It is hard to believe, but I have wrapped a miracle. I think people would like to believe miracles happen, but to actually hold one in your hand and wrap in beautiful paper is quite the experience.   My husband and I attend a great church – Eagle Pointe Church […]

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Thumbnail image for Storm Victims – Action Plan for Assistance

I live in Paulding County, Ga and we went through a round of storms last night that caused damage to schools (Poole Elementary – see pic above), homes, and airport.  As we watched the line of storms move across the Southeast last night on our local WSB-TV, I knew there […]

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I just signed up for a coupon booklet with $57 in savings at Publix®!  Sign up now at StockingSpree.com to get yours before they’re gone.  PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Kraft Foods bring you food and beverage coupons and health and beauty coupons available exclusively at Publix®.   So stop in to one […]

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Thumbnail image for Tracking and Landing a Deal on a New Laptop

  I have been on the search for a new laptop for a while.   As a technologist I have my own biases about what to look for, but most agree to get the most memory you can get and a Intel Core processor if possible (no slam on AMD […]

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Have you wanted to save for a computer, vacation, or special event like a wedding?  I found a cool site – SmartyPig!  It is a free online piggy bank for people saving for specific financial goals like a wedding, a vacation or a flat-screen TV.  Even if your goal is […]

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Did you know you can wrap a miracle?

by helenmmaddox@gmail.com on January 20, 2017

It is hard to believe, but I have wrapped a miracle.

I think people would like to believe miracles happen, but to actually hold one in your hand and wrap in beautiful paper is quite the experience.  

My husband and I attend a great church – Eagle Pointe Church in Acworth, Ga.  Talk about a heart for people, we may be small in numbers, but big in heart!  Every year a Christmas tree is set up in the lobby and paper angel ornaments adorn the tree.

Our pastors talk to schools, agencies, and get referrals for families in need and each Christmas gift request is written on an angel.  Usually requests are for toys, but this year in the mix we had angels for diapers and formula.  It is exciting to see the angels disappear off the tree each week and come back a week later attached to a wrapped gift.

However, there was one angel that stayed on the tree week after week.  A little 9 year old girl wanted a Hatchimal, only the hottest toy of the year.

Just like the hunt for TurboMan in Jingle All the Way, finding a Hatchimal would be impossible.  If you did find one they were selling for 3 to 4 times it’s original price.

About a week before Christmas I decided to stop by the church on the way home from work to see if any angels were still left on the tree.  Sure enough, the Hatchimal angel was still on the tree.  I stood there with our pastor, Howard Koepka, and told him it was impossible to find one.  He said he knew, and to just get something a 9 year old girl would want.  So I took the impossible request off the tree, knowing I was not going to be able to deliver what the 9 year old girl wanted.  I was defeated as soon as I lifted it off the tree, and thought “well, maybe”, “you never know”, “who are you kidding there is no way”, but agreed to try to find something she would like.

My husband Barry and I had a date night that evening, went out for a nice dinner and then went to ToysRUs.  Of course we asked about a Hatchimal, and we got that same look they had probably given the other thousand people asking for one.  “Probably a zero percent chance you can get one at this point, I don’t know that we will get anymore”, the little guy wearing horn rimmed glasses and a blue ToysRUs vest told us.  People have stood in line for hours to get one, but there were none to be had, line or not.


I went to Target also to no avail.  No Hatchimals, only a empty shelf.  So I settled on a nice jewelry making set, but I remember always getting that one special toy each Christmas, like the year I got a Barbie’s New Dream House. I played with it for hours, my friends got one as well and we set them up on Saturdays and played all day. My boys always got that special gift, between Santa and family they got it, and more.  But not this time, a 9 year old girl would be disappointed Christmas morning.

I got up the next morning, and wrapped the jewelry set.  Even though I wrapped it in pretty Christmas paper and tied it up with a bow, a wrapped disappointment was the reality.  

I moved on and got my day started, checked email and Facebook, and happened to see a friend’s post a couple of minutes old saying that she was selling 2 Hatchimals and donating 1 to charity.  She shared her daughters had camped out all night in bitter cold at Target to get them and ones for their little sisters.  I was sure the one for donation was already spoken for, but sent a message about our angel tree and the Hatchimal wish.  She responded quickly and said it was still available and she had been praying about what to do with the extra Hatchimals.  She wanted to sell 2 to make just enough to pay her daughters $8 an hour for camping out and then donate the 3rd.  She wasn’t sure who or where to donate, and said it was an answer to prayer – and the Hatchimal was mine!  

