Happy New Year!

New beginnings are the best; they are a chance to start fresh! I am so thankful for new starts and for God’s absolute grace that washes over me again and again, like the waves of the sea.

“The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”  – 1 Timothy 1:14

Wishing YOU the joy and peace that we are invited to experience as we start a new year! Looking forward to a wonderful year!

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  –  Thessalonians 2:16-17

3 Gift Rule

Christmas Gift Giving

 

When our children were babies, we implemented the 3 gift rule that someone told us about. Just as Jesus received three gifts from the three wise men, you’ll remember from the Bible story, our children receive three gifts from us! This simple rule has simplified Christmas for us! Someone told me about it years ago, and how it gave Christmas deeper meaning to their little children and a chance to share the story of the birth of Jesus. There are still plenty of gifts around the tree, because you buy for others. Likewise, they receive plenty because of extended family Christmas gatherings. But the message that we share around the tree is the story of Jesus and the three gifts of the wise men: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

3 Gifts of the Wise Men

3 Gift Rule

What is the 3 Gift Rule?

So, what are these three gifts, and how do we implement that into our family Christmas tradition?

Gold: Something that they really want

Frankincense: Something that they need (like clothes)

Myrrh: Something to read or to help them grow (a book, devotional, or CD usually)

The message on Christmas morning is not one of extravagant material gifts, but of the most extravagant gift we could ever receive: eternal life because our Savior came and took the punishment we deserve. Our family is far from being holy or un-materialistic. These small steps, though, keep Christmas focused and keep our children from only caring about what they will receive under the tree Christmas morning! Our family time is meaningful and enjoyable. Christmas morning, along with Christmas Eve, is one of my most favorite days. We celebrate family and our Savior. I cannot remember who first told me about the 3 Gift Rule, but I am so thankful they did!

For more posts from Mom’s Priority about Christmas time giving:

Teach Your Kids to Give

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

 

How to Find the Best Black Friday Deals

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how to find the best black friday dealsBlack Friday is less than a day away!  Get ready to find the best black Friday deals, possibly the best this Christmas season!!  Retailers have been planning on this week all year because this is when the bulk of Christmas shopping will happen this year.  Peak Week starts the Monday before Thanksgiving and goes through the following Monday, referred to as Cyber Monday.  * Black Friday is a term almost used to describe this entire time period for many retailers.* I like to think of getting this task complete (or close)- Christmas shopping- so we can all enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas together a little more.

Back to Black Friday shopping, get your lists ready!  I do believe you will find some great deals this week if you are ready to make a purchase.  If you have any questions about securely shopping online, read this post to shop smart online this Christmas season.  We want to help you find the best Black Friday deals online and in stores so check Mom’s Priority daily for updates.

Best Black Friday Deals

We will be updating our list of deals daily as we receive them from retailers here on the Black Friday Deals page, accessible from the main page.  You may want to bookmark this page.

Here are a few tips to save money this Christmas season:

  • You need to remember to check prices before you buy.  Even though a retailer claims to be offering a great price on an item, that doesn’t mean it is the BEST price.  One great website resource to check Amazon prices is https://camelcamelcamel.com .  This is a legit site that does behind the scenes work for you.  You can even sign up for price drop alerts if you are shopping Amazon and need to find a particular item.
  • You should review the Black Friday Ads for major retailers below, which are linked below for your convenience.




Department Store Black Friday Ads

Black Friday 2018 is coming November 23!  Retailer giants like Amazon and Walmart have already begun their deals of the day and door busters, with more coming each day.  Here is a list of the bigger department store Black Friday ads we have so far.

Sam’s Club Black Friday Ad

Kohls Black Friday Ad

Macy’s Black Friday Ad

Walmart Black Friday Ad

Amazon Black Friday Ad

Target Black Friday Ad

Best Buy Black Friday Ad

 

More Black Friday Tips

  • Use promo and coupon codes whenever possible.
  • Note retailers that price match, and ask for a price match if you find an identical item at another store.
  • Consider a free trial of Amazon prime just for the holidays for the free shipping benefits. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.
  • Always keep your budget in mind and think about creating a Three Gift Rule to keep the focus off all of the gifts.  See our post about the Three Gift Rule here.

These are just a few of the ways you can find the best black Friday deals this week.  Good luck!!

