I am IN LOVE with the PicMonkey Photo Editing website! I found it several years ago after my old photo program became hopelessly outdated. Once I started writing for Clip with Purpose, I needed to do at least one graphic per post – and quickly realized I’d better find something fast. PicMonkey was it!

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win

You don’t download a computer program – and you can even do it on your many devices!  There is even an app!  All editing is done online – and quickly! I find it incredibly user-friendly. AND the best part –  all the basics are free to use – who doesn’t love FREE!

I’ve since taught myself a little Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop, but I keep coming back to the simplicity and ease of use of PicMonkey. I find it amazingly user-friendly!

I started with just editing photos, then graduated to making collages.   I found I could add all kinds of nifty overlays like geometric shapes that I can then add text to – or even fun butterflies or hearts or even import one of my own!  Every graphic you see on Clip with Purpose was made on PicMonkey.   I then graduated onto the “design” elements.  I found I could make a facebook header with it as well – and to facebook’s exact proportions.

Here are just 2 things I made on PicMonkey – You can make flyers, labels for sewing kits, game instructions, personal letters with graphics and pictures,etc. all for your personal use and your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes:

Family Game Night Fundraiser

Aunt Ida Hat row 2-3

I use it every day for so many family projects (like my daughter’s bridal invitations and table settings last year!) that I finally decided to go for the premium plan.   I’m so cheap that I told my son to give it to me as a Mother’s Day present, and he has been happily doing that each year! (AND it saves him from guessing what I want.)  There is a FREE 7 day trial! then $3.33 per month if you pay for the entire year up front – $39.96 per year.

PLUS there are tremendously helpful tutorials – I’ve learned so much from them!  Lettering styles, photo editing, etc. Those are free as well – just scroll down to see all the topics.

Definitely check it out!  Remember I used the Free items for maybe 2 years before I upgraded!  You can too.  But now I love all the little extra premium package items.   A BIG thank you to my son 🙂

This post may contain affliate links.  Check my Disclosure policy.

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There is a Huge Gymboree Sale happening right now!  All the items are $7.99 or less – with many around $2.99 – $5.99!  The sale section is up to 75% off!

Huge gymboree sale

Gymboree clothing has colorful, high-quality fabrics and detailed touches throughout.  I found alot of really beautiful head bands and Hair Ribbons, Sunglasses and bracelets all for $2.99.

If you don’t find something for your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, there are definitely unique things for your own kids or grandkids.  And they would make special gifts as well!

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Here is how you can score some FREE Colgate Toothpaste at Walgreens this week.

free colgate toothpaste

Walgreens has Colgate Toothpaste on sale for 2 for $5 (or singly at $2.99 – but you want to purchase 2)

THEN they have a $3 Register Reward IF you purchase 2!  (that you can use like Walgreen’s credit on future purchases)

so there is still $2 remaining that you can make up with coupons:

There are 3 from newspaper inserts – but they expire by tomorrow.

Manufacturer Coupon -.50/1 Colgate toothpaste, 3 oz+, SS 06/12 (EXP 6/25)
Manufacturer Coupon -$1/2 Colgate toothpaste, 3 oz+, SS 06/12 (EXP 6/25)
Manufacturer Coupon -.50/1 Colgate toothpaste, 3 oz +, excl trial size, SS 06/26

OR you can print a $1 off of one CLICK HERE (you can print 2 – just hit “back” or the “back arrow” and resend the coupon – it will print the 2 you need to get the toothpaste for FREE (unfortunately you will have to pay tax!).

Getting free (or inexpensive) toothpaste is great to help the family budget, OR you can donate it to your local food bank or homeless shelter.  For 2016 (last year) you can still pack it into an Operation Christmas Child shoebox – but if you do, make sure when purchasing that the expiration date is at least June 2017 (because shoeboxes do take a very long time to be distributed).

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Your simple gifts bless not only the child, but their family as well!  Here is a story of HOPE,  about clothes for Arafa found inside a small shoebox.

