Jan 182017

This post contains affiliate links.

It’s time for you to unwrap your SB bonus this holiday season courtesy of Swagbucks. This month’s Winter-themed Swago board offers a possible 300 SB ($3) Bonus!

What is SWAGO you ask? It’s a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. When you complete a task, watch that square change colors. You can then redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you’ve never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great way to learn how to use the site, and it’s a lot of fun!

Here’s what you need to know to get your 300 SB Bonus:

  • Swago will begin on Monday, January 16th at 9:01am PDT/12:01pm EDT, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Monday, January 23rd at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

Every game of Swago is different than the one before. However, I was able to finish a pattern to earn 5 extra SB in the matter of a few minutes.  I am working on a pattern to earn a higher bonus, like I was able to on the last board, but wanted to assure you it was possible to earn bonus SB from this round, even if you do not have a lot of time to contribute to your efforts.

Jan 182017

This post contains affiliate links.


It was decided – we were going to have a party George’s birthday.  Even though we were in the middle of finishing our home remodel and preparing to move.  It was not like I was doing anything else, or had any other details to plan. (Part 1)

With the theme now decided, party favors found, I moved on to games and decoration.  We were taking a risk by having the party at the local park.  However, it had been a mild autumn so far and I hoped it would continue as such.

In the spirit of keeping things simple, I looked around for items we already owned to reuse.  If it had been solely up to George, the whole pavilion would have looked like an aviary, live birds and all.  For decorations, here is what came about instead:

  • Reused a birthday banner , hanging it up high along the side of the pavilion, facing the parking lot. It is similar to the one linked, but not that exact one.  We picked our up from the dollar store a few birthdays ago; this was it last time to be used.
  • Gathered up large limbs, tying them around the support posts.
  • Placed various stuffed plush birds of George’s in the branches of the trees.
  • Used table clothes, previously acquired at an end of holiday sale, and various colors of crepe paper.  This was one of the great benefits of not having a color theme.

As for games and snacks, we began with the game – Hawk and Sparrows, a.k.a. freeze tag.

Then a horrible thing happened – the fox got into the hen house and stole all the eggs.  Each team had to go find their own specific color of eggs, a.k.a. an egg hunt using easter eggs.  The kids were great about finding their eggs, even calling out the colors if they found one that did not belong to them.  In the end, all but one team could not find their last egg.  It turned out that I hid it too well, even I could not remember where they were.  We finally found them, in a circle out in the grass, in plain sight.  The point was not to make it a hard ‘game’, but to make it a fun one.  That being said, as you can see by the pictures below, I had to get a bit creative in ‘hiding’ them around the area of park we were in.


Once all the eggs were found, we gathered the kids together to make bird feeders using peanut butter smeared on cut up paper towel rolls/toilet paper rolls and rolled in bird seed. (note: if are you dealing with peanut butter allergies, shortening could be used as an alternative.)  Each kid had a plate in front of them which began with one roll and a glob of peanut butter.  Once it was smeared on, bird seed was added to the plate, allowing the majority of see to stay contained and making clean up extremely easy.

The kids were not too sure about spreading the peanut butter till I demonstrated that it really was okay to take a bunch on your fingers and smear it around.

A string looped through the rolls meant they would hang it up once they got home.  A paper lunch sack meant transport home would be mess free, which I am sure the other parents were thankful for.

The kids were beginning to wind down, it was time for snacks.  Prior to the party we had made birds nests, a.k.a. haystacks made with chocolate chips but no nuts or marshmallows, leaving them in the muffin tins for transport. Each kid was given their “nests”.  Small bowls of jelly beans were sat out along the table, allowing the kids to choose which eggs they wanted to place in their nests.

The birds’ nests had all been made inside cupcake tins, with paper liners.  This made it very easy to transfer them to the table for each kid, then to a paper lunch sack for the kids to then take home, if they did not eat them at the party first.

Next up were cupcakes, drinks, and opening gifts.  Once everyone was done, they were off and running, making use of the nearby play equipment and open space.


My lack of photos for this post has nothing to do with me being frugal with my time or pictures.  It has everything to do with my mom taking most of the photos for this day, while I was helping direct the kids.

In the end all had fun helping George celebrate his birthday, which was the point of the whole endeavor.

P.S. I have enjoyed using the remaining erasers we acquired from the party.  Not only are they cute, but they work very well and are of a great size for hands, both large and small.

Jan 132017

This post contains affiliate links about one of my favorite ways to earn extra money online.

rotary-phone-with-border earning money

Earlier this week, I talked a bit about how I had been looking back through the past year.  We are a full 13 days into the new year and how it is going?  Honestly, I feel like a complete failure.

Then I glance at the calendar and realize it has only been 13 days, several of those were days I was not even home, and over half of them were days George was still on Winter Break from public school.  If I am not half way to reaching my goals, it really is okay.  There are a few days left in the year to work on them.

During the moments when I am struggling to feel optimistic I try to find something readily on hand to help me take even the tiniest step toward advancing in one of the areas.  Sometimes that means clearing off the kitchen counter, other times it means grabbing art supplies and making stamp art with the kids.

Today, it means letting my husband run Movie Night while I go hang out with some other home school moms in our area.  Stepping outside my comfort zone to socialize with a group of previously unknown moms who teach using them same method we do, actually scares me.  I have tried to talk myself out of going, then remember the post.  Accountability, even from the other side of a computer, means I can not hide in my closet and pretend no one else knows that I was going to do XYZ, so it wouldn’t matter if I just ignored XYZ and read a book.  So I will be going, after picking up a pizza using a gift card I bought yesterday. (I was going to buy the pizza anyway tonight, and buying the gift card helped me complete my SWAGO board design, thereby earning me another 125 SB.)

