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A Heart For Home: May 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Charlie's Soap Review and Giveaway

I first heard about Charlie's Soap from Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking several months ago. Recently, I decided that I would like to try their laundry powder and maybe even offer a giveaway to our readers. I contacted Charlie's Soap and was thrilled when they generously agreed to sponsor a review and giveaway on our blog.

Charlie’s Soap makes a biodegradable, hypoallergenic, no residue laundry detergent that I absolutely love. Charlie's Soap is the perfect answer for all of your laundry needs. It works wonderfully for removing everyday stains and odors. It is also perfect for washing cloth diapers because it leaves no residue behind, but washes perfectly clean.

Normal laundry detergents leave residue behind which causes material to repel liquid instead of absorbing it. The residue left by other detergents can also cause skin irritation making them a poor fit for babies and people with sensitive skin. Since Charlie's Soap leaves no residue it works perfectly for people with all types of skin. It is also fragrance free which I always think is a plus. Like the bag says, "If you want flowers, go pick some." Charlie's Soap doesn't cover up odors and stains with fragrances and brightener, it really cleans.

I also love that I only need to use 1 Tbsp per load, so a small amount goes a long way.

You may think that you'll need to pay an arm and a leg for a product this great. However, at 80 full sized loads for around $15, Charlie's Soap is still cheaper than the national brands. If you buy in larger quantities you can save even more. The smallest size (80 loads) costs approximately 19 cents per load. If you purchase the 5 gallon bucket (1280 loads) you end up paying about 12 1/2 cents per load. If you compare that to inexpensive brands or prices you pay when using coupons it may seem like it's not that great of a deal, but just think about what you're washing your clothes in. Remember Charlie's Soap is completely natural and contains only a "unique blend of biodegradable coconut-based detergents and high-grade, completely soluble, Green River washing soda." So you're not soaking your clothes in anything that isn't safe to wear against your biggest organ - your skin. Plus it works!

Charlie's Soap also makes an All-Purpose Cleaner that is great for convenient cleaning everywhere. You can dilute it for hundreds of different uses. Like the bottle says, "cleans anything from false teeth to diesel engines." Charlie's Soap gets under grease and grime gently releasing it. Don't forget to let it sit for a while before rinsing. The All Purpose Cleaner is "meant to gently remove stains - not blast them off!"

Click here to read about Charlie's Soap Liquid Laundry Detergent.

All of Charlie's Soap's detergents are also front-loader and HE compatible.

Buy It:
Head over to Charlie's Soap to order your own laundry detergent or all-purpose cleaner.


Win It:
Charlie's Soap is offering one of our readers a bag of their wonderful Laundry Powder. Yes, it's a full-sized bag that will wash 80 loads of laundry. Plus, the winner will also recieve a 17 oz. bottle of Charlie's Soap's All-Purpose Cleaner.

To Enter This Giveaway:
Mandatory
1. Head over to harlie's Soap and browse through their site. Then come back here and leave a comment telling us something else you learned about Charlie's Soap.

Make sure you leave an email address with each entry if it is not posted in your profile. (If we don't have your email address we will have to choose a new winner.)

For additional entries you may do any (or all) of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each entry. If you complete one of the following that is worth more than one entry, please leave the corresponding number of comments so your extra entries will be counted!

For ONE Additional Entry EACH
2. Tell us how you found out about this giveaway ~ saw our post on google friend, a reader, prizey, a giveaway linky (which one), etc. (1 entry)

3. Follow our blog publicly through Google Friend (1 entry)


4. Subscribe to our RSS feed using a reader (1 entry)

5. Subscribe to receive free email updates (1 entry)

6. Follow us on Twitter ~ leave your twitter ID in your comment (1 entry)

7. Tweet about this giveaway ~ leave the URL to your tweet & include @heart4home & #Giveaway. (1 entry) Feel free to use this tweet: Win Charlie's Soap Laundry Detergent (80 loads) non-toxic, hypoallergenic @heart4home #Giveaway 6/14 http://tinyurl.com/25q3pvs Please RT

For TWO Additional Entries EACH
8. Add this giveaway to a giveaway linky. Limit of 3 linkies. ~ leave the linky URL and the number that corresponds to this giveaway (2 entries each)



9. Place our blog button on your blog (copy the code from the box in our far right sidebar) ~ leave the URL & let us know where we can find it (2 entries)

For THREE Additional Entries
10. Post about and link to this giveaway on your blog ~ leave the Permalink to your post (3 entries)



The giveaway will end Monday, June 14th at 11:59 Midnight EST. We will pick the winner through random.org.