Clothes for Arafa
“My name is Mounina, and my son Arafa received a shoebox at an Operation Christmas Child outreach event here in Mali.

He was blessed to receive clothes and many other things in his gift. I am thankful because I wondered how I would buy clothes for him.

I am very poor and many times do not have enough money to feed my children. We live in a house built with things we have found because I cannot afford to rent a house.

Many thanks to OCC and those who pack shoebox gifts.

You have blessed me and my children more than you know.

May God bless you!”

Have you experienced a small act of kindness by others that transformed your life?  If you have, then you know it doesn’t have to be something big!

A simple gift or small kindness can be something that gives hope, revives your spirit, and points your eyes away from despair and towards the heavens again.  We can make a difference!  Be the answer to someone’s prayer.

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There are fantastic things happening at the First Baptist Church of Hudson, in North Carolina.

Two Fantastic things

Hickory Daily Record

First, they stock a large lending library at the Church with over 10,000 books, cds and dvds.  They have a state of the art computer system to keep track of everything PLUS they hold summer reading programs for both adults and children.

Secondly, they have prizes for everyone who signs up for the programs and who complete their reading goals.  PLUS many of them end up donating their prizes to their Operation Christmas Child packing party!

Ok, that is actually FOUR Fantastic things!

What a resource that library is for their church and their community!  It has been going strong for 40 years and named the C.A. Keller Media Center after one of its founding members.

What is your gift or interest?  Whatever it is, even starting a library—- it can be used for the kingdom of God and to help others!

Don’t limit yourself.  God has amazing plans for you.  For more information, you can read it here at the Hickory Daily Record.

There is a crazy finger puppets sale going on right now at Amazon!  I love these finger puppets and have gotten tons of these.  AND just put in my order for 10 more pks.   My friend Cynthia likes to tuck one inside all of her Tennis Ball containers (that contain all sorts of wonderful items!  You can check out my post here to read more!)

16Pcs Story Time Finger Puppets  –  10 Animals, 6 People Family Members, Educational Puppets by iBUY365


Remember prices at Amazon change quickly – so if you want them, act fast!

UPDATE!!! In the hour or so since I posted this link, the price has risen.  However, if you check on the right side of Amazon, you will see “Other Sellers” – then scroll down a little to see the words 19 (or some other number) new items – and click THAT link.  It will take you to all the other sellers (and their reviews) that sell this same item.  You should still be able to get an inexpensive price.  ALSO – for some reason even though it says “free shipping” Amazon is having a little trouble and occasionally adding shipping to your total.  If that happens – go back out and pick a different seller.  I had to do that today when I was purchasing Barbie dresses!

Since this is “Toy Collection” month for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, this is a perfect time to pick some up.

But they would also work perfectly in goodie bags, prizes at VBS or Sunday School or even brought out during long summer car trips with the kids!  I used to pack little busy gifts and bring them out during vacation at restaurants during long waits for our meals. It kept us ALL happy and busy!

finger puppets sale

In my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes I’m thinking of printing out the picture above and attaching it – to give the children an idea of what they are and how to play with them!

mary1

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Our Jessica bought the Big Bag of Bricks at Amazon last year and since it is “TOY” Collection Month for Operation Christmas Child — I thought I would repost her review!    Here it is:

“Amazon’s Big Bag of Bricks are building bricks that are compatible with LEGO.  The price is really great for building bricks (CHECK IT OUT AT AMAZON HERE), so curiosity got the best of me and I ordered them.  My son is a LEGO afficionado, so I figured he would make the perfect tester to see if these are good enough to include in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Here’s what arrived.  The bag was a little smaller than I imagined.  I pictured it with my sunglasses for reference.

Big Bag of Bricks

Also, I noticed that it was to include 10 colors but my bag had only nine.  Seems we were missing the brown.  My son didn’t seem to care about that little detail and was over-the-moon excited to play with these.  He noticed they didn’t have the LEGO logo on them and was adamant they not get mixed into his “real” LEGOS (insert mom’s eye roll here).  He started building right away.