Gratitude: The Cure for Entitlement

The Cure for Entitlement: Gratitude  the cure for entitlement is gratitude

My son has been excitedly asking about our gratitude jar for the past month. Filling the jar with things we are thankful for is a tradition we do every November. Every day in November (ideally… we often have to catch up!), we write down things we are thankful for on slips of paper and add them to the jar. On Thanksgiving Day, we read all of our notes aloud. It is a humbling and gratifying experience to say the least. To hear aloud my family members say things that maybe I never think to be thankful for, this fills my heart! This is what Thanksgiving is all about!

Get Our Hearts Right

It surprises me that he asks and even remembers! Our gratitude jar simply sits on our kitchen table for one month out of the year. It precedes Christmas, which can become an extremely materialistic time of year if we’re not careful. I love that it makes an impact on him, and I hope we keep this tradition for many years to come. More than anything, in our entitled world, I want our kids to know the source of everything. I want them to know that it comes from God, and not from any work they can do themselves. Sure, hard work is often rewarded, but this gratitude is what separates the entitled from the humble and thankful.

gratitude
Simple Jar or Bucket

Don’t fool yourself into thinking your container has to be Pinterest-worthy to use! A gratitude jar (or gratitude bucket!) can be as crafty as you want, or have time, to make it! It’s the practice, the habit, of daily writing down things we’re thankful for that we’re after. If you have time to make it super-cute, then by all means, do! This year, my usual glass apothecary jar was being used for something else. So, we are using a galvanized bucket with a ribbon tied at the top! Times are busy right now, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to miss this opportunity! Who knows how many more years our kids will want to do this?! I do hope it sticks with them. But regardless, it will be a fulfilling memory to store away for future thanksgivings.

Solutions to Raising Grateful Kids

Beyond this simple idea of a gratitude jar, here are other ways to raise grateful kids in this entitled world:

  • Express thankfulness in prayers and blessings. Thankfulness is a key element of prayer, and in blessings at meals, we bless the food and thank God for providing it. Creating this habit reminds us daily to focus on God, and not on ourselves.
  • Give gifts and serve in the community. When you give generously, you think of the receiver and it forces you to look beyond yourself. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our situation, that we fail to look outward. Giving good gifts to teachers and others in the community helps us to voice our appreciation of their work.
  • Get into nature and experience the awe and beauty around us, given to us by God. How can you look at a sunrise and not be thankful?!
  • Live intentionally. Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, focus on what your purpose is and do that well!
  • Keep Christmas about the cross, and not just wanting more “stuff.” We can challenge ourselves to give and not just want. The 3 Gift rule helps our family keep away from all of the “I wants.”

Expressing Gratitude Creates Long Term Impact

Ultimately as parents, when we “teach” our children, we’re really teaching ourselves, right? This reminder every November is good medicine for me AND it’s great for our kids. We’re raising up the next generation, and who wants a bunch of spoiled adults running around! Long term, I believe practicing gratitude creates healthier families. Think of how much better you sleep when you’re not overspent and overworked? When you’re able to focus on living intentionally, grateful for each day. There are even studies pointing to gratitude reducing anxiety and depression in adults. The results of one study are preliminary, but it suggests practicing gratitude actually rewires the brain! Knowing that the future ahead for our children is not going to be any easier, I want to give my kids all the tools to have long, productive and meaningful lives. Gratitude is a simple answer.

For more posts related to family and living intentionally around the holidays, join our newsletter and click to read these posts:

Christmas Giving with Kids
Three Gift Rule
Living Intentionally as a Mom

Hobby Lobby Christmas Decor on Sale

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Hobby Lobby is an amazing place.  I can get lost in the store and my worries seem to melt away as I focus on a much bigger God.  The verses of truth surround me in that store!  I know it may sound materialistic, but I’m okay with that.  😉

Selected Hobby Lobby Christmas decor is on sale this week at 50% off and also today only they are offering free shipping as well!

Hobby Lobby Christmas Decor

Get Free Shipping on orders of $59 or more at HobbyLobby.com. Some exclusions apply. Free Shipping ends 11:59pm PST on 11/17/18.

Shop now for Seasonal Christmas Items at Hobby Lobby. Select Categories now 50% off. Some Exclusions apply.

