Swagbucks at the Holidays!

Now that the holidays are in full gear, you can get great deals and cash back for shopping through Swagbucks! Just go here and see all of the great cash back you can get from some of your favorite stores. Here’s how it works:

1. Click here to see the stores offering deals and cash back.
2. Click through to the store(s) of your choice and do some shopping!
3. Get cash back in the form of points (called SB) that you can redeem for free gift cards so you can stretch your holiday budget even further!

As an extra bonus, if you’re not a Swagbucks member and join through my link (or you’ve joined through my link this month), you’ll get an one time 200 SB bonus when you spend $25 or more in any of the Swagbucks Shop stores before January 1st! Swagbucks is a great site where you earn SB points for doing every day things online like shopping, discovering deals, taking surveys, watching videos, searching the web, and more. The SB you earn, the more gift cards you can get, which are a HUGE help this time of year.   I have used amazon.com gift cards I have earned to purchase many of the gifts I am giving this year.  It helps to keep my budget in check!

Family Photos!

Here are some sneak peeks from the photos dad took us of last weekend over the Thanksgiving break.  They were taken at a park near my parents house at sunset!

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Our Christmas Card Photo – so family can be on the lookout for one in your mailbox!

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Little did I know that about 25 minutes later, he would be proposing to me!

dsc_0059One of my absolute favorites!  Katie is like “this is what I have to deal with?”

surprise!

So, I guess the title gives nothing away when it comes to what the surprise was – but…I won’t beat around the bush:

I’M ENGAGED!!!

surprise1

Jake asked me to marry him over Thanksgiving while we were visiting my parents.  We had gone to take family photos (another post with those), and little did I know – but he had the ring in his pocket the whole time!

The kids were being a little clingy while we were taking photos, and he couldn’t get them to all stay together with their sister so he could ask me on the bridges at the park we were at.  Once we were done with photos, we were walking back to the car and he asked Katie to please get the kids in the car.  We were holding hands, and we walked over to this little pier next to the boat launch.  I thought he just wanted a few moments away from the kids to kiss me, and just enjoy the last little bit of the sunset.  There was a kid on the pier looking for crabs in the water, so I talked to him for  a few seconds before I turned around to find Jake down on one knee.  I said “oh my god” several times, and turned to apologize to this kid as well.  I apologized because we had essentially trapped this kid on the end of the pier and he couldn’t get off unless he went around us or in the water.  Jake said he wasn’t paying attention anyway.  I of course grabbed Jake’s face and kissed him several times as he asked me to be his wife.  It was perfect.  We hugged, kissed and he slipped a beautiful ring on my hand.  I amazingly – didn’t cry (Jake says it is because I was too cold).

We started to walk back to the car hand in hand and the kids came out of the car running towards us.  Jonathan yelled “its about time” and the girls were so excited.  Even my nephew Kyler was excited, although I don’t think he knew exactly what was going on.

It was the perfect proposal, and the ring is amazing.  Jake did such a good job!  The photo is not the best, but its the one that he took of me so he could make a really sweet facebook post!

 

a singing tree…

howdy all!

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving break!  I wanted to post a little thing to invite all my local Columbia/Lexington readers to a special event our church is doing.

This year makes the 26th year of the Singing Christmas tre, which has been a staple at Shandon Baptist.   This year, Jake and I volunteered to help put the tree together.  Which is a huge task, with over 30 volunteers – it happens in about 8 hours or so.  Its massive y’all, I cannot even begin to describe the logistics and engineering which go into putting this thing together.   We have never actually been to the singing Christmas tree event.  I started attending Shandon right after Christmas last year, and I had planned on going to it last year – but something happened and I just didn’t make it.  I think I or one of the kids got sick, I just cannot remember why we missed it.

singing-tree

 

The event is free, but tickets are required.  You can get tickets at:  http://www.christmasatshandon.com

If you want to come with us, please let me know and I will let you know what show we are going to.  There are 5 showings this year.   Another amazing event at Shandon is Glorious, which has a bit of a younger feel and aligns more with our blended worship service.  That is the praise band singing and it is what drew me to Shandon last year.   I love hearing them sing every Sunday.  It is truly what feeds my soul.  You can learn more about Glorious by visiting http://www.christmasatshandon.com.

Our church did a TV promo for Glorious, which you can watch here:   Glorious at Shandon Baptist!

 

 

christmas-birthday wishlist

Every few years I do one of these posts where I write up what my Christmas & Birthday wishlists are.  I’m sort of glad I did it, because its been fun to look at how my wants/needs and my tastes change over the years!  

2012 – I had just moved to South Carolina.  I was single (not dating, no longer married)
http://www.vannclan5.com/2012/12/annual-birthday-wishlist/

2010 –  My 30th birthday.  I was still married back then.
http://www.vannclan5.com/2010/09/my-30th-wishlist/

2016 – No longer single, but very attached to Jake!

vinyl
Give me all the vinyl!  I was lucky enough to snag a Crosley briefcase record player for $20 from a friend who was selling one.  I plan on taking it to my parents over Thanksgiving and playing all the records they have.  Their record player no longer works well, but they have a killer collection of vinyl still!   Zac Brown Band, Eric Church & Chris Stapleton are all on my wishlist.

hope-4I have a slight obsession with anchors.  I would love the sign to go over our bed in our new house. I think it will match well with the color bedding we want to get.  The bracelet is beautiful and the necklace perfectly describes how I feel about Jake.  He is my anchor!