IMG_0121

I was impressed.  The blocks stuck together really well and he was able to build quite a huge creation with them.  We had no problems with the bricks being loose and not wanting to stick together.   In addition, there was a good variety of bricks.  Several different sizes and shapes.  I was wary that the bag would be full of a lot of tiny pieces, but it was not.

My only slight reservation was that the bricks did not seem to be quite as exact as LEGO brand.

Overall, I think these are great for Operation Christmas Child.  Especially if you aren’t going to mix both brands together.  They hold together well and will provide hours of creative play for a child.  However, they aren’t produced with the same exacting standards as LEGO brand and the extremely slight variations in size are apparent when you look for it.”

Pretty good review overall from Jessica!

If you purchase one of these bags, or the larger one, you can separate them into smaller zip loc baggies that would be perfect to slip into several Boy or Girl shoeboxes!

The bricks are available in 2 color varieties. 500 pieces bags and 1000 piece bags.

Building Bricks – 500 Pc “Big Bag of Bricks” Bulk Blocks with 27 Roof Pieces – Tight Fit and Compatible with Lego

Building Bricks – 500 Pc “Big Bag of Bricks” Bulk Pastel Friends-colored Blocks with 27 Roof Pieces – Tight Fit with Lego

Building Bricks – 1000 Pc “Big Bag of Bricks” Bulk Pastel Friends-colored Blocks with 54 Roof Pieces – Tight Fit with Lego

Building Bricks – 1000 pc “Big Bag of Bricks” Bulk Blocks with 54 Roof Pieces – Tight Fit and Compatible with Lego

This post may contain affliate links.  Check my Disclosure policy.

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Oriental Trading has FREE Shipping once again!  (for ANY order – big or small!)  Since I never place a large enough order (over $49 or more) at Oriental Trading, I always wait for these free shipping days!

oriental trading free shipping

Just use Promo Code CE165424 at Checkout to get your free shipping!

I spotted some nice ball caps (2014 graduation) for about 78¢ each.  START HERE

If you keep scrolling down you will see “Jesus is my BFF” cap at $8.28 for a dozen.

oriental trading

I also spotted some tote bags at 50 for $27.98 HERE.

I’m sure there are other fun items if you continue to click around 🙂

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RG Riley has another good sale on bulk T-Shirts and Shorts!  The clearance sale is around 75¢ to $1 each HERE. 

RG Riley t-shirts
If you need alot of t-shirts or shorts, then buying in bulk is the answer.   I love to shop local sales, but it can be hit or miss.  AND if you are packing alot of shoeboxes, or donate to a local homeless shelter – then you need to purchase alot.

CLICK HERE for RG Riley Clearance  The page I am linking to has the clearance prices.  You can search around the site for other items, but my suggestion is only buy overstock and clearance – NOT irregulars even if it is a better deal.  My friends have purchased irregulars in the past and have been happy with them.  However, since they could possibly be damaged or “irregular” they are not guaranteeing that the shirts will be thoroughly without holes or other problems.

My friend Cynthia purchases thousands from this site every year and I help her at her Operation Christmas Child packing party.  I love these shirts and it makes packing large quantities so easy.

(Another good suggestion for a large packing event – have them pre-rolled beforehand.  Gather a group and pre-fold or pre-roll – you can even use a rubber band to secure.  This will speed up the packing event so people don’t have to stop, pick up a shirt, and fold it all over your other items on the table while people behind them are waiting.)

 

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The Crazy8 online store has a terrific 70% off clearance section.  PLUS I found lots of sales all over the site!  In addition there is a Crazy8 Free Shipping deal Today only! (June 20) with code FREEFORSUMMER!  CLICK HERE to check out the 70% off section – then continue to look over the site to see if you find any other great deals!

crazy8 free shipping

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