Friday, December 31, 2010

CSN Giveaway

Have you all heard of CSN before?
I've recently discovered it and found out that many of the items are cheaper than on Amazon!

Take this Delsey Luggage set, for example.

$159.99 on Amazon PLUS shipping!
$149.99 on CSN with FREE shipping!

I know how much you guys love a good deal!
Be sure to check out CSN when shopping to see if you can snag a better deal!

They have over 200 online stores to shop from including home decor, furniture, rugs, baby & kids, etc...
So, I'm sure you could find anything you were needing/wanting!

The sweet people at CSN contacted me and want to give one of YOU a $35 credit to any of their 200+ stores!
How awesome is that?

Now, you just have to enter for a chance to win.
Here's how:
1. "Follow" my blog or "Like" BLB on Facebook.
Then leave a comment telling me how you will use the $35 to make someone's life better!
Not sure how to follow?
Click on the "follow" or the "like" button to the right.
Here's a screen shot with arrows:

Giveaway closes at 11:59pm PST Sunday night (January 2nd).
CSN only ships to US and Canada and there may be international shipping charges in the case of Canadian addresses.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Calendar Journal

One of my FAVORITE blogs EVER posted this awesome Calendar Journal idea a few weeks back, and it immediately made my 
"Must Be Done Before Lady Bug Comes"

The idea is genius.
Basically, for a mom who has no time to journal, you write a short blurb about what happened that day and then flip the index card to the back.
It could be big things like "Lady Bug took her first steps!"
or something small like, "slept in until 8am."

Either way, the more years you keep up with it, the more fun it will be read!


Some tips I learned along the way:

1. Watch a movie while you stamp the dates.  It makes the time go by faster.
(A reader also created the 4x6 cards with the dates already typed on them.  You can click here to print them off.  Then just cut them in half!  Should save LOTS of time.)

2. If you don't have vintage postcards, just print out some favorite photos of nature, kids, etc... and trim them down to 3 x 4.5".  
(I ran out ink before I finished printing my photos, but I wanted to get this post up so you could make one before the New Year!)

3. I didn't know where to look for a clean fruit box, so I used an old box that this Target candle came in.
They sell them in all different scents and prints, so you can surely find one you like!
The box was the PERFECT size.

Now, journal away! 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Twenty Ten in Ten Words...

Self identity.
Dependence on God.
Uncomfortable obedience.

Saw this on a friend's blog and thought it was worth thinking through.
Challenging, but worthwhile.

I'd love to hear your ten words for twenty ten if you'd like to share.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

After Christmas Sales

I'm turning into my mother.
Which, mom - if you're reading this, is NOT a bad thing!

My mom is so great at stocking up on after season items on clearance and saving them for next year's gifts.

I decided to try my hand at it, too.

I first hit up Joann Fabric to snatch up some red and pearl-like berry stems.
I wasn't sure at the time what to do with them, but I think they found nice homes already.
Don't you?

Center piece for our kitchen island.
The old window and wreath above our bed.

I then stopped over at Target and picked up some stocking stuffers for my kids next year.
The Target Dollar section has a lot of great stuff for .50 - including some wooden toys and puzzles!
I also picked up wrapping paper for next year at 50% off.
(sorry, no pictures of the stocking stuffers... you know... in case my 1 year old figures out how to navigate Mommy's blog!)

My favorite after Christmas sale items, though, were these holiday books I picked up for 50% off.
I'm planning on wrapping them (hopefully this year before I pack them away) and having the kids open one book a day until Christmas.

If I really get on top of my game (and Lady Bug doesn't come early), I'm hoping to plan a craft or recipe or fun activity to go along with each book that we can do on the day we open it next year.
Fingers crossed I get that done!

{Books were found at Target and Borders}

Anyone else snag some killer deals?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas update

Our "Give this Christmas Away" turned out to be one of the best yet!

It started with a quiet morning - just the three of us.

Where Little Bug enjoyed some of his Christmas presents.
Particularly the Melissa and Doug magnetic fishing puzzle!

And his car mat and cars.
He's officially making the car sound, now!

That night, we gave our Christmas away by having two Iraqi refugee families over for an American Christmas Dinner.

They really enjoyed most of the food.
Especially my husband's sweet potato casserole!

Little Bug was quite a hit with them all.
(See the little boy kissing his hand in the above picture?!)

After dinner, we sat around the living room and read the Christmas story from the Bible.

It really was a special Christmas.
I hope your day was just as special in it's own unique way, too.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Different Kind of Christmas

I've been thinking all day about how to write this post.
It's been a hard day.
And I want to be sure to come across genuine and authentic in my thoughts to you.