The girl’s wish came true and I witnessed a miracle before my eyes in a message on Facebook!  

If I had been a half hour later in reading her post, most likely it would have been gone as well as the other 2 sold.  But I learned that day, miracles do happen, and even though I had little faith in finding one, it did not stop this miracle from happening.  

My friend messaged me:

 

I picked up the Hathimal that afternoon and sent a pic to Barry and our pastors.

They all agreed, getting the Hatchimal was a miracle, no doubt!

I went straight home and didn’t want to take a chance by keeping it my car, it was such precious cargo!  As I wrapped it, I took great care in how I made every fold and placed every piece of tape on such a precious gift.

Some people may think that it was a lucky coincidence or great timing.  But for me, I feel so much appreciation to God for letting me go through this experience and that he allowed me to be the one to wrap a miracle!

 

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90% off to Free this week!

by helenmmaddox@gmail.com on March 4, 2012

Here is a list of items that are 90% or more!  I love Freebies, easy to stockpile and donate too!  Grab double papers every week and cut coupons as the deals are posted (keep your circulars together, write the Sunday date on the top of each circular).  I used my favorite pricing website – www.couponmom.com to compile my list.   Make a effort to purchase items that are 90% off to Free over the course of a couple of months and see how your stockpile grows spending little to no money!

Publix (through 3/7)
Mfr Cpn Date 
Description  Mfr Cpn. Qty.
Sale Price
Final Price
% Saved
02-26 S Kraft Fresh Take Cheese and Breadcrumb Mixes, 6 oz $1.00 2 $1.00 FREE 100%
Final price is after the $2 off 2 Publix coupon in the yellow Advantage Buy flyer and 2 newspaper coupons- Advantage Buy deal ends 3/16
Printable Coupon – $.75 Off 1
Shedds Spread Country Crock, 15 oz tub or Twin Pack — Buy 1 Get 1 Free 1 $1.20 $0.20 92%
Final price is after printable coupon.
Printable Coupons
02-26 S Kraft Philadelphia Indulgence Chocolate Cream Cheese Spread, 8 oz $0.75 2 $1.00 $0.25 90%
Final price is after the $2 off 2 Publix coupon in the yellow Advantage Buy flyer and 2 newspaper coupons – Advantage Buy deal ends 3/16
Family Dollar
Mfr Cpn Date 
Description  Mfr Cpn. Store Cpn Qty.
Sale Price
Final Price
% Saved
02-12 S Glade Plug Ins scented oil warmer $1.50 1 $1.00 FREE 100%
Staples
100 instant postcards from Staples Copy & Print 1 $0.00 FREE 100%
Free after 100% back in Staples Rewards up to 100 instant postcards. Made in store for same day pick up. Order in store or online at staples.com/instant
HP Everyday 8.5 by 11 inch photo paper, 50 per package 1 $8.99 FREE 100%
FREE after Easy Rebate of $8.99, Sunday and Monday only
Limit 2 rebates per household
Staples 8.5 by 11 inch copy paper 500 sheets 1 $5.49 FREE 100%
Free after Easy Rebate of $5.49, Sunday and Monday only
Limit 2 rebates per household
Staples Pastels 8.5 by 11 inch colored paper 500 sheets 1 $8.79 FREE 100%
Free after Easy Rebate of $8.79, Sunday and Monday only
Limit 2 rebates per household
Titanium Internet security software 1 PC 1 $49.99 FREE 100%
FREE after $5 Instant Savings and $45 Easy Rebate
CVS
Mfr. Cpn. Date 
Description  Qty
Sale Price
Mfr. Cpn Store Cpn Register Price Extra Bucks Final Price
% Saved
 Per Item
 For Next Order
 All Savings Per Item
Gold Emblem Jelly Beans 7oz 1 $0.99 $0.99 $0.99 with 1 FREE 100%
FREE after $.99 Extra Bucks Reward. Limit 1 reward.
01-29 S Revlon Eye or Lip 1 $4.99 $1.00 $3.99 $4.00 with 1 $0.01 profit 100%
Estimated price from CVS.com for Eye Shadow. Price is after $4 Extra Bucks Reward and newspaper coupon–coupon expires 3/4. Limit 6 Rewards.
Walgreens
Mfr. Cpn. Date 
Description  Qty
Sale Price
Mfr. Cpn Store Cpn Register Price Register Rewards Final Price
% Saved
 Per Item
 For Next Order
 All Savings Per Item
02-26 S Colgate Total Advanced toothpaste 4 oz. 1 $3.00 $0.75 $2.25 $3.00 with 1 $0.75 profit 119%
Final price after $3 Register Reward
Walgreens Saline mist 4.25 oz. 1 $5.00 $5.00 $5.00 with 1 FREE 100%
Final price after $5 Register Reward on 1
Target
Mfr. Cpn. Date 
Description  Qty
Sale Price
Mfr. Cpn Store Cpn Register Price Gift Card Final Price
% Saved
 Per Item
 For Next Order
 All Savings Per Item
Up & Up Ibuprofen 24ct 1 $0.97 $1.00 $0.00 FREE 100%
In store price, may vary. FREE after printable Target coupon.
Up & Up Waxed Dental Floss 54.7 yards 1 $0.97 $1.00 $0.00 FREE 100%
In store price, may vary. Price is after printable Target coupon. This is a good item to donate to charity.
02-05 RP Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Balm 1 $2.99 $2.00 $1.00 $0.00 FREE 100%
In store price, may vary. FREE after newspaper coupon and printable Target coupon.
02-05 S Mentos UP2U gum single pack 1 $1.27 $1.00 $0.55 $0.00 FREE 100%
In store price, may vary. FREE after newspaper coupon and printable Target coupon.
03-04 RP Reach Floss 55yds 1 $0.97 $1.00 $0.00 FREE 100%
In store price, may vary. This is a good item to donate to charity.
02-12 RP Welchs Natural Grape Jelly 27 oz 1 $1.69 $0.55 $1.00 $0.14 $0.14 92%
In store price, may vary. Price is after printable Target coupon and newspaper coupon. This is a good item to donate to charity.
02-12 S Dannon Activia 4 pack 2 $2.19 $1.00 $2.00 $0.19 $0.19 91%
In store price, may vary. Price is after two newspaper coupons and printable Target coupons.
Printable Coupon Save $1 print 2x (zip 99218)