What’s on your Christmas wishlist?  Tell me in the comments!

What a difference…

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What a difference a year makes.

12 months – 365 days – 8760 hours

One year ago, I was putting up Christmas lights, raking leaves and dealing with the heartbreak of a broken relationship.  One year ago, it hurt – but I knew I would get through it somehow – I had amazing friends to get me there.

Today, I know that my boyfriend has an engagement ring waiting for me (at some point, I think he’ll even give it to me…LOL).  Today, I am thriving because someone finally took the time to show me what love really is.  

Today – I won’t look back.  

 

 

Friday Faith

I hope that everyone has an amazing weekend.  We are taking the kids to the football game tomorrow, and may throw the Christmas tree up on Sunday.   I wanted to throw a post up, but couldn’t think much about what to write about.  So today, I’ll leave you with a new favorite song by Ryan Stevenson.  Great reminder to trust God in everything!

 

A semi-failed attempt

peanuts-2Love them or Hate them – everyone in the South has an opinion of boiled peanuts.  People from up north usually look at you like you have lost your mind and ask you to repeat yourself if you offer them some.  My mother & sister in law think they are disgusting.  My “from the North” boyfriend loves them.   They are delicious, salty and the perfect snack.  We usually always buy 1 pack from the roving sellers at every football game (photo to the left is from a tailgate earlier this year.

 But after several weeks discussion – we finally decided to make our own.   We went grocery shopping and the Bi-Lo had just received a brand new shipment of locally grown raw peanuts.  Armed with roughly 3lbs and 1 canister of salt – we headed home to begin the cooking adventure.   We used Paula Deen’s recipe, found online.  

I took this photo of the pot just before we turned the burner on.

boiled-peanuts

 

I posted on facebook about our little adventure, and the advice we received was “don’t oversalt”.  David, I must say that was good advice that I sadly, did not follow – but not on purpose.  You see, I added more water because they weren’t quite done and the water had boiled down a good bit.  When I added more water, I was talking to Jake about what I was doing and he said “should you add more salt?”.  I said “probably, and threw what I can guess equaled another 1/8 of a cup in.  Bad idea, bad idea – abort mission.  2 hours later we tested them again and wow they were salty, and some still had a little bit of a “bite” to them, without being completely mushy.   BUT – they were so good!!

Advice I have received since completion:

  • let them soak for 2 hours in the salty water, but with a plate on top of them to weight them down in the water.
  • let them sit until the water cools once they are done, and they all sink to the bottom of the pan.
  • again, do NOT oversalt!

Would we do it again? Absolutely!  Will we add less salt – hell yes!   I also heard you can boil them in chicken stock to give them an added flavor.  They are still though, my favorite tailgate snack!   

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November Goals!

hello-november

It has been awhile since I did one of these “goals” postings, but I was reading one of my favorite blogs and it reminded me to do this!

Goals Updates:

The last time I posted goals was in September: http://www.vannclan5.com/2016/09/september-goals/

I did pretty well with some of them.  The prepping food on Sunday for the week sort of went by the wayside, and I can probably rein that one back in.  I did manage to read 2 books in October, thanks to my dad for downloading the newest in a series of books he and I have been reading.  I am way behind my goal of reading 100 books this year, BUT – I have been having an amazing time since then with all the adventures Jake & I have been on!  Budget has been a little wonky at times – thanks to car repairs and that hospital bill which seems to never want to go away!

New Goals:
– Continue to grow with our Sunday School class.  We have this amazing sunday school class full of newly married, or about to be married couples.  We just finished up a prepare & enrich type class, that prepares us for marriage (we had to take tests y’all).  It was great, and really helped open up some conversations Jake and I needed to have.
– Finish up Christmas shopping
– Family photos when we go to my Mama’s for Thanksgiving.  I need those to do our Christmas cards!
– Continue to grow my oils business and sell at least 1 new kit!

Holiday Shopping Decor Deals

 

 

Now that the holidays are in full gear, a lot of people are already getting started on decorating their homes for the season. If you’re in that same boat, you can get great deals and cash back for shopping through Swagbucks! Just go here and see all of the great cash back you can get from some of your favorite stores. Here’s how it works:

1. Click here to see the stores offering deals and cash back.
2. Click through to the store(s) of your choice and do some shopping!
3. Get cash back in the form of points (called SB) that you can redeem for free gift cards so you can stretch your holiday (and decorating) budget even further!

As an extra bonus, if you’re not a Swagbucks member and join through my link (or you’ve joined through my link this month), you’ll get an one time 200 SB bonus when you spend $25 or more in any of the Swagbucks Shop stores before December 1st! Swagbucks is a great site where you earn SB points for doing every day things online like shopping, discovering deals, taking surveys, watching videos, searching the web, and more. The SB you earn, the more gift cards you can get, which are a HUGE help this time of year.

So far since October 1st, I have earned $35 in amazon.com gift cards that I used for holiday gifts!  I make sure to shop through Swagbucks, to ensure that I am getting points too!   I also shop through Swagbucks anytime I am shopping at retailers like Walgreens, Kmart and Shutterfly.  I will earn some points when I make up my Christmas cards this year.  Is is so simple and easy, I’m glad that we have these opportunities to earn a few extra points!