March 2010


One of my favorite points earning sites (I’ve been a member since 1998) is MyPoints.com This site is great because I’ve learned 99% of my points by just clicking on a link on a couple of emails a day (10 seconds of time?) Just by doing this I usually earn around $50 of gift cards every couple years. I like to redeem the points I earn for Gap.com gift cards, which I then use for maternity clothes. This site is extremely reputable, and I have never gotten junk email from them. Case in point? They are one of only three incentives sites that I use my regular email address for (I’m not afraid of them junking up my inbox).

How do I use this site? Once a week I spend a whopping three to five minutes clicking through all of the emails for the past week (maybe 10-15?). Yup. That’s it. Maybe that’s worth it to you, and maybe not. It’s cool. It’s not like I can’t just go out and buy $50 worth of stuff from Gap. But for me, this is an easy way to pay for something I’m going to be buying anyway. I like to think of this as bringing us 50 bucks closer to paying off our mortgage. And that is a very good thing 🙂 Disclaimer: if you sign up through my referral link here, I’ll get one point for every 10 points you earn. If the link doesn’t work, email me and I can have a sign up email sent to you. For your perusal, here are some of the gift cards you can earn:

  • Amazon.com
  • Applebees
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Burger King
  • Chilis
  • GameStop
  • Home Depot
  • iTunes
  • Lowes
  • Old Navy
  • And many more…
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So here’s the deal: we cloth diaper. If you don’t, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY!! I’ve seen some great posts around the ‘net on why families chose NOT to put their wee ones in cloth. I wish I could find some of those links, but they’re escaping me at the moment.

That being said, here’s why we cloth diaper:

  • It keeps… um… *poo* out of the landfill. There, I said poo on my blog. Heehee! Just think about all the piles and piles of poo in the landfill. Icky, huh? With cloth diapers all those little (and not so little) deliveries go into the septic system, where they’re eventual pumped and treated and turned into who knows what.
  • Of lesser importance to us, cloth diapering is relatively cheap. Or, at least it would be if I didn’t have so much fun buying exotic diapering fabrics. If you use a prefold system, you can diaper several babies from birth to potty training for around $150. It’s around twice as much for a pocket or all-in-one system (still much cheaper than the cost of disposables). If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can diaper for nearly nothing. Really.

A cursory google search gives several other reasons why parents cloth diaper. The only point I don’t agree with is the “cloth diapered babies potty train sooner” point. That’s bunk. It makes sense on paper, but I don’t think it’s really true. Kiddos are ready when they’re ready. Plus, many of the new diapers utilize synthetic fabrics that resemble disposables in that babies don’t feel wetness against their skin.

For more diapering info, check out this post on my friend Carly’s blog. She’s the one who introduced me to cloth diapering, and we’ve both sewed up some dipes that worked well for us. Although the Maxwell House stash consists of a myriad of home-made and store-bought diapers (prefolds, flats, pockets, fitteds), I generally prefer prefolds and one-size covers. They’re easy once you learn how to fold them, they dry relatively quickly, and they don’t take up much room.

Some cloth-diapering links:

Last week we celebrated the birthday of #2. I can’t believe Little Goat is already two years old! This kiddo is sooooo much work right now, but he gives really spectacular hugs. He’s also showing a compassionate streak, as he’s the first to grab a cold pack if I so much as utter “ouch”. If one of the other boys is crying, he takes the initiative to get some toilet paper for nose blowing (any guesses on how much paper is left on the roll after my sweet little helper is done?) It’s always interesting which kids exhibit certain character traits. With #1’s gentle, more subdued personality, I would have expected him to be the more compassionate one. But no, it’s Little Goat who is most likely to bonk someone on the head, and then make every effort to console them 🙂

Notice the awesome road rash under his nose? He got that war wound by diving out of the truck head-first. Sort of a slippery-snowsuit-meets-slippery-truck-seat move. Ouch.

Check out the super cool Gumby cake. Who doesn’t love Gumby?

We’re 300-some days into our church’s 1000 days of witness. Some thoughts from the days thus far:

  • In the beginning of the campaign, it was interesting to observe that the more I prayed for encounters to witness to folks, the more opportunities my husband received. Funny, eh?
  • I can name several times over the last year that I missed out on an opportunity to boldly speak Christ to people (not because of a belief in works righteousness, but because of a personal gratefulness for my own salvation and a desire to see others come to an understanding of their need for repentance of sins and acceptance of God’s grace through Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection and our faith in the sufficiency of that act). The young man at the supermarket with a very interesting tattoo, and the woman at a restaurant with a sweatshirt boldly emblazened with the word “Unforgiven” come to mind as opportunities lost.
  • I was recently reminded that I do have a ripe mission field in my own home, as Kevin and I have the opportunity to speak the Gospel daily to our three young boys. That is a crucial calling, but I also have a strong desire to WANT to share the good news of Christ with every person the Holy Spirit prompts me to speak with. I am confident that as I pursue knowledge of God through time in my Bible, and communicate this heart’s desire through prayer, God will respond.
  • I don’t have enough scripture memorized. A witnessing encounter by yours truly is likely to involve the spouting of John 3:16, and then a long pause for any other verses as I mentally sing my way through the alphabet. “Here, just a minute, I’ve got some other great verses for you, let’s see… A – All we like sheep have gone astray… B – By grace we have been saved… C – Carry each other’s burdens. Ok, maybe that one isn’t so applicable here. Let’s see if I can come up with some more! D…” Messy, huh? Any great ideas/systems out there to help me memorize scripture specifically in preparation for sharing the gospel? Any willing partners to give me a pop quiz on occasion? 🙂