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Storm Victims – Action Plan for Assistance

by helenmmaddox@gmail.com on March 3, 2012

Poole Elementary School

I live in Paulding County, Ga and we went through a round of storms last night that caused damage to schools (Poole Elementary – see pic above), homes, and airport.  As we watched the line of storms move across the Southeast last night on our local WSB-TV, I knew there would be many people whose lives would be changed instantly and possible loss of life.

After Hurricane Katrina hit, I put together a Action Plan for storm victims to use that have gone through a Natural Disaster.  The Disaster Survivors Step by Step Action Plan could be helpful to anyone that has suffered loss due to a natural disaster,  that has been injured, had property damage, lost personal belongings,  experienced loss of employment due to damage to business, and what agencies to contact that offer assistance.  Please share this information with your family and friends or forward to agencies that might be helped with this information.  My prayers are with storm victims and hope this plan will help you as you rebuild.  (Click Link below to access)

Stocking Spree – $57 worth of coupons for Publix

by helenmmaddox@gmail.com on March 1, 2012

I just signed up for a coupon booklet with $57 in savings at Publix®!  Sign up now at StockingSpree.com to get yours before they’re gone.  PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Kraft Foods bring you food and beverage coupons and health and beauty coupons available exclusively at Publix®.   So stop in to one of your local Publix® Super Markets and stock up with these savings that are sure to make you smile! http://www.stockingspree.com/

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Tracking and Landing a Deal on a New Laptop

by helenmmaddox@gmail.com on February 27, 2012

 

I have been on the search for a new laptop for a while.   As a technologist I have my own biases about what to look for, but most agree to get the most memory you can get and a Intel Core processor if possible (no slam on AMD just combined what I have read along with talking to owners as well as salespeople for over 20 years).  I also needed both HDMI connector (to connect laptop to flat screen TVs) as well as a standard VGA port (to connect to projector) and a webcam.  So with those things in mind and keeping the cost around $500 – I looked for a deal.