 

Janie and Jack Girls Dresses 20% off TODAY ONLY

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What I love about Janie and Jack are their heirloom-quality clothing.  It’s typically a little pricey for our budget, but when you find a sale, you find a great quality clothing item you can pass down.  If you are looking for Christmas dresses, or just dresses for every day, you need to take a look.  This extra 20% off available today only will help you find those items you are looking for this Christmas.  Like this adorable, simple Christmas Janie and Jack girls dress.  You can dress it up or down, but the look is classic and timeless.

Janie and Jack Christmas girls dress

Also, their selection of clearance girls dresses for summer is also nice – at really great prices!  Like this one and tons of others!

Janie and Jack summer clearance girls dress

Janie and Jack is offering the extra 20% off sale prices today only, 11/16, with code BESTDRESSED

Click here for more deals from Janie and Jack.

 

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Filling Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is a Christmas tradition for our family.  In a simple gesture, the kids and I gather our gifts to go in the boxes typically starting on Fall Break.  We try to send out by early November, so the kids who receive them do so by Christmas time.  In these boxes, we include the following:

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Items to Include

  • Simple toys, like a jump rope or bouncy ball
  • Wooden games or puzzles from the dollar store
  • Basic hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, comb or brush
  • Clothes, such as a T-shirt, underwear, socks, and possibly flip flops or another kind of shoe
  • School supplies, like notepads, pencils with sharpener, pen, or markers
  • Whatever our child enjoys at their age, such as matchbox cars or little dolls, gets included
  • A handwritten note
  • Books are always welcome

Prayer Suggestions

Most importantly, the kids and I pray for the child who will receive this gift.  We pray for the hearts of the children who receive the gifts, for the volunteers who serve by promoting, collecting, and distributing the boxes, and for this ministry to be effective in reaching people.

Shipping to Another Part of the World

We can pay $9 to have it shipped, and we can track where it goes online through Samaritan’s Purse.  These shoeboxes are an amazing start to the Christmas season because they turn our focus outward.  It’s an incredible learning opportunity for the kids.  Undoubtedly, the kids want to know more about the country and culture that this child is in.  It teaches our children empathy and an age-appropriate awareness of the world we live in, outside our community.  My prayer, like many other parents, is that it fosters in their hearts a love for other people who come from different backgrounds than us.  I pray that their love grows as they grow, and that they want to share the love of Jesus Christ with others.

Operation Christmas Child Legacy

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes bless others, but I think we are the ones who are truly blessed.  We coordinate these with our church’s mission opportunities, but you can give a shoebox regardless of church affiliation.  Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has distributed over 147 million boxes!  Learn more at the official website here.  

For more ideas of ways to teach your children about giving, see Christmas Giving with Kids.

 

Perfect Hostess Gift: Southern Tea Towels

Nothing says warm and inviting like a tea towel.  They may or may not be originally “southern,” but the cute and sometimes bold sayings on the towels, say welcome to my home!  You can’t have too many tea towels, or so we say.  I have a confession: I have an obsession for tea towels. The words make me smile or reminisce and they are so practical and handy! If you’re headed over to someone’s house, wrap up a tea towel in some ribbon and a cute note, and you will make your hostess’s day.  Tea towels are the perfect inexpensive hostess gift.  Here are a few favorites:

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tea towel

Primitives by Kathy has a ton of entertaining options

Mud pie has adorable tea towels as well, like this one.

mud pie tea towel hostess gift

I love this custom printed recipe tea towel from Etsy!  Take your grandmother’s signature recipe and create a custom tea towel for a unique keepsake gift that will remind you of sweet times.

custom recipe tea towel

I also love this “home” tea towel that can be customized with the recipient’s state and name.  Perfect for a hostess or housewarming gift!

home tea towel

These tea towels from Etsy are funny, and super affordable at $5 each!

funny tea towels

Last, but not least, check out this adorable monogram tea towel.  Customize a towel with name and date!

monogram tea towel

 

 

 

 

Clinique Bonus Time is Now

Clinique Bonus Time at Macy’s is NOW ~ Don’t Miss it!

 


 

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Choose your free 7-piece gift with $29 Clinique purchase. Shop now at Macys.com! Valid 9/26 through 10/10Heads up, now is a great time to stock up on your makeup as it’s Clinique Bonus Time at Macys!  This is the easiest way to buy your makeup!  You don’t even have to find time to go shopping.  Simply go to Macy’s online by clicking the picture to the right, and order your needed items.  Spend just $28 and the bonus gift is automatically added to your bag.  If you wear Clinique, it is so simple to order online with free shipping and have your makeup delivered to your door!  It doesn’t get much simpler!  Or faster!