Having other families around us who also home school is one benefit of living where we do.  The fact that there are other families who also use the same method we do is beyond what I could have hoped for.  Compared to Small Town, where we were one of 3 families (in town) who I knew home schooled, all with different styles, having this opportunity is something I would never have dreamed of.  So, I am going.

books time planner school

Something else this week I have been working on is finding a routine which works for me to consistently earn SB every day.  While I have not reached my Daily Goal every day, I did do it for at least 7 days straight, which meant I will at least receive bonus SB for having done so.

Having a routine for this has been important for me, or else I would spend three times as long running in circles trying to figure out what I felt like doing that day.  It also helps to have a smart phone, though one is not required.  With the Swagbucks Mobile and SBTV apps I can use my spare minutes to earn free gift cards on my phone! Like the Swagbucks website, I can rack up points, called SB, by shopping, answering surveys and watching videos.

Here is what my routine looks like so far:

Work on completing my To Do List.  (It is on the left side of Swagbuck’s home page.)  By completing this list, not only do I earn SB for the activities, but also a bonus for completing 6 of them, and a larger bonus for doing all 8.

  • Search topics I am needing to know about today, was curious about as I fell asleep last night, etc.  Once I earn SB for searching, I move on the second step …
  • Check for any opportunities on Crave.  They are not always available, but I check early in the morning.  If there are none, I come back later in the day and check on my desktop.  Next up …
  • Watching video clips.  These are around certain topics, vary in time, and in amount of SB you receive.  I usually do the shorter ones at this point, aiming for 1 or 2 SB.  After this is finished, I …
  • Check the Deal Of The Day.  This is a special offer for that day.  No purchase is required, only clicking through to the advertiser’s website.  If the deal is something you wish to take advantage of, you may do so.  If not, move on to …
  • Discover new content.  Again, there are a variety of options to chose from; I usually look for some of the quicker ones, such as reading articles.  At other times, though, something catches my eye and I might sign up for a free sample or trial, or join an email list.   (I have been having problems with certain articles working well on my phone.  When this happens I will do them on my desktop or look for something else to complete.)  Now that we are almost done with the To Do List, it is time to …
  • Complete a survey.  Or try to do so.  Both activities count toward your list.  Actually completing a survey can help you take a giant leap towards reaching your Daily Goal.  If you are able to fill you Daily Goal meter (found at the top of the home page) you will additionally receive bonus SB.

Once my To-Do List is finished and bonus SB earned, I open the SBTV app on my phone and go about the rest of my morning activities. I have several clips which are my favorites. (If you hold your finger down on the clip for several seconds, it will pop up a window allowing you to make it your favorite.  This gets added to your Favorites list, making them easier to find.)

If I reach my daily limit of SB earned on SBTV, I can move over to one of the other apps I have on my phone.  The number of clips watched before earning SB varies, so you may find certain ones work better for you than others.

At this point I would normally be close to 100 SB, more if I happen upon a survey offering over 100 SB, or signed up for an offer which resulted in receiving SB in return.

Using the method above, I have earned 1304 SB ($13) since the beginning of the year.

 Here is another example of how you can use your phone to earn $10 a week.
While you wait for the coffee to brew, download free games and other apps through the Discover tab: 20 SB
During commercial breaks, take a featured survey or fill out your survey profile: 60 SB
While standing in line at the grocery store, answer the daily poll: 1 SB
When you’ve finally made it to the gym, watch style, tech and celeb news through the SBTV app: 2 SB for every 10 videos
Just as you’ve put dinner in the oven, your Swagbucks app tells you there’s a new Swag Code!: 3 SB
Before you go to sleep, use the Swagbucks app to shop from your favorite stores. You deserve it!: 100 SB
By downloading the Swagbucks mobile app, I can earn a free $10 gift card by the end of my week. Who knew playing on my phone could be so productive!
Invite your friends to download the Swagbucks Mobile app so they can start earning their way to free gift cards. It’s 100% free to download and 100% easy to use. Its available for both iPhone and Android devices.
Jan 102017
Get rewarded for planning ahead and being adventurous

This post contains affiliate links. At the end of 2016/beginning of 2017 I did not write down official New Year’s Resolutions.  Instead, I spent December reflecting back on this past year and all the craziness it held, trying to get a grasp of it all: the conclusion of a 2-year home remodel, which I initially […]

Jan 092017
10 Things Gardeners Do Even Though They Know They Are Moving

Pick up discounted plants, bulbs, or seeds at the store.  After all, the house may take a while to sell and you could get in just a few more flowers or vegetables. Let the volunteer tomato plant grown and produce. Fresh tomatoes for the road is welcome any day. Visit the produce auction. You may not buy […]

Jan 042017
It is snow much fun to earn money, snuggled under a warm blanket

This post contains affiliate links. No shoveling of snow required. Recently I participated in Swagbucks Team Challenge.  While I was no where near one of the top earners, and our team actually came in last, I was able to learn a lot from others on the team.  The encouragement was great, with a lot of […]

Jan 022017
10 Things Gardeners Do Not Do When They Know They Are Moving

Having moved several times, always hours away from the previous garden, there are a few things which always automatically fall of the list of gardening activities.  While some items have to remain, after all you do not want to yard to look unkempt, here are 10 items gardeners should not do once they know they will be […]