I looked online at all the major players websites:  Dell, HP, Asus, Toshiba, and Samsung (sorry Apple – would have loved to purchase one of yours but cost is prohibitive for me at this point).    I also wanted to keep my investment around $500.00 (with service contract) which narrowed the playing field considerably.  How could I get a laptop with Intel Core Processor, lots of memory, and service contract and stay around $500.00?

I began by keeping an eye on my circulars each week from the Sunday paper.  Any circular with laptops I pulled and scoped out prices, features, and models.   For those that looked to be a good deal I then checked online prices from websites like NextagPricegrabber, Tigerdirect, and Amazon.  These sites gave me a snapshot of current pricing and some gave a snapshot of prices over time for the model and it’s ratings.  I also checked PC Magazine for laptop ratings and reviews at  http://www.pcmag.com/reviews/laptop-computers (Consumer Reports is also a option if you have a subscription).

Now with the new slimline notebooks out on the market they look mighty appealing, however I also wanted a nice large screen (my eyes aren’t what they used to be)!   If I traveled a great deal for business I would have put more consideration into weight and size of laptop, however since that is not one of mine at this point I voted for a larger screen and in a slimline they were out of my price range.  So I went for bit heavier laptop to get a larger screen.

Last week as I was going through my normal search I came upon a great deal from Staples.  They had a deal on HP G7 Pavillion, Intel Core i3 processor, 17.3″ screen, 6GM Ram, and 640 GB Hard drive for $399.00 ($449.00 with a $50.00 rebate)!  I knew that seemed at least $100 to $150 less than what I had been seeing for those same features.  I went online to check pricing and found that the going price for this model (not refurbished) was anywhere from $550.00 to $655.00 (a minimum of 150.00 savings!).   Staples also had their service plans at half price and I got a 2 year warranty for 80.00.  With tax my total out of pocket for a laptop and 2 year service contract was $511.49 – Deal-E-O!

I called my local Staples and many had sold out, however one of their nice associates checked and found a store that had some in stock.  So I headed there as soon as I hung up, purchased my laptop and service plan and am so pleased!

In closing – now what about the software.  The laptop came with a 60 day trial of Office and Norton.  I may purchase – however I can download Avast anti-virus and Open Office for free!  Open Office can open and save Microsoft Office files and is a great option if you don’t want to spend the bucks.   I have used Avast for several years on my home computer and laptop and so far it has done a good job for me in keeping viruses at bay.   So depending on if I see a great deal on anti-virus or MS Officesoftware over the next couple of months will determine if I purchase or go for the free software, but isn’t it great to have the option!

Have you purchased a laptop or new piece of technology lately?  If you have and scored a deal please share it with the readers of The Lifeboat!

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SmartyPig – Online Piggy Bank

by helenmmaddox@gmail.com on February 23, 2012

Have you wanted to save for a computer, vacation, or special event like a wedding?  I found a cool site – SmartyPig!  It is a free online piggy bank for people saving for specific financial goals like a wedding, a vacation or a flat-screen TV.  Even if your goal is saving for a rainy day, SmartyPig helps you read that goal faster and give you the most money for your money when you get there – and the service is FREE!

Some of the features the site offers:

  • 0.70% APY*
    One of the most competitive interest rates in the country.
  • NEW! Cash Back On Your Purchases
    Use your SmartyPig Cash Rewards Card for everyday purchases and receive up to 10% cash back at more than 9,000 retailers. Learn more »
  • Cash Rewards
    Redeem your goals for Retailer Gift Cards and get up to 11% cash back from SmartyPig. Learn more. »  

    What a great way to save for Christmas or your next vacation.  Simply setup a goal – figure out how much you want to deposit and how often – with a minimum deposit of $25.00 you are on your way to meeting you goal.  Paying cash for Christmas, making interest, getting cashback or cash rewards instead of having a credit card bill after Christmas and paying interest is something to consider.   www.smartypig.com

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One of my deals and a reading of Goodnight Moon

by helenmmaddox@gmail.com on February 22, 2012

A few weeks ago I heard about a deal on shoptasteofhome.com on a 10 Pack of Children’s Hardcover Classic Books for $14.99.  I checked the titles and with $1.99 shipping I decided to purchase.  I received a box with the classics and am very pleased with my find!  The deal is over however but there are deals like this all the time on the internet.  I decided to share my find with you and read Goodnight Moon – one of my favorite children’s books.  I hope you enjoy it!