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

Photo Credit: Charlie's Soap

(While the Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder and All-Purpose Cleaner were 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. The prize for this giveaway will be supplied and shipped to the winner by the sponsoring company. A Heart for Home is not responsible for lost of undelivered prizes.)



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A Season of Change, A Change of Heart

It always seems as soon as I start getting used to our "normal" life, our definition of "normal" changes. I think God just uses this as a reminder that I am a completely and utterly lost without Him and still in need of grace every moment.


These ever changing seasons can also turn my heart toward embracing the blessings of each day, if I only let them. This sinful nature is a strong and stubborn opponent. Oh, how quick I still am to see blessings as burdens and opportunities as obstacles.



I love the idea of counting my blessing and have seen some attitude changes since beginning my Endless Gifts list. However, I hope this is only the tip of the iceberg. I so want to leave a legacy of gratitude in the hearts of my children, but some days gratitude is the last thing on my to do list, right there with appreciating my family and being joyful. How's that for honesty? Those things that are most important so often get pushed aside in order to get the laundry done or the dishes washed. But, whoever said I couldn't get my tasks accomplished while still maintaining a sense of appreciation and expressing joy and gratitude to those around me.


That is so often my problem; I see the chores of the day as hurdles to jump and mountains to climb instead of time I am blessed to spend caring for my family and training my children. Oh, how I sometimes envy those people who love to clean! But I too can find joy in my tasks. I can open the gift of each day with anticipation and move through each moment focusing on the blessings of a healthy, happy family and a well run home.

Instead of hurrying through my "chores" in order to "get to" something fun I can turn my everyday tasks into times of fellowship and learning as I teach my children to appreciate blessings and to enjoy caring for others. While scrubbing the ever present stains out of Tim's work uniform I can say, "We're so glad that Daddy works so hard for us. Thank you God for Daddy's job." I can also use our tasks as ways to teach them more about God and how he want our lives to be; "When we trust in Jesus and give him our lives God scrubs away the sin in our hearts and helps us to be clean and holy."

What are some tangible ways that you help train your heart to be grateful and joyous? How do you express this gratitude and joy to those around you? I'd love your input. I'd also appreciate your thoughts and prayers as I strive to be a woman after God's own heart.

May we all continue to grow in grace,

Allyson


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Friday, May 28, 2010

Cloth Diaper Blog Event

June is sure to be an exciting month of fluff!

Stephanie @ My New Life As Mom is having a "Fluffy Bottoms Cloth Diaper Event" during the month of June.

This will be a month long cloth diaper event shedding some light on cloth diapers. Styles, price comparison, misconceptions and GIVEAWAYS! I can't wait to see what she will be offering!

Visit her blog for more information, rules, and requirements.



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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our Thrifty Tip

My friend Kristin is hosting Thrifty Thursday on her blog, Bits & Pieces from My Life, throughout the summer. Stop by her blog for great thrifty tips and to share your money stretching or saving ideas.

Our tip involves iron on transfer paper,stainless steel water bottle, USB flash drives, a cordless phone, Italian leather toddler shoes, a glow in the dark Frisbee , and rechargeable batteries. What in the world do all these have in common? We got them for free by using gift cards we received for free. That's right, free things from free gift cards. That's a whole lot of FREE!

I would have to say that one of the ways our family has saved the most money is by joining and using Swagbucks. If you've read our blog in the past you probably already know how much we love this program, but if not I highlighted a few of the reasons here and here.