Because I'm three weeks away from delivering our baby girl, we decided it was best to stay in Detroit for Christmas.
My family had already made nonrefundable plans to vacation in Florida.
So, we are alone.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

At first, I was ok with the thought of it.
After all, I have my own family now.
Mr. Bug, Little Bug, me, and soon to be Lady Bug.
And I didn't think it would bother me to be away from family this year.

But it's hard.

And I realize MANY of you are also going through interesting/different Christmases of your own.
Many MUCH harder than my own.
Some have loved ones deployed overseas with our military.
Some of you may be celebrating the first Christmas after a death of a dear one.
Some of you may be stranded in airports.
Or sitting beside someone you love in a hospital.

Not all Christmases happen the way we envision them in our minds, huh?

This new video by Matthew West really touched me this year.
Not only because the little boy, Dax, is from my hometown, but because it's reminding me that Christmas is not about me.

Christmas has nothing to do with me.
My desires.
My dreams.
My expectations.
My plans.

It has everything to do with Jesus.
HIS desires.
HIS dreams.
HIS expectations.
and HIS plans.

It is in His plan for me to love others above myself.
And to GIVE more than expect.
To GIVE like He has GIVEN to me.

Little Bug watches a VeggieTales Christmas DVD that has a song called "Give This Christmas Away" at the end.
And it got me thinking.
This Christmas is not going the way I planned.
Christmas did not go the way the Locke family hoped, either.
But we can look beyond that.
Beyond the failed expectations.
Beyond the messed up plans.
Beyond the sadness.
And focus on loving others.
Focus on giving this Christmas away!

So, instead of moping around the house that we are not with our extended family this year, we decided to give our Christmas away.
We have invited two Iraqi refugee families to join us for Christmas dinner.
One of those families has only been in America for 3 weeks.
I'm nervous but excited to focus on serving and loving others tomorrow.

Merry Christmas.
From my family, to yours. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Order ... COMPLETE! (and some updates...)

It felt so good to send off that last package of Christmas orders!
I'm so glad I made it in time!

Here was the latest shipment of changing pads and burp cloths that got sent out.

That pink and blue fabric makes an ADORABLE gift for a momma of twins, huh?!

I have to admit it.
Christmas orders this year were intense!!
The total came to 48 bags!
Whoo hooo!

I may or may not have done interesting things to keep Little Bug occupied while I sewed.

Thanks for your business this Christmas and I look forward to making you all some custom bags in the Spring!


Update #1

I had some great entires for the title and subtitle for Little Bug's 1st Birthday Cake experience!
It was so hard to choose!!
Many of you gave your opinion here and many more chimed in on our Facebook page.

After much consideration and getting an opinion from my husband, I decided to go with this one:

It was submitted on our Facebook Page by "Photobookgirl Go"
SO... she won $5 worth of Better Life Bucks to use in my ETSY shop!

Don't worry, I had so much fun with this contest that I plan on giving out LOTS more Better Life Bucks.

Update #2

I've had a GREAT response from those of you wanting to guest post for me during my blogging maternity leave!
If you are still interested and haven't responded yet, read this and then email me!!

I can't wait to get to know you better during this time of guest posters, and for YOU to get to know each other!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Want to Guest Post??

Since I'm getting about 4 weeks away from having Lady Bug, I was wanting to line up some of YOU to guest post on my blog while I get to know her sweet face!
Many of you have passed along your blogs for me to look at, and I'm really impressed!
You guys are so cool!!

There is no criteria for posting, but here are some ideas to get you thinking:
~ craft tutorial
~ giveaway if you own a small business or ETSY shop
~ spiritual encouragement
~ ways to make the lives around you better
~ couponing 101
~ recipe
~ organizing tips

If you're interested in this, email me at and let me know your thoughts on a post idea!
I'm planning on having them run the last 2 weeks of January.

And if you haven't sent me your blog address or ETSY shop, PLEASE DO!
I LOVE to see what you all are up to and what you are selling!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winner, Winner, Winner

First of all, I was SO glad to be able to offer this giveaway to you!
It seems like the songs really touched many of you in a special way.

Ready for the winner???

And who is #21???

Congrats SavannahSmiles!!
I will be emailing you shortly for your shipping info.

I wish that I could GIVE everyone their own copy to this CD - it's that wonderful.
But, I guess a special code for 15% off the CD and free shipping will have to do.

15% code: FBFRIEND
(free shipping should happen automatically)
When you check out, look for "Add a Coupon" in red.  It's a little small. 

