some time in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

I'm hoping that these Easy Grasp Baby Blocks will Work for Me!

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Make It Fast, Cook It Slow Giveaway Winner

Congratulations mama hall, you've won a copy of Stephanie O'Dea's amazing new cookbook!

Didn't win, but still want to get your own copy of this incredible cookbook? Click here to purchase your own copy, or a copy for someone else, for only $11.96 (plus s&h). Or purchase 3 copies for only $35.88 and get free shipping. (This cookbook would make a great gift!)

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Finals Week

Emahry "helping" Daddy review the Hebrew alphabet.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Holiday Helpers

It's My Birthday

Today I am 28 years old. Tim keeps teasing me that I 'm getting close to 30. I keep reminding him that the only reason he thinks that's funny is because he's already passed that milestone--two years ago.

So, while I'm not jumping up and down because I'm another year older, I am thankful that the passing of time, if you let it, can also bring about the passing of the less than desirable traits of our character. For me some of these traits are selfishness, conceit, undisciplined living, and self-reliance.

Through the years it becomes more and more difficult to think only of myself. As so many other precious people need so much from me it becomes easier and easier to push my wants aside.

It's also difficult to take yourself and your looks too seriously when you haven't shaved your legs in three weeks, your hair is unbrushed, and your little one has decided to use your shirt as a washcloth for his "I just squeezed a banana through my fingers" hands--again.

As for being undisciplined, just try to manage a household with a full-time in school plus working husband, a 2 1/2 year old, a 15 month old, and a another baby due in 10 weeks without being disciplined and you'll soon see that planning and sticking to lists and schedules is your only way to make sure that there are clean diapers, washed dishes, and food on the table.

Probably the least desirable trait that I am very happy to be learning my way out of is my self-reliance. When you realize that you haven't slept through the night ONE SINGLE TIME in almost three years you begin to lose confidence in your own strength. You finally see that nothing good can come from your meager attempts and that the only reason anything positive is going on in your life is because of the grace and power of God.

That's one reason I'm thankful that my birthday occurs so closely with the day that we celebrate the greatest birth of all, that of a tiny baby, born in a manger, who chose to leave unspeakable glory to live as an example for us and to ultimately die as an atonement for our sins.

Please, join us in celebrating my birthday today by leaving a comment telling what you are doing to focus on HIS birth during this easily hurried season.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Etsy Shop Showcase Review & Giveaway: Fabric ala Carte

I recently stumbled upon another great fabric source on ETSY. Fabric ala Carte is the shop of Kris, an "empty nester" mom of three and new grandmother. What caught my attention with Kris' shop was her slogan, "Quality Fabric at Affordable Prices!" This is definitely what I'm looking for when I purchase fabric and I'm sure most of you are, too. Fabric ala Carte carries many high quality fabrics from top manufacturers at $5/yard or less.

Fabric ala Carte carries a wide range of fabric including fat quarters, 1/2 yard bundles, yard bundles, strips, squares, & tumblers for quilt projects, upcycled fabric, and much more. Kris can die-cut 5" charms, 2.5" wide strips, and 6.5" tall tumbler blocks from any fabric in the shop. She also prides herself on fair S&H and fast shipping times. I can definitely vouch for the quick shipping times as I received my fabric only 3 days after Kris sent it!

Kris lists her fabrics in 1/2 yard increments to give her buyers more flexibility. This is something I love, but haven't seen much when shopping online for fabric.

I was pleased to review this adorable fat quarter from Fabric ala Carte. It's "Owls on Green," a Hoffman Fabrics print from the "Camp Fun Time" series.

I can already see this fabric making its way into these future projects.



There are 3 other fabrics in the "Camp Fun Time" series. You can purchase all four in a fat quarter, half yard, or full yard set. Or you can purchase a half yard of any of them for only $3 (plus s&h).

Fabric ala Carte also has many more fabrics to choose from. Here are just a few of my favorite fabrics from the shop.




Go check out all of the wonderful fabrics for yourself at Fabric ala Carte. If you make a purchase, please let Kris know that you found out about the shop at A Heart For Home.

Also be sure to check out Kris' other Etsy shop, Bon Bons & More, for a variety of handmade items including many quilted items. Be sure to take a look at these adorable little wallets.

Interested in having your shop featured in our Etsy Shop Showcase? Leave me a comment & find out more here.

Do you have products that you'd like me to do a review for, but don't sell on Etsy? Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address & I'll contact you about doing a review.


Now for the giveaway!
Kris has graciously offered one of our wonderful readers 4 fat quarters of their choice from any fabric in her shop. Kris will even ship these fat quarters internationally.