Search & Win

Swagbucks is a search engine that rewards you for searching. Just by using Swagbucks to do everyday searches such as "healthy muffin recipes" or "free coloring pages" you can gain points that can be used to get all kinds of free prizes. Our favorite prize is the $5 gift card to Amazon, although a Starbucks gift card is a nice treat for date nights. Amazon gift cards can be combined without a limit and a lot of their products also ship for free if your order is over $25.

Remember, Amazon isn't just a place to buy books anymore. While they do still carry lots of great titles, they also carry sippy cups, knife blocks, book lights, men's hats, nursing bras and much more. How do I know? Because we've order all of those items and received them for free by combining gift cards that we earned through Swagbucks.

When searching with Swagbucks you randomly earn points. With their new setup I've earned anywhere from five to 35 swagbucks. We've also earned the random 1 to 3 swagbucks for having the swagbuck toolbar. When you join Swagbucks you also have the opportunity to have people sign up through your affiliate link. You can easily do this through a blog, facebook, or even email. When people sign up through your link you are given a swagbuck for every one they earn by searching up to 1,000 swagbucks per friend.

By using Swagbuck's search engine, installing the toolbar, and getting friends and readers to sign up using our affiliate link, we've been able to earn over $600 in Amazon gift cards. Since we're in a tight financial period with Tim in school, this extra income has been a wonderful way to purchase things we need as well as gifts for our family. Right now would be a great time for you to sign up and start piling away gift card codes to use for Christmas presents.

While I'm telling you about the wonderful blessing this has been for our family, I need to take a minute and say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has signed up using our link. Our family truly has been blessed by this program and we are very thankful!

Now, you may be thinking that unless you can get a lot of people to sign up with your link this program is pointless. That's not true. Yes, it will take you longer to earn prizes, but it is still very possible. For example, my sister uses the Swagbuck's search engine and has the toolbar, but has not had anyone to sign up using her affiliate link. In the past year she has received a $20 Target gift card and has enough swagbucks to order $15 worth of Amazon gift cards. While this isn't a huge amount, $35 in free gift cards is still a nice gift for doing searches that you would have done anyway. You can also earn more swagbucks by shopping online and trading in old electronics.

So, what's my thrifty tip? If you search online, use Facebook, have a blog, shop online, or know people who do, I would suggest signing up with Swagbucks to start earning "bucks" towards lots of great prizes or gift cards. What do you have to lose?

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



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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Songs for Saplings CD Giveaway: Questions with Answers, Vol. 3: Christ & His Work {closed}

We continue to be blessed by the pack of CDs we received from Songs for Saplings last year. We have enjoyed being able to spread the word about these wonderful CDs as well as offer the chance for our readers to win their own copies.

We have one last giveaway from Song for Saplings. The winner of this giveaway will be sent the Questions with Answers, Vol. 3: Christ and His Work CD. The songs on this CD are written by Dana Dirksen and are taken from The Catechism for Young People by Pastor Stephen Hildebrandt.

From our original review:
"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."

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

Click on the link or picture above to listen to sample tracks, to view all of the song titles, or to purchase this CD. We've really enjoyed listening to this CD along with all of the Songs for Saplings CDs. You can also get a free copy of the chords and lyrics to all of the songs on this CD

"Volume Three: Christ and His Work" explains why God sent Jesus, what work Jesus did to accomplish our salvation, and what He does still today.

It explains about Jesus’ nature, what his roles (offices) are, and how he reconciled us to God.

Heady stuff! But your kids are ready for it, and there’s no better time to start teaching them the deep truths of God.

"Volume Three: Christ and His Work" was recorded in Vancouver, WA in 2007, and includes the voices of 11 children.


Be sure to check out the other wonderful Songs for Saplings CDs.

Songs for Saplings: ABCs
Questions with Answers, Vol. 1: God & Creation

Questions with Answers, Vol. 2: The Fall & Salvation

Buy It:
Head over to Songs for Saplings and check out their wonderful CDs. All of Songs for Saplings are very reasonably priced at $12 each. You can also purchase the three Questions with Answers CD in a special package deal for only $30 (plus s&h).

