"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

Archive for July, 2010

How to Get FREE Gift Certificates!

Have you heard of Swagbucks? It’s a really cool site where you can earn points for FREE stuff! It’s super easy too. All you have to do is download and use their search bar when you are looking for stuff on the internet and they will randomly award you with Swagbucks. When you have enough, you can trade your bucks in for gift certificates, dvd’s, games, etc. It really is that simple. I’ll be quite honest though, their search engine isn’t as great as Google’s. So, I will usually search the Swagbucks bar and if I can’t find what I’m looking for I’ll run the same search in Google.

If you want to put more effort into it, you can also participate in surveys and daily polls, or shop online to earn more bucks. I usually just use the search bar and now I am really close to getting my hands on a $25 Macy’s gift card! Yay!

Sign up by copying and pasting this link into your browser http://swagbucks.com/refer/triggs114 and get 30 free swagbucks right off the bat.

Have fun! 🙂

Spiced Peach Puffs

Last night I made spiced peach puffs for dessert.  They aren’t really the kind of dessert we would normally choose, but they were really good!  You can find the recipe HERE.  I’ve actually wanted to try them for quite awhile but the filling calls for heavy whipping cream and I’m lactose intolerant.  I’m also allergic to soy so I wasn’t sure I’d find whipped cream that we could use… until the glorious day we stumbled upon Safeway brand whipped topping.  Free of soy and not a significant source of lactose. Hurray!

Substitutions and recommendations: 

  • This recipe makes more puffs than we could ever eat so I made half a batch and made the puffs twice as big.  I’ll probably make them the correct size next time as they rose up and then sunk back down just a little. 
  • Do make sure you scoop out the inside while they are still warm.  As they cool the inside becomes a little mushy making it harder to get out.  
  • I of course substituted the heavy cream for the whipped topping.   
  • The recipe doesn’t call for this but I sprinkled cinnamon over the top. Yum!

Note: If we were unable to find whipped cream, we were planning to use Breyer’s Lactose Free Vanilla ice cream.  I’m pretty sure this is the best vanilla ice cream ever made.  If you know me you know I’m not a big fan of vanilla, especially in ice cream, but I could eat this all day.  James even prefers it to regular ice cream!

Vote for Malakai!

Awwww, isn’t this just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? 


If you think it is, click HERE and vote Malakai as San Diego’s best pet!  The pet with the most votes wins and you can vote once every day until the contest is over. 

Here’s another one just for fun.  It was taken with a cell phone so its not quite as clear but he usually has his arms wrapped around it like this. 

Thanks for voting!

How to get a FREE hotel for your next vacation!

Here’s how we got an 8 day, 7 night vacation for about $700.  This includes the cost of transportation (gas from San Diego to Flagstaff) food, entertainment, AND our hotel!

Last summer at a Padre game (They were playing the Mariners – Mariners won, in case you were wondering) we got lured into one of those time share booths.  Dun, dun, dun… We had some time to kill so we listened.  The guy told us we had to give him $100 deposit.  If we showed up for the presentation we would get our money back, if we didn’t, then we lost it.  In exchange he would give us 4 free Padre tickets, 4 free movie tickets, a Padre stadium seat pad, and a 7 night vacation.  No strings attached?  No strings attached.

The resort was close to our house and we’ve never taken a real vacation together so we decided to be wild and crazy and check it out. 

We got there and they promptly returned our $100.  Whew!  Next we were set up with a tour guide.  We let him know we were curious on price and how it worked, but we would not be buying a time share today.  We mostly just wanted our vacation.  3 hours AND 3 different sales people later we were finally given our free tickets and info on how to get our vacation.  I’ll be quite honest; the whole process was a big pain in the rear… but absolutely worth it.  If you want to learn how it all works, keep on reading.

To receive the vacation we had to send in $120.  This was to cover the tax on what it would have cost had we paid full price.  So, not exactly free, but it comes out to about $17 a night so we said YES. In addition to that we were to give them our top 3 vacation locations and top 3 vacation dates.  To make it even more complicated there were 1-2 weeks each month that were blacked out and each set of dates you chose had to be so many days apart.  You had one year to use the vacation and James’s vacation time didn’t start over until the end of March.  So, we had to get all three date options to fit between the end of March and the middle of June, when it expired. Thankfully we were able to find some dates.   Then we waited.

About 3 months later we received confirmation that one set of dates had been accepted (whew!) but our location (3 places around Yellowstone and Montana) had not.  We had to pick 3 more places and send them in with the option of keeping the dates or trying new ones.  We kept the dates and changed our location to a couple of cities in AZ.  And then we waited some more.

After another 2 or 3 months we got confirmation back that Flagstaff had been accepted.  Yay!  BUT, they did not give us the address to the hotel.  They would give us final confirmation 2-4 weeks prior to our vacation and let us know where we would be.  We were told NOT to leave without confirmation because there was still a chance that we might not get to go.  James and I are planners.  You know you are a planner too if anxiety has kicked into high gear and you’re thinking this isn’t at all for you.  Prayer and lots of reminders to each other that we could be flexible for $120 is what got us through this.  🙂

About 2 weeks before our vacation date we got our “confirmation” but the “confirmation” was just a phone call telling us that our dates and location were confirmed and now we needed to pick our top choices to stay out of 3 hotels and they would get back to us in a few days with another confirmation.  (By the way, we were never given a phone number where we could contact anyone. If there was one, we couldn’t find it.  James was finally given an email address at this point though. This was the first time we talked to a real person since the presentation.) OR, we could sell our vacation back to them for $300.  We chose to keep the vacation. We finally got our real confirmation back just in the nick of time, 3 days before we were supposed to leave.  We got our 2nd choice, which was absolutely fine with us!

So, in summary, the free (well, near free) vacation is REAL!  In addition to that, it was a nice hotel.  They make it as difficult as they possibly can for you to redeem it, but if you can hang tough through it, it’s completely worth it. We were very thankful for this experience as we couldn’t have taken a vacation this long without the free hotel.  We’ll probably do it again someday!

I’ll write up a post on what we did on our vacation soon.  We had an amazing time and think that everyone should go to AZ in the springtime.  It’s gorgeous!