{Order by 4:00pm MST TODAY (Monday, the 20th) to guarantee Christmas delivery!}

Order here


In other news, I finished this scrapbook page of Little Bug's 1st Birthday last night.
I used this template from Sweet Shoppe Designs.
It's showing the progression of eating his first cake, but I can't think of a catchy title and subtitle!

Click on picture to make it bigger.
Please help!

Leave me a comment here with your suggestion of the title and I'll pick my favorite sometime on Wednesday.
Whoever I choose will win...
$5 Better Life Bucks to use in my ETSY shop!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hidden in My Heart GIVEAWAY!!

As most of you know, I am preparing for the birth of our second baby.
Lady Bug should be here sometime during the month of January.
I have been practicing for a gentle and natural birth with the use of relaxation techniques.

One of my plans for labor is to listen to this CD over and over and meditate on the words as if God were singing them to me.
Hidden in My Heart, A Lullaby Journey Through Scripture

I'm not sure I can express through words how WONDERFUL this CD is.
There are 12 tracks that quote scripture beautifully and in such a peaceful way.
The songs are definitely not just for sleeping babies, but for any woman who wants a calm and serene method of listening to scripture.

Click here to listen to the 12 song samples.

Or watch these peaceful pictures as you listen to the entire first song on the album, "Be Still and Know"

 Isn't it hauntingly beautiful?!

By now, many of you know how important I think the Word of God is and how powerful it can be in our lives.
As a busy mom and a business owner, I'm constantly looking for ways to get scripture into my heart.
This is one way that has blessed me over and over.
I listen to it multiple times every day and never get tired of it.

I hope you love it as much as me.

In fact, the company contacted me and offered to give one of YOU the CD for FREE!
That's right... I KNOW how much you all love FREE!

There are TWO ways to enter:
1.  Follow my blog via Facebook, email subscription, clicking the "follow" button on the right, or RSS feed.
Then leave a comment on this blog post saying you do along with your email address!
2. Spread the word to your friends about my blog and this giveaway by creating a Facebook status or blog post about it!
Then come back and leave a comment on this post saying you did along with your email address!

So, that is a total of TWO possible comments for each person!

Only comments left on my blog will be entered into the giveaway.
I have each comment numbered to make picking the winner easier.
** Be sure to leave an email address in your comment that I can contact you at if you win!**

Giveaway will close Sunday night at 11:59pm (pacific).
If you don't win, I will be announcing a special code for 15% off the cd on Monday!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

T-shirt Bibs FOR SALE

It has been my dream to help others with my business since starting Better Life Bags.
Right from the beginning I started donating 10% to a low income entreprenuer in a developing country through

When I found out that God was moving us to Detroit, MI, I knew that I was going to be able to take it a step further.
We purposefully moved to a downtrodden neighborhood in order to have an impact on our neighbors.
It was then that I dreamt about hiring women from my neighborhood who need a little extra income to work for me.

The time has come!!!

I just hired the first woman to make these adorable bibs out of thrifted t-shirts and button down shirts.

Her name is Nadia.
She has FOUR children.
Her husband works at the local gas station.
They moved here from Yemen 8 years ago.
She speaks great English, and I go to visit her often.

Her Yemeni culture discourages women working outside the home, so this is the perfect opportunity for her and her family!

I hope you'll join up with me in helping me provide a reasonable income for her.

All profits from the bibs are going to Nadia and her family.

And I hope that as your children wear them, you will think to pray for her.

Click here to read about and see all the bibs and how soft they are!
Bibs ship within 24 hours and there is no extra shipping cost when you buy more than one bib!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Custom Orders for the Week

Sent my Jolly Postman off to the post office early this morning.

Here's what was inside those boxes:
This one had a special custom pocket.
Most of the Carla bags come with a simple slip pocket, but this customer chose to substitute a zippered inside pocket for $5.
Did you know you can do that on many of the bags?

Which one is YOUR favorite?
Of course, for each bag, there was a card like this to show who their BLB purchase went to help.

That is my favorite part.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Family Day

Mondays are family days around here.
No work for dad.
No work for mom.
All play for baby.

We went to IKEA today because little Lady Bug still did not have a crib.

Little Bug LOVES to help Daddy put together things from IKEA.

And the IKEA instructions always crack us up.
They don't use any words in them - probably to save on printing costs since they are an international company.
So pictures are all we got.

To us, this says, if you have a small, chunky baby, keep the crib mattress high.
If you have a taller baby with lots of hair, lower the crib mattress.
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