To Enter This Giveaway:

1. Head over to Fabric ala Carte and browse through all the beautiful fabric and patterns. Then come back here and leave a comment telling us which 4 fabrics you would like to win.

For additional entries you may do any (or all) of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each entry. Make sure you leave an email address if it is not posted in your profile.

~ Visit Bon Bons & More and leave a comment telling us which item in the shop is your favorite

~ Subscribe to A Heart For Home (let us know if you've already subscribed)

~ Follow Our Blog (let us know if you already follow)

~ Place our Button on your Blog (include the link in your comment). Simply copy the code under the button and paste it into the text box for an Html Gadget on your blog's layout.

~ Post about and Link to this Giveaway on your Blog (leave the link in your comment)

~ Tweet about this Giveaway (leave us the link in your comment). You can use this tweet: Win a Custom Fat Quarter Bundle from Fabric ala Carte! @heart4home #Giveaway http://bit.ly/5wCHR4 (Ends 12/22)

~ or Share about this giveaway on Facebook.

The giveaway will end Tuesday, December 22nd at 12 Midnight EST. We will pick the winner through random generator.

Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you.

(While the "Owls on Green" fat quarter was provided to A Heart for Home for review, no other compensation was given. All remarks are the personal and honest opinions of A Heart for Home)

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Songs for Saplings 25% OFF CD Sale

I discovered Songs for Saplings CDs while reading Brooke's blog, A Life in Need of Change. Brooke hosted a giveaway of these CDs and I quickly entered.

Unfortunately, I didn't win the giveaway, so I was completely thrilled when Songs for Saplings agreed to send me a set of CDs to review here on our blog! The CDs are still in the mail, but I wanted to go ahead and give everyone a heads up about these remarkable CDs. (They would make GREAT Christmas gifts!)

Here's a bit from Songs for Saplings website, explaining their CDs.

Songs for Saplings makes music for kids. We want them to understand who God is and what He has done, as well as what He wants your children to do and to be.



We hope that you will benefit from these CDs and use them to help teach your children about our God and his great love for us.


You can hear sample tracks from each CD by clicking on the links below. When you get to the website, scroll down and click the play button.

Songs for Saplings: ABCs



Questions with Answers, Vol. 1: God & Creation



Questions with Answers, Vol. 2: Fall & Salvation



Questions with Answers, Vol. 3: Christ & His Work



I am so excited to receive these CDs for our family. Emahry already sings along to the sample tracks of the ABCs CD and I woke up the other night with 1 John 3:16 running over and over in my head.


I know our children are capable of memorizing and learning more than we give them credit for, and I want to take every opportunity to anchor the Word of God into their young hearts.

Now through Christmas, Songs for Saplings is offering 25% OFF of all of their CDs. At only $9 a piece these CDs would make a great gift for any young family. Click here to go to Songs for Sapling's order page.


For more gift ideas for $10 or less visit Life as Mom's Frugal Friday post here.

* Also, keep your eye out for some free CD giveaways here at A Heart for Home!

We'd love to hear what you think about these CDs. Also, please tell us how you teach your children about the Bible and the God who loves them.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Swagbucks Reminder

Search & Win


If you have never signed up for Swagbucks you are missing out on a great way to earn some wonderful products and gift cards.

We signed up for Swagbucks last January and posted about our first few days using Swagbucks here.

Swagbucks is a online search engine that rewards you for searching online. You can earn even more bucks by getting others to sign up under your referral link.

So far this year we have earned 3841 swagbucks. The majority of our swagbucks have (or will) be cashed in for Amazon gift cards. Remember Amazon doesn't just sell books anymore :) There are also lots of great prizes and other gift cards, like Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, Target, iTunes, Disney.com, Southwest, and many more.

$5 Amazon gift cards can be "purchased" with 45 swagbucks. So with our total bucks we are able to purchase 85 $5 Amazon cards. Since we only purchase items that are available with free shipping, that's $426 worth of FREE merchandise from Amazon in only one year.

We have used this "free money" to purchase items for our home, garden, kids, crafts, gifts, etc. Other than toiletries, we've spend very little money out of pocket to buy anything this year. We simply wait until we have an order of at least $25 from Amazon then we use our swagbucks to purchase what we need.

If you would like to start earning swagbucks to "purchase" merchandise or gift cards simply click here to get started.


Disclosure: The links in this post are affiliate links. If you sign up and earn swagbucks you will be helping us earn swagbucks, too.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Etsy Shop Showcase Review & Giveaway: Down Shadow Lane

This is my second time working with Jen from the Etsy shop, Down Shadow Lane. Jen is a stay-at-home mom who loves fabric and sewing. Down Shadow Lane carries a wide range of fabric including vintage, retro, reproduction, quilting, and children's prints.