Clinique Products clinique bonus time

I have been approached multiple times to get on the multi-marketing bandwagon with another skincare provider from other women, and my answer is always no for several reasons.  The primary reason is I have no interest in switching.  Clinique products have been good to my skin for many years, back to the teenage years when my skin needed lots of help!  I think many in my generation grew up on Clinique, as our moms used Estee Lauder!  No reason to change a good thing!  Also, I am thankful for the ability to easily purchase my Clinique makeup without making a trip to the mall.  Ordering online is so simple, and your makeup typically arrives at your door within 2 days.  Ordering Clinique on Macys.com is so simple- why complicate it?  While you’re on macys.com, check out the sales in other departments and get free shipping with any beauty purchase.

Clinique Bonus Time at Macys

Clinique Bonus Time at Macys

This bonus only runs through mid-October, so make sure you order your makeup today! Choose your free 7-piece gift with $29 Clinique purchase. Shop now at Macys.com! Valid 9/26 through 10/10


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Stock Up and Save with End of Summer Sales!

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In our house, we’re excitedly anticipating a fun weekend ahead, mostly outdoors with friends and family; but, also looming in my mind are so many upcoming fall events! For most of these events coming up, as a mom I think about what we need and how to prepare! Much to my and my husband’s dismay, so many of these things involve purchasing items to get ready. I suppose it’s the season we’re in. There are chorus and band concerts, fall games, horse shows, birthday parties, and a little travel added in. With upper elementary and middle school kids, we are extremely busy and I hear it doesn’t slow down anytime soon!


Special 50% off Kids' Clothing (Regular Price $10-$58). Select Styles from Epic Threads & More. Shop now at Macys.com! Valid 9/6-9/9.

If you are a new mom and have younger children, you are also learning to anticipate the items “needed” for your upcoming Fall season also. You may be lining up a photo session with your little ones or a special first birthday party or something like that. Regardless of where we are in this season as moms, it helps to be a little prepared, so we can enjoy the moments as they come. (I remind myself that as this weekend approaches on purpose! Enjoying the moment is so important!)
Here in the South, we can wear some summer clothes into the fall and/or put them up until the next Spring. Buying ahead makes sense to save money. Now is the perfect time to stock up for the next warm weather season! Don’t miss these end of summer sales and saving money opportunities!

Kids’ Clothing End of Summer Sales

Gymboree End of Summer Sale

Gymboree is offering amazing deals on kids’ clothing.  Shop their Stock Up Sale: Up to 50% Off at Gymboree.  Also, don’t forget Free shipping Over $50 + Free Returns at Gymboree.  Gymboree celebrates childhood and creates quality clothes and accessories that wear well.  Their coordinated outfits are wonderful for photos as well as everyday. gymboree cargo shorts

Crazy 8 End of Summer Sale

Don’t miss their Labor Day Sale Up To 75% Off at Crazy8! Crazy 8 is great for seasonal trend clothes for kids.  Their jeans are super soft and inexpensive on sale.

Macy’s Kids End of Summer Sales

KIDS’ UNDERWEAR AND SOCKS 40% OFF SPECIAL

 

Mud Pie End of Summer Sale

Select Kid’s Summer Styles Now Under $40. Shop Mud Pie >
Free Shipping on any order over $75 at MudPie.com!

Swim Sales

Macy’s is offering 60% off swim wear name brands.  Now is a great time to stock up on swim suits for upcoming travel or next summer!

60% off tankini swimsuits. Shop now at Macys.com! Valid 9/4 through 9/9
60% off select women’s swim from Calvin Klein, Anne Cole, Kenneth Cole, Bar III and more. Shop now at Macys.com! Valid 9/4 through 9/9
$49.99 and under women’s swim and cover ups. Shop now at Macys.com! Valid 9/4 through 9/9
60% off select contemporary swim styles from Becca, Bar III, Vince Camuto, California Waves and more. Shop now at Macys.com! Valid 9/4 through 9/9macys boys swimwear

Accessories Sales

Vera Bradley is offering up to 50% Off End of Summer Sale! Select Styles only. Valid 9/4-9/12. Also get Free Shipping on all orders! Valid 9/6-9/10