Howdy facebook followers. This is a special “hello” to you, and an invite to check out the MaxwellHouse blog in its original formatting at https://maxwellhouse.wordpress.com. The blog is mirrored on facebook, so occasionally the formatting gets a wee bit switched around. However you read, thanks for your comments and encouragement 🙂

Oh dearie I be lovin’ my life. Sweet little Joseph, just like Jacob did two years ago, slid right into the Maxwell House routine. Unlike two years ago, however, I am not naive enough to believe that this behavior will continue uninterrupted by general baby-ness. Here’s the run-down of the first 3 weeks:

HighLites:

  • Little man started smiling at 1.5 weeks. Clearly a sign of genius 🙂
  • Due to household business Joseph naps in his crib. I just don’t have time or opportunity to let him sleep in my arms very often (the nightly 8-10pm nursefest excluded). I’m thinking that this method will hopefully allow him to slide right into the regimented Maxwell sleep schedule that we usually implement around 2 months (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Weissbluth)
  • The big boys seem to be weathering the change well. We implemented a few new routines (cleaning, room-time) before Joseph came along, and these are saving my bacon now. Particularly the daily “big boys play in the bedroom while mommy finishes dinner” routine. Yeah baby.

LessThanHighLites:

  • We still haven’t worked past a single 3 hour night-time stretch. I’m getting less sleep at this stage than I did with the two others. Probably because loud sleeper Joseph got booted from our bedroom and into his crib at one week. Seriously, it’s like there was an Elephant in the room. Even without much consolidated night sleep, I still feel good. Really. I think it’s all the prayer my Mom is doing. Thanks mom.
  • I do occasionally (read: often) loose my patience. Big shocker, huh? You know all those studies that show that older children feel like they always got the short end of the stick? I think these first few weeks are that time for Brainiac and Little Goat. This is the time they’ll look back at from their therapist’s couch and complain about how the baby got all mama’s lovin’.Poor little people. My best chance at combatting this is to keep up daily time in my Bible, and keep on using “room time” when I feel my head starting to explode. You’re totally nodding, aren’t you?
  • The big boys moved to the back row of seats in the van. How in the world am I supposed to do my usual swerving-down-the-road-while-throwing-sippys-and-crackers-in-the-back-seat routine? It’s true that Wasilla roadways are now safer that I’ve given up on that tactic, but there’s gotta be a solution. Kevin joked about installing a pulley system. I still enjoy attempting a long shot by throwing said nourishment over my shoulder at a kiddo, but I always miss. That makes us laugh though, and right now the laughter is even more valuable than a cracker actually hitting its mark 🙂

Dorky title, huh?

Today on Get Rich Slowly (a favorite personal finance blog) was an article on how canceling credit cards affects your credit score. After years of primping and pruning our credit scores, this past year we have decided to stop worrying about that stupid “debt score”. Why the change? Drinking the cool-aid for one 🙂 Also, due to the following instance, we finally cancelled our credit cards from college. They were both low-limit, no annual fee Capital One cards. Our very first plastic. We’ve always paid them on time, and never abused them, but in recent years they kind of just hang out in our wallets and maybe get used once a year for spousal Christmas gifts. A couple of months ago we made a small charge to one of the cards and then, because of the infrequency of their use, forgot to pay the balance. Oops. One month and a $40 fee later, and we decided to cancel our Capital One cards and just retain our primary card. It surprised us both how fervently Capital One tried to convince us to stay on as “loyal customers”. Seriously? It makes me sad to think they might actually convince some poor person with less conviction to keep their plastic intact.

We still have our Alaska Airlines card. I sort of wish we didn’t, and I suspect that we really would spend less if BoA wasn’t taking up space in our spending arsenal. We’ve also been switched over to a primarily cash system (ya know, envelopes and the whole bit) for several months, but we don’t stick to the cash system nearly as well as we could. With my folks in Sitka (15k miles for a roundtrip ticket) it’s tough to give up that BofA card, but I wonder if we’d be happier if we did? Speaking of happiness, heard on the Cr0wn Financial MoneyLife podcast this morning: one study shows that happiness increases with income, up to a point. That point? Sixty-thousand dollars in annual income, after which there is no more increase in perceived happiness. Interestingly enough, as Chuck Bently points out, this is the median income of American households.

Off to work some numbers on the wisdom of keeping that BofA card…