I absolutely love this shop! Jen's fabric choices are beautiful and her customer service is amazing.

This time around I received a beautiful scrap pack from Down Shadow Lane to review.

*Please note that the photos only show an example
of the many different fabric remnants available.


These scrap packs are made up of several different prints in various sizes and are great for small projects. I decided to use my scrap pack along with some scraps I already had to make scrappy fabric belts like this one for Christmas gifts.


Down Shadow Lane's scrap packs include many different designers like Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry, Denyse Schmidt, Valori Wells, Heather Bailey, Heather Ross, Robert Kaufman and many others. No two packs are exactly the same.

These wonderful scrap packs are available in two sizes. There is a 12 oz. pack that sells for $13 and a 6 oz. pack that is priced at $7 (plus s&h).

Down Shadow Lane also carries a wide assortment of fabrics in fat quarters and by the yard. Here are just a few of my favorite fabrics from the shop.





Down Shadow Lane also carries a wonderful selection of patterns.

Go check out all her wonderful fabric for yourself at Down Shadow Lane. If you make a purchase, please let Jen know that you found out about the shop at A Heart For Home.

Interested in having your shop featured in our Etsy Shop Showcase? Leave me a comment & find out more here. Do you have products that you'd like me to do a review for, but don't sell on Etsy? Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address & I'll contact you about doing a review.

Now for the giveaway!
Jen has graciously offered one of our wonderful readers a 6 oz. scrap pack of their very own.

*Please
note that the photos only show an example of the many different fabric remnants available, the winner will receive 6 oz. of these remnants and not all seen in the pictures.

To Enter This Giveaway:

1. Head over to Down Shadow Lane and browse through all the beautiful fabric and patterns. Then come back here and leave a comment telling us which fabric or pattern is your favorite.

For additional entries you may do any (or all) of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each entry. Make sure you leave an email address if it is not posted in your profile.

~ Subscribe to A Heart For Home (let us know if you've already subscribed)

~ Follow Our Blog (let us know if you already follow)

~ Place our Button on your Blog (include the link in your comment). Simply copy the code under the button and paste it into the text box for an Html Gadget on your blog's layout.

~ Post about and Link to this Giveaway on your Blog (leave the link in your comment)

~ Tweet about this Giveaway (leave us the link in your comment). You can use this tweet: Win a Designer Fabric Scrap Pack from Down Shadow Lane! @heart4home #Giveaway http://bit.ly/51oKjo (Ends 12/21) PLS RT!

~ or Share about this giveaway on Facebook.


The giveaway will end Monday, December 21st at 12 Midnight EST. We will pick the winner through random generator.

Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you.

(While the Fabric Scrap Pack was provided to A Heart for Home for review, no other compensation was given. All remarks are the personal and honest opinions of A Heart for Home)

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Scrappy Fabric Belt

Here's an example of the Scrappy Fabric Belts I've been making for Christmas gifts.

The inspiration for these belts came from Juicy Bits' tutorial, but I decided to make them 1 1/4 inches wide and to use D rings instead of buckles.

I'm using up lots of scraps from my fabric collection and some new fabrics as well. the only supplies I had to purchase are interfacing and the D rings. Each belt ends up costing less than $3, so I think it's a fairly frugal gift for the holidays, or anytime during the year.

* * Keep an eye out next week for a chance to win a great scrap fabric pack.* *


This scrappy fabric belt Works for Me!

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Filled With Music

Recently, our home has been filled with Christmas music from a newly discovered source.

Have you heard of Pandora Radio?

Pandora is a FREE online radio resource whose mission is "To play only music you'll love."

Through Pandora.com you can create up to 100 personalized radio "stations" based on the name of one of your favorite songs or artists. Pandora uses the Music Genome Project to then "quickly scan its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings - new and old, well known and completely obscure - to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice."

Once your station is complete, you can sit back and relax to the type of music you love. There is even an option for flagging songs you don't like so they will never be played on your "station" again.

We've been enjoying making our own stations and refining some of the pre-made Christmas genre stations.

Our current favorites are Swingin' Christmas and Peaceful Holidays.

So, if you're in the mood for some new music, head on over to Pandora.com to create your free account and begin listening today.

We'd love to hear about your favorite Christmas song or your favorite Pandora station.

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Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Today we woke up to a world thinly blanketed in beautiful white snow. As soon as Emahry finished eating breakfast we bundled her up to go play in the snow with Daddy.



Jonathan even made it outside for a few minutes while I took some photos from the front porch.


Have you been able to play in the snow so far this year? We'd love to see snow photos, so link to them in your comment.

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