Win It:
Songs for Saplings is offering their Questions With Answers, Vol. 3: Christ & His Work CD to one of our readers.

To Enter This Giveaway:
Mandatory
1. Head over to Songs for Sapling's: Questions With Answers, Vol. 3 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.

Make sure you leave an email address with each entry if it is not posted in your profile. (If we don't have your email address we will have to choose a new winner.)

For additional entries you may do any (or all) of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each entry. If you complete one of the following that is worth more than one entry, please leave the corresponding number of comments so your extra entries will be counted!

For ONE Additional Entry EACH
2. Tell us how you found out about this giveaway ~ saw our post on google friend, a reader, prizey, a giveaway linky (which one), etc. (1 entry)

3. Follow our blog publicly through Google Friend (1 entry)



4. Subscribe to our RSS feed using a reader (1 entry)

5. Subscribe to receive free email updates (1 entry)

6. Follow us on Twitter ~ leave your twitter ID in your comment (1 entry)

7. Tweet about this giveaway ~ leave the URL to your tweet & include @heart4home & #Giveaway. (1 entry) Feel free to use this tweet: Win a Kids' Biblical Truths CD, Christ & His Work from Songs for Saplings @heart4home #Giveaway http://tinyurl.com/WinSaplings 6/7 Please RT

For TWO Additional Entries EACH
8. Add this giveaway to a giveaway linky. Limit of 3 linkies. ~ leave the linky URL and the number that corresponds to this giveaway (2 entries each)



9. Place our blog button on your blog (copy the code from the box in our far right sidebar) ~ leave the URL & let us know where we can find it (2 entries)

10. Place Songs for Sapling's button on your blog ~ leave the URL & let us know where we can find (2 entries)

Songs for Saplings



For THREE Additional Entries
11. Post about and link to this giveaway on your blog ~ leave the Permalink to your post (3 entries)

The giveaway will end Monday, June 7th at 11:59 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. The prize for this giveaway will be supplied and shipped to the winner by the sponsoring company. A Heart for Home is not responsible for lost of undelivered prizes.)

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Welcome to A Heart for Home! If this is your first time here you may want to
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Letter Recognition: Seeking Your Advice

Tim and I have been talking recently about being more intentional with teaching Emahry (age 3) the letters of the alphabet. She has expressed an interest in the sounds that letters make and how they are combined to make words.

While I have a degree in Elementary Education, my only experience teaching was in the fifth grade where, thankfully, my students had already grasped the fundamentals of reading.

We've already decided that we want to begin with lower case letters as they make up the large bulk of printed material. We are also thinking that it would be best to begin with a couple of vowels and a few consonants that can be combined to make several words. However, we have not determined which letters specifically or what activities we are going to use to teach the letters.

We would greatly appreciate any advice you can give us on how to go about beginning this process. Please, keep in mind that we are on a very limited income, so items that are free or can be used over and over would be best. Also, remember that we have three children three and under so activities need to be easy to prepare and execute. Oh, it would also be great if Jonathan (20 months) could participate as well.

Specifically:
~which letters to begin with,
~how to progress through the alphabet,
~books to read together (alphabet, specific letters, etc.),
~activities to teach and reinforce,
~and anything else you think would be helpful!
If you have a post on your blog or know of any good information available on the web, please leave a link. We'd love for the comments section of this post to become a library of wonderful ideas.

If we use your idea and post about it here, we'll be sure to give you credit and link to your blog :)
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Overheard

Setting the stage: I was sitting on the couch nursing Eliya. Emahry and Jonathan were looking at books on the floor. Emahry began "reading" a Bible story book to Jonathan. This is what I overheard.

Emahry: Jonathan, look! It's baby Jesus. He was born in a stable.
(pointing) There's a donkey and a cow.
Jonathan: grunts (Emahry takes this as a sign that he understands)
Emahry: (pointing) That's Jesus' daddy & mommy.
Jonathan: grunts
Emahry: It's Joseph & Mary Poppins!