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Be Encouraged

by helenmmaddox@gmail.com on February 6, 2012

Day to day life sure can be a challenge.  The car needs repairs, money is tight, kids finding their own path vs. the one we want for them, aging parents, health issues, and just day-to-day things can be overwhelming.  So how do we stay motivated, hopeful, encouraged?

In my Action Plan for Assistance (Get Assistance – Action Plans) I talk about no matter what the challenge is – try to make time to have fun!  Fun can be low cost or free – and it sure can help redirect our thinking at least for a while.  Check out some ideas below and the next time you are going through a rough patch; stop, have some fun, and be encouraged!

  1. Go to your local library and check-out books and videos.  There is no charge for checking out videos – pop some popcorn and have a movie night!
  2. Look through your paper (online – AJC.com – AccessAtlanta.com) and find free events in your community – concerts – art exhibits – parades – much to do in Metro Atlanta!
  3. Contact your counties Parks and Recreation Department and see if they have any free activities for families.
  4. The Georgia Parks Department offers events at parks throughout our state.   Go to their website for more information:  http://www.gastateparks.org//
  5. Pack a picnic and go to a favorite spot outdoors for dinner – enjoy a sunset…
  6. Go to your Chamber of Commerce and get a guide to your county – make a trip to see historic sites.
  7. Take your bike and ride – beautiful scenery and good exercise!
  8. Go camping – great way for a family to get away and enjoy the outdoors (at one of our state parks – link is above) or even camp in your backyard – make Smore’s – look at the stars…
  9. Contact Local Churches and find out what activities they have for members in your family.
  10. Go to a local high school ball game –- bring a thermos filled with hot chocolate to a football game – and feel the enthusiasm!
  11. A good way to reduce stress – EXERCISE – take a walk – or ride a bike – jog – swim at a city pool…
  12. Volunteer – in helping others you will find great reward.
  13. Attend a service at a local church.  The messages can be very inspiring and can really make a difference in your week.

Remember – God loves you – and is there for you during this difficult time.

“If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to Me and I will give you rest… rest for your soul.”

Matthew 11:28-30

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AJC Deal for friends of The Lifeboat

by helenmmaddox@gmail.com on February 4, 2012

If you would like the AJC delivered to your door – New Subscribers here is a deal for you!

3 months – 2 Thurs and 2 Sunday papers each week – cost is $40.00 plus tax and you get $10.00 gift card (favorite local store).   Cost is less than $3.30 per week – 2 papers (Thurs & Sun) delivered to your driveway.   Auto-renewal – $40.00 (no gift card upon renewal – call to cancel).  Great to have 2 sets of circulars giving you 2 coupons for Buy One Get One Deals!

OR

3 months – 1 paper Thurs & Sun for $20 with $5.00 gift card.  Auto-renewal – $20.00 (no gift card upon renewal – call to cancel).

To order contact  Susan Anderson- 770-899-1880

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Free Food Diary and Fitness Tools

by helenmmaddox@gmail.com on February 1, 2012

Android_diary

Weight loss, always such a fun topic.  Which program, how many calories, points, pre-made meals, what works best?   Jennifer Hudson looks so fantastic and lost weight with Weight Watchers.   My cousin Michael and his wife Gloria have lost weight by just shear willpower and stepping away from the table and combined with walking everyday.  He has come off his blood pressure meds!  So I am on the journey of finding a good plan and accountability.

With both the internet and apps for my smartphone, I can track what I eat at home or on the road.  MyFitnessPal  allows you to lookup foods and add them to your food diary – and with your smartphone scan the UPC code with your camera and instantly pull up the item and nutrition info.   It amazes me that this service is free!  You can also add buddies and keep accountability with each other.  http://www.myfitnesspal.com/

Looking to workout – there are TONS of Fitness videos on Youtube:  Yoga, Resistance band workouts, Morning Workouts, and also check DoctorOz.com and search for workouts – he has a bunch!  My doctor has told me that walking at least 20 minutes at least 5 times a week can completely change your health.  So I have made it a goal to walk at least 5 times a week and track what I eat.  Will update you from time to time, helps keep me accountable  :}

(Of course be sure to check with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan.)

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