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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Endless Gifts

Daily I'm surrounded by wonderful gifts from God, yet many times I choose to see the disappointments instead of the blessings.

Today I choose to be a cheerful recipient, a joy finder, a gift counter.

#134. Smiles. Especially first smiles.

#135. Tim's job at Dollywood.



#136. All the attractions we're able to visit for free because Tim works at Dollywood. They really make great free family nights and date nights!



#137. Stain free diapers, thanks to the sun's bleaching power.



#138. Remembering that when I am penetrated by the Son I'm also made white as snow.



#139. A new pizza recipe that mimics our favorite Papa Murphy's take and bake.



#140. An adorable new diaper cover for Jonathan from Cheeky Diapers. Yes, that is sushi!


#141. The blessing of new life here and here. (Don't worry Maw, I'm not pregnant again...yet.)

#142. A newly found blog that inspires me every time I read.



#143. Sprouting sunflower seeds.



#144. Birthday candles for our first born. (Poor girl went to the doctor for her first ear infection on her birthday.)


#145. Grilled dinners. Tim cooks and the kitchen stays cool and clean :)

#146. The chance to try Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder and All Purpose Cleaner. (keep an eye out for a review & giveaway soon)



#147. Labels that make me laugh, "Cleans everyting from false teeth to diesel engines!" (cracks me up)



#148. Discovering the idea of homeschool workboxes. (Duh, why didn't I think of that?)



#149. Tim is done with school for the summer!



#150. Remembering that God carries us when we fall short as parents and when we simply have no idea what we are doing.



#151. Having a husband to lean on when I feel like a failure as a mama.



#152. Being reminded that "this too shall pass."



#153. Jonathan continuing to tell us when he needs to go potty several times each day.



#154. Small hands reaching for mine.



#155. A little voice whispering a prayer for Daddy.



#156. A baby that likes to sleep in.



#157. A camera to capture all of these fleeting moments.



#158. The easy accessibility and low cost of toothbrushes when Jonathan drops another one into the toilet. (The fourth this month, you think I would have learned by now!)



Please leave a comment telling us what you are thankful for today.


holy experience



Will Also be Contributed To: Gratituesday, intentional gratitude Works for Me!, Things I Love Thursday, Finer Things Friday


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God's Promises for Girls by Jack Countryman & Amy Parker

"God's love was, is, and will always be
As it's been throughout the ages-
It is perfect and lasts forever;
God's true love never changes."

God's Promises for Girls is a beautifully written and illustrated devotional and gift book for little girls. Each two-page layout is designed to teach and remind little girls of God's promise to be present and active in their life if they choose to follow him. Every topic includes a simply but meaningful poem, a bright and beautiful illustration and Bible verses that offer comfort and encouragement. These lessons can help teach children that the answers they need can be found in God's word.

We received this book yesterday and have been enjoying it since. Both of our older children (ages 3 and 20 months) have enjoyed listening to the poems and scriptures. They also really enjoy the illustrations which are colorful, cheery and detailed. The verses in this book are taken from the International Children's Bible and appear to be very well adapted to the vocabulary and understanding of children. We typically like our children to hear the Bible read in the same translation we read (either NIV, or ESV), however of the verses we have compared from the book, we are comfortable with our children learning them from the ICB. This book would make a great addition to any little girl's bookshelf.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Day at Dollywood




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Monday, May 3, 2010

Songs for Saplings CD Winner

It looks like I've finally caught up with announcing giveaway winners! Sorry it's taken me so long, but our life has been a little crazy and blogging was just the last thing on my to-do list (well, maybe right above scrubbing the ceiling or alphabetically organizing my spice cabinet).

Anyway, we've finally chosen a winner through random.org. Congratulations Jenn @ Beautiful Calling. You should receive an email from us shortly.

Thanks to everyone who entered! When life calms down a bit I hope to be able to visit your blogs and catch up a little on our posting here.

Thanks for understanding and we are taking volunteers for washing diapers, dishes, heinys, and pollen enduced runny noses, in no particular order.

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